The mysterious case of the missing Technic set

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Motorized Excavator

8043, the motorised excavator, was the most anticipated Technic set of the year. I have one and I built it last week. It's a great, complex build, and once complete it works well although you need a fresh set of batteries, especially to raise the arm, which takes some effort.

However, DomincG emailed yesterday to say that it's no longer listed at LEGOshop.com in the USA and in a phone call to LEGO he was told that "the US-allocated stock for this set has been sold out and there are no plans to sell additional stock within the US". That seems a bit strange given that it was only listed on the site for about 2 weeks!

I've just checked availability in other countries and it seems to have vanished from the shop competely! I wonder if there's a quailty issue? It's still featured on the Technic home page, but if you click on 'check price' you get a 'not found' page.

Have you seen it in your LEGO store? If so, and you want it, you'd better buy it right away!

Update: it seems it is a quality issue: read the comments to find out more.

50 comments on this article

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By in Germany,

O_O Will this go down in LEGO history as "Ghost set 8043"? Pretty weird though... Unless they took it away to raise prices... :/

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By in Australia,

Might want to go read this thread in Eurobricks Technic Forum:
http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=45378

as well as this one:
http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=45348

Basically, it seems quite a few people are having issues with the model... such as motors/linear activators grinding... dust... and overall working of the model getting worse after several hours of play

Not everyone is having the issue.. but many are doing small modifications/improvements to the design, just to get it to function better (ie: the main boom slow to lift)

It's amazing to see Lego contacting some of the fans, and getting back some of the models/parts to see if they can work out the cause of the issue.

Sadly, I haven't seen this set in Australia yet...
...and also sadly, due to a new baby in our life, and down to 1 income.. I'm not likely to buy this amazing set :(

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By in United States,

I confirm with RohanBeckett. The set has been withheld due to "issues". That is all I have heard. Most likely people are not following the instructions and then when they try to modify the set it breaks. So rather than saying they did it they scream at TLG.

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By in Germany,

@Rohan: Quote for users who aren't allowed on Eurobricks:

"- The Lego designers in Denmark are aware of the problems with the Excavator
- They have pulled 50 (fifty) models from storage and built them. ALL 50 had problems
- At first the models work OK, then the performance drops over time (as with mine and others)
- They think it might be transmission related but are not 100% sure
- Problems were not noticed during design phase
- Not a high population of users have complained about problems (I guess that doesn't mean they don't have issues, just not reported them)
- They think it could be a bad batch of models
- They hope to have full results in 7 days
- There will be a redesigned model with fixes, hopefully within a few months (3~ months)"

When was the last time we heard of a DESIGN FLAW in a LEGO set?? "Only the best is good enough"... heh, really... Hmm... probably... the motors get overloaded! They slip, slow down, and then break down altogether! Just a wild guess! Or... the batteries just CAN'T cope with the load, even if they are super-fresh!

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By in United States,

I really hope they re-release this and don't just scrap it. I'm tempted to pick one up and hold on to it until the redesign is released.

The funny thing, though, is that if I were to have already bought it, it would have been built, used a few times, and disassembled for parts by now. But I suppose I can't risk having my kids completely fall in love with the model and want to play with it extensively.

Oh decisions.

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By in United Kingdom,

Very interesting, thanks all. I hadn't read the Eurobricks thread, so thanks for the resume Alemas.

The main problem does seem to be raising the arm: mine was very stiff to start with but I fiddled with the axles and gears a bit and now it works better but I guess it's still not perfect as it sticks from time to time.

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By in Germany,

@Huw: No problem! ;) Raising the arm, eh? Probably WAY too many gears to contend with...

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By in Australia,

It's not the first time that complex Technic sets have had minor fixes/updates after the set was released

8880 SuperCar had a replacement set of steering rings/joints included... I'm assuming they discovered that the original white ones were brittle, and broke easy? I bought mine 2ndhand, and the instructions had an extra page that had a big cross over the white ones, and told me to use the grey ones instead.

