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Thread: Festool track saw failure / repair cost

  1. #1

    Festool track saw failure / repair cost

    So my TS 55 festool track stopped working. went to use it and it just did not turn on. i checked and it was getting power but no joy. So i sent it to the festool repair center and received a repair estimate of $278!! basically replacing the entire innards of the saw, and this is on top of the $80 to ship it to the repairs center.
    I do wood working hobby and this saw although 4 or 5 years old ( not sure when i purchased it) has only seen light use breaking down plywood. i cannot understand how such and expensive tool could need a complete motor replacement with such little use!! the repair estimate includes replacement of the armature, field assembly, ball bearing, brush and motor housing.
    This is tool that has never left my shop, which by the way is my basement and heated & cooled.

    it has got me thinking of looking elsewhere for a new track saw and selling off my MFT table, tracks etc

    i have no problem paying for good tools but see no value in paying for 60% of the cost of the tool every 5 years to keep it working. Thought is was going to be able to use this for many years before replacement.

    Guess i am just belly aching but was wondering if others have had similar experiences and what you guys might do in my situation?
    should i look to dewalt or makita ? will they last any longer?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by David Gutierrez View Post
    So my TS 55 festool track stopped working. went to use it and it just did not turn on. i checked and it was getting power but no joy. So i sent it to the festool repair center and received a repair estimate of $278!! basically replacing the entire innards of the saw, and this is on top of the $80 to ship it to the repairs center.
    I do wood working hobby and this saw although 4 or 5 years old ( not sure when i purchased it) has only seen light use breaking down plywood. i cannot understand how such and expensive tool could need a complete motor replacement with such little use!! the repair estimate includes replacement of the armature, field assembly, ball bearing, brush and motor housing.
    This is tool that has never left my shop, which by the way is my basement and heated & cooled.

    it has got me thinking of looking elsewhere for a new track saw and selling off my MFT table, tracks etc

    i have no problem paying for good tools but see no value in paying for 60% of the cost of the tool every 5 years to keep it working. Thought is was going to be able to use this for many years before replacement.

    Guess i am just belly aching but was wondering if others have had similar experiences and what you guys might do in my situation?
    should i look to dewalt or makita ? will they last any longer?
    The Festool and Makita tracks etc. are interchangeable. Don't know about the DeWalt.

    As the Festool is out of warranty, maybe somebody more local could fix it for cheaper. How hard could it be? Parts should be available, right? Given your light use, it's not like you could have blown the entire innards out of it. It might be fun to take it apart (there are Youtube videos on this.)

  3. #3
    I feel your pain; the saying goes that you only pay for good tools once, but pay for bad tools over and over. But when manufacturers seem to treat repair as a separate income stream instead of a support function, the saying proves wrong.

    When oscillating multi-tools were introduced, I bought the top of the line fein kit, for stupid money. I did not use it all that often, but a few months past the warranty, the little eccentric arm that converts the rotary motion to the oscillating motion broke. Reading reviews online, this was a common complaint, so pretty clearly a poor design. Fein wanted $90 for the part! Just the part, not repair. I tossed the whole lot in the scrap pile and bought the cordless Dewalt, which BTW, runs rings around the much more expensive Fein. The dewalt is still going strong, several years later.

  4. #4
    Apparently not that rare for Festool either. There's been one for sale on Craig's list here for months for $100 that has the same issue and looks like it's brand new appearance wise.

  5. #5
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    I would guess bad switch or worn brushes.

  6. #6
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    When I have this happen I treat as a throw a way, but put it aside and do some research. Example, I have a lake house that I rent out. I got a call over the 4th of July that my refrigerator was not working. Since I had a paying renter (high rate), the refrigerator was 11 years old and it was a holiday I had to replace it; $2200, but I had them put the old refrigerator on the deck.

    After some research I found out that newer energy efficient refrigerators use a 3 phase compressor and often the inverters go out. It would cost $600 for a repairmen to fix it, $200 plus for the original GE part, an Embarco inverter, or order it from China. After a couple of hours of research I found a part in China (original equipment) for $34 including shipping. I got the part, took 15 minutes to swap the inverter and it works like new. So, now I have a "beer and drinks" refrigerator that sits on my deck, and my wife can use it for overflow.

    If you have the time try to figure out whats wrong and find a source for the component that went bad, Festool probably did not make the component but someone did and will usually sell it for a lot less than Festool and repair it as a backup. Meanwhile but a Makita, I believe they are made better.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    The problem with the Festool saws, drills, and chopsaws is that they are fairly underpowered compared to most construction/shop equipment.
    Since they struggle to machine even modest material, that leads to premature failure. I have a LOT of money invested in Festool stuff, and the lack of power in these particular tools is quite disappointing.
    A tool needs to be engineered to have and deliver MORE power than is needed on the average job if it has any hope of surviving for any length of time.
    Very common with a lot of euro motors and machines- barely up to the task it is designed for, which leads to heat, which leads to death of the tool.
    “On paper good design”, does not necessarily equate to “actual, useful good design”.

