Spend some time with Ben Falkner, President of Teraflex and learn more about their almost 70-year history and the innovative line of products for all your Jeep styles.
3:55 – Growing up in Manti, the best small town experience
8:07 – I loved dinking around with Jeeps
9:04 – Grandpa started MEPCO in the 50’s
12:28 – the start of Teraflex
14:46 – it was worse than factory!
17:16 – they don’t maintain their vehicles
27:00 – we call it Clarence
32:31 – more than a 60 program
37:29 – Falcon shocks began in 2016
53:30 – the people of Teraflex
57:50 – he’s pretty amped up
1:05:29 –All these new customers
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[00:00:01.050] - Big Rich Klein
Welcome to the Big Rich show, this podcast will focus on conversations with friends and acquaintances within the four wheel drive industry. Many of the people that I will be interviewing, you may know the name, you may know some of the history, but let's get in depth with these people and find out what truly makes them a four wheel drive enthusiast. So now's the time to sit back, grab a cold one and enjoy our conversation.
[00:00:29.490] - Speaker 2
Whether you're crawling the Red Rocks of MOAB or hauling your toys to the trail Maxxis has the tires you can trust for performance and durability. Four wheels or two Maxxis tires are the choice of champions, because they know that whether for work or play, for fun or competition Maxxis tires delivers choose Maxxis tread victoriously.
[00:00:56.040] - Big Rich Klein
Why should you read 4Low magazine, because 4Low magazine is about your lifestyle, the Four-Wheel Drive adventure lifestyle that we all enjoy, rock crawling, trail riding, event coverage, vehicle builds and do it yourself tech all in a beautifully presented package. You won't find 4Low on a newsstand rack. So subscribe today and have it delivered to you.
[00:01:20.780] - Big Rich Klein
On today's conversations with Big Rich, we have Ben Falkner, who is the president of Teraflex. His family, has a long history in offroad, starting with his grandfather with MEPCO out of Salt Lake City.
[00:01:36.790] - Ben Falkner
Hey Rich, how's it going?
It's going great and how are you doing today?
It's going great, the sun is shining and all is good.
[00:01:45.040] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. We're down on the Gulf Coast in Texas and we haven't seen Sun all week. We had just enough break on the Fourth of July, the evening, Sunday evening, to where they were able to fire off the fireworks here in Port Aransas. And then it's pretty much been raining since.
[00:02:04.240] - Ben Falkner
Man, that's crazy. Is that down by, are you worried about Elsa down there that I haven't checked that storm much, but I've heard about it.
[00:02:11.590] - Big Rich Klein
No, Elsa is going up from Cuba into Florida and then should hit Georgia and South Carolina. Well, we are in the south coast on what they call the coastal bend. So we're closer to what we're the entry area into the Corpus Christi Bay. OK, we're pretty I mean, within, I don't know, 70 miles, 80 miles of Mexico. So it's it's a really nice area down here, but this we got to some kind of a low pressure that came out of the north and is sitting on top of us.
[00:02:50.150] - Big Rich Klein
So it's creating all this rain, which is fine when you're on a boat. You know, it really doesn't affect the boat much because we're already floating.
[00:02:59.920] - Ben Falkner
Yeah. If you don't want to get wet, you probably shouldn't get on the boat.
[00:03:02.270] - Big Rich Klein
Correct. So let's let's jump right in and, you know, tell us about your history, where you grew up and you know, where you went to school. Some things like that will get started that way.
[00:03:18.590] - Ben Falkner
OK, so I was born in Murray, Utah, which is up here in the Salt Lake Valley, for those that don't know, shortly after we moved down to a town called Manti that's down in central Utah and. I live down there for, I think around eight years, and I love that place. Love, small town livin' and I love the fact that I could get on my dirt bike and just go wherever I wanted and nobody cared. And that was great.
[00:03:51.190] - Big Rich Klein
How old were you when you moved to Manti?
[00:03:55.050] - Ben Falkner
Two or three too young to remember. OK, so all my my young childhood memories are all of Manti that I actually remember. And yeah, it was a great place to to grow up. Lots of good friends and plenty of time on bikes and dirt bikes and growing up in the mountains, which is right outside of town there. Those beautiful loved it. And I love the small town feel. And. So we move back. I'll take my dad to get in trouble for leaving his keys in the rig because down in Manti, everybody left them in the rig.
[00:04:36.810] - Big Rich Klein
All right. I can understand that. That's how I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. But after college, pretty much Placerville, California, small town, 10000 people on the way to Tahoe and same thing. We we lived on the end of it of a while. The road was dirt past us and there was no and only two houses. So, you know, you didn't take the keys out of the vehicle. You never locked the house.
[00:05:06.420] - Big Rich Klein
And that was really cool. It's my kids grew up there, too, as well.
[00:05:12.090] - Ben Falkner
And that's awesome. I love small town stuff, and then we moved back up into Salt Lake area and we lived in Sandy basically for the rest of my life. We my dad started working for my grandpa. Again, he worked for them before and then we went down to Manti and he was a service manager for Ron Green Chevrolet down there, and then Grandpa asked him if he would come back and they partnered up and he came back. And I think that was in.
[00:05:49.700] - Ben Falkner
Eighty nine or ninety, and then basically been up here ever since, and we love this area, too, it's great.
[00:05:59.970] - Big Rich Klein
So when you were in that school age is small town, so was it very rural? The the school was it, you know, multiple grades or a lot of grades, all in one school, or did they have it separated between like an elementary and then a middle school and high school.
[00:06:24.060] - Ben Falkner
I was only there for elementary school, but they had five grades there, I believe, and I think they had even a couple of the small towns outside of Manti that kids would come from to go to school there because there was towns around that were even smaller than Manti. And Manti was, I think, only around three thousand people at the time.
[00:06:44.040] - Big Rich Klein
[00:06:44.750] - Ben Falkner
OK, but began in high school. I know that there was multiple towns that went to the high school too, but I wasn't there for that experience so.
[00:06:55.470] - Big Rich Klein
OK, and then after the after. You guys moved back up into the Salt Lake basin from Manti, what town did you move into then?
[00:07:07.970] - Ben Falkner
We moved into Sandy, which is Salt Lake, and that's a great place to live. I went to still remain elementary there and some great experiences, great friends there. And then. Went on to go to Churchill Junior High and then Hillcrest High School on. That was pretty much my school. I didn't really go to school after high school because. I knew what I wanted to do and I didn't know of any. College courses that we're going to.
[00:07:44.020] - Ben Falkner
Help me do exactly what I wanted better, and I had a really hard time paying to go to school because. I didn't love school anyway, and paying to go to school was like crazy.
[00:07:54.980] - Big Rich Klein
So when you were in school, say high school? Did you did you play sports or were you just more, you know, outdoorsy?
[00:08:07.400] - Ben Falkner
I was outdoors in a gear head, so I spent a lot of time dinking around with jeeps and stuff and Jeep parts and all that kind of stuff, I actually worked with my dad every chance I got. And so as young as eight or nine, I would get super excited when my dad would take me to work and he put me to work and I loved it. And I would take any opportunity that I could go to work for them because I just love the Jeep parts and figuring out how they worked and stuff like that.
[00:08:43.520] - Ben Falkner
So I spent a lot of time in dinking around with Jeep stuff and just figured out how that all works. Perfect.
[00:08:54.100] - Big Rich Klein
So let's let's educate myself and our listeners, MEPCO obviously must stand for something besides MEPCO.
