Bulbar issue - what do you think?

Submitted: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 11:19
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Hi all,

My Landcruiser is currently at ARB getting a bullbar fitted. I have had a call saying there is a slight issue. The bullbar has been made to order as they do not produce these for my model vehicle anymore and have been told that there seems to be an issue with one of the welds which has caused there to be a slightly larger gap under the headlight on the drivers side than what there is on the passenger side. In other words it's not exactly level. To me the difference is negligible and if he hadn't told me I probably wouldn't have noticed but the problem here is that I am only going by the photo. I work away and am not able to see the vehicle until tomorrow morning when I go to pick it up.

He has sent me a photo as wants to know what I want to do.

A) Take it off, put the plastic bumper back on and order another one (and wait 2 months)
B) Accept it as it is and benefit from paying trade price for the bullbar.

I asked if it would affect the integrity of the bar and whether it would affect further modifications ie side rails and side steps, winch and he has guaranteed it it will not.

Not sure what to do! From the pic I can hardly tell and I do appreciate getting the call so I have a choice. I really need the vehicle this week and I don't want them to take it off before I see it in person but they will require to hold onto it for another day to replace the plastic bumper should I decide not to go ahead.

Any advice? Thankyou.

Craig

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Reply By: GT Campers - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 11:36

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 11:36
Bit hard to see, really, but take a look around any car park and you will see tolerances of an inch or more with bars etc. My hilux is about 15mm wacky from side to side - that could be the result of accident damage, settling of chassis rubbers etc etc. Our bush toys aren't being judged at Summernats! Sounds like a top operator, whoever this feller is :)



AnswerID: 487158

Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 11:41

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 11:41
Yeah, I gotta go with GT, the bar fitter must be a top operator to take the time and effort to advise you, as to less-than perfect fit.
Half the bar fitters around would just bang it on, not bother with alignment - have at least three retaining bolts missing, and the rest not tightened properly - or screwed up with the rattle gun, until they half-stripped!
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Reply By: Ron N - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 11:36

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 11:36
Caraig - Take it as it is. The difference is barely discernable. After you've hit the first 'roo, the bar will never line up again perfectly, anyway.
The people who will pick out the imperfect bullbar fit, are the same people who will come up and point out the minute chips in your paintwork, when you're trying to sell the 'Cruiser. It looks all AOK to me.
I've never had a problem with ARB stuff, they must be scraping the barrel for quality welders, if they're employing people who can't line components up properly in a jig before they tack them. I'd be more concerned about the weld quality than anything else.
Hopefully ARB aren't employing a heap of Chinese welders on 457 visas like my local truck body builder.
The truckies reckon some of the welds on the new tippers and semi's are not up to scratch. A big part of the problem is that the Chinese aren't anywhere near 100% fluent in English, and have trouble working out blueprints and specific instructions relating to specific components.

Cheers - Ron.
AnswerID: 487159

Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 12:24

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 12:24
Cheers Ron! The more I look at it the more I don't actually care, as long as the bar does what it's suposed to. Cheers for the advice.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 20:04

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 20:04
Well Ron, after the chinese blokes have made a couple of serious stuff ups then the management will start to understand the local blokes are not as expensive as they first thought.

Makes you wonder.

Should have been doing away with the dole about 30 years ago for all but the most needy cases and training up the young blokes instead, then there would be plenty of skilled labour to go around.

I made this prediction in 1978 when the rot started.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Reply By: Penchy - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 11:42

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 11:42
get the guarantee in writing, then hit him up for 25% discount saying the bar is a defect. Its worth a try.
AnswerID: 487160

Follow Up By: GT Campers - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 11:52

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 11:52
Or, pay full whack, buy the bloke a six-pack for his honesty and go back to him again when you need good honest advice on other 4WD equipment you may need in the future.

That's worth a try, too
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Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 12:27

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 12:27
Yes, I think I will do a mix of both. It would be silly not to get the guarantee in writing and I have alreday been offered a pretty good discount so not going to quibble for more. If he hadn't have contacted me (going by the photo) I wouldn't have noticed the difference anyway so he has done the right thing and I will be letting him know how much I appreciate the honesty when I go to collect it tomorrow morning. Thanks guys
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 14:11

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 14:11
Hi Penchy and Cruiser74

From the image it is impossible to see the difference. Take option No 2 and get it at the trade price, as you will be saving many hundreds of dollars.


