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Perry McNeil/McNeil Racing

sirhk100

Well-Known Member
Hey guys what's your experience and opinions on Perry's fabrication. I know this industry seems to talk crap from one fabricator to another. I'm not a fabricator, just a consumer looking for a deal. I've got a 4WD Exploder and am looking for a widened front TTB system using dual rat coilovers and air bumps. I know Perry and McNeil Racing are two seperate shops but they are family and use the same jigs and stuff. I've heard Perry's prices can't be beat and the reason is cause his shop is down in TJ. Is this true about the pricing? I'm kinda thinking about his stuff cause I know he has experience with doing the 4WD Exploders. For the rear I'm don't think I'll go three link, I'll probably stick with a set of custom leafs and a reservoir in the rear. Anyways, some opinions or experiences with Perry's work would be great. This vehicle isn't my daily driver, it's used on the weekends around town and to cruise around Glamis and Ocotillo. I'm not the type that goes out and tries to out jump everyone, I just want something that I can bomb around in at night since I don't have lights on my YZ and still have it drive home straight.

Thanks for any info!!!!!
Khris
 

Waldo

Safehouse
There are a ton of shops in souther cal that can talk with you about your needs...I know perry does some specialized things for Exploders like fiberglass and update glass kits. Make sure to shop around to get the best $ for what you are looking for! With what you want to do, there is not going to be any "cheapy" route. Camburg, Donahoe, Perry's Fab, Stewart's, autofab, and many more can give you ideas, prices and direct you in the right way.

BRAAAAAAAAP!

~Waldo~
 

singlehanded

Well-Known Member
Check out the camburg explorer, not sure what year yours is but I believe the camburg one is a 94. It is looking pretty sick but there gotta be a hefty tag on the complete front end. Im sure SI could do a pretty sick job also. I would 3-4 link the back if its not a daily driver, why not? good luck on your project.

local
 

sirhk100

Well-Known Member
I've seen the Camburg Exploder and it is SICK!! They also told me about $6000. I've looked at the Autofab set up. I've seen their TTB, radius arms, and coil buckets and they are all very high quality. I havn't seen a Autofab coilover setup like I want but their stuff is definately expensive and I think if I were to save up that much I would just wait the extra month or two and go with the Camburg. I'm going to get by H&M one of these days to see what they have to offer. Rod Fantelli does fab. work out of his back yard up in Ramona and his stuff looks decent. I kinda like that his is a bolt on kit and I get the feeling that he stands behind his work but his front end isn't widened I think it's a little over priced for what it is. I'm still a couple months away, actually if I can be patient enough I should wait till after the 1st of the year for financial reasons but I'm sure you know how waiting for something like a coilover front end is, you want it ASAP!! I'll check into Donahoe and Stewart's Raceworks. I also know of Weldtech Designs and I'm going to see what Baja Concepts does. I know they sell the parts I need but I'm curious if they can do the install too. I'd be willing to do it but I don't know how hard it is to swap the 3rd member on the TTB and I still have to fab upper mounts for the coilover which is difficult without a bender and I wouldn't trust my selding for anything crazier then my golf cart!! I'm going to go to Perry's house tonight to look at their Explorer and see what their stuff looks like.
 

MS6

Member
I owned one of the first prerunners that Perry built and it withstood many, many pre-run miles with very few problems. The quality of his work has improved greatly since. There are quite a few of his trucks in SD and Mexico and I've never heard a bad thing about them. It is true that his shop is in TJ, thus the lower prices, but it would not stop me from having Perry build my next prerun truck. My two cents.
 

Mike_HKmtrsprts

Well-Known Member
I have only seen the work that they did on a ranger my freind bought about 2 years ago they widened the beams at the narrow part of the beams right next to the bushings,the radius arms were stock lenght but cut in the center and they just added a piece of 11/2 tubing to extend them, the cage was hack work, the 3link was a little better and they put a 2000 front end on it and it looked like they rushed to put it on, i dont know how far there quality has come since then but this truck had pretty poor fab work done,they might do better work now i dont know just my 2 cents on the subject....Mike

You must be Fast cuz I was HAULIN ASS when I passed you...
 

shroom27

Well-Known Member
You should also check out the Baja Shop. (714) 279-0778 I've seen a red Explorer over there a couple times that had a wider front end, custom radius arms & coilovers. AJ does kick-ass work for a reasonable price. Baja Shop is about 2-3 miles from McKenzies & Donahoe's shop, off the 57 freeway, Lincoln exit. laters.
 

