It you are following published and tested recipes EXACTLY you should not be too off the mark from good pickles, so it is hard to say what might be "off" without knowing the recipe(s) you had a problem with.
Current recommendation is to stay away from the uncooked refrigerator pickle recipes unless they are fermented. It has been found that many of these recipes have a potential Listeria bacteria problem.
Support bacteria. It's the only culture some people have.