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Thread: Is this normal??

  1. #1

    Is this normal??

    I just don't know what to do next. I can tend to have bad luck sometimes, but jeez... So my wheelchair saga. Dreamt of getting a TiLite, but since Medicaid pays only for powerchairs, I bought a Colours Razorblade out of pocket when it was an Abilities Expo special. I rely on help to fit me correctly, and they did it. Poorly. I'm Spina Bifida, so I don't tuck my legs, and the wheelbase was so short, I did constant endos. The chair eventually had a massive break in the frame from the stress. Through a good friend with big social media pull, they convinced TiLite to donate a chair to me. Loved the chair, it was a huge improvement, and I was, (and am) grateful. But it wasn't really the right fit, either, and I soon discovered a huge issue with the casters, if they get at all wet. Which of course, is hard to avoid at all costs. Grit gets in, and they freeze up. Like bad. Then it would work itself out, but eventually that wallowed the bearing area, and I had a chair that randomly threw me out, with caster freezes. Many emails and heartaches and headaches, being offered a new version at a discount (took a whole year, and it was out of pocket...)
    I get a chair that I had a few concerning things, but not big enough to bitch, due to the circumstances. Some things were wrong, cosmetically, and I swear it's the exact same configuration as my previous chair. Neck and neck, they're the identical everything, even though I wanted an extended frame. I still have to strap my feet in. The footrest is about an inch too low (can't adjust higher). Worst, the casters ALWAYS fluttered, especially on the left side. No amount of tightening helped. So, I sucked it up, and use the Freewheel 99% of the time. Cuz I have a high velocity dog, that likes to not go at a snails pace. I reported this issue to the DME that took my money, and was the people I went through. They have no interest in it, really, being a go between. So I got brushed off.

    Well, this place put a new bearing on it for me several months back, and the tech took four hours, where all I heard was loud banging. He told me a bearing was "frozen" on the stem, and he couldn't get it off. All I wanted was ONE bearing put on ONE caster fork. There were banged up marks on both of them. He told me that he couldn't get it off, but put the new one on anyway. Now the flutter was worse. When I got home, and was popping a wheelie down my ramp, when I landed, I flipped over on my face. The caster fork had fallen entirely off! Dafuq?? So I was grateful when I went to another DME for a cushion eval, and they fixed it properly, and the "frozen" bearing came right off. Have no idea what the other guy did. For four hours! I reported it, and a person there was apologetic, and said they would order me new forks asap. I wait. Nothing. I call, and the person in charge said he would be happy to sell them to me. That it "doesn't sound like" their guy to do what happened. We set up a time to meet, after an email to the local Ti rep, and he 'evaluated' the chair. The forks had been sent back, and after he did some checking, he didn't really say anything, but was going to give me all new forks. Derp! (Only? Now there's no green. They'll be black, and the chair has green on it...)

    Meanwhile, the casters, again freeze up when dampness gets in, at all ! What is that? This can't just be me, if it's been two chairs in a row... With a new bearing even? And then the PT at the cushion eval proclaimed my chair to be "off center", just by looking at it, and that's why the flutter with no way to fix it. Sigh. WHAT should I do?? NOBODY will take responsibility for it, and I end up getting blamed, as if I did something, usually. So tired of it. I just want a chair that freaking works. I haven't for many years now, and it's getting old. It takes so long to get any repairs, with any place I've gone to. What can a person do, though, when they stand there and say they don't know what to tell ya ??

    I really like TiLite chairs, though. But I did get turned on by the PT, to Ki Mobility, the Rogue. Which I love. But I'm still paying off the ZR heh.

  2. #2
    Sorry you are having so much trouble with the DME, rest assured it is common.
    On another thread I learned that folks use a little grease on the outside of the bearings to keep them dry and help prevent part of the problem you are having. Apparently even though the bearings are sealed, they aren't sealed enough.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  3. #3
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Windsor ON Canada
    I think it's called silicone spray? Works better than WD40 and won't get that grit sticking to it. It's really helpful to know how to fix your own chair and order parts etc if you have capable hands.

    DME's are the absolute worst and no one can fit your chair better than you can. Many on this site are much more knowledgeable than myself at this .. a couple reps from TiLite and Bike-on should be able to dial it in for you. Sometimes you can find cheap deals on ebay too .. just have to wait for the right fit.
    Insincere, manipulative, an idiot, selfish, vapid, biased and now a whore. Now petty. Eight personal attacks against the rules of this site.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  4. #4
    Where do you live, snow country, rain country (north west)? No offense to anyone else, but don't spray bearings with anything. They need grease. Spray washes the grease out.
    I believe the guy that beat the bearings out of your chair, didn't take a snap ring out, so basically, had no idea what he was doing.
    You say things are freezing up. Is it the caster wheels that won't turn or the fork that won't rotate?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Andy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Chicago IL
    Quote Originally Posted by baldfatdad View Post
    I believe the guy that beat the bearings out of your chair, didn't take a snap ring out, so basically, had no idea what he was doing.
    Hehe, I can see that guy at 'work'. But there was mention of frozen on the stem, so I bet he was really in a quandary without a bearing splitter. I had one of those up top on a stem and got one of these to break it loose before getting stupid with a hammer
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by baldfatdad View Post
    Where do you live, snow country, rain country (north west)? No offense to anyone else, but don't spray bearings with anything. They need grease. Spray washes the grease out.
    I believe the guy that beat the bearings out of your chair, didn't take a snap ring out, so basically, had no idea what he was doing.
    You say things are freezing up. Is it the caster wheels that won't turn or the fork that won't rotate?
    Yes! And it doesn't take FOUR hours to do. I felt so helpless sitting there, with nobody to ask what was going on.
    I live in San Diego, so it's not a wet environment haha. It's just when watering plants, or light rain, even going through wet grass. It's the fork. The rotating catches, and there's even a click sometimes. Now the flutter is soooo bad, that I can't even wheel at a normal pace. Thank God for the Freewheel, but it's not meant to use as a daily thing!

