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Discussion Starter #1
Why can't the U.S. based small engine manufacturers ( B&S, Kohler and to some degree Tecumseh) build engines that rival the Japanese? I have had many poor experiences with some of the B&S engines I have had and my newer Kohler Command 25 hp is nothing to brag about, unless you enjoy blown head gaskets and loud backfires when I forget to leave the throttle halfway open on shutdown. Every lawn pro I know raves about the Kawasaki's and my new one is great. We've lost the quality battle to the Japanese!
 

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IMO, and without getting into a poliltical argument, we have nearly made it impossible to compete with:

1- Foreign labor
2- Foreign materials costs
3- Stringent U.S. Emissions laws
4- American Corporate mentality

1- Labor outside the U.S. is incredibly competitive where people will work for pennies compared to the income and expected pay of the average (skilled) American labor resources.

2- Raw materials (often shipped from America) are much less to process and develop in lower income and third world countries. Foundry casting, CNC machining and assembly are 70% less than domestically processed materials to make the end product.

3- Emission laws here, pertain to the whole process to manufacture a small engine. With the exception of Japan, UK and a few other participating countries, the world trade and manufacturing producers, in other countries, do NOT meet the safe work environment or health considerations….even when they comply with the end product (build small engines to emission standards for export).

4- There is more profit in retiring or letting journeyman craftsman go. These people who made (I.E.) $20. Per hour, were replaced with 2 individuals, less skilled and paid $10. Per hour. And now, in many cases, those ten dollar an hour workers are let go when the end product can be manufactured and shipped here for much less than what the American work force was accustomed to being paid.

Very sad to see the dissapearence of pride and craftsmanship which can’t compete, in many instances, with the corporate’s greedy bottom line…huge profit.

Mark
 

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Briggs engines are still top notch, people comaplain more because there are soooo many of them in service compared to any other manufacturer.

Tecumseh has always made a good engine, they just never used a good carburetor. For years, Tecusmeh push mower engines were pressure lubricated and had an internal filter.

Kawasaki has their own host of problems, mainly valve issues, carb issues, etc...nothing to brag about anymore. Cutting costs, and emmissions have dragged them down.

Kohler Commands are among the best engines out there, but there was a head gasket problem...there were some lifter problems, but it was sparse.

Kohler Courage singles...junk. just Kohler trying to get a peice of Briggs' pie..

Honda, even back in the 70's, was known for quality, and precise tolerances, high quality materials, and going above and beyond. Fact is, Honda is still among the best engine out there, as long as it is the GX or GXV line. The GC/GCV line (trying to get some of briggs' pie too) is junk, disposable..
 

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I think if you check the labor rates in Japan they're not much different from
here. Japan's minimum wage ranges from $6.25 to $7.48/hr. according to
the link below. I'm seeing more and more of the cheap engines from China
or PRC, the label that seems to be showing up lately because I guess they
think we're too dumb to realize what that stands are. Northern Tool and
Harbor Freight are putting them on a lot of their stuff.

BTW: I saw PRC on a pressure washer just today at Sam's Club,
"People's Republic of China".

Minimum wage by country:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_minimum_wages_by_country
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the great responses! My Toro dealer agrees with you Red-85-Z51.He says the Kohler Courage is aptly named, it takes courage to buy one.
 

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Re: "Minimum Worldwide Minimun Wage" quote above Wikipedia link:

"People's Republic of China none, nationally; set locally according to standards laid out by the central government[4]"

So that's why our governmend has done everything in their power to encourage outsourcing to Asia. Makes life so much better for us Americans... Doesn't it? Didn't it? Won't it? Might it ever....?

I think we better stick closer to Youtube, Facebook and Twitter and forget about these little "quality of life distractions" like country of origin, congress has got all this covered for us.
:bannana:
 

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Man o man Im glad none of my 125 engines are above 1985
OOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPPPSSSSSSSSS I forgot about the new sears with the twenty hp I cut grass with O well i guess it will blow in a week
 

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We can only be a "super power", fly around space and stuff like that. Small engines are over our heads. What a joke ain't it ?
 

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The Magnificent
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Probably for the same reason I'll most likely pay two Mexicans $10 per hour each to build my garage next year versus the contractor who quoted me $60 dollars per hour.

Neither the contractor or Mexicans will likely pay income tax, social security, or workman's comp, and to tell you the truth, the Mexicans will be probably be hungrier and do a better job.
 

