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Why would anyone want to fit an ARB air locker?

Discussion in 'Differentials' started by mattyboii, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. mattyboii

    mattyboii New Member

    Hi Sam, and thanks for getting in touch some years after putting in an initial complaint to head office. It seems that the only way i was able to stir any sort of response was to post my experiences freely over the web for all to view.
    It is quite upsetting that it has taken so long to have had a reply as i have left my contact details and the details of the 4WD company i work for with the "complaints department" of the NSW head office.
    Anyway moving along a few things i would like to clear up is that the air locker mentioned earlier in this thread was a genuine ARB air locker. It did have a hand engraved serial number etched into the carrier which is as useful as a date and time stamp on a tomato sauce bottle. It doesn't directly tell the model number or the part number and to Warren at ARB Penrith it appeared that he simply could not be bothered looking up the diff in old catalogues as the locker was manufactured something like 7 years earlier.
    I found this out through Warren at Moorebank as he did some digging and was able to use the professionally hand engraved serial number and measurements i had taken to work out which model this genuine ARB locker was and was able to tell me the year of production.
    To throw a further spanner in the works i have seen and fitted lockers sourced from both china and ARB Penrith and i believe maybe was Richmond (i cant remember wich store the customer purchased it from exactly as was a while ago) where on the carrier housing they all had serial numbers - uncanny i know for a product solely made in Aus.

    I would like to ask what inaccuracies exactly have i made in my post in relation to the air locker and further like to ask would you expect something like a hub seal to last the entire life of the vehicle?
    Neoprene seals (O-rings on the earlier models and figure of 8 style or squished double O-rings on the later models) that sit inside a housing and rub on a steel housing when ever the vehicle is in motion sounds like a wearing component to me. I do not believe that they are designed to last the life of the vehicle or are you suggesting that people only keep their beloved vehicles for a number of years before throwing them away, as to suit the life span your suggesting?

    To further clarify, the ARB air locker that forced the ugly side of ARB to show its head was one that was removed from the rear of a '97 model 80 series that was damaged in the front by a tree. The vehicle was written off and stripped for parts hence where the diff was sourced from. It was only due to a good eye and the meticulousness of the mechanic working on the job who decided to adjust the crownwheel to pinion backlash and at the same time to inspect the seals in question only to find that they had worn flat on the inner edge of the seals. The decision was made that to save having to remove the diff at a later stage to correct the air leak that would of been present due to the worn seals, we would replace them whilst the diff was out.
    This is where the headache began thanks to the professionalism of Warren at ARB Penrith.
    If there is any question about the quality of workmanship regarding the original fittment of the seals that failed then attention must be drawn back to ARB where the diff was originally fitted from new.
    After finally receiving the upgraded seals (from Moorebank) the air locker was assembled and is still working 70k later - so no poor assembly on our part.

    At the end of the day the Air locker is a tight little package and where it uses the compactness to sell as an advantage it is also one of its weaknesses. external actuation is bulky but no chance of pressurising the diff housing. The reason for this post is to point out that the ARB Air Locker is not all that and that ARB should recognise that and offer better support. Potential customers should also be made aware of the design limitations of all diff lockers not just ARB's and should make their mind up with the best knowledge of the lockers available not just because it is highly advertised.
    I agree that it takes 1 bad post to bring down the good in a product but how often do you hear about bad posts in other brands?
    Had there of been better customer support in the first instance then there wouldn't of been the creation of this thread.
    Food for thought. instead of going into damage control to re-promote the flawed product (flawed by its design limitations) how about offer ways to better deal with the flaws like oh i don't know kicking some ass of those who would rather sell a whole new product than to waste their time trying to support a working product that needs maintenance. maybe supply a few extra seals as spares in each kit since by reading these posts, i am certainly not the only customer with problems with the product.
    I may look like a small insignificant mechanic but i have quite a list of qualifications and work for a company who imports and exports 4WD spares globally, specialises in nothing but four wheel drives and has quite a big clientele all over the world.
    Yes all it takes is 1 bad experience but that experience has turned out to be enough to make a difference with our company and none of the staff have promoted a single ARB product as a result if anything turned away customers.
    I guess in answer to Warren some years ago - This is what i am going to do about it and will continue to until i see some changes in the corporation worthy enough to warrant the change in tone.
  2. mattyboii

    mattyboii New Member

  3. peterabbf

    peterabbf Active Member

    the prbblem with poor customer service is !!!