[00:09:04.480] - Ben Falkner
So goes for military equipment parts company, OK? My grandpa started that in the 50s and they were buying World War Two surplus and they were basically buying and selling it and they got a lot of Jeep parts in these containers that they would buy. And he didn't really know exactly what was in all the containers. When they go to these auctions, you just you bid on containers and you get what you get and then they'd go try to sell it. They are hoping for stuff like generators and stuff like that that you could turn and burn really quick.
[00:09:46.310] - Ben Falkner
And they ended up getting a lot of Jeep parts. And so my grandpa came up with good organizational way to catalog them, inventory them and him and the people that he would hire ended up being known for being the Jeep guys. And so you would call them to getting your Jeep upgrades. And then he would also source them after that. And they would. Basically find any place they could, whether it was old inventory or people that were manufacturing, remanufacturing the parts and stuff like that, and before the Internet really came on the scene, it was his organizational skills of being able to catalog and inventory those who know exactly what he had and help people find out what they needed.
[00:10:42.920] - Ben Falkner
That really helped him grow that business and stuff. And then that's pretty awesome. Yeah, it's pretty, pretty neat that we were able to get into that, and I feel blessed to be able to be around jeeps and stuff because I love them. They are a great symbol of freedom to me. And I feel really blessed that grandpa set the footwork up for us on that.
[00:11:12.200] - Big Rich Klein
So is MEPCO still in existence today as a separate business?
[00:11:20.360] - Ben Falkner
No, we actually combined the businesses. For a while, they were separate, so Tereflex got started in ninety six and MEPCO and Teraflex were separate companies and then I think in twp thousand. I want to say four or five. MEPCO was not doing as well as Teraflex, and we wanted to bring the companies together and. We we merged the two companies, and so MEPCO is still in the paperwork and everything for the business and the corporation and everything, but as far as the public sees, there's it's not in existence anymore, really.
[00:12:11.330] - Ben Falkner
[00:12:13.170] - Big Rich Klein
And when Teraflex got started. That was. That was more on the manufacturing side of producing your own parts, was that correct?
[00:12:28.460] - Ben Falkner
Yes, it was kind of interesting. And before the TJ came out, we just basically the business had grown into where we were like a 4 Wheel Parts or a Mr. Four by four or whatever. And we were basically just buying other people's parts and reselling them and. So when the TJ came out, we got we got one of the first ones that was in Utah and we were all excited about it because the Cherokees and Comanche's that we'd had before, you know, just stock for stock, they were pretty much out wheel the Wranglers because they had more flexibility in the front.
[00:13:09.870] - Ben Falkner
And we had been making Swaybar disconnects for the CJ's, YJ's and we'd make them for the XJ. So so since we had them for CJ's and YJ's, we made it for the Cherokees and Comanches. And I remember going on one of the trips that we did was a Hole in the Rock trip down by Lake Powell. And we got back and we were watching the videos from it. And we've noticed that the Comanche that we took with us didn't slip or struggle near as much as the CJ's and the YJ's did.
[00:13:41.160] - Ben Falkner
And a lot of the vehicles back then didn't have lockers. So suspension, flexibility was a lot more key. So when we got the T.J., we were excited because we knew that the coilspring suspension was going to give us more flexibility. And so, anyway, we called all these manufacturers like Rancho and ProComp and Trail Master and all these guys that we bought from and we're like, when are going to have a lift for these things when we had customers on them and.
[00:14:14.920] - Ben Falkner
They're knocking down the door for some. They all basically say it'll be a year to year and a half out or whatever, and so we decided to make our own liftkit, to take care of our customers at immediate needs or immediate desires. And so we got with a local company that makes springs and we nade swaybar disconnects for them. And there is a company called 4 Plus Manufacturing that helped us make some of the control arm, some quick disconnects and stuff.
[00:14:46.720] - Ben Falkner
They right next door to MEPCO. Yeah, so we started making our own and. So it's kind of funny, the first one that we made, we made like a solid square tube. Control arm with urethane bushings in it, and we had an RTI ramp and this we're all excited we got this three inch lift we made for it first time, we take it out back to the ramp and it did worse than a factory one . And so we pulled the factory one up there and we're examining it.
[00:15:23.800] - Ben Falkner
And the factory control arms are stamped sheet metal. They would flex in the middle. And so they're like, oh. We need to rethink this whole control arm thing, so we ended up making a control arm that would pivot in the middle on thread's. We we built that, got it out there and put it on the ramp and it went with this swaybars disconnected, it went all the way to the top of the ramp. And they're like, we got something here, and so I can't remember what company I think it might have been Bestop, was looking for a Jeep to have the SEMA show, and we ended up getting that Jeep in the SEMA Show.
[00:16:07.040] - Ben Falkner
And we had we brought the ramp down there and put it up on the ramp. And a lot of people were really impressed that we got a lot of media coverage from the magazines and stuff like that. And so that kind of gave us a nice shot in the arm. And when we started out, we were planning on just making these things until all the other manufacturers came out with theirs because it was a lot easier to just buy and sell stuff than it was to come up with your own and keep track of all the parts and the kits and all that kind of stuff.
[00:16:36.560] - Ben Falkner
But because we got the magazine coverage and because we got people were excited about it because it worked so well. We ended up deciding that we would just keep going with it, and so. That's kind of the beginning and it's been it's been a fun ride ever since we've been trying to stay on the front end of innovation and. Some of our first ideas, you look back now and it's like. Threads in the middle of the controller probably wasn't the best idea because, you know, if threads are constantly moving, they're going to wear out and it doesn't matter how much you tell people that they need to be greased.
[00:17:16.650] - Ben Falkner
They don't maintain their vehicles, so. The greasing thing became our first nemesis, because if you tell people, OK, you need to grease these control arms every time you do an oil change, and I don't know if they didn't do the oil changes or they just didn't raise them when they did the oil and just but they definitely weren't getting greased. And so then we came up with the next version of the control arms, which were called the monster control arms.
[00:17:46.950] - Ben Falkner
Anyway, there's a lot of products that we come up with, but so how do you get past the with that monster? Did you get past the thread and create a. A ajoint that was in that area then.
[00:18:02.650] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, so we tried using like metal Hymes and stuff like that, but the metal Haines just made so much noise and they were so. Prone to failures, especially in the Salt Lake area, because they use salt on the roads in the winter, right. And a metal high. This was not a very good long term solution. And so we ended up using spherical ball that has instead of having metal races, they had urethane races and then. Basically, you're just using that movement just like a home, but with urethane races, and I quieted it down and made it a lot better for day to day use.
[00:18:50.880] - Ben Falkner
And those were really pretty good, too, but then, like the unibody guys were always complaining about noise because the other thing transfers all the noise through. And so we started using rubber on some of the ends and stuff and that quieted down quite a bit, which is nice. And then. The control arms, when we moved on to the Jaquet, we moved over all these monster joints and they worked great and everything, but when it comes back to the maintenance thing again, people still weren't doing the maintenance and even less like that once the corridor came out.
[00:19:30.210] - Ben Falkner
You got a whole new group of people that are buying these jeeps, and a lot of them are. Moms taking their kids to soccer games and stuff like that, you know, so they don't want to do any extra maintenance if it's not required. And so we ended up now we have our alpine versions that are complete rubber and those were great. They flex just as much a. They hold up a lot longer and have zero maintenance, which I love.
[00:20:04.730] - Big Rich Klein
OK, and those are those are just that whole. Going with the monster, it's just the ends, correct, we're in in the first adaptation of those control arms, you had a twist joint in the middle, correct?
[00:20:22.990] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, so the first iteration had threads that you would slide on in the middle, which also made them adjustable, which was nice because you needed to adjust faster a little bit, and then they just had urethane in the in the ends. And that worked great until we figured out that, you know, if you're running that type of control arm for five or six years and you actually really wheel it. It starts putting fatigue on all the brackets because it's getting.
