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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering how many of you wrench on your own equipment or take it to the dealer to be serviced? Up until about 5 years ago, I relied heavily on dealers to fix most problems. Now, I don't take a machine in unless it's warranty work or I just do not have the time to tackle it. (I don't have the really complex ZTR's; just walk behinds, trimmers, blowers, and 21" mowers) I am just wondering how other companies deal with breakdowns?
 

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I'm just the flip. We used to maintain and repair our equipment up until 1993. We had a bad year that year with all our old, used equipment. We sold everything in the spring of 1994 and have used all new mowing equipment since. All our equipment is 1998 and newer. All our 2-cycle is new every year.

I don't like wrenching on stuff and I hate downtime.
 

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how did you guys who fix your own equipment learn how to do it? i do all my own maintainence and basic reapairs but i let the dealer tackle any engine repairs. alot of times when i have tried to do serious repairs myself i wind up making the situation worse and ultimitly having the dealer fix it anyway. i can do just about any repairs exept engine ones.... ive just picked up skills along the way. how bout you guys?
 

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Evan,
your Toro has a 2 year warranty on the Kohler, 1 year on the rest. You won't have to do much for a few years except change oil and filters. There's not much to them except the engine, frame and deck. Doubt you'll have problems with spindles for quite some time. Our first Z Master is almost 2 now and we haven't done a thing to it yet.
 

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Evan,

After having dealers service equipment for a while and finding they didn't fix the problem, I did as you did, I began attempting repairs myself. It wasn't that difficult. As for engine repairs, if it's major, you are better off buying a replacement engine. By the time you pay a dealer to rebuild an engine, it would be just as cheap to replace it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
In trying to get over my fear of tackling engine problems, I bought the specific repair manual for the engine on my mowers. I then bought a rebuild kit and dug in. The mower engine I rebuilt was on its last leg so it was no big deal if I killed it. The book gave step by step instructions for taking it apart and putting it back together. I put new rings in and all new gaskets. The mower ran really well when I was finished. The confidence is what I was after though. I also did it in the winter so there were no time constraints.

Hey Homer, you are not alone. I myself usually just buy a new carb and put it on. I havn't had much success in rebulding them. Sometimes if i take compressed air and clean them real well I get a little more life out of them.
 

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We did not know how to repair our mowers at first but becouse our dealer was a joke(he did a bad job fixing our equipment,charged way too much and never had parts)so we had to learn.We used the parts breakdown manual for our walkers it breaks the walker down to the nuts and bolts.With this we find out how to get the part out and it gives the part number then we call our dealer and see if that part is in,if not don't order it from your dealer!Call the distributer in your area and get it from them.When you get you dealer to get the part they get it from that same distributer and thay add on some extara $$$$(they are the middle man).You can get the part to you as fast or faster then the dealer and cheaper.We now deal with a dealer that is 1/2 an hour away.Eventhough we have to dive that far it is well worth it they work on walkers all day,they know what they are doing,they are honest,frendly and they have a large amount of parts in stock.If you can find a dealer like this that is not in your town I suggest you use their services.It is better than waiting 3 days for a small part then having it installed wrong and getting a huge bill from the dealer that is closer.I suggest you try out all the dealers in your area and find the right one for you.We too do not do any repairs like carburators and so on.If you don't know how to fix it than don't try!!!!!

from:Adam
AB LAWN CARE
 

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Jim,

I think some distributors will deal with retail customers. I found the south Florida Grasshopper distributor will not deal with retail customers, but the north Florida distributor will.
 

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JJ

I think Keith may be right.I myself have never had any problem getting parts from the distrubters that have my equipment.Like Keith said there may be more than one distrubter in your area.Call the maker of your mowers or other equipment and ask for a list of distrubters in your area or state.You may find one not far from where you are and they may give you better service.The one than we use is great!They have people that can tell us every single problem that we may incounter.I hope you can find one that can help you out better!

from:Adam
AB LAWN CARE
 

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I like to work on the problem if I can, but sometimes that is not always the case. The dealers we have can save you alot of down time on some repairs but it does not pay on simple stuff. As far as complex engine problems I agree with Keith it may be less expensive to buy a replacement engine.
 
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I do all repairs in house with the exception of warranty work. Even then, sometimes is is simply eaiser to do minor repairs yourself to save from dealing with the repair shop.

I started tinkering with old mowers before I was old enough to push them. I actually enjoy repairing them, unless of course something breaks down in the middle of a job.

You can not only save much money by doing repairs yourself, but also valuable down time. Many times when a mower comes back from a dealer, it still needs fine tuned.

If you are not experienced in small engines, or lack mechanical ability, you can take a class at a local community college. They are not usually that expensive, and will often let you bring in your own equipment to work on.

Probally the most important thing to remember when it comes to repairing your own equipment, is to know your limits. Don't get in over your head.
 

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viva la Tim Taylor (ruh-ruhoo)
I do as much as I can, even swapping engines.
Most of the stuff that I fix ends up being bearings, deck parts breaking, lever/link modifications, etc. I'm a machinist by trade, so I've done some neat stuff over the years. Also trailer upgrades/ mod's, etc.
Biggest thing I like to do is make machine faster & get more deck capability, put more aggressive tires on, up the tire size a liitle for transport speed, etc. Most of my stuff is used, so I don't have to worry about warranties.
My downfall is ELECTRICAL! House wiring is ok, but mower engine wiring is shop territory. I replaced a key switch on a mower one time & 'thought' it was the same, but almost fried the circuitry & a $5 savings on the right key switch cost me $110 in repairs!
Also, most times I don't have 1 1/2 to 3 days to leave my mowers sit in the shop, so I do all I can. I do about 75-80% of the repairs / modifications on my stuff.
Always learning to do more.
Homer, if you did a carb rebuild, did they have instr. with it? Most have instr. to help walk you thru it; I had to do one 2 yrs. ago & it turned out a little easier than I thought. I'm not sure if that's what you wrote about, but there are also chilton's type books for small eng. carbs to buy or at the library too. Hope this may help!

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Smitty ô¿ô
 
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