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Thread: Tilite won't repair my chair!!

  1. #1
    Senior Member NW-Will's Avatar
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    Tilite won't repair my chair!!

    Bent the caster stems on my TR which I received in 2012.
    I bent them one time before and they sent the chair back to Tilite fixed them and sent it back in under 2 weeks, all went smoothly.

    This time the DME guy looked at them, yes they're bent, they'll arrange to pick it up and send it to Tilite to fix etc. try and schedule it so that I'll be without the chair for the minimum amount of time.

    Great.

    They pick up the chair... a week later I phone up to see how things are going as you do !
    The chair is still sitting at the DME!!

    They can't get Tilite to issue a docket so they can send it to tilite.... allegedly Tilite says the chair is now too old to repair !!! 2012?

    Anyone else run into this? is this for real ?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Oddity's Avatar
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    Ummmmmm..."lifetime warranty"...





    Seems fishy to me. I'd try calling TiLite directly.
    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

    "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

    "Even what those with the greatest reputation for knowing it all claim to understand and defend are but opinions..." -Heraclitus, Fragments

  3. #3
    Caster stem or did you mean fork stem? TiLite warranties the frame for the lifetime of the original owner; the components have a far more limited warranty and a caster stem (axle) would not be included. The fork stem, however, I *think* is considered integral to the frame.

    BTW, there's no way anyone from TiLite said, "The chair is now too old to repair." More likely they said that part (component) of the chair is outside of the warranty period, and if it's a caster axle, then it would be.

    Have the serial number of your chair handy and contact TiLite directly yourself. There's no reason why you need to involve your DME to find out what's covered and what isn't. Too much opportunity for something to get lost in translation.

  4. #4
    It's easy to change out the stem bolts. Get your DME to order new ones. in the back of the caster housing is a small hole. In that is a small hex head bolt, loosen that up. Use a propane bottle to heat up around the stem bolt; that loosens up the permanent lock tite they use. Should unscrew easily as it heats up. Insert new bolt with locktite and reassemble caster setup. Make sure to use heat to get the bolt out or you'll strip the threads .

    A person has to go thru their DME Stephen. Titlite won't send out any parts and will rarely talk to a customer unless it's for info about buying a chair. they've gone the way of the other great companies; less and less customer service.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Madsen View Post
    It's easy to change out the stem bolts. Get your DME to order new ones. in the back of the caster housing is a small hole. In that is a small hex head bolt, loosen that up. Use a propane bottle to heat up around the stem bolt; that loosens up the permanent lock tite they use. Should unscrew easily as it heats up. Insert new bolt with locktite and reassemble caster setup. Make sure to use heat to get the bolt out or you'll strip the threads .
    Before you do that!! Let's make sure first that everyone is using the correct terminology so that nothing gets lost in translation. TiLite refers to the bolt that extends from the frame to mount the forks as "fork stem" (boxed in red). The bolt supports the casters is called a "caster axle" (boxed in blue). On some models -- NW-Will, what chair are you using? -- the fork stem is regarded as part of the frame (which, depending on the model you have, may or may not mean that it's covered under warranty). If the fork stem resembles the type pictured in this illustration (of a discontinued Z10) then tampering with it will automatically void the warranty, and maybe not just for the fork stem but for any other issue that may arise somewhere down the road. While the repair may be as straightforward as Patrick describes (assuming you have the mechanical skills to pull it off -- I certainly don't), I still think you're best advised to contact TiLite customer support directly and discuss the issue. If you email me (stephen@bike-on.com), I will send you the contact info of a TiLite production specialist (he's not in customer support) who knows every facet of these chairs and is also super approachable. You'll get the straight rap from him.
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  6. #6
    Regarding their warranty...

    A. LIFETIME
    TiLite warrants the wheelchair frame (including the cross-braces, if any) against defects in materials and workmanship for life, so
    long as the original purchaser uses the wheelchair. The expected life of the frame is five years.

    When I bought my ZR in 2007, TiLite's fork was too narrow to use a 4x1.5 soft roll. This turned out to be a major problem, but I discovered I could use the Invacare/Top End bearing fork by backing out the stem stud by a couple of turns. I posted that experience here...

    http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthr...a-TiLite-chair

    Back then, the stem stud was a $10 part. I wouldn't say it was an easy thing to do, one could easily damage the stem during removal, and if it sheared off in the frame the user would be SOL.

    A short time later, TiLite decided that the stem bolt was an "integral part of the frame" (Stephen and I are actually quoting TiLite's post on this site) several years ago. The fact that both of us posted we had done that here was probably a factor in their decision. After hat decision, the stem stud disappeared from the parts manual and all chairs needed to go back to the factory if a stem needed to be replaced.

    Is the stem actually bent? I ask this because...

    a) It would be extremely difficult to bend a stem stud. Not only is it a robust part, any force that was sufficient enough to bend the stem would probably destroy the fork in the process.

    b) Over the years, I've encountered a number of TiLite bearing and Slipstream forks that would lock up or chirp loudly even though they had no easily discernible irregularities. This issue could easily be misdiagnosed as a bent fork stem.

    While TiLite may consider your frame to be out of warranty, I have a hard time thinking that they would leave any user without a potentially repairable chair. They should be willing to repair it. At what cost? That could be another issue.


  7. #7
    I actually bent my fork stem when I got my first ZX1. Hit a few curbs with it.
    I knew Marty ball fairly well back then and he got me the stems for free. I doubt they'd do that now. If you guys have an 'IN", that would make a big difference.
    Last edited by Patrick Madsen; 06-02-2019 at 11:52 AM.

  8. #8
    i have been given great service with my contact at tilite over my years at Bike-on, she goes above and beyond to get my customers squared away when there is a problem. i think many problems ppl have is with the dealer they use. no manufacturer is perfect.
    Bike-on.com rep
    John@bike-on.com
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
    sponsored handcycle racer

  9. #9
    Senior Member NW-Will's Avatar
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    Sorry .. thank you for pointing out the correct terminology.

    Yes you are correct, I have bent the fork stem bolt.

    I'm talking with the local permobil/Tilite rep, would that be sufficient, or do you think I need to call up Tilite directly

    Quote Originally Posted by stephen212 View Post
    Caster stem or did you mean fork stem? TiLite warranties the frame for the lifetime of the original owner; the components have a far more limited warranty and a caster stem (axle) would not be included. The fork stem, however, I *think* is considered integral to the frame.

    BTW, there's no way anyone from TiLite said, "The chair is now too old to repair." More likely they said that part (component) of the chair is outside of the warranty period, and if it's a caster axle, then it would be.

    Have the serial number of your chair handy and contact TiLite directly yourself. There's no reason why you need to involve your DME to find out what's covered and what isn't. Too much opportunity for something to get lost in translation.

  10. #10
    Senior Member NW-Will's Avatar
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    I thought of doing this last time, but Tilite refused to sell me the fork stem bolts, and it all went smoothly last time, so was thinking why go through the hassle etc..

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Madsen View Post
    It's easy to change out the stem bolts. Get your DME to order new ones. in the back of the caster housing is a small hole. In that is a small hex head bolt, loosen that up. Use a propane bottle to heat up around the stem bolt; that loosens up the permanent lock tite they use. Should unscrew easily as it heats up. Insert new bolt with locktite and reassemble caster setup. Make sure to use heat to get the bolt out or you'll strip the threads .

    A person has to go thru their DME Stephen. Titlite won't send out any parts and will rarely talk to a customer unless it's for info about buying a chair. they've gone the way of the other great companies; less and less customer service.

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