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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I guess you can add me to the list of people with hood issues. I was expecting to be making a follow up post to the one I made around 5/23 asking about a GT2542/44 which I purchased then. At the same time I ordered a Johnny Bucket. Things were working out pretty well; I even got a set of 4 John Deere suitcase weights for it as they were a lot cheaper than the cub cadet ones(I can confirm they fit).
This weekend after doing the 10 hour servicing to replace the transmission filter I used the bucket to move some compost. At the end of the day I decided to check the air filter as last time I checked it looked like I might want to clean the prefilter soon. While I was looking around under the hood I spotted it, cracks in two of the mounting studs that attach the back of the hood to the tractor.
Crack Pic One Crack Pic2
I'm planning on calling the dealer about this but I am concerned about them honoring the warrentee due to the Johnny Bucket use. Depending on your interpretation you could call the drilling of holes for the switches an "alteration". Or, you could simply say the bucket use caused the problem. Any advice on dealing with that if it comes up would be appreciated. The switches aren't something I could hide even if I was so inclined due to the holes.
I was thinking I could possibly ask if I could bring them the hood with the cracks and exchange it for a new one. I'd prefer to not lose the use of the mower for god knows how many weeks and pay to have them pick up/dropoff. However, while examining the mower I noticed a few things:
  • The hood does not appear to closed centered OR level.
  • The hood not being level is noted most when closing and looking through the grill at the heat shield. Grill line very much off from heat shield.
  • The hood does not close centered. It wants to close to the driver's left.
  • The gap between the dash and hood is greater on the driver's right vs left.

All of the above made me worry perhaps that I had bent the frame or something. However I don't think this is the case. The frame doesn't exhibit any issues I can see and I was not going crazy with the bucket. It moved a little wood, some compost, and helped push/move a stick pile. I drove very slowly with anything heavy in it to avoid bumps shaking the unit and wasn't exactly ramming anything to get a full scoop.

I have a theory that the hood mounting structure is not aligned right and that caused strain on the mounting points as used the tractor. Although I don't have pics to prove it I think the hood has been misaligned from the start. If you look below you will see the drivers right and left hood latch tabs on the bar the hood latch engaged when closed.
Latch Pic

Close ups of each tab below show the drivers left side tab (right when looking head on as the pics show) has a ton more scratches on it than the driver's right (left head on).
Latch tab one Latch Tab two
When closing the hood it initially contacts the driver's left hand side tab first and then slides along it until the latch can engage the bar.

The Johnny bucket only arrived on 6/21 and I didn't get it installed right away. This means the majority of the use of the tractor was before I got the bucket. If the hood had been fine and then I had someone gotten it out of alignment due to bucket use one would expect to see roughly the same amount of scratching, or none, on both tabs. This is not the case and I think it means this problem came with the tractor.

I believe the mounts are probably marginal to begin with on these tractors and being out of alignment put more stress on them by effectively holding the hood in a slight twist. Mowing the lawn and otherwise using the tractor adds heat and shaking to the mix. My lawn isn't perfect and the bumps can cause the tractor to shake as one mows. Given all this I am not sure if it is even good to try and get the dealer to let me swap hoods as until the alignment issue of the support frame is corrected I think future hoods will suffer the same fate. Note I looked at the support frame and it doesn't look like it has a lot to hold it square to the frame. It appears to rely partly on the plastic tower to a degree.

Any advice on how to deal with this and get it repaired under warrantee would be appreciated. I'm a software guy whose people skills aren't the best so this will likely not be easy unless the dealer turns out to be really helpful. Thus far he hasn't seemed bad, but he doesn't give me the super supportive feeling. If you're curious more pics are on flicker http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157620924488765/ You may need to use this link as I am having trouble linking to the pics above.

-NHGardener
 

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NHGardener,

I remember when you were considering your purchase. I figured that I must have somehow made you nervous - being relatively close to you compared to many on the forum? Or, maybe you just never saw my replies or recieved my private message, I don't know - but, I'll try and be neighborly just one more time.
Hello neighbor - I'm not having the hood issues with my 2542 as of yet. (I'm watching carefully). Who is your dealer? I told you who mine was previously. I like him. Good people. Any other issues besides the hood?

Renster
 

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I would not worry about the Johnny Bucket use in regards to your hood issue. The hood design has problems, plain & simple. Cracking, loose fastners, inserts pulling out (my problem), faulty latches, heat warping - this baby has it all.

You have to have the hood anyway, so they might as well order it for you, regardless of whether or not you have a problem with alignment. If you do, hopefully it is the hood, which it could be cause we know that there have been warped ones.

