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  • How Long Should Stuff Last?

    How many years do we expect to get out of products like water heaters, piping, pumps, ect? Why do most of us have a "lifetime" mentality about products when manufacturers fully expect and indeed build in obsolescence to their products. Do we as business owners really want to sell lifetime products?
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  • #2
    Re: How Long Should Stuff Last?

    I think what most want is a value for your money,
    If that is buy it once and have it last a life time or buy it cheap and have to replace it often,

    I like life time type products, products, things that do not need to be repaired ever few days or rebuilt.

    I do not under stand why many manufacturers do not keep a line of quality products, many of the quality products I have had have become unrepairable do to can not get parts any more, not because the basic unit was bad, (for example I have a makita "hole hawg" type drill, I had the screw that held the chuck break (left hand thread) I call the company and check in to the cost of a screw, "First they say that is very old very few parts available for it," they say it will be XXX, and twice that for shipping and handling, I ask about "lock tight" the chuck on, they answer, "if you lock tight the chuck on you can not get it apart to repair it any more" first there is hardly any parts, and second don't do that you cant fix it, so I figure, if there is no parts who cares, so many companies are changing models ever few days, and so many times not for the betterment of the product line.

    Many places make more off of parts than off the sale of the item, but any more most places do not want to deal in parts, or the price of the part is above the cost of replacement.

    If I buy a item I would like it to last 20 or 30 years, if it is an appliance, new ones normally will not, there seem to be enough people who throw away just to have new, normally the way it is, (it has amazed me on how fast some of the appliances have got old, and I stop and think well it been 30 years),

    even if one tries to build for a life time some place there will be flaw or a weak point normally, that needs some repair or maintenance. such as draining a hot water heater, very few do that , and many are half full of build up when one goes to change one out. so there are other factors of maintenance and replacement.

    There is advancement in technologies, that also encourage replacement, I have a old refrigerator in the barn that I should replace for energy savings, (you more than likely would have replaced it because of the color if in the house, hey that is how I got it, free form some one who did not like the color of it any more). and use to keep the milk in from the animals. but I am glad it has not failed on me and forced me to spend a few hundred on a replacement, unit. as there seem to be more than enough items that need fixing or replacement the way it is.

    find it frustrating that yo buy some thing and not that very long usually just out of warranty the thing is broke,

    kinda like toys to day it is very hard to find a quality toy for the kids, even tonka have gone to the disposable idea, it may be better than some but still not like what I had when I was a kid, or even what was available when my kids were small,

    I have a 1953 ford truck and it does most ever thing that a new one does, but go 75 mph,
    my old 69 car I drove for over 350 thousand miles until I could not get replacement switches,
    my 1978 truck and 1978 van are still doing good, paint on the van is crappy tho, it was repainted by some one before I got it, still good vechiles
    I have gone through more post 1980 gm built cars IN the last 20 years than I ever went though in the first 20+ years of driving, by the way I still have most of them, and are still drivable, even the 69 put a battery in it and I bet it would run, and when it comes to working on the newer vechiles it is PIA, as the quote goes, CRAPPITY CRAP.

    Why do most of us have a "lifetime" mentality about products
    I think at one time business built with quality in mind and to give one the best value for the moneys, not days that is not the case, it is to create a failure rate, and to make you replace and replace and replace, (it is why people pay a premium for Snapon, and why craftsman has the reputation it has, many others will replace for free under warranty but not as easly) and people flock to those brands that actuly do honorer a "lifetime" warranty no questions asked),

    Aermotor windmills, built products to last, (I do not know of any other product that has that kind of life, I have a 1934 windmill, my uncle bought now at my place, has been in the wind for 74 years now, and has only had one set of bearings (Babbitt) put in it by me 5 years ago, when moved, and has pumped water for 60+ years of that time, a few years it was shut off.

    I do not know of any other product that has that kind of life, but if you did not maintain them you end up with scrap iron in a hurry, they do need oil, but usaly only annually,

    and the windmill did not create it own demise do to it quality, its demise was do to electricity, and REA,

    yes I want products that last,
    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
    attributed to Samuel Johnson
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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    • #3
      Re: How Long Should Stuff Last?

