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Apr 06, 2021, 02:07 PM
AMA 46133
SeismicCWave's Avatar
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Weston UK


First of all this is not a discussion to bad mouth Weston UK but just another topic for discussion. The main idea of the discussion is really about the concept of customer service.

I couldn't find a header (they called it manifold) for an OS 61RF that I have. I have a few headers for the engine and I wanted something with a specific offset to clear the firewall nicely.

Ultimately I contacted Weston UK. They were very nice and very quick in answering my email. So after some discussions and drawings we have decided on the manifold/header and a price shipped to me.

The price is not unreasonable so I bought it eventually.

A couple of weeks later the header showed up. That was extremely quick considering the distance travelled.

Then two items I noticed. First of all the holes drilled were very tight. My OS 61RF uses M3.5 bolts. The holes on the manifold seemed to be drilled for an M3 bolt. No issue there I just had to clean out the holes a bit for the bolts to fit.

I engaged one hole and noticed the other bolt will not start. I looked at the hole with a bright light and I only see 1/2 the screw hole showing on the engine. That is not going to let me bolt on the header for sure.

Since I didn't want to fire up my milling machine I just use Dremel and a round file to elongate the holes. Now they fit and the header is a perfect fit on the plane.

So I figured I send a courtesy email to Weston UK to let them know there may be an issue with the hole pattern they have on hand. So they can be aware of the situation. I was not making waves nor was I trying to claim any defect.

Here is the exact email I sent:
"I tested the manifold. I am not sure where you find the bolt hole spacing for the OS 61RF. The holes on your manifold are about .75mm to 1mm too wide. You may consider checking for future reference. I did elongate the holes toward the center to make them fit."

Then I received an email back from Weston today and here is what they said:

"Good afternoon Hansen, we are puzzled by your email as we have OS 61RF
motors here and your manifold was made using that as a pattern and it fitted
beautifully?"

Again, no big deal. So I say thank you and sent a reply.

Then I got to thinking. That reply from Weston really rubbed me the wrong way. I have been in business for a long time in my life and that was not a very good customer service answer.

What the reply said was that they tested their manifold and it fit their OS 61RF beautifully. The unwritten part of the email simply meant that I was a dunce and didn't know what I am saying.

The email did not resolve anything and Weston UK will continue to drill their OS 61RF according to the hole pattern on their hole pattern.

I did not make up the hole pattern on my OS 61RF nor did I drilled the hole pattern on the Weston manifold. I am simply the user trying to get two parts to fit together.

So eventually I fired back another email to Weston suggesting to them the following.

1) Instead of telling their customer that their manifold fit their version of the OS 61RF beautifully, they really need to consider that there may be more than one variant of the OS 61RF crankcases floating around in the world.

2) OS is well know to change their engine dimensions half way through production. I know for a fact the OS changed the main bearing size on their 60 FSR half way through production. I have also seen a question on RCG whether OS changed the bearing size on their 61RF. The answer was yes they did.

3) So if OS can change the bearing size on their engine I will not be surprised to think that OS also changed the hole pattern on the exhaust half way through production either.

4) Therefore a manufacturer that is making custom header should be flexible and quick enough to realize that instead of telling their customer that their manifold fit their engine sample. It would have been so much more productive if they just acknowledge the fact that there are variations out there. All they really have to do is to change their thinking and accept the variation. Then make a note to themselves to ask their future potential customers to give a center to center dimension from their OS 61RF to confirm. No harm, no foul, no additional effort.

So the moral of the story is that instead of being adamant about correct, a little flexibility in thinking would have produce a lot more positivity in customer service. Just a simple acknowledgment that the custom has an OS 61RF crank case that has a different hole pattern. Thank the customer for letting them know and be done with it.

An email bragging about how well their manifold fit their sample really put the customer in a dead end position with no place to turn.

Well, that was my rant. Now flame away. I can always close the thread when the flame gets too negative.
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Apr 06, 2021, 02:24 PM
AMA 46133
SeismicCWave's Avatar
Thread OP
Since I am on a tear this morning. This is another issue I like to cover.

This is regarding how we want to help people on the forum.

I have seen time and time again when a poster ask a question regarding some issue they have.

Instead of putting ourselves in their shoes and really try to understand the OP's problem and help them solve the issue, I have seen a lot of posts that said "I have done XYZ for years and I never had any problems with it."

Well to me that fine and good and I am glad the poster that replied has no issue. However that answer really did not help the OP at all. All reply entail was that the poster managed to do something similar and they have not encountered the same problem. Now what does that do to the OP. It didn't help any.