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Probably for the same reason I'll most likely pay two Mexicans $10 per hour each to build my garage next year versus the contractor who quoted me $60 dollars per hour.

Neither will likely pay income tax, social security, or workman's comp, and to tell you the truth, the Mexicans will be probably be hungrier and do a better job.
Unfortunetly, you're right. And we'll all be speakin' spanish and eatin' tacos:Stop:
 

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The Magnificent
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I edited the post to say that neither the Mexicans, nor the contractor woudl pay taxes. That's how the good old boys like to roll in my neck of the woods.
 

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Probably for the same reason I'll most likely pay two Mexicans $10 per hour each to build my garage next year versus the contractor who quoted me $60 dollars per hour.

Neither the contractor or Mexicans will likely pay income tax, social security, or workman's comp, and to tell you the truth, the Mexicans will be probably be hungrier and do a better job.
Sorry D Dogg, but that aint right. I got all kinds of problems with what you just said.

Just like your favorite green machine you will get what you pay for. The contractor is local, I am assuming. He will be able to be found if there is a problem after the build. He will get the correct permits. he probably has employees. How quickly will he build the garage. If he has over 3 employees he has to have workmans comp. He has to carry insurance. He does pay taxes. If he is a general contractor then he has license, and accountability. He has to pay for continuing education to retain his license.

Now on to the possibly Illegal mexicans. Can they comunicate effectivly? Will you be able to track them down if something is not right? What do they care if you are unhappy, how are you going to find them? How long is it going to take to get the job done? Are they going to tell all of thier friends about all your neat little toys that are laying about? If one falls and breaks his leg do they have insurance coverage or is he going to sue you for not providing fall protection on your property? What material are they going to use? Do they know that stainless screws last longer than galvinized nails? Are they up to date on current building codes? If there is any wiring involved are they going to use the correct size wire?

If you use the mexicans and they dont build it to code, then some jealous nieghbor calls in the inspectors. Will the inspector condem the build? Will you have any recourse to get your money back from them?

On this site there seems to be a recurring theme:
If you dont spend the money on quality then you cant complain.
You yourself have preached about how happy you are that you spent the money on a used JD and that you could not be happier. Now when it comes to a "name brand" who is making a living, you suddenly balk at the price and want to buy "a big box store" builder. I am not saying that I would pay the contractors price but I sure as **** wouldnt pay for the mexicans.

PS. After rereading what I have written I would like to clarify that this is not a personal attack On D-Dogg. This topic is a subject that is near and dear to me and I can get passionate about the defense of the american tradesman as I am one of them.
 

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Sorry D Dogg, but that aint right. I got all kinds of problems with what you just said.

Just like your favorite green machine you will get what you pay for. The contractor is local, I am assuming. He will be able to be found if there is a problem after the build. He will get the correct permits. he probably has employees. How quickly will he build the garage. If he has over 3 employees he has to have workmans comp. He has to carry insurance. He does pay taxes. If he is a general contractor then he has license, and accountability. He has to pay for continuing education to retain his license.

Now on to the possibly Illegal mexicans. Can they comunicate effectivly? Will you be able to track them down if something is not right? What do they care if you are unhappy, how are you going to find them? How long is it going to take to get the job done? Are they going to tell all of thier friends about all your neat little toys that are laying about? If one falls and breaks his leg do they have insurance coverage or is he going to sue you for not providing fall protection on your property? What material are they going to use? Do they know that stainless screws last longer than galvinized nails? Are they up to date on current building codes? If there is any wiring involved are they going to use the correct size wire?

If you use the mexicans and they dont build it to code, then some jealous nieghbor calls in the inspectors. Will the inspector condem the build? Will you have any recourse to get your money back from them?

On this site there seems to be a recurring theme:
If you dont spend the money on quality then you cant complain.
You yourself have preached about how happy you are that you spent the money on a used JD and that you could not be happier. Now when it comes to a "name brand" who is making a living, you suddenly balk at the price and want to buy "a big box store" builder. I am not saying that I would pay the contractors price but I sure as **** wouldnt pay for the mexicans.

PS. After rereading what I have written I would like to clarify that this is not a personal attack On D-Dogg. This topic is a subject that is near and dear to me and I can get passionate about the defense of the american tradesman as I am one of them.
I agree with your comments. I only let qualified tradesmen work on my home/property. I get quality work at a very competitive price IMO. Such fine work that I've had them return for other projects like the from step I just had done. He did my rear patio 3 years ago.
You do get what you pay for, can't be put any other way IMO.

