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A very disappointing first day with a Fastrak 19/48

Discussion in 'Hustler Turf Equip (Archived)' started by mdolshan, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. mdolshan

    mdolshan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    Hi All,

    I've been reading your posts for a while, and between what I've read here and other reviews, I decided to go with a Fastrak. Today, my brand new Fastrak 19/48 was delivered.

    I was a little worried that the 19/48 would be too small for our big hilly property. My neighbor has a 21/52, which I borrowed last week, and which seemed to do just fine.

    The 19/48 was $600 less than the new 21/54s, so I figured I'd see whether the smaller, less expensive machine could suffice.

    The dealer, Best Line Equipment in Mechanicsburg, PA, was flexible about it, and figured out a way for me to try out the 19/48, as long as I didn't mow for a whole hour.

    I tested it out for 15 minutes or so. It seemed to be able to handle the tough spots pretty well, so I completed the purchase over the phone.

    The delivery truck pulled away, I got back on the Fastrak to mow the property, and not three minutes later, the mowing belt snapped!

    I was on pretty level ground at the time, with no obstacles whatsoever.

    I got right back on the phone, the delivery driver was called back, and away went the Fastrak.

    Best Line Equipment told me that the earliest I'd have the mower back was tomorrow, but they did the right thing: they got right on it, replaced the belt, and redelivered the mower this afternoon. Kudos to them for that. It turns out the belt was weak from dry rot.

    So I hopped back on the mower and started going again. Everything was good for about 20 minutes, although the mowing deck adjustment catch kept popping out of the travel detent (the highest mowing position) when I hit bumps. Even so, I figured I'd adjust that whenever I finally got the owners manuals (which were nowhere to be found at the dealer). I thought I was good to go, when all of the sudden, on a left-tilting hill, the Kohler started to spew an incredible cloud of bluish smoke and suddenly lost power.

    I got back on level ground, checked the gas, started it up again, let it get back into its groove, and then headed for a different part of the property with hills with the opposite slope. My thinking was, maybe the brand new motor just doesn't like hills sloping in that direction. I was going along, and before too long, the Kohler started sputtering and blowing even bigger clouds of blue smoke.

    This was serious smoke. I made a beeline for the shed where it's currently parked.

    I got on the phone with Best Line Equipment. I said, "A bad belt...well, anyone can miss something like that. But a bad belt plus a sputtering, smoking engine? This Fastrak is cursed." I told them I wanted to return it to them and buy the larger Fastrak (21 Honda/54), which was the alternative I was considering when I thought that the 19/48 might be too small.

    I THINK that Best Line Equipment is going to do the right thing and let me buy the larger one. But I definitely had the feeling that the burden was suddenly on me to prove that I hadn't done anything wrong with the mower (which I certainly hadn't).

    And I don't think that's the way I should be feeling, frankly. I'm the one who has already had two service issues with their product. And it's only the first day! Actually, only the first hour!

    I'll keep you posted on how this turns out, but P.J., if you're listening, please take note of my woes. I may need to ask for a little help getting this squared away...

    Anyway, thanks for all the great posts. I've learned a lot. I'm in the writing business not the lawn business, but I've been very impressed with this community.

    Woeful in Landisburg,

  2. mowerconsultant

    mowerconsultant LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Syracuse, NY
    Posts: 9,761

    Wow... what a day you had.....
    Sorry to hear of it.
    E-mail me if you need me to get with your regional manager and dealer.

  3. mdolshan

    mdolshan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    Hey Pj,

    Thanks for your supportive email. I don't think we're at the Pj intervention stage--at least not yet.

    Here's where things are.

    Yesterday, the dealer seemed very eager to come pick up the misbehaving 19/48 and to have their service supervisor look it over. Their eagerness, in fact, was a major contributor to my feeling put on the defensive.

    But today, in spite of the fact that I called first thing to confirm the pickup, and had the mower ready and available all day for them, they didn't come get it. And, at the end of the day, when I called to see what was up, they didn't have any real sense of urgency any more.

    Nor did they have a new mower lined up yet, the 20 Honda/54 that we'd agreed I could buy. This dealer has several branches which share inventory, but even so, I would have thought that they'd be able to give me some information on the replacement mower.

