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Go Back   Madabout Kitcars Forum > Mad Build Area > Marlin 5exi builds

Marlin 5exi builds Calling all you sexi builders....sorry 5exi builders, show us your progress.

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  #1  
Old 5th January 2008, 18:11
5EXi girl 5EXi girl is offline
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I often check the Marlin forums at madaboutkitcars and am normally very pleased to see that it is mainly growing to be a very good site run by some very dedicated 5EXi / Sportster builders. If however, anyone has any cause for complaint I would encourage them to contact me personally so that these can be dealt with promptly and efficiently. Recently a few negative comments have been put on the site which have not given a true reflection of Marlin Cars and I answer these topics below: -

a) So 'What would you do different'?

Marlin have never expected people to buy all their parts from us, only the parts that we make which are specific to the car and can not be sourced elsewhere. We acknowledge that by spending time and effort shopping around and you can possibly find a cheaper price from a breakers or online. Buying the parts from Marlin however guarantees that you are then using the correct parts for your car and saves you the time and effort of purchasing from multiple sources.

We would also like to reply to the following remarks regarding the racing
side of the business.

"If Marlin can fit a complete new back-end onto marks race car and swap
everything over and have it running 4-5 weeks later, why cant they produce
the kits quicker?"
"Perhaps that's rhetorical - the race car is prioritised, at the expense of
kits?"

During the course of the race season our sponsors, our race customers and their sponsors expect that the Marlin race cars will be competing at every race meeting of the season. The 5EXi is competing against the likes of Ferrari, Mazda, Caterham etc in the highly competitive Castle Combe Special GT Championship. This provides us with one of the best opportunities to further enhance the performance and handling of the car quickly and safely, the benefits of this are incorporated into the kits we produce and to any existing owner wishing to take advantage of the latest developments.

b) Rubbing down gel coat

We accept that there were some occasions when a small number of bodies were highlighted as having less then perfect gel coats. This led us to searching for and appointing a new supplier. The new supplier has agreed that they will be much more accommodating should any problems arise in future. These bodies are made as light as is practically possible without the use of more expensive raw materials such as woven mat, carbon fibre, diolin or other more exotic materials. This ensures that our customers receive maximum value for money and will be able to afford the repairs if any accidental damage occurs! As we have previously stated we particularly make a racing car body as light as possible which probably weighs less than half that of the production car bodies. This helps to ensure that the race car bodies are as light as possible, all of which aids competitive performance.

c) What's Happening?

I think this was well covered in our reply to Charles.

We are actively engaged in building our new, bigger and improved manufacturing site to satisfy the demand for orders that have been placed to produce cars before the end of this year. Kits, racing and building cars will remain a vitally important part of Marlin's expanding business activities.

During the office move last year we experienced a lot of problems with our phone lines and broadband because BT had to apply for planning permission to dig up the road and put the new lines in, all of this took far longer than anticipated. We did everything we could to speed up the process but at the end of the day we were in the hands of other organisations. As a direct result of this, it understandably caused some customers considerable frustration due to the lack of response from us. We can only apologise for any inconvenience caused but this only happened for the reasons explained above and is not representative of the normal service we provide. We are pleased to report that all of these issues have now been resolved. In order to prevent anything like this happening in future we are currently setting up a separate dedicated email address support@marlinsportscars.co.uk - any emails sent to this address will be dealt with within 24 hours and a receipt confirmation will be sent to you immediately. Please note that this address is to only be used when you need specific technical advice or have a query or comment that can not be dealt with by either the dedicated technical help line number 07748 235630, the office no. 01363 773772 or by emailing Terry on terry@marlinsportscars.co.uk.

If we get asked questions via this email address we will be happy to answer
them in a way that could then be published on line to help others and may
well also use on our FAQ pages on web site.

This will then be superseded by a dedicated forum, which is currently being worked on and we plan to have this live by Spring 2008. We welcome any comments about this and suggestions of categories you would like to see up there. If any of you budding builders would like to be in at the beginning of this do please let me know.


Kind Regards
Terry & Mark

I have also copied the same replies to the 3 topics so they can not be missed.
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  #2  
Old 5th January 2008, 20:09
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eaa53 eaa53 is offline
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Terry - Mark

May I first of all say thank you for responding to the forum.

