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Click of death.........RM Gear-case failure

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  • Bill
    Well, it finally happened..... part of the gear-case failed after 328 hrs on my RL-800. It did NOT fail at the drive-motor pinion, although it shows some wear,
    Message 1 of 15 , Jul 1, 2008
      Well, it finally happened.....
      part of the gear-case failed after 328 hrs on my RL-800.

      It did NOT fail at the drive-motor pinion, although it shows some
      wear, there was still plenty of teeth engagement to work.

      The failure occured in the gears which are 'supported' by two white
      'bushings'/bearings'.........
      two 'bearings' on each wheel or a total of four on the same shaft.
      what a junky POS, crappy-assed design.....
      designed as though it was INTENDED to fail!!!

      The 'clicking' came from only one side where the part of the gear that
      receives the 'bearing' had worn so badly that it formed a cone-shaped
      hole so the gear wobled on the shaft...
      the other side was on the verge of failing in the same manner.

      So...
      I cannabalized my $200 Woot RL-500 and swapped out the gearcase.
      I, of course had to remove the drive-motor shroud with the thermistor
      pop-rivited to it from the original 800 and put it on the replacement
      gear-case and resolder the thermistor leads.

      Just for drill, I lubed up those white bearings with "Break-Free" oil
      and put it all back together.

      While I was already into the job, I decided to make an additional
      heat-sink "shade" for the two motors with two pieces of 1/6" alum
      angle.
      I cut them so that they will also serve as a 'spreader' to prevent the
      drive motors from ever sagging inward from over-heating.
      One angle required cut corners to provide relief for the part of the
      plastic frame which have molded gussets.
      I also put TWO layers of heat-shrink tubing over both thermistor leads
      to keep them from shorting out...
      In addition, as a further precaution, I glued some 'fish-paper'
      (phenolic impregnated fiver paper) on the 'shade' in the area that
      might come in contact with the thermistor as an additional electrical
      insulation precaution.

      I oriented the drive-motor shroud containing the thermistor in the
      'valley' of the alum angle, then clamped each end of the angles to
      the ends of the two drive motors with hose clamps.

      Here is my question....
      Why did Friendly use those two crappy-assed white 'bearings' instead
      of something more substantial?
      I swear, it looks to me like it was designed to fail in order to
      generate after-sales repair income.

      What is REALLY new with the new generation RMs to eliminate this
      failure mode?
      If the answer is 'a better plastic formulation', then it's still not
      very satisfactory.

      Those white plastic 'bearings' are gonna require periodic PM lube to
      keep them from failing....
      and considering what must be done to just get to them for that purpose ...
      really is an unnecessary time-waster and it pisses me off that I'll
      have to disassemble the mower just to keep an eye on it.

      Grrrrr.

      WB
    • dannym@austin.rr.com
      Ah yes, the click of death. Those plastic bushings were recognized as a problem and fixed in later designs. They changed out the plastic bushings with proper
      Message 2 of 15 , Jul 1, 2008
        Ah yes, the click of death.

        Those plastic bushings were recognized as a problem and fixed in later designs. They changed out the plastic bushings with proper bearings, changed the plastic the whole case is made of so the motors don't soften it and sag, and changed the type of plastic the motor pinion is made out of.

        You'd think you could just get the plastic gear frame and side gears cheap, but really the other problem was motor pinion wear and heat tolerance. Unfortunately the motor pinions are not removable; you need new motors there. So it comes down to just swapping the whole thing out, otherwise the old worn pinions will eat into your brand new gears anyways.

        Yeah I know you're gonna complain about how much the mower cost initially, this is a sort of defect, how somebody should fix it for free, blah blah. I *do* feel your pain. But the mower was a completely innovative design when it came out (actually there's a LOT in here which is innovative), so it's not surprising that it's not going to be a completely maintenance-free deal in the first 5 yrs. Gas mowers break too and taking one back to the dealer to get fixed would probably run you more than this gear case will cost. The good news is the new gear case WILL be a long term fix. There's enough benefit there to justify the $ to buy a new drive train (gear case). It's not a cheap fix but not monumentally expensive either and it's really good.

        Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels, take off the tach board, unplug the motor wires, IIRC move some wires going to the rear out of the way, pull the gear case out, reverse steps with new one. Test to see if you have the motors hooked up the right way before putting the top back on (hook up controller and drive forward, if it reverses or turns them obviously you need to fix that).

        I don't think lubing the plastic is gonna help. In fact it may attract dirt which acts as an abrasive and accelerates the problem. But really the problems are inevitable no matter what you do. Getting the improved gear case is essential.

        Danny

        ---- Bill <wild_bill_howell@...> wrote:
        > Well, it finally happened.....
        > part of the gear-case failed after 328 hrs on my RL-800.
        >
        > It did NOT fail at the drive-motor pinion, although it shows some
        > wear, there was still plenty of teeth engagement to work.
        >
        > The failure occured in the gears which are 'supported' by two white
        > 'bushings'/bearings'.........
        > two 'bearings' on each wheel or a total of four on the same shaft.
        > what a junky POS, crappy-assed design.....
        > designed as though it was INTENDED to fail!!!
        >
        > The 'clicking' came from only one side where the part of the gear that
        > receives the 'bearing' had worn so badly that it formed a cone-shaped
        > hole so the gear wobled on the shaft...
        > the other side was on the verge of failing in the same manner.
        >
        > So...
        > I cannabalized my $200 Woot RL-500 and swapped out the gearcase.
        > I, of course had to remove the drive-motor shroud with the thermistor
        > pop-rivited to it from the original 800 and put it on the replacement
        > gear-case and resolder the thermistor leads.
        >
        > Just for drill, I lubed up those white bearings with "Break-Free" oil
        > and put it all back together.
        >
        > While I was already into the job, I decided to make an additional
        > heat-sink "shade" for the two motors with two pieces of 1/6" alum
        > angle.
        > I cut them so that they will also serve as a 'spreader' to prevent the
        > drive motors from ever sagging inward from over-heating.
        > One angle required cut corners to provide relief for the part of the
        > plastic frame which have molded gussets.
        > I also put TWO layers of heat-shrink tubing over both thermistor leads
        > to keep them from shorting out...
        > In addition, as a further precaution, I glued some 'fish-paper'
        > (phenolic impregnated fiver paper) on the 'shade' in the area that
        > might come in contact with the thermistor as an additional electrical
        > insulation precaution.
        >
        > I oriented the drive-motor shroud containing the thermistor in the
        > 'valley' of the alum angle, then clamped each end of the angles to
        > the ends of the two drive motors with hose clamps.
        >
        > Here is my question....
        > Why did Friendly use those two crappy-assed white 'bearings' instead
        > of something more substantial?
        > I swear, it looks to me like it was designed to fail in order to
        > generate after-sales repair income.
        >
        > What is REALLY new with the new generation RMs to eliminate this
        > failure mode?
        > If the answer is 'a better plastic formulation', then it's still not
        > very satisfactory.
        >
        > Those white plastic 'bearings' are gonna require periodic PM lube to
        > keep them from failing....
        > and considering what must be done to just get to them for that purpose ...
        > really is an unnecessary time-waster and it pisses me off that I'll
        > have to disassemble the mower just to keep an eye on it.
        >
        > Grrrrr.
        >
        > WB
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
      • Bill
        Message 3 of 15 , Jul 1, 2008
          < Yeah I know you're gonna complain>
          --------------------------
          Has my reputation preceed me? ;-)
          ============================
          > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels,>
          ---------------------------------------
          Not ~THAT~ easy because I have 'dualy-wheels', two knobby wheels
          bolted together which eliminated the stuck-on-stupid behavior in my
          sandy soil.
          First the wheels must be unbolted before I can get to the snap ring.

          Maybe I wasn't clear, but my RL-800 now has the gear-case robbed from
          my low-hours RL-500.
          The only original RL800 parts are one drive-motor shroud with the
          thermistor attaced.

          Now...........
          about the new gear-case.....
          I just want to get it clear in my mind.....
          the new gear-case has replaced the white plastic bearings with
          ball bearings?
          If not ball bearings, then what is it?
          I understand the plastic composition has changed for the frame,
          pinion/motor assy and the gears, but I need a clear explanation of
          what has replaced the white 'bearings' before I plunk my money down on
          a frame/new gear-case/ drive-motor assy.

          BTW, I'm an engineer and this stuff interests me...........
          especially now that I have a NEED. :-)