    I work in an customer service retalted bussiness, the only thing wrong with poor customer services is that most of the time we put up with it, and thats so sad, we ship our parts all over this great land because dealers in other states dont and wont help the little guys out.

    I run a mixture of ARB and TJM products on our 4x4, both have preformed very well.
  4. Batts88

    Batts88 Well-Known Member

    mattyboii better check the ebay ad again 1/6th of the price nobody has placed a bid yet so it will probably go up plus by what your claiming their current price of $794 delivered would be $4,765.00 in aus supplied only at 6 times dearer where you dreamed that up from who knows
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
  5. Gus

    Gus New Member

    Well I can only say I'm wrapped with the service I got from ARB, the air locker is the only way to go for me anyway. With the Paj yes I could go with an Auto locker but I'd loose the benefit of having the choice to use constant 4WD on the black stuff which I use all the time in the wet & on narrow sealed roads were you have to pass using rough dirt shoulders. In the Vic High Country I can only sing it's praise. Simple fact is word of mouth can destroy a business in the case when you have franchise stores as well as company owned it's unfair. Great to see ARB, Sam, on here with a few facts & following up...

    Gus. ;)
  6. ARB4x4

    ARB4x4 New Member

    Hi Matt, the customer service you received is undoubtedly unacceptable and we wholeheartedly apologise. Furthermore, your complaint should have been followed up two years ago. We take customer concerns very seriously and do have a thorough complaints system in place to resolve these issues. Rest assured we're taking steps to ensure none of these fall through the cracks as appears to have happened with yours.

    We'd like to get our National Product and Services Manager, Greg Milton, to give you a call re your issues and work towards resolving the matter. I'll shoot you a PM to get the ball rolling.

    Cheers, Sam.
  7. ARB4x4

    ARB4x4 New Member

    Thanks Gus, I'm glad to hear you received good service. :)

    Whilst you're correct in that we don't own all of the stores that stock our gear, our stockists and licensed stores are still required to meet the level of customer service we expect from our corporate stores and, therefore, we encourage feedback (both positive and negative) regarding any of our distributors.

    Cheers, Sam.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012
  8. 345 chippy

    345 chippy New Member

    no need 2 nit pick, matty is trying 2 make a point.

    i had similar dramas with tjm. rear locker in my 80 has busted 4 times,
    the feedback from tjm was disgusting reg. my problem!
    this problem became that bad and being delt with the run around being put on hold every time i wanted to talk to someone that holds someform of real posistion in there.

    it breaks u and eventually give up!
    i believe, and some 1 can tell me if i'm wrong, that they stopped making tjm 80 lockers because of my problem. this problem was around 2yrs ago.

    hang in there matty, dont give up like i did.
    cheers chippy
  9. mattyboii

    mattyboii New Member

    Thanks Chippy, you got it spot on. :)
    Sorry to hear about your misfortunes also.
    I can maybe talk to my TJM rep and try and find out the best person to talk to if you are still anxious to resolve the issue?
    PM me some details of the problem/ what you would like me to try and find out if you'd like me to do that for you.
  10. 345 chippy

    345 chippy New Member

    problem has been fixed now, has been 2 years( fixed not by tjm)

    1: the main bolts on the locker never had locktite, as a result fell out and smashed diff 2 bitts. after a few weeks they came to the party and gave me a new locker only.had 2 fix myself.

    2: the main bolts on the new locker broke and smashed my diff 2 bits again.only supplied some parts for locker only, had 2 fix myself.

    3: main bolts again working loose, clearly some major problem.fixed agin by mysef

    4: same problem with bolts, this time caught it b 4 any damage.....i showed it this time, i welded the f#^ker, been 2 yrs with 36's also had 38's for a while had no probs at all.

    originaly they told me not 2 run any bigger than 34's with the locker(dumb arses)
    thanx 4 the ofer 2 look into it again but im well and truly overit now. with the thanx 2 beer nd my trusty welder. funny though i actually have a spare diff with an arb locker in, just in case. ironic eh!
    cheers 345 chippy
  11. Batts88

    Batts88 Well-Known Member

    I don't believe I was nitpicking I was pointing out how far off he was with the claim of the ebay diff lock not being up to 6 times cheaper than the arb one ,strange way to try and make a point bye
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2012
  12. mattyboii

    mattyboii New Member

    I guess it all depends on how much ARB wants to sell the locker for - im sure that if they could get that amount for 1 then they would take it as ive been told (be it in a smirk jovial context) $3500 for just the locker and labour on top so would probably be around the money.
  13. HGturbo

    HGturbo New Member

    I think you'll find a lot of people have had bad service/parts breaking through ARB, I had a horrendous 2 years of diff locker failures, seals, cracked hemispheres, bearing failures, pump failures that all went onto deaf ears.
    In the end I gave my centres away and went with mechanical lockers (been in for 8 years now) and there will never be an ARB part on my car again.
  14. noelh

    noelh Member

    Hi what do you mean by mechanical lockers and do they make them for GQ 1990 Nissan Patrols,
    Noel H.
  15. Cuzzo

    Cuzzo New Member

    What he said....

