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  1. #1

    Ultra 250x Manufacturing Defects

    Greetings

    My experiences with this watercraft have not been good. Because of gas/oil problems and 5 oil chnages in 22 hrs, I have taken the ski to Riva and paid for them to tear down the motor and find the problem. In view of safety concerns, I have paid Riva Yamaha to undertake the work and then deal with Kawasaki independantly. I realize my experiences are not necessarily another's, so I post just to share my experiences.

    Below are several of my emails to Kawasaki's V.P. and legal counsel Don Koprowski.

    Cheers,
    Robert

    Dear Mr. Koprowski:
    Please accept this writing as an acknowledgement of my telephone call to your office this afternoon and the message I left requesting your return telephone call.


    As you are aware, you have failed or otherwise refused to respond to my correspondence below. Clearly, by failing or otherwise refusing to respond to the serious issues raised by my correspondence below, you are intimating Kawasaki would rather litigate this matter as opposed to acting as a responsible cooperate entity concerned with customer safety.

    Specifically, it appears Kawasaki is systematically engaging in an cover-up of known defects I have previously placed you on notice about and other known defects. Pursuant to Kawasaki’s request, I have brought the above identified watercraft into a dealership for repair. From reliable Kawasaki sources, I have been advised that Kawasaki is systematically refusing to provide warranty repairs for known defects, including an “engine blow-back” defect that is contaminating the engine oil and can result in a fire in the engine compartment and engine seizure without any prior warning to the operator. The issue regarding “engine blow-back” is also resulting in spark plugs fouling prematurely. I have also been advised that in the face of these known defects, Kawasaki is refusing to replace or repair the defective engines or even the fouled sparkplugs. Additional defects include supercharger and exhaust bolts failing and causing both supercharger and exhaust leaks. It should be noted, because gasoline has been found in the engine oil of the above identified watercraft, it has been represented to me that the gasoline found in the engine oil is the result of “engine blow-back”.

    The problems identified above have also been documented by an independent source, and specifically states:

    Fuel Smell In Oil:1. Yes, we still smell fuel in the oil. We are wondering if the rings are taking longer to seal than most craft or if its just a byproduct of a supercharged engine. Probably the latter but we will see. Leak down test anyone?
    2. As of July of 2007, we are still smelling fuel in the oil.
    3. We are still changing the oil frequently due to fuel in oil, approximately every 8 - 10 hours.

    Engine Oil:
    1. We started our running Synthetic Blend 10/40 and are changing the oil about every 10 hours.
    2. The oil has a fuel like smell to it. Remember, we are running these craft at full or close to full throttle for 60 miles at a time. We are transitioning to Amsoil full synthetic shortly. Note that we are seeing the oil get black at about 7 hours, not entirely sure what is causing this high carbon removal so quickly into the oil's life.
    3. May 15, 2007: Upgraded one of our ULTRA's to Amsoil Marine full synthetic 10W40 at 29 hours. Will let you know if we see a performance increase.
    4. July 2, 2007: Another oil change at 37 hours (that's five oil changes). Amsoil full synthetic 10/40.
    5. We recommend full synthetic for the 250X.
    6. Another oil change at 8/5/2007


    Spark Plugs:
    1. One of our ULTRA's fowled out a plug at 29 hours. Replaced plug.
    2. If your craft is coughing, consider changing your plugs.”



    In an effort to give Kawasaki an opportunity to repair known defects to the above identified watercraft or in the alternative buy-back this watercraft, it is suggested we discuss this matter as to accord Kawasaki an opportunity to mitigate liability resulting from placing this seriously defective product into the stream of commerce.

    In conclusion, I am confident you will honor your own statements:


    I am very sorry to hear about the problems you encountered regarding the initial dealer set-up of your new Kawasaki Ultra 250X JetSki, as described in your recent e-mail. Kawasaki is proud of the quality and durability of its products, and we are committed to supporting our customers whenever possible. I have carefully reviewed your comments, and I want to assure you that we take this matter seriously.

