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ST / KW Coilovers: Buyer Beware

 
Old Mar 7, 2019, 03:08 PM
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ST / KW Coilovers: Buyer Beware

This happened while driving my 2005 Mini Cooper S JCW today, but I figured that you all might be interested as well.

On my way to work this morning I went to take a turn at maybe 10mph or less, and hit a rough patch while doing so. I was met with a loud snapping noise, and then a *clunk* while passing over any rough payment. I immediately turned around and went home (missing work..), jacked the car up and found that the driver side rear coilover had a broken shaft. It literally sheared off right at the shoulder where the threaded portion passes through the top-hat. I must say, never in my 20 years of motoring and wrenching have I seen a failure like this on a properly installed and young part (4k miles). Photos attached.

I called KW and spoke to one of their C.S. Reps (who turned out to be the CS Manager..) explained to me their "warranty process". After filling out a long form that requests loads and loads of technical details, KW asks that you send in the defective unit, they'll review the failed part, then...get this..."rebuild it over the next 3 weeks and send it back to you". I said surely you can't be serious, explaining that it would be far more reasonable to sell me a new unit on-the-spot and later refund me the money once my defective part was assessed. You would've thought I was speaking Greek, considering how the guy just kept silent and would then repeat his bullsh*t, intentionally obtuse responses. The conversation was no longer productive, so I called ECS tuning, the vendor that sold them to me. C.S. at ECS agreed that this was ridiculous of KW, and began making calls to see if ECS could foot the bill for a replacement unit and try to recoup from KW on their own time. There's still no resolution, but I can say for a fact that KW / ST lost a customer today. A failure mode like this is completely unacceptable, and should warrant apologies and the utmost cooperation from the manufacturer. Instead I was met with indifference and arrogance, and this was from their CS Manager.

If you plan on purchasing a KW or ST product, I'd urge you to reconsider based on not only my experience, but also the other enthusiasts who have had similar experiences with their products and warranty process.





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Old Mar 7, 2019, 03:40 PM
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It sucks that you had a bad experience with KW. My experience with their Customer Service was somewhat different. Although, I have heard stories like this in the past. I hope that they get this sorted out. If you don't mind me asking, who was this CS Manager that you spoke to?
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Old Mar 7, 2019, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by NFSEvolutionGSR View Post
It sucks that you had a bad experience with KW. My experience with their Customer Service was somewhat different. Although, I have heard stories like this in the past. I hope that they get this sorted out. If you don't mind me asking, who was this CS Manager that you spoke to?
I believe his name was Augustine.
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Old Mar 7, 2019, 05:31 PM
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They don't want to sell you a new unit and then refund you once yours is determined to be defective because all you need is a new shaft, and these are rebuildable. It's much cheaper to replace that shaft than it is to eat an entire unit.
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Old Mar 7, 2019, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by letsgetthisdone View Post
They don't want to sell you a new unit and then refund you once yours is determined to be defective because all you need is a new shaft, and these are rebuildable. It's much cheaper to replace that shaft than it is to eat an entire unit.
I don't disagree, but that's what happens when things break. You sometimes take a hit as a vendor or manufacturer.
The alternative is me not having a car for 3 weeks, which is unacceptable.

Last edited by TheBigChill; Mar 8, 2019 at 04:31 PM.
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Old Mar 8, 2019, 05:27 AM
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I ran into the exact same thing except with my old VW except worse. They wanted me to send back all 4 corners and I didn't have 4 jackstands (thanks GVR-4 for occupying those!).

KW warranty basically makes it as difficult as possible to use and since it was my DD, my only recourse was to buy new coilovers (the stock parts were junk) and then sell the KWs once I got my warranty part back. I'd run K-Sport/Raceland throwaways before I'd buy KWs again.

Any operation as big as KW should have rebuilt units for most of their product line on the shelf, available for an exchange fee/core charge for warranty items.
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Old Mar 8, 2019, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by TheBigChill View Post
I don't disagree, but that's what happens when your product is ****. You sometimes take a hit.
The alternative is me not having a car for 3 weeks, which is unacceptable.
I'm not a fan of KW because I don't think they offer the best performance for the money anymore, and the one time I tried to talk to them at SEMA they were pretty ****ing snobbish about their products because I didn't drive a Euro car. But to say their product is **** over one instance of failure and you're not happy with their warranty procedure is kind of ridiculous. Though, you did opt for the bottom of the barrel cheapest product they offer.
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Old Mar 8, 2019, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by TheBigChill View Post
I believe his name was Augustine.
Okay, I don't believe that I have ever communicated with that person.
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Old Mar 8, 2019, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by letsgetthisdone View Post
But to say their product is **** over one instance of failure and you're not happy with their warranty procedure is kind of ridiculous.
I agree with this. A case study of one proves a correlation of nothing.
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Old Mar 8, 2019, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by letsgetthisdone View Post
I'm not a fan of KW because I don't think they offer the best performance for the money anymore, and the one time I tried to talk to them at SEMA they were pretty ****ing snobbish about their products because I didn't drive a Euro car. But to say their product is **** over one instance of failure and you're not happy with their warranty procedure is kind of ridiculous. Though, you did opt for the bottom of the barrel cheapest product they offer.
That's fair.
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Old Jun 12, 2019, 08:23 AM
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I just had my KWs rebuild. The form you are talking about is 1 page. basic info for yourself and basic info on your product. So not long at all. i sent mine in and got in back in 2 weeks.