You are in a difficult position currently and there a lot of intelligent and dedicated builders who read the site, some even contribute , who will pick up on anything you say. What ever you respond with will always be interpreted differently by different readers.

but you are reading and responding good… perhaps we can all improve the experience of working with you.

The first comment I would make is communications.
You needed to move the factory and nobody would criticise that, it was your choice. In addition there have been planning problems and project management issues that have affected your customers. All we need to know is what is happening, the newsletter appeared some weeks ago with a promise of an update that I have not seen yet.

Quality control, there have been a number of issues that have affected builders directly in the assembly area! We are a proud bunch and like to think we can solve anything, in the main when we do complain it’s because we have spent may hours trying to fix the unfixable because it was wrong to start with. All we ask is that we are taken seriously and listened too.

Build information, it’s a kit car I know but the build detail is, I will try to be generous, poor.
When I built a Robin Hood supplied in the original days of Richard, I have a pair of videos that would frighten children under 10 and could have been made by school children, that I thought were poor but at least it was a comprehensive effort to explained the problems, not just a picture of a red ended screwdriver pointing at a nondescript bit of the assembly with no explanation of what the issue was..
I am just reviewing the wiring diagram supplied with the loom and as a time served electronics and instrument engineer I am failing to decode the colour coding used. (What colour is UW or N and if B is Black what is BW Blue/White or Black/White?) The loom has no labels on it and it took me 2 hours to identify which bit was the front and which was the back of the car. It would be so easy to make this simple.

I have now reviewed 3 built cars and talked to the owners and I am only now beginning to grasp the magnitude of the build ahead of me.

Modifications, I will modify the build, some of the proposed engineering is inadequate sorry Mark but its obvious to a two year old. I am making a list of the changes and adjustments that I will make to improve my build and the end result. These are all known to you and are on this forum.

Please accept this as a critical friend, we all love the car and enjoy a challenge of building it please make it easier for us to love doing business with you.

eaa53
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  #3  
Old 5th January 2008, 21:31
DavidH DavidH is offline
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Terry, Mark,

Many thanks for your response to the forum, we all appreciate it.

I am very interested by some of your plans. Especially concerning the idea to create another forum. My first thought was why as we have this one, but after a few minutes more thought I changed my mind.

I guess this could actually work well in combination with this forum. This forum would to continue being a forum for builders by builders (e.g. may contain mod's as well as the general chatter that Marlin maybe does not want to officially approve), also giving crucially an independant voice (this is important as without this forum I would never have placed an order, I wanted to see what I was getting into warts and all first). The new forum would help by becoming a specific repository on specific support issues.

One of the things I did when I decided I was gonna build a 5exi was read the forum from start to finish (on the advice of Rich). So while hes been polishing his car to pursuade me to buy rather than build I took a month to read all the posts . It was very worthwhile and I hope I can remember where they all are when I need them. However I did think on many an occasion that some ordering of the posts under subject areas, would be beneficial now the forum has grown to the level it has .

Quote:
Originally Posted by 5EXi girl View Post
This will then be superseded by a dedicated forum, which is currently being worked on and we plan to have this live by Spring 2008. We welcome any comments about this and suggestions of categories you would like to see up there.
The ones I would suggest off the top of my mind are:

General Discussion
Donor Questions
SVA tips and Advice
Suspension & Chassis
Brakes
Engine (K-Series)
Engine (Honda)
Electrics and Wiring
Bodywork
Tuning and Mod's
Social - Meetup's, Trackdays, Shows

I guess the other approach would be to split it up into the sections of the build manual, hence providing a way to update the build manual with the learning in time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 5EXi girl View Post
If any of you budding builders would like to be in at the beginning of this do please let me know.
I'm quite happy to help in anyway I can as I start building.

David.
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  #4  
Old 6th January 2008, 18:32
dylanp dylanp is offline
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Just wanted to share my past Marlin experiences with everyone on this forum.

