posted on February 20, 2013 00:00
Industry Insider- Seibon Carbon
By Mike Kojima
Seibon Carbon is what we are defining as a second wave Asian performance parts company. A few years ago, our booming performance industry was decimated by several factors, one of which was the economic downturn, another of which was a big influx of fly by night Asian companies that made cheap rip offs of established parts, distributing them with little overhead cost on Ebay and marketing them for free on Forums.
Companies like these flooded the market with shoddy goods some of which were so cheap that they forced many of the original companies that formed our market out of business. This did not just happen in the automotive performance aftermarket but in all markets of all goods on a global scale.
However, something interesting has happened. Our market has shrunk to the point were many of the makers of mass produced junk have turned their sights elsewhere and some of the companies that originally made low cost and low quality copies of successful parts have evolved, getting serious, cleaning up their quality, reinvesting in the market, doing their own development and becoming serious makers of innovative quality parts. This phenomenon happened many years ago in the bicycle world and the performance scooter world where Taiwan for instance makes some of the best parts available.
Now for the composite body panel market Seibon has become one of those companies. Yes, Seibon had started off as a company making copies of other companies' carbon parts, but they are an enthusiast based company and focused on their processes and quality. The evolved Seibon no longer makes copies but releases their own designs and even does the OEM production for many of the top brands of exclusive and super expensive aero kits.
Seibon invited us to their headquarters to take a closer look at some of their products and answer some of our question on how they are made. We know Seibon's quality has improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years. Our Project FR-S has a Seibon hood and decklid and we were very impressed with their fit and finish - which is flawless. No ripples or warps and the gaps to the OEM panels were actually tighter than stock! Let us show you some of the stuff we saw during our visit.
We first looked carefully at Seibon's basic wet carbon parts. Wet carbon isn't sexy but it makes up the bulk of the carbon part market and if done well, wet carbon makes for a strong, light and functional performance part. A wet layup is just that. The mold is first sprayed with a gel coat, a thicker resin that serves as the part's smooth surface finish. Then carbon and fiberglass cloth are layered in the mold and brushed with resin which is usually polyester based. The resin is rolled into the cloth and the excess is squeegeed out. This method is how most aftermarket composites are made and is perfectly adequate. The quality and the strength of the part are very worker skill dependent and a lot of parts are made with too much resin which adds a lot of extra weight. Seibon's wet carbon parts are produced using proprietary techniques for the wet layup which minimize weight, improve appearance and maximize strength. We were told that these techniques are simply refinements of the traditional methods done for better control. Seibon was reluctant to show us because they told us that the refinements were low tech, but highly effective and it would be easy for their competitors to copy them if we showed them. Fair enough. Lets take a look at Seibon's wet carbon Nissan GT-R door as an example of wet carbon done right.
At 10.8 lbs each, Seibon's wet carbon GT-R doors are much lighter than the stock parts, saving over 40 lbs per door! However they are only 1.3 lbs heavier than the much more expensive dry carbon parts! The wet carbon doors are still very nice parts. To get a good fit, good tooling is very important and Seibon has learned many lessons over the years on how to improve their tooling. The fit of their latest stuff is very good, some of the best we have seen. On the front surface, the first layer of the door is made of carbon backed by two plys of fiberglass cloth. The carbon gives cosmetic looks and strength while the fiberglass gives stiffness while being much more cost effective than carbon. One thing to note is that Seibon uses fiberglass cloth, not mat or chopper gun fiberglass. Cloth is much stronger and uses less resin, but it is more labor intensive to apply. Look at some of the cheaper carbon parts on the market and you can see that the carbon is backed by unidirectional mat or a criss cross matrix of chopped fiberglass soaked with lots of resin. Some of these cheaper parts can weigh more than stock!
The back sides of the doors are made of fiberglass and are perfect replicas of the stock doors. This means that the inner door panels, hinges, locks, handles, speakers and even window regulators and tracks can all be kept in place and functional. Even the areas where the seals mount are functional. This means that the door is made up of several different molds with components that must be bonded together. We don't think street cars should be driven with these doors without a cage as they are lacking the OEM door's steel side impact beams, but the doors save much of the weight that a cage adds! The Seibon doors do have molded ribbed internal supports for strength though, so the door is not a weak floppy part.
The hinge areas of the doors are reinforced to reduce door flop. Look at the detail here!
|The lock and door handle areas are also reinforced with more cloth. All the stock interior parts can go on and you would never know that this is a composite door. Of course if you have a race car, you can cut much of the inner parts out to make clearance for NASCAR style door bars.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 3:45 AM
Kissing up much Mike?
It sicken me to think that tuner-pioneers like yourself came to worship companies that once blatantly copied reputable companies that put in work, (an example, among many, it's Voltex's EVO VIII and IX hood).
I do NOT care whether Seibon is legit now or not. The fact that they made $$ out of the expenses of other legitimate companies is enough for me to boycott them.
Ask Eric (Hsu), who was at Eastern Creek at the crack of dawn preparing last year's Top Fuel/ Voltex S2000RR? That's right! Nakajima san from Voltex, who put in thousand of hours and test his stuff in the wind tunnel.
Where is your Seibon crap? Where was the last time Seibon went down to Buttonwillow to test their crap? That's right.....
Really, this car-tuning industry is in deep shit, and you Sir. are part of the reason why those Chinese companies are flourishing! Keep kissing up and promote this crap!
BTW, here is a quick glance of what real carbon fiber (from Powerhouse Amuse look like).
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7:00 AM
You should add a "Get off my lawn" to the end of your post.
I don't think you understand that these Japanese companies are making these parts for extremely low volume production, and are priced accordingly, and on top of that, shipping to North America/Europe is expensive. Companies like Seibon are the only way that non-ballers can afford to have the style of top-tier parts on their cars.
The simple fact of the matter is, the people who buy copied parts that are an order of magnitude cheaper than the originals were never going to be customers of the original manufacturer to begin with.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7:55 AM
Leaving aside the whole Seibon issue... what about replacement bits? Let's put it with more hard examples - I know a lot of people doing roadracing in classes with widebody setups allowed. A lot of the available bodywork is pretty expensive, but it saves time making your own from scratch (I know folks who've done both) But club level roadracing... bodywork is a consumable; it gets to where it's too banged up, has too many cracks, etc and needs replacement, even barring any contact which speeds that all up a lot.
I know that one theory goes that everyone should just buy new bodywork, but in the real world, I don't know of anyone who races these sorts of cars that doesn't pull molds from the first set of bodywork (or have a friend pull molds or whatever) so they can make spares.
Maybe it's different in the time attack world, or professional level stuff, or whatever, but for club level racing stuff, paying Japanese boutique prices for something going on a race car... I mean seriously?
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 8:43 AM
Coming from a Quality Control background in composites manufacturing at a major aerospace company, I am pretty alarmed that Seibon's dry carbon parts aren't made in an autoclave. While the parts are thin, an autoclave is imperative in correctly compacting and combining the plies into a single part, because of the high fiber volume fraction and high viscosity resins used in prepeg.
Frankly I wouldn't trust any of the parts to be used at all structurally. If they're just going to use vacuum they should stick to doing high quality wet layups.
That being said, their layups do look very good. The final weights of their wet layups is indicative of a well compacted part and the draping has been done very well around the complex curvature.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 9:22 AM
How much of a difference does that make on structural stuff in practice? I've heard of carbon monocoques done out of prepreg with just atmospheric (IE vacuum bagged) tooling with no ill effects (albeit in the 90s) - is it something you can compensate for, something that is just iffy on results, or a complete no-go?
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 9:36 AM
JDMised, you have a strong opinions for someone who isn't even a tuner of anything. With your jumps in logic, why don't you ask Eric about cars he works on that use Seibon like the Sierra Sierra car. If Seibon made R32 stuff we would be using it on the Team America car too.
BigBcraig, I have seen excellent wet out with prepreg using vacuum bagging on many race car parts made by other companies besides Seibon. The wings on my race cars for instance are made by Stowe Racecars using prepreg and vacuum bagging and they have full wet out. The critical thing is selecting a prepreg with the right amount of resin.
I have seen bad wetout using prepreg with too low of a resin load as well. It comes out really open looking. Finding the right amount of resin is trial and error.
I feel that ween looking at 3 layers on mostly flat surfaces it is completely fine. I would not do complex thick multiply critical structure parts like this like a race car tub or wing roots on a plane. For body parts this is a high quality, cost effective way to make strong panels.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 9:38 AM
Kenku, it can be done using more resin and more plys to make up for the lack of ultimate compactation and void ratio.
You can get the strength but it will be heavier and not deliver all of the potential of the material.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 9:46 AM
@ JDMized: Have you looked into how a large portion of the JDM auto industry, which your screen name is based on, got its start?
"The chassis and electrics were copied from Ford.
The A1 was a fully enclosed, 4-door sedan, with normal front doors and forward-opening suicide-style rear doors. It was heavily based on the Chrysler Airflow; Toyoda bought an Airflow and disassembled it the year before producing the A1."
The maker of the FR-S (among other great cars) got its start from no-so-legitimate products.
