5th Blown Honda Powerhead in less than 3 years!
LATEST UPDATE: Scroll to the bottom-9 Jan 13
MY HONDA STORY……hoping for a Happy Ending!
Fortunate to be “living the dream” guiding fisherman over 200 days a year on Chesapeake Bay! Currently a “bad dream”!
I bought a beautiful new Judge 27′ Chesapeake in April 2010. Loved the boat…..loved my Honda 225 Power and business increased because of the 2 great buys!
I chose a Honda Engine because of stellar reputation and “built to last” reputation. My business depends on reliable power and dependability right now! I thought based on research, friends with Honda’s and the US Coast Guard that Honda was the right choice. In my business, my business success and the ability to be consistantly successful and most importantly keep my anglers safe is of huge importance.
As of right this second I’m very disappointed with Honda Marine!
Honda has supported very well on all my Honda issues since I purchased the engine. Without going into detail on minor things, the first year had a few issues but were quickly taken care of by Honda. I was satisfied with the engine and the service for the first few months. Nothing in life is perfect…that goes for all outboard engines.
Because guiding fisherman is my business and a business I love and desire to be successful at, I push hard and do things many other guides/charters don’t do. Since late april 2012 – October 2012 I covered an average of 78 miles a day. That folks is lot’s of covered water. Throughout my Honda experience I have maintained the engine as good as I possibly could…..everyday I pop the hood and do everything but taste the oil. Change oil timely and call mechanic if anything doesn’t seem right. Very important for my engine to be running perfectly!
Oct/Nov 2010 real issues with my 225 Honda began! A “oil pressure” alarm sounded and I responded. Checked the book….stated turn engine off….check oil level to ensure oil is at proper level……it was. Restart engine and ” press-on” if green light illuminates to indicate proper oil pressure. All was well after the first “horn” on oil pressure. For the next couple of days I received about 2 “horns” on oil pressure per day. Contacted mechanic who contacted Honda who stated “check the thrust washer bearing” . Thrust washer bearing was failing and causing the low oil pressure. Honda immiately without any question replaced my powerhead. This occured around Oct 2010 with about 550 hours on the properly maintained engine. With the “new” powerhead in place I proceeded to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel to guide anglers. On my 3rd trip on the way out to the fishing grounds the engine completely failed! Smoke coming out of places it shouldn’t, ect……..trip over…boat had to be pulled and transported back to mechanic about 200 miles away. This “new” powerhead is blown. Honda immediately replaced the powerhead with another “new” powerhead. Honda reponded fast and made everything happen quickly. “New” powerhead installed by Reliable Marine of Solomons (certifed Honda Shop). Reliable Marine has been very helpful and provided me with very quick service. This 2nd “New” powerhead was installed and I pulled the boat to the nearest water to test the engine. 15 minutes into doing what I was told by Honda/dealer this engine blew up! My CBBT season is over with another blown engine. My clients lost many days of fishing and I lost my sole income for many days because of the failure.
Honda responded quickly and overnighted a whole new engine! I was very impressed although disappointed because of all the failures. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel season for me never happened because of all the Honda failures. 2011 was a new year with a brand new (i think) Honda engine. I maintained very close contact with my mechanic and checked my engine daily for anything different. All seemed well……..approx. late Oct. 2011 I recieved and engine alarm….immediately had it checked…..scored cylinder, yet another blown powerhead. Wow! That’s 4 blown powerheads in just over 1000 hours total time on engine. Honda immediately without question replace my second engine with it’s first new powerhead…..I’m very skeptical because of my history. Honda customer service assured my this new powerhead was “good”….I won’t have the same problem. I pressed on with the new powerhead from Nov 2011 throughout 2012. All seemed well…..