As some of you know I was one of the first customers to buy a 5Exi kit, and I believe my car was the second or third to go through SVA and be driven on the road.. I still think mine holds the record for the longest road trip (UK-Sweden) ;-)

Also, as most of you know I have signed up for Marlin's race package and will be racing in the Castle Combe Special GTs this year (my third season of racing with Marlin prepared 5Exi).

So as you can imagine I have had plenty of involvement with Marlin over the last few years - which is why I feel that I should mention my personal experiences...

I have to say that Marlin crew is extremely dedicated to their products and I always got the impression that they made time to speak to me and answer any queries I had...

Sure, like any other business in the UK, there were occasions when I felt that I was let down (things like unanswered email, parts turning up 2 days late, etc) - but more often than not it turned out that there was a perfectly logical explanation for their 'poor' service. Overall however, I've always firmly believed that I could 'count' on Marlin - which is why I was very surprised to hear about some of your recent experiences.

Obviously Marlin are currently going through a tough phase with their factory move - but lets be realistic - we all know how stressful it is to move home - nothing ever goes right.. I can't even imagine the magnitude of problems that can occur when moving a whole factory!!

However, I am absolutely confident that everyone at Marlin at trying their hardest to resolve their current issues and resume their usual service (and like Terry says hopefully offer even better service and products).

Marlin is a relatively small company that very much cares for its customers (far far more than any bigger factory would).

As an example, I was once in Marlin factory for a car check up before my big UK-Sweden trip.. Marlin discovered a problem with the transmission on the car at about 5pm. Any other factory would have said - bad luck, we'll look into it the next day! Marlin however worked into the evening to resolve the problem and I was on my way at 10PM!! That kind of customer touch is not often found! I challenge anyone to give me a similar example with Westfield, Caterham, etc?

So my message to any current or future builders is: GO FOR IT! Don't think twice!

Terry: I personally think that your idea of setting up a dedicated 'Marlin forum' is spot on. I am sure it would go a long way towards improving the service that you provide to your customers - present and future! Let me know if you need any help with setup of the Forum - as you know IT is my game ;-)

Good luck & see you in Castle Combe for the first race..

Dylan
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  #5  
Old 7th January 2008, 13:15
5EXi girl 5EXi girl is offline
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We would like to respond to the last 3 emails that have recently been put up on the site in response to my last email.

1) Reply to Eaa53 We would like to reply to your email but need to know who to address it to first please.

2) Reply to DavidH. Many thanks for your positive comments which we were glad to receive. You are right our intention is, in no way, to replace the already popular forums on mababoutkitcars. We feel that by having a 5EXi and Sportster forum on our own web site we can be much more active in the content keeping everyone up to date with the regular developments here at the factory. Also it would mean that any problems aired by our builders could be dealt with very quickly and if necessary, we could include pictures as well. Regarding your suggestions about the content of the forum these are very close to what we had in mind…so watch this space :-) Thanks.

3) Reply to Dylan. Again thank you so very much for your support and all your comments. We wish more builders would contact us when they have an issue or problem needing solving as I am sure – as you have found – that this can help solve it far quicker, especially now we have our dedicated help line manned by Simon. I have also taken on board the comments from yourself and others, that my lack of communication sometimes lets us down and I will try to resolve that for 2008. ;-) Finally we want to say a big thank you, regarding your support offer to help set up the forum and we will be in touch.

Kind Regards
Terry & Mark

Ps The new dedicated email is now up and running
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  #6  
Old 7th January 2008, 14:18
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MartinClan MartinClan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5EXi girl View Post
We wish more builders would contact us when they have an issue or problem needing solving as I am sure – as you have found – that this can help solve it far quicker, especially now we have our dedicated help line manned by Simon. I have also taken on board the comments from yourself and others, that my lack of communication sometimes lets us down and I will try to resolve that for 2008. ;-)
Terry, Mark

Pleased to hear this positive response from Marlin. I think many of the "less the less than positive" comments on this forum (and I have to own up as being as guilty as anyone else on this ) stem from lack of communication which is sometimes interpreted as something else.

So - once again very pleased to see Marlin taking this positive response.

