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.)

 

 

House Work Working on the House

After my one and only client today, I changed clothes and started working on the house.  There’s a lot of touch-up painting and patching to do.

Why is it paint never matches?  I know, it fades on the wall, but I never can seem to feather it in to the new paint tone.

Owning an old house I know what paints I won’t re-buy.  First, I won’t purchase Valspar again from Lowes.  It doesn’t cover very well.  It seems watered down.  Second, I won’t buy Sherwin Williams.  The previous owner used Sherwin Williams and its all cracking and peeling.  I have some Bear that was used on another project, and it seems to cover well and I haven’t seen any places painted with it peeling.

Wouldn’t it be nice if a paint guarantee meant they would come, scrape, and repaint for free?

Yeah, I’ve always laughed at paint guarantees.  They’ll give you the same paint if that paint fails in the warranty period.  Why would I want to do that?  Besides, you still have to repaint.  THEY should be the ones that have to repaint it.  Gotta love guarantees like that.  (Some will refund your money.  Hmmmm maybe I should try that with the Valspar from Lowes.  I think I have the receipts from that.)

They finally replaced the blade on the mower deck.

I tell you, it hasn’t been my week for home products.  I’ve had light bulbs with 10 year life burn out after 3 years.  I’ve had premium paint not cover the previous color, and I had to wait a week for a blade that should have been in stock.  (Yes, I went directly to the dealer.)

Looking on the bright side, all these things have given me a bit of a break during the week.  After all, I can’t mow the lawn with out a blade.

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.