Interesting to read all the wood splitter ideas. I had intended to make one myself, but I was able to source a 40-tonner, with a 13HP engine, for $A1400, delivered. That's quite a bit less than the cost of the parts. While you blokes in the US might say that 40 tons could be a bit of an overkill, then you haven't encountered Australian hardwood. This stuff is so hard and dense, most of it doesn't float, it's cranky-grained and it makes a hash of chainsaws. But it burns really well, without the chimney residue from pine, so chimney fires simply don't happen.
Of course, the splitter is from the land of gleat manuflactures, as is one of my mowers. While the Chinese stuff is good value for the most part, they tend to let themselves down by (seemingly) money-saving adventures.
The wheels on said mower self-destructed in very short order and have been rebuilt and replaced. The blade spindles used plain deep-groove ball bearings, which were pre-loaded by their assembly and design. The bearings failed, of course and have been replaced by taper rollers and the spindles modifed to suit.
The gearbox, frame and drive generally have been trouble-free.
I've struck the bearing pre-load problem again in an American Honda deck, but this time, it was probably caused by wear, where components, when bolted up tight, cinched the bearings too. Just a little wear on some of the bits was enough, so I machined about .030" off some bits and thinned some spacers down by the same amount. Exit problem. Anybody else encountered persistent bearing failures on mower spindles?