As for a dedicated forum ran by Marlin - great. But from personal experience - and a friendly hint to Marlin here - setting up a forum is relatively straightforward - finding the time afterwards to manage it is the hard bit. You will be amazed at the rubbish that turns up on it!

Robin
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Old 8th January 2008, 09:32
5EXi girl 5EXi girl is offline
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Dear John (eaa53) thank you for responding yesterday and letting us know who you are.

We understand that you have brought a part built kit and from what I can see before your last email on the forum the only correspondence we have had from you was after you had brought this kit and requested a CD build manual from us. So it seems we have yet to meet you or have any of the initial discussions regarding our kits suitably. OK. The following is from Mark and he hopes it will clear up any misconceptions you have about the kit and us as a business.

Let’s start with a point close to most people hearts. Your comment “Build information, it’s a kit car I know but the build detail is, I will try to be generous, poor”.

I accept that the CD build manual is limited but it was only ever been intended as an aide-memoire for people with whom I had already had lengthy discussions during their visit to the factory and also when picking their kit up.

1) Ref non descript part
In the trade ….we call the part an upright – there are four in your kit, one for each corner of the car. The red tipped screw driver in the picture that you refer to on the build manual, is to show one of its number of tapered holes. This is indicated this way so as to remind you to think of this area when building. A following picture clearly shows that you then need to clean any paint or contamination from its mating surfaces. Simple DIY mechanics stuff really … but the picture was intended to offer a nudge.

2) Ref wiring problems
To help you here I would need to be sure of a few things for instance: the exact donor/engine & gearbox detail, date of manufacture etc. The kit was originally built for a basic Rover 25 series donor. If you look in the Haynes manual at the right diagram page this will give you the loom codes … it will also help you to understand your donor part connections. It does happen, from time to time, that some wires may be slightly differently coloured but the changes will be straight forward to understand – to be honest two hours to fix and come to understand a wiring loom (in any car) is not bad going I think. I will explain further.
The fuse box is to fit in front of the driver (bulkhead well). From there you have 3 major spurs in the loom
a) The longest (inc lights) to the rear of the car.
b) The next longest (inc heater controls) across the dash
c) Finally (inc fuel pump & lights) to the front of the car. Here also there are feeds and connections for the steering column switches. I don’t see, given that the fuel tank with its pump is at the front of the car and the distance to the rear light assemblies is so great, why it then took you 2 hours?

3) Your quote “Modifications, I will modify the build, some of the proposed engineering is inadequate sorry Mark but it’s obvious to a two year old”
I regard this as an utterly childish and immature comment when you have no apparent knowledge of my working history. It does however make me feel less inclined to try and help you. ;-)

Reference your quote “it’s because we have spent many hours trying to fix the unfixable because it was wrong to start with” I can not comment on the unfixable ‘because it was wrong to start with’ until you are more specific. The same goes for quality control.

This is a reply to a ‘critical friend’, a friend that I don’t even know!


From Terry Reference your question “all we need to know is what is happening, the newsletter appeared some weeks ago with a promise of an update that I have not seen yet”
We have our reasons for not sending out our annual newsletter before Xmas or the need to have to explain why. However the newsletter is now ready and I will be sending out the link to it either today or tomorrow.

N.B John, Mark does not know I am writing the following but I feel it’s important to do so. There is no need for you to reply. 

If you feel the need to slate Mark’s engineering expertise in public it will be worth you noting that Mark has been in the kit car business for over 20 years and is one of the most respected engineers in the industry. All of the Kit magazines have put this in print on more than one occasion when testing our cars with the more recent having been written by Neil Lydon and published in The Sunday Telegraph Magazine. Quote: “Mark Matthews may be the most inspired architect of kit-cars in Britain, a man consistently capable of turning out products that combine a chutzpah in design with the most delicate and desirable balance of dynamic qualities”.

With regards
Terry & Mark
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  #8  
Old 8th January 2008, 18:39
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Ok, interesting thread but please refrain from personal insults, it doesn't benefit anyone.

Mark - Marlin, please accept that whilst you may have 20 years experience of building/designing kits, most of your customers havn't so what might seem obvious or trivial to you is a show stopper for someone else.....unless they get the right support.

John

Madabout-Kitcars.com
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