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post #1 of 65 Old 02-20-2013, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Uncool experience with Bilstein

Hello all,
I wanted to share an experience I recently had with Bilstein regarding the 5160s I installed. First, let me say the shocks are great. Nice ride on the road, great flex on the trail and smooth ride, even at speed, on those main trails we have to take between the fun ones. Iím pleased with the MATERIAL or parts, I purchased. However:
I went wheeling on 18 Feb with them for the first time. It was one of those days where things became about as hardcore as they do any other time we wheel. Nothing serious enough to cause stuff to break, but at least with a handful of pucker-factor spots. And spots that make me really want lockers, but thatís another story. Anyway, about 6 hours on the trail and we make it back to the staging area and I notice two things. 1. The shock reservoirs were not in the place I mounted them. For some reason, they had rotated. This puzzled me since the $.50 hose clamps that were included with the shocks were just about as tight as I could get them without stripping them. I run plenty of back-spacing, so I didnít imagine it was the tire either. I still donít know why they rotated within the clamps. 2. I noticed a descent amount of oil film around the bung on the driverís side reservoir. It was dusty, but still enough to wet my finger fairly much when I wiped across it. This latter observation, I brought to Bilstein via their Facebook page. I was asked to message the details, so I did, and I shortly received a reply with contact information for Lisa Ciacci, who, according to the message, is the Warranty Administrator. I contacted her and she asked me to send pictures and the invoice from purchase. I complied and within the hour, received this:
ďHi Kevin,
The shocks were installed incorrectly which contributed to the failure. Also, your upper bushing has been over tightened. I have included a copy of the installation instructions for your review. This would not be considered a manufacturers defect and therefore not covered by the warranty, sorry. Please contact me if you have any questions. Thank you.
Best Regards,
Lisa Ciacci
Warranty Administrator
Research & Development
ThyssenKrupp Bilstein of America
14102 Stowe Drive
Poway, CA 92064
Phone: +1 858 386-5951
Phone: +1 800 370-9522
Fax: +1 858 386-5945
E-Mail: [email protected]Ē
Not, Hey Kevin, let me help you figure this out or, do you have pictures of the original install or even asking if I had any unusual circumstances on the trail. Just a simple, quick, ďDude youíre screwed, have a nice day.Ē I was appalled. With the current state of affairs in our country economically, I figure the get-this-guy-out-of-here-we-arenít-giving-him-anything mentality would be the reaction, but with such a summary assessment using PICTURES only? To say I am displeased with the customer service I received is an understatement. For a representative of a company as big as Bilstein to simply brush aside a customer surprised me. I had such high hopes for them. I guess they are like everyone else.
Now let me break this down. Here is a picture taken the day after I installed them (Iím only including the front, since thatís where the problem is):



Here is what the shock looked like after wheeling:


Now, again, I donít see how one can assess so quickly and thoroughly via these pictures that itís all on me. Maybe Iím wrong, but at least let me down easy.
Maybe I should have gone with Fox Racing 2.0s instead.
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post #2 of 65 Old 02-20-2013, 04:16 PM
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even if you did overtighten the top mount how would that make them leak??

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post #3 of 65 Old 02-20-2013, 04:27 PM
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What size tire and back spacing are you running?

In that position, there is a very high probability that the tire rubbed. Thats coming from experience.
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post #4 of 65 Old 02-20-2013, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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4.5" of backspacing (with spacers). I just got another email from the tech department. While Ms. Ciacci was rather short with her response, a dude named Wes Welch just sent me a LONG email breaking down exactly what I likely experienced. And then, as a tactful F U, he included a paragraph from the instructions putting the responsibility of checking for clearance on the installer. Kind of a "liability statement," I guess. My only hope is that it's able to be repaired. Still not crazy about the initial conversation with Ms. Ciacci, nor about the fact that I installed it exactly as they instructed but developed issues. That's what I get, I suppose.

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post #5 of 65 Old 02-20-2013, 05:26 PM
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they gave me the same shit, my shock shaft snapped like a twig (as far as I know, i hadnt hit them on anything) they told me they were mounted wrong, so no replacement. fuck em
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post #6 of 65 Old 02-20-2013, 05:53 PM
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Uncool experience with Bilstein

Your install looks very similar to the instructions and also how I have mine mounted. What lift and tire size are you running?

