I have a lawn mower and a lawn vacuum, each with interlocks / safeties. The lawn mower has a safety bar that must be held or the engine will not start, or stops when released. The lawn vacuum has a similar safety bar for the drive = the drive engages with the bar, disengages when the bar is released. Were there similar safeties or interlocks on the Power Wagon ?
If we keep buying from China, et al, and we depend upon their good graces to insure all the safety mechanisms are in place (remember dog food and sheet rock?), we will all have to become engineers just to solve these problems. My wife would have panicked and not known what to do- as would 3/4ths of the men I know.
A world of engineers. Now that's the Thanksgiving table I want to be sitting around!
I don't know, Warren. If China is building to spec, the design flaw and lack of development test could be originating here. It seems to me that quality in design and development is being sacrificed in favor of a cheaper product. It seems we have lost the culture that used to exist when people stayed in their jobs for years and quality was highly valued despite cost. With the current economy and trends in manufacturing it seems to be getting harder to find a really well designed AND well tested product.
IF they are building to spec. But they are upside down on the other side of the world and who is to check? We have to make a lot of assumptions when we have lost control of the process. We assume they are using quality people. We assume they are well trained. We assume QA was on the ball. And so we walk into Walmart, buy something Chinese, pay our bill, and go home and use whatever it is.
Who do you call when something isn't right? Walmart? Those guys only ring up the charge for minimum wage. There is no way to check, no one to call, no visits to the factory, nuttin! You pays your money and you takes your chances.
If it were made here, you would have someone to call, some place to complain to, or just get in your car and drive there and pound on the door until someone listened to you. Until the intercontinental freeway (I-666) is built from California to Shanghai, I can't do that. But it would make a heck of a field trip!
Good point, Warren. My friend who works for a distributor that buys from China tells me that they have QC at their end - but not everyone does that.
You did touch on a point that drives me crazy - not having any recourse on a product purchased that is defective. I 100% agree that it is so nice to be able to go straight to the manufacturer. However, even here they are avoiding dealing with any problems with those convulated automated telephone response systems. The consumer loses so often that we have become desensitized to it.
I purchased a camcorder from Sony and the casette holder had a design flaw. They would never admit that anyone else ever complained about it (a quick internet search located dozens of complaints) and they found a loop hole in my warranty that excluded them from replacing it. I was very frustrated - ironically, sometimes the inability to contact the manufacturer saves you even more time and heartache as would have happened in this case.
And once in a rare while you have a golden moment with a company that displays integrity and a desire to do things right...and you feel incredibly blessed for something that should be a part of the regular customer service we grew up with. Oh my, I will step off my soap box now...
I agree with the comments of the other contributers. Buying products made in China and sold here in the US makes it tough to get resolution when you have a problem. But, we know that going in and, thus can protect ourselves by not buying anything that we feel will fail and have to be replaced. I only buy disposable items in WalMart, knowing that there will be no service, warranty or follow-up of any kind (other than returning the product for a refund -and, as we know, "some restrictions may apply").
However, when a person tries to be a responsible consumer and buy "made in the US products", there is still no guarantee of support after the sale. My wife and I moved into a new a home and I was in the market for a lawn tractor. The home is on a 1/2 acre lot and wanted to mow the grass and bag it, so I could compost it and reuse it for future landscaping projects. In the past, I had always purchased Kubota tractors in the past. They were reliable and trouble-free and the dealers provided excellent service and support.
Nonetheless, I visited the John Deere dealer, which was only a mile away, to see what they could offer. I was a bit surprised to learn that the only criteria the salemean used to select the "best" machine for my proposed use was the size of the lot. When I mentioned the fact that the property had a couple of steeply-sloped areas, there was no change in his recommendation. I insisted that he visit my property and see for himself, which he did. He still insisted that the machine originally recommended was the "best" one for my application.
With some trepedation, I purchased the unit. I used it once a week for the spring and summer months, taking it back to the dealer for all scheduled maintenance, and storing it in a garage when not in use. After 3 years, it still looked brand-new.
Imagine my disappointment when the tractor refused to climb the slopes. I returned it to the dealer, who stated that the transmission in the hydrostatic drive system had failed and the repairs would be "something in the neighborhood of $800.00. Naturally, the warranty had expired and the dealer stated that he couldn't offer any assistance other than the repair, and no guarantee how long the repair would last. In his opinion, the machine had been stressed beyond its capacity by my using it to mow the sloping property! I reminded him that he recommended this particular machine, after personally examining my property. He had a severe case of "selective amnesia" regarding that and of all the service checks his "factory-trained" technicians had performed over the years.
After many phone calls and emails, I finally receeived a response from John Deere's corporate QA department, who stated that they rely on the dealers for all after sale issues - in other words : "we don't stand behind the products we manufacture".
So, here I am with a $5,000.00 tractor with a failed drive system, made in the US by American Monkeys and STILL have the same problem I would have had if I bought it in a Wal Mart.
Did I mention that my wife urged me to buy that John Deere because she is a teacher and the colors of the tractor are the same as her school colors?
Have you seen recent advertisements in some of the technical publications (MACHINE DESIGN, etal.) for JOHN DEERE? They're bragging about the fact that they are celebrating 150 years in business AND are actively recruiting additional technical employees to advance their design goals?
Maybe a beefier hydrostatic transmission is near the top of that list, but I doubt it!
Years ago we had an ECONOMY tractor. It was an extremely simple design, borrowing from the automotive world. It was built as a somewhat smaller scale farm tractor w/ 4feet tall rear tractor tires & smaller front tires. Steering was a simple gear box w/ standard linkage to the front wheels. Power was provided by an 11 hp WISCONSIN horizontal engine, coupled to an automotive style manual clutch. The bellhousing was cast iron, supporting a BORG WARNER 3 speed transmission. The enclosed output shaft terminated in a simple enclosed hypoid rear differential. To mow large acreage, an accessory mowing deck w/ 3 belt-connected blades provided at least a 4 feet swath. Power to this deck was achieved through a large V-belt connected to the front PTO pulley on the crankshaft. At the time, it was said that parts of this tractor were taken from FORD Model T or Model A vehicles, but we never affirmed that as being factually accurate. This machine was used for decades WITHOUT a single malfunction EXCEPT replacing the belts for the mower deck & an occasional mower shaft bearing assembly since there was considerable sandy areas being cut. And, an occasional 6-volt battery. In winter, the mower deck was unpinned & the snow plow attached.
A slew of announcements about new materials and design concepts for transportation have come out of several trade shows focusing on plastics, aircraft interiors, heavy trucks, and automotive engineering. A few more announcements have come independent of any trade shows, maybe just because it's spring.
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
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