The Mitsubishi Model A (reminds me of HF's "Chicago Electric") was basically a Fiat Tipo 3 with a smaller engine. So the company that brought you EVO excellence got its start from not-so-legitimate products.
"American Austin/Bantam built the 7 in the U.S. in the early 1930s, and Nissan, established in 1914, built its own non-licensed copy of that car in the 1930s.)"
The company that brought you the GT-R, Sylvia, etc, saw not-so-legitimate products in its early years.
Yes, Seibon got its start with not-so-legitimate products, but so did a lot of other companies. This one, like a few other successes out there, shed this and began actually making something better on their own.
I understand your choice, and it is fully up to you how you choose to spend your money, nor do I think it's an illogical stance. However, before blasting one industry and touting another, one should look into how the other industry got its start too.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 9:51 AM
If Out-Of-Autoclave PrePreg is good enough for NASA, Boeing, Bombardier and the DoD then it's good enough for me!
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 9:58 AM
When they made the mold of the inside of the GT-R door, they probably should have taken the Alcoa logo off it. Just saying, some big companies don't like those kind of copyright infringements.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 10:09 AM
Sean, I noticed that too.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 10:44 AM
^ don't give JDMized any more fodder for his vendetta... ;)
JDMized you really appear to be someone that cannot move on from a company making what was a mistake in our eyes and turning it around. I am hoping you don't hold this same level of grudge for friends and family as you will likely wind up alone and disappointed with a stockpile of guns.
Simply put there is a level of copying in EVERY form of manufacturing and where the company takes it is what I base my buying decision on and not just a single snapshot in their history. To top it off you clearly come here, read the articles, and likely learn something from the very person you chastise as being the problem. Seems like an awful double standard to me...
My last question is do you think your name or point carries weight? Clearly you are trying to exploit the company as being a rip off artist yet you do not offer your real name or carry a legitimate issue other than one of "you do not want to support them"; you do this at the expense of Mike Kojima who is someone that is looked at in the industry with a lot of respect as well as being hired to engineer and consult on projects. This does not make Mike "right" or "better" (lord knows I have had a difference of opinion with Mike on certain things) but clearly he is not some internet know it all (well he actually is a know it all I suppose) crying foul or sucking up. They went, they saw, they reported as transparently as ANYONE would dare on the subject, and you still cry foul?
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 11:12 AM
@ Wes: I'll end it with this: the measure of a man isn't so much that he makes mistakes, but how he handles them.
Some people make a mistake, realize it, and work to correct it. Others continue on like nothing happened, or attempt to cover it up. If someone effs up, I'll give them shit for it. If they learn from it and good on it, I'll respect them more for it.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 11:30 AM
JDMized, I honestly can't figure out why you bother reading our magazine. You have nothing but negative, ranting comments on just about every article.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 11:47 AM
@ Dusty: Ever been to an NFL fan page? ;-p
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 12:37 PM
Sorry, I tend to agree that companies that historically steal IP from others should not be supported.
That being said, Seibon has improved over the years. Maybe it's time they improved their business ethics too by paying licensing rights to those they have infringed upon.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 1:39 PM
I agree Nick.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 2:18 PM
Where does the line get drawn Nick? I completely agree from an ethical perspective but the reality is that even the major automotive brands are guilty; do we boycott them also?
Fact of the matter is that business evolves and shifts based on different markets etc... The core issue is that in this case they are re-paying the community (that takes companies and customers to make it work) by designing their own parts and investing in the tools necessary to increase quality at a good price point.
At what stage is a company or individual "forgiven" for mistakes? There is a big difference between what we are talking about here and other knock off manufacturers that do nothing but replicate, sell, and leave the market.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 3:20 PM
Alright, here I have some time to clarify my point of view. (I'm not here trying to defend what I said or whose feeling I hurt, I already made my point and I am not changing my opinion).
1st. Mike (Kojima): the Sierra Sierra EVO sports a Kaminari bodykit and body panels. Maybe Eric (Hsu)can confirm that.
Also, if I am not mistaken, Sierra Sierra contacted Kaminari for the one-off bodykit. (I've never seen another EVO with the same bodykit Christine wears, but I could be wrong)...again, maybe Eric can clarify that for us.
Bottom line here is that while Kaminari was involved with Sierra Sierra program, Seibon was not involved in anything! To these days Seibon has done NO R&D. In my countless days at the local track I've never seen ONCE Seibon testing their stuff, let that alone in a wind-tunnel.
I brought up the example of Voltex and Nakajima san because he's been at the front of the aero-revolution, for lack of words for a while now.
Why don't you contact Andrew Brillant and ask him to work for free? Consulting Mr. Brillant (or other aero guys)cost money. Seibon gets away with that by doing ZERO testing.
Again, in Time Attack many people recognize Voltex and the name behind the brand, Nakajima san. Him, and his company have done so much for the industry.
What did Seibon do for the industry?
@Kenku, if your friends do club sport events and door-to-door racing, maybe carbon fiber is not a good alternative. Maybe a full set of fiberglass panels fit better the bill.
Whether we are talking about a small "Japanese boutique" producing high quality body panels or Seibon's mass produced carbon, a crash is a crash, and carbon cost $$$ reguardless.
Another point I'd like to cover, in today's society if there's a company out there (it doesn't matter where the company is located) that blatantly copy other company's idea, THAT company gets sued!!! Yes, whether it's Mitsubishi, Subaru, Nissan, or Lada. Companies get sued ALL the time for copying other's idea. (we are talking about million dollars fine here, not peanuts).
I don't see Seibon paying royalties to companies like Voltex.
Maybe NOW that Seibon is "huge" should pay back those companies that it stole the idea in the beginning!?!?!
In the very last page Mike Kojima stated that Seibon used to copy stuff, and now it's legit (and made huge profit for it)......whether that's true or not, I am not sure.
Solely based on that, my ethics, my values, my morals would say: "Alex, do not do business with them! They had the sack to copy shit from other companies, who tells you they are not going to do it again?"
Businesses are in the business to make money, some companies are more eager to make quick bucks than others. Seibon is an example of that.
Mike (Kojima) if it's that easy for you to move on and accepting Seibon as a legit company, maybe someday you and I could be friends :).....highly doubt it but...based on what you said this is totally possible.
Last but not least, since you have the courage to write this article and back up a shady business, why don't you share with us, which car manufacturer (companies) does Seibon supply its carbon to.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 6:07 PM
@ Nick and JDMized:
Do you own a Toyota, Nissan or Mitsubishi product? Are you going to sell them immediately because these companies once copied, without permission, the intellectual property of others?
Put your money where your mouth is and sell any of these vehicles you may own. It's rather hypocritical to say you'll never support XYZ Company because they copied, but then own ABC Company's products who copied in the past unless you're doing it from the stance of xenophobia.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 6:39 PM
Rockwood, read my comment above!
Corporates/companies that blatantly copies other's ideas get sued BIG TIME these days!
Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda, you name it. They take possession of other's property, they are right to be sued! I am NOT Pro Japanese (although a TONS of narrow-minded folks on here think that because I use a JDM screen name I am all for JDM stuff), contrary, I stand where honesty stands.
Seibon has no core-value, it became rich thanks to other's expenses!
If a Chinese firm has an idea, the know-how-to, tools, and the right mindset, I stand behind their products.
The thing is, 99% of the time Chinese get caught hands first copying other's idea.
Let's not deviate from the subject, Seibon to these days has done ABSOLUTELY nothing for this community asides from providing free shit to various racing teams.
Seibon became what is today thank to the lack of morals, and until there are people in the industry that feed this trend, Seibon and other Chinese crap will continue with their momentum.
A while ago I read somewhere that Seibon stands for "Racing" in English!?!
Like I said above, I have yet to see Seibon testing their uber dry carbon fiber parts at any given track.
Maybe, since you guys from MotoIQ are so inspirational to this community, you could tell Seibon to REALLY start a racing team on their own, and start testing their products. That way they would buy legitimacy and a bit more respect in this community.
Last thing I want to add: I would love to hear DIRECTLY from the Seibon folks HOW they defend themselves in regard to their not-so-ethic behavior in the past.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7:04 PM
JDMized, there are Seibon Parts on the Sierra Sierra Evo. Why don't you contact Eric and ask him. I think you need to publicly chastise Daigo Saito for using all Seibon bodywork and accepting sponsorship from them as well. Why don't you do some research and find out who Seibon OEM's for? It's public domain.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 8:12 PM
@ JDMized: You may have read it, but you keep ignoring the core of what I was saying: JDM companies like Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Toyota have ALL copied others' designs early in their histories, much like Seibon. They did it pre-WWII when the Japanese government was lax at enforcing copyright infringement, much like the Chinese do today.
These companies got their start, or early income, selling cars that were direct copies in part or whole of other vehicles.
Again, if you knock Seibon for this, you must also knock the Japanese companies who committed the same act early in their history. If you accept their more recent innovations, then you must also accept Seibon's. I expect posts in our FR-S, IS-F, Tundra, EVO, and G20/G35 articles shitting all over those companies because they stole from Chrysler, Ford, Fiat, and Austin back in their early days.