The 5160 is fully rebuildable but you will have to get the parts from Bilstein as far as I know.
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post #7 of 65 Old 02-20-2013, 06:05 PM
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Obviously its because you didnt put the screw part of the hose clamp in the same position as their instructions seriously though they sure

gave you the shaft on this one. I was looking a buying me a set but not anymore. I hope you get taken care of.
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post #8 of 65 Old 02-20-2013, 06:13 PM
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Uncool experience with Bilstein

Narrows my search for new shocks down. Sorry Bilstein you didn't make the cut. Read above as to why
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post #9 of 65 Old 02-20-2013, 06:47 PM
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I don't know if I can get anything done, but you bought them from me, I know Lisa, and I'm going to see if I can get anywhere on this.

Let me know about things like this in the future so I can try to circumvent and help you come to a resolution.

Marcus


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post #10 of 65 Old 02-20-2013, 06:47 PM
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I've blown Bilsteins out before, that's why they weren't on my short list. I'm going to give RK's RRD shocks a try.
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post #11 of 65 Old 02-20-2013, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverCityOffroad View Post
I don't know if I can get anything done, but you bought them from me, I know Lisa, and I'm going to see if I can get anywhere on this.

Let me know about things like this in the future so I can try to circumvent and help you come to a resolution.

Marcus
Dude I am so sorry!!! Didn't even think about that. It all started with me asking if residue was normal. I mean, it should be an easy repair. I sincerely apologize for not going to you first.
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post #12 of 65 Old 02-20-2013, 08:14 PM
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Uncool experience with Bilstein

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinp View Post
Dude I am so sorry!!! Didn't even think about that. It all started with me asking if residue was normal. I mean, it should be an easy repair. I sincerely apologize for not going to you first.
Dude no apology necessary! I was just saying I will try to help!

I emailed Lisa. I will talk with her tomorrow.

Marcus


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post #13 of 65 Old 02-20-2013, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinp View Post

IMO, that maybe just parallax but to me, their reservoir looks like it's almost touching the very front of the shock mount. Where-as your reservoir is pretty much perpendicular to the frame. Which would make it stick out an easy inch, if not two more than how theirs it setup.

With that orientation and your backspacing, I bet your tire hit it.

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post #14 of 65 Old 02-20-2013, 08:30 PM
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My old setup with remote resis. 37x12.5 w4.5 backspace walkers. I can tnell you on extreme flexing disconnected the tires would rub the resis on full lock. The fox 2.0 dont have that large of resis either. The resis aren't just rotating in the clamps on their own. Reason why I soon after mounted them remotely. If your flexing hard, Id suggest the same. Almost looks like the tire caught the hose from the abrasions that match up on the body. Not a big fan of how they routed all that hose in frt of the shock. The fox 2.0 is a much better setup.

Last edited by highwayman; 02-20-2013 at 08:38 PM.
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post #15 of 65 Old 02-20-2013, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Perhaps a tire did hit it. I don't know. The view of the shocks isn't that great from the driver's seat.

Again, the shocks are awesome, they really are. Bilstein makes great stuff. My problem is with how it was handled. ALL I needed, and I mean this, was some customer service that involved at least a little compassion. These are $190 shocks. Not that the money is a big deal. I could order a replacement right now and never miss the money. It was the very short, "Sorry, your fault, it ain't us neener neener" way it came across. It INFURIATED me. Now that I have calmed down, I'm simply disappointed. I worked in a customer based industry for nearly five years (full-service restaurant) before coming back in the military. I know the customer isn't ALWAYS right. Companies who hold that as an absolute go bankrupt. But even when the customer is wrong, you gotta leave them feeling GOOD about it nonetheless. In this instance, Bilstein fell FAR short of that mark.


EDIT: As a contrast, let's look at this. I bought them from Marcus so, technically, his obligation to me is done. Finito. No mas. He owes me exactly squat in this situation, BUT, he is going above and beyond to try to reach a resolution on my behalf. Why couldn't Bilstein do that? Instead of the very cursory email I received, why not a "Gosh that sucks, I'm sorry it happened. Let me help you figure out what happened." It ain't that hard. Maybe she's a very nice person and I caught her on a bad day. For what it's worth, I was having a horrible day yesterday, so that probably influenced my reaction. Customer service is just like parenting, it isn't giving everyone what they want, it's treating people respectfully even when you know they are wrong.

Last edited by kevinp; 02-20-2013 at 08:43 PM.
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post #16 of 65 Old 02-21-2013, 07:48 AM
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I don't see how else you could route the reservoirs keeping them attached to the shock body?
I am about to install Bilstein 7100's, and hope not to have this issue. I noticed that the OP's axle is position further forward than Bilsteins picture.
Could that be an issue?