  8. #8
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    I have the same complaint as Peter, I use the routers and have otherwise greatly reduced the amount of Festool stuff I use. I have such little patience for the track saw anymore that I’d rather draw a line and bandsaw by eye.

    These tools seem engineered for 18mm plywood and everything else is a struggle even when conditions are met such as proper blade.

    My Kapex struggled through most cuts, especially in heavy material where the similarly sized bit appropriately motored OMGA cuts through 12/4 ash like it’s not even there.
    Last edited by Brian Holcombe; 10-01-2019 at 2:13 PM.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    I have the same complaint as Peter ...
    Peter & Brian,

    While they don't seem to have the massive following that F-tool has, for quite a few years I've used the Eurekazone EZ Smart tracks (http://www.eurekazone.com) that can be mated with your own circular saw of choice using their so-called "Smart Base" that rides on the tracks . You can buy & install the base yourself ($50, not too hard to install) or you can have them add the base and a dust collection port (they call this an EZ Ready saw). Their system even allows you to use a Makita 5402NA 16-5/16 inch circular saw!! Makita circular saws seem to be a favorite of the Eurekazone track users, but I can't speak to why. I have a Makita, a Hitachi, and a Bosch cordless and they all seem to perform well for me.

    If someone goes in that direction I recommend they get a 64" track ($132, on sale now for $90) for cutting 48" plywood, and add an additional 54" track ($112, on sale now for $77) if cutting 96" plywood. You'll also want a pair of their track clamps (that clamp the track to the material) and if connecting two tracks, a pair of track connectors. The tracks are unique in that (1) they are beefier than others - think I-beam, and (2) the tracks have dovetail shaped slots rather than rectangular slots, so that two connected tracks auto-align straight.

  10. #10
    All
    Thanks for the replies i will be getting rid of my festool accessories and start a search for a new track saw. So is it worth the $20 for them to ship it back to me???hmm maybe...
    i will be looking at hard at Makita and perhaps keep my MFT and Festool tracks.

    Thanks

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by David Gutierrez View Post
    All
    Thanks for the replies i will be getting rid of my festool accessories and start a search for a new track saw. So is it worth the $20 for them to ship it back to me???hmm maybe...
    i will be looking at hard at Makita and perhaps keep my MFT and Festool tracks.
    It may not be worth 20 bucks to _you_ but if I give you 20 bucks, will you have them ship it back directly to _me_? :^)

    BTW, I really like Makita's corded tools (no personal experience with their cordless.)

  12. #12
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    David,
    I have a Dewalt that's 11 years old. This saw has seen many hours of use (I'm a carpenter) and it's still going strong. I've often said that if anything happened to that saw I'd buy another the next day. But I do wish they made one comparable to the bigger Festool.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Gutierrez View Post
    All
    Thanks for the replies i will be getting rid of my festool accessories and start a search for a new track saw. So is it worth the $20 for them to ship it back to me???hmm maybe...
    i will be looking at hard at Makita and perhaps keep my MFT and Festool tracks.

    Thanks
    David
    Yes, have it shipped back to you. Unless you want to give someone at the repair center a repairable saw. I guarantee you it won't cost them $278.00 dollars to repair it.
    Repair centers work on a modular replacement philosophy. You may only have a broken, or pinched, wire, but they're going to replace an entire assembly that has that broken wire.
    I don't know how mechanically inclined you are, but there are quite a few repair videos for the TS-55 on You Tube. Including a few that are complete tear downs and reassembly. Parts are available online also for the TS-55.
    If it's not worth the hassle, then take Doug up on his offer.
    Don't give it away to the repair center.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  14. #14
    A quick google search says a Makita track saw without tracks is $356. DeWalt is about the same and I saw reports that said both will work fine on the Festool track. That seems like a better deal to me than the repair - probably. I would pay the $20 and get the Festool back, poke around at it, check the brushes, clean the communtator, bypass the switch maybe bypass the speed control, and if none of that works, make the final decision. Each saw has some plusses and minuses.

    There is a tear down youtube by a guy "Boltor" or something like that where he tears down a saw like yours and basically says the parts are nothing special. Festool does a GREAT job coming up with systems that work. But outside of the domino and maybe the Rotex 90 you can get at least very similar tools, possibly in some ways better tools, in other brands.

    I use and like the DeWalt but the Makita typically gets as good or better reviews. If either broke, I think the repair quote would be less than the Festool - but that is a guess. Festool is quoting you about 1/2 what a new TS55 sells for but that is about 2/3 of what the others cost.

    I've had my DeWalt at least as long as you have had the Festool and it is working fine. I definitely do not baby tools. It has fallen from my workbench to the concrete floor and been used to cut wood with nails in it, thick hardwoods, etc.. I've worn out one blade and damaged another with the nails. I also cut drywall with it sometimes. I think it's pretty rugged.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Bartley View Post
    David,
    I have a Dewalt that's 11 years old. This saw has seen many hours of use (I'm a carpenter) and it's still going strong. I've often said that if anything happened to that saw I'd buy another the next day. But I do wish they made one comparable to the bigger Festool.
    I have the cordless Dewalt and love it.

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