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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Eaton E-Locker Issues

Well I was hoping to have these issues wrapped up and simply post a little "got things resolved" post. But I will start with what I have now as I know at least one of you may be thinking about purchasing an Eaton E-Locker.

I bought my locker for the D44 on about the 15th of November. Prior to the purchase I thought I had done my homework and I felt this option would work best for my rig.

The locker arrived quickly (Friday the 21st) and it really does seem to be an impressive piece of equipment, although the instructions could use some work.

Anyway, I unpack the box and remove the shipping label. The receipt says in bold letters "Warranty void is used with lager than stock tire size.) OK, hardly anything on my Jeep is stock anymore and heck, a lot of it including the axle this locker may go in isn't even "Jeep". So now what?

My first thought is that the company I bought the locker from simply put this on the packing slip and I was about to call them and start chewing, but stopped short and decided to look over the warranty registration card in the box. Yes, that bright orange card with the bold letters at the top stating "The very best differential warranty available. In the middle of the much smaller "non bold" print the card clearly states the warranty is void for "abnormal use (IE tire diameter in excess of vehicle manufacturer recommendations" and so on.

Now I'm a little pissed. I ordered this thing so I could get right on the front axle over the holiday break... and cold have purchased an ARB for about $55 less.

I am sure you have all noticed the Eaton "Hardcore Edition" E-Locker add at the top of the SWB BBS pages... it's there almost all the time. Clearly the blue Jeep shown stopping to activate the switch and then crawling up the rock pile effortlessly, is sporting larger than factory rubber. Also, as I was first admiring the fancy black box the locker came in, I noticed each of the four sides has a fancy color photo on it. One side clearly shows an Eaton sponsored Chevy Avalanche sporting oversize rubber crawling through a dry river bed, and another shows an Eaton E-Locker sponsored Jeep with what appears to be 35 or 37 inch tires on frickin beadlock wheels.

Now I am simply throwing things around the garage knowing that my holiday weekend is not going to go anywhere near as planned.

By Saturday (22nd) morning I can't help it, I have to call or e-mail somebody. A quick internet search nets me an e-mail and toll free customer care number for the Eaton performance differentials customer service. I fire off a polite but to the point e-mail outlining the advertising for and on their product and my own confusion and worry about installing the product in my "modified" vehicle with oversize tires. Probably the same size tires as their own Eaton Jeep. I got no response.

On Wednesday (26th) morning, I fire off a second e-mail, a little more to the point and asking for some sort of reassurance that I made the right purchase. No response. I call later the same day (it was 1:30pm central time and the number I was calling is in Michigan) and get a recording stating that they have begun their Thanksgiving Holiday and will be back in the office on Monday.

No response as of this posting. A couple of hours ago I called and tried every "choice" I could, but only got voice mail for just about everyone who works their I think. There is one bright note. I called the main customer care number and spoke with a real person. She verified that I was calling and e-mailing the correct "division" and said that she would call directly and try to have a human call me back. She called back a few minutes later and advised that she was only able to reach voicemail as well. She said she did leave a voice mail instructing someone to call me ASAP and to also report back to the "main office" to let them know the call had been returned. She said she would then call me to follow up. She apologized and went out of her way to try and help me out. I don't expect a call back today. She thought tomorrow would be a realistic possibility.

Yes, you may blast me for not simply buying an ARB in the first place. I have my reasons for opting for the Eaton and may still use it if I can discuss the warranty issue with them. If they aren't able to convince me that I have not made a mistake, I will exchange the Eaton for an ARB anyway. It just sucks because I will eat the price difference in shipping both ways.

I do have a question for you ARB guys. What types of warranty or repair issues have you encountered? Does ARB have this "factory tire size clause"? I understand there has to be language in the warranties to keep Joe Idiot from filling his dif full of landscape rock and wondering my his locker exploded, but this stock tire thing seems a little absurd.

Comments?

Oh and by the way... My fancy, five day Turkey Day weekend / garage fest didn't go so well. Wednesday evening @ 8:00pm I got called in to talk a barricaded suicidal guy out of his apartment... luckily that only took a couple of hours. Then about 1:00am as I was just heading to bed, I got a call from a fellow investigator. He was off duty and tried to offer a drunk waling down the middle of the street a ride home. The drunk attacked him with a knife and stabbed him in the back of the neck. My friend was extremely lucky. I stayed with he and his wife at the hospital ER until about 4:00am and he was released by 6:00. The rest of Thanksgiving went well and the family had a nice time... but by 9:00pm, I was sick as a dog. I spent the next two days blowing snot out of my nose and resting. I got very little done on the Jeep, but did manage to get the rear axle pulled and stripped, I am now making my set up carrier bearings to begin reassembly.