With the hood off, I would remove the gas struts so the hood mounting bracket can sit in the same position that it does when the hood is in place. Then take fore & aft measurements from the mounting holes to the same reference point on both sides of the frame. Also measure the height side to side from a reference point on the frame. If it all squares up in relation to the frame, you should be good to go with the new hood. If not, tell the dealer about your measurements and find out what he wants to do next.

There is no reason why the dealer should not work with you - these issues are VERY well known. If not, move on to another, there ARE some really good Cub dealers out there. Good luck with your (our!) problem.
 

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^Yup I'm of the same opinion...your dealer knows about the hood issue and will be replace it once it fails. That's the reason folks buy GT's...so folks can put JB's and what not on them.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Renster: Sorry I didn't give you the name of my dealer last time, if it wasn't in the post I might have missed your request. Dealer is "Boston Lawnmower" out of Portsmouth. As far as my experience so far I did mention I had been meaning to post a followup on the purchase and had it not been for the hood issue it would have been a positive post. Other than the hood I have found the following issues:
  • Seat seems to lean forward a touch more than I would like. However, its not a big deal.
  • On setting 6, the highest the pulley connecting the mower to the engine rubs the mower deck a little. Have to readjust to see if it goes away. Hasn't been a big deal yet as I don't cut that high and have used all lower settings.
  • Dust in the headlights, not an issue now, but will be in winter when I want to use them. However, I can probably clean them out then and not worry till spring as it isn't dusty out when I would snowblow.
  • Reverse was a bit slow. There's an adjustment under the pedal, a linkage, that another post here mentioned that I followed to get the most reverse speed I could w/o losing forward speed.

pfreiburger: I've been measuring a lot of things trying to figure it out after work. Frame seems mostly level, one side is perhaps a hair higher than 1/16 higher than the other in the front, but that could be diff tire pressures and other errors in measurement or just slight imperfections in the frame. I measured the same point on each valve cover to the floor yesterday and they pretty much matched so the engine is sitting pretty level and I think the frame is thus ok as any twist would likely show up there, yes? I do remember measuring from the plate where the hood is bolted to the frame on each side and finding one side is higher. I think there may be something off in the dash tower assembly. Of course a warped hood could be pulling it slightly out of alignment too. I did check both struts holding the hood up, same length so we aren't dealing with one weak, one strong one.
 

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NHGardener here's on mod I made and my quick disconnect holder. The PTO belt was rubbing and fraying so I angle grindeg so more clearance.


The owners manual will show you a way to 'properly' adjust the forward/reverse pedal...but you'll have to sacrifice some F speed.

After reading a post from a guy that simply bent his reverse pedal backward and improved his reverse I got to thinking and came up with this mod.

The rev pedal comes off with a single screw. Folded license plate over block of wood and placed prophylactic-like over extruding brake pedal. Now I have plenty of reverse.
 

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Welcome to the club :) Mine was exactly like yours, however the plastic mount was completely sheared off.
 

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NHGardener

I too got used to the seat. Of course, this tractor's driver position is much higher than my old Snapper RER, so I was impressed enough with that to be able to ignore the slight forward tilt. Now I am quite accustomed to it and love to recline back with my arms on the rests when I'm sitting still - surveying my work for several minutes after finishing. (my wife calls out the window to me - "what are you doing?!")
I also adjusted my reverse pedal. It was a snap and after just a little experimentation I found a good happy medium. It backs like a bull now, with negligible sacrifice to forward speed.
My headlights are becoming dusty too. I haven't really given much thought to that. I suppose they will get dusty enough for me to become annoyed and do something about it though. Ditto on your point about winter use.
I do plan to install a reverse facing tractor flood light on the fender for night time blowing. I've already installed a set of red reflectors on the back of each fender. Picked them up over at Dover Marine (the old Western Auto). They had a good selection of that kind of stuff. Tractor Supply in Chichester does too.
I adjusted my deck both front to back and side to side and tweaked it into spec. My pulleys did not rub in any height position, I just wanted the deck to cut as the manual specified.
My dealer is Northeastern Power Equipment on Rt. 4 in Epsom. Ower's name is Jim. He knows AG equipment, and he knows his cub line. He's got a thick yankee drawl and you can tell in an instant that he's been around tractors all his life. Real salt. So far, so good.
I have heard both good and bad things about Boston Tractor but I have no personal experience with them, so I'm no judge of the dealership. All I can tell you is that Jim (my guy) warmed me right away. I'm no stranger to tractors and I'm commonly thought of as somewhat surly. Jim at Northeastern Power won my trust without even trying. He's just a regular joe who actually gets his hands dirty, and he knows AG. I could talk with him for hours.
Keep in touch. I'll let you know if I do come across any issues with my 2542. Coming up on my 10 hour tranny filter change. I picked up a quart of Rotella T 15w40 to top it off after. The CC synthetic is rediculously overpriced and unnecessary. (the Rotella oils have been used in tractor trannys and boxes both large and small for a long time - and are the most common still today - but Cub won't tell you that!)
Oh, one more thing. I haven't used the deck wash system yet and really don't plan to. It wasn't a selling factor for me anyway. The deck removes so easily and I then just scrape it with a windshield ice scraper. ( I've been doing that for years on my RER except the deck didn't come off nearly as easy as the Cub's!) I suspect the deck wash thing to be no more than a messy gimmick anyway. No need for it.
Well, that sums things for now. Let me know how you're makin' out.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
The reverse adjustment I did is described in this post. Unscrew two screws and move pedal up a bit, tighten screws and test. Repeat as needed.

