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sidekicknicholas

Cracked Block - Dealers are just ignoring me ... WTF

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sidekicknicholas

I'm trying to get my boat fixed after a cracked block and local dealers and Malibu corporate office (TN) just seems to be blowing me off.... I'm starting to get frusterated.  If anyone has advice or insight on how I can get something done, I would really appreciate it.

Timeline:

~May 23rd - Found some water in the oil, and a freeze plug pushed out of the engine

May 24th - I confirmed my fears and found out I had a cracked block

May 25th-29th - Contacted insurance and local dealers to try and source a new engine / repair my current one.  I started geographically as close as possible and have since been moving outward trying to find ANYONE willing to take my money.

.... since then ....

Two Malibu dealers have said they do not want to take on the project and I should call elsewhere.  Seriously?!

One dealer simply hasn't responded at all.

One dealer let me know they found a replacement engine, they would not tell me the price of the engine or labor though.  Even without knowing the price I asked if I should just drop the boat off and was told "No, it will just be in the way".  I followed up since then with four calls, and six emails .... no response.  

I've left four voicemails over the last four weeks at the TN customer service line with ZERO call backs; simply trying to figure out of I'm doing something wrong here.

 

.... I hope I'm not being unreasonable here but this is some seriously bulls*** IMO.  How can authorized Malibu dealers/service centers just turn away repair work?!  My first thought is they're resistive because I didn't buy it from them, but the dealer I purchased from has since shutdown so they're not an option.  In Wisconsin our summers are short, and I've already lost 30% by being completely ignored.  This our my family's third Malibu, but if I ever get this thing fixed, I'm thinking it might be time to jump ship, literally, to another brand.... this is insane to me.

 

Any help or insight would really be appreciated,

Thanks!

Nick

 

/rant.

 

Edited by sidekicknicholas

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85 Barefoot

Nick,

Stinks on your situation.  But, I don't think Malibu has any responsibility to "make" dealers commit the resources needed to do a block swap on a 13 year old boat in the busiest time of the year.  The good news is that in that era, mastercraft used indmar as well, and a mastercraft dealer could source the engine as well (and install).  In fact, you could take it to really any dealer, not just malibu.  But, I doubt you'll hear much different.  Lets assume, without problems, 25 man hours are required.  2 weeks before July 4 when dealers are trying to keep their customers happy is a tall order to commit to that IMO, but good luck.

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UWSkier

Have you tried Mr. Outboard in Green Bay?  We've had our Malibu serviced there a few times.  They're a MC shop.

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Eagle River Mike

Who winterized it?  Take it back to them.  I doubt insurance will cover a poor maintenance item.

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kstateskier1

First I want to state I'm not trying to throw salt in the wound as I feel your pain, but I'm a little confused why this is on Malibu at all?  Wasn't this poor winterization that caused this on a 14 year old boat?  Why would you call the Malibu factory, wouldn't the Indmar factory be a better idea and maybe they could hook you up with another shop?  If you don't have a dealer you bought a boat from, I hate to say it, but you're not getting your boat in this summer.  I've seen this situation before play out and they will continue to move customers in front of you.  May be worth finding a manageable upgrade on someone's lot and doing a trade where they can fix the boat to sell when they have time if you want any hope of being on the water this summer.  

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ORMailbuboater

Busy time of year for boat maintenance\repairs.  Are they refusing to do the work period?  Or only at this time as they have too much repair work in front of you?  

Ask about when they could get to the work.  My guess is the reason you were told it would be in the way was since they do not have any place to store your boat.   Many dealers are not taking on additional work with all the work they have to do.

Sorry to say you may be without a boat for a long period this year.  

Call me lucky so to speak.  I needed repairs last year after a incident in early September.  Dealer (AWS in Oregon) was so busy they could not even look at it till Thanksgiving.  They were honest about the situation.  My season was over.  Once it was determined what the problem was (needed new tranny, v drive, wedge) the next work window was late December\Jan.  Finding a dealer not busy to swap the engine at this time I am afraid is not going to be unusual.  

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COOP

A big job like this during the busiest time of year will be tough. Im already several weeks out on basic maintenance stuff, throw in new boat preps and additional drop offs that have issues after the first time out and a big engine job is just in the way. I do them over the summer months, but its tough to meet a timeline that will satisfy people. 

 

Not sure why you would call Malibu. They dont do engine work.

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HPetit

Any dealer/mechanic not too busy to take this job on is NOT the mechanic to do the job. Its the same problem with the housing contractor market. Any reputable business is flooded with work. The guy that can fit you in this week isnt worth his snot to do the job. 