Personally, I'm willing to forgive.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 8:26 PM
Mike, nice to know there are Seibon parts on the Sierra Sierra EVO. I'm sure Eric is gonna write something on here eventually.
With that said, I have a little less respect for the SSE, what can I say?
I don't kiss up butts Mike! Nor I give a fuck about Daigo and FD!
@Rockwood, if Japanese copied shit in the past (I'm sure they had at some point), they better paid their dues! I don't condone dishonesty and sleazy companies, regardless of their origin!
Now if you two excuse me, I got better crap to do than to defend myself. I already expressed my opinion above, end of the story!
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 8:34 PM
I'm pretty sure they don't have the rights to reproduce that Panton chair.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 8:37 PM
How about Daigo using Seibon in D1? In your mind how is it ok for Japanese to copy in their past but not other Asians? I am curious about this.
For the record, I am not ok with what Seibon USED to do but they have cleaned up their act and moved on like most Japanese companies have a generation ago.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 9:02 PM
Like I said, I don't kiss Japanese butts (although my screen name may sound otherwise).
I don't care about Daigo Saito, nor about FD, really!!!! Not because my screen name spells JDMized that i am one of those fanboi!
If it was for me, FD wouldn't exist on US soil. I never paid attention to it , nor gave them my money.
If Seibon wants to gain market by shoveling down kids' throat their shitty carbon, by all means go for it.
I have nothing else to say.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 9:16 PM
Thanks for keeping it high brow I guess?
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 9:27 PM
Um, Daigo Saito is also the D1 champion, I think this is in Japan last time I checked.
If you look and read the article about the fabrication details and actually bolt their stuff on a car, you will see that their stuff is far from shitty now.
The Seibon parts on our FR-S are lighter, fit better and are less wavy than the super expensive Varis GT kit on our Evo VI1I, the Rocket Bunny stuff on the Falken car, the C West stuff on Steve Mitchells Z. The Japaese stuff is all excellent quality but amazingly the latest Seibon stuff is better. I accepted it when I saw it first hand.
Older product based on older tooling might still not be as good but there current stuff is first rate.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 10:05 PM
Why did I have a feeling someone would get into this sort of thing in the comments for this post?
Thursday, February 21, 2013 1:06 AM
This is better than Springer
Thursday, February 21, 2013 1:13 AM
ive seen more "real" carbon more easily destroyed than seibons parts.
Whatever, id rather have my aero made from styrofoam and balsa wood anyway.
/leaves the room
Thursday, February 21, 2013 1:45 AM
I think the saying goes something like "don't feed the trolls"
Ignore and let the comments die. I think the points are very clear and detailed in the article, but "opinions are like assholes, everyone's got one"
Thursday, February 21, 2013 11:11 AM
I don't remember reading about Nissan, Mitsubishi, Honda or Toyota getting sued or served "cease and desist" letters without response or negotiation. However, I have heard of Seibon being served such letters and still not complying. I remember Seibon copying Mugen S2000 parts back in 2003 or 2004 which created a big problem (understandably) between King Motorsports (Mugen sole NA distributor) who was a Seibon dealer. That relationship soured quickly.
Seibon doesn't even bother to change the design of the goods they copy- hence the ALCOA logo visible from the OE sheetmetal and tyndago pointed out. If they weren't so intellectually lazy and actually redesigned the more obvious styling cues also they would be viewed more legitimately as a ethical company. As it stands, however, nothing Seibon makes appeals to me, with a vast majority of their net proceeds coming from taking other companies' products and creating bucks and molds from them to sell to lowball consumers.
Thursday, February 21, 2013 2:40 PM
How would you have a carbon parts manufacturer create parts that replicate the OEM part without pulling a mold from it? That's not really "copying".
The Alcoa logo on a carbon part is pretty funny.
As for vacuum-bagged, oven-cured prepreg, well that's pretty straightforward. Each individual product has a curing schedule that will yield certain material properties. There are many prepreg products from various manufacturers that explicitly do not require autoclave. For example:
Thursday, February 21, 2013 5:52 PM
I don't understand why most carbon hoods duplicate the underside structure of the factory hood. Metal hoods have to be made of two parts to achieve acceptable rigidity, but carbon ones don't. The shape of the underside structure is determined by the manufacturing properties of sheet metal, which are completely different from composites.
Perhaps copy the factory underside around the perimeter, where hinges and latches attach, but the middle would be stronger and lighter with a low density thickening medium (honeycomb, or perhaps something cheaper) and another layer of carbon or fiberglass. Is this just laziness, or am I missing something?
Thursday, February 21, 2013 5:57 PM
Cut the center out of your metal hood like Jared, then get 20 hood pins to keep it from flapping like a bird. Then you don't need a carbon hood at all.
Thursday, February 21, 2013 8:23 PM
Nick you have said, in a MUCH nicer way the same things I have been thinking. THANKS!
And thanks for supporting the companies that matter in this industry. Companies that actually use THEIR head instead of copying stuff.
Thursday, February 21, 2013 8:29 PM
@ Nick: Did you read the links I posted? JDM companies ripped people off in the 30s. Attorneys hadn't taken over the world yet, so that's why there weren't cease and desist letters.
@ Dave: They copy the stock hood because it's easier. Duh! :)
Thursday, February 21, 2013 8:35 PM
Fiber Images used to make their hoods like that. They copied the perimeter stamping and just glassed the center. Steve is right, molding the entire underside is likely the easy way out.
Thursday, February 21, 2013 9:16 PM
Yes, molding the underside off of the OEM sheetmetal stamping is easier and cheaper. But, load distribution in composites doesn't work the same way as load distribution in sheet metal, so copying a stamped metal part in carbon is never the best solution. Honeycomb, foam, or some other type of sandwich core construction gives better results, but comes with its own set of problems and tradeoffs. I've made hoods using both methods, and prefer the ease of copying sheet metal but the performance of cored construction. Free lunch not found.
Prepreg can be used without an autoclave. The fiber to resin ratio usually has to be adjusted, and some other details too. A lot of the problems with voids in prepreg are caused by improper technique during application of vacuum, or things like drawing off too much resin through a perforated release film, or drawing too much vacuum at the wrong time while using a mold release with high surface energy. Not all voids have to do with compaction problems.
I've made structural prepreg parts without an autoclave (including monocoques for a few FSAE cars), and although it isn't as optimal there are plenty of parts made that way.
Most replacement body panels made of carbon are completely non-structural, so there isn't any reason to apply aerospace resins and autoclave production techniques to replace something which is ordinarily mass produced out of sheet metal. It might surprise you (or maybe not) that a lot of motorsport companies with composite shops don't even own an autoclave for that exact reason. Cost-benefit tradeoffs really come into focus when you look at the small benefit from using an autoclave on non- or semi-structural parts versus the cost of an autoclave that is large enough to properly house them.
Thursday, February 21, 2013 10:09 PM
@Rockwood- not pertinent to the conversations scope. We're discussing Seibon and their less than stellar copyright infringement practices. We can save your topic for the discussion when Mike K. writes an article about it.
@Dave Coleman- honeycomb structure with two ply skins would create a strong lightweight hood.
For what it's worth we have used vacuum bagged prepreg, non autoclaved carbon fiber/aralyte (aka kevlar) for creating lay down kart floor pans. We need the Kevlar for scrape resistance but want the carbon for lightweight structure and controlled stiffness, we apply the plies according to how we feel the chassis can be use the flex (or lack of) best. @over 100mph living flat on your back all parts, especially the one your whole body is laying on, are critical.
Thursday, February 21, 2013 10:46 PM
@ Nick: Now that's a cop out response. It most certainly is within scope. one, Mike is writing about a company that appears to be shedding its unscrupulous beginnings in a country that is more known for cheap goods, but is seeing more quality manufactured products. A quick look in history, should you care to pay attention to it, shows much of the same in JDM past. Two, nearly everyone here owns a vehicle manufactured by one of those companies, and if not, I certainly don't see people pissing on the Nissan/Mitsu/Toyota articles. If you truly feel that copyright infringement is unforgivable, then you should bemoan these companies as well, or you're being hypocritical.
You keep bringing up this company's past, and Mike is writing about how they're overcoming it, but another company's past that has come into acceptance is somehow put of scope? If this is your idea of being out of scope, keep staring at that swim lane of yours, anything other than perfectly straight ahead and you'll jump it. :)
Seibon, much like those companies, appears to have shed these early practices. The only difference is legions of attorneys and the Internet weren't involved when back then.
Again, I don't think your opinion is wrong, just unfairly applied.
Friday, February 22, 2013 12:20 AM
@Rockwood- you're entitled to your opinion, in my opinion you are out of scope. Doesn't really matter to me either way, I have no dog in this fight, I don't use/buy/sell/endorse Seibon products and my opinion of their business ethics is at best negative. I don't build up racecars or race racecars either. If I want Mugen, I buy Mugen. If I want Top Secret, I buy Top Secret. Seibon does not enter the decision making process. If you have no problem with how they do business and buy their MG or TS model copycat products, then that's your prerogative.
