ArboristSite.com Sponsors
 
 


Troy-Bilt denies ever hearing about Splitter Cylinder Failure

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by Kensterfly, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. Kensterfly

    Kensterfly ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Texas
    I wrote Troy-bilt Customer service a few weeks ago, telling them that I was considering buying one of their splitters and wanted an update on the on-going problems of cylinders failing with explosive force. I know Avalancher has a very long thread on his difficulties dealing with MTD and others have chimed in with the same problem.

    Here is my email to Troy-Bilt followed by their response:

    I am strongly considering the purchase of a 27 ton log splitter. In my research I am finding hundreds of posts about MTD built log splitter cylinders blowing out. Of course, this potentially very serious and dangerous. I have always heard good things about your products. and was about ready to pull the trigger on this purchase. Now, I'm not so sure - not only about the apparent design flaw with the cylinder but more importantly because it appears that your company refuses to even recognize a problem. Of course, all I am hearing is coming from the side of the consumer who purchased your splitter and had it blow up in his face (and there are MANY). I have not seen any public comment from your company. The comments on several websites, as well as negative product reviews must certainly be putting a dent in your sales.
    Can you assure me that corrective measures have been made to recently built splitters? I'm hoping that your prompt reply will convince that my purchase of a Troy-Bilt Splitter is the right thing to do.
    Kind Regards,
    Ken Thompson


    Response (Andrew H.) 06/15/2011 02:37 PM
    I looked for complaints about the cylinder and could find nothing specific on this. We did recently have a recall due to some issues with a control valve brand we were using that did not allow the splitter head to return properly but in my 11 years with the company there have not been any manufacturing issues with the cylinder.


    That's it! No reassurances. No attempts at asking for my business. Not even a "Thank you for your interest and inquiry."

    I can't seem to find the threads that address this. I'd like to send the links to the guy. Maybe they will get their heads out of the sand.

    They said if they don't hear from me with 80 hours they will assume that the issue is resolved.
     
    howard270 likes this.
  2. Currently

    Currently Acadian Refugee

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    823
    Location:
    Tennessee
    If they acknowlege, it will open liability claims.

    Until someone gets killed and the guvmint gets involved, it will be business as usual.

    Until then, it is user error and we all know everyone is an idiot.

    The more serious the problem, the heavier the denial ... which by the way is a river in Egypt.

    /sarcasm

    <shrugs>
     
    Swamp Yankee likes this.
  3. blackdogon57

    blackdogon57 Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,115
    Likes Received:
    196
    Location:
    ONTARIO
    If you know the product is defective and may "blow up in your face" why would you even look at it ? Lots of good splitters out there that are less likely to cause such problems. Even if the company knows about the problem do you really think they are going to fess up ?
     
  4. Kensterfly

    Kensterfly ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Texas
    For one thing, just to see what their response would be. I also sent that two weeks ago, having just started to consider one.
    I realize that there have been some problems reported in pretty old, well used machines. That doesn't mean that they are all bad - anymore than a few rollovers meant that all Ford Explorers were out to kill you. I think you're going to see some issues in virtually anything that is made by man. I guess we just throw the dice and take our chances with every purchase we make.
     
  5. K.C.

    K.C. ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2009
    Messages:
    196
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    N. California
    The problem with this type of design is that all 27 Tons of force these splitters are supposed to be able to generate are borne against the "trunion pins" that attach the cylinder to the beam. Unfortunately it appears that the cylinder wall itself is under-engineered for the stress load being placed on it. Welding the pins on the side of the cylinder does nothing to improve its strength either (adding even more weld doesn't help in any way, shape or form either!). You could probably go for years without failure if you only split the easy stuff with a splitter of this design (and really there are several out there) but if you frequently get into the gnarly, twisted, crotched hardwoods you are more likely to see this type of failure. If you look at other splitters you will see that the better units have support at the end of the cylinder, not the side as with this design.

    Their design also provides a cost savings for the manufacturer because they only need half the beam that is required for for a full-length or "end support" design so they save on maerials and shipping costs.

    It seems that companies like this tend to ignore the fact that the internet does in fact exist and that people do converse world-wide these days. They stick their head in the sand and pretend the problem does not exist. Poor old Andrew H. was the unlucky one who had to put out the company lie in this case and now he has to live with himself... We all know the problem is not unheard of!

