Petroworks Off-Road Products

An Off-Road.com Product Review

Nov. 01, 2005 By ORC STAFF
Here's the story of why it proved to take a little longer than the estimated day and a half to do the spring-over-axle conversion on my truck?

Many companies claim to have “customer service”. Few companies truly do. I recently had the “opportunity” to experience one that does.

You have all probably experienced the situation in one form or another. You buy something new and it breaks or something “unusual” happens while you're having a car or large appliance or your home worked on. The result is that you suddenly find yourself --to borrow a phrase from the computer industry-- “beta testing” the warranty of the company doing the work and their ability to provide you with a fast remedy with a minimum of hassle. It?s at those times when you find out just how much a company values its customers.

When I was getting my spring-over-axle conversion done at Petroworks, something definitely “unusual” happened. Let me set the stage:

In the course of the first day?s work on the truck, the axles had to be removed, and the position of the hydraulic lift had to be adjusted many times in order to make the job easier. Samurais, I've always thought, sit a bit funny on the lift. They're so short, and so narrow, that most times you have to adjust the lift to the minimum distances it's capable of, or near enough. The you have to flip up those little support gizmos to make contact with the frame and get the vehicle off the ground. Always looked a bit precarious to me, but I've seen my Sammy, not to mention a number of others, go up and down what seems like a zillion times without a hitch. In fact, through the course of the day, that?s exactly what happened in this case. The lift did look a bit “spongy” though, although nothing major.

Along about seven that first evening, we had the rear axle remounted, the front axle on the floor of the shop and were preparing to pack it in for the day. Lots of progress had been made, and things were looking really good. I was looking forward to a short period to finish up the next day, and off Jan and I would go to see the San Diego Zoo before we headed home.

Gary Munck and I headed out of the shop with the new RS9000s for the rear end in hand, figuring we'd hang them on the upper mounts. That way they'd be ready to go in the morning to get the new lower mount position established. We'd then get the lower mounts welded on first thing, essentially finishing off the major changes to the rear axle.

Gary reached over and gave the lift handle a nudge in order to raise the lift a hair more. The Sam was sitting about 4½ to 5 feet off the ground, and needed to be about half a foot higher to allow easy access to the new upper mounting bar. Much to our amazement, the lift went up, quite quickly, and didn?t stop right away. When it did stop, thanks to Gary?s quick action on the actuating handle, it stopped with a lurch.

Time always seems to slow down to a near-standstill in these circumstances?

There was a “clank”. We all had time to wonder what it was? Then my Samurai, rather slowly and majestically, leaned over. And over. And over, performing a rather perfect aviation-style snap-roll in mid-air, to land with a pretty stupendous crash, square on its roof on the pavement next to the lift.

I don't know how many of you may ever have experienced something like this. But let me tell ya, when something weighing a ton comes crashing down within mere feet of you, the first thing you do is experience the adrenaline heebie-jeebies after it sinks in that you coulda been squished like the proverbial bug. We spent a little while making sure no one was hurt and then calming down.

It was at this point that Gary said what made me know everything was gonna be handled. Looking over at the line of parked Samurais on his property he said, “So… What color do you want?” No hassle, no problems, just Customer Service.

Over the course of the next day, Gary and his crew removed the wrinkled body from my Sam and replaced it with one that was every bit as good. For most companies, that would have been enough.

It wasn't enough for Petroworks. Knowing that Jan and I had planned on taking in the San Diego Zoo and that she?d been looking forward to it (having never been there), Gary and his wife Pam gave us a pair of guest passes to the Zoo (Zoo membership apparently has some perqs!). They also loaned us one of their cars to go not only to the Zoo, but home that evening too, as we'd only packed for a one-night stay away.

And the Samurai? It's as good as “new” (or at least as new as it has ever been to me). Thanks guys!

--Scott Gomez

P.S. I believe this makes the only Samurai to be successfully rolled that was neither occupied nor in forward motion at the time.

 

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