[00:20:53.410] - Ben Falkner
Rotational movement, but the axle moves sideways, cycles through the suspension, either in or out, depending on which way you're going. And so your controller in brackets start getting fatigued and crack and stop its grip and control in brackets often. So when you enter the monster joint that has the spherical ball and and then jam. So the threads were tight. So it's still adjustable, but you tighten it down and lock it in place some of your joints on the ends of the movement instead of the middle of the arm.
[00:21:29.290] - Big Rich Klein
OK, so you started. Teraflex started with the. Sway bars and then went to. A liftgate. What was the what were the other products that were developed, maybe not in in the time frame, but close to it?
[00:21:51.330] - Ben Falkner
Well, in the beginning, we had the four to one, which was called the. Turlough, yeah, that was that was actually one of our neighbors in our little neighborhood that we lived in there, and Sandy, his name was Pat Fagan, and he he had this idea that if you had a compound planetree, that you could have a lot more reduction. And so him and my dad were working on that. And they made it to where you could get a four to one ratio in the same size packages, up to thirty one Planetree.
[00:22:29.890] - Ben Falkner
And it took a little machining on the case and it took making the years and all that kind of stuff. And I remember the first sets of gears that we were making. We had a machine shop make them and then we brought them in and we were actually treating them ourselves. And so you get, you get them really hot, throw them in some stuff, and you have a little fire that comes off and all that. We're all excited for making things for ourselves.
[00:22:59.110] - Ben Falkner
And it's really cool when we went out and. One of the first times we had him out pardoning didn't work, and so we get a little bounce on an obstacle and all of a sudden the gears would sound like a bunch of broken glass inside the case there. And that was really bad. Yeah. So that first that first prototype got pulled out pretty quick and then we actually had guys that knew what they were doing to help us treat them.
[00:23:26.950] - Ben Falkner
And then that actually worked out pretty good. And the Turlough was really great product for a long time and then wheel and kind of modified into bigger tires and. Bigger ledges and stuff like all the trails in Moab used to be able to do them fairly easily with thirty one inch tires and a two inch lift and that kind of stuff, and the dirt got dug out and the ledges keep getting bigger and stuff. And now everybody's wanting lockers, lots of legs and that kind of stuff.
[00:24:04.430] - Ben Falkner
And the gears, we we had the four to one ratio and that worked great because you could crawl and especially people with manuals. It just made us crawl up all kinds of stuff. So if you had a four to one in lockers, you were pretty well set. But everything kept getting bigger and bigger. And once you got up to where you needed a little more wheel speed to get up some of these bigger things and you got bigger tires and so you put more pressure to it and everything.
[00:24:35.480] - Ben Falkner
And any time you are going in sand with really big tires, it would start getting those little compound planetary gear spinning so fast that we couldn't keep bearings in them. And so we ended up having some struggles with that later. But in the beginning, everybody loved them and they just thought that they were the greatest. And if you. And control yourself and stay at lower RPM's are still great product, but. You know, when you're not making it up something.
[00:25:06.150] - Ben Falkner
Sometimes you want to grab the next year and go and. I know that because I grew up a lot of Karolos and, you know, it seems to be more prevalent nowadays with with so many more people and new people that have never that never started off wheeling. Like when I started off wheeling, it was an old military age five, you know, and thirty eight, a one on 31 inch tires and, you know, manual steering, manual transmission.
[00:25:38.910] - Ben Falkner
You know, there was you had to you had to learn how to drive. And nowadays well with starting with the tge and then working your way on up to everything since then, you know, so many more people are into the sport that that didn't learn. Open, open and manual manual. So they don't they don't understand that, you know, it's not just, you know, burn out and go, you know, it's being able to pick a line, but yeah, yeah, like when I started driving, the very first thing that I was able to drive.
[00:26:18.560] - Ben Falkner
There was a full sized vehicle was this willis' that we had in our we had to use Jeep lot, basically it's kind of like a junkyard, but just cheap stuff. And we had this old flat fender that had a little four cylinder and a three speed and an 18 transporation. Forty four area and a 30 front for maybe twenty seven or so. But, you know, and all wheelies and manual steering, manual brakes and. No hydraulics on the clutch or anything, you just in the whole ball thing and your language sucks.
[00:27:00.850] - Ben Falkner
I love that thing, though. Learning how to drive that thing, we we we gave it a name. We call it Clarence. And it had a little hoist in the back that we would pick up the engines with. It was a hydraulic hoist that was really cool. I just thought that was the neatest thing. But yeah, that's what I kind of learned to drive on. And then we'll analyze. Everything we had back in the day was veejays.
[00:27:24.490] - Ben Falkner
I mean, I remember when when I just came out and they made a totally different sound than the four point two liter. And I was like, I don't know about those. But then we learned that that was a much better motor and things can just keep on getting better. But, you know, square headlights and. Then you got this fuel injected motor that it'll keep running, but it sounds weird.
[00:27:48.900] - Big Rich Klein
I've driven Cherokee's for years now because it's just a universal vehicle for what I do, putting on events, you know, it we have to have something that we can load into our semi truck, that we can go to the grocery store, that we can, you know, go do trails, you know, Moab or the Rubicon or any of the parks that we visit. And so, you know it. The Cherokees have always made sense. But that original five, what I found or what I found about it was the Fleck's is that had the military springs on it.
[00:28:22.020] - Big Rich Klein
So they were really narrow frame itself would twist. So give you a lot of a lot of contact patch pressure without. You know, you didn't you really didn't almost need lockers because you just you kept the wheels on the ground and, you know, that's. But at that same point, you had, like I said earlier, you know, you have to you have to be able to pick a line. You just can't drive over big stuff because you got you know, you got little tires.
[00:28:54.110] - Big Rich Klein
Yep, so now than they they stiffen the frames so that you don't have all that body flex, and especially when you have a manual transmission where you can't shift, can't push the clutch in, so they stiffen all that and now it's gone into the suspension. And that's where the the YJ over the siege. I would imagine that that started and then now with all the link suspension, it's you know, you can have the a very rigid frame.
[00:29:27.260] - Big Rich Klein
Is that correct? Yeah, OK. Are the technical guy.
[00:29:33.910] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, that was another thing about the siege and the wages is we run. We used to judge a lot of how far you go room and the siege would always be the largest. And we were trying to figure it out and stuff and. And my brother had a seizure that he ran up on the ramp and I was like, man, this thing just flexes so good, but it has the same length shocks. The YJ is maxing out the shots to the CJ's maximum, the shocks.
[00:30:02.610] - Ben Falkner
But this thing's going further. And I started noticing that the frame twisted quite a bit when you would go up there. And I was like, oh, there it is.
[00:30:12.180] - Big Rich Klein
Absolutely. So then what what other products after the the Tarullo in ninety nine and two thousand we were working on. You know, people started putting a little bit bigger tires on and they're starting to break a lot of axles and stuff and so ninety nine when the competitions also started. Right. With our car and stuff like that. And so. We had customers that were breaking axles and one foot bigger stuff in, but you put bigger stuff in and all of a sudden your.
[00:30:45.890] - Big Rich Klein
Dragon on the rocks all the time, and so we made I think it was the end of summer in 2000. We had our first opinion, 60 with a shaved bottom that was our own casting and everything. And we started making axles. And that was that was a pretty big jump and. It has been really cool, I've loved the actual program ever since, and those those first high opinion sixties that we came out with, we called it the Terrorist Express and.
