Pain in my axle

Alternate title: Why Les Schwab is the best.

This is the ongoing saga of upgrading the axles on Buddy the Jeep so that they’ll take more abuse/last longer than the factory items.

A couple weeks ago, while Buddy was having his oil and filter changed, I noticed that that the left real seal was leaking. Again.

After cussing under my breath for a bit, I decide that I’m just going to have “someone else” do this and head on down to the guys at my local Les Schwab. They quoted me $110, for parts and labor and up in the air he went.

The tech gets the cover and guard off the back of the pumpkin and thinks to himself: “Self, there is supposed to be a bolt holding in the axle shaft retaining pin, but I don’t see it. It must be broken.”

He comes and gets me and sure enough, there is no bolt head sticking out where he says there is a supposed to be one. He lets me know that they do not have the equipment to get a broken bolt out at the angle this one resides and tells me of a shop down the street that does. He also zeroes out my invoice, so this new info costs me nothing. Which is nice because the shop down the street tells me it’ll be a couple hours at $87 and hour to work on it.

I OK the work and they put Buddy up in the air again to get the broken bolt out. Except that there is no bolt in there at all. Apparently, Dana-Spicer decided at some point that the axle shaft retaining pin bolts were breaking off too frequently in their 44 Series axles and that a roll pin would be sufficient for the job.

So they put a new roll pin into the the differential, put the cover and guard back on, fill it up with 90W and charge me $98.98 for this new info. I was quite unhappy with Schwab at this point. More miffed than pissed, but still unhappy. So I decide that heading back down to Les Schwab, very calmly, mind you, would not be the worst idea I’ve had this week.

I park, walk in and up to the counter and am asked if I can be helped. I very politely ask to speak to the manager. I am directed down to the end of a hallway to an office with an open door where he is sitting, on the phone, on hold. He recognizes me from being in earlier and asks what he can do for me. I relay the above story, very calmly, stating that I’m not sure why I feel the need to tell him all of this except that maybe his techs need to investigate a little when they’ve got a differential torn open or their manuals need to be updated or something.

His response…..

“Do you have the receipt handy? I’ll cover that.”

Yes. He covered my bill from another shop because his techs were incurious.

If you have wheel/tire or any of your equipment on your vehicles four corners needs inspection/replacement/repair, you’ll never go wrong with these guys.

Customer for life, right here.

David has a Les Schwab story from last year’s Boomershoot that you should hear about that either he hasn’t posted or I can’t find. Feel free to leave your Schwab Tales in the comments.

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5 Responses to Pain in my axle

  1. Tango says:

    Got a set of tires on the wife’s car. A year later, half worn, was up in Idaho and got a flat. Took it to Les Schwab. 15 minutes to closing. They sold us a new tire at 1/2 price even though the old one was nowhere near under warranty. Old tire was sliced, so no repair possible.

  2. Les Schwab knows customer service. I often hear people complain that their prices are high, I’ve never seen them excessively high and are usually quite competitive. I can say the service quality I always get makes me keep coming back.

    Had an incident recently with Joe while we were at the Boomershoot site. Tire was dead and they just gave him a replacement they had on the scrap pile so he didn’t have to do all four tires that day. We had a pile of work to get done too up at Mecca and they got us in and out fast.

  3. Thor says:

    One the things that I missed most about moving out of the PNW was Les Schwab. As Barron says they do know the importance of customer service, and they would often surprise me with the things they would do to “make it right”. It is wonderful to hear that they have not changed in the last 20 years.

  4. Rivrdog says:

    It ain’t all roses at Lester’s Place. About 7 years ago my daughter was driving a VW original bug, and she wanted to use it as a ski vehicle, so I went to Lester to get her some studded snows. I paid for two wheels, and the tires, and told them I would be by to pick them up later. At the appointed hour, I stopped by, and the counterman told me that I couldn’t have two snow tires, I had to have four. I replied that this smelled like an upsell, and he said no, that was a rule.

    Next, I am standing in front of the Manager, who tells me that the error was the first counterman who sold me only two snows, and he asked for my card to do a chargeback. I told him no, I wanted the merchandise I’d paid for, and if I couldn’t get it, he’d be talking either to the booking Sergeant at the jail or my attorney, depending on what the local rozzers said. He then told me he personally didn’t care how many tires I bought, but the company lawyers told him that he could only sell studded snows in sets of four, no matter what the chassis configuration. I told him that his company had just lawyered themselves out of my family business, and my 3 driving offspring and I have not been back to Lester’s. Over the years, that’s several thousand dollars in business.

    BTW, I bought some slightly used (real carbide, not the Lester aluminum studs) studded tires off the local economy, had them mounted elsewhere on used snow wheels, and used them every winter on that Bug until I sold it last year. A stud-shod Bug I is virtually unstoppable, and the only time I ever got mine stuck was when I high centered it in 14 inches of hardpack in the Gorge. 4 guys pushed me out manually.

    No Lester for me, and in fact, when ever I hear a company tell me their lawyers demand that they do business a certain way, I stop my shopping immediately and leave. If those merchants had any smarts, they would never admit that….

  5. raven says:

    LST? I got tired. (NPI) of going back. The guys were fast, super fast, and courteous, but there was always some detail wrong with the job. Like a new brake drum grinding on some fixed part, cause it had a chunk of casting flash that had not been ground off. Like my wife leaving the shop to find her brake pedal going to the floor, because they had not bled the brakes. The list goes on, I was a long term customer. I got the impression they were operating at the very limit of the speed/quality equation, and important stuff was getting over looked.

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