June 13, 2013

Getting Off The Grid

Very few of us in the world ever have the need for a special purpose vehicle.   It’s pretty much a given for the daily driver to pull quintuple duty as a kid taxi, a grocery-getter, a weekend warrior, a hay hauler, and a moving van crammed with every useless possession from your buddy’s apartment.  For the majority who need to widen the useable range of their vehicle, it’s usually a change of the tires for more traction or a suspension upgrade for better handling, comfort, and performance.  But a small group of people out there meander through their days with a nagging itch, a kind of mind-controlling parasite that overtakes synapse control and reminds the host that they should be doing something else right now at this very moment; more rewarding, more fun, more exciting.  Not next week, but NOW.   For those tortured but able souls, a goal is implanted into their mind and sometimes the end result is nothing short of incredible.  
Enter Barry, a self-made entrepreneur with a penchant for adventure and a passion for landscape photography.   His treks have led him down almost every un-named road in America, down to the capes of South America, even to the frozen shelfs of Antarctica (for the geographically challenged, Antarctica is the pure white continent on the very bottom of the globe).  Barry, knowing that a successful trip relies solely on the equipment you choose, needed a rig that could not only get him to the most remote areas of the planet and back again, but it also needed the ability to haul all the requisite tools, supplies, sundries, survival gear, and gadgets in one mobile platform.  The overlanding that Barry enjoys brings him up close and personal with some of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural formations, monuments, and native flora and fauna; it was imperative for him to find a suitable donor vehicle that would lend itself readily adaptable to his needs and requirements.
No stranger to building an Expedition vehicle, Barry settled on the quite capable and rugged Dodge Power Wagon with its hydro-formed frame rail, built-in Warn Winch, burly AAM axles loaded with Lockers, and the potent Hemi engine.  Hoping for out-of-the-box performance, he soon realized the limits of his stock truck.   Power Wagons were never intended to carry a full time Camper and a thousand pounds of fuel, water, food, camera equipment out into the Badlands or the Outback and the shortcomings became evident on the first adventure.  Needing some serious surgery, a quick search for Dodge Suspension had Barry in Carli’s install bay and discussing with Sage the various needs of his laborious project.   Soon, a Dominator 3.0 System with Long Travel Airbags was being bolted up underneath while Deaver started on a set of custom springs being groomed for a full-time life of pure hell.  

Barry was soon on his way to the wide open trails of Arizona and the rich red hues of Utah’s Hoodoos.   The camper’s higher center-of-gravity and ancillary support equipment were finally kept in check due to the total control afforded with the King 3.0 Dominator shocks.  Barry’s new expedition digs were now a solid footing for him to intentionally get lost in the middle of any random continent, in any given terrain.   His new home-away-from-home is the ultimate tool in the arsenal of any photographer; from the copious storage and auxiliary support gear, to the heavy duty suspension that allows him to get to any location with unhindered access;  this Power Wagon is delivering everything Barry wanted out of a turn-key Expedition rig.
We fell in love with Barry's Power Wagon immediately but honestly we were humbled when we read this exemplary note from Barry himself: 

Sage and Team,

I want to thank you for providing such excellent products and excellent support. Having come from the professional audio industry and being a passionate landscape photographer I am experienced in both the design/manufacturing and use of high performance/high quality gear. The hallmark of truly professional products is that it inspires confidence and enables higher levels of performance. My Carli Suspension has delivered this in spades.

Having built two expedition overland trucks and traveled 10's of thousands of miles on backroads and trails in the last few years, I can say without hesitation that Carli Suspension has been the single most worthwhile upgrade to the vehicle that I have made. The reason is that the Carli Suspension has increased both vehicle performance and capability while reducing operating fatigue. It has raised both my confidence in driving the vehicle and comfort while in traveling in it. Whether I'm making high speed transits on the interstates, blasting down dirt roads or crawling over technical terrain, the ride is composed, compliant and in control. If I were to describe the feel I would call in sinewy- not harsh and not sloppy but a well controlled and well modulated with lots of articulation and stability - The articulation is unbelievable. Now I don't always drive fast but sometimes there are a lot of miles to cover and not much time to do it. It is nice to know that when I need to make tracks, I can do so with complete confidence and a sense of joy. Having owned many high performance German cars over the years I was surprised to feel the same level of performance and sophistication, albiet for a different mission. Now, I can't imagine owning a truck without making this upgrade.

For me, reliability is paramount. Since I generally travel the back country alone, the chance of getting stuck due to a component failure carries serious consequences. This suspension has taken incredible abuse without a hitch- like flying off of whoops on power line roads and rapid transit over primitive trails. For an empty truck this may be no big deal but my rig when fully loaded and carrying camera gear, back up parts, tools, clothing, food, spare fuel and 25 gallons of water can weigh in at excess of 10,000 lbs. Not one single problem has been encountered.