[00:31:26.190] - Big Rich Klein
They worked really good, except for the opinion bearing in the rear that our opinion bearing had too much pressure on, it wouldn't get enough oil. So we had some seizing issues. And then we came up with in two thousand two, we came up with the 60. And that one has a. A bigger, outer pinioned bearing, and we drilled holes in these housings and stuff and ran them on these machines so that we could have windows in to see what was happening with the oil and everything.
[00:32:00.270] - Big Rich Klein
And that helped us develop the skimmer that's in the CRT 60 to help. It came off of the ring and put oil up towards the outer pinion during and after we did that. We've had great success with those in the rear and also all of our 60 hours in the front.
[00:32:21.000] - Big Rich Klein
And you guys with your axles, it is all 60s, correct? You're not doing 40 fours or any of the other axles, correct?
[00:32:31.350] - Ben Falkner
Well, we actually do. We have our 60 program, and then we also have our JAQUET 40 for replacement housing and our Jaquet 30 replacement housing, and we will be coming out with Jail 30 and jail 40 for Baxley's to basically replace housing. The factory housing GCAS and the jails are pretty prone to failure, especially once you start using them hard.
[00:33:04.790] - Big Rich Klein
Right? The real lightweight.
[00:33:07.890] - Ben Falkner
They're built real lightweight and. They actually can't handle too big of a hit, even in stock for like I had a friend that was driving down Parley's Canyon in nearby Salt Lake and his wife was and she had a rocket that came down the canyon off the wall. And it was only about as big as a football, but it came up and it hit the diff and it actually broke this intersection. Wow. So she was she hobbled it off the side of the road and called my friend, he went picked it up and then he brought it over to me and he's like.
[00:33:44.060] - Ben Falkner
What how is it possible that Iraq could hit the housing bust like that because they're super thin and. They're not they're not made to take a hit like that, you know, Jeep's working on. Making them as light as they can to meet CAFE standards, costs and all that kind of stuff and. You know, when they're doing that kind of mass production. They have to trim wherever they can. And so anybody that uses their jeeps. Could end up needing housing, and so that's been a pretty successful program for us.
[00:34:21.850] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, excellent. I would imagine that a lot of that lightweight A. I don't know what CAP stands for, but is that so that they can get the the fuel mileage, so they're lightening the vehicle and that.
[00:34:35.640] - Ben Falkner
Yes, yes. The vehicle manufacturers have a cafe rating that they call it, and it's basically across their fleet. They need to meet a certain standard and the standards just keep getting more and more strict. And, you know, I think in the future where they're not supposed to be making internal combustion engines are supposed to be all electric. So we'll see what happens with that. But as far as right now, I know that a lot of the reasons that they might not like the jail as aluminum doors and aluminum hood and stuff like that just to try to lighten it up.
[00:35:13.660] - Ben Falkner
And we all want to think that it's because they want to make it lighter and faster and all that kind of stuff, but. Really a big part of their driving forces trying to meet those ratings that they need to hit.
[00:35:25.930] - Big Rich Klein
Right, yeah, across that across the fleet stuff. Exactly, yeah. So with the axle program. Then the next step in the process was so we went to the CRTC 60 and then in the. When we we moved from being SEMAFO and unit bearings to fulfill Rijo and then lockout up front, set up and we made Nuckols that were better steering geometry than the factory sixties and made it so that your Jaquet, even though you put these big one ton axles in it, still drove a lot more like Jaquet.
[00:36:12.300] - Big Rich Klein
And that actually helped everything as far as like tje and everything with that steering geometry drove a lot better and it made the Jacobs a lot nicer to drive, especially if you're using it for a daily driver and stuff like that. And we made them stronger. We separated the ball joints a little bit more so that the ball joints were taken as much pressure and that as we've been developing all kinds of parts for them in 12, 14 and 15 is when we revamped all that steering and nuckols and we actually came out with a new front center section that was a dedicated front that had the upper control arm out for the Wranglers.
[00:36:57.020] - Big Rich Klein
Built into the casting, and that made a streamlined process and made it a lot nicer to manufacture.
[00:37:06.030] - Big Rich Klein
OK, so then there wasn't a well done, it's a cast, so it's all one piece.
[00:37:11.630] - Ben Falkner
Yes, all the ones from twenty, fifteen and newer, the front up or controller man is all Kastin and. All ready to go for you.
[00:37:20.780] - Big Rich Klein
That's that's awesome. So when did when did the Falcons shock program happen?
[00:37:29.560] - Ben Falkner
So the Falcon shots in 2016 and the same issue we were talking to one of the guys that used to work at Fox, his name's Paule Cox, and we were actually looking into doing some other investments and stuff like that. But after my dad and I and Bryce, who's one of our engineers, had been talking to Paule, we decided we wanted to. Try to play in the shock field and so Paule came to work for us and actually I think it was similar to entertain because we actually started working on it in the beginning of 16.
[00:38:13.630] - Ben Falkner
So anyway, so 2016 was kind of a building year for working on all the. Drawings and all that kind of stuff that we had to do. They can chocks for all the different applications, drawings and all that stuff and then the tuning and everything. And I think we actually started selling them in twenty seventeen. And the tuning system that we use has more rhythm and a lot of other manufacturers use, so it makes it a lot more stable on the road and a little bit bigger body in the normal bodies for that time, or mostly two inch bodies.
[00:38:58.270] - Ben Falkner
And we went to a two and a quarter because a two and a half was really hard to fit without running into the frame on the front running and stuff in the rear and sort of like, well, we'll go in the middle and go is a bigger shock, but it gives you more dampening just because you have more area to work with, with the piston and everything. But. You have the limited constraints on how big you can go just because energy has its limits, and when you start going outside of that, it makes it so you got to have different mounting and all that kind of stuff.
[00:39:32.890] - Ben Falkner
And we wanted to have a system that you could just bolt in.
[00:39:36.730] - Big Rich Klein
Just a direct replacement.
[00:39:38.890] - Ben Falkner
Yeah. Then we got going on that. And to Paul's credit, is is a good tuner and he knows a lot about hydraulics. And so he helped us get that rolling pretty fast. And we purchased a lot of machines and invested and invest and invested in 2017. We were looking at it and things are going pretty good, but. At the rate we were selling chocs, it was like, oh, man, we're going to pay for this investment in like 20 years or something, but the sales just keep ramping up, ramping up.
[00:40:16.060] - Ben Falkner
And it's been a really good program for us. And like right now, I think if you order stocks today, you're probably not going to get them until the beginning of September. And it's our the end of the first week in July. Right. So we're going as fast as we can. We've been buying more machines and just doing as much as we can to get that thing going and going as fast as we can. And we do all the all the assembly here.
[00:40:47.320] - Ben Falkner
And it's really cool to be able to see the shocks go from raw materials to a finished product in the box shipping out. That's really cool.
[00:40:57.340] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, I was pretty impressed when we when Shelley and I were able to do the tour of your facilities, the tour, to see that program set up. And the other thing I wanted to say is, is I really, really like the way that your facility is set up and and not just the layout, but also the design of itself, you know, just from even the outside of the building, let alone the inside, you know, kind of a each building looks like a like part of a town is the impression that we got.
[00:41:34.060] - Big Rich Klein
And that that's pretty cool.
[00:41:36.460] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, we kind of we kind of lucked into that a little bit because. We were we were in Murray and we had this old building that was it had to be built in the 50s earlier and we were running out of space there. We tried to get a permit to add onto the building there. And they basically said, well, to get KOH, you're going to have to actually shrink your building because you need more greenery and also that kind of stuff.