I'll assume this has been addressed sufficiently and won't discuss this again.
Friday, February 22, 2013 12:49 AM
jDMized and Nick - Um, you guys aren't attacking Seibon, you're attacking Mike's judgement on whether or not he trusts working with Seibon. So keep making statements about blah, blah, blah but I still label Mike Kojima as certified legit! Oh and Nick, use that google machine to look up the word correlation because when Steve makes a very legitimate "correlation", then it's certainly pertenant to the conversation's scope!
Dave - I'd copy the OEM lines until I found a better way to maintain hood rigidity. Doesn't matter how you cure composite resins, they still have flexure just like metal and need support. I do like the suggestion of small honeycomb shapes, might look fugly though!
Friday, February 22, 2013 12:52 AM
Sorry, I'm here discussing Seibon. Not Nissan. Not Toyota. Not Mitsubishi. Not anyone else. Outside the scope- FOR ME. You guys want to talk about that, have at it, don't include me.
Friday, February 22, 2013 8:14 AM
Nick - Sorry, you're talking about the past, as Mike stated in the article, so when someone talks about other vaunted JDM companies' past transgressions and you ignore it, it means you're on your high horse so ride on brother, ride on!
Friday, February 22, 2013 11:23 AM
@Der Bruce- have you looked at their website? A vast majority of their lineup IS knockoff product currently. Knockoff of OE and aftermarket. That is TODAY. I bet most people who support this company either sell Seibon product or have some other financial interest in it like getting parts at a discount.
Look, I'm not debating the quality, I have no first hand knowledge of it, but most people buy Seibon because the part, aping a style and copying the engineering, is usually sold by a manufacturer who has invested in design development and whose cost has to be recouped. Stealing that IP is unethical.
Friday, February 22, 2013 12:27 PM
I'm a little hung up on the argument that copying an OEM piece is somehow stealing, and I'm not putting this in the context of Seibon at all. I don't care what company it is.
Stealing from who? Making a knockoff of what? You can't make a knockoff of something if the original doesn't exist. Which OEM carbon Honda hood is getting copied? There is no OEM carbon Honda hood.
Until Toyota /Honda/Nissan/whoever makes their own in-house carbon parts to sell to the aftermarket (or as part of standard assembly), no one is stealing from anyone else by copying OEM sheet metal parts into carbon form. You can't steal from someone by directly competing in that market because the other person doesn't compete in that market.
Friday, February 22, 2013 1:25 PM
@ Nick: My original response was pointing out the irony in JDMized's original statement. You then made an obvious response to it (mentioning the exact same companies I did), so I responded in kind. When you were painted into a corner, you cried "scope!" like many contractors do when they discover something they didn't think about when they bid a job.
But you're right, no one mentioned Nissan, Toyota, or Mitsubishi in this comment section, especially me or you.
Friday, February 22, 2013 1:57 PM
@Nick Wong, don't worry dude, I feel you.
All these guys are doing is, defending themselves for supporting shady business practices. "Oh, it's ok to support Seibon BECAUSE other Japanese companies have done the same in the past." Good excuses guys, good excuses and a good way to SWAY away the main topic, "Seibon"!
Like Nick said, companies like Mugen, Top Secret or Powerhouse Amuse cost some pretty penny because:
1. Their quality of their carbon is OUTSTANDING (I think the folks that took a good look at my flickr's pics saw it).
2. They test their stuff CONSTANTLY at local tracks. Don't believe me? Remember the dry carbon fiber S2000 C-West built several years ago that Eiji Yamada used to race at Tsukuba? That car was tested several times around tracks in Japan, inside a wind tunnel , and eventually Gary Castillo got it in his shop and Tyler McQuarrie raced it few years back at Redline TA and did very well if I'm not mistaken......but that's not important right?
Well R&D cost money, and you would fool yourself if you thought otherwise.
That's one reason why Seibon has been able to keep price down, because it doesn't do ANY R&D!!! all it does is copying shit from other reputable companies.
3. The shitty US $ vs. the strong Japanese Yen makes it look like the Japanese are ripping off car enthusiasts. The truth like I said, lies into the fact that pumping out $$ bills doesn't increase the value of our currency.
4. Why is it that a lot of folks on here FEEL entitle to have carbon fiber parts?
Having quality carbon fiber parts cost money, and Seibon is trying its best to make you think otherwise.
5. The FD series is just around the corner, and Seibon being one of the major sponsor for most drifters wants to get the voice out and increase revenue, what do they do? They ask Mike Kojima to write an article to get the words out. "Hey Mike, since we help Dai Yoshihara, Daigo Saito and other teams, would you be able to write something about us, thanks" BAM!
To put the cherry on the cake you guys should Instagram it and Twitter the crap out of it, so all coolest kids at the local meet can rock your Seibon crap!"
Then you wonder why the industry is in deep shit.....
Next article is about Blox and Megan Racing right?
Friday, February 22, 2013 2:56 PM
"All these guys are doing is, defending themselves for supporting shady business practices. "Oh, it's ok to support Seibon BECAUSE other Japanese companies have done the same in the past." Good excuses guys, good excuses and a good way to SWAY away the main topic, "Seibon"!"
WTF? I don't own a single Seibon product, nor do I get anything from them.
I never said whether it was okay or not to support Seibon (I fully understand and appreciate your position), just pointing out your own hypocricy in bashing one company and supporting another that did the same thing once upon a time.
"Like Nick said, companies like Mugen, Top Secret or Powerhouse Amuse cost some pretty penny because:
1. Their quality of their carbon is OUTSTANDING (I think the folks that took a good look at my flickr's pics saw it)."
Is anyone arguing that Mugen/TS/Powerhouse Amuse make shitty products, or that Seibon is superior to them? Those parts are awesome, and they are priced accordingly.
"4. Why is it that a lot of folks on here FEEL entitle to have carbon fiber parts?
Having quality carbon fiber parts cost money, and Seibon is trying its best to make you think otherwise."
Having cutting-edge, wind-tunnel tested carbon parts, yep, those cost big money. Carbon replacement panels? OEMs are putting them on production vehicles that aren't incredibly expensive, so yes, they should be in reach now. You know, once upon a time, computers were expensive too. That damned progress...
"5. The FD series is just around the corner, and Seibon being one of the major sponsor for most drifters wants to get the voice out and increase revenue, what do they do? They ask Mike Kojima to write an article to get the words out. "Hey Mike, since we help Dai Yoshihara, Daigo Saito and other teams, would you be able to write something about us, thanks" BAM!"
If that were the case, do you really think that the site's admins would've left your scathing first post up there? Come on man, remove the tinfoil hat and take a deep breath.
Friday, February 22, 2013 3:01 PM
@Rockwood- Unethical companies sell to unethical people. That is all.
Friday, February 22, 2013 3:50 PM
Let me present some facts.
Seibon is an advertiser for MotoIQ but we did not get any extra incentive to write this story nor do we get extra incentive to write about any other advertiser. Almost all publications have advertisers. We have advertisers because we have bills to pay running this place and frankly none of us would do any of this for free. It is not reasonable to assume that any business would either. This is the truth!
We first did some stuff with Seibon long before they even advertised, in fact probably over a year before they started. We met with their management and they had to show Jeff, Martin and Myself that they were a changed company first.
We wrote this story because Seibon has been making big inroads in quality and stopped copying other companies a few years ago. We noticed and wanted to take a closer look at the details. In this article we did not try to hide Seibons past, in fact we wrote about it.
Some other non biased facts:
-A lot of Japanese companies do make excellent quality stuff. Some Japanese companies make crappy parts as well. However the top names in Japanese bodyparts are some of the best on the market.
-A lot of these same Japanese companies have at least some of their production made in offshore in other (Mainly China, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand and Singapore) Asian factories. There is nothing wrong with this if quality can be maintained and it makes business sense to the parent companies.
-I do not do favors for Daigo Saito, he is one of our teams (Falken's) strongest competitors and I try my hardest to beat him. In fact my contract with Falken forbids me from doing anything of that nature at all.
-Falken Motorsports pays for the the Seibon parts on the Discount Tire S13. Companies have to pay to put their stickers on that car, not just provide product so nearly all the parts on the car are purchased.
-The latest Seibon parts are not crap. That is pretty objective. You can see by examining the article. The stuff they built in the past might have been lower quality and were knockoff copies but not any more. We would not have written about the older Seibon.
-Seibon has a US headquarters, they employ Americans and do their design here. Seibon has invested in the American market and contributes to the American economy.
-Seibon isn't the only company who has this sort of story that we have done stuff on, Eagle, K1 and Skunk2 have similar stories.
-Eric Hsu dislikes parts made by Eagle and K1 (I am being funny but this is a fact).
-The stuff about starting with knockoffs and progressing goes for the industry of any emerging economy, Japan included, heck even the USA at one point in time. The industry and world economy is changing.
JDMized, I am sorry you don't like me, I don't dislike you but to be honest, your type of replies are the type that really irritate me, well not just me but our whole staff but particularly me because you have a personal issue with me. I reply harshly to you because frankly you pull my strings. I try to always write good stories and I am not afraid of controversy. You attack that. Being an engineer, I ground my opinions with tangible objective things, you reply from the heart with strong emotion. That is the exact opposite of how I think.