Is this the only hammer you've got?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 07:06 PM
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Smile rear end lockers

hey i agree with you if they advertise it that way then they should not in fine print have restrickions on mod on the jeep,,, after all that is the reason we have jeeps... my the way not too make matters worse but i went and looked at the paper work that came with my rockwell lockright auto lockers and could not find anything about the use of big tires or anything else on them so i would tell them their comp/co dont need to worry about braking good luck and i would not pay for the exchange either...
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 08:36 PM
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Personally I wouldn't worry about that. From a practical standpoint they have no way of knowing what size tire is on it, and I doubt that they'd put you under oath to ask the question. Take the position that you used it the way their advertising showed it being used.

However that language doesn't give me a warm fuzzy about the company or its products.

EVERYTHING's easy for the guy who doesn't have to do it.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-04-2008, 04:10 AM
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I know how you feel. It seems like most company's just don't give a damn about being honest with there advertising, and the warranties are full of outs for them. I have the same issue with insurance companies, they write a policy that sounds good but really does not do you much good. Therefore, I assume that all warranties are just a waste of paper, and your time if you actually try to collect. So now I only carry required liability insurance and ignore warranties, and hope for the best. I can't remember the song I am thinking of but it has a line "some will rob you with a six gun and some with a fountain pen"

What I find more disturbing is that the manufacture seems to have vaporized. Makes you wonder what the availability of parts will be like.

I have my ARB paper work around here somewhere, I will try to find it and look for any information on warranty and restrictions.

Wilhelm

I will start using Metric only when the duodecimal system is adopted!!

Last edited by bandhmo2; 12-04-2008 at 04:37 AM.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 12-06-2008, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Good News!

Thursday at about 12:15 I received a call from Barney (yeah, no kidding) at Eaton Differential. I was in a restaurant eating lunch so I told him I would return his call in about an hour. He was a little defensive and stated that he was told I reportedly called four times with no answer, when he only received one voice mail from me. I explained to him that I had only left one message for him. The remaining calls were me trying to find another human Eaton employee to talk to that day, using every other extension option on their phone system. He said he understood and reassured me he would be in his office until 4:00 central time and verified that I had captured the correct number on caller ID.

I called him back a short time later. He was much less defensive and although he didn't mention the e-mail I had sent, I think he must have read it, because he was prepared to address my concerns.

Barney turned out to be pretty helpful. He verified that the Eaton E-Locker testing Jeep vehicle is running 37's with beadlocks. He said I must have purchased a locker that had been sitting on the distributors shelf for at least a few months. He said they changed the way they did things a while back when they started doing Dana work along with the Eaton stuff. He said they do not even include the warranty card I mentioned with their products any longer. The E-Lockers have a one year warranty... period. For the dana 44 model this warrantly is good for tire sizes up to 38 inches. If you go beyond that, it will be void. He said otherwise, if it breaks, to call him directly and they will get it taken care of ASAP.

Barney told me to hang onto his direct phone number and call with any questions during or after the install. He really didn't have any explanation for me not getting through on the 3rd. He said the phones should be manned from 8:00 until 4:00 Monday through Friday.

About a half hour after I talked with Barney, I got a follow up call from the main office. They apologized again and thanked me for doing business with them.

So it seems my complaining accomplished something... this time. I am going forward with the Eaton E-Locker install.

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 12-06-2008, 05:29 PM
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Thanks for posting the update, Jarret. I feel much better about them now.

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 12-10-2008, 11:23 PM
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Jarret,
Hows your fellow investigator doing, I havnt heard a follow up on him sence the incident; if he or his family need anything stop by station 1 and look me up...Ill do what I can.
Also let me know how you like the e-locker, been looking at them for a bit, and after getting stuck in my driveway its lookin real good.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 12-11-2008, 01:16 PM
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For what it's worth I videotaped a Hummer Factory Service meeting in South Bend a few years back. This was right when the H1s were getting E-lockers as a factory option. I ate lunch with Eaton's tech guy and really liked the E-locker. it seemed like a solid product. I have wanted to put one in my TJ ever since but had not heard many reviews on them. Let me know what you think after you get it out on the trail. Also, let us know how the install went.

Scott

"The devil is red, but his money is green."
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 12-11-2008, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Junky, Ben's a very lucky man and is fine. He didn't miss a single day of work, but does complain of soreness from time to time. He's getting real tired of the "You're a pain in the neck" jokes.

I got an e-mail response yesterday from another Eaton employee about the warranty. (Brent) He also told me to blow off the warranty card and said that they had no way of knowing what tire size I would run in the first place. He said I would be fine and left contact information for any additional questions.

The install has ground to a slow crawl. Here's a hint for anyone else thinking about setting up some gears. Set up bearings... I read all over that I could easily make a set using spare carrier bearings and a brake hone. HOLY CRAP DOES THIS TAKE FOREVER!! I've got one done, but easily have 4+ hours of hone time to do it. I think the second bearing will go slightly quicker because I now know just how much material needs to be removed. But if I had to do again, I would instantly purchase set up bearings for the $60-70 price I could have purchased D44 ones for. At least now I will have them done in case I need to make adjustments.

Between the set up bearing delay and other crap going on it'll be a couple more weeks before the rear is done. Then on to the front and the E-Locker.

Is this the only hammer you've got?
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