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Author Topic:   305 Conquest service problems
sideshow posted 06-15-2006 05:24 AM ET (US)   Profile for sideshow   Send Email to sideshow  
I have a new 305 Conquest that I took delivery of last September. In 10 months my boat has spent 5 months out of action awaiting repairs. The first problem was a Verado fuel pump, then the cabin bulk head around the head compartment needed to be replaced (still being repaired), anchor rode and chain problem, power problems with the wiring to mention a few. I was then told that my dealer was no longer a dealer and had to take it to another dealer 4 hours away by sea. It is now in its 4th month at the new dealers yard. Today Whaler informs me that my generator is not covered by warranty. The fact that this is this is the second time I have complained that the generator is difficult to start, the first time seemingly water got into the generator. This time the new dealer informs me that they have discovered excessive corrosion with the generator an a faulty float switch that pumps water from the generator compartment. Whaler claims that because I keep my boat out of the water on a lift it can't be warranty. They say that if the boat was kept in the water it would be covered!!!! You work it out.

My boat is kept in immaculate condition and has has 70hours on it. After purchasing a very expensive fishing boat that has spent 5 of the last 10 months being repaired this is called customer service!! Think long and hard about your next Whaler purchase.

swist posted 06-15-2006 06:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
Have you talked directly to the factory about this?
sideshow posted 06-15-2006 07:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for sideshow  Send Email to sideshow     
I have been in contact with Boston Whaler direct who then refer it to my dealer. My dealer then tells me that they can only carry out what Whaler authorise. This goes back and forth. Everyone is really apologetic however not much happens.
Royboy posted 06-15-2006 11:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for Royboy  Send Email to Royboy     
You need to go up the chain at Whaler until you get someone who will do something for you. There's no excuse for this type of service.


bsmotril posted 06-15-2006 04:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
If you lift holds the boat at such an angle that the generator hold can accumulate water such the the pump in there cannot reach it, then I think Whaler has a good case. I would fight this along that technicality IF you can prove with pictures or otherwise that your lift holds the boat in the same attitude it would be if it were floating on its' own, and that it was their defective pump switch that ruined your generator. BillS
bsmotril posted 06-15-2006 04:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
If you lift holds the boat at such an angle that the generator hold can accumulate water such the the pump in there cannot reach it, then I think Whaler has a good case. I would fight this along that technicality IF you can prove with pictures or otherwise that your lift holds the boat in the same attitude it would be if it were floating on its' own, and that it was their defective pump switch that ruined your generator. BillS
sideshow posted 06-15-2006 06:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for sideshow  Send Email to sideshow     
The lift holds the boat at less of an angle than when the boat is cruising. Apparently the water has been ingested into the generator. Th generator has less than 10hours on it. The first mechanic that was sent out 6 months ago to look at the generator told me the pickup design was poor as given that the boat travels at high speeds water will sooner or later force its way back into the generator from the pickups. He claimed faster boats need a more technical picup design and the 305 definately doesn;t have that. He said to close allthe sea cocks to the generator when traveling and not using the generator. No mention of this in any of the manuals supplied with the boat.
TRAFFICLAWYER posted 06-15-2006 07:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
"... I would fight this along that technicality IF you can prove with pictures or otherwise that your lift holds the boat in the same attitude it would be if it were floating on its' own, and that it was their defective pump switch that ruined your generator. BillS"...

A customer of a $200,000.00 NEW boat should NOT have to prove ANYTHING to Whaler, thats the blame the customer philosophy long outmoded. If the boat has that many issues Whaler should just pick it up for transport back to Edgewater and take care of all the customer problems OR get it to a competent Dealer.

Treypescatorie posted 06-15-2006 09:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Treypescatorie  Send Email to Treypescatorie     
This is why Whaler never makes it to the top of the JD powers survey!
divefan posted 06-16-2006 12:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for divefan  Send Email to divefan     
There is NO excuse of any kind for this kind of treatment from the factory on a boat like this. It seems like a pattern is staring to emerge. If you read my post on the 100 hour service for 90 HP 4-Strokes you will see. Mercury/Whaler have all gone mega corporate. Now you are starting to see the results of that change. No service at all and what you do get only has the bottom line for the company as it's purpose. They are all "fat" with success and their wallets are full. Hey, let's face it. Whaler is not the company it once was. A sad day for all.
sideshow posted 06-16-2006 08:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for sideshow  Send Email to sideshow     
Somebody would lose their job if my scenario happened involving a new $15,000 car. Yet spend $200,000 on a boat an suffer total incompetance. You would think common sense would prevail after 5 months of no boat that something like the generator issue they would give you the benefit of the doubt even if they had a valid point. Most companies would be embarrased of such a scenario.