It is because we are so different that we piss each other off. I do not hate or dislike you but to be honest the kind of emotional arguments you come up with are always guaranteed to set me off. I argue based on logic and emotional statements grate on me. Look at things from my personality. If you define your whole life with logic, you don't play well with people who speak from the heart that don't think like you. For people like me it is nearly impossible to accept that sort of reasoning. I understand and accept that about you. Lets agree to disagree and move on. Don't get me wrong, I want you to reply to stuff because heck controversy builds traffic. Just remember, you can make me mad with the things you say but I don't actually dislike you, Alex the person.
Friday, February 22, 2013 8:09 PM
@ Nick: insults (even passive aggressive ones) in a debate generally mean you have nothing left of value to bring to it.
Friday, February 22, 2013 9:19 PM
This is clearly an illogical vendetta. They are clearly choosing to IGNORE the logical responses and basing this off of personal opinion and bias that is self justified by half truth's and things that happened long ago. I asked before but what does it take for a company to get back in your good graces Alex?
To be honest these comments bother me too, mainly because you are taking personal shots at a persons character that chooses to put himself out there for criticism. Pushing limits and exploring things for themselves to report fact while you sit behind your keyboard and pass judgement. To me that is a gutless dick move. I tend to only write things I would say in person face to face and I would be shocked if you said half of the shit that you just did in person without getting a shot to the chops.
Alex, if Mike is so bias and this shit sucks, why do you come here and read and hang on every word you dislike? Does it make you feel better to rant and belittle the people that have HELPED the market and industry? Seriously you DO realize that you are blaming the industry demise on one of the MAIN people that has always fought to expose the fraud's and raise awareness of rip off artists? Seriously you are pointing the finger in the wrong direction....
Friday, February 22, 2013 9:45 PM
I know that you guys don't care about my opinion, but this really bugs me.
I'm disappointing at Motoiq to be honest.
First of majority of Seibon products are cheap junk.
I know your going to disagree, but if you actually take the time to RESEARCH on customers experience, you will see that majority have had horrible experiences.
That is just one example.
See negative reviews like this on a weekly basis on several different forums.
btw majority of seibon wetcarbon junk weights more than OEM weights.
I know their carbon hoods for the WRX, STI, S2K, RX8, and several others are a couple pounds heavier than stock.
Friday, February 22, 2013 10:08 PM
^ are you basing this on your own personal experience or the experts on the forums? I read that thread and I see someone not happy with fitment of an aftermarket carbon part. Notice the fit and finish was perfect and the manufacturer states that it should be installed by a professional. Honestly I don't trust the poster enough to install it properly using body fitment techniques. He chose to do it himself and could not get it to fit right.
Also notice that the only other people in that thread with real experience had zero issues. One cannot base a buying decision based on one experience alone.
I have owned less expensive and very expensive carbon parts from many manufacturers and in ALL of them I could find something where the fitment was less than OEM and they all took manipulation to fit the way I wanted them too...
The mentality is just plain sickening also... "I spent $450 and there should never be any problems".... Bullshit, as long as things are made by humans there will always be less than perfect outcomes from time to time. Consumers in the US, especially the younger generation, act like spoiled brats. Things are not perfect, learn to deal with shit rather than blaming anyone and everyone else. If the shop refused him over the top service you can bet your ass he would have been bashing them too despite the instruction to "have a professional shop" perform the install. I would bet that wing could have been made to fit perfect if a proper shop did the install and then he would have cried at the expense of that!
Friday, February 22, 2013 10:13 PM
Wow, holy crap did I miss a lot or what?
Alex: please do not use my name anymore, anywhere, in an argument in an attempt to express your side of an argument. I don't use yours so I would expect you to do the same.
Dusty makes a point. Why are all of your comments so harsh, negative, and ranty? It's unnecessary. You know the deal: if you don't like the stories that MotoIQ publishes, you simply don't have to visit the site. If you want to contribute, please contribute constructively. If you have real beef with Mike, send him an email or message. Is there a reason why you feel the need to do it publicly?
Just remember though that if you are so freaking hardcore anti any company that has made a fortune off copying, then you'll need to sell everything Japanese you own because that country has copied everything that there is to copy. Even the school system is copied from the British (or was at one time). Are you going to hate Japanese people now because they were taught like British kids were? That Sony TV in your living room was developed from an RCA that Sony copied in the 1960's because the Japanese government would not allow imported color TVs. What's worse in this case is that the Japanese government colluded to copy American TV technology. So now you have to hate the Japanese government. And if you're going to hate the Japanese people and the government, then you might as well hate the country.
While yes I am exaggerating, I'm trying to illustrate that all of your hate will be never ending because ALL companies have copied some other company's IP, idea, strategy, process, whatever and made some money off of it. Some get caught and some don't.
Sure, I still dislike parts made from the copy cat companies, but it's pointless to bitch and complain about it because it's everywhere. At some point I just learned to switch it off. I'm not going to kill myself stressing out about the companies that copy parts. Who cares? They'll get their's in the end one way or another. If they learn to change and improve their products, then more power to them. Toyota did. As Rockwood pointed out, all the Japanese manufacturers directly copied cars at one point (and still indirectly copy today).
There's a point when you just have to admit that a one time copy cat company makes the better product because they learn to innovate. Now I'm not saying that Seibon has got to that point (I haven't paid any attention to their products to be honest). I'll just illustrate a few situations where the copy cat now has the superior product.
Let'e take Samsung for example. In the 90's they copied GE microwaves, today they they are smoking the crap out of Apple. While it's debatable whether or not a Samsung Note II blows away Apple's iphone 5 (it does BTW), Samsung was the first to release a phone with a big ass screen and a smart stylus. I have the original Note and every time I look at an iphone's tiny ass screen I can't help but laugh at it. No doubt that Samsung got into the smartphone market because of Apple's success however.
Would you take a Toyota Tundra or a Chevy 1500? If you've driven both, hands down you'll want a Tundra. They aren't even close. The Tundra is so superior it's ridiculous. But when Toyota wanted to design a full size truck, you're going to tell me that they didn't buy a Chevy/Dodge 1500 or a Ford F-150 and tear them apart to study them? Naturally some of that reverse engineering made its way into the first generation Tundra.
Nissan GTR or Porsche Turbo? That's not even a comparison because you can't buy a Porsche with GTR money. Because where Porche went out and designed, developed, and raced the crap out of their cars, Nissan simply datalogged the crap out of a Porsche. That's right, Nissan had a 996 twin turbo with a gazillion sensors to datalog everything you can imagine on it. I saw this with my own eyes when Nissan was in Torrance. I suppose in this case Porsche is Voltex and Nissan is Seibon? While Nissan didn't directly copy the 996 turbo, they tried to replicate it's soul. Do you hate Nissan now? For GT-R money, you can only buy a Carrera so that means the GT-R is a better product. The copy cat wins again.
Anyhow, if you don't like companies that copy, then just don't support them. Easy as that. If you have a problem with Mike, let's keep it private from here on out. It's also easy as that. You don't appreciate his stories and he doesn't appreciate your angry, rant like responses. That's cool, just move on with life then. Start a blog called, "100 reasons I hate Mike Kojima's Ideals" or something and rant all you want. Just take it easy when you're on MotoIQ please. We welcome all automotive enthusiasts, but who likes an asshole?
Friday, February 22, 2013 10:29 PM
On cars that have nice aluminum hoods from the factory, they are likely to be close to or lighter than wet layup carbon no matter who makes it. Really shitty carbon weighs more than steel hoods. It's one of the reasons why I have stock hoods on my street cars, their stock hoods are aluminum.
As far as Seibon's new stuff being shitty, if you know much about composites and workmanship, all you have to do is examine it closely. I encourage anyone to do so and benchmark compared to expensive stuff and the cheap stuff.
Saturday, February 23, 2013 5:38 AM
Mike, in MANY previous posts, often times you seem to dislike the Japanese stuff. I might be wrong, but you come off that way.
I do not uphold Japanese stuff, but in many instances they pay attention to quality vs. quantity. Yes, there are some Japanese companies that don't make great products (mediocre at best), but for the most part, those people go above and beyond to satisfy their standard.
As far as Skunk2, yes back in the day their stuff was made in US, then they started manufacturing in Taiwan. That was THEIR decision (probably to safe money).
However, to these days Skunk2 still serves the community with cutting-edge technology. I don't know many companies that still care about D-series and B-series.
Eagle rods, they are garbage, period! I can get a set of Eagle rods for $40, no joke!
Eric, sorry i brought up your name. I'm not sure you read the whole thing. I was aware SSE used Kaminari bodykit and Seibon, but wasn't 100%. Either way, it was the team's choice (not my cup of tea) but you guys showed what's what.
Honestly I got nothing against you (or Mike for that matter), but I really don't like when people are trying to sugar coat things when clearly Seibon hasn't been a very ethical company over the years.
I don't know you guys, but if someone/company screw me over once, that's it for me! I don't care if that dude/company changes in a positive way over the year.
