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What's Happening?

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#1 hamman OFFLINE  


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Posted May 22, 2014 - 09:07 AM

Are we really becoming a throw away society? I was reading the owners manual for a Troybuilt ( MTD, AYP ?) lawn tractor we got from a friend who moved across country, and I came upon some thing surprising. Well not really but was just surprised to see it in print in the owners manual.
I was looking up information on the Transmission belt and Drive belt, when at the beginning of the manual it states in part, " ..expected and accepted lifetime of this mower is 257 hour of operation or 7 years..... as stated by the united States Consumer Protection Agency" .
Now back in the late 90s and early 2000s my uncle had a HVAC business and I was working for a HVAC supplier. One of our reps was in one day and the conversation turned to longevity of goods and quality of service to be expected by those goods. My uncle said " we have become a "Throw away society", "plain and simple, it matters not to a lot of people that they are paying good money for a product that they have been told will only last " X" amount of years and they believe this and when it gets time for that piece of equipment to come up on that date they start looking for a new replacement..." A lot of what he said was true then and I believe it is even more true today. I see it here in our hobby. Many (most) of us prefer the older machines because of the way they are built and how long they have lasted.
I'm not sure about the rest of you but I have worked very hard for my money and for the tings I need in life to sustain me and my family. I feel that from the top down we are being, and to some degree, have already been programmed to believe it is OK to throw away things and just go out and buy new. It stimulates the economy and keeps people working ( WHERE?) but does it really help? I see the scrap yards full and the landfills even fuller.
As a kid I remember going with my dad on service calls for furnaces and working on furnaces that were 20 - 30 yrs old that were still working and functioning.
Most of our GTs we have here today are at least 40 years old and some as old as 46. We still use farm tractors that are 70+ years old.
Sorry about the rant. Just wondering What's Happening. Roger.
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#2 Gabriel OFFLINE  

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Posted May 22, 2014 - 09:30 AM

I've read that too in an MTD owner's manual. Quite amazing!
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#3 JDBrian OFFLINE  


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Posted May 22, 2014 - 10:35 AM

I've read something about that before but it was for the engine and referred to the emissions standard and how long the engine is expected to meet that standard. I've never seen it applied to the entire tractor. If that's the way all the new MTDs are rated it looks like the 990's we see on here were maybe 10 times the tractor that the new ones are.

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#4 MH81 ONLINE  


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Posted May 22, 2014 - 10:40 AM

Same sad state of affairs with appliances.
Most top load laundry mfg today is maybe a 3 -5 year purchase, control boards in fridges and stoves have made them 5 -10 , but I see them younger than that.

If I spent 3k on a fridge, and it self destructs in 5 years, I would not be happy, but there aren't a lot of options out there for longevity.
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#5 Username OFFLINE  



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Posted May 22, 2014 - 10:41 AM

Planned obsolescence.




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#6 boyscout862 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 22, 2014 - 11:32 AM

Hamman you are welcome to vent and know that most of us agree with you. It is all part of the dumbing down of society so that almost all people are senseless drones making wealth for the top 1%. It is a new version of the idea of a select few ruling over the majority. People will be controlled more by their money as they are more and more addicted to consumer items.

It is scary. My son just finished his second engineering degree and still doesn't have a job. The ABC news said that only 11% of graduating college students have a job lined up. My son can still live at home and work on tractors and trucks with me but that isn't really a future as I don't have that many years left.


I see GTs and gardens as a bit of financial and spiritual freedom. It makes us a little less controlled by money. Good Luck, Rick 

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#7 toomanytoys84 OFFLINE  



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Posted May 22, 2014 - 04:27 PM

Think about that.


257 hours over 7 years.  That's 36 hours a year.  Or for at least my area, 6 months of grass cutting, 6 hours a month!  My family averages at least 3 hours or more per week for grass cutting.  If that number was true.  We would be buying a tractor every 2.5 years. 


The 128 Cub on average will see about 3 hours use a week, or 12 hours a month.   It is now 40 years old.  It has way out lived its usefulness!


Actually since it is pulling double lawn duty it sees about 6 hours a week of use.  About 144 hours this summer.


I bet the 128 over the the course of 40 years has at least 3,000 hours on it.  Original motor and transmission.  They sure don't build them like they used to....


The furnance in my last house was dated 9-2-1976 install date.  Still in service as of 2013 when I sold the house.  My current house has a furnance with an install date of 3-24-81.  Still going strong!

Edited by toomanytoys84, May 22, 2014 - 04:31 PM.

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#8 Bill 76 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 22, 2014 - 04:57 PM

Ya it's a shame that it's getting harder to find well built products,Companys used to be proud of what they made and they didn't want to lose that,I think when many companys changed owners or the familys that owned them passed on the newer people in charge just wanted their millon dollar year bonus,so to keep them selfs in the money and stock holders happy the order came down to cheapen up on things and live off the companys name.

Well you can see where I'am going with this and I'am getting po thinking about it---I better leave now.