To me the reply is simply a show off statement trying to brag about the superiority of the user but did nothing to help. That may or may not be the intent of the reply but it sure put the OP in a defensive situation.

A better post would have been following up with questions asking the OP for more clarifications to help the OP decipher what he may or may not be doing something wrong.
Apr 06, 2021, 03:09 PM
Still gassin' it.
Your OP reminded me that last year I ordered a pusher pipe for my old OS 40 SF from them, and I never got round to fitting it because the Delta went down on its first launch, efore I even received the item.

When ordering the pipe, Alan also assured me, they had an OS 40 SF to use as a template so I needed not worry...

So I took it out, and tried it.
Fortunately, mine fit like a glove, and I cannot say anything else than that it is beautifully made, but I have no idea how it sounds or runs.

That mine is OK does not help you much of course, but to be honest, I am not sure what you expect... If I were in their shoes, I would have said the same as they did: "I am surprised and do not understand it: I made it according to the template we have, and it fitted well". What else can they say?

I am a bit surprised that you interprete that as "Oh, they tell me that I am a dunce", because honest to god can't see that message in there.

All I see is that they are admittedly caught off guard not understanding why their template didn't fit, obviously unaware of there possibly being more versions of the RF. Because they have been in business for quite a while too, and I am pretty sure they have made more than one header for an RF.

You are right in that they at least could have asked what the deviations were. But I believe there is a disclaimer somewhere on their site where it says that one-off items cannot be returned for warranty and that any issue with the fit, is the buyers responsibility since they do not have the actual plane and engine and are entirely depending on the information you provide. It was when I bought my pusher pipe last year.
Apr 06, 2021, 03:49 PM
AMA 46133
SeismicCWave's Avatar
Thread OP
>>That mine is OK does not help you much of course, but to be honest, I am not sure what you expect... If I were in their shoes, I would have said the same as they did: "I am surprised and do not understand it: I made it according to the template we have, and it fitted well". What else can they say?<<

Maybe because we are from different culture. However I have always been told that to really understand a situation never back some one into a corner. Always try to find out why first before forming a definitive opinion.

Yes they could have mentioned that they have a sample and their manifold fitted their sample. However they also needed to be less final and realize there must have been a variation since why would I even mention the issue?

>>I am a bit surprised that you interprete that as "Oh, they tell me that I am a dunce", because honest to god can't see that message in there.<<

Again cultural difference. A definitive "It fit mine therefore there has to be a mistake" is a bit arrogant in my opinion. They need to understand I did not invent the OS engine and the manifold. There are only 2 holes. The probability of user error here is almost non-existent. When they holes don't line up, they don't line up.

>>All I see is that they are admittedly caught off guard not understanding why their template didn't fit, obviously unaware of there possibly being more versions of the RF. Because they have been in business for quite a while too, and I am pretty sure they have made more than one header for an RF.<<

RF's are not that common. Before there were Hatori and Macs that made headers specifically to fit. The Hatori header I have has a slot as bolt holes. So they must have realized that there are some variation. So maybe Weston just did not realize there are more than one bolt hole pattern. For as long as they have been in business I am surprised.

Furthermore the email said Alan but the person answering the email was James. So the business may have been passed on or sold to the next generation with less experience. For that matter the engine may be older than James.

>>You are right in that they at least could have asked what the deviations were.<<

For that matter I don't want to be right or wrong. I was just giving them feedback as to the issue and all they need to do was to take that into account, say thank you and put a note in the computer to alert themselves for the next customer.

>> But I believe there is a disclaimer somewhere on their site where it says that one-off items cannot be returned for warranty and that any issue with the fit, is the buyers responsibility since they do not have the actual plane and engine and are entirely depending on the information you provide. It was when I bought my pusher pipe last year.<<

No problem there and I was not looking to return the item and I am responsible. They were really good regarding asking me about the type of off-set I wanted and needed. I CAD a drawing showing what I needed with the offset. Since they are so diligent in finding out the measurement of the offset I am surprised they did not confirm the hole pattern. That takes very little effort if any to ask the customer about "how far are the holes apart?" to ensure proper fitment.

I am not trying to tell them how to run their business but simply offering them information to better serve their next customer. If they don't like the information they can file it in the rubbish bin.
Apr 06, 2021, 04:07 PM
Watch out for the Muffler Man
The other possibility is that they built it wrong. Did you ask them for the drawings they used? They should have been able to provide hole spacing and dimensions.

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Apr 06, 2021, 04:34 PM
AMA 46133
SeismicCWave's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raleighcopter
The other possibility is that they built it wrong. Did you ask them for the drawings they used? They should have been able to provide hole spacing and dimensions.

