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Old 20 August 2015, 15:48   #1
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Country: USA
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Honda just lost a big fan

I've been a fan of Honda motors in ANYTHING for years, but they just lost me forever. Yes, every brand will break, and we have to understand that. But, when they do break prematurely, the company ought to have enough fortitude to make it right with the customer. Honda no longer does. I have a 150 hp Honda outboard with a puny 230 hours on it, and the crankshaft thrust washer has eaten through the motor, killing it. My dealer called Honda and was told "T.S. Off warranty." I called Honda and was told the same. OK, I'm off the warranty period, measured in time, and I understand that. However, 230 hours and a HONDA goes boobs up? Total BS. I could care what the time period is: The fact is: 230 hrs, dead Honda. I think the engine sat on the shelf a year before I bought it, too, so this stinks even more (if my memory serves me). Anyway, I'm out $16K and I just thought I'd let others know that Honda ain't what it used to be. Were I the only one with this problem I might somehow feel better, but the dealer told me this is a known issue in the 150 hp motors. I will not swear here, but you know what I am thinking: Honda can have sexual intercourse with itself and Honda and I have just parted company. Dang shame, too, 'cause they used to be a great company. Cheers. john
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Old 20 August 2015, 16:07   #2
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Sorry to hear of your troubles, how old was the engine out of interest ?
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Old 20 August 2015, 16:48   #3
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Not good.

Have you considered writing to Honda? I don't mean to their customer services desk where your letter will be rubber stamped. I mean to their top honcho in the U.S.

I did my Columbo routine and came across Scott Conner. He's Honda through and through. Now Senior Vice President of Honda's Power Equipment Division, including outboards. He's been with Honda since 1978 and is based in Georgia.

What have you got to lose? Big business can't afford to lose loyal customers, so draft something and send it recorded delivery or UPS or whatever you guys do state-side.
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Old 20 August 2015, 18:06   #4
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That is certainly a shame....
Honda engines generally have a decent rep reliability wise.
I moan (ALOT) about intrusive EU (over) legislation this side of the Pond
..BUT from what I know and read (although we do seem to pay a premium in the UK especillay!!) we also seem to have much more consumer protection than you Guys.
With verifiable low hours such as yours,and taking that it's been serviced as specified??.. and that it was an "old stock" item I'd have thought (over here at least) there may well be a case of The engine not being fit for purpose!
Which ever course you choose...Good luck!
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Old 20 August 2015, 18:16   #5
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My dad always taught me to call companies and ask for the president, they often don't have much going on and will answer the phone. I've gotten through to several that way. If they have an admin team in place to field the calls those teams are often much more capable of resolving issues.

Jason
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Old 20 August 2015, 18:49   #6
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I've found contacting top man works. BUT you have to be in the right. Top Men know if they have screwed up and make it right. Top Men know if you are taking the P and will just ping the letter to customer services and say "Please write to this delightful customer and tell them we are really sorry they feel this way but we are unable to help!" You will still get a response because every Customer Service Team will jump as high as the President tells them to.

So like Maximum says you need to figure out if you have any legal consumer type rights. In the UK its common to flog electrical goods with 12/24 month warranty but our consumer legislation means actually it may be possible to claim up to 6 years after buying new electricals.

A new Honda OB in the UK comes with a 5 year warranty - not sure about the US.

You say its a known problem. That helps your case. But you could do with some evidence other than a dealer saying I had two of these last year so it must be a known problem.

In the UK you'd want to use words like "Fit for Purpose" and "Inherent Design Flaw" - but you may need to seek some US legal phrases that are enough to make someone sit up and take notice. In the UK you'd be looking for a written response, because if you genuinely believed you had a case you would then take them to the small claims court and you need to prove the company refused to put things right...