    I've asked them to call me on Monday with an update and a game plan. But again, I've been the one doing all the calling so far.

    Something else has been kind of sticking in my craw, too. When I first saw the 19/48, I noticed that the armrests were quite faded, and one of them had a big crack in it which looked like a combination of sun fatigue and a bit of abuse. I pointed this out, and the dealer agreed that the armrests were pretty beat. Part of the deal was that they would mail me some replacements so I could swap them out.

    And then, when the mower belt broke, and the culprit they fingered was dry rot...

    I'm beginning to wonder if they didn't try to sell me an old machine, or at least one that had been sitting out in the weather for a good long time. Although each time I pressed the issue, they were extremely quick to reassure me that, no, this was a brand new one, and definitely a 2007 model.

    At any rate, they did work hard to rectify the broken mower belt, and they have been pretty flexible in dealing with me, if somewhat uncommunicative. So I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and wait to see what happens on Monday.

    But if there's any funny business about returning the 19/48 and locating a 2007 20 Honda/54 (and, of course, I'm planning to pay the difference in cost between the two models, obviously), I will certainly be in touch with you. Post haste.

    After all, this is nearly a $5000 purchase (more, if we count the replacement). I don't think I should have to be doing so much of the footwork. And I certainly don't feel like I should be as worried as I am.

    Buying a Fastrak is supposed to be a fun!

    Thanks again for lending an ear.


  4. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,921

    That is a learning lesson, you were in doubt to begin with but did not listen to your instincts. When you are buying something and "in doubt always go stout".
  5. mdolshan

    mdolshan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    Hey All,

    It took a while, but the dealer in Mechanicsburg came through today with a 20 (Honda)/54, which performed beautifully on our property this afternoon. Whereas the first Fastrak we tried, the ill-fated 19/48, was jerky and hard to control (in addition to the other problems we had with the instantly broken deck belt and then the huge clouds of blue smoke emanating from the Kohler motor), the 20/54 is smooth as a Cadillac. And the extra 6" of deck width makes a huge difference on our tough hills.

    Thanks, Pj, for your offer to intervene, if necessary. I'm so glad it wasn't necessary. But you should know that your instant responses on this board were a significant contributor to my decision to go with a Hustler mower.

    Now I hope my participation on this board will shift to the operational/maintenance side, having had quite an adventure on the purchasing side!

    I'm looking forward to many happy years of easy mowing on my new Fastrak.


  6. mowerconsultant

    mowerconsultant LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Syracuse, NY
    Posts: 9,761

    I am glad they got you taken care of.
  7. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,921

    If Hustler doesn't take care of you I doubt your mother would.

    I sure am glad he is happy, it would be kinda like a bad woman you are stuck with and awfully hard to get rid of. I would hate to know I had to ride something every few days I hated to get on and I "am" talking about a mower.
  8. Skindog

    Skindog LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    My experience was similiar. I think the problems that I had with with the first Super Z I was demoing and going to buy were caused by the machine sitting outside for 3 + months. Frustrating when a new $10k machine wont operate reliably for more than an hour at a time. Created issues with the electrical system, and I noticed fading and chalking on the arm rests too, like the poster here saw on his, along with rust on the seat back etc. Amazes me that dealers will leave $10k msrp machinery outside in the weather like that. Ahh well.
    So, I asked the dealer for a new machine that hadnt sat outside, because
    I like the machine and the dealer. And that happened very quickly which was impressive and appreciated. However, with 3 hours on my new machine, IT died 4 times in one hour!! It sounds fuel related this time, havent had it back to the dealer to have him look at it yet. Also, when blowing debris off of it after mowing, I notice oil residue and dripping near the fittings on the left hydro pump. Thats dissapointing too, as I thought the Lifetime Guarantee on that would indicate leaks would rarely be a problem.
    As expensive as these mowers are, I am surprised that Ive seen such issues, and that others have as well. I would expect better quality and reliability than what appears to be the case. I hope this isnt the best that we can do.........Dont leave the door open to Foreign Competition!!!
  9. mowerconsultant

    mowerconsultant LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Syracuse, NY
    Posts: 9,761

    Please get this to the dealer and let them look at it, we will get you taken care of.

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