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Looks like there are several posts on the poor quality of MTD. Would not disagree that this seems to be the state of play for 2019/2020.

However, when did this drop off? I have a 2005 MTD (31AS6FEF729) and this has performed well over the years.

Anyone else have these units? Have you had similar experiences?
 

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In my opinion, any unit, regardless of brand or price, can easily go downhill in the wrong hands.

I know people that have generic or main stream brands that run great for many, many years … why, because they take care of them and properly maintain them.

I have seen others destroy units, any brand, by not taking care of them.
 

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Interesting question. I have only had operational experience with one, a mid-90s large frame 8/26, but have observed the general trend away from what I would call "robust manufacturing" from that point forward. Maybe it started before that, I really cannot say for sure. What I saw when looking at their offerings over the years was for example a 199X model would have three fasteners on a given component, and a year or two later the same component would have two. Another component might have been metal and then the next year be plastic. All to appease the price-point gods. Generally speaking, my machine was a reasonably good performer (and this goes back to expectations & technique) and easy to work on. However, it had a couple of flaws:



1. The design of the flange where the transmission housing mates to the auger housing created a stress-riser at the top corner which over time will eventually crack. Despite this being acknowledged and described on this and may other forums, it has never been addressed.

2. This is of course isn't limited to MTD, but the lack of an overhead support for the auger gearbox is the greatest indication of accountants overruling engineers in order to meet the aforementioned price point.

In my opinion, what really cheapened MTD was their strategy of selling essentially the same snowblower with just differences in colors and feature sets and calling it a Cub, Yard-Man, Troy-Bilt, Yard Machines, White Outdoor, Ranch King, MTD Gold etc. etc. etc. This was disastrous for GM and equally as bad for MTD.
 

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One thing I'll say for MTD...as cheap as they are built.....parts are plentiful and cheap....very easy to work on....my customers will take an MTD over Ariens or toro, 7 out of 10 times....they are shinier.
 

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Interesting question. I have only had operational experience with one, a mid-90s large frame 8/26, but have observed the general trend away from what I would call "robust manufacturing" from that point forward. Maybe it started before that, I really cannot say for sure. What I saw when looking at their offerings over the years was for example a 199X model would have three fasteners on a given component, and a year or two later the same component would have two. Another component might have been metal and then the next year be plastic. All to appease the price-point gods. Generally speaking, my machine was a reasonably good performer (and this goes back to expectations & technique) and easy to work on. However, it had a couple of flaws:



1. The design of the flange where the transmission housing mates to the auger housing created a stress-riser at the top corner which over time will eventually crack. Despite this being acknowledged and described on this and may other forums, it has never been addressed.

2. This is of course isn't limited to MTD, but the lack of an overhead support for the auger gearbox is the greatest indication of accountants overruling engineers in order to meet the aforementioned price point.

In my opinion, what really cheapened MTD was their strategy of selling essentially the same snowblower with just differences in colors and feature sets and calling it a Cub, Yard-Man, Troy-Bilt, Yard Machines, White Outdoor, Ranch King, MTD Gold etc. etc. etc. This was disastrous for GM and equally as bad for MTD.
I have one from the same era, 8hp Tecumseh on a 26" bucket, it still starts first pull and has served me well over the years, given to me by my Dad, it still blows great but will not blow slush! I've used it 10 years and only replaced belts but have never broken a shear pin,not the best machine but it owes me nothing.
 

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When did MTD go downhill? When was it ever uphill?

At one point in time, many years ago, MTD had many good products. They were always basic but they were good quality. I know. We owned some MTD stuff from back in the day. All good stuff.

The very first snowblower I owned was a 1994 MTD 826. I worked it hard for many years (17) and it never failed to start or to do what I asked of it. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another MTD product if they were still made like they used to be made. Unfortunately many once good, solid brands are now pretty much scrap. I could name names but I don't wish to start a war.
 

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At one point in time, many years ago, MTD had many good products. They were always basic but they were good quality. I know. We owned some MTD stuff from back in the day. All good stuff.

The very first snowblower I owned was a 1994 MTD 826. I worked it hard for many years (17) and it never failed to start or to do what I asked of it. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another MTD product if they were still made like they used to be made. Unfortunately many once good, solid brands are now pretty much scrap. I could name names but I don't wish to start a war.
You were lucky, my last lawn tractor was an MTD, what a piece of crap from day one. Boy did I ever regret that move. I tried as hard as I could to keep as long as I could but after 10 years of maybe 20 outings per summer I had to give up on it. The Briggs & Stratton 18 twin was still working like a charm but that wasn't built by MTD. I replaced and re-enforced and modified everything on that MTD and it was still falling apart somewhere else. I gave up. My Husqvarna it's only weakness was the steering linkages.
 

