It’s not every day that we get to visit one of our favorite parts manufacturers, and being as how BMR Suspension is only twenty minutes away form our Tampa office, there’s definitely a convenience factor. Throw in the fact that we ordered Apex Assassin’s suspension directly from them, and it only made sense that we paid them a visit.
We were greeted by BMR’s Allan Miller and Pete Epple, and were shown to each individual station; from the welding boothes to the laths, to the powder coating booth and the oven that bakes the coating on. We spent a total of six hours there, watching Apex’s components get assembled, welded, and ‘coated.
Now we’re not just going to give you this shop tour, and move on. Instead, we’ve decided to make this a two-part story, following up with the actual install in the next issue. That’s right, we’re taking full advantage of BMR’s in-house installation and R&D facility, by installing the actual parts that we ‘ve watched getting manufactured, and having the BMR crew install them into our 2012 ZL1. So follow along as we show you the steps.
1. These guys wasted no time, showing us how they weld the adjustable mounting locations onto our rear sway bar. GM redesigned the rear sway bar in 2012, so the ‘10-11s will differ slightly from ours.
2. This man, who looks alarmingly like a young Axl Rose, bends the box frame tubing that will be used for the subframe connectors. The boxed tubing is a much stronger design than the typical round tubing, and also allows for additonal ground clearence for lowered vehicles.
3. Another worker picks up where “Axl” left off, and welds all of the previously bent pieces together to form Apex’s subframe connector (SFC015), also cutting the edges that will form to the underbody. Every inch of these components are designed, engineered, and assembled in BMR’s facility.
4. Even some very simple hardware gets manufactured from scratch right before our eyes. This will slide into the lower control arm mounting location.
5. We watched one of our lower control arms get welded, media blasted (and later, powder coated), while we were at BMR. These guys truly are craftsman in what they do.
6. Here, one of the lower control arm (TCA029) mounts get welded together.
7. BMR even modifies the u-ring that holds the sway bar into place, using an off-the-shelf Energy Suspension component, welding on a grease nipple, additonal reinforcments for strength, and then powder coating it. On the right, you can see the different stages these undergo.
8. Everything is made in house, except for the coil springs. Here, a small piece of tubing gets drilled and cut for the LCAs. This is the section that mounts inside the housing for the mounting bolt.
9. After the parts are media blasted, they get sprayed off with a solution, cleaning them from all debris, and then dried prior to powder coating.
10. We would love to show you pictures of parts baking inside the oven. But since it takes several hundred degrees to cure the coating, we’ve elected to sit that part out. We do like having skin, after all. The process takes about 25 minutes, and once out of the oven, they look like works of art like this. Pictured on the right is the tunnel brace we’ll be using.
11. BMR has a storage room filled with all of the hardware that they use in their suspension kits. It’s also interesting to note that all of the bushings used for their lower control arms, sway bars, and other hardware, come directly from Energy Suspension. Hey, if you’re going to seek assistance, you might as well seek it from the best, right?
12. Since we had planned on installing the parts onto Apex Assassin at the BMR facility, it didn’t make any sense to pack them up and ship them out. However, we couldn’t help but take a peak at the process. Here, we watch a worker pack some components up to customers.