Cub Cadet

Cub Cadet

Speaking of our Cub Cadet.  Elizabethe asks me, “How much more money do we dump in to this mower before you buy a new one?”

Well, the next time I cannot do the repair myself, I think that’s the time.  I will tell you this, I will never buy another Cub Cadet product again.  And, I will never buy another mower from Blazey’s again. Cub Cadet because of the poor engineering, poor quality and lack of support from the manufacturer. (I’ve attempted to contact them on faulty part issues with no response whatsoever.)  Blazey’s because of their price gouging* and the incident of putting blades on upside down.

Today’s Fiasco

What happened today is neither Cub Cadet or Blazey’s fault.  Someone threw a 3/4″ diameter rope on the lawn.  It got covered with leaves.  When I drove over it, it wrapped itself around the spindle several times causing the spindle to break in two places AND the blade to hit the deck and bend.

Blazey’s charged me $112 for the part.  (Later I checked and it goes for about $38 on-line.  I’m ordering a spare.)  Out of urgency to get the job done today, I paid the $112.

Finishing the Job

It took a while to get the spindle replaced.  The self-tapping bolts were the hardest part.  They require lots of torque to cut the new threads in the spindle housing.

The after-market blades that Aaron recommends work great.  While the rope incident cause the blade to bend slightly, the manufacturer’s brand it would have twisted like a pretzel.  (I have several bent ones to prove it.)  This is the first time this brand of blade has bent.

Difficult Decision

It’s a difficult decision to abandon a local business.  I originally went with them because they were local, and like buying a bicycle, I figure it is better to buy from a specialist than a generalist.  (i.e. a bike shop instead of a department store, for example).

*However, the after sales support was expensive and time consuming.  But, what really took the cake was after the upside-down blade incident, I was talking to a friend who was surprised that I went to Blazey’s.  He recounted an incident that disgusted me.

It will be cheaper for me to stock some of my own parts (knowing what breaks on this thing), than a single trip to buy a part under the pressure to finish what I started.

For my next lawn tractor, I will be talking to my mechanic for recommendations.  AND, I know what engineering flaws to look for.  (Namely, the engineering of the deck lift/lowering mechanism, belt guides and housings.)

 

 

From Good to Worse

From Good to Worse

How is it you can see a doctor in the morning and go from good to worse by afternoon. When I saw my doctor my injury wasn’t bothering me.  Then, but dinner time, it was worse.

I picked up the lawn mower deck today and so far in the last month, I have dumped nearly $600 in to this mower.  It is time to research who makes a decent mower.  I’ll admit, I didn’t know what I was looking for when I bought this thing.  I’ve learned a lot.  The two biggest lessons are 1) don’t buy another Cub Cadet because parts are hard to get and Cub Cadet as a company hasn’t responded to ANY of my complaints, and 2) I won’t buy from Blazey’s again.  The latter kind of hurts because I’d like to see the local guys get my business, but I’m very dissatisfied with their lack of quality control on their repairs and the slowness of the repairs.

So, I have the repaired deck on the mower and it strikes the ground AGAIN and the blade bends.  Assuming nothing else is bent, I’m looking at another $60 just for blades.  UGH.  This mower is a lemon!

In all fairness, the engine on it seems great.  However, the drive train and mower deck have given me nothing but problems.  So far this summer I have NOT been able to mow the entire lawn without something breaking.  Not once.  But, the engine starts every time and sounds great.  Good ol’ Kawasaki engineering.  To bad they don’t build the rest of the machine.

At least I got about 75% of the mowing done before the tractor broke.

Seek Advice

Seek Advice

A friend says, “Don’t seek advice from someone who is more messed up than you.”  We all chuckle at that, but boy do we see it on social media.

I’ve got to avoid that rabbit hole.  I go in to a forum thinking I can offer my professional advice, but only to be confronted by social media addicts who vehemently attack anyone who offers advice that deviates from theirs.

Some of you may not have seen this, but let’s keep it generic… let’s say you go in to a forum or group and some says, “I need some legal advice.”

The logic and appropriate answer is, “Go see an attorney.”

But, when you suggest the person go see an attorney there is always some fool who says, “I went through this.  You don’t need an attorney.  You just need to do A… B… and C…”

I think to myself, “Wow, I hope this person doesn’t listen to him.”

I end up playing the fool too because I respond back saying, “Oh, she they do need and attorney because if this goes bad they can end up losing a lot of money,” and the next thing I know it I’m being read the riot-act, la-tee-dah-tee-dah.

The good that has come out of this is this…

In stead of leaving my Facebook page open and while waiting for files to copy look to see what new messages demand my attention, I’m going to create a Facebook check list.  Further more, it will have a specific time assigned each day.  No responding to the village idiot who advices people they don’t need an attorney for legal matters.  I do my check list (which is there to boost my web page SEOs, and get off before the timer goes off.)

I also realized I can post directly from my blogs without having to interact with Facebook.  And, for my SEO related posts, I can set them up in advance, so scheduling stuff can be a breeze.