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Fffrank

I just checked the Indmar dealer/repair center list (it's available on their website.)  They list Freemont Marine and Badger Marine in your area (I put in Nekoosa, WI?)  Have you tried either of those dealers?  I know I would never be able to get in at the big Malibu dealership here, but my local marina is an  Indmar service center and they are usually only a couple of weeks out (they have a MUCH larger service dept. than the dealerships.)

I also wouldn't feel too stressed to find a local auto mechanic that might want to take it on.  It's not a complicated job and many of those indy shops are slow in the summer.

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hethj7

Yep, I would call auto shops.  They can likely do the work. Just need to make sure he critical Marine parts go back on.  

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kerpluxal

busiest time of year... Mine is at an indy shop for "minor repairs" and it has been 3 weeks already with it coming out next week.. 1 month for an undercarriage repair..

When my older bu blew its engine about the same time of year (right before 4th).. no shop in Houston area was able to get in and out in less than 2 months (not just malibu dealers.. supra, mc, indys...) I ended up ordering a long block crate and doing it myself just so I could have it on the 4th..

Ask the Dealers if they have any reputable shops that could assist you.... Or start thumbing for an auto mechanic to do the swap... as stated make sure to use a marinized crate engine...Indmar does not produce your engine anymore so will have to go to a rebuild (Jaspers, Michigan Motors, etc.)

Not the answer you are looking for... but boats ain't like normal cars....(I only say normal due to specialty cars have the same issue with timelines on repairs). 

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oldjeep

Boat dealers are busy doing regular maint this time of year and don't have time to tie up a service bay for a couple days doing an engine swap.  Not sure why you think this has anything to do with Malibu.  Find a couple buddies and swap it yourself, it'll be a good learning experience.  Or wait til winter when marine shops have time for stuff like that.

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sidekicknicholas
16 minutes ago, oldjeep said:

Not sure why you think this has anything to do with Malibu.

 

1 hour ago, COOP said:

Not sure why you would call Malibu. They dont do engine work.

 

So I understand everyone is busy, but I guess my point is how can a place be an authorized dealer for the company and turn away repair work for that company?!  I would be 100% fine with any shop saying "Yeah we're swamped - it'll be $10k, we'll call you when we're ready" ... but I am just a cold shoulder.   I guess I always assumed that Malibu would dealers would be able to service my whole boat, Indmar engine included.  

 

 

1 hour ago, 85 Barefoot said:

  But, I don't think Malibu has any responsibility to "make" dealers commit the resources needed to do a block swap on a 13 year old boat in the busiest time of the year. 

 

I would disagree.... If you're a dealer with a service center, I would guess part of that deal is taking care of Malibu boats, new or old.  I fully expect Jaguar to keep servicing my wife/my car for as long as I own it.  When I bought the boat I figured that was the case too...  if I still owned our first '89 Sunsetter I would expect them to service that just as easily as a '18 LSV.  

 

1 hour ago, kstateskier1 said:

Why would you call the Malibu factory, wouldn't the Indmar factory be a better idea and maybe they could hook you up with another shop?

... I guess this was the advice I was looking for - to turn to Indmar.  I  would prefer a Malibu dealer so if/when I sell the boat I have "Malibu" paperwork to go with the new engine to put a buyer at ease it was done properly vs. doing it at "John Doe's Engine Repair".  I figured Malibu would at least be able to direct me where to go, but getting a hold of a dealer or the TN location has been next to impossible.   My previous boat was a SANTE Nautique, which any time we had an issue the dealer network was crazy quick to respond.  Perhaps I got spoiled from that.

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oldjeep
Just now, sidekicknicholas said:

 

 

So I understand everyone is busy, but I guess my point is how can a place be an authorized dealer for the company and turn away repair work for that company?!  I would be 100% fine with any shop saying "Yeah we're swamped - it'll be $10k, we'll call you when we're ready" ... but I am just a cold shoulder.   I guess I always assumed that Malibu would dealers would be able to service my whole boat, Indmar engine included.  

 

 

 

I would disagree.... If you're a dealer with a service center, I would guess part of that deal is taking care of Malibu boats, new or old.  I fully expect Jaguar to keep servicing my wife/my car for as long as I own it.  When I bought the boat I figured that was the case too...  if I still owned our first '89 Sunsetter I would expect them to service that just as easily as a '18 LSV.  

 

... I guess this was the advice I was looking for - to turn to Indmar.  I  would prefer a Malibu dealer so if/when I sell the boat I have "Malibu" paperwork to go with the new engine to put a buyer at ease it was done properly vs. doing it at "John Doe's Engine Repair".  I figured Malibu would at least be able to direct me where to go, but getting a hold of a dealer or the TN location has been next to impossible.   My previous boat was a SANTE Nautique, which any time we had an issue the dealer network was crazy quick to respond.  Perhaps I got spoiled from that.

