Bio Kustumz has been the kind of low-key, badass shop that only a select few know about. They mainly build crazy race suspensions, old custom rods, and hot rods, but of course, every mini-truck they've ever touched has been something to talk about. It all started with Ernie Macias' first Mitsubishi, which was on the cover of our February '03 issue. That truck took a lot of people by surprise and ever since then Bio Kustumz has been a shop to reckon with. The whole point of hanging out with these shops and doing the shop tours is so that you, our readers, can really get to know the people behind the trucks, because after all is said and done, cool trucks come and go; at the end of the day, this lifestyle is more about the PEOPLE and the sick trucks they build!
Sandy (Max's old lady) owns...
Sandy (Max's old lady) owns this '40 Ford that she chopped, sectioned, and pancaked the hood on. She did all her own welding, cutting, and grinding (Steve-o, watch out; she's coming for your job!).
Every good shop needs a decent...
Every good shop needs a decent graveyard where all of the "As soon as I get some free time" projects can wait patiently.
Bio Kustumz consists of Max...
Bio Kustumz consists of Max Fish (right) and Steve Wilk (left).
So here's how Max Fish, the owner of Bio Kustumz, sees himself and his shop:
"Our strong point would probably be suspension and chassis design, but our sheetmetal work is pretty good, too. We will never look at a skill and think, "We're good enough at that; let's move on." We're always looking for better ways to do things, how to make it look nicer, and most importantly, how to do it right. Building so many different types of vehicle is a major learning tool. Designing a long-travel off-road front suspension has many similarities to figuring out how to get a mini-truck to lay out on 20s and still lift high enough to be able to turn. Building mountain bike frames forces us to learn engineering. The abuse that those mountain bikes can endure is obscene, and that knowledge is used on off-road trucks, etc. One thing that is very important to us is the design and engineering phase of every project. Many people can fabricate and many people can engineer, but not very many can do both. Our ability to do both gives us a major advantage. Take for example bags (or air springs for you technical-minded people). By now, most of us have ridden in a bagged vehicle of some sort. How many of you can say that you were truly impressed with the ride? Designing the system to do what the vehicle will be primarily used for will ultimately net the best results. Bag choice and suspension design are the two most important decisions to make. You're all welcome to come down to the shop and visit or get an opinion or show us your project or just check out whatever it is we're working on. We are always eager to show off, just call first."
Max begins every major project by designing the suspension and drawing out the actual pivot points and cycles the suspension all the way through until he has perfected the suspension geometry and design. Max is truly a perfectionist when it comes to the engineering side of things. Above all else, he prides himself on an accurately performing suspension. You could say that every fabricator has one thing they specialize in (and enjoy doing the most), and for Max that would be chassis design. So check out all of the little tidbits we stole from breaking the lock on Max's purple diary, and if suspension perfection is something that's important to you, then definitely check out Bio Kustumz. For more information refer to the source box.
Max is an avid mountain biker...
Max is an avid mountain biker and decided, rather than using second grade equipment, to engineer and build his own line of mountain bikes.
Owner: Maximilian Joseph Fish (Max Fish)
Married With One Kid
'92 Bronco Ii Clipped With Toyota Suspension, Built Full Chassis, 5.0 Mustang Motor, Chopped 2 Inches And Body Dropped To Rocker, Evened Rear Windows Out Level With Front Doors, Done In '99
First 'Bagged Vehicle:
Joe's Accord In '95
First 'Bagged Truck:
'92 Nissan Hardbody In '97
First Body Drop:
'92 Nissan Hardbody In '97
First Stock Floor:
'92 Toyota In 1998
First Chop Top:
'92 Toyota In 1998
First Air-Tank Frame:
'91 Full-Size Chevy In '98
First Suicide Doors:
'96 Blazer In '98
Number Of Vehicles Owned:
How Long In Business:
Opened In '97, Began As Mechanic, Dad Was A Mechanic And Max Did His First Oil Change When He Was 8 Yrs Old. Evolved Into A Love Of Customs And Began Fabricating And Welding Fresh Out Of High School At Age Of 18 With Business Partner Joe Mccluskey (Who Parted Ways In 2000)
First Cover Truck:
Lane Hofarth '89 Mazda 2600i In '01
Max Has Employed 8 People Over The Years But Has Found That His Perfectionism Keeps Him Performing Most Of The Fabrication. He Has Only One Employee That Has Proven Himself Over The Years, Steve Wilk. Steve Has Been With Max For Almost Four Years And They Continue To Work Together Flawlessly.