Empathy can be a curse in this social media world.  It’s like having teenagers at home who think they know better than mom and dad.  The problem is, they are crawling the Internet and some of them are old enough to have teenage children and should know better.

Facebook is great for keeping in touch with old friends and distance family members, but when it comes to forums and groups, there needs to be some controls in order for them to function properly.  I was in one group dedicated to a specific brand of camera.  Someone posted a question about what lens to buy for that brand of camera and the group administrator said the question was not suited for that forum.  While I am all for controls on the group, the controls also have to make sense. (Which this one didn’t.)

The biggest problem in such groups and forums is this…

You simply don’t know who you are dealing with.  For example, say you join a forum for car waxing.  In that forum, someone tells you to use Comet on your car before you wax it. (Okay, most of us know Comet will scratch the paint on your car.)  But, you figure these folks are experts, so you go and use Comet on your car.  In the end, you’re car is scratched and some obnoxious teenage boy is sitting laughing saying, “He went for it.”

It’s too bad many of these groups and forums don’t screen people.  I asked to join one that actually did.  They asked for my web site url, and a short biography.  Perhaps many should ask for some sort of qualifying information.

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I went to mow the lawn today and the mower broke down.  I ended up having Macedon Auto come tow the tractor to their shop.  I’m really not impressed with my Cub Cadet.  When it comes time to replace it, I probably won’t get another one.

FHE at Cumorah

FHE at Cumorah

We had FHE at Cumorah tonight.  What’s FHE?  Family Home Evening.

A couple of times a month the site missionaries gather for a Family Home Evening at the Hill Cumorah Visitor’s Center.  Tonight, Matt and I gave them a presentation about Israel.  People still keep asking for more.  It’s a fascinating place and those who haven’t been there love to see and hear about what it is like.

FHE at Cumorah
Priest Reading at Mt. Tabor

I have too many things on my plate right now.  I’m going to have to start saying, “No”, to new projects.  I have print competition coming up, and a couple of books I’m writing, and my normal day-to-day things.  All of this and there are only 24-hours in a day.

With the weather warming up that means yard work too.  Mowing the lawn is 2-3 days a month where I have to block out a day to mow it.  And, my temperamental Cub Cadet sometimes makes it take longer.  (Yeah, I can’t recommend their product until they fix the deck-lifting mechanism.)

So, here’s a big question…  Does Cub Cadet have Google Alerts established so they know when someone is blogging about them?

It’s funny.  Only twice have I mentioned a company and that company has contacted me to resolve an issue.  Once was Sears, and the other was LensPen.  Both companies deserve kudos for customer service and attentiveness.

Also, Google Alerts is how I found out the Democrat and Chronicle wrote a small blurb about my upcoming presentation at MPWCC.  (Thursday night I will be talking at the MPWCC Business After Hours about my book – 25 Things Business Owners Do to Undermine Their Business.)  I set up Google Alerts a while back and this is evidence that it works!

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Speaking of Hill Cumorah, Hill Cumorah Pageant is a big thing around here.  It is in the middle of July and it brings tens of thousands of people to the area.

There’s one catch:  Housing is sparse.

When planning to attend Hill Cumorah Pageant, here are three things you should do:

  1. Start making your reservations before Thanksgiving the year before.
  2. Plan to stay 2-3 nights minimum in Palmyra.
  3. From Palmyra, plan one full day for Palmyra and the pageant.  Plan 1 full day for the Whitmer Farm, and while out that way see Watkins Glen and visit Sauders.  Plan a day trip to Harmony.  (Right there you’ve used up 3 days.)

I believe people cheat themselves when they rush through here.  Also, be good tourist.  I had a conversation with a new restaurant owner.  I suggested she prepare herself for pageant and do some publicity to drive people to eat at her shop.  She responded with something to the effect, and I paraphrase, “I’ve been warned about those Mormon tourist.  They come in with their large families, buy one or two meals, and then want to split it.”

Our economy here in Palmyra depends on you.  At the same time, the goodwill of the church depends on you too.  Plan your meals accordingly.  We have several small diners (no fast food chains) that have reasonable prices and good food.  Patronize them and treat them how you would want to be treated if you owned the place.  I.e. Order meals for everyone and tip well.

And, for that matter, if you know someone who wants to open a business that caters to the Palmyra tourism, we need them here.  We need a good bakery.  We have a candy shop that the owner would sell in a heartbeat because of her age and recent death of her husband.  We need a good souvenir shop that also sells toys aimed at the LDS clientele.  We some fast food franchises.

Come to Palmyra.  Either vacation here, or move here, we’ll accept you either way.

Design Flaw and My Idea

While mowing the lawn yesterday, I had to keep an eye closely on the right-hand side of the deck.  There’s a serious design flaw on my Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor, and I’m not sure how to approach the company about it.

My thoughts are, if I tell them about it, they should be thankful that I pointed it out before someone gets seriously injured and sues them.  And, as a result, they should refund my repair bills from the times when my mower was damaged because of this flaw.