[00:42:03.650] - Ben Falkner
So we said, OK, I guess we'll take ourselves or our taxes that we pay and go pay somebody else. And so we found this place out here in West Jordan and it was a pretty good deal. And we just fell in love with the western town thing that it was there was a company that did decorative concrete that built it, and they built it right before the crash in 2008. And so they weren't able to pay for it. And as the economy tanked so hard in 2008 that they just put the burden of the debt from the building, I guess just can they can do it.
[00:42:46.940] - Ben Falkner
So anyway, it they built it and they kind of did all their decorative stuff on it, like a showcase to show people what they could do. And so we ended up looking out and having a really neat looking building because of that.
[00:43:02.420] - Big Rich Klein
OK, so it wasn't you guys intentionally building it that way? It was you stepped into something that somebody else intentionally built the show there to showcase. That's kind of cool.
[00:43:13.520] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, it's total luck. And we've added some buildings onto the property since then and we've continued the theme. But, yeah, it was just. Just lucky, yeah, just good, it's such a gorgeous facility, if anybody has not, or that has visited or lives in the Salt Lake area has not gone by and and taken a look at it. It is definitely worth worth the the visit.
[00:43:43.640] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, the guys that did all the the decorative work on it, and it's it's crazy because it looks like it has these giant timbers on the inside, but they're all concrete and they shaped them and made them look like they're wood.
[00:43:56.150] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, that I, I totally when we walked in was like, wow, a lot of log work and then realized it was concrete, pretty cool, pretty crazy.
[00:44:05.120] - Ben Falkner
But it's neat, it's neat to be in and I, I really like the environment that it created for us.
[00:44:11.500] - Big Rich Klein
So what other what other products do you guys you guys have in your your catalog?
[00:44:19.690] - Ben Falkner
So we do all of our suspension stuff, of course, the talking shocks, the axles, and then we do some bumpers and WE Rock sliders and stuff like that. And the tire carrier, basically, we made a tire carrier for the JAQUET that doesn't require the Haines to be mounted on the bumper. So it's known to the body and. That was kind of a painful process, we went through a lot of prototypes on that. And then once we got it right, we made it.
[00:44:58.390] - Ben Falkner
It just went crazy. It was awesome. It's such a good product. I have a jeep without them.
[00:45:05.290] - Big Rich Klein
So does it use the same mounting points as a factory?
[00:45:09.790] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, so it uses the same amount as the fact hinge, but the hinges beefed up, it's got better pins, better bushings and. It's all stiffened up so that instead of your tailgate flexin, you're going down bumpy roads and stuff affirms it all up. We actually found a Jaquet that had been hit in the right rear corner and we were blown away at how well that corner stayed together. And we got into it, and when you get into the right corner on a Jaquet, there's a lot of structure built into it.
[00:45:49.670] - Ben Falkner
And so we're like. Well, maybe if we just stiffen up the body or stiffen up the engine stuff and make better Haines that instead of these little pins, these factories, larger ones, larger portions of that kind of stuff, maybe that'll be good enough to hold the spare tire. And in the beginning, we're thinking, you know, if we do this, it'll probably hold up like a thirty five or something. But and we still say that it'll hold up to a thirty seven five thirty nine thousand forty somewhere and it's held up.
[00:46:19.500] - Ben Falkner
Right. So it's, it's been a really impressive product. And we just released our entire career for the jail last month, I think. So we're excited about those two.
[00:46:33.710] - Big Rich Klein
So does it does the jail also have that that reinforced area on the right the right rear like like the J.
[00:46:42.140] - Ben Falkner
No, no, it doesn't. And so that one was a little bit trickier and it took us a lot longer to come out with it because we had to figure out how we were going to make that stronger. So it didn't flex all over the place. Because if if you did the hinge exactly the way we did our last one, then as soon as you went down a bumpy road instead of the tailgate flexing, now that whole corner of the jeep was flexing.
[00:47:10.070] - Ben Falkner
And so we ended up using the forging that ties the two engines together on the outside of the body and then the hinge. On the tailgate part is also stiffen up, so by stiffening up both of those that made it so that it works very well. OK.
[00:47:30.700] - Big Rich Klein
So what are there any other products that that you that you consider innovative, that that terror flex does differently than everybody else?
[00:47:42.490] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, we came up with some really cool Paule joints that are adjustable and we came up with steering that has those same adjustable ball joints in it. And those were great because, you know, you go Wheelin and you beat the crap out of your jeep and everything and. If you will, and like I do, then you end up needing to come home and replace a bunch of parts, but those adjustable all joints and adjustable tire items are really nice because you can just if they're starting to wear out, you just snug them up and.
[00:48:20.400] - Ben Falkner
Go for it again and you can go, since we made those, I actually haven't replaced any of mine, I've been able to I think we started doing that and. That was probably 10, 15, maybe 16, we started doing that and I haven't replaced any of my ball joints in any of my jeeps or any of my tire drag Lincolns either. Wow. That's that's pretty awesome. Yeah. And then we also make like the big break systems and now we've moved on from the big breaks to the Delta break system.
[00:48:55.830] - Ben Falkner
Which is really nice, and we started making wheels, we do the nomad wheel and it has a cool feature in it together. When you're setting up the wheel entire package, there's a dump valve that basically you open it up and it's spring-loaded and you can adjust that spring to set the pressure. But once you've set it up, basically you can open that thing up. It'll dump it only takes like 30 seconds to dump all the air if you're pumped up like thirty five on a 40 inch tire.
[00:49:28.590] - Ben Falkner
It's like 30 seconds to drop it down to whatever the pressure is that you set it to and then you just close it up and go. So like, if you if you go and undo the first one and just go in the same order, tighten them up, that you loosen them up and it's about as fast as you can go loose them all up that you're tighten them back up. Wow, so it's really fast for Arundell, and that's a separate valve stem, basically, or Zaslav stem itself.
[00:49:59.350] - Ben Falkner
It has has a regular Shrader valve stem on one side, OK? And you can get the nomad whale with the plug or you can get it with this, the dumbbells valve. And if you get it with the dump valve, you have that key feature. If you don't, then you're just buying our whale for the style, I guess. But it's awesome. I really enjoy being able to get out. Undo those suckers and be ready to roll their down in I don't even think it takes two minutes.
[00:50:30.270] - Big Rich Klein
Wow, and you're the products you guys make are Jeep specific, correct?
[00:50:36.990] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, mostly that will we're actually making some eight loved ones and some six loved ones and stuff, we made the loved ones mostly for our axles to get axles to them. But then we got some people asking us to make six log ones for like the Toyota guys and all that kind of stuff. So we made some Sequoia six like ones, but primarily we do just cheap stuff. And in the Phalcon stuff, we're doing Teflon 50, RAM fifteen hundred, Chevy fifteen hundred.
[00:51:06.960] - Ben Falkner
And we have some of the three quarter ton one one ton truck stuff coming out here pretty soon.
[00:51:12.860] - Big Rich Klein
OK, so stepping outside of the brand itself.
[00:51:18.280] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, because like the wheels and shocks innovation that we've put into those, you can basically apply to any vehicle. So we're kind of stretching on those a little bit, but primarily most of the parts we make are just for jeeps, OK? And and mostly for the Wrangler specifically, like you look in our catalog and there's I think we're up to almost one hundred and sixty pages. And I would say ninety five percent of that is just Jeep Wrangler stuff.
[00:51:49.900] - Ben Falkner
Hmm, we do make a few unibody things, but. Not a ton.
[00:51:55.740] - Big Rich Klein
Right, you've gotten away from the SJ type. Stuff that you started well, you kind of started with, but but you're not making when you say the unibody stuff, stuff like the Patriot and and some of the other the Grand Cherokees or things like that, correct?