Throughout 2011 I was in a high state of vigilance over my 5th powerhead from Honda in well under 3 years and 2000 hours total time. I spent about $2000 dollars on maintenance other than oil changes/lube/routine maintenance. In Sep 2011 I had 24 valves in my engine adjusted/inside of engine looked at to verify things look right….ect….all is well in Sep 2012. This powerhead has gotten me just over 1000 hours without issue. Late Novemeber 2012 I head to VA Beach to start my 2012/13 CBBT (Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel) season. Starts out great…..catching fish and engine is running good in the treacherous waters. Around 13 Dec after about 10 trips at the CBBT I recieve the “oil pressure” horn. Engine oil was perfect and clean, boat restarted and all seemed alright. Although I knew based on experience all was probably not well. Over the next couple of days I recieved 2 or 3 alarms a day…..oil good, engine restarted and oil indicator light lit and engine ran perfectly. Unfortunately I decided with this alarm sounding daily I had to pull the plug and leave the CBBT with my boat.
Towed boat 200 miles back home to Solomons area and delivered my boat to Reliable Marine in Solomons, MD. Didn’t take long and I recieved the bad news……Thrust Bearing failed….powerhead done….5th failed Honda Powerhead for me in less than 3 years total time and 2287 hours between 5 powerheads. WOW!
Contacted Honda Customer Service….was told my engine is “OUT” of warranty. I wasn’t shocked….it was “letter of the law” out of Warranty. However, I didn’t feel as though I ever received reasonable service from my Honda product. Over the last 2 years and 8 months I’ve lost 71 days of fishing/work/much $$$, and much mental anguish to my Honda breakdowns, Honda customer service stated to me on Friday Dec 21, 2012 I was out of warranty but case would be under review. I lost sleep, upset and disgusted with what I heard from this customer service lady. She stated I would hear something on or after Jan 7, 2013. I understand the holiday would cause me delay. I uderstand that…but not happy.
www.Tidalfish.com is a fishing web-site I’ve been a part of for over a decade…..a fishing site many folks frequent who fish in the Chesapeake Bay Region. A great site for fisherman to share information regarding fishing and anything else related to fishing/ect……very popular on-line place. On Dec 23, 2012 I posted on the Tidalfish/Chesapeake Angler Message Board about my issue with Honda. It recieved more response than I thought was possible, over 24,000 views in 6 days. Lot’s of interest in this issue with Honda. Here’s a link to the tidalfish thread: ( http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/showthread.php/326712-Done-with-the-CBBT-for-now-and-another-BLOWN-ENGINE! )
UPDATE: 28 Dec, 2012
I spoke with a Honda Representative and my case is under review. I’ve been promised an update on Jan 2-3, 2013. Based on my consistant problems from beginning to end with my Honda Engine since April 2010 I hope Honda decides to talk with me about a resolution to this problem. I believe Honda is a great product and believe Honda wants to always do the best for their customers. Unfortunately I’m not a satisfied customer because of valid issues. I will continue to update on my web-site and www.tidalfish.com regarding my progress with Honda. Happy Holidays Folks and good luck Fish’in!!!!!
UPDATE: Sunday, Dec 30, 2012
Due to holiday haven’t spoke with Honda since 28 Dec 12. Currently Tidalfish thread has over 28,000 views.
UPDATE: 3 Jan 2013-Honda is not going to cover my 5th engine failure in less than 3 years! Big corporation spitting on the little guy…….I’ll be pressing on with a Suzuki 300……very disappointed…will be further pursuing an answer as to if they believe the service I recieved from my Honda 225’s were reasonable. Very curious…will report what I find out….
Update: 4 Jan 2013. towed boat to Judge in Denton…..Suzuki is throwing a decent offer on a 250 Suzuki and Yamaha is very expensive. Have to evaluate which move to make. Carl from Honda will be checking out my boat on 7 or 8 Jan to verify damage to the engine. Will update as I get news.