The extra page also has a diagram indicating to be careful when clipping the steering rods to the ball joints... to ensure that the sit cleanly, and not be pushed all the way down (preventing movement)

the 2007 8275 Motorized Bulldozer has an extra PDF on the Lego website indicating a common error during build, that causes the rear ripper to not raise/lower

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By in Germany,

@Rohan: A minor fix... IN 8880 SUPER CAR??? ARGH!!! JSYK, I'm a 8880 fanatic. ;) And car fanatic. :)

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By in Belgium,

Well I hope they find a fix and bring it back to the market, I haven't been able to buy it, and I really want it! :(

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By in Australia,

as big a fanatic as BlakBird? :)
Actually, he doesn't mention the addendum on his Technopedia entry on the 8880..
I should scan mine in, and send it to him.. Maybe it was only in later sets?
My 2ndhand set had both grey and white steering parts.. and one of the white ones came broken

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By in Germany,

@Rohan: You bet I'm a BIG fanatic! :) Too bad I don't have one... :( Wh-what, "one of the white ones came broken"?? ARGH!!! APOCALYPSE!!! That could ruin everything... :/

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By in United States,

@Alemas Last time I heard of a LEGO recall (or rather design goof) was 7894, There was a problem with the front wheel of the plane.

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By in United States,

Wow, I can't believe Lego took it off the market, hopefully they bring it back without the problems it had. This is definitely the biggest Lego mystery I've ever heard of.

@Alemas - So you're saying you don't have the "8880-1: Super Car", tough luck, I got one from my grandfather after his son (my uncle) had one from his childhood and didn't want it anymore. Although I used the pieces for my Lego base, so I never actually built it (it didn't have instructions).

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By in United States,

@Alemas Oh, I was just referring to a design flaw (not necessarily for safety) The red plane I built in 2006 had a very poorly designed front tire that would continuously pop-out of place. When I called TLG, they said it was a design flaw (and offered me a refund)

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By in Germany,

@Jarod: Let's stop talking about 8880 Super Car; Getting off-topic!
@aaron: Pop-out? Probably a bad "wheel-pin", to connect to the wheel; probably it was compressed, meaning less hold on the wheel!

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By in United States,

@Alemas Actually I think I meant 7893 (which was a blue plane). One Brickset member posted:

"Third, if you pick the plane up and try to "land" it on your runway, the wheels frequently pop off (by this, I don't mean the wheels themselves; rather, the piece the wheels snap into becomes unattached to the plate above it). "

Anyway; it's water under the bridge for me, I love it regardless!

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By in Germany,

@aaron: Alright! Still one happy customer for LEGO! :)

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By in United States,

I was just showing this one to my kids at our local TRU in Kentucky USA. It has a massive box...and a massive price. I think I will be skipping this one.

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By in United Kingdom,

The last problem I heard of was in the Harry Potter Shrieking Shack where there was an extra page. That was 2005 and I haven't heard of one since.

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By in United States,

I'm actually quite confused as to why Lego would call back this model.

For as long as I've been collecting Legos, I've always just dealt with design flaws in sets.
For example: in the CW AT-TE, the button-launching missiles won't fire, as the way they're designed, the gun gets pushed forward whenever you push the lever, instead of the buttons being pushed forward. But instead of complaining about it or calling Lego, I just modded it by sticking some one by ones under the gun to keep it firm.

Or if I get a wheel that's loose and pops off of its axel, I always just realize that it's a loose piece. It stinks, but that's life.

Maybe this time, it's different because they had a machine piece that didn't work, and not a design flaw. I don't know, but that might be the difference.

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By in Canada,

I just went to TRU Canada yesterday and it seems like they had a few in the LEGO asile. And I visit LEGO Shop every single day and it was still listed on the front page... But whatever did really happen lets hope this set will come back.

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By in Norway,

I have one and it is amazing! And it is still avaiable in the shops around here in northern part of Norway (checked today).

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By in Netherlands,

I have also noticed the problem with the boom raising (and lowering). It was very slow. After a few days I took it apart and build the B-model. Yesterday I rebuild the excavator and was surprised that it functioned perfectly. No more slow boom. I must say that the second time I build it a bit more carefully. I tested the all the gearing after each major step.

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By in United Kingdom,

I got this and it worked perfectly once built. The boom raising was a little slow but not like on other people's models, only to a degree where it was understandable. The rest of the functions worked fine too.
I gave it a little run last night since it had been a while since I'd used it and I had noticed the threads on Eurobricks.
Strangely, the right side track (looking from a top down view) no longer functions properly. Reversing or running on its own is very slow to completely doing nothing at times. However, when both tracks are running forwards, it works fine. Boom raising has slowed a little too.