[00:52:16.380] - Ben Falkner
Yeah. We make a few things like just lost the unibody platforms. We just make a simple little kit that's fairly small, like two inches or less. And that's about all we do with them. And we've been working on getting all of the unibody vehicles have at least something, but they're making them and changing them fast enough that it's not that easy.
[00:52:40.650] - Big Rich Klein
Right. And then, you know, how what are the numbers of the people buying those that are looking to really upgrade and use them off road? You know, those kind of numbers to justify the R&D and and then the manufacturing.
[00:53:00.920] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, and that's kind of what what kicked us off of making the Cherokees and Grand Cherokees was the numbers on our sales were just so low that we it cost us more to keep any other stuff on Shelley on the shelf than anything. So real estate's not cheap and if it sits there, you're lose money on it. And so. When the in the numbers got so low that it wasn't worth it, we just started bail on the stuff.
[00:53:30.980] - Big Rich Klein
So let's talk about some of the people that work at Terra Flex that I know. Vincent Pratt is your. What is he is the what's his position, so he's he's moved up in the company from stuffing boxes in the production area. Clear up, too, he is my vice president of sales and marketing, excellent. OK. He's been with us since. Ninety nine or two thousand, I can't remember.
[00:54:08.640] - Big Rich Klein
All right, and then Dennis.
[00:54:11.570] - Ben Falkner
Dennis is I can't remember what his official title is, really, but he's he's kind of the face of terror flux and he goes out and does dealer trainings and stuff like that and is the guy that drew the short straw. And this has to be on all of our videos.
[00:54:29.940] - Big Rich Klein
And but he's got a great personality for that. He really does.
[00:54:35.210] - Ben Falkner
That's kind of how he drew the short straw because everybody loves him and enjoys his personality. So.
[00:54:40.810] - Big Rich Klein
All right. So if anybody is not doesn't know who Dennis is, you got to look at YouTube or the or the the terror Fleck's website or. Go to the Facebook page and and find, you know, the Dennis Wood videos, and they are they are priceless. They really are. You guys have done a great job in. In using his personality, you know, to tie in with the with the company and everything, it's it's pretty phenomenal.
[00:55:16.660] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, Dennis has definitely been an integral part of our. Success with videos and stuff like that, because he's and he doesn't have to act or anything, he's just who he is and it's just enjoyable to watch. It's pretty funny. And so this works out great.
[00:55:34.180] - Big Rich Klein
So you're the third generation running the company?
[00:55:38.560] - Ben Falkner
Yep, the what's the fourth generation coming up look like?
[00:55:43.670] - Ben Falkner
Well, my dad has, I think, twenty four grandchildren. Wow. And. I don't know if there's any of them that wouldn't be interested in running the place, so I would say that that's definitely. Something that you couldn't guess right now.
[00:56:04.500] - Big Rich Klein
OK, if I could say that out of twenty four. Yes.
[00:56:10.590] - Ben Falkner
My kids love it and my daughter works here right now. She's working in production, putting kids together and stuff like that. And my oldest son is begging me to work here as soon as he can. And he will be, I'm sure.
[00:56:27.840] - Big Rich Klein
And he's a talented driver.
[00:56:31.410] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, he's. He's been. Pretty lucky to be able to drive as much as he has and get as much free time on is the only one of my kids that I have and will let start driving. It's an automatic, but I shut that down pretty fast because I let him start driving roar when he could just barely see over the dash and push the brake pedal. And I quickly decided, because I love the driving manual, that he's going to have to love it.
[00:57:05.350] - Ben Falkner
So as soon as he could push in the clutch all the way and see over the dash, we started wheeling together, so.
[00:57:13.030] - Big Rich Klein
Well, he's completed that delta two years with us now.
[00:57:18.130] - Ben Falkner
No, this year was his first year, this year was his first year. OK. Yeah, I would have loved to have done it last year, but we didn't get to have it because of covid and stuff, but true. But in the first year. That I found out that you allow kids that were younger to drive. I was competing and I I didn't I didn't bring a jeep for my son and the Jeep that I had set up, he couldn't really drive it because the seat wasn't adjustable or anything.
[00:57:50.910] - Ben Falkner
Otherwise, I probably would have had to compete. But, yeah, he's he's all amped about it. He was super excited. He got second place and. He's he's definitely grateful that you put on that kind of an event and excited about doing it. He raced BMX and stuff and so he loves competition. And I raced BMX to when I was a kid, so we love to we love to compete in competing with GPS is just even more fun, right?
[00:58:24.110] - Big Rich Klein
It's it's a that BMX seems to be a good stepping stone for a lot of the interviews that I've done.
[00:58:33.140] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, it's it's such a great a great way to compete. You can compete on a personal level, you don't have to have a team and stuff like that, a grown up in the area, I played baseball and. It's, um, basketball, the church and stuff like that, and all these other kids were super into sports, and so I always felt like I was the odd man out. It was clumsy and stuff like that. But out on the racetrack.
[00:59:03.830] - Ben Falkner
There was always kids that I was beaten and there was always kids that were beating me, but I just felt like it was up to me instead of up to the team, and I wasn't dragging anybody down by competing. And so I really hung on to that, enjoyed it.
[00:59:19.010] - Big Rich Klein
I seemed myself to excel more at individual sports than I did at team sports. And I don't know why that was, I I'm not sure, but that's that's been my my background. I didn't race BMX. They didn't even have BMX bicycles. Nobody knew what it was. I mean, we were building our bicycles to be able to go take a more off road, but there was no such I mean, BMX got started when I was, you know, getting into my late, you know, mid to late teens.
[00:59:56.940] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, so you probably had friends with banana seats and all that kind of fun stuff to begin with. Yes. And then we take, you know, I think the first one I had, we got the got rid of the banana seat and put on and I put a seat from a road bike camp Akinola or something like that, how you pronounce it an Italian bike. And I took the seat off of it and put it on the. On my Schwinn and yeah, then everybody in the neighborhood started doing it at.
[01:00:32.400] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, it's. The bikes are just one way to go and it's a good way to learn rhythm and speed and all that kind of stuff. I think it's a great it's a great way to start.
[01:00:46.070] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, it's once again reading terrain. Yeah, so did you guys feel or did you personally feel that? That the Jaquet platform. Really changed the off road or saved the off road industry.
[01:01:05.040] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, for sure. As you know, with the with a family, and I might think about this all the time, because I got a big family, but with you know, the older you got a maximum seating of four people and it's not really. That great if you're trying to reach over tires and tubs to buckle kids into car seats and all that kind of stuff, so the Jaquet having four doors, you know. I love Cherokee's, but I also hate Cherokee's because you can only wheel the Cherokee heart for so long before everything.
[01:01:43.470] - Ben Falkner
Starts coming apart on you, tearing up their bodies, and as soon as that court order came out as like, oh man, this is going to be a game changer because now all of a sudden it's justifiable to be a daily driver and something you can take out in court. And it had a real frame under it. And the wheelbase that they put into it was awesome. And, you know, there's just there's so many things that they did that was good with the Jaquet and it could still remove the topic was to remove the door.
[01:02:18.360] - Ben Falkner
So it's still a Jeep and you could fold the windshield down. That was a joke because it was hideous with the windshield folded down and it was such a long and painful process to get the windshield down. But you could still do it if you really wanted to. And so I was super excited about it. I actually had an LG at the time and. You know, I will do that thing and loved it and. It was pretty basic and just have a three inch lift and some thirty seven, so I really love that Jeep, but when it came to loading kids in the car seats, it was a nightmare because you got your body in the way if you're trying to reach in the side or you got to climb in behind the front seats to get into the back.
