Submitted: Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 18:43
ThreadID: 7644 Views:10695 Replies:12 FollowUps:14
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Hello all,
I just had an ARB Airlocker fail by shearing all its bolts, which then floated around the rear diff, until they got caught in the pinion bearings, and CRUNCH! Seems the crown wheel and pinion minced some of the 8mm bolt heads but some survived and busted the bearings. ARB reckon this occurance is "unusual". They reckon it was my fault and that it is unlikely their product failed. This was their opinion until I told them about year and a half ago, the same thing happened in the front diff, but ruined the crown wheel and pinion and basically everything inside the diff including the locker. 3000 dollars later there is a reco front diff and new locker in the front.
But that still leaves the rear to fix. I had the locker overhauled by mcnamara diffs in melbourne, as ARB do not repair their own product. Seems they prefer to sell you new ones instead. Anyway, having spoken to mcnamara diffs who also manufacture their own air lockers, I am convinced that ARB's product is not the best on the market. Fancy breaking two lockers in one 80 series diesel landcruiser.
So you pay 4000 to get the lockers and fitting etc, then they fail on you and cause 5000 dollars more damage... What a joke.! not happy!
Incidently, my locker wasnt the only one at the diff shop... seems fairly common. Opposite to what ARB tells you. So basically, I am writing to find out what you guys reckon? Anyone had any failures?
This diff crunch occured the following day after coming back from the Outback and being in the simpson and 7-8000 kays later. Only used the lockers two or three bogholes in the Sunset Desert in Victoria, and the following morning after taking off down the street, a sound like an anglegrinder...
Anyway, any comments appreciated
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Reply By: floyd - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 18:55

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 18:55
Who Installed them. You or ARB? If you did then you are probably shagged.
A successful comback to ARB for warranty could be by keeping a dif lock log. Note each time you use them, the road surface and duration of lock. Is the vehicle turbo or not? Would be surprised if even aTurbo blew them up. Was the vehicle overloaded on the trip. Could have been a factor too.

If all else fails go to the Small claims court and get them to find who is at fault. Was free last time I used them and it was settled in my favour.
AnswerID: 32904

Follow Up By: shaggy - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 20:46

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 20:46
They are not used often. Just in slop for a few hundred meters type stuff. USually when you think you might have a bit of trouble if you were unlocked.
Its just a nat asp diesel manual. Vehicle was not overloaded. Only me and girlfriend with food and tents and two spares, recovery equipment. Nothing really heavy.
How do you go about getting an inspection for small claims tribunal?
FollowupID: 23525

Follow Up By: Leroy - Tuesday, Oct 07, 2003 at 11:55

Tuesday, Oct 07, 2003 at 11:55

The small claims road is the way I have to go as ARB said there was enough clearance for my side steps not to hit the body of my vehicle. They even had their engineers fit them and check them. ARB appear to be very stubborn and won't admit when they have a problem with thier product. I went as high as the national sales manage Paul Anderson to try and get the issue resolved and he wouldn't budge! Good luck.

FollowupID: 23570

Reply By: Macco - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 19:22

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 19:22
Just a thought that might save you a few bucks.. It may be worth looking into getting an independant Automotive Engineer come and inspect the failure. Being in the Earthmoving game we have used them several times to straighten out contensious issues with customers/suppliers. It would be best if they could look at the failure before any work was carried out to determine the cause of failure. Sorry dont know the costs associated etc.

AnswerID: 32906

Reply By: John - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 19:24

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 19:24
I dont need to hear this I just had a front and rear air lockers fitted to my troopy.
AnswerID: 32907

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 20:39

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 20:39
How many do you hear failing? 1 in a blue moon..?

FollowupID: 23524

Reply By: Simon - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 19:42

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 19:42
Hmm, not good Shaggy.

Has anybody been able to shed any light on why they broke?

The only way I could think of is turning sharp under power with lots of traction?

Were they disengaging? they could have been stuck in the locked position while driving on the road, altho if that is enough to stuff them I dont think I want any.

I dont wear the "its unusual" and "your fault" lines if they cant come up with a proper explanation of why they broke.

AnswerID: 32908

Follow Up By: shaggy - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 20:51

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 20:51
If you have difflocks, you know how noticable they are when they are on. And the compressor has to be running. But anyway, the front you would have to be drunk to not notice, in the rear you would not notice until you did a reasonably tight turn. But yes i am sure they dissengaged every time. Regardless, they are not advertised as "fragile" items. ARB adds all say how tuff and indestructable they are, but when I do a search you see various failures through shearing.

