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Kohler TH18S PROBLEMS


roma3112

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Guys I know this topic has been beat to death but I could use some help. The engine in my sovereign (warranty up in december) is giving me some problems. The problems are with the starter(somtimes it acts like it is jammed; and it the engine smokes (appears to be oil) at times, and i saw what may be metal flakes in the oil last time i changed it!!! I have saved that filter in question as well. I tryied looking up past posts where some members had written to simplicity and kohler and have had some luck. I could not find these posts using the "search bar" If sombody could point me to the link or pass along the contacts at simplicity/kohler i would appreciate it. I took the unit to the dealer where i bought it and he could not make it smoke and the starter would not act up for him, he told me the barely noticable flakes were "normal break in"!!!!!!!! ARGHH Other dealers would look at the unit but wanted to charge for pick up/drop off and were less than helpful even in the basics of listening to me, and i did not have a good feeling about them. I even had to explain to this one rather unhelpful person that it was not a question of me "price hunting" when i bought the tractor, it was 2 years out of production and nobody (including them) had any left. I just want to get these problems on record before the warrantee is up and get sombody (a helpful dealer)to verrify what i know already. The engine in question is a Kohler Mod th18s and the ser is 3010202071 any help.
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Here's the link to one of Tim's posts regarding his problem. http://www.simpletractors.com/club2/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=37523 If I were you I would PM both Tim and Roy.
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John, Sorry to hear of your problems. You are not alone though, The Kohler TH Series is not one of Kohler's best engines. The below link will take you to Al Eden's Repowering website. If you contact him, he could steer you in the right direction, being a Simplicity dealer himself. As you will see, he offers repower kits designed just for the Sovereign. His kit was even tested by Kohler and Simplicity. Good luck and keep up posted. http://www.edensltd.com/repowereng/default.htm
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GUYS Thanks for the heads up, i am working on composing letters to simplicity and kohler, i think I will try to call "AL" and see if there is a way to approach simplicity and or kohler without getting told to "pound sand". It is unfortunate that the dealers out here don't want to help me out. They all "dummy up" when i mension the problems i have, kohler has been the worst, and now that Briggs is in the picture now @ simplicity i think mabee that is why i have gotten the cold shoulder. It's not like i bought this at a yard sale $6300+ ARGHH [V][V][V]
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guys I talked to a gentleman from IA today who was EXTREEMELY HELPFUL, and an expert on this issue. He has helped many members out, and has done so for me as well. I have been pointed in the right direction, and will let you all know how i make out. Thanks to all john
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  • 2 weeks later...
well I dropped the sovereign off at the dealership today and we will see what they come up with. Belive it or not none of the simplicity dealers in my area wanted to touch it, they said kohler was a pain in the rear to deal with as far as warranty issues goes. I called kohler and wound up taking the tractor to a local JOHN DEER" dealership for the diagnosis on the engine. I can understand not being at the top of a simplicity dealers service list if i did not buy the machine there but I was VERRY VERRY disappointed in the local dealers who flat out refused to even put me on their service calendar. I got better service from the deer guy!!! :( The kohler rep is going to have them do a complete diagnosis ie : (compression, leekage, and a vaccume). Where the engine has not totally crapped out yet I am not sure if these tests will show anything? Is there anything else that you guys can think of that should be checked while the people have the tractor? I complained about what looked like metal flakes in the oil as well as a tremendous (intermittent) smoking issue, but i am not sure what if anything will come of it. Any suggestions from you folks would be appreciated. take care john
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John, How's the valve covers? Any leaks? Also, the only way to see if the fuel pump gear is self destructing or any pulley wheels is to open the engine up. Tim
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John, You should politely, but FIRMLY, insist that the Triad be replaced with a Command. Kohler knows they have a problem with the Triad. There was already metal in your oil. You shouldn't care where the metal came from, it's there. And more than likely has been circulated thoughout the engine. Why take a chance? As a side note, Simplicity should be very concerned with the attitude displayed by the Simplicity dealers you visited. Simplicity doesn't have a presence in the box stores. Their dealers are on the front line. They better see the big picture or they won't be seeing anything. If a Simpicity dealer can't or won't provide outstanding service, what do they have to offer? So Kohler is "a pain in the rear to deal with." So what? Why should the consumer care? That's what a dealer is for. If they don't want to deal with their suppliers, they should get out of the business.