          TIA

          WB




          --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, <dannym@...> wrote:
          >
          > Ah yes, the click of death.
          >
          > Those plastic bushings were recognized as a problem and fixed in
          later designs. They changed out the plastic bushings with proper
          bearings, changed the plastic the whole case is made of so the motors
          don't soften it and sag, and changed the type of plastic the motor
          pinion is made out of.
          >
          > You'd think you could just get the plastic gear frame and side gears
          cheap, but really the other problem was motor pinion wear and heat
          tolerance. Unfortunately the motor pinions are not removable; you
          need new motors there. So it comes down to just swapping the whole
          thing out, otherwise the old worn pinions will eat into your brand new
          gears anyways.
          >
          > Yeah I know you're gonna complain about how much the mower cost
          initially, this is a sort of defect, how somebody should fix it for
          free, blah blah. I *do* feel your pain. But the mower was a
          completely innovative design when it came out (actually there's a LOT
          in here which is innovative), so it's not surprising that it's not
          going to be a completely maintenance-free deal in the first 5 yrs.
          Gas mowers break too and taking one back to the dealer to get fixed
          would probably run you more than this gear case will cost. The good
          news is the new gear case WILL be a long term fix. There's enough
          benefit there to justify the $ to buy a new drive train (gear case).
          It's not a cheap fix but not monumentally expensive either and it's
          really good.
          >
          > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels, take off
          the tach board, unplug the motor wires, IIRC move some wires going to
          the rear out of the way, pull the gear case out, reverse steps with
          new one. Test to see if you have the motors hooked up the right way
          before putting the top back on (hook up controller and drive forward,
          if it reverses or turns them obviously you need to fix that).
          >
          > I don't think lubing the plastic is gonna help. In fact it may
          attract dirt which acts as an abrasive and accelerates the problem.
          But really the problems are inevitable no matter what you do. Getting
          the improved gear case is essential.
          >
          > Danny
          >
          > ---- Bill <wild_bill_howell@...> wrote:
          > > Well, it finally happened.....
          > > part of the gear-case failed after 328 hrs on my RL-800.
          > >
          > > It did NOT fail at the drive-motor pinion, although it shows some
          > > wear, there was still plenty of teeth engagement to work.
          > >
          > > The failure occured in the gears which are 'supported' by two white
          > > 'bushings'/bearings'.........
          > > two 'bearings' on each wheel or a total of four on the same shaft.
          > > what a junky POS, crappy-assed design.....
          > > designed as though it was INTENDED to fail!!!
          > >
          > > The 'clicking' came from only one side where the part of the gear that
          > > receives the 'bearing' had worn so badly that it formed a cone-shaped
          > > hole so the gear wobled on the shaft...
          > > the other side was on the verge of failing in the same manner.
          > >
          > > So...
          > > I cannabalized my $200 Woot RL-500 and swapped out the gearcase.
          > > I, of course had to remove the drive-motor shroud with the thermistor
          > > pop-rivited to it from the original 800 and put it on the replacement
          > > gear-case and resolder the thermistor leads.
          > >
          > > Just for drill, I lubed up those white bearings with "Break-Free" oil
          > > and put it all back together.
          > >
          > > While I was already into the job, I decided to make an additional
          > > heat-sink "shade" for the two motors with two pieces of 1/6" alum
          > > angle.
          > > I cut them so that they will also serve as a 'spreader' to prevent the
          > > drive motors from ever sagging inward from over-heating.
          > > One angle required cut corners to provide relief for the part of the
          > > plastic frame which have molded gussets.
          > > I also put TWO layers of heat-shrink tubing over both thermistor leads
          > > to keep them from shorting out...
          > > In addition, as a further precaution, I glued some 'fish-paper'
          > > (phenolic impregnated fiver paper) on the 'shade' in the area that
          > > might come in contact with the thermistor as an additional electrical
          > > insulation precaution.
          > >
          > > I oriented the drive-motor shroud containing the thermistor in the
          > > 'valley' of the alum angle, then clamped each end of the angles to
          > > the ends of the two drive motors with hose clamps.
          > >
          > > Here is my question....
          > > Why did Friendly use those two crappy-assed white 'bearings' instead
          > > of something more substantial?
          > > I swear, it looks to me like it was designed to fail in order to
          > > generate after-sales repair income.
          > >
          > > What is REALLY new with the new generation RMs to eliminate this
          > > failure mode?
          > > If the answer is 'a better plastic formulation', then it's still not
          > > very satisfactory.
          > >
          > > Those white plastic 'bearings' are gonna require periodic PM lube to
          > > keep them from failing....
          > > and considering what must be done to just get to them for that
          purpose ...
          > > really is an unnecessary time-waster and it pisses me off that I'll
          > > have to disassemble the mower just to keep an eye on it.
          > >
          > > Grrrrr.
          > >
          > > WB
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > ------------------------------------
          > >
          > > Yahoo! Groups Links
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
        • toolman_d
          What s the retail price for gear case assembly? It seems like this, 2nd to the battery (and possibly the controller for older models) is the most replaced
          Message 4 of 15 , Jul 1, 2008
            What's the retail price for gear case assembly? It seems like this,
            2nd to the battery (and possibly the controller for older models) is
            the most replaced part? I'll probably be due in the next year or
            two...

            Also what is part #125 "Gear Frame Support"? How does this work?

            --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "Bill" <wild_bill_howell@...> wrote:
            >
            > < Yeah I know you're gonna complain>
            > --------------------------
            > Has my reputation preceed me? ;-)
            > ============================
            > > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels,>
            > ---------------------------------------
            > Not ~THAT~ easy because I have 'dualy-wheels', two knobby wheels
            > bolted together which eliminated the stuck-on-stupid behavior in my
            > sandy soil.
            > First the wheels must be unbolted before I can get to the snap ring.
            >
            > Maybe I wasn't clear, but my RL-800 now has the gear-case robbed
            from
            > my low-hours RL-500.
            > The only original RL800 parts are one drive-motor shroud with the
            > thermistor attaced.
            >
            > Now...........
            > about the new gear-case.....
            > I just want to get it clear in my mind.....
            > the new gear-case has replaced the white plastic bearings with
            > ball bearings?
            > If not ball bearings, then what is it?
            > I understand the plastic composition has changed for the frame,
            > pinion/motor assy and the gears, but I need a clear explanation of
            > what has replaced the white 'bearings' before I plunk my money down
            on
            > a frame/new gear-case/ drive-motor assy.
            >
            > BTW, I'm an engineer and this stuff interests me...........
            > especially now that I have a NEED. :-)
            >
            > TIA
            >
            > WB
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, <dannym@> wrote:
            > >
            > > Ah yes, the click of death.
            > >
            > > Those plastic bushings were recognized as a problem and fixed in
            > later designs. They changed out the plastic bushings with proper
            > bearings, changed the plastic the whole case is made of so the
            motors
            > don't soften it and sag, and changed the type of plastic the motor
            > pinion is made out of.
            > >
            > > You'd think you could just get the plastic gear frame and side
            gears
            > cheap, but really the other problem was motor pinion wear and heat
            > tolerance. Unfortunately the motor pinions are not removable; you
            > need new motors there. So it comes down to just swapping the whole
            > thing out, otherwise the old worn pinions will eat into your brand
            new
            > gears anyways.
            > >
            > > Yeah I know you're gonna complain about how much the mower cost
            > initially, this is a sort of defect, how somebody should fix it for
            > free, blah blah. I *do* feel your pain. But the mower was a
            > completely innovative design when it came out (actually there's a
            LOT
            > in here which is innovative), so it's not surprising that it's not
            > going to be a completely maintenance-free deal in the first 5 yrs.
            > Gas mowers break too and taking one back to the dealer to get fixed
            > would probably run you more than this gear case will cost. The good
            > news is the new gear case WILL be a long term fix. There's enough
            > benefit there to justify the $ to buy a new drive train (gear
            case).
            > It's not a cheap fix but not monumentally expensive either and it's
            > really good.
            > >
            > > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels, take
            off
            > the tach board, unplug the motor wires, IIRC move some wires going
            to
            > the rear out of the way, pull the gear case out, reverse steps with
            > new one. Test to see if you have the motors hooked up the right way
            > before putting the top back on (hook up controller and drive
            forward,
            > if it reverses or turns them obviously you need to fix that).
            > >
            > > I don't think lubing the plastic is gonna help. In fact it may
            > attract dirt which acts as an abrasive and accelerates the problem.
            > But really the problems are inevitable no matter what you do.
            Getting
            > the improved gear case is essential.
            > >
            > > Danny
            > >
            > > ---- Bill <wild_bill_howell@> wrote:
            > > > Well, it finally happened.....
            > > > part of the gear-case failed after 328 hrs on my RL-800.
            > > >
            > > > It did NOT fail at the drive-motor pinion, although it shows
            some
            > > > wear, there was still plenty of teeth engagement to work.
            > > >
            > > > The failure occured in the gears which are 'supported' by two
            white
            > > > 'bushings'/bearings'.........
            > > > two 'bearings' on each wheel or a total of four on the same
            shaft.
            > > > what a junky POS, crappy-assed design.....
            > > > designed as though it was INTENDED to fail!!!
            > > >
            > > > The 'clicking' came from only one side where the part of the
            gear that
            > > > receives the 'bearing' had worn so badly that it formed a cone-
            shaped
            > > > hole so the gear wobled on the shaft...
            > > > the other side was on the verge of failing in the same manner.
            > > >
            > > > So...
            > > > I cannabalized my $200 Woot RL-500 and swapped out the gearcase.
            > > > I, of course had to remove the drive-motor shroud with the
            thermistor
            > > > pop-rivited to it from the original 800 and put it on the
            replacement
            > > > gear-case and resolder the thermistor leads.
            > > >
            > > > Just for drill, I lubed up those white bearings with "Break-
            Free" oil
            > > > and put it all back together.
            > > >
            > > > While I was already into the job, I decided to make an
            additional
            > > > heat-sink "shade" for the two motors with two pieces of 1/6"
            alum
            > > > angle.
            > > > I cut them so that they will also serve as a 'spreader' to
            prevent the
            > > > drive motors from ever sagging inward from over-heating.
            > > > One angle required cut corners to provide relief for the part
            of the
            > > > plastic frame which have molded gussets.
            > > > I also put TWO layers of heat-shrink tubing over both
            thermistor leads
            > > > to keep them from shorting out...
            > > > In addition, as a further precaution, I glued some 'fish-paper'
            > > > (phenolic impregnated fiver paper) on the 'shade' in the area
            that
            > > > might come in contact with the thermistor as an additional
            electrical
            > > > insulation precaution.
            > > >
            > > > I oriented the drive-motor shroud containing the thermistor in
            the
            > > > 'valley' of the alum angle, then clamped each end of the angles
            to
            > > > the ends of the two drive motors with hose clamps.
            > > >
            > > > Here is my question....
            > > > Why did Friendly use those two crappy-assed white 'bearings'
            instead
            > > > of something more substantial?
            > > > I swear, it looks to me like it was designed to fail in order to
            > > > generate after-sales repair income.
            > > >
            > > > What is REALLY new with the new generation RMs to eliminate this
            > > > failure mode?
            > > > If the answer is 'a better plastic formulation', then it's
            still not
            > > > very satisfactory.
            > > >
            > > > Those white plastic 'bearings' are gonna require periodic PM
            lube to
            > > > keep them from failing....
            > > > and considering what must be done to just get to them for that
            > purpose ...
            > > > really is an unnecessary time-waster and it pisses me off that
            I'll
            > > > have to disassemble the mower just to keep an eye on it.
            > > >
            > > > Grrrrr.
            > > >
            > > > WB
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > > > ------------------------------------
            > > >
            > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >
            > >
            >
          • dannym@austin.rr.com
            The white plastic bushings were replaced with proper sealed ball bearings on all gears. These will never give you trouble. The gear frame that holds all the
            Message 5 of 15 , Jul 1, 2008
              The "white plastic bushings" were replaced with proper sealed ball bearings on all gears. These will never give you trouble.

              The gear frame that holds all the gears and motors and axle together had trouble where the motor- mounted only on one side, so it hangs- would get hot, soften the plastic, and sag permanently. That leaves the motor's pinion only halfway touching, it caused the gears to skip and grind and both wore out. I had this happen twice. In fact, this MAY be what happened to you. They fixed this with a higher temp plastic gear frame.