    However, on a second reading of his reply, I noticed he circumvents the issue by saying: "I looked for complaints about the cylinder and could find nothing specific on this." - which could translate into the notion that he did not use the correct spelling so nothing showed (oops, My bad!!), then he states: "in my 11 years with the company there have not been any manufacturing issues with the cylinder." "Manufacturing issues" perhaps not. If the part is manufactured to design there is no manufacturing issue. But design issues?? C'mon!

    Like I said, ol' Andrew is going to have to live with himself after making those statements. As was stated in an earlier thread if MTD acknowledges the problem they instantly become liable. All unfortunate facts of life these days.

    As an individual, the only thing you can do is to go with a company that will stand behind their product, and which has a more robust design that will last for years under the extreme pressures these devices can generate.

    If you are looking in the price range of one of these TB/MTD splitters, do yourself a favor & look at the Speeco brand of splitter. Screamin' deals are easily found on these and the build quality and customer support are exceptional!
     
  6. bump_r

    bump_r AboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Messages:
    922
    Likes Received:
    223
    Location:
    Ohio
    That ain't no lie. If you over-spec and under utilize, you could be OK. If, however, you use the equipment up to it's rated and advertised capacity, you've got problems. That's NOT the way it's supposed to work! Who has never stalled their splitter on occasion? Who never gets to the second stage of the pump with regularity?
     
  7. zopi

    zopi AboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    VA
    A good thumb rule...don't buy crappy tools...sort like life is too short to chase ugly....
     
  8. smokinj

    smokinj Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    139
    Location:
    Anderson, Indiana
    I have over 175 cords through mine and have never had any issue's other than replacing a few bolts with harden bolts. I have a wood burning furnace 10-12 cords a year and my splitter is used to supply another furnace and 2 inserts. 35 cords a year now for 6 years now! Dont know if its the best splitter but sure have got my use out of it and running strong.
     
  9. indiansprings

    indiansprings Firewood Purveyor

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2008
    Messages:
    4,012
    Likes Received:
    1,043
    Location:
    SW Missouri
    Mine has split well over 300 cords prolly closer to 400. No issues with the cylinder on it ........yet. I have blown the original engine and they replace it under warranty. The pump doesn't kick into the 2nd stage like it should, but I realize I have worked it to death.
    The other hydraulic splitter I have which is a Swisher is a much better splitter, I wish I had two of them. The wedge design is much more effective on the swisher.
    I'm going to replace the TB's 5hp chinese Honda with a 11hp I/C Briggs and put a 16 gpm pump on it and prolly make a wedge closer to the Swishers.
    Even though the TB has issues mine has more than paid for itself, and has split more wood than most home owners would in many years. Is there better splitters out there, absolutely, but for the money it has served it's purpose well. To the OP look at the Swisher's made in Missouri, mine has held up extremely well to commercial use and abuse. I'd would buy another one.
     
    smokinj likes this.
  10. avalancher

    avalancher Arboristsite Raconteur

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,319
    Likes Received:
    1,377
    Location:
    Newport TN
    Their response doesnt surprise me in the least.After all, the company is in business to make money, and to admit that they have a design problem would open the gates to millions of users demanding a new splitter.Sure, if you use the thing as an occasional user you probably will see years of use out of thing, but who wants to drop $1200 on a machine that will only hold up for occasional use when their competitors kick out machines in the same price range that are designed to be used rigorously?

    I bought mine rather blindly. I trusted the name of Troy Built solely upon the reputation the company earned with its earlier machines like the Troy Bilt rototiller. We had one for years, and it was a trusty and dependable machine.But like so many companies, Troy Bilt has cut corners so that they can produce machines that are affordable to the average user, of which I am not. There is little doubt that if I had stuck to an occasional cord or two a couple of times a year then the machine would still be plugging away and I would have no complaints.

    I did my homework after the cylinder busted a hole in it, and sent a few pictures along with a brief narrative to a cousin of mine that manufacturers custom excavating equipement. After looking over the pictures, he noted some pretty severe issues.
    For one, the cylinder wall is stout enough to handle the pressures, but severely undersized to withstand any twisting of the ram. When the full force of the ram is applied to the trunnions, not a problem. But as the ram travels through the wood and encounters any knots or anything that can cause some side to side motion, weight is transferred to one trunnion more than the other.And that is where the problem lies.

