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  1. #1
    Gold Member Jibber's Avatar
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    Feb 2003
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    RD-13, Putnam County, New York
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    Kubota L3130HST 4WD, BX2350

    Default Sears Parts Availability (or lack of it)

    My mowing tractor is a Sears Craftsman 18hp (Kohler twin). It's ten years old. The past two mowings the thing fired right up, but after mowing and shutting it down to blow it off with the air hose it wouldn't start again. I started doing some troubleshooting and determined my ignition module needs replaced. From what I understand, this is a common thing with 18hp Kohler Magnum twins.

    Now, in the past, I've had nothing but praise for Sears parts system. The key word there is "past". It used to be that you could find a parts desk at nearly every large Sears store. Now, you must use their online site for almost everything short of a filter. The parts prices seem fair, but the shipping costs are inflated. Availability is another downer.

    In the past year I've had a number of parts searches come back "unavailable". These are parts to various items from the tractor to a chipper/shredder. No explanation.. no backorder.. go fish.

    The ignition module on my tractor is the latest. Now, if you were marketing parts for anything.. wouldn't you want to offer parts for OLDER items? I mean, these are the things that need fixed. If the Kohler 18hp twin motor has an ignition module that typically goes after 10 years.. and.. you sell a LOT of tractors that use these engines.. wouldn't you stock these parts?

    I used to buy Sears because of general reliability and the parts availability. My next small tractor.. mower.. chain saw.. you name it .. will be something else.

  2. #2
    Gold Member KENSFM's Avatar
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    Dec 2002
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    470
    Location
    MA
    Tractor
    JD 2210 JD318 JD332

    Default Re: Sears Parts Availability (or lack of it)

    I would think that any Kohler dealer could get you the ignition module that you need. Probably for less money than Sears would get for it.
    Ken [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
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    Feb 2004
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    1,906
    Location
    Brazos County Texas 77808
    Tractor
    Kubota L3130HST w/LA723 loader

    Default Re: Sears Parts Availability (or lack of it)

    I quit buying anything with the Sears name on it 25 years ago ( except the mechanics hand tools) for the falling quality and the parts availability. They keep changing manufacturers and the concurrent parts supply every 5 years. I am 70+ and still have some of the power wood working tools my father and I bought when I was a teenager. The Delta tools are still going and the parts are available. The Sears tools have long since been junked. I go into a Sears store about once in 3 years. Pricing too high and quality too low. I paid $5000 for a kubota B6100E with a 48" RFM 20 years ago and the tractor was going strong when I traded it in last month. My friends and neighbors have gone through 6 or more Sears top of the line riding mowers in that time. I figure that I am ahead by more than a factor of 3 in that time considering I got $2000 in trade.

    Vernon

  4. #4
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    457
    Location
    SW of Minneapolis, MN
    Tractor
    2003 Kubota L3430 HSTC

    Default Re: Sears Parts Availability (or lack of it)

    Jibber,

    I hear what you are saying. In the past I have always had good experiences with Sears, especially anything Craftsman.

    Recently my son used my top-of-the-line, less than ten year old Sears battery charger (wheeled type with electronic controls), improperly hooked it up and burned out the transformer. I got out the manual, looked up the part number and ordered a new transformer. When I had not heard anything from them in three weeks, I called to check on my order. I was told it was backordered for another six weeks. I also questioned Sears as to why they had already billed my credit card for the part. They said it was standard procedure. When I had not received the part in two months, I contacted them again. Now I am told the part is no longer available and they will issue a credit to my credit card. So three months later, I am back to square one.

    However, Sears is not alone in their ineptitude. I contacted Schumacher Electric Corp, the manufacturer of the Sears battery charger, to try and purchase the illusive part. After several e-mails back and forth with a person at Schumacher, I am convinced that they hired from the same pool of workers. This person could not spell, construct a sentence that made any sense, and generally lacked the ability to communicate via the written word. Sadly, I still have a battery charger that looks like new with a burned out transformer. Maybe I can convince my 31 year-old son to buy me a new one for Christmas.

    Frustrated with Sears and Schumacher.