      BHD

      In regard to your Makita Right Angle drill, I wonder if the chuck screw for a similar (same spindle side and threads) by Dewalt or Milwukee wouldn't work for you just fine. Makita is strange about parts. They really do their best to get people to replace the whole tool if they can. If you know what the thread size, pitch and the length of the screw (without head) is and the counter sinking in the end of the spindle is like, I bet I can find you a replacement part that will work. Is it OK otherwise?

      By the way if you did use Lock Tight, you might still get the chuck off if it is a totally threaded spindle and doesn't have a slot and key or is a tapered spindle like many Porter-Cable (the larger ones) drills use.
      Last edited by Woussko; 08-11-2008, 12:45 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How Long Should Stuff Last?

        Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
        How many years do we expect to get out of products like water heaters, piping, pumps, ect? Why do most of us have a "lifetime" mentality about products when manufacturers fully expect and indeed build in obsolescence to their products. Do we as business owners really want to sell lifetime products?
        My purely homeowner perspective is that pipes should last "forever". I know forever is unrealistic, but the lifespan should be in the range of 100 years, not 20; just because there is so much disruption to other things to replace them.

        A WH, furnace, pump, AC unit, should be reliable and hopefully repairable; but if it needs replacement after 10-20 years that isn't the worst thing because it is just that needs to be replaced and you don't need to destroy other parts of the house to replace it. Less expensive things like a faucet, don't need to be fixable; but they should not spring random leaks under a cabinet that cause water damage.

        I would say that the nothing can be fixed state we are in today is mostly because we can make new stuff so cheap compared the labor to fix things. For something like my dryer which costs $300, after it is out of warranty why would you want to fix it when an hour of a technician is going to be half the cost of a new one?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: How Long Should Stuff Last?

          Originally posted by Woussko View Post
          BHD

          In regard to your Makita Right Angle drill, I wonder if the chuck screw for a similar (same spindle side and threads) by Dewalt or Milwukee wouldn't work for you just fine. Makita is strange about parts. They really do their best to get people to replace the whole tool if they can. If you know what the thread size, pitch and the length of the screw (without head) is and the counter sinking in the end of the spindle is like, I bet I can find you a replacement part that will work. Is it OK otherwise?

          By the way if you did use Lock Tight, you might still get the chuck off if it is a totally threaded spindle and doesn't have a slot and key or is a tapered spindle like many Porter-Cable (the larger ones) drills use.
          actuly I did get a screw for the chuck in time, and I did lock tight the chuck on, (I need to keep using the drill) and it is a straight thread,

          If it really needs to come off and is still repairable I can heat the chuck and it will come off, even if I would ruin the chuck in the process, if the drill is repairable (future problem) replacement of the chuck would probly not denture me of repair if the cost was fair. and since then I did get another drill different brand so that the makita is now a back up drill to the newer one.

          what happened was I was using the drill to power a winch to pull my well, and should have had the cable wrapped around the drum in the opposite direction so the pull would have been on the forward position, (I did end up reversing the cable after I spun off the chuck),
          Did not even think of the chuck unscrewing when I started to use it),

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          Back to the topic, so many companies are being bought and sold and traded and spun off, unless a third party is the parts source, many of the original companies do not exist any more, and OEM parts are very hard to find,
          Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
          attributed to Samuel Johnson
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How Long Should Stuff Last?

            Originally posted by cpw View Post

            I would say that the nothing can be fixed state we are in today is mostly because we can make new stuff so cheap compared the labor to fix things. For something like my dryer which costs $300, after it is out of warranty why would you want to fix it when an hour of a technician is going to be half the cost of a new one?
            I guess that depends on how many other places you have that need $300, and many times it is a $10 to $30 part that is bad, and you DIY,

            OK I am bad,
            Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
            attributed to Samuel Johnson
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How Long Should Stuff Last?

              Originally posted by BHD View Post
              I guess that depends on how many other places you have that need $300, and many times it is a $10 to $30 part that is bad, and you DIY,
              I'm generally less afraid of DIY than the average person, but to me my appliances are still impenatrable big black boxes. Given that, my choices would boil down to something like $150 to maybe get a fix (and a risk of say $100 to find out if it is economically fixable) or $300 to definitely get a fix. I agree that if you have the skills yourself to diagnose and possibly repair it yourself, then it is a win-win situation.