it looks like your shaft broke. Did you install the suspension yourself? im in the auto fields and we do sell other brands besides KW and ST and most shops use impact guns to install the shafts and break them. So im sure there is more to this story.

i also know how to work on my own car and was able to install my factory suspension so i didn't have to worry about the car being down. I thought the communication in my experience was great with KW. Other suspension manufacture have no warranty and if they do they still require you to send in your unit to be checked out. So i think you more upset you have to remove it but that is an industry standard. and if you break the part it shouldn't be covered under improper installation.

just a look here is Eibachs T&C they only have a year warranty / K sport you have to send in for repair too and KW has a lifetime and St has a 5 year warranty . So maybe pick and choose those battles and read the T&C before purchasing. i love my KWs had them on 3 of my cars and would not want another g brand on unless i go FULL RACE CAR

Coilover
  1. Leaking struts: new replacement
  2. Nitrogen reservoir: shipped back for repair
One year
  1. The faulty product is caused by customer's misuse or improper installation.
  2. The coilover with changed damping setting, spring rate or non-standard setting.
  3. Outer parts of the coilover (Top mount, Pillowball, Bearing, Lower mount, Spring, etc)
  4. The rubber parts (Dust cover, Rubber top mount, Bushing, etc.)
  5. Special types for racing purpose (Rally gravel or snow use).
  6. Unusual noise isn't covered by the warranty.
  1. Eibach Limited 12-Month WarrantyPRO-STREET-S, MULTI-PRO-R1, MULTI-PRO-R2, MULTI-PRO-DRAG, PRO-ALIGNMENT, DRAG-LAUNCH Air Bags and ANTI-ROLL-KIT Hardware



    1. All Eibach, Inc. (“Eibach”) suspension Coilover Systems (Pro-Street-S / Multi-Pro-R1 / Multi-Pro-R2, Multi-Pro-Drag), Drag-Launch (Air bags only), Pro-Alignment Kits and Anti-Roll-Kit hardware (collectively, “Products”), are covered by a 12-month warranty (the "Warranty") from date of purchase. The Warranty covers the Products against factory defects in material and workmanship, other than coatings, when used on passenger cars and light trucks under normal use and operating conditions. These Warranties only apply to the original purchaser who retains ownership of the vehicle on which the Products were originally installed (the "Purchaser"). Eibach, Inc. will repair, replace or refund the purchase price of the defective product at Eibach, Inc.’s sole digression, which shall fully satisfy and discharge any and all warranty claims.
  2. Exclusions from Warranty

Originally Posted by TheBigChill View Post
This happened while driving my 2005 Mini Cooper S JCW today, but I figured that you all might be interested as well.

On my way to work this morning I went to take a turn at maybe 10mph or less, and hit a rough patch while doing so. I was met with a loud snapping noise, and then a *clunk* while passing over any rough payment. I immediately turned around and went home (missing work..), jacked the car up and found that the driver side rear coilover had a broken shaft. It literally sheared off right at the shoulder where the threaded portion passes through the top-hat. I must say, never in my 20 years of motoring and wrenching have I seen a failure like this on a properly installed and young part (4k miles). Photos attached.

I called KW and spoke to one of their C.S. Reps (who turned out to be the CS Manager..) explained to me their "warranty process". After filling out a long form that requests loads and loads of technical details, KW asks that you send in the defective unit, they'll review the failed part, then...get this..."rebuild it over the next 3 weeks and send it back to you". I said surely you can't be serious, explaining that it would be far more reasonable to sell me a new unit on-the-spot and later refund me the money once my defective part was assessed. You would've thought I was speaking Greek, considering how the guy just kept silent and would then repeat his bullsh*t, intentionally obtuse responses. The conversation was no longer productive, so I called ECS tuning, the vendor that sold them to me. C.S. at ECS agreed that this was ridiculous of KW, and began making calls to see if ECS could foot the bill for a replacement unit and try to recoup from KW on their own time. There's still no resolution, but I can say for a fact that KW / ST lost a customer today. A failure mode like this is completely unacceptable, and should warrant apologies and the utmost cooperation from the manufacturer. Instead I was met with indifference and arrogance, and this was from their CS Manager.

If you plan on purchasing a KW or ST product, I'd urge you to reconsider based on not only my experience, but also the other enthusiasts who have had similar experiences with their products and warranty process.