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dutch i could not agree with you more,to make it worse I was given these dealers to contact by the simplicity warantee rep from the factory. I called him back to let him know about their lack of service, but basically their out was that they "simplicity" do not warranty the engines and that the i ultimately need to go through kohler. I will see the process through and fight to make this thing right. ps the valve covers ect ect are all tight, outwardly the engine looks ok, and except for the smoke and flakes of metal in the oil it runs ok LOL. thanks guys john
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John, Like Dutch said,
quote:
You should politely, but FIRMLY, insist that the Triad be replaced with a Command. Kohler knows they have a problem with the Triad. There was already metal in your oil. You shouldn't care where the metal came from, it's there. And more than likely has been circulated thoughout the engine. Why take a chance?
The Triad OHC engines were a disaster for Kohler. They should replace your engine. Likewise, Simplicity should help by providing the conversion kit. It sounds like your local Simplicity dealers are John Deere's best friend. Maybe that is why we see so much JD green.
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John also be prepaired to write the Better Business Bureau in your area. To get help from the Bureau you will have to detail a lot and communicate via letter or maybe now E-mail. They need their complaints in print. They won't give you money, but many sellers subscribe to the Bureau as being good companies and the Bureau keeps tabs on this. Always send the Bureau the origial copy with copies to the customer service managers that you have a problem with. That alone gets most complaintants to notice, as it gives them a message that their own people are taking care of a legitimate problem. Good people who subscribe to the BBB don't like BLACK marks. I tried this a few times and found that system works.
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quote:
Originally posted by roma3112
dutch i could not agree with you more,to make it worse I was given these dealers to contact by the simplicity warantee rep from the factory. I called him back to let him know about their lack of service, but basically their out was that they "simplicity" do not warranty the engines and that the i ultimately need to go through kohler. I will see the process through and fight to make this thing right. ps the valve covers ect ect are all tight, outwardly the engine looks ok, and except for the smoke and flakes of metal in the oil it runs ok LOL. thanks guys john
I wonder if Simplicity knows what their rep told you? I wonder if that's Simplicity's official position as the tractor manufacturer? Write a letter to them and ask for their answer. That "out" is patently ridiculous. My background is in heavy trucks and equipment. Kenworth, Freightliner, and most all the others use Cummins, Detroit, and Caterpillar engines. In fact, most all heavy truck components are made by others. Transmissions, axles, brakes, drums, wheels are just a few components supplied by other manufacturers. Just imagine a 6'5" 300lb. trucker, who is 1000 miles from home with a load of perishables, being told that Kenworth won't do anything to fix his problem on his 1 year old $90,000 rig. Just imagine a jury hearing that you paid $6,000 for a tractor and the selling dealer, authorized by the factory, can't or won't help because the problem is Kohler's, whom you never bought anything from. Give me that case....... And I'm not even a lawyer. How did Simplicity manage to circumvent "merchantability?" How can a tractor be a tractor without a functioning engine? Guess what, Simplicity picked Kohler to supply their engines. You didn't. If Simplicity installed a rubber band engine, Simplicity would be responsible. Period. That moisture you feel hitting your face isn't rain, no matter what you're being told.
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Dutch Right on brother!I agree with your points, and you have given me some good things to put into my letter(s). I told Jim@ simplicity "so you are saying that my 30,000+ pick-up pops its diesel engine do i go to international uahmmm no i am going to ford to fix it" Their answer was: "well we dont warranty the engine" go to kohler bla bla bla (he was nice about it) but NOT what I wanted to hear, they did put my information into a database incase the thing gives me trouble after the warantee is up but you know as well as i do that that will be more of an up-hill fight. To make matters worse the wife found out where the "baby" went and i had to explain to her what was up and her only reaction was >>> WHAAAAAT ARE YOU KIDDIN ME?
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John, I don’t want others reading this to think I’m anti-Simplicity, anti-Kohler, or anti-corporation. I’m not. What I am is pro-fairness and pro-responsibility. Situations like this give all businesses a bad name. I own a business and I take these situations personally. My philosophy is simple, “Do the right thing.” Simplicity made and offered a tractor for sale through their dealer agent. You accepted their offer and bought their tractor. All you want is what you paid for. That's fair. I learned many years ago that many factory reps and customer service people are not very bright. They repeat what they are told to say. They don’t see the big picture. And they can’t think outside their little box. If they were smarter, they would be able to make decisions. Save yourself some grief and write a letter to Mr. James A. Wier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Simplicity. Send the letter registered / return receipt. Try to keep the letter to one page, two at the most. Just state the basic facts: Bought tractor, engine bad, want it replaced, talked with dealer & rep, not satisfied, what is Simplicity going to do? Period. Don’t swallow the, “Kohler is responsible” line. Auto manufacturers tell their customers they don’t warranty tires. Remember the Ford / Firestone matter a few years ago? Both Ford and Firestone paid out millions. If your engine is smoking, something is wrong. Suppose your engine explodes and a child is killed from shrapnel because Simplicity isn’t responsible? How about the smoking? What would the EPA think of you poisoning your neighbors with toxic emissions because Simplicity isn’t responsible? You have to cause Simplicity to spend more money giving you lame excuses than the cost of engine. BTW - I only get the, "Right on brother! I agree with your points" when I'm on somone's side. Uninvolved onlookers think I'm a radical extremist. I view myself as just passionate.
