AWFUL experience with Airkewld BAD Series Brakes

You know, de-chromed, big Porsche rims, Brembos, etc.,... German Look rules!
torch02si
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AWFUL experience with Airkewld BAD Series Brakes

Post by torch02si » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:39 pm

Here are the countless issues I had with my BAD Series front and rear disc brake conversion.

The first major issue was that my kits took over 50 days to receive!!! Throughout this whole process, I never received the master cylinder bottle I ordered. That, I would learn, was the least of my worries......

Although the caliper bracket was countersunk, the 8 supplied fasteners did not seat flush with the plane of the caliper bracket. I triple checked to make sure everything was torqued to 35 ft. lbs:

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After packing the bearings into the hub, I mounted it onto the spindle. I then installed the notched washer,and clamp nut (with 6mm allen). When I tightened the rotor to spec, the heads of the 4 caliper bracket mounting fasteners were touching the inner surface of the hub - inhibiting free rotation of the assembly:

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Upon further inspection, when I went to mock up the front calipers, it seems like I had another clearance issue. With the caliper over the rotor, and aligned with the 2 mounting holes on the caliper bracket, there was approximately 3/8" of open space between the caliper mounting surface and the mounting bracket.

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The solution to obtain the correct clearance of the front rotors was a collar (**not shipped in my original kit, causing an added week delay) in between the spindle and the rotor hub. With them installed, the front rotor now had enough clearance to rotate past the caliper bracket mounting hardware that is sticking out from the caliper bracket (original problem). So the rotor rotated freely- great! However, now the clamp nut (w/ 6mm allen) did not have enough threads on the end of the spindle to be safe/secure:

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I was not comfortable, as far as safety is concerened, for so few threads to be used here. I got my dad to check it out, an ASE Certified Master Technician, just to see if I was being paranoid, and he was also very concerned with the issue. This is the only piece of hardware securing the entire rotational mass of the wheel assembly!

The solution for the spacing between the caliper and the caliper mounting braket was a so-called "spacer kit" that was simply an assortment of washers. I had to "stack up" washers per the instructions to get the rotor to sit anywhere CLOSE to the center of the caliper. I needed 3 between the caliper bracket and the caliper, and then 1 more between the allen bolt and the caliper to prevent the bolt from going too far through the bracket and coming close to the rotor!!! All these random washers seem like a rather "Busch League" solution to the issues regarding gaps, spaces, and clearances. Shims are one thing, but this is absolutely ridiculous:

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Think of the stresses involved here...

The circumference of the rotor was also too large for the caliper. There was contact between the outer lip of the rotor and the bottom portion of the caliper. There is no range of movement on that axis, because the caliper mounting bolts eliminate that possibility.
You can clearly see how the right half of the caliper body itself has siginificantly less clearance than the left half. The rotor is touching the caliper at this spot on the right hand side. It is not so bad that the rotor is locked up, but it is definitely not moving freely. You can even see a faint, hairline scratch where the caliper scored the edge of the rotor:

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The last major issue was that the rotor mounted on the right front had an issue with the studs. The wheel simply wouldn't go on because the studs were not perfectly square and would not penetrate the holes in the wheel. I tried to swap wheels to eliminate the wheel as the culprit, and the other wheel, which fit like a glove on the left front, would not fit either. The rotor was never dropped, or damaged, and the shipping container had no evidence of any damage.


I am running OEM Porsche Cup IIs 17x7 ET 55 front and rear. I specifically asked if I would need wheel spacers with the BAD Series kits to work with this width wheel and this offset. I knew I had to clearance the rear bump stops a little, but I was told that the kits would "sit perfectly" front and rear with my wheels.
However, the bolt most toward the front of the car on the rear swing arms was contacting the sidewall. I tried the typical solution with a flip of the hardware, but it was still touching. When I approached the company with the problem, I was told spacers definitely would be necessary with my wheels. Wait...what the?

The company DID honor a return of the products. However, I was charged for shipping both ways (as part of the original transaction, and then as part of the return.) So I'm out $268.30 in addition to all the down time in the restoration, and all the grief and aggravation.