    You & your mate must be very naive to believe the products you purchased from China are legitimate ARB products.

    Personally I wouldn't have ARB installers fit lockers in my vehicle but I wouldn't hesitate to go with air lockers again. I haven't had any issues with my lockers, there awesome. But like I said I had the installation of the centres done by a diff specialist, wired by my auto elec & I fitted them. Nearly all ARB air locker failures come down to incorrect installation in my opinion.
  16. mattyboii

    mattyboii New Member

    Both the Chinese air lockers and the genuine ARB air lockers from my experience have had hand engraved numbers on the body of them. Not professional laser or machine etched part number as you would expect so makes it near impossible to determine the difference (if any)
    The numbers on the diff i had problems obtaining seals for, when forwarded to ARB penrith apparently they ment nothing when quoted but yet moorebank was able to give a year of production.
    None of the lockers i have installed have had a problem with them. The reason for this is because as a mechanic i like to be meticulous and that's why i was chasing there placement seals to replace the old worn component and being several years old. The locker itself had not failed, and was running for several years without complaint but on inspection i found the seals to be worn and leaking and whilst apart decided to replace.
    it was not incorrect installation that caused the problem but the limitations of the design of the locker. Not much can be done about it other than keep an eye on it and replace the seals as required making sure they are lubricated correctly on installation.

    i tend to agree with cuzzo however that the quality of work displayed by some ARB stores fitters is atrocious. From my experience it has been select and individual fitters and down to their quality of work. particularly bad work appear to be done by franchises from what i have heard but at the end of the day it is down to the individual fitter/mechanic who installs the product - corporation, franchise, private business.

    After a lengthy conversation with ARB's National Product and Services Manager, Greg Milton, i am pleased to hear that the franchise owner and staff responsible for the headaches have been given a stern speaking with. I'd like to believe they are sitting down and working out what went wrong and where to go about making changes.
    It wont change the past i know, but hopefully will make a difference for the future.
    Greg mentioned some interesting information that correlates with the events. Penrith is a franchise and Moorebank is a corporate store. Chalk and cheese with customer service in my experience. it appears one is a retailer out to make a dollar wearing the brand name & logo while the other is the brand name & logo.
    Maybe the becoming of part franchise is ARB's downfall. At the end of it all i will be in contact with Mr Greg Milton for follow-ups in relation to this matter but if anyone else has problems with ARB's staff, diffs or other products at least now there are people who are listening and who you as a customer can go to for support outside of the offending store if needed.

    Thank you Greg Milton for your time to call and apologise on behalf of ARB even though you shouldn't of been placed in such a position where you felt you had to.
    I hope management are able to get to the bottom of this to bring the brand back to a standard we come to expect.
    Mark Navara likes this.
  17. redandy3575

    redandy3575 Well-Known Member

    Good to hear that your issues have been sorted there Mattyboii. I'm also considering purchasing lockers for my Rangie, and after reading this i was starting have second thought about purchasing an ARB locker.
  18. Cuzzo

    Cuzzo New Member

    Good to hear you have had some joy in the end. Personally I am lucky to live close to ARB headquarters here in Melbourne, & I only deal with 2 of the sale reps. They have even taken products home for me to collect after hours when I haven't been able to make it into the store during work hours.

    Back on topic the chinese copies may have numbers engraved on them but from what I've heard you can tell by the machined finish, it is noticeably different. The chinese are pretty savvy, are they engraving the copies as well.
  19. cloughcarib

    cloughcarib Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Matty for beggining a bond between the customer and a manufacturer. I have been watching this ( and the other) thread since the start, and I'm impressed in the way the conversations have grown in their level of understanding.

  20. 460cixy

    460cixy Member

    If your. Looking for the Orings try a diff shop I just fitted a 2nd hand job all tho it was working fine I still put new Orings in went to the diff fella had em on the shelf couldn't find a price for them so he just let me have em I would expect most diff places would keep them

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