Last edited by bmxhotsauce; Jun 12, 2019 at 10:29 AM.
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Old Jun 13, 2019, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by bmxhotsauce View Post
I just had my KWs rebuild. The form you are talking about is 1 page. basic info for yourself and basic info on your product. So not long at all. i sent mine in and got in back in 2 weeks.

it looks like your shaft broke. Did you install the suspension yourself? im in the auto fields and we do sell other brands besides KW and ST and most shops use impact guns to install the shafts and break them. So im sure there is more to this story.

i also know how to work on my own car and was able to install my factory suspension so i didn't have to worry about the car being down. I thought the communication in my experience was great with KW. Other suspension manufacture have no warranty and if they do they still require you to send in your unit to be checked out. So i think you more upset you have to remove it but that is an industry standard. and if you break the part it shouldn't be covered under improper installation.

just a look here is Eibachs T&C they only have a year warranty / K sport you have to send in for repair too and KW has a lifetime and St has a 5 year warranty . So maybe pick and choose those battles and read the T&C before purchasing. i love my KWs had them on 3 of my cars and would not want another g brand on unless i go FULL RACE CAR

Coilover
  1. Leaking struts: new replacement
  2. Nitrogen reservoir: shipped back for repair
One year
  1. The faulty product is caused by customer's misuse or improper installation.
  2. The coilover with changed damping setting, spring rate or non-standard setting.
  3. Outer parts of the coilover (Top mount, Pillowball, Bearing, Lower mount, Spring, etc)
  4. The rubber parts (Dust cover, Rubber top mount, Bushing, etc.)
  5. Special types for racing purpose (Rally gravel or snow use).
  6. Unusual noise isn't covered by the warranty.
  1. Eibach Limited 12-Month WarrantyPRO-STREET-S, MULTI-PRO-R1, MULTI-PRO-R2, MULTI-PRO-DRAG, PRO-ALIGNMENT, DRAG-LAUNCH Air Bags and ANTI-ROLL-KIT Hardware



    1. All Eibach, Inc. (“Eibach”) suspension Coilover Systems (Pro-Street-S / Multi-Pro-R1 / Multi-Pro-R2, Multi-Pro-Drag), Drag-Launch (Air bags only), Pro-Alignment Kits and Anti-Roll-Kit hardware (collectively, “Products”), are covered by a 12-month warranty (the "Warranty") from date of purchase. The Warranty covers the Products against factory defects in material and workmanship, other than coatings, when used on passenger cars and light trucks under normal use and operating conditions. These Warranties only apply to the original purchaser who retains ownership of the vehicle on which the Products were originally installed (the "Purchaser"). Eibach, Inc. will repair, replace or refund the purchase price of the defective product at Eibach, Inc.’s sole digression, which shall fully satisfy and discharge any and all warranty claims.
  2. Exclusions from Warranty
I installed them myself, and have done a half-dozen or more suspension installs on my personal vehicles. I used a torque wrench and braced the main shaft top properly. Even if it's a freak one-off incident, their service was garbage; the policy itself and their attitudes are not up to par. I've had Bilstein, Koni, AST, and even garbage stuff like Vmaxx, and they all had policies that make sense and far better service Reps.
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Old Jun 13, 2019, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by TheBigChill View Post
I installed them myself, and have done a half-dozen or more suspension installs on my personal vehicles. I used a torque wrench and braced the main shaft top properly. Even if it's a freak one-off incident, their service was garbage; the policy itself and their attitudes are not up to par. I've had Bilstein, Koni, AST, and even garbage stuff like Vmaxx, and they all had policies that make sense and far better service Reps.
AST's warranty procedure-

8.4. In the event of a defect Product, the Customer must notify AST hereof within 14 days of discovering such a defect. The defect Product may be returned to AST at no charge to the Customer, preferably in the original packaging and with the original of the receipt or a copy thereof. AST will then decide whether it will repair or replace the product or refund the sum paid for it.

AST is the only equivalent level motorsports damper supplier/manufacturer on your list, so it's the only one I bothered to look up. You're complaining about what is basically an industry standard warranty procedure. This goes for many facets of the performance industry, not just coilovers.
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Old Jun 13, 2019, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by letsgetthisdone View Post
AST's warranty procedure-

8.4. In the event of a defect Product, the Customer must notify AST hereof within 14 days of discovering such a defect. The defect Product may be returned to AST at no charge to the Customer, preferably in the original packaging and with the original of the receipt or a copy thereof. AST will then decide whether it will repair or replace the product or refund the sum paid for it.

AST is the only equivalent level motorsports damper supplier/manufacturer on your list, so it's the only one I bothered to look up. You're complaining about what is basically an industry standard warranty procedure. This goes for many facets of the performance industry, not just coilovers.
100% agreed. I dont think he gets that. he is the 1 bad apple that goes on the forum to bash a company for not getting his way and doesn't read or look into the warranty policies and how they work. I had a great service with KW/ST with no issues. So sounds like you are just not happy about your situation but it a industry standard.
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