    Troy Built splitters rely on replaceable shims under the splitting wedge to take up any slack, and to minimize twisting of the splitting head.As the shims wear, they need to be adjusted in to keep the head from moving from side to side.Once they are beyond worn, they must be replaced and are rather spendy. I got tired of forking out the fifty bucks for the shims, and fashioned my own out of cold rolled steel, and the homemade ones lasted much longer.However, they still need to be adjusted to minimize slack in the splitting head.From experience, I noted that with the stock wedges, a full day of splitting consisting of a ten hour day resulted in a adjustment being needed twice in the one day to stay within the slack tolerance recommended by the owners manual.

    The other thing that my cousin noted, the mount that holds the trunnions is severally undersized as well. He felt that the half inch plate that holds the ram to the beam would be fine if no twisting motion was ever encountered, but the slightest amount of twist would once again prove to be more than what the plate would safely hold.Once again, twisting is the issue.
    There is little doubt in my mind that the knarly pecan I was splitting on that day was just too much for that splitter to handle as it was full of knots and twisty wood to begin with. I feel that in reality Troy Built slapped a 27 ton sticker on a machine that really shouldnt be expected to withstand that kind of pressure over the long haul, resulting in the machine failing. No matter how Troy Built wants to cut this up and hand it out, they stuck a cylinder on this splitter that far exceeded what the rest of the splitter can handle and all it took was the right circumstances to come along to make it fail.Slightly out of adjustment wedges, twisty wood, and enough use on the splitter to have weakened the trunnions to finally fail.
    There is also no doubt in my mind of several things.For one, they know they have a problem, but they also know that it is unlikely to happen while under warranty. It takes some time for that wear and fatigue to happen to the trunnions. And two, I know dang well that it matters not to them whatsoever that they have severely over rated this splitter, after all they really couldnt command the price tag on this splitter if was set up to push less than 20 tons or so,or basically what a qualified engineer felt was safe for the design of the trunnions and holding plate.

    Like so many other companies, all that is important is sales.
     
    Loot Munchausen likes this.
  11. avalancher

    avalancher Arboristsite Raconteur

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,319
    Likes Received:
    1,377
    Location:
    Newport TN
    smokinj and indiansprings have some good points. They are what I call on the "winning side of the coin". Every time some comes along and spouts off about a piece of equipement as being a pile of junk, along comes some folks who have had good luck with theirs.Heck, if you had asked me two months ago what I thought about the TB splitter, you would have gotten a response just like theirs.
    My biggest beef is not that it broke down, not in the least. Anything mechanical breaks, I dont care who builds it. My beef is that when it breaks in this fashion, you are looking at some serious dollars to repair it. The cheapest cylinder I could find was $300 plus freight. Then the mounts would have to be cut off the beam and either replaced or pounded out with a torch and a sledge hammer and welded back on.And in the end, you still got a splitter that could once again do the same thing again.In other words, IF IT HAPPENS TO YOURS, be prepared to fork out some serious dollars.It aint a cheap fix. And on top of that, it is backed by a company that couldnt care less that you are having problems once the warranty expired.

    Speeco had some problems for awhile where folks were bending the foot on their splitter.Even when the machine was out of warranty, they stepped forward and sent the customer a new beam because their reputation is worth something to them. And that is customer service and worth my time looking at their machines.
     
  12. smokinj

    smokinj Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    139
    Location:
    Anderson, Indiana

    That sucks when things like that happens....Hell right now if that happen to me I would have to swing the friskers again....Not enough money to fix or buy a new one. I have really abused mine. This is only the 3nd time of changing the oil, (royal purple) put a k and n filter on it...(so i could clean it) 3 hydro filter and first new plug. (top of the line nkp) I put 50.00 bucks into it this spring and thats it in 6 years. I also loan it out quite a bit to.
     
  13. avalancher

    avalancher Arboristsite Raconteur

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,319
    Likes Received:
    1,377
    Location:
    Newport TN
    How often did you adjust those little shims under the wedge?
     
  14. smokinj

    smokinj Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    139
    Location:
    Anderson, Indiana
    Never really didnt know anything about that till now..Didnt get a maual with it.....What I listed is the only things I have ever done.
     
