My grandfather’s MTD Cub Cadet from 2008 has been a hard worker the past few years. It currently has 600 hours, which is a lot of hours for any modern aluminum block engine, in this case a 22 HP Kohler Command v-twin. Today I drove it up to the shop where we will begin to tear it apart and rebuild the Kohler because it started using a LOT of oil this season. It would smoke when throttled up, down, or when a load was put on it – primarily mowing. We believe it either has bad piston rings or the hydraulic lifters have sucked in oil and somehow seized up (no valves/rockers on the Command motors). After a half hour of mowing, it will use a decent amount of oil and foul up the spark plug, then run on one cylinder. So we will likely hone the cylinders and replace the piston rings, lifters, and anything else that may have been worn out prematurely due to using too much oil. We figured we’d take care of it now while it’s winter season and raining outside.
This tractor has done a LOT of mowing in it’s life, including both our lawns and several lawns around the neighborhood, as well as a few rough vacant lots where it was used as a bush-hog and really worked hard. So it’s had some good use in it’s 7-year life span. My grandfather bought it with plans of really putting it to work.
Unfortunately this was one of Cub Cadet’s top-of-the-line garden tractors when it was new in 2008 and despite being Kohler Command-powered with a heavy duty shaft-driven transmission, it just doesn’t have the same quality and reliability as the IH Cub Cadets did (REAL Cub Cadets). Completely different animal when it comes to quality, and unfortunately that’s because MTD builds a cheap economy product using the Cub Cadet branding that everyone knows has been around for a long time. This is what you get from a new MTD “quality” machine after just a few short years of use. They don’t make them like they used to.