    Kindly review and respond accordingly.

    Cordially,
    =============================
    R. Archer Bowman, J.D., LL.M.

    Email: [email protected]
    ==============================

    Robert [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2007 8:44 AM
    To: '[email protected]'
    Cc: Robert A. Bowman ([email protected]); 'vanessa gurbani'
    Subject: RE: KAWASAKI WATERCRAFT, VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NO. USA KAW34913D707
    Importance: High

    Dear Mr. Koprowski:

    Please take notice; as a consequence of Kawasaki’s recent correspondence wherein Kawasaki refused to repair my defective fuel gauge, you are herewith placed on notice that a complaint will be filed with the Florida Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud/Protection Unit and the United States Coast Guard and civil proceedings will be initiated against the interests of Kawasaki for knowingly placing a defective consumer product into the stream of commerce. As you should be aware, Kawasaki has asserted that though my fuel gauge is reading empty when there is nearly one-half (1/2) a tank of fuel remaining, that the fuel gauge was functioning “within normal design tolerances”, and specifically states:


    Mr. Bowman-

    This email is in response to your recent contact to Kawasaki regarding your Ultra 250 personal watercraft.

    The description of the fuel gauge operation appears to be operating within normal design tolerances. The low fuel light and fuel level are controlled by the fuel level sender that is incorporated onto the fuel pump assembly. As a convenience feature fuel level indicator comes on as a reminder to the operator to be aware of the current fuel level in relation to the nearest fuel pump. When the light comes on the unit should have plenty of fuel to allow the craft to return to the nearest fuel station for fill up. One concern on a jet powered watercraft is it's inability to steer when a loss of power occurs, such as when you run out of fuel.

    We recommend that you bring the speedometer question to the attention of your local authorized Kawasaki dealership. They can inspect the paddle wheel sensor to see if it is operating properly as well as double check the location of the pickup on the hull per the specifications in the service manual.

    We recommend that you continue to bring any concerns to the attention of your local authorized Kawasaki dealership for assistance. They are in the best position to evaluate your concerns and assist you with any warranty issues.

    If you feel the need to contact Kawasaki directly please call Kawasaki Consumer Services at (949) 460-5688.

    Thank you”

    Please take further notice; because Kawasaki has asserted that a fuel gauge indicating empty when there is a nearly one-half (1/2) a tank of fuel remaining is operating “within normal design tolerances”, expert review and analysis will be sought to ascertain the reasonableness of such an assertion and whether such an assertion conforms with industry standards. The costs associated with the preparation of this litigation, including all expert opinions, will be born-out by Kawasaki if in fact such an assertion is unfounded. Additionally, the results of the findings by retained engineers will be forwarded to each State’s Attorney General with a copy of the above correspondence from Kawasaki denying the existence of a defective fuel gauge on the Ultra 250.

    Finally, it is unfortunate Kawasaki has chosen to postulate in an irresponsible manner to a known defect. In an effort to avoid litigation of this matter, I again extend to Kawasaki an opportunity to remedy this known defect. In the event Kawasaki refuses to respond to this writing within 72 hours, the undertakings stated above will be undertaken against the interests of Kawasaki.

    Kindly review and respond accordingly.

    Cordially,
    =============================
    R. Archer Bowman, J.D., LL.M.

    Email: [email protected]
    ==============================


    From: Robert [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Friday, August 03, 2007 7:35 AM
    To: 'Don Koprowski'
    Subject: RE: KAWASAKI WATERCRAFT, VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NO. USA KAW34913D707
    Importance: High[/font]

    *****SECOND NOTICE******


    Dear Mr. Koprowski,

    Since my last email on July 10, 2007 to you regarding this matter, I have received no response other than a telephone call on July 12, 2007 stating that I would be called back regarding the matter. To date, I have received to other communication regarding this matter whatsoever.