MU

I think Brigg's are excellent engines. I also like OMC LB engines, subaru robin (fuji industries), honda gx line, have 2 of them also. I do own 2, 5.0hp gc engines and they run great, for how long who knows? 1 is in a Power washer and the other is on my Little Wonder Leaf blower that starts every year no issues now for 5+ seasons. Had 2 Kohler K's and were great also. Had 1, 15hp Kawasaki that was fine too.
We had many brigg's 3-5 hp engines on mowers when kids and beat the **** out of them. Not a one ever blew!

MU
 

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The Magnificent
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Coldone, my response isn't a personal attack either, but the useless redneck contractors in my area will present forged credentials, out of date insurance documents, and try to get me or my wife (if I'm at work) to write a check to them personally upon completion. They do not pay taxes, or social security. They typically live with the mother of their children (to whom they are not married). I commute 5 hours a day and pay some of the highest taxes in the nation, while they go deer hunting, collect welfare, food stamps and free school lunches (for their little ******* children). They drink and smoke dope on the jobsite. Had one give his girlfriend my address so she could com evisit with him while he worked. Last time I use him.

A pair of illegals would be scared to sue me for fear being deported.

Maybe you are legit, but if there are any legitimate building contractors in Spotsylvania VA, I have yet to meet them.
 

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Coldone, my response isn't a personal attack either, but the useless redneck contractors in my area will present forged credentials, out of date insurance documents, and try to get me or my wife (if I'm at work) to write a check to them personally upon completion. They do not pay taxes, or social security. They typically live with the mother of their children (to whom they are not married). I commute 5 hours a day and pay some of the highest taxes in the nation, while they go deer hunting, collect welfare, food stamps and free school lunches (for their little ******* children). They drink and smoke dope on the jobsite. Had one give his girlfriend my address so she could com evisit with him while he worked. Last time I use him.

A pair of illegals would be scared to sue me for fear being deported.

Maybe you are legit, but if there are any legitimate building contractors in Spotsylvania VA, I have yet to meet them.
You sound like you need a coldone. Your for getting where you are. I bet half the members are rednecks.

The word "Redneck" is based upon southern farmers who would walk behind their plows with their heads down - causing a sunburn (red neck).
 

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Coldone, my response isn't a personal attack either, but the useless redneck contractors in my area will present forged credentials, out of date insurance documents, and try to get me or my wife (if I'm at work) to write a check to them personally upon completion. They do not pay taxes, or social security. They typically live with the mother of their children (to whom they are not married). I commute 5 hours a day and pay some of the highest taxes in the nation, while they go deer hunting, collect welfare, food stamps and free school lunches (for their little ******* children). They drink and smoke dope on the jobsite. Had one give his girlfriend my address so she could com evisit with him while he worked. Last time I use him.

A pair of illegals would be scared to sue me for fear being deported.

Maybe you are legit, but if there are any legitimate building contractors in Spotsylvania VA, I have yet to meet them.
I did not take it as a personal attack nor would I.

I live in a small community also. I have the same type of "contractors" around me. I have an advantage I am a native so most of the time I know who to use and who not to use.

I also am not offened by your use of "redneck". For future reference though, there are Rednecks and then there are **** REDNECKS. I inferred that you were using the latter. :D

I took the liberty to help you out. Try using this site for your general contracting needs.
http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/dporweb/dpormainwelcome.cfm
 

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heck im a redneck
D-dogg you need to move to chesterfield county we is all rednecks over here
and work for $5.00 and hour + water and bread
hummmm may be all the red is the over spray from the wheel horse paint
 

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Ummm.....What was the original question on this post???...... Oh yeah - Why can't small engines build a better U.S.??? :banghead3
 

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The Magnificent
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Back to my point, I was trying to illustrate that greed and laziness are the reasons decent engines (or anything else) is hard to get made in the USA. Foreign workers are hungry and will do as good as, or better than US citizens, for less than we are willing to accept. From the consumer perspective, why would one choose the more expensive good or service when there is little to no difference in the two.
 

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The answer is simple in my opinion. American manufacturers do not want to build a product that lasts a long time. They want loyal Americans to keep on buying their inferior products...... and they do, but their numbers are declining. One day they will be bankrupt, looking for a bailout.........Sound familiar??
 
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