Seibon in that sense will never see a penny from me; whether their carbon in 5 years will be as good as Dome Racing.
Let me put it this way Mike, you wouldn't like if I come down at your place, steal your idea, sell it, and make a profit from it, would you?
Saturday, February 23, 2013 11:56 AM
"As far as Seibon's new stuff being shitty, if you know much about composites and workmanship, all you have to do is examine it closely. I encourage anyone to do so and benchmark compared to expensive stuff and the cheap stuff."
Mike, I agree with your statement.
But your only talking about their high end dry carbon stuff.
Your not paying attention to their crappy wet carbon stuff.
Lets be realistic, if you have a 100 customers looking for a carbon hood. Only about 1 or 2 are gonna fork out the $$$$ to buy the dry carbon one. The remaining 98% are going to buy the wetcarbon stuff.
Whats the point 2% of their products are amazing, while the rest suck?
I had two seibon hoods, one fit perfectly, the other fit like shit, and neither of them looked impressive.
Granted you get what you pay for. I can think of several other brands in the same price range that use the same wet-carbon, but they make a better product, while being lighter at the same time.
Saturday, February 23, 2013 12:30 PM
The whole first part of the article discusses wet carbon, so it is not just the dry carbon parts that have improved.
The wet carbon hood and decklid on our FR-S are some of the best carbon parts I have ever seen regardless of price. I have looked at 2 other Seibon equipped FR-Ses as well. Their Camaro and GT-R stuff is really good as well. Those are the parts I looked closely at during my visit that I have also seen independently on privately owned cars. I mean we have to verify what we write about.
Like I said before their stuff for the Evo about 7 years ago wasn't so great fitting, it was not super crappy, just the gaps were 1-2mm uneven and it had a slight warp to the side. I would only use that level of fitting part for a race car or an older somewhat beat street car. I would not put it on my own car for instance.
If you own an older car that Seibon made the tooling for several years ago, it is probably not going to fit as good as their new stuff. I don't think Seibon is going to retroactively retool their product line although this is just my opinion.
For instance I had a $3000 Varis hood on my Evo VIII a few years back and it fit really well for a carbon hood at the time. It was not perfect though, the gaps were even but really wide, about 2-3mm wider than stock. It had no warps and that surface was nice. It was not perfect and I was a little disappointed at the time.
Seibon is way better than Carbon Creations, C-Wings, VIS and others of around the same price point.
What brands do you like at the same price point?
Saturday, February 23, 2013 12:45 PM
I don't dislike JDM parts, I just don't think their parts and car builds are always the best like a lot of people feel. A lot of stuff is very good but you understand that there is a large segment of enthusiasts that worship anything Japanese and they think its superior just because it is Japanese which I think is dumb.
My ideas have been ripped off a lot, in fact every good idea I have have come up with and produced has been ripped off or at least copied by others in less aggressive language, including stuff I have patents for in other industries. It is just part of business that has to be accepted.
Like Eric and others have said, if you are going to hate one company for doing a knock off of a Japanese part, you might as well hate most Japanese products because their roots can be traced back to knock offs.
The type of copying that I am strongly against are the ones that are counterfeits. Like fake Greddy, Cusco and HKS parts in fake Greddy, Cusco and HKS boxes. Fake parts being represented as real ones. This is what we fight against and expose.
As far as Eagle rods go, I run Eagle rods in two of my race cars and they see 8500 rpm regularly and are the cars typically sees 2.5 hours of track time on a typical race weekend. Both cars are very competitive and both win.
They have been run for 3 seasons. Measuring them before assembly and during inspection when the engine was apart for maintenance, they were dimensionally very good.
They have ARP bolts, the metallurgy is US sourced 4340 steel and the machining is cleaner looking than the last two sets of Carrillos I have bought. I would not hesitate to use them in certain race engines.
This is real world racing with results. The dimensional checks were carefully done before and after use. This is not some off the cuff opinion. This is all very objective. An off the cuff statement of Eagle rods are garbage, I can get them for $40 is not true to me based on my direct experience with them. This is an example of the type of remarks you make that piss me off. Notice others like Nick in this thread have opposing viewpoints but they give example of there experiences that give their opinions credence.
For instance, have you ever built, tuned or competed with a racing engine? Have you ever used Eagle rods? Have you ever looked at one and measured one closely? Do you know much about the design of rods? Or did someone you respect just tell you that one day? If you can qualify your extreme remarks better, I would actually respect your opinion even if it was different.
For instance Eric Hsu has done extensive benchmarking on the lower priced rods including destructive testing and he told me specifically why rods like Carrillo are better based on data. I value this information very much and thus use Carrillos on really highly stressed applications.
Are Eagles better than Carrillo. No. Are they way better than stock rods? Yes according to data based information Eric shared with me.
For high buck unlimited power engine builds I run Carrillo but it's more for peace of mind because I want the best parts for those sorts of engine.
Eagle rods retail for around $350 a set. If you can get them for $40 hook me up!
Saturday, February 23, 2013 2:27 PM
For the record: I will NEVER use Eagle rods, but in some instances, they are better than stock rods. They might need some touch up machining here and there to make them right, but you get what you pay for. Mike and I are allowed to have different beliefs of course.
Alex, when you say, "Let me put it this way Mike, you wouldn't like if I come down at your place, steal your idea, sell it, and make a profit from it, would you?" I think quite a few of us here are trying to tell you that some of the largest companies in Japan started out as copy cats themselves. So if you're going to be angry and not support the copy cats, then you'd have to sell everything in your house that's made in Japan, China, Eastern Europe, or any other place in the world for that matter. You would probably need to go and buy a private island and live like you're in the Blue Lagoon.
Counterfeiters are another story. I think Seibon at one point did qualify as a counterfeiter. While they didn't sell the parts under the Japanese brand names, they did use names like "Style CW" and stuff like that. I think that's where Alex is coming from. And so Alex, I completely agree with you on this point. I do not buy Seibon parts myself, but I have not been in the market for carbon parts recently either. If Mike tells me Seibon is worth taking a look at now, I might do that. I'd probably be critical as shit knowing the company's past though. After all, I'd buy a Samsung phone or a Toyota car also. And Samsung and Toyota were at one time Seibons.
Sunday, February 24, 2013 9:27 AM
Question: Do Seibon still make/sell their Japanese knockoff parts?
Sunday, February 24, 2013 10:49 PM
Mike while Nick used very polite and respective language. I am "raw" and don't sugar coat things. If I think a product is garbage, I say so. It's because I either HAD it (read, used it in the past). I wasn't happy with it, or it broke, or have seen friend's same exact product break during racing. Most of the stuff we used/use were used during race condition (hardly ever during street driving), although some products I had broke during street driving.
On my flickr account, I have SEVERAL pictures of engines built. Some parts I've used were/are great, others no so much. And others just garbage like I said. The garbage stuff usually broke, or I wasn't satisfied with it.
A couple of years ago I bought a set of Titanium rods from Cunningham. I had a lengthy conversation over the phone with one of the machinist. He said, "Alex, I can get you a set of brand new Eagle rods for $40, no joke". He was no joking. I didn't take him seriously buy he REALLY meant it.
After seen Eagle rods failing (two separate instances). I don't pay attention to companies like that.
Trust me, when he mentioned he would get me a set for $40, I was aware that ARP bolts alone are more than that.....I asked myself, "where is the profit?"
Anyway, there are plenty of carnage pics on my Flickr account to justify my decisions.
Sunday, February 24, 2013 11:02 PM
Eric, I AM well aware that Japanese people DID indeed copy from European companies, as well as from other countries. I am NOT cool with that. As a matter of fact, I am not cool with ANYBODY copying shit from other folks.
However, these days the laws are a bit "tighter" (for lack of words). If a big company steal an idea or project or anything of that nature, you see companies suing each other for BIG money.
A recent example? Apple vs. Samsung (since you brought it up).
You are a Samsung guy, I am an Apple guy. Am I here defending Apple? Absolutely not. If Apple got sued from Samsung and they later won, more power to Samsung. Apple deserved it! And they payed their dues.
That's how business SHOULD run. "Pay your dues and suck it up."
The problem here with Seibon is (and other not-legit companies): now that they became somewhat big in the industry, isn't it time they pay back "royalties" to those companies that have been ripped off? The truth is, they never will.
Sunday, February 24, 2013 11:03 PM
Monday, February 25, 2013 7:00 AM
I have a problem with them if they are still bulding and selling knockoff parts. You can't say they have shed their past if they are still doing the same thing just because now the quality is better and they do other parts as well thant are not knockoffs.
Monday, February 25, 2013 11:09 AM
Yes they are still selling the knock-off stuff.
Mike, one important thing to note about Seibon is that not all their parts are created equal. You mention them "turning over a new leaf" and "improving quality," but there are still huge inconsistencies in what they make. The r35 GT-R parts are considerably better than a lot of the other parts they make. (I've seen some newer Seibon stuff that still weighs more than OEM and uses shitty resins that cloud in a month.) I believe that Seibon's r35 parts are from a completely different factory than anything else they produce. There are actually a few r35 specialized composites places in Asia, outside of Japan, right now that are producing parts for quite a few different companies, including a couple JDM ones. The molding and quality that these factories provide seem to match up well to Seibon (and I know for fact that these factories are not owned by Seibon.)