Cheers



Stephen
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Follow Up By: Penchy - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 15:24

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 15:24
you have to at least get a decent discount. These bars are not made in backyard sheds with apprentice welders. They are made with high end laser cutters, brake press and robotic welders in very well planned production areas. It doesnt matter how nice the guy is behind the counter, the bar is a defect and you shouldnt pay full whack. I would even go so far as to ask what sort of quality checking procedures they have at their manufacturing site and play on that a bit. But I work in steel fab so not easy to put 1 past me there. ARB pride themselves on their so called quality products so throw it back at them. Its your hard earned money after all, dont give it away.
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Reply By: member - mazcan - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 11:56

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 11:56
hi craig
imho having one bar slighty higher or lower isnt going to make an ounce of diference structually except for picky onlookers the main thing is the quality of the weld if that is good then except the bar at trade price they are offering you and laugh all the way home
as for arb they get welders to do the bars on contract
my nephew in the adelaide hills who is a qualified and very good welder did quiet a bit of all types of bar work for them a few years agothey freighted the bar work packs to him and he welded them together in the farm shed
once 4wds have done a few trips theres hardly a bar around that looks perfect and to me thats irrelivant
cheers barry
AnswerID: 487161

Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 12:29

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 12:29
Thanks Mazcan,

Yes, I'm certainly not the fussiest person going around and I was more worried about the integrity of the bar than the cosmetic issue of it not being exactly level. If I can get the guarantee in writing and take the trade discount I'll walk away pretty happy. Cheers!

Craig
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Reply By: PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 14:00

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 14:00
Having driven a truck with a bonnet that was not "square" with the bullbar and getting quite cheesed off months later I would say get them to fix it. Nothing out of your pocket to do it. Just have to wait a few months.

I would put quids on it that you will not be 100% happy after a few months when the tiny misalignment grows subconsciously and gets under your skin.

Besides! Why settle for something that is not right. You paid good money for it so why accept less. You are lowering your own standards to that of the faulty builder who said no doubt that "she'll be right!". Not in my books she wont.
AnswerID: 487166

Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 14:08

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 14:08
I just had another look at a blown up version of the photo and am convinced that I would not accept it.

It may be an optical illusion but the top of the bullbar on the drivers side appears lower than on the left. Have you got a photo of the front from the inside of the car to see if the top of the bar is square with the bonnet. It will cheese you off no end if it isn't

You owe that fitter a beer mate. When we first got our car we had a bundle of work when with that mob. We had to take it back twice several things.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 15:13

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 15:13
G'day Phil,

Thanks for your feedback. Trust me I have studied the photo at length and you almost force yourself into seeing it because you've been told it's there. I even printed the photo out and got a metal ruler and measured the exact same spot on paper between the top of the bar and bottom of the headlight. On paper the difference is exactly 1mm but I don't know how this would translate to on an actual scale. You also have to take into account that the whole photo has been taken on a bit of angle, evident by the line of paint on the back wall of the workshop.

To me, the fact that you have to blow it up and study it at length to see the difference or even question that it may be an optical illusion means the difference is extremely minor. Having said that I won't know for sure until I go in tomorrow, sit behind the wheel and have a really good look before I make up my mind 100%. I can live with it if it's just a tiny difference and I have some extra coin to buy some tyre pressure monitors! Will let you know how I go.

Cheers

Craig
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Follow Up By: Michaeljp - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 15:41

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 15:41
Whats the name of the shop. Sounds like a good honest bloke, give his shop a free plug.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rob K (VIC) - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 15:46

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 15:46
Hi Craig,

Like Phil, I blow the picture up on the computer and took a closer look. If you check out the little grey tabs on your bonnet protector (at each end) you'll see the slight difference in gap between the top of the bar and the grey tabs. Doesn't look much to me but your call?

Cheers

Rob K
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Follow Up By: PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:02

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:02
Thanks Rob

I am happy to know the old eyes are not that bad at all. I really didn't study it at length Craig. Just a cursory look but in greater detail.