[01:03:05.960] - Ben Falkner
And it was just too inconvenient. And so in 09 was when I got my first Jaquet and we had to replace one and everything that we were able to use and stuff like that. But my first personal when I got in 09 and. And I just love that it was so convenient, so fun and. And it was the first new vehicle that I'd ever purchased. OK. That was cool. It was funny to me when I went down to the dealership and.
[01:03:41.690] - Ben Falkner
I just sold my LJ and. I had. Twenty three grand that I got from that, they go down and back then you could get a Jaquet for like twenty five or something. And our guys that we've been buying Jeeps from since the beginning of triplex. He gives us a pretty decent deal on stuff, and so I was able to get that thing for twenty three eight out the door and I was just ecstatic to have this phone stocked, tiny tires because the only options it had was an automatic and hardtop and.
[01:04:21.920] - Ben Falkner
I didn't have any crews. I was lucky, the perceived standard, I it was it was a great job. I loved it.
[01:04:32.450] - Big Rich Klein
Well, I think, you know, because of the the economy and the. Recession, depression, depending on where you're at. What it created in across the United States, especially in our off road industry, is that, you know, the businesses that. That were. Able to pivot. And create their products around the Jaquet, or at least even companies that would businesses that could could do the work on them, really help them survived. That depression time and the Jaquet, I think the timing on it was was perfect, brought so many new people into the market, but I think it saved the Off-Road industry on the whole.
[01:05:29.700] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, I think so, too, because because you're getting all these new customers, because it's justifiable for families, it's more convenient. There's so many more areas that you can use it because you could use it for a daily driver. And it was decent enough to drive like the older jeeps. A is OK to drive, but Jake is so much better to drive if you're driving the Daily are going on a road trip or something like that, it's leaps and bounds ahead and.
[01:06:00.110] - Ben Falkner
Just the comfort level, all that kind of stuff, it made it so that there was a whole lot more people that wanted to get into a Jeep and because there were so many more people that wanted to get into a Jeep, now you have all kinds of different kinds of customers. And it was crazy. How fast are in 20. You could tell that TJ's and. Elegies were complete toys because as soon as the essential. Money was all you had.
[01:06:37.250] - Ben Falkner
A lot of these guys that do construction and all that kind of stuff, a lot of those guys are our customers and as soon as they were living on the bare minimum, all their expense on their toys dropped right in. And it was interesting because now you've got these guys that are JAQUET owners and there is all kinds of old Jeepers Creepers people that didn't even think about going off road. They just wanted this thing to look cool. So all this other market that is gravitating towards the Wrangler and we were selling stuff like crazy and our T.J. and LG stuff just dropped so hard and our Cherokee stuff same time dropped so hard.
[01:07:20.690] - Ben Falkner
We had to rethink things and make sure that we were taking care of these Jaquet customers because that's where all of our sales go to.
[01:07:29.070] - Big Rich Klein
Right, and and like I said, you know, I think that was a that was just great timing and it hit at the right time. I mean, the are. The customer base is not just. Outdoor Zech or the contractor type that used to be involved in Off-Road, it's now everybody and anybody. At.
[01:07:55.240] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, I mean, you if you're in a Jeep dealership and anybody walks in, you have no idea which ones are going to ask for a wrangler, right? It was me in there. I would assume they're all going to ask for a wrangler.
[01:08:09.120] - Big Rich Klein
[01:08:10.150] - Ben Falkner
And then you're shocked by the guys. I want to OK, the ones that are decided, they don't need the off road anymore or. Yeah. Or that they just want that that station wagon more of a station wagon style. Which I have to admit that that's that's where I'm at now, I'm not a I don't consider myself a hardcore wheeler, you know, I'll do the MOAB trails, I'll do the Rubicon trails like that. But I don't go looking to go thrash and bash, you know, in the on the super rock trails.
[01:08:47.540] - Ben Falkner
It's not it's not my style any longer. I like to like the scenery. Yep, although I don't like putting cones on those rock piles.
[01:08:57.480] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, the. I'm kind of I'm kind of in the middle where I still love to seek out really fun technical driving stuff, but I also love to go out and just. See, the beauty, you know, there's a lot that I've seen out there, and I still plan to be a lot more and you don't need an extreme rock roller to see most of it. And if you can have your Jeep that you can drive to these locations and go through the trails and drive home, that's awesome.
[01:09:34.130] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, that's one of the things that I noticed is we did a for the magazine 4Low, we did what we called an ambassador tour and we started off in a in a lifted T.J.. And then the tje that we that we were driving, it smoked a motor, so we called Nina Barlowe and said, hey, we need to finish this up. So she got us one of her GCAS and I didn't want to turn it back in. Because the amount of driving that we were doing, the T.J., even though it was perfect for the trails that we were doing in the parks that we were visiting, the Jaquet was so much more comfortable.
[01:10:15.780] - Big Rich Klein
It was you know, it it just was really hard to. To just not keep it up.
[01:10:26.460] - Ben Falkner
And it's kind of funny, too, because everybody says, you know, that 3:00 a.m. garbage, minivan, motor and people complain about the three six hour doesn't have enough power. But like, I jumped back in the Tjan, I'm like, this isn't any faster. You know, you got this poor leader and it's not any faster than that three, eight or three, six that I was driving know the three six was definitely a jump up. And it's great that they did that.
[01:10:58.510] - Ben Falkner
But, you know, I have a lot of friends that complain about the three eight a.m. and I'm like, you know what, you to go jump in a for later with that four speed automatic and you'll be happy to have a beer or three.
[01:11:14.500] - Big Rich Klein
[01:11:16.120] - Ben Falkner
Because they don't have work like the former leader had. But the horsepower you need it. Yep, and there's still great reasons to do voice and all that kind of stuff, because you can never get enough horsepower, but there's. Even though there are these six and they don't have the low end talk like that statistics, I still think they're a great motor and I still think that the 4Low is a great motor, too. I love those in my tje, but I think if they would have put a floor leader in the JAQUET, it probably would have been a bad call.
[01:11:51.630] - Big Rich Klein
I I agree, I agree, I don't think that I mean. I've driven for years and years and years and years now that that six cylinder, four leader and, you know, they're big and heavy, like you say, they have the torque they don't have. You know, without the geering, you know, more transmission. You know, in closer ratios, you just don't have the power to to load them down or to toe with them or anything like that, and you know, where you can take a smaller motor and again, wait and be able to.
[01:12:32.140] - Big Rich Klein
To get the geering correct. You know, it makes it makes a big difference.
[01:12:39.560] - Ben Falkner
And the other thing about the. V six is all of a sudden we were put in by Thirteen's and five thirty eight some these things and. People are excited about that, but with a foreign leader that wasn't really that great of an option because that motor didn't like being an IRBM know, and the the six cylinder it doesn't mind it likes. It likes the three grand, five grand area.
[01:13:08.270] - Big Rich Klein
Yep, that's that's one of the things I notice, that's why. That the Cherokee that we're building now, the Ninety-eight, is got an unless based motor in it so that I can tow with it. Yes, that's the whole reason.
[01:13:25.190] - Ben Falkner
Then you can have the talk and the R.P.M..
[01:13:27.870] - Big Rich Klein
Yes. So what's what's what's on the future? For terror flights, just I would imagine the gladiator is is something that that you guys are working with.
[01:13:44.290] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, we're we're still through. The two liter turbo, the six cylinder, those motors, but e to work the diesel for buying and. With. That's a lot of different motors when you're used to the case that you had an automatic in a manual. Yeah, 2012, they changed it to three, six and stuff. But we've been spoiled and able to come out with all kinds of different stuff because we haven't had to modify hardly any of our standard suspension and long term kids and all that kind of stuff.