Be serious, nobody buying a 12 year old boat cares who replaced the engine.  Id be more interested in the incompetant service place you were using that caused the need. 

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sidekicknicholas
3 minutes ago, oldjeep said:

Id be more interested in the incompetant service place you were using that caused the need. 

Yeah, it will be the last time I ask my brother to do it .... I normally do it, and haven't had an issue in like 15 years.   Unfortunately last year I was out of the country when it was going to start getting cold and called him to have him do it.   I figured I was safe - I gave him my usually checklist of "To Do" items and I know he has done his old Super Air in the past.     I was wrong.

 

Every nice day that passes I get more cranky.   Oh well.

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67King

It is not a freeze plug.  It is a cup plug.  It is there so that sand can be removed after the block is cast.  The freeze plug misnomar causes a loot of grief with folks who think it is so.e sort of fuse like safety thing.  It isn't.

 

I would be having a discussion with whomever winterized your boat at this point and leveraging them to help make it right. I apologize if I scanned through too much and you address that, but I saw a reference to a freeze plug earlier and thought that that distinction merited pointing out.

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oldjeep
1 minute ago, 67King said:

It is not a freeze plug.  It is a cup plug.  It is there so that sand can be removed after the block is cast.  The freeze plug misnomar causes a loot of grief with folks who think it is so.e sort of fuse like safety thing.  It isn't.

 

I would be having a discussion with whomever winterized your boat at this point and leveraging them to help make it right. I apologize if I scanned through too much and you address that, but I saw a reference to a freeze plug earlier and thought that that distinction merited pointing out.

Core plug

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MadMan
8 minutes ago, sidekicknicholas said:

I would disagree.... If you're a dealer with a service center, I would guess part of that deal is taking care of Malibu boats, new or old.  I fully expect Jaguar to keep servicing my wife/my car for as long as I own it.

This is the root cause right hear.  You are used to auto dealers (as we all are).  OEM auto manufactures have stringent requirements for their dealers, including their service departments.  Malibu has a different business model. 

They seem to have other differences too, such as dealers territories, so you can't get dealers to compete against each other. 

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Murphy8166

You are in Wisconsin - land of a buzillion lakes and super cold temperatures in the winter.  There are plenty of other places that will rebuild that motor and probably do a better job than your local dealer.  I bet you could find an engine rebuild shop that has exponentially more experience in rebuilding a 350 GM Marine motor than you dealer.

Get on Google - call around and get some reviews.  Get it fixed and get on the water!!

Unfortunately you are not entitled to have your out of warranty boat fixed by the dealer on your timeline.  I went through this same issue back in 2011 with a 1997 Sunsetter so I have first hand experience. 

 

 

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ORMailbuboater

All these years I thought it was a freeze plug cause that is what i was told way back in the day in High School Auto Shop.  Glad to now be corrected.

Found this on wikpedia:  The purpose of the plugs is to fill the holes that were made during the casting process, so the foundry could remove the core sand from the coolant passages. Saving the block from cracking in case of a freeze was never the manufacturer's intent for these plugs.

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sidekicknicholas

Sorry, I used the common term, I realize its purpose is for sand removal, but 9 out of 10 times I see it called a "freeze" or "Expansion" plug.

 

14 minutes ago, hethj7 said:

Guys, in the OPs defense I think he is most frustrated by the lack of call backs or communication.   I can relate, not specifically to Malibu, but in general common courtesy customer service seems tough to find in many areas.   He stated he would feel better if he even got a call back that said “yea, we can do it for $xx, but not until November”.  

This is 100% where my problem is.  I totally understand this is the wrong time of year to find this problem, and would be completely fine if they told me it wouldn't get touched for 6 months.... at least then I know.  I can't even get a call/email returned.   

 

I titled the thread  with the word "Ignoring" for a reason... this is where my problem is, not with the lack of time to complete the work, but the lack of communication.

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IXFE
5 minutes ago, sidekicknicholas said:

I titled the thread  with the word "Ignoring" for a reason... this is where my problem is, not with the lack of time to complete the work, but the lack of communication.

I bet they wouldn’t ignore if you said you wanted to BUY a new boat... you’d get on the water a lot faster too...

:whistle:

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sidekicknicholas

Haha, I'm sure you're right.  

 

I could never justify a new boat with the length of our season + cost of these thing now.  Our lake house is like 3400 ft, 300' of frontage, and 1 acre and was $225k.  I would assume a loaded up 25 LSV might cost more than our house.... It's bananas.

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