Update: 9 Jan 13
Met “Carl” from Honda yesterday at Judge Yacht…Carl was on time and ready to roll. Didn’t know if he would be alright with me being there but considering all I’ve been through I wanted to be there and witness whatever there was to witness. Carl answered all my questions as he rolled along with his checks. First thing he did was check the thrust bearing to verify it was shot…..indeed it was shot. Carl stated the engine would run for a long time with the issue but would progressivley worse and eventually the engine would fail…..who knows how long it would last. Obviously I can’t run like that. Next up was hooking up the computer to check all the data…….all data was uneventful except one thing. Bill Judge was “shocked” when Carl stated one stat. Cart was not fazed at the stat. The wild stat was how many starts I had in 1187 hours with the current powerhead. In 1187 hours and about 13 months I had 10,380 starts on the engine! Thats around a 50 start per trip avg! I know I start and stop alot but that is crazy! Anyway, Carl stated starting all that many times DID NOT cause the thrust bearing to fail. All my other stats were very reasonable not throwing any flags. Next step Carl attemped to shove a camara into the oil pan through the dipstick and the drain hole….no luck! He asked if I changed my own oil….answer “yes” sometimes…sometimes mech shop. He asked if I used a pump to suck the oil out through the dipstick…answer, “yes, but not always”. He asked if I did it when the oil was really “hot”, answer, “i don’t think so but can’t say no for sure” . Carl stated,” occasionally, a hose stuck through the dipstick pipe into the oil pan could possibly have a small piece broke off or melt off in hot oil and plug an oil “outflow” which could cause oil depravation to the thrust bearing”. Carl agreed to tear the engine down to check the oil pan since he couldn’t get the camara in the pan to check visually. So…..Carl started unbolting…..and unbolting……he tore the engine down piece by piece until he reached the oil pan. Oil pan was clean….no clogs. I was hoping to find plastic……I’d love to know what caused my problem….my fault or not. Unfortunately Carl found no evidence of anything torn apart causing my engine failures. He stated the whole engine would need to be torn down to figure out the problem. Carl is doing a final report on his findings and will report up his chain……he stated he’d be talking to a person up the chain about my history/issue/ect……he stated he or someone up the chain would contact me today to finalize the situation.
As of now waiting on news from Carl or whoever about my case. After doing lots of research and talking to plenty of owners and looking for best cost situations a 250 Suzuki will be going on the back if Honda doesn’t want to counter offer on a better deal. Yamaha with wireless controls is sweet…no doubt, but at about 13,000 more than the deal offered by Suzuki it’s hard to pick yammy. Bill Judge is certainly assisting big time whether Honda or Suzuki. Not saying I think Yammy is not better than Suzuki. Just can’t justify the extra 10+ thousand. If it were 5 more or even 7 more thousand I may have jumped…..but just to much.
“Carl” just called at 915am as I was typing this……He stated one of two or both folks above him in Honda have been briefed on findings and will call me today. Carl kept his word and called as he said he would. I still don’t know what the answer will be………
Back to the engines…….it’s a crap shoot for me i guess……money does matter to some extent…..As soon as I get the good or bad word from Honda I’ll be pulling the trigger on a new engine. At least Honda didn’t completely disregard my situation….I’m happy with that. Would love to know what caused my failures……many other guides across the country put lot’s of hours on engines and do plenty of starting and stopping……according to the tech. experts I’ve communicated with the size of boat/wieght isn’t an issue….Carl didn’t seem like the boat size/weight was a cause. He’s been tearing honda’s apart for 15 years…..he knows the engines!
Update: 9 Jan 13
just recieved a call from Honda Corp. upper management folks. Great call…..they seemed very concerned about my on-going issues. Chatted for at least 1/2 hour…..they have followed social media to some extent……very pleasant and concerned about my honda experience. To this point…..Carls report still didn’t give cause/blame for my failures. Honda’s folks stated they would like me to stay with Honda and be a satisfied customer. They will be working quickly on an offer to me for a 250 Honda. I did tell them based on my “difficult to say the least” history with Honda they would have to make a significant offer for me to not change to Suzuki……..