The shipping charges particularly bothered me. If you return an overcooked steak at a nice restaurant, you are not charged for washing the dishes. In fact, a good waiter will rectify the issue and replace your faulty meal with one that is prepared correctly. At the very least, a discount is usually applied to the check, if the entire meal is not offered gratis!!!
If an airline loses your luggage during a flight, they do not add insult to injury by forcing their passenger to pay to deliver the bags!!!

I am uncertain if my experience is a product of arrogance or ignorance, but Airkewld will not receive another cent of mine. Virtually every aspect of my order, aside from timely correspondence from Pete, was completely unacceptable. I felt everyone should be aware of the potential pitfalls of Airkewld products. BUYER BEWARE!!!!

In related news, I replaced the defective Airkewld units with a CSP Kit front and rear. Even with the considerable time zone difference, I had GREAT customer service from Gunter. My order was at my door a week after being placed...from half a world away!!! (Much better than 50 days from Airkewld in Arizona.) All this great service from CSP, a company in a country (Germany) where English is not even the native language. It is certainly more expensive (but then again Airkewld wasn't cheap to begin with), but the engineering and quality of the CSP kit are lightyears ahead of Airkewld. In my opinion, I should have gone with CSP first and saved all the hassle and frustration...it is DEFINITELY worth it in the long run. Hope I can spare some of you from such a horrible experience.

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supaninja
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Re: AWFUL experience with Airkewld BAD Series Brakes

Post by supaninja » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:54 pm

Your not the only horror story. I'm tackling my own BBK, at least I know it will be engineered properly.
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Steve Arndt
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Re: AWFUL experience with Airkewld BAD Series Brakes

Post by Steve Arndt » Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:00 pm

Yikes. Did you post on samba? He posts there. Send us the link if so.

torch02si
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Re: AWFUL experience with Airkewld BAD Series Brakes

Post by torch02si » Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:07 pm

Yeah...this post is pretty much a direct copy of the one I put up on thesamba. Not sure if just copying the link will work...

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewto ... 85#5591085

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MinamiKotaro
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Re: AWFUL experience with Airkewld BAD Series Brakes

Post by MinamiKotaro » Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:11 pm

Yowza. Too late to get your money back? I've got a CB front disc kit and, somewhat surprisingly, it's one of the maybe 25% of items I got from them that actually works. I had only two issues: the caliper mount bolts were too short and I had to grind a little on one caliper mount to get proper caliper/rotor clearance.
'67 Beetle, 2276
MS-1 v3.57

torch02si
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Re: AWFUL experience with Airkewld BAD Series Brakes

Post by torch02si » Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:17 pm

Sent the kit back.

It got there Monday September 19th. I received notification of the return transaction this week, but don't see the funds in my account yet. It probably has to do more with the card/banks than anything nefarious on the part of the company. My refund DID NOT include my original shipping charges to get the products or cover the shipping to return them ($260+). What a slap in the face.


***I had a post on the TECH portion of the Airkewld site asking for solutions to these problems (this post is actually copied from a lot of the text in the Airkewld post)...as of earlier this week it had something like 334 hits...that post has been taken down. At least I can't be silenced here.***

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supaninja
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Re: AWFUL experience with Airkewld BAD Series Brakes

Post by supaninja » Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:45 pm

I was going to say that for how much airkwld charges for that kit, you can almost get a CSP kit, but you figured that out already. I was talking to one of the local guys yesterday and he told me one of his buddies got a airkwld kit for his split window bus. The dude asked him if his stock bus wheels will clear, of course he said yes. Well needless to say the stockers didn't fit. Airkwld told him to use bug wheels. It's not going to be long before he's out of business.
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torch02si
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Re: AWFUL experience with Airkewld BAD Series Brakes

Post by torch02si » Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:37 pm

UPDATE

Funds hit my account today. As I suspected, the delay was from the transaction/processing of the banks, not any fault of Airkewld. It still burns that the shipping charges were not part of the refund...especially since customer satisfaction and service seem to be so important to the company. Money talks to me, as I imagine it does to most customers, not empty apologies for faulty parts...

volkdent
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Re: AWFUL experience with Airkewld BAD Series Brakes

Post by volkdent » Sun Oct 09, 2011 6:51 pm

At least u will cherish the quality CSP units, great engineering.