My point is I think wholeheartedly endorsing all their newer parts is a little premature.
Monday, February 25, 2013 1:06 PM
Wow. By subscribing to this thread, I'd hoped to catch a discussion on the topic of composites. Now I desperately want to know how to get off. Anyone know how to stop receiving notifications via email once you've started?
Also, some of you guys have a pretty slim understanding of the notion of intellectual property. One cannot copyright a body part. One also can't really trademark a body part without some creative manipulation of the law. The Apple/Samsung dispute was over patents, not copyright. If someone created a novel aerodynamic invention that was a body part, it could ostensibly be patented, which could legally preclude others from copying it. Otherwise, most things in this industry are fair game.
Monday, February 25, 2013 3:21 PM
My first set of Cunningham rods I used had grossly incorrect tolerances and I had to send them back and they had to be remade.
Monday, February 25, 2013 6:05 PM
Actually all of this banter could have ended on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 @9:02 if JDMized kept to his word "I have nothing else to say" but I guess he's not one to let go, as we can clearly see this discussion proceeded, but not suprising since you went off on Seibon in the January comments of "Don't buy fake shit".
I'd just like to add, from personal experience, I've owned Top Secret, C-west, Voltex, ARC, Sequential (which the mold ended up with Sunline Racing after their demise), and Varis Carbon fiber pieces. [I've also owned Fiberimages, Rexpeed, and some ebay specials.] However, for this "superior quality" in JDM stuff, I just haven't really seen it. Don't get me wrong. They fit 95% on the first try..It's just that I've been both impressed and disappointed with some of the JDM sourced body/carbon pieces. The same comment is true for the "replica" stuff as well. My Voltex wing started to yellow, my Top Secret diffuser is hazing. The Sequential kit and Cwest body pieces (although mostly FRP) needed some prep work to fit correctly. The Cwest long nose is flutters at speed(surely it was aero tested in Super Taiyku? i got the same one!) The Fiberimages stuff was great, just a pity Albert left, and his dad got sick back in the early 2000s, but their work products were excellent (hoods), and fitment was great.
Saturday, March 02, 2013 6:21 PM
Hi Mike and Eric,
What are the issues with Eagle rods?
I respect yours, and Dave's opinions/beliefs/research/experience, etc, and I'd like to educate myself on what makes them an inferior rod.
Is it the:
If you'd like to clean up this discussion, you can email me directly as well.
Saturday, March 02, 2013 8:59 PM
My experience with Eagle rods. A friend had some in the engine of his GMC Typhoon. On the dyno at R&D dyno(many years ago), putting a little over 650 horsepower to the wheels, had one split mid beam. Made a rather large mess.
Saturday, March 02, 2013 10:52 PM
The main premise of this article seems to be that Seibon has "cleaned up their act" and is a different company than they were some years ago. The statement is made, "the evolved Seibon no longer makes copies." That is a pretty objective statement, but I find no evidence to support it.
On the first page of results, Seibon's website shows they sell hoods copied from Top Secret, C-West, Mugen, and J's Racing. It looks like they have copied some R35 GT-R parts fairly recently.
Copying C-West parts strikes me as a particularly damaging move. C-West has gone to great lengths to price their stuff competitively in the US and the argument that "Seibon's customers aren't the same market as genuine parts" is simply not the case.
Regardless of your feelings about Seibon's ethics, to my eyes, this article tries to support an agenda with a statement that is false.
Tuesday, March 05, 2013 2:46 PM
while their carbon construction quality may have improved and may fit better than original parts that seibon copied, they're still a knock off manufacturer... they copy other peoples designs, some of which may have been just someone sitting down and designing something that looks cool, but others are developed in wind tunnels and has lots of money invested in it (not that designing something purely aesthetic is a walk in the park... seibon can't seem to do it)
Eric Hsu quote:
"I think Seibon at one point did qualify as a counterfeiter. While they didn't sell the parts under the Japanese brand names, they did use names like "Style CW" and stuff like that."
go check out their website, still full of CW style and MG style and TS style and... well you get the point...
anybody else get a chuckle out of the "Seibon was reluctant to show us because they told us that the refinements were low tech, but highly effective and it would be easy for their competitors to copy them if we showed them." comment on page 1?
Tuesday, March 05, 2013 4:08 PM
We went there, I saw for myself, We see and installed the stuff on our FR-S. I know a bit about composite construction. There is no doubt in my mind that Seibon's quality on their new products is top notch for a consumer level product. I would not report so if it was not. I explained why and we tried to show pictures of the details. Like I said earlier,I also have first hand experience on how their previous quality was not the greatest as well.
There is no agenda, I just reported on what we saw and have experienced. You can choose not to believe me or not which is fine, although the photographic evidence supports the text.
There is a lot of technique related craftsmanship in a largely hand made product like a composite parts. It is nothing to chuckle about.
You can choose to buy Seibon or not.
Tuesday, March 05, 2013 5:11 PM
If you have no agenda, there is no need to outrightly lie.
Tuesday, March 05, 2013 10:31 PM
Take off the tinfoil hats fellas. Surely you have better things to do, like maybe opening a private investigation service?
Wednesday, March 06, 2013 9:27 AM
@ Warmmilk: Looking at some of their hoods, I see what you are saying with "TS Style" etc. However, when directly comparing the Seibon S2000 "TS Style" hood and Top Secret's, I'm seeing differences in the design. Sure, the main vents are modeled in much the same way (though they're located in different spots), but I also don't see the corner vent the TS hood does. Obviously, the primary shape of the hood is going to be the same, since they're both supposed to be on the same car.
What I don't see is evidence of what many here are directly saying or implying: Seibon bought a (insert JDM company here) hood, molded it, then made their own. I see hoods that are designed after a certain style.
And that's really what this boils down to: style. Sure, there is some functional reason for the vents, etc, but let's be honest, the main reason people get CF hoods is because of style points, not because it'll make their car that much faster. If it weren't a style thing, people would paint their CF hoods to match their car, not leave them raw where the gelcoat, etc, can get damaged in the sun. Fashion items, with exception of trademarks, are hard things to enforce for good reason. Trademarking a look would be silly and ridiculous.
Since I don't see Seibon selling "genuine Top Secret hoods" on their website, or any other illegal activity on their site, I really don't see what all the uproar and hubbub is about. If you shove a "TS Style" hood into a Top Secret mold and it fit (see OBX header and Hotshot back in the day), I'd see reason to complain.
Is there some actual copyright or patented construction method, or other item, that Seibon is stealing, or is everyone mad because they look similar?
Should Lee get sued by Levi for making blue jeans? Should (insert store brand here) be sued by Polo because they're making polo-style shirts? Should Ford or Chrysler be sued by Jaguar or Bentley because they made the Fusion and 300 look like a Jag or Bentley? I rented a Kubota skid steer, and my neighbor asked where I rented the Bobcat. Should Kubota get sued by Bobcat since the two tractors look nearly identical?
A perfect example of this:
Note that FFR was barred from using trademarked names, but FFR could still make a car that looked pretty damned close to the Shelby Cobra. If we started our own project FFR, would you guys accuse the author of outright lying for an agenda and shit all over his article?
If it's important to you to buy expensive jeans (or CF hoods), by all means, go for it. Just don't look down your nose at those of us rocking the latest styles from Target. It's rude.
Friday, March 08, 2013 3:32 PM
If you think the observation based text and objective stuff we illustrated with pictures is fake then you could call us liars.
Friday, March 22, 2013 2:59 PM
speaking of industry insider....what is this all about?
Thursday, April 18, 2013 7:35 PM
It's amazing, I try to help someone out once and get blamed for a bunch of that persons business issues. It's what physiologists call projection. I think my reputation in this industry is excellent and speaks for itself and I don't need to defend myself.
Thursday, April 18, 2013 9:19 PM
Don't even sweat it Mike. If it wasn't for your efforts most aftermarket companies wouldn't ever have touched the Sentra market. You'll never hear about how you helped out in those areas and how others have profited from that.
Seriously those emails are 10 years old. Time to get some new material, grow up and find other ways to make money. That's what smart people do.
Thursday, April 18, 2013 11:14 PM
LOL look at the history of that company and it's owner. Hell even when I bought parts from him for our own Project 200SX I had some issues. His history is questionable at best and anyone that clings to an article like that from a person like that and calls you in to question is NOT someone that is even worth talking too.
Thursday, April 18, 2013 11:22 PM
I talked a couple of people out of suing him over the years for shoddy work, etc.
Friday, April 19, 2013 9:58 AM
I have never posted this before Mike but I will now.
For project 200SX I approached them to make a fuel rail for the GA16DE. We needed one for our MSD injector conversion and they agreed to make one. After talking to them about the project I had a one on one conversation with them that is was for a B14 and that the cylinder spacing on these cars was different than the B13. I offered to send them an intake manifold for the production of the part so they had spacing perfect and I told them how I wanted the part designed and helped them with layout so that a production version would fit all cars more easily and create less headaches!