              The motor pinion- the little gear on the output shaft- was not made of a sufficiently durable plastic and could wear out even without gear frame sagging or the plastic bushings getting sloppy. They fixed that by switching to a tougher plastic.

              Don't try to just fix the one problem you have, get the whole gear case.

              Arrg... I don't remember who I did the gear case replacement with. He's on the list, at least he WAS, I'm surprised he didn't respond yet. Maybe he's off the list now, in which case I'll have to look up his email.

              Danny

              ---- Bill <wild_bill_howell@...> wrote:
              > < Yeah I know you're gonna complain>
              > --------------------------
              > Has my reputation preceed me? ;-)
              > ============================
              > > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels,>
              > ---------------------------------------
              > Not ~THAT~ easy because I have 'dualy-wheels', two knobby wheels
              > bolted together which eliminated the stuck-on-stupid behavior in my
              > sandy soil.
              > First the wheels must be unbolted before I can get to the snap ring.
              >
              > Maybe I wasn't clear, but my RL-800 now has the gear-case robbed from
              > my low-hours RL-500.
              > The only original RL800 parts are one drive-motor shroud with the
              > thermistor attaced.
              >
              > Now...........
              > about the new gear-case.....
              > I just want to get it clear in my mind.....
              > the new gear-case has replaced the white plastic bearings with
              > ball bearings?
              > If not ball bearings, then what is it?
              > I understand the plastic composition has changed for the frame,
              > pinion/motor assy and the gears, but I need a clear explanation of
              > what has replaced the white 'bearings' before I plunk my money down on
              > a frame/new gear-case/ drive-motor assy.
              >
              > BTW, I'm an engineer and this stuff interests me...........
              > especially now that I have a NEED. :-)
              >
              > TIA
              >
              > WB
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, <dannym@...> wrote:
              > >
              > > Ah yes, the click of death.
              > >
              > > Those plastic bushings were recognized as a problem and fixed in
              > later designs. They changed out the plastic bushings with proper
              > bearings, changed the plastic the whole case is made of so the motors
              > don't soften it and sag, and changed the type of plastic the motor
              > pinion is made out of.
              > >
              > > You'd think you could just get the plastic gear frame and side gears
              > cheap, but really the other problem was motor pinion wear and heat
              > tolerance. Unfortunately the motor pinions are not removable; you
              > need new motors there. So it comes down to just swapping the whole
              > thing out, otherwise the old worn pinions will eat into your brand new
              > gears anyways.
              > >
              > > Yeah I know you're gonna complain about how much the mower cost
              > initially, this is a sort of defect, how somebody should fix it for
              > free, blah blah. I *do* feel your pain. But the mower was a
              > completely innovative design when it came out (actually there's a LOT
              > in here which is innovative), so it's not surprising that it's not
              > going to be a completely maintenance-free deal in the first 5 yrs.
              > Gas mowers break too and taking one back to the dealer to get fixed
              > would probably run you more than this gear case will cost. The good
              > news is the new gear case WILL be a long term fix. There's enough
              > benefit there to justify the $ to buy a new drive train (gear case).
              > It's not a cheap fix but not monumentally expensive either and it's
              > really good.
              > >
              > > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels, take off
              > the tach board, unplug the motor wires, IIRC move some wires going to
              > the rear out of the way, pull the gear case out, reverse steps with
              > new one. Test to see if you have the motors hooked up the right way
              > before putting the top back on (hook up controller and drive forward,
              > if it reverses or turns them obviously you need to fix that).
              > >
              > > I don't think lubing the plastic is gonna help. In fact it may
              > attract dirt which acts as an abrasive and accelerates the problem.
              > But really the problems are inevitable no matter what you do. Getting
              > the improved gear case is essential.
              > >
              > > Danny
              > >
              > > ---- Bill <wild_bill_howell@...> wrote:
              > > > Well, it finally happened.....
              > > > part of the gear-case failed after 328 hrs on my RL-800.
              > > >
              > > > It did NOT fail at the drive-motor pinion, although it shows some
              > > > wear, there was still plenty of teeth engagement to work.
              > > >
              > > > The failure occured in the gears which are 'supported' by two white
              > > > 'bushings'/bearings'.........
              > > > two 'bearings' on each wheel or a total of four on the same shaft.
              > > > what a junky POS, crappy-assed design.....
              > > > designed as though it was INTENDED to fail!!!
              > > >
              > > > The 'clicking' came from only one side where the part of the gear that
              > > > receives the 'bearing' had worn so badly that it formed a cone-shaped
              > > > hole so the gear wobled on the shaft...
              > > > the other side was on the verge of failing in the same manner.
              > > >
              > > > So...
              > > > I cannabalized my $200 Woot RL-500 and swapped out the gearcase.
              > > > I, of course had to remove the drive-motor shroud with the thermistor
              > > > pop-rivited to it from the original 800 and put it on the replacement
              > > > gear-case and resolder the thermistor leads.
              > > >
              > > > Just for drill, I lubed up those white bearings with "Break-Free" oil
              > > > and put it all back together.
              > > >
              > > > While I was already into the job, I decided to make an additional
              > > > heat-sink "shade" for the two motors with two pieces of 1/6" alum
              > > > angle.
              > > > I cut them so that they will also serve as a 'spreader' to prevent the
              > > > drive motors from ever sagging inward from over-heating.
              > > > One angle required cut corners to provide relief for the part of the
              > > > plastic frame which have molded gussets.
              > > > I also put TWO layers of heat-shrink tubing over both thermistor leads
              > > > to keep them from shorting out...
              > > > In addition, as a further precaution, I glued some 'fish-paper'
              > > > (phenolic impregnated fiver paper) on the 'shade' in the area that
              > > > might come in contact with the thermistor as an additional electrical
              > > > insulation precaution.
              > > >
              > > > I oriented the drive-motor shroud containing the thermistor in the
              > > > 'valley' of the alum angle, then clamped each end of the angles to
              > > > the ends of the two drive motors with hose clamps.
              > > >
              > > > Here is my question....
              > > > Why did Friendly use those two crappy-assed white 'bearings' instead
              > > > of something more substantial?
              > > > I swear, it looks to me like it was designed to fail in order to
              > > > generate after-sales repair income.
              > > >
              > > > What is REALLY new with the new generation RMs to eliminate this
              > > > failure mode?
              > > > If the answer is 'a better plastic formulation', then it's still not
              > > > very satisfactory.
              > > >
              > > > Those white plastic 'bearings' are gonna require periodic PM lube to
              > > > keep them from failing....
              > > > and considering what must be done to just get to them for that
              > purpose ...
              > > > really is an unnecessary time-waster and it pisses me off that I'll
              > > > have to disassemble the mower just to keep an eye on it.
              > > >
              > > > Grrrrr.
              > > >
              > > > WB
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > ------------------------------------
              > > >
              > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > >
              >
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
            • Bill
              ... had trouble where the motor- mounted only on one side, so it hangs- would get hot, soften the plastic, and sag permanently. That leaves the motor s pinion
              Message 6 of 15 , Jul 1, 2008
                > The gear frame that holds all the gears and motors and axle together
                had trouble where the motor- mounted only on one side, so it hangs-
                would get hot, soften the plastic, and sag permanently. That leaves
                the motor's pinion only halfway touching, it caused the gears to skip
                and grind and both wore out. I had this happen twice. In fact, this
                MAY be what happened to you.>
                ------------------------------
                That was NOT what happened to me.........
                although, it was the mode of failure I expected with the experiences
                I've observed here on this list.

                As I said in my original post, I made a 'motor shade'/'heat sink'
                which also serves as a 'spreader' between each inside surface of the
                plastic boss onto which the drive motors are mounted.
                Even if the plastic becomes hot enough to sag.....
                (and w/o support, it WILL sag toward the interior and lifting the
                drive motor and pinion off the first set of gears.)
                My mod completely eliminates that possibility because the
                'shade'heat-sink/spreader' will prevent any movement (sagging) toward
                the center.
                Think of it as an add-on brace cut to a tolerance in length
                (side-to-side) to prevent any movement.
                BTW I also considered that heat from this 'motor
                shade/heat-sink/spreader' possibly could ADD enough heat to the area
                where it touches the inside of the frame and cause a failure...
                This is another area where I used fish-paper....this time to serve as
                both a thermal barrier and shim.
                I don't believe the motors will EVER sag with this modification.
                If the motor mount on one side tries to move toward the interior,
                (lifting the pinion off its gear-mate) the 'spreader' will apply the
                force on the other side in the opposite direction, and pressing the
                pinion on that opposite side AGAINST it's mating gear preventing a sag.
                It can not move! (at least not side-to side)


                Speaking of bearings.....
                all the OTHER rotating parts of my RL-800's gear-case (& I believe the
                500) HAVE sealed ball bearings.
                It's just that ONE set of gears that don't......
                and THAT'S WHAT FAILED.
                I want to buy JUST that shaft/bearing and gear set.

                What's my cost?