I have no idea what a crankshaft thrust washer is. But you say you are out $16k... is that the cost of the new motor? Or what it costs to repair? My understanding of UK courts is they would accept a repair from the company, but if the company doesn't offer a solution (and often they don't turn up in court so just get awarded against) the court will just apply a full refund (no adjustment for depreciation etc) if thats what you asked for. If I were you and it got to court thats what I'd be asking for, but I'd know the repair cost and be willing to settle on that.

**BUT** If I was Honda I'd be saying - hang on we give you a FIVE YEAR warranty. Most cars don't come with that. Its up to you to decide what to do at 4.5 years - sell and replace with a new one, take out extended warranty or take a chance. You took a chance, you can't come back and complain. If there was a genuine flaw in design I'd know, and I'd probably say - as a gesture of goodwill we will supply the parts to fix it you find the engineer to fit them.
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Old 20 August 2015, 21:30   #7
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Hey, thanks all for the sympathy and suggestions. Yes, I am going on the word of my dealer, and I will check into this further. The head mechanic at my dealer said Honda FINALLY admitted to the problem in their 200 and 250 hp, and are sending out revised and improved parts that seem to be working. Nothing yet has been admitted for the 150 hp. For the 150 hp, the repair is $8K, and the parts would probably be the same ones; generally, they are going out in 300 hrs if they go out. A 2015 E-tech is $15, approx, so I would never pay $8K to get, likely, the same parts. I will try writing to Honda, and will post a concern on FaceBook, too; I guess a lot of people read over there, and maybe a honcho will come across the concern and act. For data: The spec on the thrust washer tolerance is 0.018", and mine has 0.082", indicating the need for a new powerhead. Further, my dealer said their Honda sales are falling way off. Apparently Evinrude and Yamaha (both of whom are giving them excellent customer support) have dug into Honda's domain heavily, at least up here. So, I will keep on this a bit and try to make sense to someone at Honda. This does not reflect a company with integrity and honor, or long-term survival, for that rate. Word gets around. cheers. john
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Old 21 August 2015, 02:37   #8
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I would start with **not** posting a "Honda lost another customer" post on FB. What would be far more useful would be to post a... "Has anyone had a thrust washer fail on a Honda 150HP?" with some explanation that you've heard the 250 has been modified etc. Someone at Honda **May** pick up your post eitherway. But to be honest once you've got a customer slagging you off on social media you are down to damage limitation rather than fixing the problem. So even if you were sent a brand new engine by overnight courier with a man to fix it and a free tank of fuel to test it too, all that happens is you go on FB and say - Honda fixed my problem but I shouldn't have needed to rant on FB to get that to happen. Other customers see that ranting on FB works so they post their problems and so the solution spirals.

Post your issue - Engine failure at XX miles, age of engine. Out of warranty - fine. Don't make it a rant (at least to start with!) - Make it a fact finding mission of "any one else had this issue? anyone repaired it and it recurred?" Let the FB Community be the ones who suggest that if Honda where honourable they might consider a off warranty fix for you.

Be-aware your dealer is clearly looking to move to Yam and Ev dealing more than Honda. Thats not meaning you'll get 110% customer service from him on a Honda. He knows you want a replacement engine. As long as he makes you feel hes done the best he can for you and you'll get a decent deal he will then try and sell you a Yam/Ev. A dealer who only sold Hondas know you are going to not trust a replacement Honda so knows he needs to push hard to find a solution that doesn't just mean "buy a Yam"...
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Old 21 August 2015, 08:20   #9
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I do warranty claims for a living.

"You'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar" holds true. You have to be reasonable in the process. Out of warranty, they are not going to eat a whole outboard to satisfy you.

Maybe contact Honda and inquire about a pro-rata outboard replacement, or see if they'll supply the parts and you'll pay for labor? You won't walk away with $0.00 out of pocket, but it can at least help deaden the blow.
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Old 21 August 2015, 14:00   #10
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Tell Honda that a small Scottish engineering firm is doing what their R&D department should be doing. Reckon their VP will be right on the blower (phone).

Honda 20HP Cam Pulley Failure
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