singlehanded

Well-Known Member
You mentioned bolt on stuff, if I were you I would steer clear of it all the stress is put on the bolts. How many race trucks do you see with a bolt on cage or bumpers few to zero. Also remember the wider you go up front the more you will lean making turns a bitch. Baja shop did my ranger a few months ago and it turned out sick, cant wait to finish the rear.

local
 

jarreptolson

Well-Known Member
i am not going to pretend to be a fabricator or anything special, but from my knowledge, if you widen the front end wouldnt that make it lean less? Also I have heard good things and bad things about perry, a lot of people swear by his stuff. The only thing i dont like about the 4x front end and the reason i didnt go with him was that the axels(inside the TTB) are cut then extended. I could see this breaking, a friend of mine had the front end done by perry and told him not to extend his axels and just went to currie and had some custom ones made, its just less chance of breakage, i think they were $800 or $900? I was lucky enough to find an Autofab stage II kit(w/ 4 fox remote res. shocks) for 1300, it was a steal when compared to the retail cost of 3000, which doesnt even include shocks. I have seen a few kits advertised in the past couple of months, just be patient and you could find one.
 

sirhk100

Well-Known Member
I see your point on the bolt on stuff and honestly after looking at Perry's stuff last night I was impressed. I've gone to a couple IP club meetings just to look around and get ideas. It wasn't nearly as crazy as Camburgs Explorer, theirs is like art that's actually functional. It looked fine to me. I've thought about what you were saying about the axle extended with tubing and I think I can deal with that. I'm not going to be rock crawling with it or landing full throttle off jumps. If I did have a problem with the axle then off to Currie I go. I'm glad to know that someone can make a custom axle for it. I rode in the Yellow Explorer last night and on the street it seemed to handle fine. Actually, it was WAY better then mine right now but then again a yugo would probably out corner my Exploder. I actually don't think I'm going to do the coil over kit. I've talked around to a couple of people and don't think that the performance off road advantage and on road handling disadvantage is worth the extra $1000+. I could use that money for fenders and I'm definately not done shopping around cause I'm still probably 3 months from doing it but right now he's at the top of the list. Thanks for giving me other places to check out and I'll definately look into those before forking out the money. By the way my Exploder right now has the most Disco ass kit on it and it's sitting on 33"s. It's going in next Thursday for Gears front and rear and then I'll start saving for the front suspension. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!
 

rdc

- users no longer part of the rdc family -
Not to get off topic but singlehanded the wider the truck the less you lean. i beam suspensions with coil overs tend to lean alot but it all depends on how the limiting straps are set up and then you were wrong again witht he bolt on most trucks i.e. prerunners race trucks ect.. use bolt on bumpers. why would you want a bumber welded to the frame so if you bend or crack it you have to cut your frame.
Just my two cents


DRIVE IT LIKE YOU STOLE IT!
 

TDORSloppy

Well-Known Member
I've met Perry and seen his work all over San Diego. Perry runs his Fab-n-Fiber out of his house in Lemon Grove with his sons Chad and Justin. They are all really cool but theres something about getting off-road products and dropping $4000 at someones house that made me feel weird. I know my friend Ryan Dunn got his Ranger done by Perry and had the Pivot Bracket bend and the frame as well. He beat the living hell out of his truck and took it back to Perry and he had it back by the next week. Perry is really good with fixing any problems you have but you still don't want any problems especially when spending a ton of money. Overall, you can trust Perry to an extent but if you want to be extra safe go with Autofab, Camburg, or Donahoe. And you going to pay for it too.
 

John Bitting

Administrator
I saw Jason from Camburgs explorer this weekend. It was absolutely beautiful. That is some super clean work. If they will do that for you for $6k I would hop on it fast. Too bad it is not a bronco it is on. I would have to pick it up for mine..
 

sirhk100

Well-Known Member
TDORsloppy

How did Perry handle fixing that stuff on your friends truck? Did he fix it free plus any parts or did he charge him labor and everything. I saw another Exploere running around PB this weekend with Perry's kit on it and it made me want it even more. This one had coil overs up front and Perry's 3 link in the rear. I hate seeing trucks built exactly like what I want cause it makes me even more anxious for something I know that's still a few months away!!
 

rdc

- users no longer part of the rdc family -
I'm also trying to build my Explorer. I'm not sure who I'm going with but Mcniel's front widened beam looks to be the best for the price. As far as the back you have to give up the rear seat and run a smaller style race seat if you want his three link kit. So i think i'll stick to a prerunner style leaf pack, and the Auto-Fab 2 link kit. I will be using it for a prerunner, but still want to haul more friends (plus I like the leather seats i have) around than actual pre-run.
I saw the white Explorer that runs around with them last new years at Gordon's well when Chad rolled his class 7 truck down patton's. From what I saw the Explorer held up nice through the dunes and it looked like nice fab work.