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dutch You make valid pionts and i agree with you. I am not anti-simplicity by any means, I sought out this tractor 2 years out of production because I believed in the quality and reputation of the brand. All I am disappointed in is the lip-service that I have gotten, and I am going to try and make sure that i get taken care of. I believe that the company philosophy and dedication is commendable, I still find it remarcable that I still can get factory parts for a 40+ year old machine try that with a sears washer or a maytag dish washer. I just wanted to get my experience out there for anybody that may find themselves in the same or similsr situation. thanks for your help and imput to all i will keep you updated. john
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John Dutch is right. One other thing by taking it to a John Deere dealer what happens when you need other warrantee work and Simplicity says no because the warrantee was voided by taking it to a JD dealer. Your obligation is with Simplicity. It is Simplicity's obligation to deal with Kohler. You bought the tractor from Simplicity. Simplicity bought the engine from Kohler. It is up to Simplicity to deal with Kohler. In my auto repair business if I bought an engine from a supplier that had a warrantee on it and installed it in a car and something went wrong with the engine it was my responsibility to deal with the engine supplier not the customers. If it was me it might have taken a little longer but I would have gone to Simplicity management directly bypassing the service rep's with complaints about the dealers not wanting to do the work. You let them off the hook by going to a JD dealer.
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Maynard In hindsight mabee i did let them off the hook (a bit) but I thought I was doing what I was supposed to, reading all your posts gets me to think that i was a dollar bill and everybody wanted to pass me around. I will see what happens when they come back with a diagnosis and go from there should they give me any trouble. Should simplicity give me greif I will get a lawyer, as far as the place the machine is now so far they have treated me ok. It was by kohlers doing/reccomendation that i am there, if they do wind up condeming the engine, I suppose i will have to find a simplicity dealer to replace the engine. I don't suppose that being under warranty the factory would let me do the work, lord knows I would do a more metticilous job. We shall see i guess :(
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All posters have good points. I would darn sure hold Sim's feet to the fire on this one.If that was a box store trac you would have possibly gotten a new unit by now.Thinking that way,I would at the very least try to make them install for you a new eng.[preff a briggs!]A new eng smoking is definately not normal,,another thought, these co's don't want bad publicity,Sears employees are told if cust. makes a scene[and they have a good argument] in the store,give them what they want!This doing business as if we were still in the 50's should be over.Why do you folks think box stores are so popular these days?
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I have to add my 2 cents here. We all know that Simplicity did not build the engine. Simplicity is not responsible for that engine. A Simplicity dealer is not required to be a Kohler dealer also. So, if you have a Kohler warranty situation, the engine (regardless of what it is in) needs to be brought to a Kohler dealer. Now, if a JD dealer messes with the Simplicity portion of his tractor, then yes, it may bring up trouble with a true warrantable situation that involves the Simplicity parts. My guess is that his local Simplicity dealers are very poor reps of their companies and themselves. I am assuming the JD dealer is also a Kohler dealer, so they could very well be the best place to have the engine itself serviced. I hope it is resolved in a timely manner for you. Tim
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I have to wonder......When you bought the tractor, there should have been a warranty card outlining what was warrantied and for what duration. Does the card state that if there was a problem with the engine, it should be returned to an authorized Kohler dealer for service? I believe that Simplicity should take responsibility for the warranty work on the parts that they select/source for use in their equipment. Another way to look at this....Simplicity doesn't make the hydro pumps or the newer rear axle/hydro assemblies, they purchase them from a supplier. For those of you that think the engine should be returned to Kohler for warranty, do you also believe that you should have to seek out an authorized Peerless or Sundstrand repair facility when you need warranty work done on your hydro? Manufacturers have contracts with their suppliers that not only define the price and terms of the part, but also define how they will share costs for all warranty related expenses.