  15. Mowingman

    Mowingman AboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2006
    Messages:
    555
    Likes Received:
    50
    Location:
    Denton, Tx.
    As a former MTD/Cub/ TroyBilt dealer, I can say without a doubt that anything manufacturered by MTD is poorly designed and cheaply built. The quality control at the factory is nearly non existant on anying made by MTD. It is even worse if has the Troybilt name on it. MTD has made the Troybilt line their cheapest of the cheap, to sell at big box stores. If there is a way to cheapen it up and cut a corner on quality, then they will do it to anything with the Troybilt name.
    MTD is using the old reputations of companies like Troybilt and Cub to sell this junk to the unsuspecting consumers of today.
    I had my fill after one year as a dealer. Their products, overall, were so bad that I really felt guilty selling them to my customers. So, I kicked them out the door.
    Jeff
     
  16. smokinj

    smokinj Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    139
    Location:
    Anderson, Indiana
    Not trying to be a smart @ss here but shhhhhh please dont tell my little troy built its a piece of SHHHHit! I cant replace it!
     
  17. avalancher

    avalancher Arboristsite Raconteur

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,319
    Likes Received:
    1,377
    Location:
    Newport TN
    Kind of a shame isnt it?Troybilt used to have one of the finest names out there when it came to their rototillers, now they are in the Yugo frame of mind.Same with Cub,they used to make some fine tractors.
     
  18. avalancher

    avalancher Arboristsite Raconteur

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,319
    Likes Received:
    1,377
    Location:
    Newport TN
    Well, think of it this way.Mine ran for four plus years through some of the worst wood a guy can find. Huge chunks of hickory that were noodled down to pieces that I could roll on to the splitter with a ramp from my trailer.Full of knots and twists. It ran continuous from 8am to as late as I figure I could get away with before the wife came out there with a broom and bashed my head in.It was treated with the best maintenance I know how to, oil was changed every fifteen hours, and the filter every 40, and the engine still runs like a top.Starts on the second pull every time.

    many hundreds of cords later, it gave up.Did it pay for itself?You bet. Looking back over the receipt books it payed for itself many times over.But in reality, putting me behind a splitter is probably one of the worst and best things you can do for a machine. I am religious about maintenance, but I also have the worst luck of anyone you will ever find.If it can happen, it generally has to me twice.Sometimes more.
    My whole point behind these posts were to warn others that this may happen to yours, it is more likely to happen to this model than a model constructed by another manufacturer, and if it does happen its going to be spendy to fix. If you are looking to plunk down $1000, at least consider another option like the Speeco, I think in the long run you will be happier and get more for your money and have better backing if something does go wrong.But, if you do have one of these units, keep an eye on the trunnions and the mount that it sits in. At the first sign of warpage of the mounts, address it immediately. There is little doubt in my mind that this thing gave me a warning first by showing some warpage in the mount that I failed to see, which allowed the cylinder to twist slightly and overload one of the trunnions.
    Other than the catastrophic failure of the cylinder and mount, it has behaved itself pretty good, especially when you consider all that I threw at it.
     
  19. Mowingman

    Mowingman AboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2006
    Messages:
    555
    Likes Received:
    50
    Location:
    Denton, Tx.
    Yes, it is a shame. Troybilt had the best lineup of walkbehind tillers you could buy. The current designs are similar, but the costcutting and very poor quality control shows up quickly when you actually but one to use.
    The old Cub Cadet tractors were fantastic, and my shop worked on many of them, built as far back as the 60's and 70's. It is kind of amazing that most of the time, I could get parts easier for the old tractors, than I could for the new junk Cubs.
    Jeff


    QUOTE=avalancher;3005564]Kind of a shame isnt it?Troybilt used to have one of the finest names out there when it came to their rototillers, now they are in the Yugo frame of mind.Same with Cub,they used to make some fine tractors.[/QUOTE]
     
  20. smokinj

    smokinj Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    139
    Location:
    Anderson, Indiana


    In this encomy 1000.00 feels more like 10,000 to me.... Thats why I went through and did everthing I could think to do....Will check the sheems thing tonight...Thanks for that tip! I do have a back-up honda motor and pump seating around brand new(hope I do not need it though). Darn sure know running natural gas this winter is out of the question, so wish me luck! Oh Also have a friskers as back up but 10-12 cords a year that will be a very tall order! Oh and the same thing with my saws the 192t is getting a much action as it can handle its just much cheeper to run! Man let the good times roll again! lol Its as tough as I can remember sence the early 80's!
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011

Share This Page