ENGINES, THE SOURCE OF
Unlike most auto manufacturers, boatbuilders don’t make their own engines, but instead
buy them from other manufacturers. For
inboard/outboard and inboard engines, boatbuilders are responsible for designing parts
of the engine’s fuel, control, and exhaust
systems to fit their boats, and to install the
engines per the manufacturers’ guidelines.
When something isn’t right between boat
and engine, it can deteriorate into a lot of
finger pointing but little resolution; even
dealers can become frustrated when there is
uncertainty over which manufacturer will pay
to correct the problem.
Kevin and Tracy Dunlap from Oconto,
Wisconsin, bought a new Cruisers Yachts
Express 34 with Volvo 7. 4 Magnum engines.
These engines, which were designed primar-
ily for trucks and SUVs, feature “overlap-
ping” of the exhaust intake and exhaust
valve timing. This makes on-the-road vehicles
more efficient. But in a marine application,
that same efficiency design has the poten-
tial to cause the engines to ingest exhaust
water back through the manifolds, potentially
resulting in engine damage. The Dunlaps’
engines ingested water, and suffered damage,
but were still repairable. The engines’ warran-
ty had expired shortly before the breakdown
and the owners were faced with an expensive
repair estimate of more than $5,000.
After 25 years and thousands of complaints, the Bureau has found that even
though a warranty has expired, manufacturers will sometimes extend assistance on
a goodwill basis. The good news is that
with the Bureau’s assistance, Cruisers Yachts
acknowledged the problem and responded
by offering two new mufflers as well as
$2,500 toward payment for the modifications and installation.
When shopping for a boat, keep in mind
that dealers with long-standing relationships
with manufacturers are usually able to provide the best assistance when something out
of the ordinary crops up. A new dealer may
not have the clout to get the manufacturer to
go the extra mile.
If the dealer can’t help, often a letter
outlining the problem to the manufacturer’s warranty or customer-service department will provide results. If not, contact the
BoatU.S. Consumer Protection Bureau; we
can often provide the leverage to get things
BOATU.S. CONSUMER PROTECTION BUREAU MAY BE ABLE TO HELP FIND A WORKABLE SOLUTION.
IF YOU NEED HELP, EMAIL US AT CONSUMERPROTECTION@BOATUS.COM OR CALL (703) 461-2856.