                WB

                --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, <dannym@...> wrote:
                >
                > The "white plastic bushings" were replaced with proper sealed ball
                bearings on all gears. These will never give you trouble.
                >
                > The gear frame that holds all the gears and motors and axle together
                had trouble where the motor- mounted only on one side, so it hangs-
                would get hot, soften the plastic, and sag permanently. That leaves
                the motor's pinion only halfway touching, it caused the gears to skip
                and grind and both wore out. I had this happen twice. In fact, this
                MAY be what happened to you. They fixed this with a higher temp
                plastic gear frame.
                >
                > The motor pinion- the little gear on the output shaft- was not made
                of a sufficiently durable plastic and could wear out even without gear
                frame sagging or the plastic bushings getting sloppy. They fixed that
                by switching to a tougher plastic.
                >
                > Don't try to just fix the one problem you have, get the whole gear case.
                >
                > Arrg... I don't remember who I did the gear case replacement with.
                He's on the list, at least he WAS, I'm surprised he didn't respond
                yet. Maybe he's off the list now, in which case I'll have to look up
                his email.
                >
                > Danny
                >
                > ---- Bill <wild_bill_howell@...> wrote:
                > > < Yeah I know you're gonna complain>
                > > --------------------------
                > > Has my reputation preceed me? ;-)
                > > ============================
                > > > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels,>
                > > ---------------------------------------
                > > Not ~THAT~ easy because I have 'dualy-wheels', two knobby wheels
                > > bolted together which eliminated the stuck-on-stupid behavior in my
                > > sandy soil.
                > > First the wheels must be unbolted before I can get to the snap ring.
                > >
                > > Maybe I wasn't clear, but my RL-800 now has the gear-case robbed from
                > > my low-hours RL-500.
                > > The only original RL800 parts are one drive-motor shroud with the
                > > thermistor attaced.
                > >
                > > Now...........
                > > about the new gear-case.....
                > > I just want to get it clear in my mind.....
                > > the new gear-case has replaced the white plastic bearings with
                > > ball bearings?
                > > If not ball bearings, then what is it?
                > > I understand the plastic composition has changed for the frame,
                > > pinion/motor assy and the gears, but I need a clear explanation of
                > > what has replaced the white 'bearings' before I plunk my money down on
                > > a frame/new gear-case/ drive-motor assy.
                > >
                > > BTW, I'm an engineer and this stuff interests me...........
                > > especially now that I have a NEED. :-)
                > >
                > > TIA
                > >
                > > WB
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, <dannym@> wrote:
                > > >
                > > > Ah yes, the click of death.
                > > >
                > > > Those plastic bushings were recognized as a problem and fixed in
                > > later designs. They changed out the plastic bushings with proper
                > > bearings, changed the plastic the whole case is made of so the motors
                > > don't soften it and sag, and changed the type of plastic the motor
                > > pinion is made out of.
                > > >
                > > > You'd think you could just get the plastic gear frame and side gears
                > > cheap, but really the other problem was motor pinion wear and heat
                > > tolerance. Unfortunately the motor pinions are not removable; you
                > > need new motors there. So it comes down to just swapping the whole
                > > thing out, otherwise the old worn pinions will eat into your brand new
                > > gears anyways.
                > > >
                > > > Yeah I know you're gonna complain about how much the mower cost
                > > initially, this is a sort of defect, how somebody should fix it for
                > > free, blah blah. I *do* feel your pain. But the mower was a
                > > completely innovative design when it came out (actually there's a LOT
                > > in here which is innovative), so it's not surprising that it's not
                > > going to be a completely maintenance-free deal in the first 5 yrs.
                > > Gas mowers break too and taking one back to the dealer to get fixed
                > > would probably run you more than this gear case will cost. The good
                > > news is the new gear case WILL be a long term fix. There's enough
                > > benefit there to justify the $ to buy a new drive train (gear case).
                > > It's not a cheap fix but not monumentally expensive either and it's
                > > really good.
                > > >
                > > > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels, take off
                > > the tach board, unplug the motor wires, IIRC move some wires going to
                > > the rear out of the way, pull the gear case out, reverse steps with
                > > new one. Test to see if you have the motors hooked up the right way
                > > before putting the top back on (hook up controller and drive forward,
                > > if it reverses or turns them obviously you need to fix that).
                > > >
                > > > I don't think lubing the plastic is gonna help. In fact it may
                > > attract dirt which acts as an abrasive and accelerates the problem.
                > > But really the problems are inevitable no matter what you do. Getting
                > > the improved gear case is essential.
                > > >
                > > > Danny
                > > >
                > > > ---- Bill <wild_bill_howell@> wrote:
                > > > > Well, it finally happened.....
                > > > > part of the gear-case failed after 328 hrs on my RL-800.
                > > > >
                > > > > It did NOT fail at the drive-motor pinion, although it shows some
                > > > > wear, there was still plenty of teeth engagement to work.
                > > > >
                > > > > The failure occured in the gears which are 'supported' by two
                white
                > > > > 'bushings'/bearings'.........
                > > > > two 'bearings' on each wheel or a total of four on the same shaft.
                > > > > what a junky POS, crappy-assed design.....
                > > > > designed as though it was INTENDED to fail!!!
                > > > >
                > > > > The 'clicking' came from only one side where the part of the
                gear that
                > > > > receives the 'bearing' had worn so badly that it formed a
                cone-shaped
                > > > > hole so the gear wobled on the shaft...
                > > > > the other side was on the verge of failing in the same manner.
                > > > >
                > > > > So...
                > > > > I cannabalized my $200 Woot RL-500 and swapped out the gearcase.
                > > > > I, of course had to remove the drive-motor shroud with the
                thermistor
                > > > > pop-rivited to it from the original 800 and put it on the
                replacement
                > > > > gear-case and resolder the thermistor leads.
                > > > >
                > > > > Just for drill, I lubed up those white bearings with
                "Break-Free" oil
                > > > > and put it all back together.
                > > > >
                > > > > While I was already into the job, I decided to make an additional
                > > > > heat-sink "shade" for the two motors with two pieces of 1/6" alum
                > > > > angle.
                > > > > I cut them so that they will also serve as a 'spreader' to
                prevent the
                > > > > drive motors from ever sagging inward from over-heating.
                > > > > One angle required cut corners to provide relief for the part
                of the
                > > > > plastic frame which have molded gussets.
                > > > > I also put TWO layers of heat-shrink tubing over both
                thermistor leads
                > > > > to keep them from shorting out...
                > > > > In addition, as a further precaution, I glued some 'fish-paper'
                > > > > (phenolic impregnated fiver paper) on the 'shade' in the area that
                > > > > might come in contact with the thermistor as an additional
                electrical
                > > > > insulation precaution.
                > > > >
                > > > > I oriented the drive-motor shroud containing the thermistor in the
                > > > > 'valley' of the alum angle, then clamped each end of the angles to
                > > > > the ends of the two drive motors with hose clamps.
                > > > >
                > > > > Here is my question....
                > > > > Why did Friendly use those two crappy-assed white 'bearings'
                instead
                > > > > of something more substantial?
                > > > > I swear, it looks to me like it was designed to fail in order to
                > > > > generate after-sales repair income.
                > > > >
                > > > > What is REALLY new with the new generation RMs to eliminate this
                > > > > failure mode?
                > > > > If the answer is 'a better plastic formulation', then it's
                still not
                > > > > very satisfactory.
                > > > >
                > > > > Those white plastic 'bearings' are gonna require periodic PM
                lube to
                > > > > keep them from failing....
                > > > > and considering what must be done to just get to them for that
                > > purpose ...
                > > > > really is an unnecessary time-waster and it pisses me off that
                I'll
                > > > > have to disassemble the mower just to keep an eye on it.
                > > > >
                > > > > Grrrrr.
                > > > >
                > > > > WB
                > > > >
                > > > >
                > > > >
                > > > >
                > > > >
                > > > >
                > > > >
                > > > >
                > > > >
                > > > > ------------------------------------
                > > > >
                > > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                > > > >
                > > > >
                > > > >
                > > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > ------------------------------------
                > >
                > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                > >
                > >
                > >
                >
              • Matt Cooper
                Bill, Give me a call... I can take care of you.. :o) Matt Cooper, Owner of AutoMate Tools Friendly Robotics Authorized Sales and Service, New RL and RM
                Message 7 of 15 , Jul 1, 2008
                  Bill,

                  Give me a call... I can take care of you.. :o)


                  Matt Cooper, Owner of AutoMate Tools
                  Friendly Robotics Authorized Sales and Service,
                  New RL and RM Robomowers & Durable Greenhouses
                  Service specializing repairs and complete/partial upgrades*
                  (Software, circuit boards, gear case upgrades, etc - a full service company)Phone # (214) 538-0409, Located at Mesquite, Texas - Serving all USA and Canada.

                  *Increasing the acceleration/speed performance of RL500's and other RL model improvements.

                  Do you have an RL850 or RL1000 that moves in a straight line while "wagging" its front end to the left and right? - - This is a rare condition. You probably have an overheated component on your main board. I have experience fixing components on main boards - so save your money and don't replace your board, call me with your main board part number (viewable on your display).

                  Robomower demonstrations for the Dallas/Fort Worth Area and elsewhere when possible.

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • vistijuncher345
                  ... while wagging its front end to the left and right? - - This is a rare condition. You probably have an overheated component on your main board. I have
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jul 2, 2008
                    > Do you have an RL850 or RL1000 that moves in a straight line
                    while "wagging" its front end to the left and right? - - This is a
                    rare condition. You probably have an overheated component on your
                    main board. I have experience fixing components on main boards - so
                    save your money and don't replace your board, call me with your main
                    board part number (viewable on your display).


                    Hey! That's me!
                    Bought the RL1000 three weeks ago and is in fact listing up the
                    peculiarities at present.
                    It seems to be somewhat related to the 'Wide angle' parameter. If set
                    to 180 cm (Danish setup) it will actually go in circles instead of
                    the wagging. And mainly backwards.
                    Software version 4.1-08 (dated 18 Oct. 07).
                    In addition I am not too fond of the charger.
                    1. It's slow.
                    2. Charging stops before it reaches 28V.
                    I have changed the calibrated voltage so I now get 27.9V. In addition
                    that means that the lowest acceptable voltage was increased by about
                    1V which I am not at all unhappy about.
                    Discharging to below 24V (settings allow 22V-23V) will in my opinion
                    wear the batteries too fast.

                    Has anyone tried to dis-assemble the software?
                  • Matt Cooper
                    I need to know your main board version too. Is your dealer local to you? Did you buy directly from a dealer or buy slightly used equipment from someone else?
                    Message 9 of 15 , Jul 2, 2008
                      I need to know your main board version too. Is your dealer local to you? Did you buy directly from a dealer or buy slightly used equipment from someone else?

                      vistijuncher345 <vistijuncher345@...> wrote: > Do you have an RL850 or RL1000 that moves in a straight line
                      while "wagging" its front end to the left and right? - - This is a
                      rare condition. You probably have an overheated component on your
                      main board. I have experience fixing components on main boards - so
                      save your money and don't replace your board, call me with your main
                      board part number (viewable on your display).


