The green industry's biggest flops/mistakes/regrets?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Liberty Lawnworks, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. turfmd101

    turfmd101 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,289

    Good post Patriot!!! I don't know if it's been mentioned. What about maintenance free spindle bearings?
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  2. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,678

    Yep maintenance free alright. They grenade prematurely and you replace.
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  3. Chilehead

    Chilehead LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Stockbridge, GA
    Posts: 1,898

    How about Exmark's Triton deck from the middle of the last decade. I remember reading many, many complaints on here about that deck. Around the same time, they debuted a mower called the Frontrunner....it was only made for a few years. On the chemical side of things, the EPA's decision to ban MSMA on residential turf was a huge PITA for LCOs like myself. Quinclorac doesn't do as good of a job IMHO as MSMA.
     
  4. Groomer

    Groomer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,421

    Hate to jinx myself here-but I have almost 3 thousand hours on a 2008 turf tracer with the original spindles.
     
  5. skle2574

    skle2574 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 49

    I will weigh in on this one: It is getting harder and harder to find mowers with spindles you can grease/service. Maintenance free spindles are great for folks that can't or don't want to do regular service on their machinery. The industry claims the world of the products they are selling and there is no rock solid opinion to claim either way but it does not require an engineer to understand that maintenance free spindles are not getting any lubrication after they are manufactured. They may last a week or over 3000 hours. In my experience, if they get a few hundred hours they tend to make more noise apparently due to being dry. A spindle assembly costs around 80 to 100 dollars give or take if you can do it yourself and if you replace a mower every 4 or 5 years that is another factor to consider since the worn spindles will just go to the next owner. Now, serviceable spindles as well as other bearing surfaces on a machine, if greased regularly, will get lubrication throughout its life. Is this a guarantee that you will never have a bearing failure? Of course not, it is still a machine and things happen. I really like being able to grease any bearing or friction point possible for the most longevity and peace of mind. Some consider it a chore but until a machine is totally maintenance free, I don't mind greasing a few zerks while I am doing other service anyway. There are other factors I suppose: I am a small operator so I do not have a large inventory of machinery to service. I suppose those that do may like the convenience of maintenance free?
     
  6. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,106

    On most of my Exmarks, I swap my "maintenance free" spindles every year so I don't have to screw with them in the middle of the growing season. Cheap insurance.

    I think I have that Triton deck. Unfortunately.

    How about that awesome Toro\Exmark deck with the adjustable baffle that for the life of me I can't figure out what it's purpose is. I had a demo once and was cutting cork dry green grass and it kept clumping up on me. Went over it 3x and it was still clumped. Finally figured out the baffle was in the "closed" position or whatever you call it. Opened it up, went over it 1 more time and it was gone. I always tell my sales reps that it has to be the stupidest idea on a mower deck someone could come up with. I want my discharge as large as possible ALL the time. Unless I am going by a building\bed\whatever, then I will use an OCDC or vary my mowing pattern.
     
  7. skle2574

    skle2574 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 49

    Swapping spindles yearly would be good idea for as you say insurance. Through the years most LCOs learn what weak spots their machinery has so when it goes out they can already have the part on hand. I had an Exmark Lazer Z years ago when they were a cutting edge brand at a budget price. Since then I have heard about some of the complaints folks have had with decks. They are still a very good brand but no longer any price advantage that I have witnessed. I am a Hustler guy now and also at the stage I am in, price is not really a factor. I will ride the best machine I can find. Mind you, I am a small operator with a very small fleet.
     
  8. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,099

    There's a reason for maintenance free bearings and no zerks

    The biggest killer to bearing spindles etc is grit. When you have an open zerk or grease built up around the spindles you are attracting dirt dust etc. when you push new grease in you are also pushing grit in inless you clean the zerk out.

    Everything I have is maintenance free on automotive,tractors, or anything else. I hate zerks and open bearings
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  9. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,678

    Rule number one of zerks. Wipe off the nipple before and after attatching grease gun. Myself and anybody else with moderate mechanical skills can make most any spindle serviceable. Its just tough to compete when fleabay is filled with 2 and 3 pack of chinese spindles for less than a 100 bucks. Just like the auto industry the money is in parts not service. Engineers can build in an expected failure point and guarantee a replacement sale.
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  10. skle2574

    skle2574 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 49

    There is a good case for Maint free stuff, there are some pluses. I am just a little bit comfortable knowing some lubrication is getting to the bearings for long range serviceability. In my experience bearings also are quieter running after a bunch of hours on them. At least at this time there is still a choice usually, though the mower I just bought that is considered the best on the market of its type, by most, has not one zerk or serviceable point on it except engine of course. I can handle it.
     

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