Secondly, I have two fixes that can be implemented independently or together (for added security), and I don’t want to tell them about them unless they are going to acknowledge me as the inventor in the patent.  Or, I could patent it, and then sell the technology to other lawn tractor manufactures that may use similar designs, but then, I don’t know if it is even an issue on anything other than my Cub Cadet.

So, what to do?

As I was taking it real slow on the tractor, I though… I could have an attorney call and explain the situation that his client doesn’t want to be taken advantage of, and they will want to listen before someone gets seriously hurt.  Or, I could play consumer advocate and post photos of the design flaw all over the Internet and see if that draws attention.  Or, I could do nothing and simply sell the Cub Cadet and buy something that isn’t designed that way.

If this were a car, it would have been front page news and a major recall would take place.  People would be bringing their car in to have the parts repaired and replaced at the dealer’s expense.  Unfortunately, I don’t think there are those sorts of protections in place for the owners of lawn tractors.

I sure makes mowing my lawn a pain.

Design Flaw

I found the reason I keep bending mower blades is that the deck lifter cable had jumped the pulley on the right and the right blade would dig in on corners.  So, with new blades on the deck, I disassembled the pulley, routed the cable over the top, and reinstalled it.  Before I started I made sure the deck would rise and lower evenly.  It did, so I started mowing.

About my 2nd lap around the yard, I had an impression to check the deck.  The left went up when I raised it, but the right side did not raise.

I shut off the power to discover the cable had jumped the pulley again.  Putting on my engineering cap, I tried to figure out how I would re-design this mower to avoid this problem.  I can’t believe that I’m the only one with this Cub Cadet LTX 1042KW that has experienced this.  What the cable lacks is a tensioner.  When the wheels lift the mower deck, the cable can easily slip off and come down between the frame and pulley.  If this were a car, it would be recalled for this design flaw.

I managed to complete the lawn driving very slowly.  (Personally, I think you should be able to drive a mower at full speed without issue.)  But, we live and learn.  I know some of the things to look for the next time I buy a lawn tractor.

A Tiny Rock and $65

Today was another very full day.  Tri County Networkers, and then a head shot, filled the morning.  After the head shot, I started mowing the lawn.  I was about 1/4 of the way through when the blade hit something in the grass.  It wasn’t a loud noise, and it sounded more like I hit a clump of dirt.

Then, while rounding a corner, the engine stopped.  I knew something had obstructed the blade.   So, I got off and looked under the mowing deck, and the blade was bent down at a 90-degree angle in to the dirt.

Tracing back to where I first heard the blade hit something, I found a rock about the size of a potato.  The dirt hitting noise must have been after it hit the rock and bent slightly and tore in to the ground.  (I think the rock went up and between the deck and blade, bending the blade downward.)  Then, when I turned the corner, it was enough for that blade to dive in to the dirt and bend more.

I was a little upset.  I had just had both blades replaced at the end of the summer last year.

I went to my doctor’s appointment, then to Lowe’s to get a blade.  They don’t stock them.  It is a special order item.

Uhg.

I went to Walmart to do some grocery shopping and I thought I’d check the garden department.  They do don’t carry blades for the Cub Cadet.  (I did a lot of research before buying this tractor.  You’d think they would carry blades for one of the higher rated tractors?)

Next stop was where I bought the tractor.  $65 for the pair.  Ouch.

I came home and attempted to remove the blades.  No such luck.  Those things were on solid.

With Elizabethe’s help, we put the deck in her trunk and she went with the blades back to the tractor store.  She was back in no time and said, “It only cost $5 for them to install the blades.  Promise me you won’t attempt to do it and you’ll take it to them next time.”

Yes, dear.

I mean, for $5 they can replace them every time.

I’ve entertained the thought of buying a second deck.  That way, if I damage a blade, I can swap decks, and keep mowing and replace the blade when I’m not stressed about mowing the lawn.

They must have some special tool.

The Latest Addition

The latest addition here at the Beckwith Estate is a new lawn tractor.  We got a Cub Cadet, 46″, Kawasaki V-Twin, mower.  In the past, we’ve paid to have the lawn cut.  But, from now on I’ll be doing the mowing.  Orange Oaks Lawn Service lives again.  (That’s a reference to the mid-70s and Jack’s and my lawn care business.)

Until today I never cut a lawn with anything other than a push mower (manual and gas).  It is amazing how close you can get to edges, and how tightly this thing turns.   It has a grass catcher that was emptied about 20 times during the course of mowing the lawn.  When all was done, it took me about 3 hours to cut the grass.  I figure had I been doing it with a push mower, it would have been about 8 hours.  (That’s not an option.)

The New Mower

If you ever wondered why tractor seats have those huge springs underneath, well, take a ride on one and you’ll see that without those springs, you’d be jarred to death.  Even with the padded seat, it was a bumpy ride mowing the lawn.  I wish they would make the seating on these more like snowmobiles.  At least on a snowmobile you can lift yourself off the seat when things get bumpy.  Sitting in a tractor seat, you really can’t put your weight on your feet like that.

It was a fun first experience.  In ten days I’ll be doing it again.

P.S.  You should see the lawn.  It looks great.