As you wish. I think I would pop down and have a look myself. Photos can sometimes mislead you.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:05

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:05
Thanks Rob,

Yes, looking at it like that makes it a bit more evident. As you say it's not much. I keep looking at it as if I hadn't been told and I honestly don't know that I'd notice it's that small. I suppose what it comes down to is what matters more (provided the integrity of the bar is guaranteed as has been told to me by the fitter), saving some money or having a dead level bull bar? At this stage I'm leaning toward the saving rather than going all OCD and making them make a new bar and do it all again for the sake of a few mm.

Michaeljp - Good call. The guy's name is Michael Mcdermott from ARB in Osborne Park Perth. He has been very helpful with this and other things since getting my Landcruiser. He certainly knows his stuff and I'd definitely go back especially after this.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:07

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:07
Thanks Rob,

Yes, looking at it like that makes it a bit more evident. As you say it's not much. I keep looking at it as if I hadn't been told and I honestly don't know that I'd notice it's that small. I suppose what it comes down to is what matters more (provided the integrity of the bar is guaranteed as has been told to me by the fitter), saving some money or having a dead level bull bar? At this stage I'm leaning toward the saving rather than going all OCD and making them make a new bar and do it all again for the sake of a few mm.

Michaeljp - Good call. The guy's name is Michael Mcdermott from ARB in Osborne Park Perth. He has been very helpful with this and other things since getting my Landcruiser. He certainly knows his stuff and I'd definitely go back especially after this.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 20:23

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 20:23
Craig, it is very difficult to tell from that photo. I would say most of us have blown it up on the computer so we are all on the same wavelength but the photo is not taken from dead centre as the Toyota Logo is slightly off to the left side of the vehicle (our right) and if you look down at the tyres you will see that the left wheel is toeing out more than you would expect given the angle of the right hand wheel. Probably an optical illusion, but how much more of it is subject to an optical illusion.

There are too many discrepancies in the shot to use it as an acurate guide.
If the person taking the shot had have been dead centre and crouching down to get a level shot under the headlights you may have had a better idea of the problem.

On the other hand there is nothing that can't be fixed with a die grinder and a nine inch grinder and a bit of weld, if needs be. It all depends on the saving on
offer.

If you are really worried then wait thew 2 months, otherwise take the money and run, but give the guy a good wrap on here when you do.

But gees mate, they are 2 of the best badges you can have on any vehicle, hehehe.
A Toyota badge and an ARB badge. The third best badge is "Landcruiser"

That should have chucked a cat amongst the pidgeons, hehe.

Cheers, Bruce
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Ron N - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 21:44

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 21:44
Geez, Craig, if I'd known the shop was only up the road from me, in Ozzy Park, I'd have gone for a drive, done a personal professional inspection, and given you a written opinion! - all for a modest fee, of course, as they say! [;-)
I need to go over to Balcatta again soon, to see some blokes - I could have just popped around the corner, to inspect it for ya! [:-)

I've just had a horrible thought. I wonder if the 'Cruiser has been in a prang, and the end of one of chassis rails is kinked a bit?
You can have a slight kink in chassis rails, and the body will still fit O.K., because the bodies are designed to be a sloppy fit, and most panel holes aren't a precise fit, so you can move them around.

Panel shops are supposed to do chassis alignment checks to the precise factory dimensions, as outlined in the repair manual - but not all of them go to that trouble, particularly if it's only been a modest bingle.

I'm with Tim, I'm struggling to see how ARB could have ballsed up the bar, when the components are cut out with profile cutters or lasers, and welded in jigs that hold them precisely in the correct alignment. I suppose one part of one jig could have slipped slightly out of alignment, and not been noticed - but QC is supposed to pick that up, too.

Cheers - Ron.
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Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 00:31

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 00:31
Thanks Ron,

Maybe I should have asked the question if anyone in the know that was local could go and have a look on my behalf. Oh well, I'm home now and going in first thing to have a proper look. I have to say after weighing up everyone's opinons I'm more confused than I was in the beginning. I think that if when I sit in the car and it's really noticeable it will end up annoying me so I will probably get them to do it again. I'm hoping that will not be the case! Thanks again.

