Saturday, December 7, 2019

The End of our reliance on Blue Bird

This might be the last post on the Blue Bird Bed Bug Blog.

The Easy Trench Bed Edger spent time in the shop this summer after the main shaft broke. Other than a few belt changes, the Easy Trench had four years of rental customer abuse before the blade shaft failure. Last year I sold my last remaining Bed Bug I was keeping around as a back-up. With the EZ trench reliability, we saw no need to maintain a back-up machine.

I am disappointed that none of the last three owners of Blue Bird addressed my complaints or were willing to discuss my recommended fixes.

At one point, I had 4 Blue Bird Aerators in rental. I had updated all four Aerators to address drive reliability issues. About ten years ago, I purchased a Billy Goat Aerator to replace my oldest Blue Bird. The Billy Goat has been the first aerator in the rental line since new. It has been so reliable that we were able to reduce our rental inventory to just two aerators.

I have passed the address of this blog to rental peers looking to purchase lawn equipment. I am sure Blue Bird’s arrogance has cost them many sales.

Its too bad Blue Bird came so close to making a rental quality tool.

Friday, February 23, 2018

The reason I haven’t posted in a while is that I haven’t rented the Bed Bug as a Bed Edger since the Trenchmaster Bed edger has been working so well. The early belt failures on the Trenchmaster must have been operator issues since we had no belt failures during 2017. We did replace the Trenchmasters belts during a scheduled maintenance.

We purchased a new underground dog fence machine. We purchased the Brown Machine. We have had good luck with other Brown equipment and if this new fence machine works I will unload my last Blue Bird Bed Bug.

I didn’t stop into the Blue Bird Booth at the 2018 Rental Show. When I visited during the 2017 Rental Show the owner just ignored me. I could have been his best friend by helping him improve reliability and safety. Instead, this Blog is still his worst enemy. 

I broke a cutter wheel on my older Blue Bird Stump Grinder. The $400 wheel was less than a year old. It was clear that an improper hub weld crystalized the shaft. This was the last straw for that machine. We kept the engine and a few parts and scrapped the rest. 

Since I updated the sprockets on our Aerators the reliability has improved. I sold 1 and scrapped the second Blue Bird Sod Cutters. Our Classen sod cutter is so much more reliable I was able to replace 2 Blue Birds with one Classen Hydro. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015


The Trenchmaster Bed Edger is working well.  The Blue Bird Bed Bug has gone mostly unused.  The promise from the new owners of Blue Bird to look into the issues I highlighted in this blog has gone un-fulfilled.  We will keep our last Bed Bug as a back-up.  I will continue to post as issues arise. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

 First big update of the spring.  Number one the EZ trench is having belt issues we get about 2 rentals out of a $25.00 set of belts.  This may be operator error I need to do more investigating.  So far the blade has not broken and replacing the belts is a simple 10 min job. 

The Bed Bug is now our back-up machine.  We have had an oil leak on the Honda engine since last fall. We have replaced the oil pan gasket the clutch gasket and the seal on the oil drain plug.  These repairs did not alleviate the problem.  I suspect that the engine block has a crack.  I don’t have time to work on it so we borrowed an engine off of a Blue Bird Sod Cutter.

During the engine replacement we put on a new chain new bearing bolts and a new blade.  The machine just came back from its second rental since rebuild with a broken blade shaft. Also 3 of the 4 bolts on the outside bearing housing were broken off.

When I checked the clutch oil I noticed the dip stick is starting to melt.  I have talked to Honda several times and the only answer Honda his that it is the wrong application for the particular model engine.  

Monday, March 9, 2015

March 9 2014
A few weeks ago I went to the Rental Show and introduced myself to the new owners of Blue Bird.  Seems Husqvarna sold off the Blue Bird division.  Husqvarna has been buying up companies over the last 10 years I would demand to see a Car Fax before I would buy a division from Husqvarna.

Imagine driving off with a shiny used car and arriving home to learn it has problems.  I imagine this is how the new owners felt when I was done giving a presentation of all the Bed Bug issues.  I left behind a printed copy of my Blog and some enlarged pictures of broken parts.  

From Blue Bird I went to Honda engine booth with my pictures of melted clutch dipsticks.  The Honda people were concerned that the overheated clutches on the Bed Bug might be an issue.  The Honda people promised to look into the application to see what is melting a part in only one specific application.

From Blue Bird I wandered the show floor looking to purchase a replacement for the Bed Bug I sold last summer.  Particularly I was looking for a Bed Edging machine that I looked at last year called “E Z Trench”.  In talking with the Easy Trench rep he had seen my Blog and had passed it on.  I did purchase one of the E Z Trench Bed Edger’s.  The “Easy Trench” sales rep wanted to be included in my Blog.  (I am not sure that will be a good thing but if you believe in your product you have nothing to lose.)

I won’t get the machine for a few weeks but this is a picture.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

August 15, 2014
In a few posts including July 17 2014 I explained how I hold sloppily machined parts from the constant loosening.  Instead of using the supplied set screws I use hardened bolts and tighten them until the heads snap off.  The problem with correcting weak links on a machine with dozens of them is the failure happens at another weak link. 

Today’s failure fell in between 3 strengthened weak points.   The Husqvarna Blue Bird Bed Bug was being used as a dog fence wire installer.  We were using an experimental blade provided by the blade manufacture. So far this blade has been free of the bending and breaking of the Husqvarna supplied blade. This failure was the 3/4 inch mild steel drive shaft that broke at the blade mounting hub.  With our broken bold fix of the hub and the sprocket this is the next weakest point.  On most other brands the blade drive shafts are made of reinforced 1” steel, while Husqvarna Blue Bird only uses ¾ inch steel. 

We were able to save and reuse both the hub and the sprocket for only one reason; our tightening procedure kept both parts from loosening and wearing.  Cost of the repair was about $60.00 including the labor. 
However the customer refused to use our back up machine and blamed the breakage on our poor maintenance.  He might have felt differently if he knew the Bed Bug’s drive was rebuilt 2 rentals ago.  I would classify this customer as one who will never be back. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

July 17, 2014 Update

The customer’s complaint on the Bed Bug we normally keep set up for bed edging quit working.  A quick inspection revealed the tin idler sprocket failed and the chain came off the drive sprocket.  This Husqvarna Blue Bird Bed Bug would get a “Tractor Supply” solid steel sprocket.  The Husqvarna supplied cheap tin idler sprocket has been a constant point of failure across the Husqvarna Blue Bird line of products. 

We have used the “Tractor Supply” solid steel idler on Blue Bird Aerators, Sod Cutter and our other Bed Bug without a single failure.  This Bed Bug would also get the broken bolt replacement of set screw failures.  We have tried to keep set screws from loosening by using thread locking glues, and doubling up set screws with no success.  The machining of the shafts, hubs and sprockets are too sloppy for set screws to hold.  Our fix for the constantly loosening set screws is to use a 5/16 hardened bolt that is torqued to a point of breaking. This has solved much of the sprocket and hub loosening that we see on Bed Bug Bed Edger’s.  

In completing the repair we found a defective weld on the Blade we replaced in June. Half of the weld on a center tooth shows no penetration into the steel.  The Blade is made by a New York state Manufacturer; warranty claims on defective blades always fall on deaf ears.  The Manufacture claims they are not responsible because they supply blades built to Husqvarna specs.  Husqvarna is just a wasteland of incompetence.  

Cost is another $200.00 blade, $20.00 Tractor Supply Idler, $20.00 for a new chain and miscellaneous hardware. Total cost of repair with labor $300.00.