Woes with Yamaha Warranty
The story about our warranty issues starts here. As you all know, we have had a lot of problems with this engine. Starting within 10 hours of use, it started stalling, but the runs between stalls were in the tens of hours so fuel filter changes and fuel fitting changes were done. There was nothing suspicious enough to point to the engine being at fault.
That changed on our way back from North Carolina to Jacksonville. The engine literally left us in life threatening situations.
The story of that can be found elsewhere but suffice to say, the engine started stalling more than it worked.
We got to Jacksonville where we purchased the brand new motor in September of last year. Finally, we thought we could have this issue resolved. No one wants to have so little faith in an engine that they are scared to use it for fear of life and property damage.
We arrived on a Friday afternoon, and the service department couldn't do anything till Monday because Yamaha was already closed. Monday morning, the tech got here, and as was typical of this intermittent fault, the engine refused to fail in front of the tech. Josh, the tech, really knows his stuff, so based on my explanation of the fault and about an hour after trying to reproduce the fault, he phoned Yamaha to ask permission to pull out the VST and test it. He figured it was the only thing it could be, because it was definitely a fuel issue, and nothing else was a problem.
Yamaha refused. This happened right in front of both my wife and me. I was kind of surprised, to be honest.
Here, we have the Yamaha accredited tech that installed the motor, in September, phoning Yamaha to get approval to find a fault and they refused. As many of you know, I've been around engines for decades and know my way around all types, and, being a design engineer, I also know my way around the firmware and hardware that controls these engines.
With no other recourse after Yamaha's refusal, we tried to make it fail by running it like I had been, but we couldn't. The computer snap shot of the engine parameters showed nothing wrong. Later, we found out that it couldn't possibly do so, as there are no fuel sensors. No vacuum, pressure or flow sensors on any of the points from the feed point to the injectors and the two fuel pumps they have. Nothing. In other words, the only way to determine if the VST was the problem would be to remove it, as Josh had requested.
We went back to the office and I was informed that because they couldn't find the fault I would have to pay the bill, as there's no warranty for intermittent problems the tech couldn't find. I got issued a $360 bill.
I asked, "If I pay the bill and it happens again, do I get a refund?"
Nice. So I'm stuck with an engine that has an intermittent fault, and no one will take my word for it, though I can't imagine why I'd want to delay my already late trip to have someone look at an engine if there is nothing wrong with it. That is problem number one with Yamaha policy. They assume you're a liar no matter what, unless they see the fault. That's bad enough. But, it got worse.
I headed back to the boat, figuring, what are the chances that this thing will fail like it regularly did after sitting there for a while after a long run? Sure enough, it failed. I immediately called the service department and was told to not touch it, and the tech would get there after his lunch break.
He plugged his computer up and told me to fire up the engine. It spluttered and stalled. We restarted, and it spluttered a little, then started working again. Yamaha requires a computer snap shot of the engine parameters to analyse faults. The computer saw no problem. Why would it? This is a fuel related issue and this motor has not one fuel related sensor on it.
So technically, if I filled my mouth with petrol, squirted it into the injector rail at idle it would not detect an issue. Garbage in-garbage out.
Not only did they refuse to allow Josh to remove the VST on their dime, they decided to blame the VST filter and claim that I hadn't serviced the engine properly. With no other recourse, I had Josh go ahead and remove the VST even though I would have to pay for it. The filter was pristine, as I suspected, because it made no sense for that to be the fault. The fault was too intermittent to be a filter issue. Apparently there was a TSI issued to replace it but no one told me about it and it's not on the service schedule in my manual that I downloaded from Yamaha itself so I could service it.
And yet, it appears Yamaha wants us to foot part of the bill. The engine is just over 7 months old and has had issues since it was 10 hours old. I have now a bill for $574, up from the original $360 and that's not including the $50 per day we pay for dock-age. Thankfully we were only charged from Tuesday for dock-age so that's $150 now. Total cost now is $724.
Most of that is directly attributable to Yamaha's service department not giving their permission to a Yamaha certified tech to follow his training. Had they given approval we would have been out Tuesday morning rather than Friday morning.
Now I've spoken to the warranty department and pointed out exactly how rude I think it is that they refused to give their approval to pull the VST out and then want to make me pay for all the time wasted following all the other rabbit trails while ignoring the prize moose 25 yards away.
The guy I spoke with said he'd see what he can do and would get in touch with Beach Marine where we have the boat/engine. That was yesterday and I was told they'd call me back with an answer. I wasn't expecting much considering his attitude, he came across as bored and disinterested. Since they didn't call, we had to stay an extra night. More cost and more delay on an already delayed trip. We look to be arriving in Australia in the Cyclone (Hurricane) season now, due to engine woes.
So back on the phone with Yamaha. They ask me to email the invoice. I took a picture of it and was almost finished writing my case as to why they caused the delay and the cost by not listening to a Yamaha serviceman who was right there with the engine telling them where the issue was and virtually begging them to get approval to pull it down, when, the phone rang.
It was Debrah from the service department telling me to come in, sign the paperwork, she got it all approved. I naturally told her she was awesome, and she is awesome. Apparently she spoke with the same guy I did and he was going to put the whole issue on the back burner, meaning that there would be another couple of weeks before they would even begin processing the claim. She figured I would flip out. I would have.
Instead she went higher and put the pressure on by basically telling them that they have eaten many claims in the past for Yamaha and they owed them to eat this one. With Yamaha it's not about the product, it's about who you know there. In any case, she was awesome. That delay would have killed the trip right there. Even as it is we're pushing to make it. The extra couple of weeks would have made it impossible.
Deborah is awesome. So is the crew at Beach Marine in Jacksonville Florida. I'd like to publicly thank them for the hours they put in even with all the obstacles put their way by Yamaha's warranty department, and not give up.
The Crew at Beach Marine:
Deborah, Miss Awesome.
Morris, Service Manager
Josh, the service tech who nailed it at the start and Yamaha didn't listen to.