Jason

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craigvwdude
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Re: AWFUL experience with Airkewld BAD Series Brakes

Post by craigvwdude » Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:55 am

Using a stack of washers to "shim" a brake caliper? This a joke right?

torch02si
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Re: AWFUL experience with Airkewld BAD Series Brakes

Post by torch02si » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:26 pm

I wish I were joking man. Especially considering the cost of the kits. I was literally shocked...

Apparently, the BAD Series Brakes for Super Beetles were placed into a HOLD status while my kit was diagnosed to determine where the fitment issue originated. That was Sept 30th. I haven't heard a word since, or seen anything posted on The Samba. I'm nealy positive Pete said that just to save face, and has been selling these bogus kits in the meantime. Could you imagine placing a popular item on hold for 2 months???

My CSP kit was INCREDIBLE. As expected. It certainly made me poor for a couple weeks, but I will sing their praises (CSP) to anybody who is willing to listen.

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Airkewld.com
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Re: AWFUL experience with Airkewld BAD Series Brakes

Post by Airkewld.com » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:42 pm

The problem we had with Joe's kit were the calipers. They were not the same manufacture that we normally use and were made slightly different. It allowed the rotor to top out in the caliper. As far as the spindle nut not fitting, we assembled it on a factory spindles and it fit fine. As I suspected, Joe sometimes things get overlooked regardless of how much experience we have, It even happens to me, we found that it worked just the way we made it. We have not released it yet as we wanted to have a real nice tutorial to go with it, even some video.

It seems really unbelievable that Joe has this much "pisstivity" and hate when it could of been resolved easily with tech but he just complained about everything. It was better to refund him per company policy and have him try another companies products.

To check the details of the process we had, please check out the samba thread. I sent two boxes to him, he sent 5 boxes to me in return. Money could of have been saved, and I treat each client like they want to be treated. Not the way this client handled things.

Lessons learned on my half regarding sending out another vendors parts assuming that they are the same. Good luck with everything Joe.

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BOB JOHNS
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Re: AWFUL experience with Airkewld BAD Series Brakes

Post by BOB JOHNS » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:10 pm

"Porsche Brake's " atleast you know what you getting into! No issue's what my brake conversion !!! lanner is the man!

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Airkewld.com
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Re: AWFUL experience with Airkewld BAD Series Brakes

Post by Airkewld.com » Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:38 pm

BOB JOHNS wrote:"Porsche Brake's " atleast you know what you getting into! No issue's what my brake conversion !!! lanner is the man!
If you want Porsche brakes, having options like multiple bolt patterns, optional calipers and factory specific bearings, seals and caps doesn't matter. But you are kind of limited to Porsche pattern and Porsche prices.

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BOB JOHNS
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Re: AWFUL experience with Airkewld BAD Series Brakes

Post by BOB JOHNS » Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:42 am

Airkewld.com wrote:
BOB JOHNS wrote:"Porsche Brake's " atleast you know what you getting into! No issue's what my brake conversion !!! lanner is the man!
If you want Porsche brakes, having options like multiple bolt patterns, optional calipers and factory specific bearings, seals and caps doesn't matter. But you are kind of limited to Porsche pattern and Porsche prices.
1st of all Iam not putting chevy or ford rims on my german car!!!! Plus You can find alot of wheels in the porsche pattern.

2nd Brembo calipers are boss!

3rd Iam using stock bearing and grease seals and dust cover .

4th And as for as pricing goes i paid 200 bucks for my rotors , hubs , calipers , every thing you need to do the job! And my buddy got everything for 20 bucks !!!! So yeah You have to smart when you go buy your parts I got my brakes from a pick n pull .

And plus you kit looks like a bunch of mix matched parts ! :shock:

And as for as joe goes i think you should refund him his money if he is not happy with stuff !

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