The problem I have with the mower deck is not the PTO belt hitting the adapter bracket but rather the deck itself on setting six, the highest.



If you look at the two pics above(got my pic linking issues straightened out now!) the close up shows two spots where the paint got rubbed off by the PTO belt. It only happened when I was experimenting with the deck heights. Once I discovered it I made sure to never put it in setting 6. I didn't bother asking the dealer as it wasn't a setting I used anyhow. I will relevel and adjust the deck when I put it back and see if the problem is still present. Quite possibly I simply dialed one of the adjustments up to much.

Went out tonight and measured from the top gas strut attachment bolt to the frame rail on both sides. The driver's right side (left if looking at it from the front of the tractor) is about 1/4" higher than the left. Not sure what it means but will need to mention it to the dealer. May be easier to explain in person vs the phone.

If I have trouble with Boston Lawnmower I will try that dealer in epsom, its not that much farther away. I will also not be buying the snowblower from them if things don't work out. Still not sure if I want the bercomac or not. Pricer, but I would be able to swap a plow in/out if I wanted to. Plus if this tractor ends up with hoods snapping off repeatedly as I have read a few people have had happen I may want to be able to transfer the blower to another tractor.

GCBailey: Hopefully our membership in the hood snapping club is brief. I know your hood isn't attached anymore, but could you look at the latch bar and see if one tab/side has more scratches from the latch contacting it or not(a pic would be great if you got one)? I am wondering if this possible alignment thing is specific to my tractor, or common on tractors that have hood mount snapping/cracking issues.
 

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Yup, you guys pretty much ID'd the 2500 series issues.

The seat angle - I found some solid hard plastic block spacers 3/4" thick that I am going to install at the front with longer bolts. Along with removing one coil in back, that should get the angle right.

The headlamps - Cub should be ashamed of themselves on this one. What, they don't know that we use these tractors in dirty conditions? My last tractor had the same dumb setup and I sealed the lenses with clear silicone, which worked great; will do that also. Also did not like not having a switch, so I added one.

Reverse - Adjusted, perfect now.

Oil drain - Dumb, am working on a solution.

My only other gripe is the gas filler location, as it is hard to fill with a bagger on, but this is not a big deal - it just slows you down a little.

Oh, and I gotta get the hood replaced, of course. That's the one I am really concerned with. I hope that is not an ongoing - replace it every couple of years - deal!
 

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Brief, ya... I wonder how many people have had this happen to them more than once. It seems there are a ton of people who it's happened to, but when they get a replacement are the procedures the same so it's left to break again? My dealer said they are using rubber washers to act as a "shock absorber" more or less.

When I get home from vacation this weekend I'll take some pics.
 

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..but when they get a replacement are the procedures the same so it's left to break again?
From what I've read, yes. It's a design fraught with danger. If it were mine, I'd like to collect on a new hood and hopefully keep the old one. I'd modify the old one and shelf the new one.

Joel
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Went to the dealer yesterday with some printouts of some of the pics I took. Just told him I had a problem with the hood and showed the pics. He didn't ask any questions just indicated he hadn't seen that before or heard of it. He then proceeded to order up another hood. I asked if I needed to bring in the tractor or if this was something I could install myself. They said I could probably do it myself. Unfortunately they didn't have a figure for the torque I should use on the hood screws, just until tight. Essentially they will call me when the new hood is in. I then bring in the old and they transfer the grill and other bits off the old onto the new (the replacement is just the base hood, not the bits that screw into it). I then take the new home and install.

