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Thread: TiLite: warranty, breakage, etc concerns

  1. #1

    TiLite: warranty, breakage, etc concerns

    Hi!
    First, another HUGE thx to everyone here. I will bet others have had the same life changing experience after visiting here. My life has really changed, and I must say thank you!

    Now...my dilema...

    I am set to buy a TiLite ZRA-C. My Dad and step Mom have come thru with the extra $$$ to allow me to not just throw Spinergy's on my A4 tank. But, I have seen reviews, and heard about bad experiences with every chair out there...except Lasher. I am going with the ZRA-C because A) I only have 3 years of real chair time in my A4, even though it is almost 6 years I have been in it; B) I love my tippers. I seriously do not want to flip over backward again (happened twice with my tips flipped up; not fun...); C) Want very lightweight, yet adjustable, since I do not feel I have a well defined enough idea of my "perfect" chair setup, thus something like a Lasher could turn out to be the worst (expensive) move ever. Or, the best...

    If I wait a couple months, I would probably be able to come up with the difference in price for the two. I am not confident I would choose the settings properly tho.

    Why Lasher over the ZRA-C? I like the colored tubing aspect, and magnesium lightness, supposed strength advantage, and lack of a single bad review. Very cool chairs, but I have no desire for any of the "bling" the Lasher route offers. I want plain, more or less. I have seen reports of broken frame parts, especially bolts, on the TiLite chairs. And with adjustability comes the higher number of those oh-so-apt-to-break bolts. The ZR would be a nice compromise, but once again, unsure of certain setting choices, and the lack of tippers.

    All the chairs I have read about seem to have these issues. TiLite is my choice so far, mainly cause they are practically in my back yard (I am in Portland, Oregon). Kuschall (among others) was a consideration, but I want a company that is close, and seems to have a decent lifespan left.

    Am I just have "wedding night jitters"? Are the TiLite chairs truly solid, and the reports i have read simply the very rare exception? Any preemptive things I can do (like replace every bolt, using locktite, etc)? Or should I plan on a "lifetime" chair, like the Lasher, instead, and simply spend the next few months trying different chairs with different settings, and trying different settings on my A4?

    Oh- one other thing, sort of a sidebar (hehehe)- I also heard/read a few people claiming Spinergy Everyday LX wheels feel a bit unstable. I am so worried about doing something stupid with my chair and breaking things now. In my A4 w/ Sun rims, I have done stupid things like being on an elevator and rocking back n forth, each wheel lifting off the ground, shaking the car to scare friends, and being told that it was a really bad idea, that I would end up snapping the axle or something. Will I have to be more careful with a titanium chair? Especially with lighter weight rims? I really want a strong chair, but as light as possible. Oh- and...ugh...I weigh about 180-190. I had done martial arts my entire life, very high muscle mass (I am 5' 8") I never weighed over 145 in my life, but took some...umm..enhancing supplements once I got mobile to bulk up and get some really good upper body going. I think I bulked a bit too much, and have also gained a nice mid-section "spare tire."

    Sorry for the incredibly long post, but I do not think I will be able to buy another chair for many years, and I am VERY worried and overwhelmed. And am enjoying my OCD quite a bit... So afraid I will make bad choices/decisions on this one...
    nikki
    T6 complete since Oct, 2001
    TiLite ZRa, Spinergy LX 24", Shox Firm tires, 3" volcanic glare rollerblade wheels for casters

  2. #2
    Senior Member Hype62's Avatar
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    I am in the process of buying a new chair too. I'm pretty set on buying a Tilite ZR, but have been lagging on submitting my order form to Sportaid, because I am taking my time on researching other brands of chairs too. I'm glad that I went to the Abilities expo convention last week and had a chance to try out couple brands of chairs there. After trying out the ZR, I am now sure I will be ordering one beacause I like how I felt in it, and the most important of all, its extremly light. I would recommend the re-designed TR model too, which is even lighter and more solid than the ZR. The TR has a greater COG adjustablity, so you dont have to worry about ordering the wrong preset COG. I like the a ZRA too, since its just slightly heavier than the ZR, but the only thing I dont like is the extra screws and bolts that you have to re-tighten once in a while. I guess thats the price you must pay for a adjustable chair. Overall, I love the quality of Tilite chairs, they are solid and well built. I've been using a TR model for 6 years now and have no problems with it, so I will stick to the brand.

    I would recommend the ZR, since its lighter and has lower parts count than the ZRA. If your not sure about the exact spec that you need, then you should try out a ZRA in person and adjust it to your liking, and use that spec to order a ZR. But if you really need anti-tippers, then your only choice is a ZRA since you can't install anti-tippers on the ZR model.