Have a look at this page for photos:
FollowupID: 23526

Reply By: shaggy - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 20:41

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 20:41
The lockers were fitted by an established 4wd shop, (wont name them) just in case. But anyway, the lockers were about 10 years old, with the four bolt pattern. Seems funny, but after a while ARB switched to 6 bolt pattern and then to an 8 bolt pattern, giving much higher torque resistance. So ARB's locker "specialist" tells me that they are old etc 260 ks on them, its not surprising, these things wear out etc. But its funny that in a previous call without any details about my breakdown they said "Oh airlockers dont wear out, they only are wearing whilst being used, they'll outlast your vehicle etc". Same old lies to sell and promote their product, but when it comes to the crunch "literally", their "expert" says to me "What do you want us to do about it"...
I can accept that one fails through some coincidence, but both in exactly the same manner... dunno...
And regarding their upgrade to eight bolt pattern which all new lockers have now, their expert stated "it was an over-reaction on our behalf, just to be confident in our product". Seems that if it was that good to begin with, why would you change your design.? Because they know it was a problem!
So anyway, now i have an eight bolt new front locker, and a mcnamara diffs twelve bolt (formerly the four bolt which sheared) rebuilt locker in the rear.
Car has already had the diff repaired so now its just a matter of seeking some legal advice. This car is also a daily driver, and i have already been 10 days without it. Been riding the TTR600 dirt bike, which is fun but not in the current freezing raining melbourne... :-(

AnswerID: 32915

Follow Up By: Jeremy - Tuesday, Oct 07, 2003 at 08:48

Tuesday, Oct 07, 2003 at 08:48

Can you describe any noises or sounds before it gave way, as my rear diff, also with an ARB unit fitted by them has become a bit slack. When the Diff is warm I get a chattering sound if I lightly apply the brake or apply the brake and then release. Have been meaning to visit ARB or a difff sepcialist, but you story has me concerned so I will do something today. I have found with repairers you need to diagnose the problem yourself and then tell them what to do, otherwise you get the run around.

FollowupID: 23560

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 20:45

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 20:45
What were you doing at the time they broke? Just driving down the street, after using them in 2-3 bogholes? Umm.....

I've known someone who has had them in his GQ for~6-8 yrs with no hassles what so ever, and they get used extremely regularly... and its not on bog holes, or fire trails. Not to mention the 90% of the Tuff Truck fleet, which also use ARB Air Lockers without too many problems, and they are doing lots more than a few bog holes.

Theres more to the story than meets the eye.
AnswerID: 32916

Follow Up By: Member - Eric- Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 23:43

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 23:43
I think your onto something here truckster . From the start of the story till now , it has changed a little .

1 / I thought he was talking about new lockers , now we are told that they are pre war , not fitted by ARB . Yes he may have used them once or twice , how offten did the other guy have them for ?? The guy who fitted them for you , was he a diff expert ?? did he set up the preload correctly ?? did he inspect the locker before they went in ???

2/ I am glab ARB have developed there product from a 4 6 & then to a 8 bolt , shows me that there into bettering there product ,

3/ I have never , ever be told by ARB , not my problem , go away , I find the guys a great help , Always .
Venus Bay
FollowupID: 23545

Reply By: shaggy - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 20:52

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 20:52
Anyone not convinced, have a look at this page:
AnswerID: 32919

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 21:48

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 21:48
1) he fitted himself mentioning "It was a delicate work to do, definitively requiring the original Repair Manual from Toyota, and also requiring a certain amount of special tools". yet mentions nothing of his mechanical skills, so isnt really a job for a 'yarder'.

2) ARB told him the updated unit has 8 bolts, yet he still goes with 4...and hopes... = professional.

3) he cant be too unhappy with his locker, he has an advert for ARB on another of his pages.

FollowupID: 23530

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 23:04

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 23:04
hmmmmm, another interesting snippet from the URL.

(you may actually tip your truck over if you use it the wrong way)

what way is that? climbing vertical walls?Laterally Literal
Seriously Cerebral
FollowupID: 23535

Reply By: Martyn (WA) - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 21:32

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 21:32
I've had ine in three years now without a mishap like you are talking about, I had a problem with the internal o-ring which is always in contact with a running surface. This is the only bit that wears, I think mine did because I got the smell of hypoid oil in the car and marking the carpet under the front seat. the locker fails in the unlocked position, so if the compressor fails for any reason the locker disengages. The only time mine stayed engaged was when I crawled out of a bog hole and turned as soon I got out, I disengaged the locker but because the load was still on it never disengaged.
With the oil leak ARB stripped the axle replaced the o-ring and fixed everything FOC, I was impressed. I had my lockers fitted by ARB initially, just thought i would mention that. Something I didn't know was i had to change the oil in the diff 2500 klms after the initial installation.
This is my experience with ARB lockers. Keep the shiny side up
AnswerID: 32921

Follow Up By: Member - Eric- Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 23:47

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 23:47
Martyn , aperrantly it was a major problem for Toyota front diffs , before I purchased mine , I asked about this problem , they said that the seal did fail sometimes , but the new return spring they have now, wont allow the locker to stay on if this happens ,Venus Bay
FollowupID: 23546

Reply By: chrisfrd - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 21:36

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 21:36
There's a four-step process that you can follow that I have found works very well with any industrial dispute.