    OrangeGuy



  5. #5
    Veteran Member
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    Feb 2002
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    1,055
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    WVa
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    Kubota L3710, Ford 5600, Case MB4/94, Kubota B6200

    Default Re: Sears Parts Availability (or lack of it)

    Part of my SOP when dealing with customer help lines is to ask where the person is located. Sometimes that explains a lot. The last such call I made, I was talking to someone located in the Phillipines.

    If you have a model number for the ignition module, I'd check ebay and also contact a local small engine repair service. For the transformer, I'd find some one in the area that does small motors and the like. Get the specs from Schumaker for the local guy. when you call Schumaker DO NOT TALK TO CUSTOMER SERVICE. Ask the operator for engineering.

  6. #6
    Super Star Member
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    Aug 2001
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    12,469
    Location
    Upper Midwest USA
    Tractor
    JD 4300, JD X485 JD 4x2 Gator, JD 425, JD455

    Default Re: Sears Parts Availability (or lack of it)

    Like texbaylea, I learned your experience with Sears 25 years ago, and was again reminded of it three years ago (shop vacuum system motor blew a bearing, and I was ready to buy a new motor, but none available. so I tore it down and replaced the bearing from a local bearing supplier - working fine since).

    I buy the craftsman tools when on sale, or to replace a lost tool. Other than that, I just 'look'. I turned to GREEN, and can buy parts for my '69 model 110 Deere riding mower, no problem.

    I too would suggest locating a Kohler dealer for parts. And I wish you luck. It is indeed frustrating.


  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
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    46
    Location
    Clinton Ark
    Tractor
    Kubota L-3600 GST/FEL

    Default Re: Sears Parts Availability (or lack of it)

    You might take this charger to a electrician who works on power tools, I have found several that use a fuse and hide it in the windings of the transformer. or check the A/C side of the winding and at the terminals there is a/c in then a jumper wire to the thermo fuse then to the windings. also most new elec. motors have this fixture, Have joked to owners this is a time delay fuse and timed to the warrenty of the equipment.
    Also Sears used to be good tools, the elec motors are made some where that looks hand wired,compresion joints and plastic bearings,have seen epoxy used to hold motor in housings. if ever dropped junk. se'ya ken

  8. #8
    Veteran Member
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    Jun 2004
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    1,436
    Location
    Byron New York
    Tractor
    2004 BX2230

    Default Re: Sears Parts Availability (or lack of it)

    I know what you mean Jibber. Sears has changed their store look and how they do service items. I just come to believe that tractors like they sell have a shelf life to them. After 10 years the service life of their products just become so few and far between they cut their losses and move on. People like you represent the few and they just figure so what.

    Craftsman did me right on a situation a while back but the jump rope jazz it takes is annoying. I just realize when dealing with them that these tractors are throw away items after X number of years. Kohler though should be able to help you directly if the ignition module is made by them for their tractor. I would think any small engine service might be able to help you. The modules should be stock items with no brand loyalty.

  9. #9
    Gold Member Jibber's Avatar
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    Feb 2003
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    324
    Location
    RD-13, Putnam County, New York
    Tractor
    Kubota L3130HST 4WD, BX2350

    Default Re: Sears Parts Availability (or lack of it)

    Well, I did find the ignition module, on ebay. The guy who's sellling it runs a small engine parts/repair store in Ohio.

    And yes, I too have had problems where the Sears Parts website will actually sell you the part.. then it never arrives and you find out it's no longer available. Ten years ago every part was available. Somewhere along the line they decided it was more cost effective to only stock parts for current models. Only.. you hope that something new won't need parts!

    One note. MTD makes many of the tractors, mowers and other lawn tools sold by Sears. They run a much more professional parts outfit. The Chipper/Shredder chute that Sears told me was no longer available three months ago was available via MTD in six different colors. (really.. from Cub Cadet white to Sears Silver). They can even cross reference the Sears parts numbers.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member
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    Feb 2002
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    WVa
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    Kubota L3710, Ford 5600, Case MB4/94, Kubota B6200

    Default Re: Sears Parts Availability (or lack of it)

    Glad to read that you found the module. Just goes to show there's always away to find a part. Of course you my have to find it by making it yourself or finding someone else to make it.

    A friend just had a very hard to find ignition module for their car rebuilt. Needless to say without the internet they'd have been looking at a $600 part that would have taken six weeks to get rather than a week and a couple hundred dollars.

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