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

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

  1. Liberty Lawnworks

    Liberty Lawnworks LawnSite Member
    Messages: 133

    I thought this would be a good discussion, as in most industries, each manufacturer has one or two product roll-outs or strategies that leaves you wondering what they were thinking (i.e. 4-cylinder Camaro in the 1980s').

    1.) John Deere's 800-series. As a runner-up, I might add the decision to put the JD emblem on Lowe's/Home Depot-grade junk lawn tractors and spoil a great company's reputation for quality.

    2.) Lawn-Boy's discontinuance of the 2-cycle push (or self-propel) mower. These things were legendary. They could at least make a decent four-stroke push mower if the decision was really emissions-driven, but they can't even do that. The Insight series of push mowers was junk, as are the latest models that the new parent company (Toro, I believe?) is selling. Honestly, how hard is it to put a proven homeowner's grade engine on a sturdy deck with a blade under it?

    3.) Stihl gas caps. Over-engineered, insufficiently tested. I'm tempted to add 4-mix to this one, as a lot of people feel that Stihl bailed out on the two-stroke market while the competition was finding ways to still make powerful, reliable equipment that met emissions requirements for people who don't want to worry about valves or making an already heavy machine weigh even more. They do make the best chain saws though, hands down.

    4.) As far as the industry as a whole goes, I'm going to add the EPA's CARB gas cans. What a joke. Have the people writing the laws actually had to use one of these cans themselves? There is no reason why a simple plastic gas can in the 21st century should have safety locks or vapor control devices (unless they actually didn't cause you to spill more fuel than a traditional fuel can).

    5.) Ethanol! I don't think we've seen the tip of the iceberg with this stuff's propensity to degrade engine and fuel system components, either in the green or the automotive industry. When enough people realize that it's just welfare for mega-farms in a handful of politically-connected states, we'll end this nonsense.
  2. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    What a great idea for a thread! Good examples too.

    Adding to your ethanol comment: I have always thought it was a bad idea to use anything from our food chain to make fuel. We can't eat the oil, after all.

    I think the industry (golf primarily) jumped on the USGA sand-topdressing bandwagon too early (late 1970s) and without enough exploration and explanation of other methods. I think soils with high sand content are great but straight sand...I have tried it and am unconvinced. It is expensive to use and demanding in terms of maintaining it. I use a sand plus compost mix on athletic fields now wherever practical. I have one coming up soon that will be straight compost.

    Looking forward to seeing the other examples pele come up with!
  3. alexschultz1

    alexschultz1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,588

    3.) I have had a hard time understanding what the engineers at stihl were thinking. What was wrong with the spin off caps??? The 4 stroke engines do build up a lot more carbon however I prefer the torque over my other 2 strokes. And sorry, husky makes the best saw, hands down
  4. Armsden&Son

    Armsden&Son LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,358

    I don't put oil in my stomach so why would I put corn in my Lawnmower!!!!!!!!!! And..... great point about the gas cans.... I am lucky enough to have very generous In-Laws who bequeathed some oldies but goodies to me.. Here's another one that I know I will get slammed for but here it goes...... STANDERS????????????? Why? Don't get me wrong, there are some beautiful standers on the market that give great cuts, Wright and Gravely come to mind. But why? In all honesty(and I have done extensive research on the subject being in the industry for over 15 years) the only thing a stander does better than a rider is mow hills. And the only thing a stander does better than a walk-behind is give you a ride(sulky..... duh!) Yeah, I guess they free up a little bit of space on the trailer but enough to take the industry by storm? I mean, come on! Listen to this quote from the May/June issue of one of my favorite magazines, Green Industry Pros..... "Campbell is also seeing strong acceptance of the stand-on concept among his younger customers. To them, standing up is something different and "cool." And because these younger contractors are still relatively new to the business, they aren't as stuck on the idea of sit-down mowing." Huh? Sorry, but I don't care what age somebody is..... Productivity and comfort are paramount when mowing all day and just like "The Twindstorm Dually"......... This FAD will surely pass......
  5. kawakx125

    kawakx125 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,130

    I am going to have to disagree with this one...standers are much more compact and lighter than a rider, and offer full view of the deck when mowing. I can duck under trees, get closer to obstacles, and turn around in smaller spaces. They are just as productive, if not more, on everything but very large, open properties. Standers are actually very comfortable, my back doesn't hurt after a full day on one. If i need to pick something up or get into trouble, i can just step off. Walk behinds are king of hills, no question about that, but they are slow. All 3 have their place in the industry, and for 90% of my mowing the stander is the way to go
  6. Armsden&Son

    Armsden&Son LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,358

    Oh, I get it! You are not fortunate enough to have ever operated a Walker..... With Walker's tilt up deck, they are just as compact as a Stander.... My 26EFI is only north of 800 lbs.... As for full view of the deck and ducking under trees, closer to obstacles and turning in smaller spaces..... This is what Walker is known for! And this is where I am coming from.... But if all you run is mid-mounts, I guess a stander would benefit you... I guess...
  7. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,290

    Sorry, but I have twice as much time in the industry and standers are one of the best mowers out there--price and efficiency wise. Maneuverability, lighter footprint. Faster in tight areas and better able to get around obstacles. The only thing they don't do better than a ZTR is large open areas.

    Too young to have used trail mowers (how many of you even know what those are?) but I did run a Locke reel mower a couple times. I've used everything else since--Toro Groundsmaster 300 series and the old single cylinder 52" decks. 455-D, 4000-D, Walker, Navigator, Lazer, Turf Tracers, etc.

    The stander type mowers are flat out awesome. They don't totally replace a ZTR in all situations. They don't totally replace a WB in all situations. But for 95% of the work we do, they are the best machine for the money. I bought a 60" Grandstand last fall and a 52" this spring. The 60" replaced a Lazer.

    For the OP--good list. My only regret is not getting a real job. lol
  8. Armsden&Son

    Armsden&Son LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,358

    Hey Mark, do you own a Walker?
  9. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    I think standers are stupid contraptions too.

    However it's not about sitting down versus standing up, nothing like monkey butt to change someone's mind and sitting down while riding on turf for many hours most certainly can aggravate and often times create this painful situation, in my case I feel the stander is way too expensive for what it actually is.

    I see the largest impact on the food industry, when tens if not hundreds of thousands of acres are taken to produce ethanol there goes the farmland that would have otherwise been used to produce edibles, the flipside of this coin is so nasty... We are literally driving on Africa's children's blood, the politics are such that when there is a food shortage there exists a downline that translates into certain countries suffering first, so much so that we can create the food shortage that someone else ends up dieing of hunger for, then we have certain humanitary organizations that offer relief, it all forms quite the picture.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
  10. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,281

    Cash for clunkers...................... I want my 90's work trucks back

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