                      Hey! That's me!
                      Bought the RL1000 three weeks ago and is in fact listing up the
                      peculiarities at present.
                      It seems to be somewhat related to the 'Wide angle' parameter. If set
                      to 180 cm (Danish setup) it will actually go in circles instead of
                      the wagging. And mainly backwards.
                      Software version 4.1-08 (dated 18 Oct. 07).
                      In addition I am not too fond of the charger.
                      1. It's slow.
                      2. Charging stops before it reaches 28V.
                      I have changed the calibrated voltage so I now get 27.9V. In addition
                      that means that the lowest acceptable voltage was increased by about
                      1V which I am not at all unhappy about.
                      Discharging to below 24V (settings allow 22V-23V) will in my opinion
                      wear the batteries too fast.

                      Has anyone tried to dis-assemble the software?


                      ------------------------------------

                      Yahoo! Groups Links






                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • vistijuncher345
                      ... you? Did you buy directly from a dealer or buy slightly used equipment from someone else? Local dealer. New item. Display reads ESBC050D 193.
                      Message 10 of 15 , Jul 2, 2008
                        --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, Matt Cooper <mattcoop2@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > I need to know your main board version too. Is your dealer local to
                        you? Did you buy directly from a dealer or buy slightly used equipment
                        from someone else?

                        Local dealer. New item. Display reads ESBC050D 193.
                      • Bill
                        I just opened up my mowers again and the RL-500 gear-case uses the white plastic bearings on all two shafts and four gears. The RL-800 has the white plastic
                        Message 11 of 15 , Jul 2, 2008
                          I just opened up my mowers again and the RL-500 gear-case uses the
                          white plastic'bearings' on all two shafts and four gears.

                          The RL-800 has the white plastic 'bearing' on only one shaft
                          containing two gears...the other RL800 shaft has sealed ball bearings
                          pressed into the two gears.

                          Here is what I need:
                          Part No SPP0009B Description: Gear Shafts Replacement (two shafts
                          with gears, snap rings and spacers/washers)

                          Matt.....I placed a call with you this morning and would appreciate a
                          response.

                          TIA

                          WB
                          --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "Bill" <wild_bill_howell@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > < Yeah I know you're gonna complain>
                          > --------------------------
                          > Has my reputation preceed me? ;-)
                          > ============================
                          > > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels,>
                          > ---------------------------------------
                          > Not ~THAT~ easy because I have 'dualy-wheels', two knobby wheels
                          > bolted together which eliminated the stuck-on-stupid behavior in my
                          > sandy soil.
                          > First the wheels must be unbolted before I can get to the snap ring.
                          >
                          > Maybe I wasn't clear, but my RL-800 now has the gear-case robbed from
                          > my low-hours RL-500.
                          > The only original RL800 parts are one drive-motor shroud with the
                          > thermistor attaced.
                          >
                          > Now...........
                          > about the new gear-case.....
                          > I just want to get it clear in my mind.....
                          > the new gear-case has replaced the white plastic bearings with
                          > ball bearings?
                          > If not ball bearings, then what is it?
                          > I understand the plastic composition has changed for the frame,
                          > pinion/motor assy and the gears, but I need a clear explanation of
                          > what has replaced the white 'bearings' before I plunk my money down on
                          > a frame/new gear-case/ drive-motor assy.
                          >
                          > BTW, I'm an engineer and this stuff interests me...........
                          > especially now that I have a NEED. :-)
                          >
                          > TIA
                          >
                          > WB
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, <dannym@> wrote:
                          > >
                          > > Ah yes, the click of death.
                          > >
                          > > Those plastic bushings were recognized as a problem and fixed in
                          > later designs. They changed out the plastic bushings with proper
                          > bearings, changed the plastic the whole case is made of so the motors
                          > don't soften it and sag, and changed the type of plastic the motor
                          > pinion is made out of.
                          > >
                          > > You'd think you could just get the plastic gear frame and side gears
                          > cheap, but really the other problem was motor pinion wear and heat
                          > tolerance. Unfortunately the motor pinions are not removable; you
                          > need new motors there. So it comes down to just swapping the whole
                          > thing out, otherwise the old worn pinions will eat into your brand new
                          > gears anyways.
                          > >
                          > > Yeah I know you're gonna complain about how much the mower cost
                          > initially, this is a sort of defect, how somebody should fix it for
                          > free, blah blah. I *do* feel your pain. But the mower was a
                          > completely innovative design when it came out (actually there's a LOT
                          > in here which is innovative), so it's not surprising that it's not
                          > going to be a completely maintenance-free deal in the first 5 yrs.
                          > Gas mowers break too and taking one back to the dealer to get fixed
                          > would probably run you more than this gear case will cost. The good
                          > news is the new gear case WILL be a long term fix. There's enough
                          > benefit there to justify the $ to buy a new drive train (gear case).
                          > It's not a cheap fix but not monumentally expensive either and it's
                          > really good.
                          > >
                          > > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels, take off
                          > the tach board, unplug the motor wires, IIRC move some wires going to
                          > the rear out of the way, pull the gear case out, reverse steps with
                          > new one. Test to see if you have the motors hooked up the right way
                          > before putting the top back on (hook up controller and drive forward,
                          > if it reverses or turns them obviously you need to fix that).
                          > >
                          > > I don't think lubing the plastic is gonna help. In fact it may
                          > attract dirt which acts as an abrasive and accelerates the problem.
                          > But really the problems are inevitable no matter what you do. Getting
                          > the improved gear case is essential.
                          > >
                          > > Danny
                          > >
                          > > ---- Bill <wild_bill_howell@> wrote:
                          > > > Well, it finally happened.....
                          > > > part of the gear-case failed after 328 hrs on my RL-800.
                          > > >
                          > > > It did NOT fail at the drive-motor pinion, although it shows some
                          > > > wear, there was still plenty of teeth engagement to work.
                          > > >
                          > > > The failure occured in the gears which are 'supported' by two white
                          > > > 'bushings'/bearings'.........
                          > > > two 'bearings' on each wheel or a total of four on the same shaft.
                          > > > what a junky POS, crappy-assed design.....
                          > > > designed as though it was INTENDED to fail!!!
                          > > >
                          > > > The 'clicking' came from only one side where the part of the
                          gear that
                          > > > receives the 'bearing' had worn so badly that it formed a
                          cone-shaped
                          > > > hole so the gear wobled on the shaft...
                          > > > the other side was on the verge of failing in the same manner.
                          > > >
                          > > > So...
                          > > > I cannabalized my $200 Woot RL-500 and swapped out the gearcase.
                          > > > I, of course had to remove the drive-motor shroud with the
                          thermistor
                          > > > pop-rivited to it from the original 800 and put it on the
                          replacement
                          > > > gear-case and resolder the thermistor leads.
                          > > >
                          > > > Just for drill, I lubed up those white bearings with
                          "Break-Free" oil
                          > > > and put it all back together.
                          > > >
                          > > > While I was already into the job, I decided to make an additional
                          > > > heat-sink "shade" for the two motors with two pieces of 1/6" alum
                          > > > angle.
                          > > > I cut them so that they will also serve as a 'spreader' to
                          prevent the
                          > > > drive motors from ever sagging inward from over-heating.
                          > > > One angle required cut corners to provide relief for the part of the
                          > > > plastic frame which have molded gussets.
                          > > > I also put TWO layers of heat-shrink tubing over both thermistor
                          leads
                          > > > to keep them from shorting out...
                          > > > In addition, as a further precaution, I glued some 'fish-paper'
                          > > > (phenolic impregnated fiver paper) on the 'shade' in the area that
                          > > > might come in contact with the thermistor as an additional
                          electrical
                          > > > insulation precaution.
                          > > >
                          > > > I oriented the drive-motor shroud containing the thermistor in the
                          > > > 'valley' of the alum angle, then clamped each end of the angles to
                          > > > the ends of the two drive motors with hose clamps.
                          > > >
                          > > > Here is my question....
                          > > > Why did Friendly use those two crappy-assed white 'bearings' instead
                          > > > of something more substantial?
                          > > > I swear, it looks to me like it was designed to fail in order to
                          > > > generate after-sales repair income.
                          > > >
                          > > > What is REALLY new with the new generation RMs to eliminate this
                          > > > failure mode?
                          > > > If the answer is 'a better plastic formulation', then it's still not
                          > > > very satisfactory.
                          > > >
                          > > > Those white plastic 'bearings' are gonna require periodic PM lube to
                          > > > keep them from failing....
                          > > > and considering what must be done to just get to them for that
                          > purpose ...
                          > > > really is an unnecessary time-waster and it pisses me off that I'll
                          > > > have to disassemble the mower just to keep an eye on it.
                          > > >
                          > > > Grrrrr.
                          > > >
                          > > > WB
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > > ------------------------------------
                          > > >
                          > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          >
                        • dannym@austin.rr.com
                          Matt s a good guy, he s the one who supplied me my new updated gear case. Good deal and everything was explained directly with no sales b.s. Danny
                          Message 12 of 15 , Jul 2, 2008
                            Matt's a good guy, he's the one who supplied me my new updated gear case. Good deal and everything was explained directly with no sales b.s.