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I believe a lot of things went down in quality with "the rise of the Big Box stores".
MTD was decent quality through the 70's and 80's, and the downhill slide began in the 90's as Big Boxes took over the world..
Home Depot and Lowes helped, but Walmart is the biggest player..customers now demand everything be as low cost as possible..
most of the time to get lower cost, you have to get lower quality as well.


You can now buy a new 2-stage snowblower at Walmart for $400.. and its absolute junk.
In 1970, Ariens least expensive snowblower would be the equivalent of $1,500 today..
and the high price, then, reflected the high quality you got.

You couldn't buy a snowblower as cheap and junky as a modern $400 snowblower in 1970, they didn't exist.


Scot
 

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I have an MTD/Sears 24" snowblower. The LCT motor quit this Fall. I realized it was purchased by me in 2005 so I got 14 years out of it. Replaced belts several times and a bearing. While I was installing a Predator engine I replaced 2 bearings on the friction wheel shaft. I feel it has has been a good value. I also have a Kubota G4200 lawn tractor that I purchased in 1987. Few minor repairs on tractor and more so on the deck, but not a lot. I have also been told many decks look like swiss cheese and replacements are no longer available. Maybe maintenance and grease and oil are a big factor in equipment life and perceived value.
Herb
 

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I have one from the same era, 8hp Tecumseh on a 26" bucket, it still starts first pull and has served me well over the years, given to me by my Dad, it still blows great but will not blow slush! I've used it 10 years and only replaced belts but have never broken a shear pin,not the best machine but it owes me nothing.
Do an impeller kit on that blower and watch the slush fly!
 

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In 1970, Ariens least expensive snowblower would be the equivalent of $1,500 today..
and the high price, then, reflected the high quality you got.
I think this is really the key point. I haven't personally inspected or used Cub Cadet's "Pro" line of snow blowers but they sure look impressive on paper. For example, with an MSRP of $1899, the Cub 31AH8EVS710 with a 420cc engine, 30" bucket and LED lights looks like a competent machine. If I were in the market for a long-lasting snow blower, this MTD Cub as well as similarly priced Ariens, Simplicity and Toro machines would be on my shopping list.

Buy an older snowblower and refurbish it if you don't want to spend more than $1500 on a better quality machine. I typically refurbish older Ariens machines but I just started work on this 1999 era 1333SWE. So far, I'm impressed with this beast but I'm sure it was quite expensive 20 years ago.

You get what you pay for applies to snow blowers too.
 

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I guess I'm a lucky guy. Bought my MTD 5/22 from Menards in 1995, paid $499 for it and it still runs great. It has always been under powered with a 5hp Techumseh but it starts all the time and does what it was designed to do. I've replaced the scraper bar a few times, put armor skids on it and tinkered with the carb but that's it besides oil and a plug now the then. It even has the original belts on it.
 

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Don't want to be a buzz kill here but. Any machine will last forever if you don't use it. Obvious if you have the original belts. Because belts go bad sitting on the shelf.
 

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MTD is basically a conglomerate of brands acquired over the years. (Right?)

Some of the individual brands were of good quality when first acquired, but MTD’s cost cutting and standardization on mid-tier design across the brands tended to liquidate the quality of the stronger brands.
 

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IMM it was around 2005
a time when mtd merged cub being than made in canada to the same plant in the usa, sharing a lot of mtd parts and looking more mtd than cub, from there it seems the down hill started . that was also around the same time that tech was lost to us, and the china engine invasion started .
 

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IMM it was around 2005
a time when mtd merged cub being than made in canada to the same plant in the usa, sharing a lot of mtd parts and looking more mtd than cub, from there it seems the down hill started . that was also around the same time that tech was lost to us, and the china engine invasion started .
This timeline sheds light on when Troy-Bilt, Bolens, Toro and Murray went downhill. Who is the next victim?

 

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Wow … I did not know Stanley Power Tools, (Stanley Works), in the next town over to me, looks like it might possibly be taking control of MTD in the near future.
 

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Seems like there was a drive to make power equipment better that peaked in the late 70's - early 80's. Since then the drive has been to make it cheaper. The MTD's from back then are heavy duty compared to today's paper thin sheet metal and plastic geared junk.
 
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