My Dominator 3.0 has also withstood two accidents without anything more than a deformed bushing. In the first case, I hit an unseen 24" boulder with my right front tire while rolling down a trail looking for a path to cross a canyon. (I know, I should have been looking at the road and not the canyon!) The steering wheel got wrenched around about 100 degrees and the alignment was seriously wacked but, amazingly, none of the suspension was damaged. More recently I was broadsided by a car traveling 50 miles an hour. Thankfully, half the blow was taken by the front axle which helped save me and the truck. The impact shifted the axle about 3" to the right and wiped out most of the stock front-end components but much to my amazement only a few bushings on the Carli suspension system were damaged.

If I sound like an enthusiastic owner, I am. As the saying goes, your experience may differ but based upon MY experience I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a Carli Suspension to anyone interested in quality and performance.

Barry Andrews,
Co-Founder QSC Audio Products,
Co-Founder Visionary Wild,

 The snap-shots that Barry is providing are proof positive that his truck doesn’t get to hit the snooze alarm;  every time he hops in the cab it’s Code 3 with Barry at the helm en-route to the next epic backdrop.   We look forward to seeing more stories from Barry and the bag of tricks his Power Wagon is delving into on a routine basis.  

June 12, 2013

The Adventure in Baja Continues….

Moving a business ain’t a joke, particularly when your company is bombarded by orders and the UPS man’s back is cursing the day you were born.   It was all hands on deck when the Semi Trailer showed up to take the first load to the new shop.  24 pallets of coils, boxes, shocks, and powder-coated product were stuffed inside a 53’ van and Carli’s move to 18,000 square feet of breathing room was finally commencing.  

Breaking down racking and shelving, loading fabrication equipment and machines, and strapping 20,000 lbs of leaf springs to a flat deck trailer was just the start for our crew; they had another 2 weeks of warehouse setup and assembly to look forward to all while knowing they had to get their areas setup pronto to resume normal operations. 

Without missing a beat, these guys manned up and got shit handled.   Within 2 days of being in the new building, a small team assembled another batch of ball joints fresh from the Dry-Moly Coaters while the rest of the Carli crew installed the new shelving and created homes for the dozens and dozens of pallets awaiting attention.    Each passing day yielded more shipping volume until the shipping department was up to 100% .

To reward the guys for sticking it through and hustling, Sage wanted to treat them to a weekend down south of the border to watch the Trophy Trucks rip through the Mexican desert with a belching cloud of roost.  It actually couldn’t have worked out any better; a well needed break for the exhausted staff accompanied by a legion of heavy duty trucks stacked with some parts that still needed a good thrashing to prove their worth in the stable.  

Friday Morning started with grabbing the requisite insurance stop at the border, and then it was off to Ensenada to fuel up, top off the coolers, and make a B-line towards San Felipe to scout out a base camp for the night that would put us  up front and center to the race course.    A few hours of wheeling with no pre-determined destination sat well with the whole convoy…   it was just us, the desert trails, and the occasional cow staring back at us while we caravanned down the various trails.   In the end, we posted up on the dry lake bed with plans on driving a few miles to the southern-most point of the race course.

The night gave way to morning with obscene temperatures that instantly made us regret our camping decision.   9 o’clock in the morning and the mercury was swelling at 92 degrees; an obvious reminder that there’s a reason we were in the middle of nowhere watching a race so grueling and evil that the majority of participants don’t even finish the race.   A quick regroup led to a new rally point: Colonet, right on the Pacific Ocean where weather was supposed to be in the 70’s.   Beach weather, camping, Mexican cervezas, tacos, and a fire?   Shit, this is the real Mexican experience we all signed up for.  We topped off the coolers again in San Matias, then headed out to Valle de Trinidad to fuel up, grabbed a few Quesatacos, and proceeded to blast through the vineyard road.  

A few hours later, the beach is in sight, the race is well under way, and we spot a perfect location for an overnight base camp.    Just as the coolers and armchairs hit the ground, the first Trophy Truck comes charging over the hill, sideways and pinned to win.   It’s Robby Gordon, and right on his coat-tails is B.J. Baldwin weaving some man-lines in the rutted dirt that would fold most other vehicles.   We watched and cheered for the TT’s, which then turns to cheering  for the Class 1’s, and then it was time to explore our local camp with a few well-sprung Dodge’s and Super Duty’s.  