    About the Lasher chairs. I absolutly loved them, they are the ultimate chairs to have. Luckly they were at the Abilities Expo too, so I jumped on one of their magnesium chairs right away and took it for a spin. They are smooth and the LIGHTEST chairs I ever tried, even lighter than Tilite ZR's. They are highly customizable and are built one of a kind according to your needs and taste. Some of their chairs are stunningly beautiful to look at, and you can see the quality in each of their chairs. Since it was the last day of the show, they were selling some of their show chairs they had on display there for 25% off, even with a quarter off, its still hella expensive. All their show chairs are 16x16 dimensions, so if you ever want to buy one of their chairs for cheaper, you can visit them at their next show. If money isnt an issue, then I would definitely buy one, well...maybe in the future I will. For now, I'll stick to Tilite.
    May 2000, T4-5 Complete.

    Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo

  3. #3
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    So youre afraid of going into a 'roidrage and busting up that TiLite, eh? Dont worry about it. I think at your weight you probably shouldnt have any bolt problems, but maybe changing them to a higher grade might help too, I guess if you start breaking them, its a good idea. One thing to make sure of is getting the 'heavy duty' frame, if they still make them with that choice or if they make them all that way now. This entails a tubular insert welded into the holes in the main frame for the backrest vs. just holes drilled into the bare tubing. Reason I say this is my TR first came with just holes drilled, resulting in cracking of the frame in one month. The warranty replacement came with inserts welded in and was called a 'HD' frame. Might be TiLite makes all their frames with the inserts now as I can imagine that they would be replacing a lot of frames from the bonehead move of just leaving drilled holes in thin wall tubing in a high stress area.

    ZR vs. ZRA vs. ZRA-C. Do you envision yourself changing the dump specs a lot? If so, I guess going adjustable would work, but if you cant foresee all those changes just on the dump aspects, go ZR, save yourself a bunch of brackets and bolts. Anti-tips are kind a real pain. I'm in the dont want to fall backwards club also, but dont use anti-tips. Just move the axle back far enough so that you dont start wheelieing going up grades, you should be good. If the antitips are low enough to do the intended job, they get in the way of bumping up a step. If they are high enough that they dont get in the way, they dont work that well (I had that lovely experience once). Make make a stronger case of a ZR if you remove the anti-tip issue from the picture. And finally, ZRC vs. ZR....are you tapering the seat portion? I dont know if there is any price difference between the two, but unless you want to buy a non-standard cushion for a tapered seat, maybe just a ZR will do. I guess you can tell my bias is towards the ZR, eh?

    Dont worry about the Spinergies, they are tough. I'm always grabbing the spokes at times for a better grip when turning or stopping quick, no damage or wear and tear, they are almost 5 years old and still going strong.

    Glad I could muddy up your decision making process this morning...youre welcome!

  4. #4

    Warranty info

    Quote Originally Posted by nikki-k
    Hi!
    First, another HUGE thx to everyone here.

    Snip ...

    So afraid I will make bad choices/decisions on this one...
    Nikki, long post but you didn't say anything about the warranty? I will since my 'chair did break.

    Ti-Sport was the name of the Company when I purchased my first 'chair. I heard about them before they were FDA approved. Once approved. I got my first Ti-Sport 'chair. About two years later I woke up one morning and saw a black line by the back triangular support bracket. I looked closer and it was a crack in the frame. This is from everyday normal wear. I don't do sports. What cracked it? Poor design and engineering. Now TiLite, they wanted the 'chair back as soon as possible. They FedExed a box to me and they had it in several days.

    What caused the crack in the frame? When I fold my towels I lean back just a little. This is the only time I know I put extra pressure on the 'chair's back causing this failure.

    They replaced the 'chair like they said in their warranty but after two years of worn wheels and parts it was like a new paint job on a car then putting on the old chrome parts unpolished. It looked funny. If TiLite wants to be the best in the industry they should replace the whole 'chair as it manufactured for the customer. They should replace the whole 'chair if it was their fault.

    I was told by Ti-Sport/TiLite they had impurities in the titanium. When I got the frame back and how they fixed the "problem" by welding washers over the holes to strengthen the pivot point. It was not impurities that caused the crack but a poor design.

    I have had two Action Pro-Ts and Action and Invacare is 10 miles from me. I would never get a product from them again. I have had too many bad experiences from them from poor quality parts and too many bolts breaking.

    For a TiLite 'chair? My 'chair has traveled extensively, three trips to China and back and I have had it for about plus 7 years with no problems from the new frame. They had dropped my style of 'chair but updated the product with new design features. One problem I do have with 'chair companies is the bolts and nuts they use and aluminum for brackets. They should be made of stainless steel or titanium. Over the years I have replaced the galvanized bolts and nuts with stainless steel ones. The 'chair has taken a beating and still looks great!