"Brakes just slow you down"
 

sirhk100

Well-Known Member
Are you thinking the bucket front end or coilovers? Thursday I left Perry's house sold on the buckets and then Sat I saw a coil over Ex. down in PB that he built that was sick. I think the buckets will do what I want though and it's cheaper. Put it a nice SAW or King and the front end should soak up a lot. I'm running the leather too and don't want to give it up either. Perry was telling me that another good option for the rear was to run a spring over which I'm already doing with a set of leafs that have the eye let rolled upside down. I don't know how to explain it but could draw it real easy. This allows more arch. He said that he could run those leafs and then build a hoop that actually fit a reservoir shock up in the wheel well. This seems like the best setup to keep the interior as nice as possible but then again I drool everytime I see a Ex. with a 3 link go by. What's Autofab's 2 link setup? Is there picks of it anywhere or do I need to just go down and check it out?
 

rdc

- users no longer part of the rdc family -
I'm wondering what the price difference would be on 2, 2.0 shocks, plus the coil spring, versus the 2.5 coilover shock. If it's not to much different then I would like to run coilovers, but i too am on a budget. All the explorers that i saw with the 3 link kit had the rear seat removed for a coil bucket, and the shocks in place there. I know Perry's yellow explorer has the smaller Hezco 2 man seat in the rear, same as the white one. The Auto-Fab 2link kit is similar to tracktion bars, so the rear end won't bind. I was talking to John from Auto-Fab, and he said he could make up the same 2link kit they offer on there fullsize broncos for my explorer, and beable to run 2.0 fox's with out going through the floor. John also said i would be able to achieve about 16 inches of wheel travel with that setup. I've seen Mcniel's rear bucket like what you were talking about but didn't get to really look into it. I don't need huge amounts of wheel travel because i don't plan on going over mach-1 in the desert. With the kit from Perry, and the kit from Auto-fab it should be about 16 inches on all four corners. But now that you mention it i will also look into Perry's rear setup more before i decide. If you want to see the Auto-Fab 2 link kit it's on there web-site under the Bronco.
Of course when i told John that i was thinking about the Mcniel front end he said take it to them, then when it's all screwed up and won't work bring it to me and i'll do it right

"Brakes just slow you down"
 

sirhk100

Well-Known Member
Yeah, I could picture John saying that!! His shop puts out high quality stuff and he's got opinions on every fabricator out there. What other places have you checked into for the front end? I've talked with Perry, John at autofab, Rod Fantelli up in Ramona, and Camburg. Out of those Perry is at the top of my list for the front. I still want to check into Weldtech in El Cajon, Donahoe, H&M, Baja Shop, and I just got an email from a guy last night on an Explorer forum that's building 2 long travel kits of his own that are widened and they'll be done in a month or so. I'm going to look at his once he's done too. Right now I haven't thought too much about the rear end. I want to get the front end done first with painted glass and a bumper before I have the rear end torn apart. Might as well start at the front and work towards the rear. That two link kit looks clean, straight foward, and functional. With a spring over in the rear I'm sure you'll need those traction bars to control spring wrap in the soft stuff. I'm curious if someone else can build that same set up for cheaper just knowing autofab's cost. I've got nothing against them it just seems like you could find high quality work cheaper. Perry was explaining a Shock hoop that he could actually build up in the wheel well and get a long travel resvoir mounted to that would allow a more verticle placement so the shock would function better all the way through the stroke. It seems to me that with Autofabs rear the shocks are mounted a pretty extreme angle and when the rear is compressed they would be at such an angle that the damping they provide would be greatly reduced. I'll have to go down and talk to him though and get the info straight from him once I get closer to the rear end.
 

rdc

- users no longer part of the rdc family -
what Explorer forum?....the Explorer4x4.com one? I haven't talked to very many pplaces mainly just Auto-Fab, and Mcniel. In most part i have been saving money "money talks and B.S walks" i figure i can get a better deal with cash in hand. Let me know about that guy who is building a long travel kit, and if there are any pics,or specs on it.

"Brakes just slow you down"
 

sirhk100

Well-Known Member
Yeah under the <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.explorerforum.com>www.explorerforum.com</A> under the suspension section there is a REALLY long thread mostly between me and a guy in Texas. I'll email you that info on the private guy doing his own fab stuff.
 
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