Eventually, I'll Be Able To Stop This Crazy Thing...
Well, I've figured out what happened to the brake parts...
Savvy got confused.
Well, this requires a bit of a recap...so you might want to crack open a cold one, Dear Reader, if you've got one on hand.
After I nearly got killed due to my stock brakes not being up to the task of stopping the 35" Falkens I got very serious about braking issues. I called Blaine at Savvy and - after speaking with him for awhile - we came to the conclusion that a simple pad and rotor upgrade wasn't going to do the job reliably. The Savvy pad/rotor combination is sometimes
enough to stop a TJ on 35's, but not 100% of the time with 100% of the Jeeps in question. The 15" brake kit and its twin-piston caliper would be a more reliable answer, and the upgrade to a 16" kit - i.e. 12" diameter rotor - would be icing on the cake. After hearing that I planned to pull a trailer, Blaine suggested that I go with as much brake as I could afford. When I asked whether or not the 16" kit gave any real increase in performance, Blaine informed me - in his lovably terse way - of the following: "If the 16" setup didn't give you significant improvement, I wouldn't waste my time building it."
It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Actually, you don't have to do much thinking, which seems to usually the case when talking with Blaine on the phone. You ask a question, he answers, and about five seconds into the answer your mind begins to say "F***, I'm stupid..." However, if you shut up and listen you can usually learn quite a bit and this time was no exception. Blaine also told me that since it was a bit of an emergency to go ahead and order the kit from Savvy - even though all of the brake kits are backordered - and that he would just put it together from a store of extra parts that he has on hand. I do so and about fifteen minutes later I've got an order/shipping confirmation. I posted an update about this a few days back...but I still don't have my parts. Hmm...
Clarification: Savvy doesn't actually hold back kits or parts...this should not be inferred from my commentary. Blaine offered to make up a kit out of parts that he keeps on the shelf for the purposes of visual examination should someone call with a technical issue that requires both parties to be looking at the part in question whilst on the phone with each other. He was doing me a big favor by offering this.
So last night I shot off an e-mail to Gerald at Savvy, asking about a firm arrival date. Gerald writes back and says that Blaine will send me an e-mail when he ships it
. That makes perfect sense...except that I had an e-mail from ten days ago saying that Blaine had already shipped it. So, this morning I e-mailed Blaine and asked him what was going on with the order. I quickly got an e-mail back that simply said "Give me a call..." I called and the first thing he said was "Well, it's always easier to tell someone that they got screwed over on the phone..."
As usual, he was right.
It turned out that right after I spoke with Blaine on the phone the first time someone else called with the exact same issue and sent an e-mail order that was a near-verbatim copy of my own, but because even Blaine's store of personal parts was tapped out due to my order, the other guy was told that he'd have to simply wait until some more parts were available. When it came time to ship my order the next morning, though, my kit got sent to the other guy and - because the orders were almost carbon copies of each other - Savvy was under the impression that I'd already gotten mine. When he told me this I just blinked a couple of times and said "You gotta be f****** kidding me."
As usual, he was not kidding.
It was an honest-to-god "you can't make this stuff up" communication error. He told me that - after getting my e-mail this morning - they sat around for about fifteen minutes trying to figure out what had happened before they realized that they had mistakenly shipped my already-spoken-for parts to the other guy. This was NOT GOOD, but Savvy has a reputation for doing their level best to make things right. I'm then told that I have two options:
Wait between two and four weeks for the large pallet of knuckles in Blaine's driveway to get shipped out to Van's machine shop, machined, shipped back, packed into kit-form and then shipped to me.
Have a kit built around a set of knuckles that Blaine took off his wife's rig, and get it shipped out today or tomorrow.
This decision took all of about .05 seconds. Why? Well, it's a surprisingly easy answer. Blaine is like most guys when it comes to their wives: our favorite girls get the nice stuff and we just kind of make do with whatever's left. We'll spend money on their Jeeps before our own, and we'll make sure that whatever parts we're bolting onto their rides are as perfect as possible. The only things we treasure more than Jeeps are wives and sweethearts and girlfriends...may they never meet.
Thus, when I tacitly inquired about the condition of the take-off knuckles to make sure that they were in good shape - and if you know anything
about Blaine or anyone he associates with or the terrain they wheel, you will realize that this is a very, very
legitimate question - he basically cut me off and said "Only the best of the best goes on Kat's rig...I even pick through the good stuff to find the prettiest ones." With that in mind, one can understand how my decision was so rapidly made. However, let's rephrase the two earlier options for the slower members of the class:
Wait for a pair of knuckles to be sent to me after the machine shop gets done with them, which may be next week or next month.
Have a near-perfect set of knuckles that were hand-picked by Blaine to go on Kat's Jeep
cleaned and otherwise prettied-up and sent to me post-haste.
I took Option 2.