                            Danny

                            ---- Bill <wild_bill_howell@...> wrote:
                            > I just opened up my mowers again and the RL-500 gear-case uses the
                            > white plastic'bearings' on all two shafts and four gears.
                            >
                            > The RL-800 has the white plastic 'bearing' on only one shaft
                            > containing two gears...the other RL800 shaft has sealed ball bearings
                            > pressed into the two gears.
                            >
                            > Here is what I need:
                            > Part No SPP0009B Description: Gear Shafts Replacement (two shafts
                            > with gears, snap rings and spacers/washers)
                            >
                            > Matt.....I placed a call with you this morning and would appreciate a
                            > response.
                            >
                            > TIA
                            >
                            > WB
                            > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "Bill" <wild_bill_howell@...> wrote:
                            > >
                            > > < Yeah I know you're gonna complain>
                            > > --------------------------
                            > > Has my reputation preceed me? ;-)
                            > > ============================
                            > > > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels,>
                            > > ---------------------------------------
                            > > Not ~THAT~ easy because I have 'dualy-wheels', two knobby wheels
                            > > bolted together which eliminated the stuck-on-stupid behavior in my
                            > > sandy soil.
                            > > First the wheels must be unbolted before I can get to the snap ring.
                            > >
                            > > Maybe I wasn't clear, but my RL-800 now has the gear-case robbed from
                            > > my low-hours RL-500.
                            > > The only original RL800 parts are one drive-motor shroud with the
                            > > thermistor attaced.
                            > >
                            > > Now...........
                            > > about the new gear-case.....
                            > > I just want to get it clear in my mind.....
                            > > the new gear-case has replaced the white plastic bearings with
                            > > ball bearings?
                            > > If not ball bearings, then what is it?
                            > > I understand the plastic composition has changed for the frame,
                            > > pinion/motor assy and the gears, but I need a clear explanation of
                            > > what has replaced the white 'bearings' before I plunk my money down on
                            > > a frame/new gear-case/ drive-motor assy.
                            > >
                            > > BTW, I'm an engineer and this stuff interests me...........
                            > > especially now that I have a NEED. :-)
                            > >
                            > > TIA
                            > >
                            > > WB
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, <dannym@> wrote:
                            > > >
                            > > > Ah yes, the click of death.
                            > > >
                            > > > Those plastic bushings were recognized as a problem and fixed in
                            > > later designs. They changed out the plastic bushings with proper
                            > > bearings, changed the plastic the whole case is made of so the motors
                            > > don't soften it and sag, and changed the type of plastic the motor
                            > > pinion is made out of.
                            > > >
                            > > > You'd think you could just get the plastic gear frame and side gears
                            > > cheap, but really the other problem was motor pinion wear and heat
                            > > tolerance. Unfortunately the motor pinions are not removable; you
                            > > need new motors there. So it comes down to just swapping the whole
                            > > thing out, otherwise the old worn pinions will eat into your brand new
                            > > gears anyways.
                            > > >
                            > > > Yeah I know you're gonna complain about how much the mower cost
                            > > initially, this is a sort of defect, how somebody should fix it for
                            > > free, blah blah. I *do* feel your pain. But the mower was a
                            > > completely innovative design when it came out (actually there's a LOT
                            > > in here which is innovative), so it's not surprising that it's not
                            > > going to be a completely maintenance-free deal in the first 5 yrs.
                            > > Gas mowers break too and taking one back to the dealer to get fixed
                            > > would probably run you more than this gear case will cost. The good
                            > > news is the new gear case WILL be a long term fix. There's enough
                            > > benefit there to justify the $ to buy a new drive train (gear case).
                            > > It's not a cheap fix but not monumentally expensive either and it's
                            > > really good.
                            > > >
                            > > > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels, take off
                            > > the tach board, unplug the motor wires, IIRC move some wires going to
                            > > the rear out of the way, pull the gear case out, reverse steps with
                            > > new one. Test to see if you have the motors hooked up the right way
                            > > before putting the top back on (hook up controller and drive forward,
                            > > if it reverses or turns them obviously you need to fix that).
                            > > >
                            > > > I don't think lubing the plastic is gonna help. In fact it may
                            > > attract dirt which acts as an abrasive and accelerates the problem.
                            > > But really the problems are inevitable no matter what you do. Getting
                            > > the improved gear case is essential.
                            > > >
                            > > > Danny
                            > > >
                            > > > ---- Bill <wild_bill_howell@> wrote:
                            > > > > Well, it finally happened.....
                            > > > > part of the gear-case failed after 328 hrs on my RL-800.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > It did NOT fail at the drive-motor pinion, although it shows some
                            > > > > wear, there was still plenty of teeth engagement to work.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > The failure occured in the gears which are 'supported' by two white
                            > > > > 'bushings'/bearings'.........
                            > > > > two 'bearings' on each wheel or a total of four on the same shaft.
                            > > > > what a junky POS, crappy-assed design.....
                            > > > > designed as though it was INTENDED to fail!!!
                            > > > >
                            > > > > The 'clicking' came from only one side where the part of the
                            > gear that
                            > > > > receives the 'bearing' had worn so badly that it formed a
                            > cone-shaped
                            > > > > hole so the gear wobled on the shaft...
                            > > > > the other side was on the verge of failing in the same manner.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > So...
                            > > > > I cannabalized my $200 Woot RL-500 and swapped out the gearcase.
                            > > > > I, of course had to remove the drive-motor shroud with the
                            > thermistor
                            > > > > pop-rivited to it from the original 800 and put it on the
                            > replacement
                            > > > > gear-case and resolder the thermistor leads.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > Just for drill, I lubed up those white bearings with
                            > "Break-Free" oil
                            > > > > and put it all back together.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > While I was already into the job, I decided to make an additional
                            > > > > heat-sink "shade" for the two motors with two pieces of 1/6" alum
                            > > > > angle.
                            > > > > I cut them so that they will also serve as a 'spreader' to
                            > prevent the
                            > > > > drive motors from ever sagging inward from over-heating.
                            > > > > One angle required cut corners to provide relief for the part of the
                            > > > > plastic frame which have molded gussets.
                            > > > > I also put TWO layers of heat-shrink tubing over both thermistor
                            > leads
                            > > > > to keep them from shorting out...
                            > > > > In addition, as a further precaution, I glued some 'fish-paper'
                            > > > > (phenolic impregnated fiver paper) on the 'shade' in the area that
                            > > > > might come in contact with the thermistor as an additional
                            > electrical
                            > > > > insulation precaution.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > I oriented the drive-motor shroud containing the thermistor in the
                            > > > > 'valley' of the alum angle, then clamped each end of the angles to
                            > > > > the ends of the two drive motors with hose clamps.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > Here is my question....
                            > > > > Why did Friendly use those two crappy-assed white 'bearings' instead
                            > > > > of something more substantial?
                            > > > > I swear, it looks to me like it was designed to fail in order to
                            > > > > generate after-sales repair income.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > What is REALLY new with the new generation RMs to eliminate this
                            > > > > failure mode?
                            > > > > If the answer is 'a better plastic formulation', then it's still not
                            > > > > very satisfactory.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > Those white plastic 'bearings' are gonna require periodic PM lube to
                            > > > > keep them from failing....
                            > > > > and considering what must be done to just get to them for that
                            > > purpose ...
                            > > > > really is an unnecessary time-waster and it pisses me off that I'll
                            > > > > have to disassemble the mower just to keep an eye on it.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > Grrrrr.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > WB
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > > ------------------------------------
                            > > > >
                            > > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > ------------------------------------
                            >
                            > Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >
                            >
                            >
                          • Matt Cooper
                            Sorry Bill... I ll call you now! :o) Bill wrote: I just opened up my mowers again and the RL-500 gear-case uses the white
                            Message 13 of 15 , Jul 2, 2008
                              Sorry Bill... I'll call you now! :o)

                              Bill <wild_bill_howell@...> wrote: I just opened up my mowers again and the RL-500 gear-case uses the
                              white plastic'bearings' on all two shafts and four gears.

                              The RL-800 has the white plastic 'bearing' on only one shaft
                              containing two gears...the other RL800 shaft has sealed ball bearings
                              pressed into the two gears.

                              Here is what I need:
                              Part No SPP0009B Description: Gear Shafts Replacement (two shafts
                              with gears, snap rings and spacers/washers)

                              Matt.....I placed a call with you this morning and would appreciate a
                              response.

                              TIA

                              WB
                              --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "Bill" wrote:
                              >
                              > < Yeah I know you're gonna complain>
                              > --------------------------
                              > Has my reputation preceed me? ;-)
                              > ============================
                              > > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels,>
                              > ---------------------------------------
                              > Not ~THAT~ easy because I have 'dualy-wheels', two knobby wheels
                              > bolted together which eliminated the stuck-on-stupid behavior in my
                              > sandy soil.
                              > First the wheels must be unbolted before I can get to the snap ring.
                              >
                              > Maybe I wasn't clear, but my RL-800 now has the gear-case robbed from
                              > my low-hours RL-500.
                              > The only original RL800 parts are one drive-motor shroud with the
                              > thermistor attaced.
                              >
                              > Now...........
                              > about the new gear-case.....
                              > I just want to get it clear in my mind.....
                              > the new gear-case has replaced the white plastic bearings with
                              > ball bearings?
                              > If not ball bearings, then what is it?
                              > I understand the plastic composition has changed for the frame,
                              > pinion/motor assy and the gears, but I need a clear explanation of
                              > what has replaced the white 'bearings' before I plunk my money down on
                              > a frame/new gear-case/ drive-motor assy.
                              >
                              > BTW, I'm an engineer and this stuff interests me...........
                              > especially now that I have a NEED. :-)
                              >
                              > TIA
                              >
                              > WB
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, wrote:
                              > >
                              > > Ah yes, the click of death.
                              > >
                              > > Those plastic bushings were recognized as a problem and fixed in
                              > later designs. They changed out the plastic bushings with proper
                              > bearings, changed the plastic the whole case is made of so the motors
                              > don't soften it and sag, and changed the type of plastic the motor
                              > pinion is made out of.
                              > >
                              > > You'd think you could just get the plastic gear frame and side gears
                              > cheap, but really the other problem was motor pinion wear and heat
                              > tolerance. Unfortunately the motor pinions are not removable; you
                              > need new motors there. So it comes down to just swapping the whole
                              > thing out, otherwise the old worn pinions will eat into your brand new
                              > gears anyways.
                              > >
                              > > Yeah I know you're gonna complain about how much the mower cost
                              > initially, this is a sort of defect, how somebody should fix it for
                              > free, blah blah. I *do* feel your pain. But the mower was a
                              > completely innovative design when it came out (actually there's a LOT
                              > in here which is innovative), so it's not surprising that it's not
                              > going to be a completely maintenance-free deal in the first 5 yrs.
                              > Gas mowers break too and taking one back to the dealer to get fixed
                              > would probably run you more than this gear case will cost. The good
                              > news is the new gear case WILL be a long term fix. There's enough
                              > benefit there to justify the $ to buy a new drive train (gear case).
                              > It's not a cheap fix but not monumentally expensive either and it's
                              > really good.
                              > >
                              > > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels, take off
                              > the tach board, unplug the motor wires, IIRC move some wires going to
                              > the rear out of the way, pull the gear case out, reverse steps with
                              > new one. Test to see if you have the motors hooked up the right way
                              > before putting the top back on (hook up controller and drive forward,
                              > if it reverses or turns them obviously you need to fix that).
                              > >
                              > > I don't think lubing the plastic is gonna help. In fact it may
                              > attract dirt which acts as an abrasive and accelerates the problem.
                              > But really the problems are inevitable no matter what you do. Getting
                              > the improved gear case is essential.
                              > >
                              > > Danny
                              > >
                              > > ---- Bill wrote:
                              > > > Well, it finally happened.....
                              > > > part of the gear-case failed after 328 hrs on my RL-800.
                              > > >
                              > > > It did NOT fail at the drive-motor pinion, although it shows some
                              > > > wear, there was still plenty of teeth engagement to work.
                              > > >
                              > > > The failure occured in the gears which are 'supported' by two white
                              > > > 'bushings'/bearings'.........
                              > > > two 'bearings' on each wheel or a total of four on the same shaft.
                              > > > what a junky POS, crappy-assed design.....
                              > > > designed as though it was INTENDED to fail!!!
                              > > >
                              > > > The 'clicking' came from only one side where the part of the
                              gear that
                              > > > receives the 'bearing' had worn so badly that it formed a
                              cone-shaped
                              > > > hole so the gear wobled on the shaft...
                              > > > the other side was on the verge of failing in the same manner.
                              > > >
                              > > > So...
                              > > > I cannabalized my $200 Woot RL-500 and swapped out the gearcase.
                              > > > I, of course had to remove the drive-motor shroud with the
                              thermistor
                              > > > pop-rivited to it from the original 800 and put it on the
                              replacement
                              > > > gear-case and resolder the thermistor leads.
                              > > >
                              > > > Just for drill, I lubed up those white bearings with
                              "Break-Free" oil
                              > > > and put it all back together.
                              > > >
                              > > > While I was already into the job, I decided to make an additional
                              > > > heat-sink "shade" for the two motors with two pieces of 1/6" alum
                              > > > angle.
                              > > > I cut them so that they will also serve as a 'spreader' to
                              prevent the
                              > > > drive motors from ever sagging inward from over-heating.
                              > > > One angle required cut corners to provide relief for the part of the
                              > > > plastic frame which have molded gussets.
                              > > > I also put TWO layers of heat-shrink tubing over both thermistor
                              leads
                              > > > to keep them from shorting out...
                              > > > In addition, as a further precaution, I glued some 'fish-paper'
                              > > > (phenolic impregnated fiver paper) on the 'shade' in the area that
                              > > > might come in contact with the thermistor as an additional
                              electrical
                              > > > insulation precaution.
                              > > >
                              > > > I oriented the drive-motor shroud containing the thermistor in the
                              > > > 'valley' of the alum angle, then clamped each end of the angles to
                              > > > the ends of the two drive motors with hose clamps.
                              > > >
                              > > > Here is my question....
                              > > > Why did Friendly use those two crappy-assed white 'bearings' instead
                              > > > of something more substantial?
                              > > > I swear, it looks to me like it was designed to fail in order to
                              > > > generate after-sales repair income.
                              > > >
                              > > > What is REALLY new with the new generation RMs to eliminate this
                              > > > failure mode?
                              > > > If the answer is 'a better plastic formulation', then it's still not
                              > > > very satisfactory.
                              > > >
                              > > > Those white plastic 'bearings' are gonna require periodic PM lube to
                              > > > keep them from failing....
                              > > > and considering what must be done to just get to them for that
                              > purpose ...
                              > > > really is an unnecessary time-waster and it pisses me off that I'll
                              > > > have to disassemble the mower just to keep an eye on it.
                              > > >
                              > > > Grrrrr.
                              > > >
                              > > > WB
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > > > ------------------------------------
                              > > >
                              > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > > >
                              > >
                              >



