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Tru-Billet Fuel Door

The Tru-Billet Original Fuel Door from SHR

     A close-up of our Polished, clear-anodized fuel door for the 2005-09 Mustang (one of many specific-fit doors we make) that was on our SEMA show car. Notice stainless hardware throughout, press-fit Neodymium magnets, and all features are milled into one of the two solid 6061 T-6 aluminum billets that start out weighing a total of up to seven pounds from which we manufacture our doors. The body line is also crisply machined in the proper location to assure a seamless fit. This photo is of the actual production piece that is on the #05 car to this day, visible at car shows, as well as outside in the elements every day, to prove our products will withstand the harshest of elements.

 

A close up of the SHR hinge area with all stainless hardware

Here you can see our stainless steel hinge pin, retaining screws, and washers, all of which are held in place with Loctite, and are adjusted for a perfect fit on this silver-anodized finish part. The small-diameter precision-ground stainless spacers on the hinge pin almost blend in completely when open or closed, not attracting any attention, just doing the job required of them keeping the precise door to ring gap correct.
 

The "Other Guys"

Here are perfect examples of the difference in quality that the "other guys" don't want to tell you about.  There are other pieces out there that don't fit nearly as well, don't have the proper finishes applied to critical parts, and were obvious "knock-offs" of our part which we brought to the market in December of 2005, almost a full year ahead of some of the ones out there.  Made of course right here in our own production facility in the USA, our piece clearly shows what is possible when quality comes before margins.  The competition quickly realized that they could duplicate our basic ideas, but wanted to cut corners to reduce their cost, and maximize their profit.  The result?  The part you buy from them *might* be a little lower cost initially, but take a look at the images here and decide for yourself if what you save is worth what you receive for it.  The pieces photographed are from major companies on their show cars or displays at major events we attend. 

Competitor's fuel door fit and finish

What were our competitors thinking here? This was actually one our dealers who figured they could make a competitive product and piggyback on our success. Did anyone check what the OEM body line was and if their line was even close? Let's not even discuss how the diameter is not only incorrect, but fails to fit the quarter panel opening at the top where it is most visible. The screws used on the face were selected because it hides the fact that the ring is much thinner than ours, resulting again in a cost savings to the manufacturer. The reason they made it thinner? Not for weight savings - but so they could STAMP their part to save even more - not provide more. In the original images, the clamp marks from the stamping process can be clearly seen!

Competitor's fuel door plastic hinge bushing and finish

Using plastic spacers to keep the door gap consistent is not such a good idea, unless of course you want everyone to be looking at them on a black-anodized part.  We also wonder if they specified UV resistant polymers or just opted for some regular plastic... time will tell.  Also, why does the door and the ring have two different finishes - if you are going to brush the part before anodizing, why not match the ring to it?  At least then they could have attempted to hide their clamping marks seen in the previous photo.

Competitor's rusting hinge screws.

This shot took us a while to figure out.  We couldn't understand why the rusting hinge retaining screws were being held captive with the plastic - until we measured the thickness of their door and realized that "off the shelf" black-oxide cap screws were not available as short as they needed, hence the big spacer to take up the slack of the screw threads.  Also, note the square edges of the finger pull - compare to ours which is machined with a ball endmill for a smooth, natural feel with no sharp edges.

Competitor's acceptable machining finishes

This competitor's door (actually the one offered by Ford as a replacement "billet" released circa 2007)was an education in machining gone bad - the raw mill marks are clearly seen, and more importantly FELT on the backside of the door, and the retaining pin is what is denting the door! Burr marks are clearly visible where the hinge details were machined out, but not cleaned up. The hinge spring area is rusting, but luckily for this manufacturer, all the plastic and rubber is hiding most of it for the moment.

Why use magnets when you can bounce off of a rubber stop

Here the Ford piece at least got the finger pull looking like ours, but then they skimped out and instead of installing magnets (which would then require a striker plate to receive them) they got cheap and just used rubber bump-stops.  Way to go there to save a few pennies...

Our final example for this exercise is an officially licensed piece from UPR - wait - actually Power and Performance Depot which has their home address as their primary location (which makes us wonder, how do they make these parts at their house for a Big 3 Auto maker?) - doing business exclusively through UPR / Ford Motor Company - here is why licensed does not always mean better...

On UPR's own website they claim, "with a 3 step machine show quality polished finish or satin finish" - what they forget to mention is their Satin and Polished finishes are both bare aluminum, which will not hold up nearly as well as anodized or plated aluminum outdoors (ours exceed Mil-Spec as well as GM's rigorous accelerated salt spray tests), and no finishing, chemical or otherwise, is done to the inside of their door. Why don't they finish the part? Two words - cost savings. But they charge the same amount as we do for a piece that goes in the same location! Now who's really saving you money?


No protective finishing for use outside

This little detail is meant to deceive you, and that is the best way we can put it, and for this, they save literally PENNIES!! On their site, and wherever these "licensed" products are shown, they normally state, "All our doors are assembled with stainless steel hardware machined washers" - except stainless steel doesn't normally rust, and it is not magnetic either! Want to check? Put a magnet up to our hardware, and with the exception of our galvanneal strike plate and neodymium magnets all of our hardware is stainless steel, and won't rust out on you (like this one pictured from UPR). It's one of the easiest ways we spot fakes that try to pass themselves off as our products!

unprotected steel being passed off as stainless

Stainless doesn't rust like this (above) and magnets don't stick to 18-8 Stainless like this (below):

Not so stainless steel

So in closing, we know there are competitors out there who love to make bigger margins so they can afford bigger advertising budgets to tell you why their product is so awesome, but we believe in putting our money into our products themselves, and letting the product do the talking. It's your money, you decide what you want on your car or truck - quality, or, well, whatever it is these guys are trying to sell you!