Good point on the Gold Star for response, Old Curmudgeon. I can recall a couple other times. One was a writing tablet producer, and I think the other was Harley Davidson. I don't know how they find out about Monkeys. Maybe someone forwarded the link.
1) TROY-BILT used to be very respectable garden-maintenance equipment. As another blogger pointed out, when they were gobbled up by MTD, that product quality ethic was the first thing to be thrown into the dumpster!
2) So many of these "horror stories" are about products purchased recently. I wonder IF the engineering depts. at these manufacturers have switched over to "ultra-advanced" 3-D CAD design software, relying solely on its ability to ferret out any incompatibilities and/or impossibilities? Then, totally relying on those drawing sets, go into full-scale manufacturing mode, only to either discover (OR deny!) any problems when the product is in use.
3) In all the years that I've read these MADE by MONKEES, SHERLOCK OHMS, etc., I believe this is the first time I've seen it reported that the manufacturer has directly responded to the complaint. In that regard, one MUST give the people @ MTD a gold star for being forthright. Maybe someone there DOES have a conscience????
I received an email from the Product Marketing group at MTD Consumer Products. The message came from the manager who handles the Zero Turn Rider Product line, under which this blog falls.
He noted that "When this was brought to my attention, I engaged our Chief Engineer. We have since made a change to the drive belt on this model, shortening it almost an 1". That has rectified the issue Chris Clouser discusses in the blog."
He also noted he could have a new belt sent to Chris' attention.
I have a Troy-Built leaf vacuum/chipper which does neither job satisfactorily. Run to repair-time ratio is about 2:1. It is too good to throw away and I don't hate anyone enought to try to sell it to. My impression is Troy-Built made a name for themselves making what is arguably the worlds best Rototiller, then sold the business to MTD who apparently is run by bean counters interested only in short-term profit. Replacement parts are unavailable; assemblies are sold in big-box-stores with no after-sales support, factory service is unavailable and the buying public is largely unaware of other purchasing options. Designed-by-Monkeys indeed! Designed by a committee may be more accurate.
Island_Al; Pardon me while I RANT: It's always easy when it is someone else's problem. Sort of like the other thread about the missing crank bearing cap - such an easy-to-find problem.. Human Resources and Upper Management seem to have no respect for 'hands-on' and technical workers. It is possible the mower was assembled by student 'less-than-minimum-wage' workers, who had never seen a mower before. I was at one stone shop that had installed a $250k machine, and then hired students to run it. I thought that might be a good idea because students might be more computer-savvy. The real reason was students could be paid less than minimum wage. At Panasonic Factory Automation we had a consultant session to explain to us that machines didn't have to be assembled in a strict order. For example, her husband had to read instructions to assemble their daughter's bicycle, when clearly it wasn't necessary. My response was that the handlebars go through the stem more easily before the basket is attached. And surface mount assembly machines are a little more complicated than a bicycle.
My other rant is 9/16-18 thread. It can be right-hand, left-hand, taper pipe, straight pipe, SAE, JIC, swivel-pipe, gasket seal. O-ring seal. Just because you can make it fit, doesn't mean it is the proper fitting for the application. I have had to just shake my head and walk away from some self-proclaimed 'experts'.
He did mention the machine was assembled by employees at the retailer. I have this vision of some highschool boys earning minimum wage turning wrenches and finding one hex head bolt that they have no tool for. "Hey Bubba, go to the hardware department and find me a bolt of this size with these threads." The original fastener then went into the trash, the unit worked, the boss was in happy denial, and the customer suffered after seven hours! Did the parts manual show a hex bolt or something special? Home Depot type places do not hire "professional" assemblers and do not have any quality assurance programs. I have seen these methods of misassembly before, even at the professional level.
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