When I mentioned the alignment issues with the hood they mentioned the latch was adjustable so it would meet up. I took a look last night and I can't see how that would be. It looks like there are four bolts/screws attaching it to the hood that either go through the latch and into mounting studs in the hood or though the hood and through holes in the latch. The grill covers the ones that are through bolts, so I could be missing something, but I cannot see how that setup would be adjustable. Am I missing something?

If anyone with a recent 2500 series has a chance could you take a pic like the one below and post it?



I tied a piece of twine around the latch spring and to the latch bar, making sure the twine wasn't pulling the hood to the left or right. This should show where the hood "wants" to close before it is pushed into alignment by latching it. Not sure if my tractor is a special case with the alignment or if this could be one of the issues with hood breaking in general (in addition to the heat, and general design in how they are attached).

I'm wondering if other people's hoods suffer from the same alignment issues and if this is something that could be fixed somehow and possibly make it so new hoods aren't needed as much. I don't know how willing the dealer is going to be to order another if they keep breaking.

If anyone has a mod that they have actually done(with pics) where they made the hood hinge at the front like most lawn tractors I'd love to see it. I think that would eliminate most problems. My craftsman (haven't sold it yet) YS4500 is like that and that design is fine. The hood just sort of lays on there and isn't under a lot of stress. Plus, come service time, you can just remove it, which makes things MUCH easier.
 

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NHGardener

My 2542 hood lines up perfectly. After reading your previous posts I even went out and studied it closely just to see if I had missed something. I'm sure I would have noticed from the get-go if mine was as misaligned as yours. As I said, it isn't. Nor are the plastic bolt mounts showing any signs of cracking yet. Hopefully, this will continue. I keep an eye on it. Even if I go the whole summer with no hood issues, considering the problems you and others are having I will not be completely confident until I also get through one of our winters as well (I will be blowing 200 feet of paved drive with it). If warm weather use doesn't crack it, cold New Hampshire winter just might. Fingers crossed!

Renster
 

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Hello NHGardner,

My hood alignment is fine.

You are right, the latch & striker bar are not adjustable. It is possible that they could be bent, but that should be very noticable.

I would install the new hood and see if it aligns OK. It could be that the hood itself is warped or was improperly moulded. If the new one still does not latch correctly, you will have to go back and measure the alignment for the hindge & gas struts. If you can't locate the problem, it may be time for the dealer to look at it.

I am betting the new hood will fix all.
 

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BTW - Before my new hood goes on I will be adding a supplemental cooling fan. Will let you know how it works.
If you're really concerned about heat, you can get an oil-cooler from Kohler for your Command. I got one last year for about $120. I had the dealer install it though, as it requires removing the rear shroud. It took him about 3 hours because it was his first time ever. He's since said that he thinks he could get that time down to about 2 hours.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'll let you guys know if the new hood aligns properly. However, I think there is at least a 50/50 chance it will not. As I think I mentioned before I measured from the top of the gas strut (the bolt where it attaches) to the frame on both sides using the same reference point on each side for the frame and got a 1/4 inch difference. I'm thinking I either have a slightly torqued frame (and I do not think I did it due the the latch scratch pattern I mentioned) OR the dash column supports are slightly off/torqued.

I've considered loosening all the dash support bolts slightly (but not removing) and giving everything a slight push to the right (viewed facing the tractor front) and a twist clockwise looking down at the tractor from above) and the retightening the bolts.
Right now I think I may have found an interim solution. The gas struts are very easy to remove. Slide a screwdriver under the metal clip on the end, lift clip a little and push towards end of strut. The gas strut will now easily pop off the ball and can thus be removed. If you remove the strut from the bottom attachment point it doesn't seem like the strut can hit anything and hurt it hanging down inside the engine compartment. I wouldn't detach the top and leave the strut as it could contact the flywheel screen. So, you could either detach bottom of strut or remove entirely and thus have hood on with no pressure from struts while closed. I think this might help those with hood problems who have gone through several hood by taking pressure off the mounting points. You would just need to attach the struts to get hood support for checking oil/servicing. Latch seems like it would still work fine in this configuration. Thoughts on going "strutless"?
 

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Yeah, I can see that that would work, but you should not have to put up with it. I know that it is a pain in the butt to get the tractor to the dealer, but they really need to take a look a your tractor at this point - if your dash tower (or God forbid the frame) is tweaked, other problems may develop down the road. This really needs to be corrected under warranty.

CCinCT: The oil cooler is a real good idea also. The Kohler manual also shows another cooler version that does not blow through the shroud - no major disassembly. I rebuilt my last Command so I could install either. How much did the parts cost? Do you have a feeling for how much cooler it is running now? Thanks.
 
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