I learned about storage of engines when I tried to store a small generator for 5 months between hurricane seasons. Gas and carburetors just don't like to sit – they like to run. Lesson learned was ANYTHING that runs on carbureted gas needs to be run for 10 minutes once/month, or will require a re-built carburetor due to rapidly forming varnish. (Life in high humidity in South Florida).
After empathizing with all of the trials you've undergone, I was most surprised by the comment, "$8,000 mower". Must be the "Bentley" of Zero-Turn Riders ,,,,
All of us can learn from this unfortunate tale of misfortune. Storing an engine requires a lot more than just putting a cover over it. And we also learn to avoid purchasing products from some makers, and to avoid products that use those brands. There is, or was, an American engine manufacturer that made engines that could use the same parts for many many years. The parts did get newer, but a 1980 carb would fit and work on a 1962 engine. Some changes might be needed, but the parts could be changed out over many years worth of production. And being an American company the replacement parts were always available.
Having once supplied plastic parts to the automotive, recreational, and lawncare industry I have to concur with tekochip. The molds that make the plastic parts ussually have several problems:
1) The production life of the tool is complete. That means the tooling has produced millions of parts and is worn out. No one wants to pay to rebuild or remake a tool for service parts. At first, we try to make what we can, but the parts are not optimally made. Eventually the tool is incapable of running parts.
2) Low volume adds price to the part. Service parts are usually run in very small volumes and the above condition may require additional labor and time to produce the parts. And if there is any automation (for say inserts of glueing) that is long gone or in disrepair as well.
3) Tool storage is valuable floor space that OEM's need for current production needs! If the tool is not run in a year, it is usually stored off-site (further adding to #1 and #2 above), returned to the OEM (almost never), or discarded (per the OEM).
As a plastics guy, I think running a bunch of "extra parts" is the way to go. But the financial guys say no as this is inventory on the books. But then the inevitable question is how many extras do we make and store? And I know the OEM's want to be helpful up to a point and then they want you to purchase a new product! Sort of a catch 22 for them, keep you satisfied, but want you to also get rid of the old and into the new.
I'm not defending the practice, I'm just saying it's about cost. It' very expensive for manufacturers to provide spare parts. They have to be cataloged, packaged, an SKU has to be generated, the parts need to be stored somewhere and of course they have to be shipped from whatever far-flung land manufactured them. That's why parts sometimes cost as much as the end product because so much of the product cost is not the material or the labor it's the overhead in delivering the product to the consumer. When the manufacturing was local you could sometimes be lucky enough to call the factory and have a guy walk out on the floor and shove a couple of the sub-penny springs in an envelope for you, but not now.
I am with you, Chuck. I hate throwing things away quickly if they break. I like to repair things and use them until they are absolutely falling apart. But it's getting so much harder to do with the way products are built and designed today. I blame the predominance of plastic, mostly--plastic parts being cheaper and easier to use but not very durable--but it's not the only reason, of course.
I have to admit, Liz, I agree with you. I don't like to be a throw-away consumer, but big ticket itms tend to have big ticket repairs. The carburetor parts for this mower cost more than my entire mower.
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