    As you know, during the initial inspection, it was acknowledged that my watercraft has defect with the fuel gauge. That is, the fuel gauge reads empty when there is more than one-third (1/3) of a tank of gas remaining. This manufacturing defect is quite serious because it renders the fuel gauge useless and could very well leave me stranded in the open ocean. Given this manufacturing defect in the products design, can you please advise me what repair is or will be made available to me to repair the fuel gauge design defect.

    Additionally, another defect that inflicts my watercraft has been acknowledged and discussed in a national publication regarding the speedometer. After using GPS to ascertain the actual speed of my watercraft, the speedometer fails to show the actual speed of my watercraft. That is, if my watercraft’s speedometer is showing 54 mph when the actual speed is 62.5 mph.


    If it is Kawasaki intent not to resolve these issues immediately by either fixing the defects or replacing the entire watercraft, then I will have no other alternative but to contact the Florida Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Coast Guard and take whatever legal recourse is necessary to resolve the issues born out of these two serious defects. Thus, if this matter is not resolved within the next 3 business days, I will have no other recourse other than undertaking the aforementioned.

    As always, thank you for your time and assistance.

    Cordially,


    Robert

    =============================
    R. Archer Bowman, J.D., LL.M.
    Email: [email protected]
    ==============================


    Dear Mr. Bowman,

    I am very sorry to hear about the problems you encountered regarding the initial dealer set-up of your new Kawasaki Ultra 250X JetSki, as described in your recent e-mail. Kawasaki is proud of the quality and durability of its products, and we are committed to supporting our customers whenever possible. I have carefully reviewed your comments, and I want to assure you that we take this matter seriously.

    As you probably know, we asked Kawasaki Consumer Services Supervisor Rick Roddewig to follow-up with the dealer Kawasaki of Fort Lauderdale to ensure that your JetSki has been completely repaired and double-checked for conformity with all applicable Setup and Preparation procedures. I understand that you prefer not to communicate with Mr. Roddewig or the dealer. Additionally, I have requested that Kawasaki's Warranty Administration Manager arrange to have a Field Service Advisor visit the dealer to review the proper procedures to follow, including the necessity of completing the Setup and Preparation Checklist and the need to review it with all purchasers.

    Since your request has been to have Kawasaki make arrangements to make sure that your watercraft does not have problems relating to the manner in which it was prepared for delivery, we are willing to have Kawasaki's factory Field Service Advisor inspect the vehicle at the time he visits Kawasaki of Fort Lauderdale. Please let me know if you'd like us to do that.

    Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.

    Sincerely,



    Donald J. Koprowski
    Vice President
    General Counsel and Secretary
    Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA
    9950 Jeronimo Road
    Irvine, California 92618-2084
    Last edited by email2; 08-24-2007 at 01:42 AM.


  2. #2
    SeaDoocer
    Guest
    Wow, Robert!
    That's a lot of effort you're putting into this and those of us that share your grief do appreciate it and patiently await the outcome. There are two other major dealers that I have spoken with and both have said that they have not had any of their Ultra's come back with the gas-in-oil problem. Then we have others who have posted naming a particular dealership and number of sales it has done and no such problems with the Ultras that they have sold. Something doesn't jive here and I am starting to doubt any of these claims! R&D has seen these problems for a while now with Kawi's 15f so it's not a new issue.
    Could it be that some of the dealers are changing oil and not paying attention to gas in oil? And then, there are a lot of dealers that just have not gotten that many Ultras shipped to them. I am not one to complain just to be negative and scream "the sky is falling" but denying it has never got anyone anywhere. Please keep us posted on results.