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Steven, you're right on the mark. Simplicity doesn't make the hydro pumps, nor does Simplicity make the wheel bearings, seals, nuts, bolts, bulbs, or wires. Simplicity doesn't even make the steel for the frames or paint for the bodies. If any of those components were defective where would Simplicity tell a customer to go? Tim, you're right, Simplicity doesn't build the engines. So what? Does Simplicity sell tractors or kits? Can a tractor be a tractor without an engine? Does Simplicity offer the customer the option of installing an engine supplied by the customer? Simplicity may state that Kohler is responsible for the engine, I don't know. But does that give Simplicity a legal defense to avoid resposibility for the tractors they sell? I think not. Dave, you know why box stores are so popular these days, and so do I. The box stores are so competative, the customers are always right. The box stores buy in such quantities that they have their suppliers over the barrel. If John had bought his tractor from a box store, he would just return it. The box store would return the tractor to the factory and tell them to eat it. If the factory objected, they would loose their lucrative contract with the box store. The factory and Kohler would be left to argue over the little bits and flakes of metal, but John would be mowing with a brand new tractor.
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Dutch I would agree with the big box method of doing business, I worked as an OPE specialist at my local Lowes for nearly 2 years, and i would be absolutely disgusted with the things they would take back. Being a shareholder and underpaid employee they would take back anything abused by the customer, somtimes the store would eat it but more often than not the company (MTD) would eat the machine. The only brand that the store would eat if damaged by the customer 100% was husquavarna.
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Steve i would agree with some of your statements in so far as you saying that simplicity should stand behind the parts they select/source to use in their equipment. Even if they "simplicity" say that customers with a problem need to go through Kohler legally at least in Massachusetts that is not an "out" for standing behind the "merchantability" of their product. They sold a product complete not a kit and they are ultimately responsible for the operation of that product for the warranty period and beyond (in some limited circumstances). I don't want to come off as bashing the company, I am just disappointed so far because I spent nearly $7,000 for this machine, and the first major issue I have had with it it winds up at a "john deer" dealership because the 3 simplicity dealers given to me by the factory didn't want to touch it.
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Please read this. Once again, Simplicity did not make the engine. Yes they installed it, but they do not have (without getting very involved with lawyers) responsibility to the engine. You are to go to an authorized Kohler, Briggs, or Kawasaki dealer for engine problems. Not all Simplicity dealers are an authorized outlet for all of the given engines that could have been installed into the machine. This situation is definitely not one I would wish on anyone - being brushed off for no solid reason is sad. As for the Peerless or Hydrogear parts - yes, you go back to them for parts and service. Simplicity does not nor has ever supplied engine components or Peerless and Hydrogear brand parts(generally speaking - some exceptions may exist). Here are 2 quotes from the current Simplicity warranty statement(which apparently many people haven't read or seen). Under the heading NOT COVERED BY WARRANTY 5) Certain components, some attachments, and some transaxles are warranted separately by their respective manufacturers. 10) ALL engine service, warranty or otherwise, is required to be performed by a manufacturer-authorized service center. Simplicity MFG is neither authorized nor responsible for any type of warranty engine service, nor is it equipped to perform any such service. End quotes. I have not personally had trouble with that engine, but I fully sympathize with Roma3112 on this. StevenJ and Dutch make good points, but those two statements by Simplicity end this discussion. When you signed your purchase agreement and warranty started, you(as in anyone) agreed to these conditions. I am not a lawyer by far, but there is nothing wrong with that agreement. Roma3112 again may be far better of having a Deere dealer work on it if they are authorized by Kohler than having an incompetent Simplicity dealer jack him around and mess up his great tractor. And finally in my opinion, the big box store mentality and big box store customer mentality makes me sick. That is why that tractor cost $7000, and I couldn't afford one. The customer is not always right, and I don't know how our society let it get that way except for greed. Tim
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quote:
And finally in my opinion, the big box store mentality and big box store customer mentality makes me sick. That is why that tractor cost $7000, and I couldn't afford one. The customer is not always right, and I don't know how our society let it get that way except for greed. Tim
Tim, just consider a few things. The Sovereign tractor price cannot be attributed to box stores. Simplicity doesn't sell through box stores. The Sovereign's relatively high price was more than likely due to low production. If box stores were driven by greed, they would loose their customer base. Box stores are driven by profit, and there's nothing wrong with that. Box stores know that every satisfied customer will return for years and spend tens of thousands of dollars. Some box store customers are driven by greed. They are the ones who buy, use for free, and then return merchandise. They are the ones who abuse merchandise and won't take responsibility for their own careless actions. Many consumers are driven by a quest for unrealistic bargains. When they find a tractor for $1,000 many think it will do the same job as a $10,000 machine. More and more small businesses seem to be driven by stupidity. They try to compete toe to toe with box stores. That's a battle they can't win. They forget to compete in the one arena where they can win...... Service. I try my best to patronize local small businesses, but it gets more difficult all the time. I'm even willing to pay more for the same product if I get service. When I don't get service, I may as well go to the box store and save a few bucks. Here are a couple of questions for John. Will you ever buy another Simplicity? Will you ever buy another tractor (any make) from that dealer again?
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