I have had a DR tow--behind mower for several years. For the most part it has some clever design features; like a triangular piece in front of each wheel so that if you get too clse to a tree or post it will not take off the wheel. It also has the ability to offset the mower from the tow machine so that you can mow to the side of the track of the tow vehicle. However, I had a problem after a few years that it all of a sudden started leaving an unmowed strip behind it. I called customer service and even sent them some pictures of an area that I had just mowed to show them exactly what I was talking about. They had no idea of what could be causing the problem and made a few suggestions which had no affect when I tried them. It was that way until just recently when I noticed that the blades were not attached correctly. After correcting that it has worked much better, but does not cut evenly in heavy brush. Certainly like they show in the TV ads. Another problem that I had was with the operation of the throttle. After several years the only way it would run was with the throtle in the choke position. Again, I contacted Customer Service and they were of no help. Also, again, I sent them pictures to fully describe the situation. The few suggestions that they made were not only of no use, but really did not address the situation. Finally I took it to a local repair shop (who normally will not aork on DR equipment, but did for me as I am a steady customer). After him having many more discussions with DR and not getting any useful information, he finally solved the problem by adapting a part from another model Briggs and Stratton engine to this engine, like it should have been in the first place.
One feature that I feel is poor design is that the hitch only allows movement in the horizontal plane, but not in the verticle plane. This is fine if all you mow is fflat land, but can cause problems if mowing on uneven ground. I would think that a standard ball hitch would be adequate, or some other design that allowed free movement in both directions.
I know this is not all exactly "Made by Monkeys", but it certainly "Sold and Serviced by Monkeys". Other than these, and a few other minor problems, the unit is well designed and, so far, is very rugged and reliable. Just a few corrections to their design and this would be almost a perfect mower.
Yeah, they could have done it any of the ways you mentioned and it would have been safe, but I bet they saved 5 cents by doing it dangerously. That's how cheap everything has become. Save 5 cents even if it's unsafe. Makes no sense, just one huge lawsuit ruins that profit margin.
While I truly appreciate your efforts on consumers' behalfs by instilling in your students the problems of poor and/or ineffective design, I'm convinced that your efforts will for the most part will go unapplied.
When these students become wage earners, they'll be required to answer to a "higher" authority, that being the "bean counters" of their employer. So, while all your "preaching" may have instilled in them a personal ethical (moral) code, it will undoubtedly only be exercised in earnest on their own property when they're mowing their lawns, painting their houses, running a new circuit for a recently acquired appliance, etal. In other words, their own personal work will be done precisely and with due diligence in respect of local codes & sound engineering.
As an optimist, I HOPE for the best in design; as a realist, I know the results will be influenced otherwise!
Yes, I too, have seen the ads. I have also spoken with many, many unhappy JD customers who emphatically state that they will never do business with JD ever again.
I guess that the slick marketing folks at JD are planning the growth of their company by preying on unsuspecting "first time" customers, who may be unaware of the very, very poor "customer service" provided by JD.
As a member of the adjunct faculties of some some local colleges, I have the opportunity to work with students who are studying for their engineering degress and/or graduate degrees. I try to use case studies from the "real world" for our discussions in the classroom. Over the years, I have assembled quite a number of stories, similar to the JD tractor story, which I share with them.
I was recently contacted by my local JD dealer, who was complaining that my students were sharing the stories with some of their friends. The net result of this "sharing" was that he is losing sales to the other dealers in town, who represent other brands. He asked me not to use the JD tractor story with future classes. When asked for a reason why I should comply with his request, he stated that the story was creating a bad reputation for his business, which was translating into lost revenue.
When I reminded him that his lack of cooperation cost me significant "revenue" because I had to purchase another tractor (a Kubota), he replied that I should not feel slighted, as he was only following JD policy and, as a result, could not be held responsible for the failed drive unit. He maintained his position even after I reminded him that he personally recommended the tractor after inspecting my lot!
I was stunned and speechless by his mindset!!! "Made by Monkeys" doesn't even begin to scratch the surface!!!!!
The good news is that my JD story has been enhanced by the dealer's continued cluelessness. I doubt that I will ever run out of material for my classroom discussions!!!!!!!
We have a DR field & brush mower - basically a walk behind self propelled bush-hog. It will eat blackberry vines, kudzu, Johnson grass and 2" diameter sumac all day long. Give it a small patch of hazel nut bushes and all bets are off. The machine pushes the tough stems over and chops up the tops, leaving a sharp stub. This stub springs back upright after the mower deck passes over, unfortunately there is no protective cover over the drive mechanism so the stub jabs into the mechanics, flipping off the drive belt, breaking the wheel drive chain or jambing the wheel clutch. This inevidably happens in some remote corner of the property, forcing one to drag the now inert piece of machinery back to the shop, or lay down in a mass of chigger infested sawbriers and attempt a repair. I have spoken with the DR people about providing a guard over the exposed drive mechanism on several occasions, didn't get the sense that their was much interest in improvement.
The DR is made in America. Chinese stuff certainly has its issues but that's not the problem here.
I called the DR folks to inform them of the issue, and did not have the feeling they were really paying attention. But I was not trying to buy parts or get a warranty claim, so I can't say if their customer service is good or bad.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
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