                              ------------------------------------

                              Yahoo! Groups Links






                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Bill
                              Thanks for the call, Matt. Matt is one of the good guys..... smart & knows his stuff....straight-shooter and no BS. I sent you the order last night, Matt. BTW,
                              Message 14 of 15 , Jul 3, 2008
                                Thanks for the call, Matt.

                                Matt is one of the good guys.....
                                smart & knows his stuff....straight-shooter and no BS.

                                I sent you the order last night, Matt.

                                BTW, I found the source of my 800's intermittent, fluky behavior and
                                error codes....
                                Two cold solder joints on the main board....
                                the drive-motors (male) stak-on pins, both small ones.
                                (No doubt exacerbated by my tugging on them to disconnect the motor
                                leads when taking the gear-case out of the mower) :-(

                                I decided to go with the entire gear-case, motors and all, to bring
                                the mower up-to-date, mechanically.

                                Thanks again, Matt and everyone else who inputted on this problem.

                                Everyone have a fun & safe fourth.

                                WB



                                .--- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, Matt Cooper <mattcoop2@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Sorry Bill... I'll call you now! :o)
                                >
                                > Bill <wild_bill_howell@...> wrote: I just opened up my mowers again
                                and the RL-500 gear-case uses the
                                > white plastic'bearings' on all two shafts and four gears.
                                >
                                > The RL-800 has the white plastic 'bearing' on only one shaft
                                > containing two gears...the other RL800 shaft has sealed ball bearings
                                > pressed into the two gears.
                                >
                                > Here is what I need:
                                > Part No SPP0009B Description: Gear Shafts Replacement (two shafts
                                > with gears, snap rings and spacers/washers)
                                >
                                > Matt.....I placed a call with you this morning and would appreciate a
                                > response.
                                >
                                > TIA
                                >
                                > WB
                                > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "Bill" wrote:
                                > >
                                > > < Yeah I know you're gonna complain>
                                > > --------------------------
                                > > Has my reputation preceed me? ;-)
                                > > ============================
                                > > > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels,>
                                > > ---------------------------------------
                                > > Not ~THAT~ easy because I have 'dualy-wheels', two knobby wheels
                                > > bolted together which eliminated the stuck-on-stupid behavior in my
                                > > sandy soil.
                                > > First the wheels must be unbolted before I can get to the snap ring.
                                > >
                                > > Maybe I wasn't clear, but my RL-800 now has the gear-case robbed from
                                > > my low-hours RL-500.
                                > > The only original RL800 parts are one drive-motor shroud with the
                                > > thermistor attaced.
                                > >
                                > > Now...........
                                > > about the new gear-case.....
                                > > I just want to get it clear in my mind.....
                                > > the new gear-case has replaced the white plastic bearings with
                                > > ball bearings?
                                > > If not ball bearings, then what is it?
                                > > I understand the plastic composition has changed for the frame,
                                > > pinion/motor assy and the gears, but I need a clear explanation of
                                > > what has replaced the white 'bearings' before I plunk my money down on
                                > > a frame/new gear-case/ drive-motor assy.
                                > >
                                > > BTW, I'm an engineer and this stuff interests me...........
                                > > especially now that I have a NEED. :-)
                                > >
                                > > TIA
                                > >
                                > > WB
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, wrote:
                                > > >
                                > > > Ah yes, the click of death.
                                > > >
                                > > > Those plastic bushings were recognized as a problem and fixed in
                                > > later designs. They changed out the plastic bushings with proper
                                > > bearings, changed the plastic the whole case is made of so the motors
                                > > don't soften it and sag, and changed the type of plastic the motor
                                > > pinion is made out of.
                                > > >
                                > > > You'd think you could just get the plastic gear frame and side gears
                                > > cheap, but really the other problem was motor pinion wear and heat
                                > > tolerance. Unfortunately the motor pinions are not removable; you
                                > > need new motors there. So it comes down to just swapping the whole
                                > > thing out, otherwise the old worn pinions will eat into your brand new
                                > > gears anyways.
                                > > >
                                > > > Yeah I know you're gonna complain about how much the mower cost
                                > > initially, this is a sort of defect, how somebody should fix it for
                                > > free, blah blah. I *do* feel your pain. But the mower was a
                                > > completely innovative design when it came out (actually there's a LOT
                                > > in here which is innovative), so it's not surprising that it's not
                                > > going to be a completely maintenance-free deal in the first 5 yrs.
                                > > Gas mowers break too and taking one back to the dealer to get fixed
                                > > would probably run you more than this gear case will cost. The good
                                > > news is the new gear case WILL be a long term fix. There's enough
                                > > benefit there to justify the $ to buy a new drive train (gear case).
                                > > It's not a cheap fix but not monumentally expensive either and it's
                                > > really good.
                                > > >
                                > > > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels, take off
                                > > the tach board, unplug the motor wires, IIRC move some wires going to
                                > > the rear out of the way, pull the gear case out, reverse steps with
                                > > new one. Test to see if you have the motors hooked up the right way
                                > > before putting the top back on (hook up controller and drive forward,
                                > > if it reverses or turns them obviously you need to fix that).
                                > > >
                                > > > I don't think lubing the plastic is gonna help. In fact it may
                                > > attract dirt which acts as an abrasive and accelerates the problem.
                                > > But really the problems are inevitable no matter what you do. Getting
                                > > the improved gear case is essential.
                                > > >
                                > > > Danny
                                > > >
                                > > > ---- Bill wrote:
                                > > > > Well, it finally happened.....
                                > > > > part of the gear-case failed after 328 hrs on my RL-800.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > It did NOT fail at the drive-motor pinion, although it shows some
                                > > > > wear, there was still plenty of teeth engagement to work.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > The failure occured in the gears which are 'supported' by two
                                white
                                > > > > 'bushings'/bearings'.........
                                > > > > two 'bearings' on each wheel or a total of four on the same shaft.
                                > > > > what a junky POS, crappy-assed design.....
                                > > > > designed as though it was INTENDED to fail!!!
                                > > > >
                                > > > > The 'clicking' came from only one side where the part of the
                                > gear that
                                > > > > receives the 'bearing' had worn so badly that it formed a
                                > cone-shaped
                                > > > > hole so the gear wobled on the shaft...
                                > > > > the other side was on the verge of failing in the same manner.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > So...
                                > > > > I cannabalized my $200 Woot RL-500 and swapped out the gearcase.
                                > > > > I, of course had to remove the drive-motor shroud with the
                                > thermistor
                                > > > > pop-rivited to it from the original 800 and put it on the
                                > replacement
                                > > > > gear-case and resolder the thermistor leads.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Just for drill, I lubed up those white bearings with
                                > "Break-Free" oil
                                > > > > and put it all back together.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > While I was already into the job, I decided to make an additional
                                > > > > heat-sink "shade" for the two motors with two pieces of 1/6" alum
                                > > > > angle.
                                > > > > I cut them so that they will also serve as a 'spreader' to
                                > prevent the
                                > > > > drive motors from ever sagging inward from over-heating.
                                > > > > One angle required cut corners to provide relief for the part
                                of the
                                > > > > plastic frame which have molded gussets.
                                > > > > I also put TWO layers of heat-shrink tubing over both thermistor
                                > leads
                                > > > > to keep them from shorting out...
                                > > > > In addition, as a further precaution, I glued some 'fish-paper'
                                > > > > (phenolic impregnated fiver paper) on the 'shade' in the area that
                                > > > > might come in contact with the thermistor as an additional
                                > electrical
                                > > > > insulation precaution.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > I oriented the drive-motor shroud containing the thermistor in the
                                > > > > 'valley' of the alum angle, then clamped each end of the angles to
                                > > > > the ends of the two drive motors with hose clamps.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Here is my question....
                                > > > > Why did Friendly use those two crappy-assed white 'bearings'
                                instead
                                > > > > of something more substantial?
                                > > > > I swear, it looks to me like it was designed to fail in order to
                                > > > > generate after-sales repair income.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > What is REALLY new with the new generation RMs to eliminate this
                                > > > > failure mode?
                                > > > > If the answer is 'a better plastic formulation', then it's
                                still not
                                > > > > very satisfactory.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Those white plastic 'bearings' are gonna require periodic PM
                                lube to
                                > > > > keep them from failing....
                                > > > > and considering what must be done to just get to them for that
                                > > purpose ...
                                > > > > really is an unnecessary time-waster and it pisses me off that
                                I'll
                                > > > > have to disassemble the mower just to keep an eye on it.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Grrrrr.
                                > > > >
                                > > > > WB
                                > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > > > ------------------------------------
                                > > > >
                                > > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > > >
                                > > >
                                > >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > ------------------------------------
                                >
                                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                >
                              • Bill
                                Also what is part #125 Gear Frame Support ? How does this work? ... My original 500 & 800 don t have that. I suspect it is a new addition to
                                Message 15 of 15 , Jul 3, 2008
                                  <> Also what is part #125 "Gear Frame Support"? How does this work?>
                                  --------------------------
                                  My original 500 & 800 don't have that.
                                  I suspect it is a new addition to prevent/limit frame flex when the
                                  mower is traversing on rough ground and/or frame flex induced when the
                                  the mower is changing directions or flex induced by the side-to-side
                                  'wig-wag' dance when the mower is orienting itself.