So today I contacted my dealer to see what was new but the service manager is away on holidays and therefore have to wait till he gets back. Oh well what's another week when you've been waiting months........not much to Boston Whaler anyway.

HuronBob posted 06-16-2006 08:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for HuronBob    
This really sounds strange to me for some reason.

Granted, I have no experience as regards the purchase of a $200,000 boat, so maybe my expectations are too high, but the lack of response on the part of Boston Whaler's corporate office in dealing with a purchase this huge is almost hard to believe. I can understand a dealer doing a piss poor job, especially since this isn't the selling dealer, but the boys in the head office should be paying more attention to this.

Personally, if I had $200k invested in something that didn't work, I would gather up the paperwork, take a week off, book a cheap ticket to Edgewater for myself and an attorney friend who needs a vaction, and camp at the company door until it was resolved.

bsmotril posted 06-16-2006 12:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
Assuming the pump to drain the generator hold is in the rear (where it would logically be to get all the water out with the boat floating at it's normal lines)

And as stated, the lift holds the boat bow down, at less than the normal floating attitude

And assuming the boat was exposed to rain water which got into the generator hold

And assuming the owner did not check said hold prior to starting the generator

Then there are only two possibilities here:
1) After the boat was launched, the generator was started and ingested water because the float switch was bad for the pump in the generator hold


2) The pump was working and in the process of emptying the hold, but the generator was started without inspecting the hold and ingested water as the water level in the hold was too high.

I can see the factory being liable for #1, but not for #2. The factory is under no obligation do design a product where the internal systems can be designed in anticipation of every possible scenario for storage that an owner might subject the boat too. When one buys a product as expensive and complex as a boat, one takes a certain responsibility to inspect those systems prior to use; IE open the hatches and look in the bilges before starting anything. If this were an airplane we were talking about, would start it up and take off before checking the fuel sumps for water or sediment?

divefan posted 06-16-2006 02:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for divefan  Send Email to divefan     
Guys you'll have to excuse me on this one. I bought a 2002 31' Contender NEW from the factory in Homestead, FL. I promptly put it on a lift I had installed for that purpose.

Where I live there are thousands of 30' center console boats. Many many of them are kept on lifts behind homes on the water. Besides 30' CC boats there are many other kinds of boats kept on lifts that are even larger with plenty of additional equipment like generators on board.

Let me say this -

For a company to design a boat and tell a customer that something went wrong with their BRAND NEW BOAT but they (factory) are NOT liable because you (customer)kept the boat on a lift and therefore caused the damage yourself is the most laughable and ludicrous thing I ever heard. I don't know if I can even think up an analogy that would be as ridiculous. Maybe ruining the paint job on your brand new Porsche because you drove it in the rain.

All I can say is that the "new" conglomerate (Brunswick) multi brand ownership of Whaler is showing it's "true" colors in matters of trickle down corporate "customer service". I know people are running into the same problems who have Mercury engines. There have been many posts on this web site attesting to that very problem. I know it is a hard pill to swallow for diehard Whaler fans but it looks like the real world has finally caught up to Whaler too. It is just no longer that little ole company that puts the customer first.

glen e posted 06-16-2006 04:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
while I agreee that this problem is extremely stupid, it being stonewalled by someone at whaler - this is strictly a customer realation issue at that mfr. You have absolutlely no proof that the great satan bruswick is involved here,as many of their other brands and other people at whaler have warrantied some amazing things customers have done. Fuyrther, right now mercury is about the best in the business when it comes to customer serivce and as founder of the verado club and have over 250 customers reporting their expereiences to me, there is very little that merc has not warrantied even when customer abuse is involved.