Firstly, Get a non-interested witness statement, from a certified mechanical engineer. Use this as your evidence.

Secondly, go to ARB and try to sort it out. Don't go to the sales people or the regional outlet, but to the big bosses in Melbourne. Hit them with the report and a fairly detailed letter detailing your problems with their product. This normally results in your problems being fixed and the problem goes away. If they didn't bite, then stage three is in order.....

If your engineer states that the ARB unit failed and that your vehicles components were damaged by the failure, then you can SUE through the small claims court in your state. You need a $50.00 deposit to lodge, with a usual waiting period of 2 months for your hearing. Make sure that your claim is under $4999.99. This normally requires ARB to hire a lawyer in your state and pay his fees and such.. For a marginal amount, they normally just settle and give you what you want to go away.

Another way is to embarrass them into complying... A printed ad in 4x4 monthly or something, detailing what happened (the facts ONLY) will probably get a fairly dramatic response. Look at what happened when they found that their snatch straps were absolute bleep ! Don't guild the advert, just state the facts and they can't sue you for defamation. There was a case a few years ago about an owner of an EA falcon that had it's transmission explode. Ford didn't want to know and claimed that it was abuse, until the owner printed a consulting engineers report that contradicted their claims in the news paper. That then got Hinch involved...

Have a go at them!

AnswerID: 32922

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 22:17

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 22:17
Don't guild the advert, just state the facts and they can't sue you for defamation...

suppose that would be like stating on a public forum that
"their snatch straps were absolute bleep !"? ;)
FollowupID: 23532

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 23:11

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 23:11
T-Man you've done it again!

I reckon the ARB guys at the Melb head office would look favourable on this issue. Their response to the snatch strap test in 4x4 Toyota monthly was very positive and supporting of their customer base. I would go direct to them Shaggy and gauge their response, mention you are considering a engineers report and further advertisement of the failure if you do not get a satisfactory response.

ARB are a good mob from what I have seen. This appears out of character with them. Give them a go first before you go spending money you may not get back.Laterally Literal
Seriously Cerebral
FollowupID: 23537

Follow Up By: John - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 23:15

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 23:15
Didn't I say this see post below.
FollowupID: 23538

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 23:26

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 23:26
Yes John, Funny thing I read down the page, still two says dont make a sight!

All the bestLaterally Literal
Seriously Cerebral
FollowupID: 23541

Follow Up By: John - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 23:29

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 23:29
No Problems Bonz
FollowupID: 23543

Reply By: John - Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 23:02

Monday, Oct 06, 2003 at 23:02
Interesting thread.
Lets re examine the circumstances and think about how it may apply to your claim.

You state the units are about 10 years old, I know it sounds sarcastic but they are certainly out of warrenty. Nothing lasts for ever.
They were also installed by a third part installer. Maybe you have claim against them, But not if they were installed 10 years ago.

Correct me if I am wrong but reading your post it appears that you obtained the lockers second hand ? I say this as you quote others telling you they are about 10 years and have done 260 k's you don't know ? if this is so, Then I think you are stuffed so far as any claim.

ARB also tell you to have them serviced and as already stated change diff oil after 2500 km.
Looking at the web site it does appear that they may have had early problem, but I doubt you will find succes after 10 years and no obvious inspection stated since.

But I would still talk to ARB head office and see what their response is before attempting expensive and possibly unsuccesfull litigation. ARB seem to be interested in maintaining confidence and integrity in their product.
The snach strap situation is an example of this.

Good luck and please keep us all informed of their response as I am sure none of us want this problem out in the back of beyond if it can be prevented.

AnswerID: 32939

Reply By: Mick - Wednesday, Oct 08, 2003 at 08:57

Wednesday, Oct 08, 2003 at 08:57
I didnt blow my ARB locker up, but all th locking tabs around the 8sided head bolts fell off. Being high tensile lock tabs, they went through the ring gears, and i was left with 3 teeth on my pinion. Youd be surprised how quiet it travelled at 120kmph to work and back for a few days!!
Anyway the reason it broke was because i was doing rollback burnouts with 35" tyres and an over worked donk!! A simple recipe for disaster!!
A mate at arb moorebank fixed it no problems, put new seals in it and then gave me $600 for it! I now couldnt be bothered, as Nissan fit perfectly good LSD centres in all their vehicles, Toyota on the other hand, the original centre would have blown up years ago. Your lucky you fitted the locker, it may have saved you several times around!!
I would reccomend ARB lockers to anybody.
AnswerID: 33091

Reply By: Michael Ralston - Friday, Oct 10, 2003 at 20:31

Friday, Oct 10, 2003 at 20:31
I was wondering what is the difference between the ARB and McNamara locking diffs? Why are the McNamara diffs superior (according to them)? Has anyone got McNamara locking diffs and what do they think of them?
AnswerID: 33382

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