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
I doubt they have drawings for a one off custom made header. I didn't ask them for the center to center hole distance they used. I should just for clarification but it is really a moot point now. I have the header and I made it fit. So for me it is the end of the story unless I want to buy another one from them. They are not cheap and not quite up to the fit and finish as the Macs header nor the Hatori's but they do make custom headers and is still in business whereas Macs is out of business. I am not sure if Hatori is still in business or not.

FWIW the Hatori head I have have slotted holes so they must know about the crank case variation.
Apr 06, 2021, 04:38 PM
Still gassin' it.
Hatori is out for quite some time now AFAIK.
Apr 06, 2021, 04:54 PM
AMA 46133
SeismicCWave's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1967Brutus
Hatori is out for quite some time now AFAIK.
Thanks, that's why their headers are hard to find now.
Apr 06, 2021, 05:18 PM
Tiny minds want to know 🙄
ClubFlyer's Avatar
You have to understand the British etiquette, they weren't being snotty to you, they were pointing out exactly what they had done and it fit "beautifully?". they weren't boasting, just satisfied with the work that was done. Obviously there is a discrepancy between your OS 61RF manifold fastener spacing, and the one they have 6000 miles away. I find when communicating via text, is to read it a few times. Both your comments and theirs are very brief, and some misinterpretations can result.

I see no derogatory comments from you or them in the message exchange, they are just as puzzled by the dilemma as you were, and I don't think it was done on purpose. I'm sure if you were in the same room, or on the telephone, you would have come away with a totally different experience.

Next time you order anything custom made, I would give as much information / specifications of what you have in hand. Take measurements and verify the dimensions, even if the other party says they have all the information on hand, send them the measurements / spec's anyway.
Apr 06, 2021, 05:33 PM
AMA 46133
SeismicCWave's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClubFlyer
You have to understand the British etiquette, they weren't being snotty to you, they were pointing out exactly what they had done and it fit "beautifully?". they weren't boasting, just satisfied with the work that was done. Obviously there is a discrepancy between your OS 61RF manifold fastener spacing, and the one they have 6000 miles away. I find when communicating via text, is to read it a few times. Both your comments and theirs are very brief, and some misinterpretations can result.

I see no derogatory comments from you or them in the message exchange, they are just as puzzled by the dilemma as you were, and I don't think it was done on purpose. I'm sure if you were in the same room, or on the telephone, you would have come away with a totally different experience.

Next time you order anything custom made, I would give as much information / specifications of what you have in hand. Take measurements and verify the dimensions, even if the other party says they have all the information on hand, send them the measurements / spec's anyway.
Thanks, I have to chaulk it up as cultural differences. Again I am not trying to sell them off as a bad business. I am just puzzled with their answer.
Apr 06, 2021, 05:40 PM
Still gassin' it.
Also, keep in mind, that for Weston, this is custom stuff once was a good part of their business (they had their own line of tuned pipes and such), but nowadays, not so much anymore.

So "the customer is always right" does not have the leverage here it used to have, as they basically allready are making them at bottom prices.

That is a very harsh reality, but it is as true over here as it is in the US, because you could not find what you needed in the US, right? The market simply has shrunk too much for that.

If you want the full service, go to an outfit that has custom RC exhausts, mufflers and manifolds as their core business, such as Zimmermann or Krumscheidt (both from Germany).
But expect to pay for that excellent service (and absolutely superior products, it must be said).
Apr 06, 2021, 06:43 PM
AMA 46133
SeismicCWave's Avatar
Thread OP
>>That is a very harsh reality, but it is as true over here as it is in the US, because you could not find what you needed in the US, right? The market simply has shrunk too much for that.<<

Yes the hobby business is a really tough business.
Apr 06, 2021, 06:53 PM
Tiny minds want to know 🙄
ClubFlyer's Avatar
And its just going to get worse if there is no demand for those types of services. You will ultimately be put in the shoes of "Caractacus Potts" and make everything you need yourself.
Apr 06, 2021, 07:12 PM
AMA 46133
SeismicCWave's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClubFlyer
And its just going to get worse if there is no demand for those types of services. You will ultimately be put in the shoes of "Caractacus Potts" and make everything you need yourself.
Yeah I wish I know how to bend 3/4" aluminum tube nicely. I would make my own headers. In the meantime I just keep browsing the classifieds and "collect" as much as I can.
Apr 06, 2021, 07:27 PM
Registered User
I know it was an easy fix, but I don't believe there is more than one mounting pattern for the RF engine, it's the same mounting pattern as its predecessor the 61VF, it would be like changing the hole pattern on the engine mounts.


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