Blaming Brunswick is getting old, esp when many of their other brands are maitaining quality and merc just won high CSI for the optimax. This is some stupid little peon at whaler that should have been taken to task and I would have my lawyer call the president of whaler tomorrow. The dealer is not too swift here also and should be drawn into the complaint also.

divefan posted 06-16-2006 04:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for divefan  Send Email to divefan     
Glen, You may be correct. And if you are I will be the first to say I am wrong. However, how else can you explain the transformation of a "customer" company to one which holds the customer in such low regard?

The other thing I will add to the mix is the "lawyer" thing. I know everyone throws that around so easily. But, I can tell you from first hand experience that it is not so simple as it sounds. The threat sounds good but the reality is not as much fun as threatening it. That is not the answer. If a company has policies that are not customer friendly there is very little recourse for the ailing consumer. You know the old saying " a contract is only as good as what stands behind it"? It's an old saying for a reason. If the company wants to screw you there is not a whole lot you can do as an individual consumer.That's the sad reality.

That's why people need to take these kind of experiences seriously when they read about them from others. The idea is that it can happen to you as well. I personally have gotten a lot smarter over the years in that regard. I don't need to get hit over the head with a baseball bat. If I read a few posts like this one I am no longer a buyer of that product. I judge a company by how they handle their problems. Every company can be great as long as there are no problems. It's how they handle the adversity that counts.

The simple fact is SIDESHOW is getting screwed however you slice it.

swist posted 06-16-2006 05:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
Good points, divefan. I would also also note that it's not quite as simple as corporate America vs a small business. Sideshow is not getting as good service as I get at WalMart, potentially the epitome of corporate-we-don't-care, but isn't (at least not to me!).

I would also sadly note that the boating industry runs very long on perception and very light on facts. There just isn't enough volume and enough watchdog groups like Consumer's Union to give the buyer a statistically relevant picture of how a company performs. Some obvious examples - SeaRay - once a top-of-the-line boat and now an also-ran (my opinion since as I said above, what facts do we have) lives on in many people's minds as the boat to buy of that type. Bayliner suffers the opposite - they could outfit their boats in gold trim and would still be perceived as a loser, even though they have radically come up in quality (read sentence above about my opinion).

Whaler is unfortunately perfectly placed to go the SeaRay route. Lacking facts, people will go on forever proclaiming the construction and service glories of BW. I don't think they have quite gone over the edge *yet*, but this thread and the observations I've made on my own 2004 Montauk 170 indicate they are perilously close to it.

sideshow posted 06-16-2006 07:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for sideshow  Send Email to sideshow     
Unfortunately the boating industry in my experience is way behind most others when it comes to service. If you purchase a new Toyota from your local dealer and then have a problem 8 months later and take it to another dealer on the other side of the country your Toyota will be repaired without problem. Essentially Toyota will cover the costs which ever service centre does the work. The problem as I am having is that with boats a portion of the warranty costs the dealer must cover in his profit margin. Therefore the dealer becomes responsible for a portion of the warranty issues at his own expense. Therefore taking your boat to another authorised dealer for warranty work poses a problem as to who will cover the costs. Of course the manufacturer will assure you that your boat will be repaired without problem however between the dealer you purchased the boat from, the dealer carrying out the repairs and the manufacturer there is a 3 way scenario as to who will pay. Also the dealer carrying out the work may prioritise the boats that he sold that require warranty work ahead of yours as he has effectively been paid for the work in his profit margin on the new boat sale. In addition the boat manufacturer will probably only pay minimal rates to the dealer carrying out the repair of your boat under warranty that he did not sell you. All in all it is a scenario that nobody wants, like a hot potato.

However with cars, TV's, etc. the manufacturer does not care which one of their agents carry's out the repairs as they effectively take 100% responsibility for the failure of their product. Apart from a wash and detail a $15,000 Toyota will be supplied from Toyota ready to go, hence taking out of the equation possible problems due to an incompetent dealer and poor predelivery. Not so with boats, the dealer almost acts as an extention of the final fitout of the boat, thus another link in the chain that can fail leading to the hot potato scenario again. The manufacturer should in all instances cover all costs associated in genuine warranty costs even if it is due to dealer incompetence as they after all they selected the dealer to be a dealer, the end user didn't!!

In my scenario I purchased from a dealer recommended to me by Whaler. Apparently not long after this dealer lost its dealership. Now another dealer is involved and therefore the problem starts. Who will pay for what becomes an issue and you as the end user gets screwed around.