  7. #7
    I suppose I should've been on it, and disputed my credit card when there was first a problem...but when the chair is discounted for you, you kind of want to not be a dick, yanno? I patiently waited while the guy I went through, no longer works at the DME, was the go between with a head honcho at TiLite...which is what took the whole flipping year. Literally. I would wait months for the TiLite person to get back to them. What was I gonna do, complain?? When I got it, the side guards had slight stress crack marks starting, the back push bar was supposed to be the rounded one, and isn't, the casters were supposed to be 4" and are 5, the footrests slightly too low, and then the flutter issue. But nobody will do anything, so my only alternative is to buy a whole new chair? If I even could? I guess if these new forks don't rectify the flutter, I'll have to press for something else. But I'm over a barrel....

  8. #8
    Time to fix it yourself or take it to a bike shop. Put a pic of the chair, with good view of the fork. Tell us what model chair. If it were me, I'd take get "sealed" bearings. Take the seals out, ad grease and put them in the forks. Bearings come with about 1/4 the grease that they will hold. If you jam them full it keeps the water and dirt out, better. The guys here can tell you how to square the forks to stop the flutter.
    If you don't want to do the work, get the info here and go to a bike shop. They will more than likely do a better job than the DME.

  9. #9
    Revisiting this post, cuz at the end of my rope on what to do. I had the regional rep for TiLite look at the chair at length, and he did some stuff to it, proclaimed it was a "hot mess" in the casters. Ironically wheeling with 24" wheels stopped the flutter, but it's not designed for that size. Whatever he did worked better..but lasted a scant few days, and once I had my dog pulling me faster, it fluttered so bad I lurched out. I believe it's a "hot mess" because it was messed with at the DME one time, where four hours of banging on it just to put i a new bearing made me really wonder wtf he did there. I hardly have ever in the years I've had this chair, actually rode in it without a Freewheel. The DME won't take responsibility, TiLite won't, and I am stuck with an out of pocket paid for chair that does not fit me (So much for "TiFit"...) in the footrest, as they're slightly too long and can't be adjusted up higher (can't use an extension with a freewheel either), the back is too high (It's a ZR) and the front frame should be at least 4 inches longer. My feet don't sit on the footrests where they should, it's too far back. I always feel like I am sliding out of the chair. My back constantly hurts, and my pressure area on my rear end is always pissed off. I'M pissed off lol. This SUCKS. I think I am SOL, unless there is some way to appeal to TiLite higher ups. It took them a year to give me the damn chair, having me send pics of how I look in my old one, to decide on the fit. I doubt they did that really, since it's this bad. The DME only measured me for it, and was sending the images for suggestions. The guy who discounted the purchase there will not respond, nor help, and said so, but was the one that assured me a right fit would happen this time. What would YOU do?? It's still a few grand on a credit card, and no way to fix it on my own obviously. But again, nobody wants to help. I feel stuck

  10. #10
    It might help some of the tech folks here, if you provided some measurements of the chair. Perhaps you can get the order form or tech sheet for the chair to get this information. A photo would be great too.

    I'm wondering if the 'center of gravity' is set properly, but don't know if it's adjustable on that chair. This is an important adjustment that not only helps avoid endos; it puts the front wheels lighter or heavier to the ground, but I'm not sure if this can also correct the flutter you speak of, since the front wheels are already a problem.

    On my TiLite I did not want the add-on footrest for short folks, I just needed it a little higher. I purchased that product that's about 1" thick sturdy black foam that you place onto the existing footrest. There are two widths available. At the moment I can't think of the name of it. In the past 10 years I have used about 3 of these and they're perfect for my issue. I'm 5'1" tall. You might try Googling 'wheelchair footrest'.

    I admit I cringed when I read about the water/moisture getting on your front casters. Not good. Avoid any water splashing on chair, especially the front wheels.

    Sorry to hear all the trouble you're having, especially going into debt for a chair like that! For what it's worth, in my area there's a DME who has a warehouse full of used manual and power chairs. If you can find someone like that you might look into a trade with no cost to you, as they would probably fix and re-sell the chair you traded, making the deal profitable to them.

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