New for our Mexico runs is a 2006 Ford F-250 with a full-tilt Carli Pintop Leveling Kit….   Yeah, you read that right: a leveling kit.   This kit features the same King Pintop 2.5’s that is in our taller systems but in a shorter lift height for those fella’s that need to keep their lift to a minimum;  a lot of our customers ask for the leveled stance but with the signature Carli ride quality and performance.   This system delivers just that, and turns out this little bad ass kit can boogie in the dirt, too.   Full Deaver Leaf Springs and a Front Diff Guard rounded out the prowess of this sleeper kit.   Also seeing dirt for the first time was Carli’s new Fabricated Radius Arm for the Super Duty’s.   Built like a M1 Abrams with more bracing than a Dubai skyscraper, these arms laughed off everything Sage could throw at them.   The re-buildable spherical joints allow for unmatched articulation while letting the axle “breath” from constant sharp hits and quick droop-outs.  

Also seeing Mexico for the first time was our 2012 Dodge Megacab with a 6” Bilstein 2.65 Radius Arm System.   The majority of the terrain was eaten up like butter, while the bigger rougher stuff was sloughed off with almost no transfer of energy into the cab.   The ACV’s on the 2.65’s handled the terrain like a champ, pushing back at the terra firma like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson raising hell in the ring. 

Thankfully, the assortment of Rigid light bars again proved they are the best investment in off-road lighting, turning abyss into daylight.   A couple of amber 20” lights bars cut through the silt dust allowing the Carli caravan to chow down the trails with blistering speed and pure confidence.    Chalk up another win for the boys at Rigid Industries and Carli Suspension.  

For the Baja veterans in our group,  it was another day-in-the-life weekend of pounding on some new trails that always seemed to get away while refining some drifting skills on a few dozen choice apex’s.    The Baja Newbies not only got to see the sights and thrills of being in a foreign land to watch history happen, but they also got to see the product they fabricate and assemble in action; for most of these greenhorns it was an eye-opening experience to see what a Dodge could do in the whoops, or to watch a Ford make a Baja plateau it’s little bitch.   These guys definitely walked away from the experience humbled and full of pride knowing that they are part of a team that delivers the absolute very best suspension components for any Heavy Duty truck worth owning.   I have a feeling they’ll be chomping at the bit for Round 2 shortly…..  

June 11, 2013

Welcome to the new Digs….

Year 2013 is kicking off with a bang for Carli.   Introduction of the Ford Super Duty Leveling Kits has yielded overwhelmingly positive feedback, while we have been honing our CAD software skills on the new Ford Radius Arms (sneak a peak of these bad boys on an upcoming blog installment).    The Dodge shock tunes continue to get small tweaks on our never ending quest for a “do-it-all-and-do-it-well” package.   The new “Commuter” Systems are hitting the highways, designed and intended for the guys and gals that never let their rigs leave the asphalt and are only concerned with extracting as much ride quality as they can from their daily driven pavement pounders… and this kit delivers just that.  

The biggest change for Carli has been our jump to a larger facility in the middle of Corona, California.   Nestled between thousands of Industrial buildings, Carli is now neighbors with Currie Enterprises, Fender Musical Instruments, Monster Energy, Lexani Wheels, Famous Stars & Straps, and more boat manufacturers than a Summer Regata at Lake Havasu.   The decision to occupy 18,000 square feet of warehousing and fabrication areas was made quick when we realized we could service our customer’s orders more expeditiously and with larger volume.   The newfound real estate opened up bottle necks, gave us vast room for shelving to stock more product, and allowed the expansion of our welding and shipping departments.  We have doubled our staffing in our warehouse to ensure orders are processed and fulfilled in quick fashion. 

Something to note is that Carli Suspension doesn’t buy magazine ads or sponsor events to promote our product.   The likely reason you found yourself here is because you heard of us being mentioned by a friend, colleague, family member, or group affiliate.   The reputation we earned over the years for delivering outstanding product and customer service has been garnered via word-of-mouth, which is pretty darn amazing.   This is what drives us to continue improving everything we do.   Carli was founded and built around the customer and their feedback; our success is the direct result of our commitment to quality and your desire for it, and we appreciate every single one of you for taking the time to look at what we have to offer.  
From specially tuned shocks to custom-built leaf springs, Carli has your truck covered.   There’s pretty much no type of project we haven’t tackled, be it a full race truck, a Camper-equipped HD Dodge with a full time position as Expeditionary Outpost Alpha, or a Daily driver for a retired couple with recent back surgery’s whom desperately want to take their truck across the country on a road trip without sending them back to physical therapy.   The more information we have about your particular needs and goals, the closer we can get your truck the way you always thought it should have been in the first place.  

Keep an eye out for more projects, news, and announcements coming down the pipeline.    We're going to have your head spinning shortly....