The amazing thing is that Whaler still haven't removed the dealer off their website that sold me the boat even though I was told they no longer are an agent. Shows you how switched on Whaler are 8 months later!

handn posted 06-16-2006 09:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for handn  Send Email to handn     
Based on my positive experience with BW resolving problems with my 305 Conquest, I believe your problems will eventually be resolved if you are patient and keep talking to BW people until you finally get the right person.
The 305 is too expensive for corporate bean counters to spoil a new owners experience with a great boat.
Word of good and bad customer service gets around.
The generator is touchy and the documention in the owners' manual is sketchy.
Another way for water to get in the engine is for the operator to keep cranking the motor if it doesn't start right away. Exhaust and water mix in the exhaust manifold. If there is no exhaust, water backs up in the motor. The manual says to turn off the sea cock if it doesn't start in ten seconds and keep cranking until it starts and then quickly turn on the sea cock before the impeller gets fried. The manual says that the warranty is void if water gets in the engine for that reason and that may be why Whaler and or Kohler is being difficult about your repairs. BW relies on Kohler for generator repairs.
There is nothing in the owners' manual about closing the sea cock while underway. It makes sense that water rushing in the intake while underway might backup in the engine. If water got in the engine for that reason, it wouldn't be the owners fault.
The generator is raw water cooled and has only an internal zinc for protection against corrosion. I doubt that the generator will last nearly as long as one that has a radiator and heat exchanger. I am trying to extend the life of mine by flushing it periodically with fresh water and Salt Terminator.
Good luck Sideshow in resolving your problems
sideshow posted 06-17-2006 02:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for sideshow  Send Email to sideshow     
I too feel that eventually it will be resolved. However I cannot believe that unless I am constantly chasing the matter, jumping up and down and generally being a real pain in the ass nothing happens. One of the reasons I purchased a Whaler was the assumption that this does not happen. I understand all boats have ongoing service issues however one expects for things to be resolved efficiently. Like I said spend 15k on a new car and compare the service you get.
btukw posted 06-20-2006 09:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for btukw  Send Email to btukw     
dear sideshow
i saw your post and find myself deeply concerned. i have been a dealer for kohler brand generators for 15 years and to this date have not wittnesed one incident when an owner was ignored. there must be a logical answer. what boat dealership is handleing your condition? where is your boat? what is the status now? please respond, perhaps we can help sort all this out and get you fishing again.
lucas posted 06-24-2006 01:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for lucas  Send Email to lucas     
Sideshow, I was inches from buying a 305 conquest new- even had a deposit on one. But, something just was not right. The local marinemax salesman kept talking about the verados on the back. I was thinknig to myself " your test driving a boston whaler, a great company with a new model, and this salesman is spewing nothing but verado garbage". I new it must be a coroporate push. Then my neighbor with a similar boat with new verados was having all kinds of trouble with is engines with about 70 hours. I got the willys and got my deposit back and am glad. This company should be #UNO in customer service. This is really pushing me towards a Grady which always does well in customer service polls. Afterall, we all know boats have all kinds of problems be it a hi end or low end boat. Its the customer service that really makes the difference. Having owned 10 boats, thats the way I see it.
sideshow posted 06-24-2006 07:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for sideshow  Send Email to sideshow     
It's quite sad because I really do like my 305/Verado package. It is a great boat, however as you have said all boats no matter what brand will need service at some stage. Unfortunately poor customer service detracts from a great product. Having said that if you have a good dealer all will go well. I have had a pathetic dealer and that changes everything.
thomasfxlt posted 06-25-2006 08:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for thomasfxlt  Send Email to thomasfxlt     

I've had a 305 since August of 05'. The boat is almost 1 year old and I've had no problems with the motors, genie or anything else significant for that matter. This is not to say that something couldn't go wrong tomorrow, but so far so good. The 305 is a great boat and I wouldn't change the Verado/control package for anything else on the market. I love the Verados!.

I ran 25 miles offshore yesterday here in the Keys. I feel safe in this boat and the equipment has been reliable. The generator ran for 7 hours while running the boat yesterday. Nice to have AC in the cabin on a hot day down here.

I appreciate the problems that you've had, but I just thought I'd share my postitive experience.

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