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  1. #1
    Platinum Member Fordlords's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
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    951
    Location
    Erie, PA
    Tractor
    Cub Cadet 682

    Default A thought-Why do they seem so light and cheap now?

    Using the early 1980ís as an example, even in the days of the tank built IH Cub Cadet garden tractors of that time such as the 482-982 which can last nearly forever and you still see all over the place, IH had the lawn tractor line of lightweight 182-382 vertical engine cheapies, which are similar to what the 1000 series CCís are today. Manufacturers today are of course marketing many more of the cheap LTís than heavy duty GTís like the 3000 series CCís simply because times have changed and most residential buyers only want and need a cheap lawn mower and thus the big GTís do not sell as well. The box store concept has also opened the doors to expose and move more of the LT's to the homeowner using old well known quailty brand names as a selling point. 25 years ago people did more of their own gardening, did more of their own snow removal, and the other things one bought a true garden tractor for. But there were still those people back then who only wanted a rugged lawn mower who bought a machine in the GT lineup. CC makes the 3000ís for the do-all and rugged groups, and the same rule applies as 25 years ago- If you want more, youíll pay more. Factored for inflation, the 3000ís are about on par with the mid-range 682/782 machines of the 80ís. As someone mentioned in another thread the quality maybe isnít as good as 25 years ago, but itís close and you get a few more comfort and convenience features on the good GT's today.

    In essence, little has changed except for the manufacturers keeping in touch with the buying market and having more avenues to sell more of their products. I still whole-handidly believe in the dealer concept for buying a lawn tractor as the best way to go. But, some dealerships have painted snaky pressure sales images for themselves, which is what is attracting people to buy at the box store. I'll even admit that if I was considering a new Cub, I would probably give it the visual once over at a box store before going to a dealer, simply because I like to look at things without someone all over me like a bad suit. Then I would think up my questions and head to the dealer for answers.

    -Fordlords-











  2. #2
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    82
    Location
    North Dakota

    Default Re: A thought-Why do they seem so light and cheap now?

    Fordlords...good observations from you, you must have been reading my mind. I also had read your posts concerning the engine change in your 682. I just overhauled my dad's 682 with KT17...after reading your post, I am wondering if that was money well spent or not. I had an unfortunate experience with the KT 17...got it all back together, ground the crank, new rods (one had broken off), new oversized pistons, rings etc. Had about $500 in it including machine shop work, put it all back together, it ran for about 10 minutes and broke the camshaft. I had to pull it all back apart and get a replacement camshaft - $220.00. I have it all back together now, but no spark. Probably just dirty ignition points so I am sure I will get it back running. The tractor isn't as nice as the one you have, but getting back to your original post....it is a solid piece of equipment compared to what I see on the showroom floor these days. The frame, front axle, rear axle and even the sheet metal fenders, hood and front end are all very heavy. The deck, however, is another story. He has the 50" deck...which, sadly to say, is nowhere near the quality of the deck on my new 3100. The old 682 deck is rusted through in several places...no pretty at all. The 3100 has power steering, none on the 682. The battery on the 682 is under the seat (I like that better) than on the 3100 which is under the hood. The gas tank on the 3100 is farther from the engine which is probably safer than on the 682 which is up under the hood again. Bottom line....back in the 80's ...they had some good ideas and sold a quality piece of equipment. Lets just not bring up the Kohler flat twin..ok?

  3. #3
    Member RebelRAM's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
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    29
    Location
    Huntsville, AL
    Tractor
    Cub Cadet LT1046

    Default Re: A thought-Why do they seem so light and cheap now?

    They may be lighter and cheaper, but the Cubs are still very good quality compared to the other stuff out there. I had been mowing with an old 15HP TSC Huskee that my brother used to mow people's yards with when he was in high school. I can tell the new LT1046 I have is much better made than that old Huskee.

    My dad has one of the old 682s still running it's original KT17 Kohler. He bought it in 1980 and uses it for mowing and gardening every year. It even still has the original deck. I think he has only bought one or two sets of blades for it in it's lifetime. He mows about 2.5 acres with it with lots of hills and many many trees. I always liked that old 682. Plenty of power to get the job done. It's the mower I learned how to mow yards on.

    When I decided it was time for me to buy a new mower, there was only one choice for me and that was deck size. I already knew I wanted a Cub just because of their quality and how much you get for the money. I couldn't even come close to getting the horse power and deck size I wanted in a JD for the same price. Plus I wanted a Kohler! I'm not knocking John Deeres. I own a 1938 model L, but that's strictly an antique that is still used around the farm. And I have plenty of seat time in other old John Deeres. But for a mower, Cub was definitely the way to go. I guess it runs in the family, my brother bought one of the Z-Force 50s last year.

  4. #4
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    82
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    North Dakota

    Default Re: A thought-Why do they seem so light and cheap now?

    Got dad's old 682 with KT17 back running last night after the overhaul job. Could not get any spark at the plugs, checked the coil...no voltage there. Messed around with the ignition switch and found that the terminals were all corroded. Cleaned that up and got voltage over to the coil, still no spark?? Thought maybe the points had oil on them or something...but you have to take the air cleaner entirely off including the base plate in order to adjust the points, just can't get a screwdriver in there to loosen the screw for the adjustment. So I did that...points were nice and clean...so not the problem there. Turned on the ignition switch and opened and closed the points with a screwdriver...a nice blue spark! Great...least the coil isn't bad. Turned over the motor with a wrench on the PTO end...the points wouldn't move. As is turned out, I had not adjusted the points on the bench, so just set them back up for .020, put the plugs back in it and it took right off. Sounds great, just have to run it and warm it up good and readjust the carburator. So there is hope for dad's old tractor yet! Now, I wish the rest of it looked like Fordlord's 682!