Current shop projects:
'Bagged and body dropped 4-door Blazer, full frame build Toyota Tacoma, '66 Chevelle with full 4130 chromoly chassis, supercharged LS-6, independent hand-built rear suspension, Jerry Horton's (guitarist from Papa Roach) '51 Merc chopped, shaved, and 'bagged, layed out on 20s
Max's Personal projects:
'56 Buick, '64 Lincoln, '61 Caddy, '50 Fleetwood, Custom Motorcycles, and custom mountain bikes (Scandal Bikes)
Ernie "Big Ern" Macias stands...
Ernie "Big Ern" Macias stands next to his new Mitsu project hoping to outdue himself with this buildup.
A few examples of what Max...
A few examples of what Max can do to a mini-truck.
Steve didn't want to feel...
Steve didn't want to feel left out, so we promised him we'd use this pic of him standing next to his "I swear I'm going to finish it" S-10 (yeah, I know I don't have much room to talk... haha).
If you plan on having a built engine and plan on putting a few miles on it, then we can't think of anything being more important than keeping the powerhouse cool. To spend tons of hard-earned cash on your motor just to have it blow up in your face is every power hungry enthusiast's worst nightmare. Since we were at Bio Kustumz for their well deserved shop tour, we figured why not let them give us the skinny on extreme cooling.
1. Due to the nature of our...
1. Due to the nature of our subject, the radiator is to be installed in front of the core support right behind the grille.
2. To start, Max and the crew...
2. To start, Max and the crew at Bio decided to go with the largest diameter double pass radiator they could get their hands on. This is a 28x19-inch aluminum radiator core with dual 1-inch tubes.
3. Here's a look at the machined...
3. Here's a look at the machined waterneck and the bung for the overflow tank.
4. This is the custom-machined...
4. This is the custom-machined inlet and outlet for the radiator.
5. The tranny cooler and oil...
5. The tranny cooler and oil cooler will also be built-in to save on space. The tranny cooler is the larger unit up top, similar to those found on some GM trucks.
6. Here's a look at one of...
6. Here's a look at one of the two high-performance Perma Cool 14-inch fans to be installed to help with the cooling duties.
7. These are the patterns...
7. These are the patterns used to mock up the side tanks. One side is tapered to avoid the mounts for the grille.
8. Here is where the inlet...
8. Here is where the inlet and outlet meet up; in the middle you see the separator. The coolant will go through the inlet and then pass through the radiator twice before exiting from the outlet. The coolant will pass through the chamber that houses the oil and tranny coolers as well.
9. This illustrates the oil...
9. This illustrates the oil and tranny coolers and the start of the end tank that will house them.
10. And here's the radiator...
10. And here's the radiator all welded up and almost ready to be installed.
11. This is the fan shroud...
11. This is the fan shroud that suspends the two 14-inch Perma Cool fans. They boast 2,950 cfm a piece, which should have no trouble putting a dent in the heat of the coolant. The fans were mounted low on the radiator so you can't see them through the grille shell.
12. Bio figured, why not fab...
12. Bio figured, why not fab up an overflow tank to complement their radiator? The tank was shaped to be flush mounted into the custom core support. Here is the area they have to work with.
14. The aluminum was drawn...
14. The aluminum was drawn to shape and tacked together to check for fitment.
15. This is the finished overflow...
15. This is the finished overflow tank ready for installation.
16. The overflow is a perfect...
16. The overflow is a perfect fit and looks right at home in the custom core support.
17. This is the finished results...
17. This is the finished results of a lot of intensive labor. The engine couldn't be any cooler unless you threw ice at it.