Engineers are *making compromises I don't agree with!*


Old 06-10-09, 06:10 AM
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Engineers are *making compromises I don't agree with!*

I wish engineers would actually work on(do repairs or maintaince) what they engineeer. How hard is it to measure the distance from the engine oil drain plug to the edge of the frame of the equipment the engine is being installed on? Or is it that they just can't read a ruler? Every single damn oil drain pipe is too short to make it past the edge of the frame. So, when you change the oil, it runs all over the frame and drips off everywhere. All they had to do is make the oil drain pipe 1/2" longer. What is that going to cost them? An extra 25 cents?
You can't blame the engine manufactures as they don't know where the engine is going to be used. It is the equipment manufacturers. MTD, Ariens,Toro,AYP. Lawn tractors, snowblowers. 90% of them have oil drain pipes that are too short. 1 size does NOT fit all!!
I have had to make a couple of oil drian extensions out of 1" PCV pipe. 1 ft long, cut it down the center and now you have 2 "troff" extensions. They work 95% of the time. Some, you don't have enough room to slide them under the pipe, so then you are screwed and have oil running all over the place. Everyone that is too short on my regular customer's equipment, I run down to the hardware store and buy a piece of pipe long enough to make it over the edge.
Why couldn't the manufacterer just look and see if the pipe extends out over the edge in the first place?

Last edited by GregH; 06-10-09 at 02:51 PM. Reason: User friendly title.
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Old 06-10-09, 06:38 AM
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I think I got lucky then..

My White snowblower has a straight pipe on it to allow draining (although you have to hold the pipe with vise grips, otherwise it unscrews from the engine..), and my Cub Cadet lawn tractor has an L shaped pipe for draining (which you dont have to hold of course, due to the L shape).

I wonder, in some equipment designs, that they worry about something striking the 'pipe' and allowing the oil to drain out ?

But ya, some things the engineers come up with makes ya wonder if they sniffed too much around the glue table. I suspect sometimes they are shooting for a price target, so design some things extra cheap.. once the final design is done, they could go back in and add those extra buck or two things.. but the whole deal probably gets rushed into production by then.. too late.
Old 06-10-09, 07:15 AM
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I could really get going on this subject, in case you don't already know how I feel.

One might suspect they are college grads who have no practical experience yet. But you know that surely they employ, and have to run ideas past senior engineers that are in their 50's-60's, who know a thing or two.

Many things in life seems to defy logic and common sense. Remember how Oliver(Eddfie Albert) in Green Acres, was always saying, "Oh fer!.........." ?
Old 06-10-09, 08:04 AM
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Indy I guess you haven't run across the answer to those awkwardly placed oil drains.... they just get rid of the oil drain all together
Old 06-10-09, 08:07 AM
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Oil change

Oil change made eazy:

They have a bigger tank too!!

Old 06-10-09, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by aj-allen View Post
Oil change made eazy:

They have a bigger tank too!!

We use a tank with a hand pump at the shop I am helping out does work quite well.

So much for inspecting oil to determine engine condition as a part of routine maintenance tho.
Old 06-10-09, 01:38 PM
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Slightly off topic (cars) but the same question (engineering).

I can understand on my Grand Marquis having two oil drain plugs, but why do the have to have different sizes for the plugs?

And they can't make them 1/2 and 9/16 or 5/8 and 3/4 where you can use one box wrench. No, one has to be 11/32 or whatever it is so you need two wrenches.

Never could figure that out.

My Toro 8/24 snowblower has a nice long pipe on the drain, they must have screwed up on that one. Beer 4U2

Old 06-10-09, 03:04 PM
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Yes, engineers do make mistakes but you need to understand that engineers salaries are paid by the company they work for.

Everything in engineering is a compromise and even though the equipment you are talking about is important to you, in engineering terms it is inexpensive, mostly disposable consumer goods.
That .25 cents per unit is big money to the company making the mower and unfortunately they tell the engineers what to do.
Old 06-10-09, 07:39 PM
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I share in your disgust Indy, There have been many,many,many times I would give anything to get my hands around the neck of these so called "engineers" :PE:
Old 06-10-09, 10:07 PM
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Many MTDs nowadays don't even have drain pipes. The plug screws directly into the engine. You have to dump oil all over the frame to let it out. Plus, the frame drops down under the engine, so it drains back under the engine. Looks like the EPA would not allow this, since it promotes oil spillage. There's no way to put a drain pan under any particular area to catch it all. I tip the mower so it runs down the frame and into a pan instead of all over, but many people can't/won't do that. I also have a oil vac unit that does work well.
Old 06-11-09, 05:48 AM
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The thing that really got me was on snowblowers. With 80% of them using Tecumseh engines (until now) was the many various oil drain pipes the snowblower manufacturers used.

8-10 hp with drain pipe under the recoil were great. They came out far enough to drain with no problem and catch it in a pan.

5hp. This engine mounted almost the same as the 8-10 hp. The catch was the 5 hp was shorter front to back and had to be pushed forward about 4" to drive the auger & wheels, yet they used the same pipe which is now 4" too short.

Now lets talk about side drains. Tecumseh had oil drain plugs on all 4 sides of their engines. Ariens & John Deere decided to use the side plugs for their oil drains. They provided pipes that were just long enough to clear the engine mounting deck by 3".
Problem is you can't put your drain pan under it to catch it unless you remove the tire. Try getting the wheel off a 12 y/o snowblower that sits outside year round.

The Yardman tractor I have in the shop now, I was going to fix by putting a 90* elbow on it being that he is a regular customer. I put on the elbow only to find I had to take it off.
The tie rod from the steering to the wheel just happens to run right there next to frame and was hitting the elbow and stopping the wheel from steering all the way on a left turn.
If it aint 1 thing, its another.

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