    If I had to purchase another 'chair today? I'd would go with another TiLite one. They do manufacture a high quality product.

    One area TiLite can improve their product is their under seat pouch and backpacks. Make them out of luggage material with lock holes in the zipper for 'chair users that travel. The material now is just too thin. The underseat pouch should have a better clamping setup than the wrap around frame nylon and push button plastic clamp. Does anyone have a better idea for this? And a better design for wheel lock clamps pieces with the hex bolts that wrap around the frame.

    I don't think you would be disappointed with TiLite. Be an educated consumer and learn as much about the 'chair and accessories as much as possible. A 'chair salesperson would sell you everything you don't need on a 'chair because that's his job. My first chair, Quickie titanium, which was improperly fitted for me was 2" wider which I found to be too wide to get through doorways and aisles.

    Enjoy the 'chair!

    titanium4motion

  5. #5
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    Hmm, seems I'm not the only one with the cracking stress riser at the seat back hinge. Here's a little photo essay so you can see what we're talking about.

    My first TR frame, nice crack in it (tightened bolt to accentuate)




    The replacement TR frame, with a tube inserted through the hole and then welded to the frame tubing to remove the stress riser of the bare tubing supporting all the weight transferred to it by the bolt.




    Now mind you not all TiLite frames will crack if they are using a drilled hole with no reinforcements. As an example, my TRA frame has the same bare hole, but the welds to connect the tubing sections are doing much of the same job the reinforcement is in the second photo. This frame has about a year of usage and has no cracking, while the TR frame went a month before I discovered it.




    TiLite was easy to work with to get the TR's issues fixed. They shipped out a replacement frame to me quickly. They did want the cracked one back, but after a half-hearted effort by some mystery local vendor to pick up the cracked frame didnt work out, I still have the frame as possible 'back up' chair made out of my pile of wheelchair parts should the need arise. I think they did ask for me to ship it back, but as my car couldnt hold such a large box and UPS only picks up during working hours when I'm at work (still gotta get the pile to work, see car excuse), the local vendor route was used by them. In the end, I guess they really dont need it back that badly, lol.

  6. #6
    Senior Member canuck's Avatar
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    My ZRA is rock solid after 3 years, the only issue I've had is the tiny little screws on the clothing guards falling. I really don't abuse my chairs that much but the ZRA has been banged around a fair bit as its been thrown into buses, helicopters & various vehicles. My A-4 was in far worse shape at the 3 year mark.

  7. #7
    I'm on my second TiLite, first one was a ZRA...this one is a ZR Custom. Not one time did I adjust the ZRA in the three plus years that I had it, so I decided to go with a ZR custom with a rigid back. I was worried about the no-folding aspect, but this thing has been perfect so far.

    I will agree with titanium4motion though - I have no clue why they don't use stainless steel hardware on the ZRA. After a while, the non stainless steel hardware really starts to look bad. Also, I never let stairs slow me down and often used to have friends lift me up and down them. This put a lot of stress on that hardware at the back/seat junction. These bolts often sheared clean off from the stress - but I guess that would happen with any chair, not just the ti-lite. Bottom line - if you get an adjustable, be sure to check the nuts/bolts fairly often (once every 1-2 weeks) for integrity. I went with the rigid back so that I wouldn't have to worry about this at all.

    Anyway - I love my TiLite....great chair.
    "Your love is just the antidote when nothing else will cure me" ~Sarah McLachlan

  8. #8
    Hi!
    Thx for all the help!

    Warranty: sorry, I wrote so quickly, I didnt notice I forgot to mention it directly. I guess I wrote with an implication of the lifetime warrant TiLite gives. I am hoping they are a stand-up company. I have not read or ehard anything to suggest otherwise.

    @Andy- lol!!! Nah, I only had them for a short time during recovery. Once I got back in a cooler climate, got all "nested up" at home, and got back into living (VERY active), I gained weight- lol. I am losing now, and would never use anything to bulk up or trim down (again).

    I have decided to go TiLite, and the local rep is bringing out a ZRA and a TR on Fri, can have them for several days if I want! I will let ya know what I pick (if any is curious), and will post a new thread when I actually get a chair... I cannot wait!!!! Thx again!!!

    (now I have to find a new backpack and underseat pack...ugh)
    Oh- and JDR- awesome quote!
    Last edited by nikki-k; 07-03-2007 at 02:38 PM.
    nikki
    T6 complete since Oct, 2001
    TiLite ZRa, Spinergy LX 24", Shox Firm tires, 3" volcanic glare rollerblade wheels for casters

  9. #9
    ...and now it gets more interesting...