              Although this probably belongs in open dicussion; I generally think that this disposable mentality isn't sustainable. It is sort of built on the back of cheap foreign labor. The standard of living where the thing is built is so much lower than the standard of living here, so we've been able to get lots of things for relatively cheap compared to the past. I don't think that it is reasonable to expect that our standard of living will remain indefinitely higher than those of people in other countries, thus I think repairing things will again make sense; and maybe we'll see better parts availability as a result.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: How Long Should Stuff Last?

                BHD

                For use on a winch you need what's known as a key drive spindle drill. If you could use a regular spade handle model, try to find a Porter-Cable model 7564EHD. Sadly they don't make them anymore but every now and then I've seen one in nice shape on eBay. Some time back I was very lucky and found one brand new on eBay and won it for a nice price. (lucky me) It totally puts Dewalt, Makita and Milwaukee to shame. This thing is very well engineered and built. When it comes to right angle drills, I'm sure there are some with a key drive system still made. I have not seen one yet but read that Makita has one only it's a D handle model with right angle head. I need to get to where I can look at a Milwaukee Home Hawg and Super Hawg. It's easy to check the chuck for a big slot in the base of it. Makita still shows on their web site a copy of the Milwaukee 1675 classic Hole Hawg and a more modern style heavy duty right angle drill. I wonder if you had contacted another Makita service center if they might have acted better.

                When I have a chance I'll take and post pics of the spindle and chuck used on my P-C spade handle drill. There's NO way you can break the retaining screw and the spindle is a Jacobs #33 taper. The Jacobs chuck is top industrial grade.
                Last edited by Woussko; 08-11-2008, 01:47 PM.

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                • #9
                  Re: How Long Should Stuff Last?

                  As for crappy appliances think of all the problems of disposal. I would have thought that EPA would be exploding about all the junk piles all over. If things were made so they could really be recycled or better yet repaired think of what that would do.

                  Now to a happy side. Before long my vintage (if I may call it vintage) gas fired RHEEM water heater turns 25 and it's still doing very well. I bet I get another 5 years out of it.
                  Last edited by Woussko; 08-11-2008, 01:56 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: How Long Should Stuff Last?

                    Woussko next time I need to use the winch I am going to use a hydraulic motor on it, I have a power pack now and I finally got my winch back from my son, so in the future I will probably just power via a hydraulic motor,

                    the winch is made from a old irrigation drive gear box, I do not know if you have ever seen the "crop circles" from the air, where 130 acres are irrigated by a self propelled sprinkler but that is what the gear box is from, the irrigation systems usaly have 7 to 10 towers depending on brand of sprinkler, and a pivot in the center of the field, and they have a 1 or 1 1/2 hp electric motor that goes into a 100 to 1 gear box and that then drives the two out side gear boxes, worm drive, that are in the 50 to 1 range, and they have a recapped truck tire on for a drive wheel but if you can get two or three of the gear boxes many times one can make one good one out of the throw aways, the torque is incredible, I have heard of them crawling over pickup trucks and so on, I have made a couple of winches out of them, they can pull a 1/2" cable in two if you have enough power to them,

                    many times I give things a second chance at lasting,
                    Attached Files
                    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                    attributed to Samuel Johnson
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: How Long Should Stuff Last?

                      BHD

                      Much better... Seems like you're set and in a great way.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: How Long Should Stuff Last?

                        I wonder the same thing sometime NH. I complain about things breaking sometimes but it puts more $$$$ in our pocket.

                        A manufacturer probably needs a turnover to survive. So if they don't impove on something, I'm not sure if that's horrible. But....there should not be a decrease in reliability.

                        J.C.

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                        • #13
                          Re: How Long Should Stuff Last?

                          I started out as a roofer in Mass. Worked in Cambridge a lot. Ripped of old slate roofs,
                          copper valleys,copper or lead flashings. Re-roofed with comp asphalt shingles. Harvard buildings still have their slate roofs. Any of You want to pay Me to install a slate roof on Your home. Still have My zacks. Master sees these every day, on the church's He passes.
                          I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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                          • #14
                            Re: How Long Should Stuff Last?

                            How long something should last depends on what the thing is and what it will be used for and by whom. It also depends on if people are willing to pay for quality or not. Sometimes we just want a "just good enough" thing and other times we want a lasting investment.

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