Ten years ago I bought a Cub Cadet LT1042 with the 20HP Kohler single cylinder engine. After about 100 hours the starter started to grind and wouldn’t engage consistently. Upon inspection I found that the cast drive end-frame was cracked where it mounted to the engine. I noticed that the mounting bolts were actually the No. 10 thru bolts. They were longer than typical and extended through the mounting plate on the block. The bolts were not strong enough to keep the starter from jarring, and the cast end-frame took the abuse.
I ordered a replacement starter for a little over $100, and when it arrived I was pleased to find that the thru bolts were no longer the mounting bolts. The drive end-frame now matched the original mounting holes on the engine, and with two bolts, lock washers, and nuts, I was able to secure the starter properly. I did have to do one more step -- I had to cut and splice the wiring harness for the starter as it was laced through one of the holes on the engine mounting plate.
I have seen this before in my own line of work; someone figures they can save $0.20 per unit if they make a change such as this. Then it sails through development without testing because the failure mode is not catastrophic and praise is heaped on the “innovator” for adding to the bottom line. Meanwhile, the customer has to replace a part that wore out prematurely and is dissatisfied, the true COPQ is never identified, and the loss of brand reputation leaves people scratching their heads.
Tell us your experiences with Monkey-designed products. Send stories to Jennifer Campbell for Made by Monkeys.