                                  Matt suggested what may be a better solution.....
                                  a fix used by another list member who broke his frame by stepping on
                                  the mower.

                                  On the side of the frame is a triangular cut-out.....
                                  drill holes in the chassis (NOT the frame)to accept wire ties and
                                  secure the frame tightly to the chassis with the wire ties.
                                  This supposes, of course, that all mowing height adjustments be
                                  managed by the front wheel height and/or the choice between high-cut
                                  or low-cut blades.

                                  WB


                                  --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "toolman_d" <toolman_d@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > What's the retail price for gear case assembly? It seems like this,
                                  > 2nd to the battery (and possibly the controller for older models) is
                                  > the most replaced part? I'll probably be due in the next year or
                                  > two...
                                  >
                                  > Also what is part #125 "Gear Frame Support"? How does this work?
                                  >
                                  > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "Bill" <wild_bill_howell@> wrote:
                                  > >
                                  > > < Yeah I know you're gonna complain>
                                  > > --------------------------
                                  > > Has my reputation preceed me? ;-)
                                  > > ============================
                                  > > > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels,>
                                  > > ---------------------------------------
                                  > > Not ~THAT~ easy because I have 'dualy-wheels', two knobby wheels
                                  > > bolted together which eliminated the stuck-on-stupid behavior in my
                                  > > sandy soil.
                                  > > First the wheels must be unbolted before I can get to the snap ring.
                                  > >
                                  > > Maybe I wasn't clear, but my RL-800 now has the gear-case robbed
                                  > from
                                  > > my low-hours RL-500.
                                  > > The only original RL800 parts are one drive-motor shroud with the
                                  > > thermistor attaced.
                                  > >
                                  > > Now...........
                                  > > about the new gear-case.....
                                  > > I just want to get it clear in my mind.....
                                  > > the new gear-case has replaced the white plastic bearings with
                                  > > ball bearings?
                                  > > If not ball bearings, then what is it?
                                  > > I understand the plastic composition has changed for the frame,
                                  > > pinion/motor assy and the gears, but I need a clear explanation of
                                  > > what has replaced the white 'bearings' before I plunk my money down
                                  > on
                                  > > a frame/new gear-case/ drive-motor assy.
                                  > >
                                  > > BTW, I'm an engineer and this stuff interests me...........
                                  > > especially now that I have a NEED. :-)
                                  > >
                                  > > TIA
                                  > >
                                  > > WB
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > >
                                  > > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, <dannym@> wrote:
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Ah yes, the click of death.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Those plastic bushings were recognized as a problem and fixed in
                                  > > later designs. They changed out the plastic bushings with proper
                                  > > bearings, changed the plastic the whole case is made of so the
                                  > motors
                                  > > don't soften it and sag, and changed the type of plastic the motor
                                  > > pinion is made out of.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > You'd think you could just get the plastic gear frame and side
                                  > gears
                                  > > cheap, but really the other problem was motor pinion wear and heat
                                  > > tolerance. Unfortunately the motor pinions are not removable; you
                                  > > need new motors there. So it comes down to just swapping the whole
                                  > > thing out, otherwise the old worn pinions will eat into your brand
                                  > new
                                  > > gears anyways.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Yeah I know you're gonna complain about how much the mower cost
                                  > > initially, this is a sort of defect, how somebody should fix it for
                                  > > free, blah blah. I *do* feel your pain. But the mower was a
                                  > > completely innovative design when it came out (actually there's a
                                  > LOT
                                  > > in here which is innovative), so it's not surprising that it's not
                                  > > going to be a completely maintenance-free deal in the first 5 yrs.
                                  > > Gas mowers break too and taking one back to the dealer to get fixed
                                  > > would probably run you more than this gear case will cost. The good
                                  > > news is the new gear case WILL be a long term fix. There's enough
                                  > > benefit there to justify the $ to buy a new drive train (gear
                                  > case).
                                  > > It's not a cheap fix but not monumentally expensive either and it's
                                  > > really good.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Swapping the gear case is relatively easy- pull the wheels, take
                                  > off
                                  > > the tach board, unplug the motor wires, IIRC move some wires going
                                  > to
                                  > > the rear out of the way, pull the gear case out, reverse steps with
                                  > > new one. Test to see if you have the motors hooked up the right way
                                  > > before putting the top back on (hook up controller and drive
                                  > forward,
                                  > > if it reverses or turns them obviously you need to fix that).
                                  > > >
                                  > > > I don't think lubing the plastic is gonna help. In fact it may
                                  > > attract dirt which acts as an abrasive and accelerates the problem.
                                  > > But really the problems are inevitable no matter what you do.
                                  > Getting
                                  > > the improved gear case is essential.
                                  > > >
                                  > > > Danny
                                  > > >
                                  > > > ---- Bill <wild_bill_howell@> wrote:
                                  > > > > Well, it finally happened.....
                                  > > > > part of the gear-case failed after 328 hrs on my RL-800.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > It did NOT fail at the drive-motor pinion, although it shows
                                  > some
                                  > > > > wear, there was still plenty of teeth engagement to work.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > The failure occured in the gears which are 'supported' by two
                                  > white
                                  > > > > 'bushings'/bearings'.........
                                  > > > > two 'bearings' on each wheel or a total of four on the same
                                  > shaft.
                                  > > > > what a junky POS, crappy-assed design.....
                                  > > > > designed as though it was INTENDED to fail!!!
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > The 'clicking' came from only one side where the part of the
                                  > gear that
                                  > > > > receives the 'bearing' had worn so badly that it formed a cone-
                                  > shaped
                                  > > > > hole so the gear wobled on the shaft...
                                  > > > > the other side was on the verge of failing in the same manner.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > So...
                                  > > > > I cannabalized my $200 Woot RL-500 and swapped out the gearcase.
                                  > > > > I, of course had to remove the drive-motor shroud with the
                                  > thermistor
                                  > > > > pop-rivited to it from the original 800 and put it on the
                                  > replacement
                                  > > > > gear-case and resolder the thermistor leads.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > Just for drill, I lubed up those white bearings with "Break-
                                  > Free" oil
                                  > > > > and put it all back together.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > While I was already into the job, I decided to make an
                                  > additional
                                  > > > > heat-sink "shade" for the two motors with two pieces of 1/6"
                                  > alum
                                  > > > > angle.
                                  > > > > I cut them so that they will also serve as a 'spreader' to
                                  > prevent the
                                  > > > > drive motors from ever sagging inward from over-heating.
                                  > > > > One angle required cut corners to provide relief for the part
                                  > of the
                                  > > > > plastic frame which have molded gussets.
                                  > > > > I also put TWO layers of heat-shrink tubing over both
                                  > thermistor leads
                                  > > > > to keep them from shorting out...
                                  > > > > In addition, as a further precaution, I glued some 'fish-paper'
                                  > > > > (phenolic impregnated fiver paper) on the 'shade' in the area
                                  > that
                                  > > > > might come in contact with the thermistor as an additional
                                  > electrical
                                  > > > > insulation precaution.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > I oriented the drive-motor shroud containing the thermistor in
                                  > the
                                  > > > > 'valley' of the alum angle, then clamped each end of the angles
                                  > to
                                  > > > > the ends of the two drive motors with hose clamps.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > Here is my question....
                                  > > > > Why did Friendly use those two crappy-assed white 'bearings'
                                  > instead
                                  > > > > of something more substantial?
                                  > > > > I swear, it looks to me like it was designed to fail in order to
                                  > > > > generate after-sales repair income.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > What is REALLY new with the new generation RMs to eliminate this
                                  > > > > failure mode?
                                  > > > > If the answer is 'a better plastic formulation', then it's
                                  > still not
                                  > > > > very satisfactory.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > Those white plastic 'bearings' are gonna require periodic PM
                                  > lube to
                                  > > > > keep them from failing....
                                  > > > > and considering what must be done to just get to them for that
                                  > > purpose ...
                                  > > > > really is an unnecessary time-waster and it pisses me off that
                                  > I'll
                                  > > > > have to disassemble the mower just to keep an eye on it.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > Grrrrr.
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > WB
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > ------------------------------------
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > >
                                  > > > >
                                  > > >
                                  > >
                                  >
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