I'd rather not fasten them to the frame/shock tower or coil perch, but if the hose is long enough I might have to.
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post #17 of 65 Old 02-21-2013, 08:47 AM
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Uncool experience with Bilstein

Pretty shitty on their end. With that being the shock of choice around here, doesn't help their image.

On the other hand, I had some second hand Emu's. One of the rear shocks burst, oil everywhere. I asked the company and they said they were out of warranty and second hand, But still replaced them for me. That's what we should expect from companies to stand by their product.

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post #18 of 65 Old 02-21-2013, 10:39 AM
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I'm curious to see if this gets resolved as well. I need new shocks and I'm not putting anything on my Jeep that the company that manufactures them won't stand behind...

...a big right back at them.

However, RiverCityOffroad should be getting a call from me in a month or so. Above and beyond is never expected but should be rewarded, in my book!
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post #19 of 65 Old 02-21-2013, 10:42 AM
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I talked with Linda via email this morning and it doesn't seem that they are against rebuilding and fixing the shock. However, I'm not sure what costs would be involved in that.

It seems that they are steadfast on their opinion that the shock was installed incorrectly. Call me an idiot, but I have stared at the pictures above over and over on my phone, the computer, ect and I can't see how either shock could be mounted any differently.

I don't get it honestly, but I'm not the one who makes the final call on this type of thing.

Marcus


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post #20 of 65 Old 02-21-2013, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverCityOffroad View Post
Call me an idiot, but I have stared at the pictures above over and over on my phone, the computer, ect and I can't see how either shock could be mounted any differently.
I don't have a pony in this race but just took these two pics of my Fox 2.0 res shocks from the same vantage point to show the angles better.

First pics is how they are all the time twisted to be flush with the frame/mount. 2nd pic is what they look like if I twist them to 90į.


Anyhow, my 2 cents and you are not an idiot


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post #21 of 65 Old 02-21-2013, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverCityOffroad View Post
I talked with Linda via email this morning and it doesn't seem that they are against rebuilding and fixing the shock. However, I'm not sure what costs would be involved in that.

It seems that they are steadfast on their opinion that the shock was installed incorrectly. Call me an idiot, but I have stared at the pictures above over and over on my phone, the computer, ect and I can't see how either shock could be mounted any differently.

I don't get it honestly, but I'm not the one who makes the final call on this type of thing.

Marcus
Me either.

If you look at the line connecting the two, the orientation is identical. If the reservoir was mounted further back or forward it would be noticeable in the line. The two pic IMO are mounted the same.

Either the shock, line, or reservoir failed or the tire made contact... about the only things that could have happened and my money is on the tire made contact.

I would install them remotely as someone suggested.


Though I haven't had the issue of contact with FOX 2.0 adjustables on Smurfette but it does appear that I have them rotated back a bit.


įlllllį


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post #22 of 65 Old 02-21-2013, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by HITMONEY View Post
Me either.
We posted the same shocks at the same time Hit


Your's like mine twist by hand, the're not sloppy but easily twist and I suspect even if a tire hit them they would twist into the mount. I'm not familiar with Bilstein and don't know if they twist like that or are "fixed" in place?

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post #23 of 65 Old 02-21-2013, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EAD Offroad View Post
We posted the same shocks at the same time Hit


Your's like mine twist by hand, the're not sloppy but easily twist and I suspect even if a tire hit them they would twist into the mount. I'm not familiar with Bilstein and don't know if they twist like that or are "fixed" in place?
I would assume the entire assembly should be able to rotate.. not sure how much until that banjo bolt on the Bilstein would hit the tower.. might not hit at all. I thought I read that Bilstein claims the OP over tightened the shock, I guess that would prevent the assembly from rotating if struck by the tire?

įlllllį


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post #24 of 65 Old 02-21-2013, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodysgotacuda View Post
IMO, that maybe just parallax but to me, their reservoir looks like it's almost touching the very front of the shock mount. Where-as your reservoir is pretty much perpendicular to the frame. Which would make it stick out an easy inch, if not two more than how theirs it setup.

With that orientation and your backspacing, I bet your tire hit it.
Agreed. I hate to be the bad guy but from the look of your first pic, you did install them incorrectly. I have the same shocks and my reservoir rests up to the bracket.
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post #25 of 65 Old 02-21-2013, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Ogie View Post
Agreed. I hate to be the bad guy but from the look of your first pic, you did install them incorrectly. I have the same shocks and my reservoir rests up to the bracket.
Can you freely rotate the assembly?

įlllllį


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