  5. #5
    Veteran Member JTKub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    1,560
    Location
    West Falls, NY
    Tractor
    Cub Cadet Z-Force 44

    Default Re: A thought-Why do they seem so light and cheap now?

    The cheaper, lower end stuff has been light 'n cheap for ~30yrs. Look back at some of the murray/sears and even toro LT product lines from the 1980's. Horrible stuff even back then.

    G/luck
    Joel

  6. #6
    Platinum Member Fordlords's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    951
    Location
    Erie, PA
    Tractor
    Cub Cadet 682

    Default Re: A thought-Why do they seem so light and cheap now?

    Yep, you don't see too many of those cheap Cub 182-382 LT's around-- well, I saw one on e-bay once for $50.00 [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] As far as good change, the lower end Cubs of today are probably better than those things of the past were, at least I know the pressure lubed Kohler engines are.

    Glad you got your KT17 back running again KJO. I thought about rebuilding mine before I bought the Honda engine. I went to my local small engine shop and had priced all the internals (New oversize pistons, rings, rods, crank, cam, valves, seals and gaskets etc, along with getting pricing on having the block overbored and the valve seats refaced.) All of that came to about $800.00, 3/4 of the cost of the new Honda. At that the guy at the shop and I agreed that course would not be worth the risk and I bought the Honda kit. After all that cost it would still be a KT17 with pressure-spray oiling.

    I put the complete, running KT17 engine out at my curb for $10.00 the other day, as I did not desire to sell it for parts and did not want to ship it complete and wanted it out of the garage. Within 5 minutes a guy snapped it up, I made his day [img]/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]

    -Fordlords-










  7. #7
    Bronze Member
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    Feb 2006
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    North Dakota

    Default Re: A thought-Why do they seem so light and cheap now?

    On the KT17...I think the guys at Kohler realized they had two problems...first...the lack of lubrication on the rod ends due to the oil spray system, and the other thing is the rod ends themselves. I put new rods on my dad's motor and they had a new style rod bolt with new procedures for torqueing them. It appears that motor had some problems with rod bolts coming loose. The updated KT17...the Series 2 had full pressure lubrication..a hollow crankshaft.
    Regarding the newer tractors vs. the older tractors....in my garage I have side by side, my new 3100 and my dad's old 682 (I am still tinkering with the lights, mower deck etc.). Comparing the two...I like the frame and the sheet metal on the 682 better. It looks alot more sturdy. I was trying to calculate which new Cub Cadet model would be the rough equivalent of the 682. No power steering, so that leaves out the 3000 Series. The new 2500 Series is not as heavy. The frame on the 2500 Series is definitely lighter made. The 2554 I just about bought cost almost $4000. I like the deck on the new Cubs better than the one on the old 682. I think the new decks are better made than the old ones, plus now they have the wash feature (which I suppose could be added to any deck with some effort). The wheels and rollars on the new deck have the old one beat. The 682 does not have the deck height adjustment knob as does the 3100 (this, by the way, is not a new feature on lawn tractors - my 30 plus year old JD 112 has the deck level adjustment feature). The controls on the 682 are simple, easy to use. No foot pedal for the hydro, but rather a lever on the dash. Which do I like better? I am not sure, since I haven't run my 3100 yet. The hand control seemed to work just fine as far as I can see. The old 682 has an amp meter, none on the 3100. Both have hour meters, but the 682 is that old analog dial type which is more difficult to read. A simple Hobbs meter could have replaced this user unfriendly guage. The 3100 has a low fuel light on the dash, but on the 682...you can see the gas gauge right ahead of the steering wheel, so you not only know you have gasoline, but how much. The 682 has better rear tires...much larger, both diameter and width. Sitting on the two....on the 682 you sit lower and I think it is easier to get on and off of. As far as ease of routine maintenance, I like the maintenance features of the 3100 better....gas tank is bigger and in a better location...away from the motor and battery. Adding oil on the 682...you need a wrench to get the fill plug off the Kohler KT. No oil filter to change on the KT, but you need to stand on your head to get the oil plug out when changing oil. The new Kohler has that quick oil change system, and a filter to change. Pretty nice unless that quick oil change fitting fails and drops all your oil unexpectedly. Getting at the battery, the old 682 has the upper hand, right under the seat...couldn't be easier. Finally, not that it matters...the 682 has tail lights...why didn't they put any on the 3100? If you have headlights, why wouldn't you want tail lights? I don't get that one. What if you are mowing along a ditch bank along a public road at dusk....wouldn't you want someone driving a car to see you? With all the safety features on the 3100...I can't believe they missed that one.
    Bottom line on all this rambling....if Cub Cadet sold a new 682...with a new Kohler engine...for $4000. I would have bought one. I could have gotten along ok without the power steering and hydraulic deck lift. All they needed to do, was swap the battery and gas tank locations on the new 682 ..like on the 2554 and keep the heavier frame rather than the lightweight 2554 frame. It would have been an excellent tractor that more people could afford. Would be good for heavy attachments like the snowblower and the rototiller and sturdy enough to last 30 years or better.

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