First rail comes and the spacing is wrong and it is not what we discussed. I approach them and tell them exactly what they did wrong and how we can fix it in a super cool and calm manner. He tells me he does not believe me, those are his exact words to me, send me pictures I do not believe you? WTF is that shit. I send him pics., video, etc. to show that they did exactly what I told them not to do (design it for the B13) and he then takes my word.
They DID fix it and deliver a working product for which I was happy, but how he talked to me was rather childish and on par with what many other people have observed.
I post this not to stir the pot but there are two sides to every story, so if anyone reads the link above and thinks that Mike is less than trustworthy or out to screw people they really need to consider the source.
Saturday, May 04, 2013 2:19 PM
First off, Dry carbon fiber is ONLY made in an autoclave with pre-preg carbon fiber. because of that the molds also have to be very good, stiff and strong, eg, Carbon fiber molds or Metal.
seibon uses vacuum injection, which is a wet carbon process. regardless if it uses pre-preg.
seibons molds are NOT good quality carbon fiber or metal.
customers are still getting crappy fitting parts with defects, bad fit and not strong, having cracks if part doesnt fit right and tightened by hand (there are documented cases of this).
if its not dry carbon, dont call it dry carbon and dont mark up the price to dry carbon prices if your not making it using dry carbon process, EG an autoclave and high quality molds.
The gtr doors above, told by real customers DO NOT FIT GOOD AT ALL. please be real about this rather than market and advertise for them. i understand your more bias because of that. i understand why. but truth needs to be told.
Saturday, May 04, 2013 2:38 PM
Point is no autoclave, means its not real dry carbon fiber. the folks in china and other carbon advertisers, LOVE to claim dry carbon fiber... when it clearly is not.
Saturday, May 04, 2013 3:37 PM
That's great, but does it really matter? No one except the aftermarket parts industry uses the term "dry carbon" anyway, so why argue about the semantics of it? To most of the composites world, "dry carbon" is carbon that doesn't have enough resin content, basically a void and manufacturing flaw.
Saturday, May 04, 2013 4:15 PM
If any MotoIQ dudes are still watching this shitstorm transpire, I'd love to know how to unsubscribe from a thread.
Mindlessoath, you are a twit. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, there are very many prepreg products suitable for curing in a bag outside of an autoclave. A simple google search will yield a world of results.
In any case, these people are making fashion products. Who really cares? VA-RTM parts are going to have nearly optimal resin content plus or minus a few percent. Any "dry carbon" part done with VA-RTM will be nearly as light as an autoclaved pre-preg part.
Saturday, May 04, 2013 4:18 PM
I think someone has decided to selectively read and comprehend the story. As for bias, we just reported what we saw and if it is not in alignment with what you want to believe, then it is easy to accuse us of bias.
Saturday, May 04, 2013 6:32 PM
cause its FALSE ADVERTISING, Fabrik8.
halbritt, your a twitt. I never said there was anything wrong with wet carbon or vacuum injection. in fact some products choose to go with one vs the other for the properties of that process, like mainsail shafts for example. they rather have wet carbon due to the added flex.
what matters is they dont falsely advertise.
i still dont see them making there own designs. they pick and choose elements from each other manufacture and stick it on there oem hood. innovation right there.
Mike, I think your a bit bias... thats just my opinion. customers will prove what they get, and so far ive heard some happy and some very unhappy.
what i want to believe doesnt matter. im not saying your wrong, im not saying anything is wrong with wet carbon. just the fact of the matter is, if its not dry carbon dont falsely advertise and ramp up the price to make it seem like its the most affordable of the dry carbon alternatives, lol.
i read the article mike, and i am not commenting on everything about it, just some minor points. i think i comprehend the story very well... just because im not "commenting" about everything else doesnt mean i didnt.
im glad seibon has got (correction, is getting) better. but the fact is what ive said was left out, and as an advertiser it wasnt mentioned about there molds, about no autoclave etc.
maybe you could goto challenge japan http://www.vollstrom.co.jp/ and do a story on that place to get a more of the industry/topic. it would be great.
again, im not saying things have to by dry carbon fiber, its expensive, im not saying its the best out there, there are defects and fitment issues with them in some cases. the argument is not about dry carbon is better or worse. its that the process is not dry carbon and its being advertised as it is.... when it is clearly not.
so on top of shady design steeling, there is false advertising.
here is only one example of many but this would be the most recent on the gtr. http://www.gtrlife.com/forums/topic/84671-seibon-dry-carbon/
looks like seibon is now taking care of the issue. and thats good.
ive seen dry carbon get beat with baseball bats, ive seen it whacked on a table without cracking. there is differences... if its not dry carbon, dont advertise it as dry carbon.
Saturday, May 04, 2013 6:36 PM
that link at gtrlife has been edited, pictures were removed of the part not fitting and cracked.
Saturday, May 04, 2013 11:23 PM
I get super irritated when I see the parts, install the parts, report on the parts, go to the company, observe and report and I get told it isn't so and I am biased.
What is dry carbon? What I saw is a layup of prepreg with vacuum compaction. This is what Seibon has as dry carbon parts, it is not autoclaved, not all Seibon parts are made like this. Some other parts are vacuum infusion, some are wet layup. It clearly says this in detail, I think it's on page 2 of the story.
As proof that you didn't read the article and have a selective understanding of it, it says very clearly and in detail on page three that an autoclave isn't used.
You don't have your facts straight, not me. Is it possible that you work for a competitor or have a biased interest?
Saturday, May 04, 2013 11:30 PM
Mike: they want you to report that Seibon should call it pre-pregnated, vacuum compaction carbon fiber with no or little additional resin added. Kind of rolls of your tongue, doesn't it? I can see it now in the catalogs. Maybe we'll acronym it: PPVCCFWNOLARA.
Saturday, May 04, 2013 11:37 PM
what i mean is that prepreg vacuum compaction is not dry carbon. cause its not made in an autoclave - heat and pressure. there is a clear difference in the end result, especially because of the differences in molds used.
so clearly it was not specific in the article about it, cause it should have been clear its not dry carbon fiber.
yes, it says an autoclave was not used. but keeps going on about saying its dry carbon fiber, of which it was contradicted.
mike you can get as irritated as you like about my opinion, never said you are very bias, just a bit. i can have that opinion from my perspective. especially after ive seen many customer reviews.
im not a competitor, i dont work in carbon fiber.
Sunday, May 05, 2013 12:26 AM
Carbon fiber parts made in an autoclave are not called dry carbon either. Vacuum compacted parts made of pre-preg are probably the top quality you will get in the mass production performance aftermarket. You can jump, drive on and beat it to with no harm if the part is designed correctly. There are not many large autoclaved carbon parts in the performance aftermarket, high end motorsports yes but consumer parts no, not even from the Japanese. There are a few and guess what, no one buys them because no one can afford them. There is not a wide range of fitments or styles either.
Dry carbon is a cosmetic term on how a part looks which is also used interchangeably as a marketing term used for parts made of pre-preg without a gell coat. It is not my fault you don't understand this. It is a jump in logic on your part to call me biased or false because of this.
Like I said you are believing what you are choosing to believe and are selectively comprehending the story.
Sunday, May 05, 2013 12:49 AM
carbon can be made to look dry or matte, thats not what wet carbon or dry carbon means. another misconception made out for marketing guys or those who just dont know or buy and sell from china.
Sunday, May 05, 2013 1:28 AM
but thats what it says on the seibon website so it must be right.
Sunday, May 05, 2013 2:31 AM
here is one example (guy doesnt explain it that great, but its decent).
here is dry carbon mirror cover, look its glossy, but made in an autoclave
ferrari and all the major race teams call it dry carbon fiber and it must be using pre-preg and autoclave.
other process's have different pro's and con's. i could list 100 videos on here... i dunno if that could change your mind. i see what your saying tho.
since there is no 100% definition of the layups and process's defined in the dictionary, companies are able to pick and choose what they want to say and use for marketing purposes. i guess that can be confusing. i guess when it comes down to it, the company has to provide its process to some degree, of course without giving away trade secrets.
Sunday, May 05, 2013 3:46 AM
Nobody outside of the automotive fashion industry uses the vernacular "dry carbon".
In the automotive fashion industry, the term, according to the first dozen or so google hits, refers to prepreg. One presumes the term "dry carbon" arose because no liquid resin is actually added to the fiber which gives a "dry" look and more importantly an optimal resin/fiber ratio.
There are some prepreg carbon fiber products that require curing in an autoclave and there are very many that can be cured in a bag (under a vacuum). The only rationale you've given so far as to why a prepreg part cured under a vacuum should be considered less "dry" than a prepreg part cured in an autoclave is because some dude on the Internet said so. Can you supply better logic than that?
Better yet, go read this:
Come back and tell me how the end result of OOA prepreg is different than an autoclaved prepreg.
Sunday, May 05, 2013 10:07 AM
Mindless: is there some sort of SAE article or similar that defines dry carbon? Peer reviewed paper? Something other than a YouTube video?
If not, then who cares?
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