I hope the fix is a simple one as I do not want to send mine back for a replacement :/

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By in United States,

Im sure LEGO will solve the problem by christmas, because I was really hoping to have it to go along with my other LEGO technic construction sets

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By in United States,

TRU.com in the U.S. might indicate that they still have some "in-stock", but try adding one to your shopping cart and you get the following message:

"The following item: ? has limited inventory. We've adjusted the quantity below to reflect the number we have available."

(In other words, they don't have anymore in stock!)

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By in Bulgaria,

Why some of you can't read at Eurobricks? Both Brickset and EB are great sites. I don't know if the people behind them like each other, I hope they do.

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By in United Kingdom,

^ Yes, we do like each other :-) I do read the headlines at EB but don't have time to delve into the forums. I find them hard to read, although the format does seem to have improved recently.

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By in United Kingdom,

@huw, I think we know because on eurobricks it says you joined on 21 december 2004 and it still says your new :D

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By in New Zealand,

I phoned Lego, as I have the same problem, they are taking details of people with the problem and will send out a service pack when the problem is resolved. In the meantime they send you a hard copy of the alternate model so you can build something while you wait.

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By in United States,

I wonder if this will affect the contest on the Technic website, the grand prize is all the 2010 technic sets including the Motorised Excavator. !

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By in United States,

i know it's at toysRus. so i have two choices for christmas item #1. 8078, or 8043. probably 8043. (should my digital face be happy or sad? :•|

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By in Italy,

I visited Legoland Germany last saturday. The Lego Shops showed many 8043 boxes. The model was labeled as New.

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By in Canada,

I was in contact with lego, and they said they will be sending a service pack with the extra pieces to fix the problems for everyone who owns one first, and then focus on re-releasing the set entirely. They said they are shooting for a month.

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By in Germany,

@Coaster: WOAH! A SERVICE PACK??? WITH EXTRA PIECES??? Oh wow... this is... weird... Still, LEGO learns from its mistakes...

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By in United States,

Thats why LEGO is always my number one company. They solve a problem instantly and terrific customer support. Every company should be like LEGO

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By in United States,

by all these things i have heard, i might want to get the new version...... (why is it that the good sets always have problems?) :•|

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By in United States,

I'm still wondering what will be in the service pack... bigger motors?

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By in United Kingdom,

As with previous 'service packs' to correct faulty sets, it'll probably contain a few extra pieces & a page or two of replacement building instructions. I doubt there will be any additional electronics, but you never know!

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By in Sweden,

Funny, I buy one the day this is posted on Brickset ... I built it without any problems ... works fine, maybe mine will slow with time as well, I don't know, I don't really play with it.

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By in Italy,

I went in London last week and visited Harrods and Legoland Windsor, there was many boxes of 8043 but unfortunately they were too expensive (Pound vs Euro!) and too heavy to put in my luggage so I didn't buy it. However I made an Italian online order and still no have news about shop remove

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By in Gibraltar,

spotted on the net:

"The LEGO group and the LEGO Technic product team are aware that a number of consumers have been experiencing problems with the recently launched 8043 motorized excavator, which was not identified during the intensive testing of the product before launch. Consequently, we have been testing this model over again and learned that a specific element is causing the error. The LEGO Technic team has corrected the error and is now in the stage of producing a replacement part which will be distributed to those consumers, who experienced the fault with the model they have purchased.

There is no safety concern regarding the faulty element!

It's really important to us that our products are of the highest quality and we sincerely apologize to consumers who have had an experience with this product that does not live up to their or our expectations.

We are currently doing everything we can to solve this issue as quickly as possible. As soon as new replacement parts are available, our Consumer Service will distribute a Service Bag with instructions and new elements to those consumers who experienced the problems."

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By in United Kingdom,

I've seen it at a local toy store and my dad has put a 10% deposit on one because its my Christmas Present. I didn't know this was happening. If I'd known yesterday I would have told dad oh dont bother. They is a design error and I will wait until they fix it.

When dad picks it up I will tell him I need the set now and not for Christmas, I need to check something.

Does anybody know which of the elements is causing the problem? Then I will know what to look for when I receive the set. Please reply here.

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