For many years I had a Sears Weedwacker (line trimmer) and a Brushwacker (blade trimmer) and had great service from both. As they aged and became a little harder to start, and I aged and had problems pulling the starter rope, I decided that I needed to find something easier to use.
I ended up buying a Troy Bilt unit because Troy Bilt has always been a brand that stood for quality. It came with provisions for an electric starter, and had interchangeable cutting heads so I only had to have one unit that I could use as either a Weedwacker or Brushwacker.
Things were OK for a while, then I started having problems with the lower drive shaft housing. The problem is that the coupler, called an EZ-Link, that allows the conversion from one head to another, is held in place by a clamp and a release button that attaches to the lower shaft by way of a small flat spring. The problem is that when you use the blade head, all of the torque from swinging into a thick weed or small tree is applied to that release button, even with the clamp tightened down. So far I have had to replace that shaft housing twice, which means I have used three of them in the approximately three years that I have had the unit. Troy Bilt (now a part of MTD) replaced the first one under warranty for me, but I had to buy the second one, which cost a little less than half of what the entire unit cost.
The EZ-Link is connected to the upper shaft housing by a single screw that goes into a captive bolt on the housing itself. When the lower housing is tightly secured the torque from the blade cutting now is transmitted to the upper shaft housing and that one screw. So, just recently I noticed that things were a little loose while using the blade. I inspected it, and found that the captive bolt was nearly destroyed and the hole for the screw was now an ellipse. Therefore, the entire EZ-Link and lower shaft housing were free to rotate about 45 degrees and was rapidly getting worse. So, I went back to Troy Bilt for a replacement upper shaft housing and another EZ-Link, again at a cost about half of the cost of the entire unit.
While the idea of interchangeable heads like this is a good one, I certainly feel that the attachment technique was designed by monkeys and Troy Bilt should go back to the drawing board to improve the design and supply a retrofit for current owners. Otherwise I am going to have to be paying around $80 every year or so to replace one or the other of these shafts and the associated EZ-Link.
Tell us your experiences with Monkey-designed products. Send stories to Lauren Muskett for Made by Monkeys.