[01:14:26.730] - Ben Falkner
But with the with all the different motor options that they're offered in the jail and the gladiator we've been struggling to keep up with, coming out with new products for these things because we have to verify and test and everything that everything works with each different one. And and then they added the three ninety two as well, which I am so grateful for. I love that motor. I love that it's an amazing race. They should have done that a long time ago, but.
[01:14:57.710] - Ben Falkner
Anyway, we're we're still trying to get our. Our jail and offerings up to what we had, our GCAP, too, so we'll be building bumpers and hopefully we'll get some rocks, ladders out and stuff like that and maybe some straps and stuff like that. Our suspension lines are pretty much dialed in and I think. A few things that we still need to do, but. For the most part, we've got our suspension steering, all that stuff going in for the jail and the jati, but we're we're going to start working on some of the other stuff now and fill out the line.
[01:15:42.680] - Big Rich Klein
And that is that because of packaging and is it not so much the motor, but just the. The frame and all the components that causes that adds frames, brackets, put in batteries in weird places and, you know, when they when they did. Some of the different stuff we did, our our long term kid on the jail and everything under all these brackets for suspension, the drop practice, the geometry, if you in the short term and stuff, we did all that and then they came out with the diesel and.
[01:16:22.140] - Big Rich Klein
There's a few different modifications that had to be made to make those work and then our shocks they put we have that reservoir that goes to the side instead of down parallel with the body, it goes perpendicular. And that was running into some parts and they changed on the diesel and the three ninety two and the four by eight has those same changes. So it's just like when you get projects done and then they come out with new stuff that it doesn't work with, you're starting over again, right?
[01:16:54.990] - Big Rich Klein
[01:16:56.580] - Ben Falkner
We're we're still working on coming out with all the things that we had for Jaquiss for the jail and. As far as on the horizon were. We're just going to keep doing what we were doing with the and anything we can think of that's going to improve the jail or we're going to keep going with it and try new things and. We got, uh, we have a. You know how the jails in the three six motor, especially smoke really bad on steep incline, right?
[01:17:30.930] - Ben Falkner
We have a kit that is available to order now. I think they'll be shipping out either at the end of this week or the first part of next week, but they're they make it so that you don't have to have one of those catch Haines or anything. It basically adds a second PCB valve to the front of the motor so that if you're on a steep incline, instead of sucking up oil from the back of the motor, it means from the front of the motor and allows you the.
[01:17:58.880] - Ben Falkner
Not smoke like crazy on those inclines. The trumpeting is that's one of the things that I've hated about the jail. And the Jaquet had the same problem, but I feel like you could go deeper with the Jaquet before you run into that problem with the thirty six. Hmm.
[01:18:16.660] - Big Rich Klein
OK, I had not I had I have not driven the Jaquet or the jail. I, I've not driven at all yet. The JKR. I had, you know, I had a limited amount of time in it and nothing, you know, too extreme. So I didn't, I didn't know that that was a problem.
[01:18:36.880] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, it's definitely a problem like we were we were down in Moab and. October and without Wilmslow engineers, we did this hot tub and. Some of the engineers had never seen anybody drive through Micki's hot tub, so I was driving and as I'm coming out the other side, all of a sudden I start smoking and it started knocking. And when I started knocking, I shut it off. And we ended up having to get it down to where it was level, and then I bumped the starter to get it to to see if it was going to be in a hydrological situation stuff because it was knocking.
[01:19:17.600] - Ben Falkner
And I didn't realize that if you bumped the starter on that, it doesn't quit until it smokes the starter or the vehicle starts. So it smoked a starter so fast, it was ridiculous. And when we did that, the smoke situation was something had been wanting to fix since the 2012 case came out. But it's never been a high on the priority list until. The engineers were actually out there and saw it happen and they're like, this needs to get fixed because change in a starter out on the trail is done.
[01:19:55.090] - Ben Falkner
And the time that it took us to figure out that it was a starter, like we were calling guys in town and I was they were calling repair shops and stuff that are down there and cheap rental companies and ask them if they've ever seen this. And I called them just for fun motor sports and talked to Curtis and is like, oh yeah, they do that. You need a starter. I was like, are you serious? Like you did it didn't even try to crank it just made a quick sound and then it smelt like electrical fire.
[01:20:26.640] - Ben Falkner
And he's like, yeah, you need to start her. And so we ended up losing another job and had so many minutes at the trailhead with the starter and. We were able to change it out and get get out before it got dark, but. I was like, that's really dumb. And it's crazy that it's the first time I experienced that it was just last October because like with our first jail that I built, we did Carnage Canyon, we did the Rubicon, and we didn't trail the MOAB and all kind of stuff.
[01:21:03.070] - Ben Falkner
And I never had that issue. But I guess some people have it worse than others and. That jeep that we were driving that day, it just suck the oil up so fast, it was ridiculous.
[01:21:13.930] - Big Rich Klein
That's incredible. I didn't even I didn't realize that was an issue, so. That's that's good to know that you guys have got a fix for that.
[01:21:24.750] - Ben Falkner
Yep, and that's cool, because it's it'll probably only take like 15 minutes to install.
[01:21:29.490] - Big Rich Klein
So that's much better, especially for somebody like me. Yeah, just because I hear I don't even change my own oil anymore. I hate to admit that, but it's the main road. It's difficult.
[01:21:45.400] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, as many as much as people say that they maintain their vehicles. I have a hard time believing them after all the stuff that we've gone through. And now we try to make our products as maintenance free as possible because that's what people need, because they really don't pay attention to their vehicles that much. True.
[01:22:03.670] - Big Rich Klein
That's very true. The only one I've I've got my Ford Raptor and that one, I religiously change the oil and do the maintenance on it. But my old ex J. Yeah, no, not so much. But the new one with the Veidt in it, I'll probably be a little more religious on it.
[01:22:22.700] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, well, it's funny, too, because, like, I complain about that, but. I just changed the oil last week in my T.J., I was trying to figure out when the last time I did it was I'm pretty sure it hasn't been changed in the last three years and it doesn't see Miles. But still.
[01:22:44.590] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, just sitting the oil, you know, is it's not good for that, you know, that period of time, KOH. Yep, well, I want to say, Ben, thank you. Is there anything else that that you guys are doing or, you know personally that you're doing that you want to share?
[01:23:03.660] - Ben Falkner
Yeah, I don't know, I just hope is. Enjoying life. Know, we've had last year with social distancing and all that stuff, I was like other than the inconvenience of throwing a mask on and stuff, I was enjoying the heck out of it. And I hope people are just getting out and enjoying life because. You know, being forced into situations where you're not riding in planes or not gathering events or whatever, it's not all bad. And I really enjoyed, you know, some of the things I was disappointed with, like missing the Delta Classic last year.
[01:23:43.200] - Ben Falkner
But I was super excited that we were able to do it this year. And I hope that that's a tradition that keeps going in our family because I definitely love that.
[01:23:52.620] - Big Rich Klein
Well, it's a tradition that we're going to keep going as long as Millard County or let us do it. Awesome. Yeah. Well, Ben, thank you so much for coming on conversations with Big Rich and sharing your history and the business's history. And I want to wish you all the success in the world in the future.
[01:24:14.700] - Ben Falkner
Thanks, Richard, appreciate it.
[01:24:16.290] - Big Rich Klein
All right, and you have a great day to you as well. OK, thank you. If you enjoy these podcasts, please give us a rating, share some feedback with us via Facebook or Instagram and share our link among your friends who might be like minded. Well, that brings this episode to an end. You enjoyed it. Will catch you next week with conversations with Big Rich. Thank you very much.