Craig
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Reply By: HGMonaro - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 15:50

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 15:50
I picked it straight off, but I'm pretty picky with horizons in photos and the like.
AnswerID: 487178

Reply By: Bigfish - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 17:58

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 17:58
Cant even believe your asking the question. You got it at a steal. It is only very slightly imperfect. Unless told no one would pick it up and if they did so waht? You have found a good honest fitter. Keep him sweet and he,ll look after you.
Take it off if your just another wannabe cruising the roads in their smicked up 4wds, looking good but too scared to get it dirty.
Its a car, not a show pony.
cheers
AnswerID: 487187

Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 18:17

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 18:17
I'm asking because I'm interested in other peoples opinions when it comes to these things! And I totally agree with yours. I think perhaps I'm being a bit precious because I love my Fourby but certainly not afraid to get it dirty! Cheers
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FollowupID: 762438

Reply By: Tim - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 19:55

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 19:55
I'm almost surprised that ARB would be happy to sell a bar that doesn't meet it quality control.
Someone has already nudged on the point but if you do 100,000km, that's more then 1000 hours looking at your sloping bull bar, nothing would annoy me more.
It's great that the fitter is honest but no chance I would be accepting it. I little bit of differance to the eye can make a huge difference to the loads and tolerances on the chassis. If it is sitting slightly off square in theory your impacts will have differing forces on your chassis which may make it more probe to twisting and the problems start from there.
I agree that it's a truck and not a show pony but that bar and your confidence in it can change a life threatening situation to a small bump.
Tim
AnswerID: 487198

Reply By: Rangiephil - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 20:39

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 20:39
Looking at the blown up picture it seems to me that the whole bar is leaning down to the right.
Look at the 2 screws on the silver bit in the opening in the bar.

Maybe the way to adjust it is to slot the holes on the mount to the chassis.
I would think there would be some leeway there anyway.

Anyway the annoying thing would be the bar you see above the bonnet, and I find it hard to believe that a bit of filing on the mount holes wouldn't level it up.
BUT I guess you will not know unless you see it in the steel.
Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 487205

Reply By: Danny & June - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 22:55

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 22:55
Gday Craig

Crooked bulbars may not look just perfect.

Where do you put the gear lever while you are driving from the centre of your truk.

Good luck.

Danny
AnswerID: 487217

Reply By: Member - Cruiser74 - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 00:41

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 00:41
Thanks heaps everyone for your honest assessment of my situation. I love this website and you are all great for pitching in and helping out. I'm going in tomorrow to have a good, hard look and make a decision on what I want to do. I don't really buy into the opinion though that the slight misalignment will be a safety factor, it's worth considering but there must be hundreds of fourbys out there that have had a prang or 2 which has caused the bar to be off centre slightly and they've carried on for 100,000's of kms just fine. I'm a little bit peeved that this has happened but, well s**t happens and just looking forward to getting it sorted. I will repost later to let you all know how I go.

Cheers

Craig
AnswerID: 487226

Follow Up By: GT Campers - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 09:02

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 09:02
don't worry about a 'good hard look' - if it's not blatantly obvious from 50 feet away, there is no probem (unless you are an absolute princess!)
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FollowupID: 762483

Follow Up By: howesy - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 20:47

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 20:47
I would get it simply because the first bit of twist or knock and it can look out anyway but see how it looks from sitting in the drivers seat against the bonnet line because if it looks seriously way out from inside it will drive you nuts but its also possible to elongate holes and shim it to square it off.
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Reply By: Member - Cruiser74 - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 17:21

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 17:21
Hey folks,

I picked up the 'Cruiser this morning and everything is just fine. I parked it up on level ground and the difference is not noticeable unless you stand there looking from left to right and actually look for it. Sitting behind the wheel (my main cosmetic worry) it looks perfectly level and not noticeable at all. I'm very happy with it and saved myself $300. I honestly would not have known if it wasn't bought to my attention. Cheers to ARB in Osborne Park Perth for the excellent customer service.

Craig
AnswerID: 487289

Follow Up By: Bigfish - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 20:54

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 20:54
Good for you. Ya got some strange replies.
Now get out there and enjoy it. Thats $300.00 worth of drinks, fuel, food or whatever you can spend to have a good time.
cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Cruiser74 - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 20:58

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 20:58
Thanks mate,

Waiting patiently for my missus to pack her "clothes and things". The 'Cruiser is all ready to go and we are going to head down to the south coast tonight to try to get the jump on the long weekend crowds. Feeling pretty good about now :)
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