Kubota ZD331 Rear Main Seal

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MSS Mow, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    Many years ago, manufacturers realized it was cheaper and more efficient to have robotic arms process the materials in the assembly line, however there was a flaw coming that few foresaw... We tried to tell them, computers would never replace humans because artificial intelligence lacks the reasoning element, and it can not predict humanly foreseeable consequences.

    But, they wouldn't listen.

    Unlike last century when humans would assemble the machines, today most assembly lines are operated by robotic arms that complete the machine assembly process. When the process first started, humans were used to 'train' these robots in the fine tuning process, and all went well... But that was only so because the humans who did the fine tuning had just recently been a physical part of the assembly process themselves, they were in fact, past assembly line workers... They knew what they were doing, they knew the intricacies and flaws of the machines and thus fine tuned the robots to adjust to the imperfections themselves.

    Today, few humans exist who have physically assembled a machine.
    And the tune has been lost, the experience that is used when something won't fit quite right no longer exists...
    I know, I've worked on an assembly line, physically putting machines together...
    Trust me, it's almost never 100% according to plan, no two machines are even exactly alike, yet the robots assemble as if they were.

    Today we fine tune the robots from notes left by our ancestors, mere numbers that spell out specifications, year after year...
    Little imperfections have crept in, at first nobody noticed but now there exist no work-arounds.

    Today every year the machines are looser, more and more mechanical imperfections keep creeping in.
    Because nobody is at the helm anymore.

    When automatic pilots drive the ship, sooner or later it hits an iceberg it could not see.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
  2. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    This may be the first time I have to agree with Topsites!!

    There is a certain feel a human has when assembling and especially welding a machine. Robots never get tired and can repeat the same task over and over. But they can not replace a good human due to many variables. I have had the pleasure of inspected thousands of welds as a certified quality control inspector to prove this. The problem is finding quality people and not over working them. Its more expensive and takes more time but I feel the end product is well worth it.
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  3. Lane

    Lane LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    So you question "true maintenance kept in most of these instances"? I question if you fully read all of the text of the posters on this thread!

    What lack of maintenance exactly do you suppose could cause seal carrier plate bolts to break off flush with the engine blocks or become loosened or a seal that should last 2500 hours fail in less that 300? Please be specific.

    What I question is why Kubota is so adamant about keeping this under cover. It IS apparent they have been experimenting with different seal arrangements and now (like on my unit in March 2013) the fix kit includes a whole new sleeve insert that goes into the block first which effectively creates a smaller distance between the new seal's ID and OD measurements. The fix kit a year ago did not have this sleeve but rather an improved hardened surface seal. What's that all about? Seems Kubota is still working to find the best solution and I applaud them for that. Why they make customers pay for the failed designs baffles me.

    My unit (which is the only one I can speak for) has had ALL factory specified maintenance done AHEAD of the recommend time intervals. I have been the only driver driver and it is used privately to mow my groomed lawn acreage. I can assure you I have babied this $12k lawnmower hoping it would last me for decades, like my tractors do. After all, that is why I spent the extra bucks buying a diesel with a shaft drive in the first place.
  4. MSS Mow

    MSS Mow LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 450

    Sorry to hear Kubota did not help. They were extremely helpful in all of my situations. Both dealer and Kubota rep.
  5. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

  6. kgs1

    kgs1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    I was thinking of buying a Kubota zd331 w/72" cut, maybe this spring, & I know the dealer good & also cut his two properties that he has in the area. I did demo one & like it alot but only put 10 hrs on it..However, after reading this thread, I'll have to look into it some more. I read somewhere in this thread that they had a kit w/harder seal & stronger holder or something like that so maybe sounds like they are at least aware of the problem but just cant seem to get the manufacturer to step up!?!I will definetly call & talk to him about this & see what if anything they are doing about it...from what I gather its a nice machine other than this problem...
  7. Lane

    Lane LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Kgs1, the machine's performance is awesome, that is not questioned. If your dealer tells you he's never heard of a rear seal issue or that it has been resolved on new models ask him to put in writing on your sales invoice a zero cost repair coupon valued at up to $700 should your rear engine seal begin leaking prior to 400 running hours. Show him this thread if he wants to know why you want him to do that.
  8. Lane

    Lane LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    MSS Mow, I have had good experiences with them in the past but not so much on this issue.
  9. MSS Mow

    MSS Mow LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 450

    The dealer and manufacturer both stepped up in my cases. Not sure why they didn't in the others as they sound as though they had the exact same problem.
  10. kgs1

    kgs1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    great stuff guys! thanks for the info...he quote me around 14000.00 for this mower (zd331 w/72" deck) & also can put a down payment of around 2000.00 myself so it would bring it to 12000.00...I do lawn service for the guy who owns the dealership (2 lawns) 110.00 each time I cut & he said what we could do if I like is this: instead of me,,he could put 2000.00 down out of his own pocket & we would put that towards the cost of doing his lawns. I do them (cabins) every other week or so 10 to 12 cuts a year..so would be close to 2 summers or so of cutting...takes me about 1 1/2 hours to do now with a 61" for both & would be able to make better time with the Kubota...also I can get a Bobcat 37 hp kaw w/72" for 11000.00 from another dealer in lower mich..(300 miles or 5 hrs away) Kubota dealer is 1 1/2 hrs away (no brainer there) as far as warrantys go! What do you guys think of this deal with Kubota ??? any & all Info/suggestions would be greatly apprieciated thanks!

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