I won't trade my 40 year old tractor for 10 of the new ones---------Cus I know it will still be running when the 10 cheapes are dead

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#9 GTTinkerer OFFLINE  


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Posted May 22, 2014 - 06:18 PM

My youngest daughter bought a front load washer 13 months ago for over $800.  Yesterday it died the the technician said $467 for a new circuit board plus labor.  Come on a circuit board in a clothes washer.  He also told her the warranty on electrical parts is one year.


Looked it up and the clothes washer the wife and I have had for over 18 years cost $218 and still does the job.

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#10 IamSherwood OFFLINE  


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Posted May 22, 2014 - 07:43 PM

My youngest daughter bought a front load washer 13 months ago for over $800.  Yesterday it died the the technician said $467 for a new circuit board plus labor.  Come on a circuit board in a clothes washer.  He also told her the warranty on electrical parts is one year.


Looked it up and the clothes washer the wife and I have had for over 18 years cost $218 and still does the job.


That's criminal. A complaint should be filed with the Better Business Bureau.

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#11 petrj6 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 22, 2014 - 08:32 PM

    I agree with everything I am reading here, we are becoming a throw away society.  I am trying to rebuild an old briggs engine for my dad, I took the block up to the locale NAPA, figured they could bore it.  The guy behind the counter looked at me like I had two heads and said no-one bored engines anymore, he told me to go to harbor freight and get a new one.  I could not believe it, it took me two months to get someone to machine the block.

    On the other hand with the changes in times and the new energy efficient stuff sometimes you are better off replacing the old stuff, I certainly would not want to be using a fridge that is as old as my gt, I cannot imagine the electric bill on that.  Sometimes you are better off replacing and not repairing, the trouble is finding the balance.


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Posted May 22, 2014 - 09:01 PM

This is just crazy. Corporate knows that most normal consumers are so busy scratching out a living, paying school loans, buying a house, paying for kids upbringing, that they don't have time to repair or pay anyone to repair the "perishable" things needed through life.


In our old trailer house that was 34 years old when we traded it for a new one I had only replaced the water heater once, even with hard well water somewhere in the mid 80's. The 1980's one was still fine when we got the new place in 2006. In 2012 the water heater started leaking in the new house and come to find out, nowadays they sell them by "years of life"! The one that failed was a 6 year electric water heater and it was about 6 years, 3 months but never knew that until I went to buy a new one. Menards is the only place around here that had one that would meet my application but at least I was able to get a "12 year" one. I better expect to buy a new one in 2018.


The wife has to have a newer vehicle but my daily driver pickup is 58 years old, my heavier duty hauler pickup is 42 years old (owned it for 35 years) and my errand runner mini pickup is 23 years old. I don't do much to stimulate truck sales or garden tractors for that matter since my newest GT is 39 years old. I still have an old MTD Eight Hundred that I got in 1980 and mowed with for over 25 years with one engine overhaul and I don't know how many years my uncle mowed with it before I got it.


It is difficult to get time to keep this old stuff going sometimes, but I wouldn't do it any different even if it was financially possible. Newer mechanical equipment just doesn't interest me that much anyway when it comes to that, but computers, printers and a lot of that stuff that wasn't even around through most of my life, is very cool! I especially like digital cameras.


Anyway, sorry about the rant and rambling, could go on and on.



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#13 Bruce Dorsi OFFLINE  

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Posted May 23, 2014 - 08:23 AM

Planned obsolescence is definitely used by manufacturers to insure future sales.   ....Commonly available parts are also being phased out in preference to parts that are only available through the manufacturer.


I agree with all that has already been said about the lesser quality of most present-day goods.  ....Beside the equipment and appliances, we can also look at clothes, shoes, tools, and most goods being produced.


As far as replacing vs. repairing, you must consider the high cost of today's labor rates.  ....How many people are willing to pay $100 to repair an item they can replace for $60?  ...Or, $600-$800 to repair somehting which can be purchased new for $1200?


Most all of us on this forum can, and do, repair much of our own "stuff."  .....Would you be willing to spend $$$$$ to pay someone else to restore/rebuild a 40-60 year old tractor if your only reason was to mow your lawn? 


Many years ago Sears would send a "technician" to your house to repair your Sears mower or tractor.  .....He was the same guy they would send to repair your fridge or clothes washer.  .....He was not trained to be a specialist in any one area, so it was common for the repair guy to sell you a new carb when the old one only needed cleaning, or a new engine when the old engine only need a valve job & gaskets.  .....The high labor rates Sears charged, also made many repairs un-economical.


In our shop, we would often see engines needing to be rebuilt.  ....On aluminum-block engines, we would advise the customer that they would be better off paying for a short-block or new engine instead of the parts & labor of rebuilding their old engine.  ....The economics of repair were just not there, and the new engine or short-block carried a factory warranty. 


Cast-iron engines, on the other hand, were usually rebuilt, since the cost of replacement  was much higher than parts & labor to rebuild.


Most people who lease their cars (actually a long-term rental) don't bother to have much maintenance done on them, since they know they will only have them for 2 years, or less.


Yes, sadly, our society has become one of convenience and dependence, and many people are content to accept disposable and lesser-quality goods.

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