    I am using the demo ZRA. Nice chair, very cool. 4 degree camber, 16x16 with 85 degree front, 3" roller blade type casters, Spinergy SPOX 24" blue spoke with Kenda Koncept (110psi, but my little pump will only get 'em to ~85psi), short-tab pushrims, 4 degree camber, rear tips (set high...flipping this guy is not too difficult- lol!), 6" tapered from seat width front, ABS plate, regular brakes, and blue anodized. 3" dump (18 frnt, 15 back STF), standard seat upholstery, adjustable seat back, black.

    Chair is very nice, had it for two days now, put several miles (at least) on it so far. Ooops'd and had the front casters fall into train track "gutters" as I was crossing at one point (scary), but otherwise cool. Until I went to shower and realized that I only had MAYBE one more inch of space before a chair would not fit (rental/apartment). So, if I go with Natural Fit handrims, chair becomes too wide. If I opt for a 17 wide instead of 16 wide, too big, even with short tab rims (currently have 19 1/4" between inside of tire top edge right now with 4 degree). Going to 2 degree would be very disappointing. I know the measurements I want now after spending time with it, and could go with a ZR...and would prefer to go ZR....but, no rear tips. So, no ZR. And I just do not care for the way the axle is done wiht the ZRA. I guess am just being picky. But, there is more!!!

    I also discussed the chair thing with the DME here once I got over the cushion fun we had (another thread...). So I mentioned that I had tried a "friend's char" nudge nudge... and that this chair was awesome! I then said it was a shame my Medicaid would not cover a new chair. She said that since my chair is over 5 years old, I am eligible for a new one. Ahhh, how I love "eligible." Basically, it is like parole for me! Woohoo! Oh wait- it is the reverse of parole. The worse you treat your chair, the better your chance of getting "parole." I behvaed well, and most likely would not be eligible, since i have not had enough repairs done to my current chair. But, I cannot fit my chair in my Mom's new car, but COULD fit say, an Aero Z (I told the DME this). They said, "Oh- well, if properly prescribed and justified, that chair actually falls within the budget you would have for the new chair. But, a ZRA would not."

    I get over the ridiculousness of this all, hop off the phone, and cry a bit. Sheer frustration. I have my Dad and step-Mom who wanted to simply buy me (erm, "donate" ) Spinergy wheels of my choice for my current chair. My Dad and I talk a bit more over time, and the new chair becomes a possibilty (he and she have actually pulled a bit out of their retirement fund to help me). Which led to all the posts, threads and questions here.

    I read TiLite's warranty, and it says the frame is warrantied for the life of the original owner. Cool! But this is followed by a statement that (paraphrased) a chair's life is considered 5 years. So, now I need to call TiLite and ask them what this warranty actually means, and get that answer in writing.

    On top of that...I have a huge decision to make. Do I attempt what might takes a few months to accomplish- petitioning and having an Aero Z prescribed, and hope it is apporved... or do I work with my Dad to buy a ZRA instead?

    I know- I am lucky to have even as much as I do. But, my current chair is wrong for me. Big, bulky, and difficuly to use at times. (wrong casters and forks, which they will not change, since they consider it a "modification of original equipment, not a repair"; cannot get it into most friend's cars, nor my Mom's car; almost 6 years old and beat up, but the DME that appraised it said it was solid)

    Sorry to vent and such, but I have been overwhelmed by this whole thing form day one. I just want to have a damn chair I can use everyday. The ZRA was a huge difference from the A4. But, it is a different material, different frame type, and there are the Spinergies to consider. I would end up with the Spinergies no matter what. But, they are cheaper to buy with a chair than seperate. And I think I would rather have the Everyday LX than the Spox Everyday. ZRA to Aero Z is *only* a couple pounds, according to TiLite. Same, just different material...and one MIGHT be able to be paid for by insurance. Based on timelines from the other stuff, it should take 3-5 months for the petition for the Aero Z to complete, if approved...and then wait for the chair to be built and shipped on top fo that. And now I am babbling and being stupid... <sigh> .....
    nikki
    T6 complete since Oct, 2001
    TiLite ZRa, Spinergy LX 24", Shox Firm tires, 3" volcanic glare rollerblade wheels for casters

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Nikki,

    Question about the doors. How well do you get along w. your landlord? It sounds like you would only need to widen the doorway slightly. In my m-i-l s house we are looking at shaving a bit off the door frames right where I need it. Once it is done and repainted, it won't look much different. Would he be agreeable? (I don;t think you could push the issue, since you fit just fine in your current chair.)

    The warranty refers to YOUR life right? so my take is that they are just implying that you shouldn;t have any trouble for 5 years, but they will still warranty it longer if you still own it.

    RE 5 years. I understood that you were eligible for another chair at this point. (counting on it actually!) What if you were handy and did all the repairs yourself .... you could have been fixing it every other day for years now! Look into to this for sure.

    Good Luck!
    T7-8 since Feb 2005

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