    Wayne

  3. #3
    ercBOOSTED's Avatar
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    Wow, no offense, but you are whining about little stuff man. YOU can fix the speedo with a simple adjustment. Do a search and you shall find out how. Everybody has the same fuel guage. They do this for a reason. Our skis burn a lot of gas. We knew that coming in. This is done for your safety so you don't run out of gas too far out. You can fix this by buying the fuel extender and you will get a little more out of your tank cause it uses more of your tank, or you could estimate by your mileage how much you have left. As far as gas in the oil, well it sucks but it ain't that bad man. Changing your oil is good for your ski so I don't see the problem. It isnt perfect, but it is what it is. R & D is about to release a product that will keep the gas from getting in the oil. Plus you probably have too much oil in your ski when you were refilling. I bet if you pulled your intercooler and flushed it with gas, it would come out black. Instead of complaining, try to fix it yourself. Enjoy your ski man, don't look for the bad things. Sorry if this came off as harsh.

  4. #4
    SeaDoocer
    Guest
    Erc,
    You're right about doing some of this yourself..I have done just that. The gas gauge I can and have learned to live with..it fits my riding style and environment anyways and the speedo no sweat..just raise it 1/8" and it's good to go..who uses it anyways..lol
    But, the gas in oil...we should not be so willing to accept this one...If R&D can do this why can't the high-paid Japanese engineers figure this one out also..and they've had a while to change it too! I think Kawi should at least offer an optional mod or something..And the last thing they should be doing is denying this...it only makes tensions that much more..their denial incites anger and frustration in customers..just mho..

  5. #5
    Fat Man, Little Boat Region8Ultra250X's Avatar
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    dude shit happens....... i have had and it has been documented here every concievable problem to date with the ultra...... i chalk it up to first year model teething.

    i have thus far had pump failure,supercharger failure, blowing off an intercooler tube and fouling out the plugs and now engine failure..... like i said before shit happens

    and like erc said some of the stuff your are complaining about is trivial at best. the speedo is a classic one.... since they have been putting speedos on ski's they have been off.... i havr ridden every brand of ski and have yet to find one that is 100% accurate.... its a by product of the design of the speedometer pickup.

    and taken directly from pwc offshore

    General Feedback & Observations:
    The following information is opinion and editorials based on our exposure to riding the ULTRA 250X offshore and feedback received from other riders. We are not mechanics. Any testing done was not done in a scientific manner. Modifications made to your craft could result in the loss of your manufacturer's warranty.
    you would documented proof from a professional source/expert in order for that to hold up in court.


    i have yet to here of any ultra 250 catching fire from "blowback". there is a known recall out for the fuel rail "which may cause a fire from leaking" which has been addressed by kawi

    nor have i seen any issues regarding supercharger and exhaust bolt failures

    you generally do not find out about defects until stuff happens in the real world because each situation is unique.....

    if you are that po'd about it and are going through this much trouble..... why not just get it fixed and sell it and buy something else although i am sure you will some inherent flaw in just about everything you ride.....

    the rxp washers - been addressed by the aftermarket
    yamaha powervalves - yamaha got rid of them
    kawasaki steering cables - addressed by the aftermarket

    the same thing happened with the rxp's the first year they came out.....everything has issues the first model year

  6. #6

    Join Date
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    Email2--I commend you for standing up for yourself in trying to get a product you have purshased to meet reasonable requirments and operation.. I have owned four stroke PWCs since 2003 ( about five of them) and never expearanced fuel in the oil. I was in drag racing from the late 1950s until 1975. Never experienced fuel in the crankcase. I am in the street rod hobby ( for many years and never experienced fuel in the crankcase.) As to your fuel gauge, if you were having this condition in a new car--it would be grounds for a buy back if not corrected. The way your fuel gauge is operating, why even have one? When any product has a warranty and there are issues which need to be corrected under said stated warranty, why would anyone tell you to "fix it your self" and you should not even entertain any idea to do the repair work yourself. When a product has a warranty--the purchaser has paid for that warranty in the price of the product. You--myself--anyone else should not even have to entertain an idea of we having to fix it. As far as erckawasaki statements being harsh--ithey are not harsh--they are dumbfounding.
    Best of luck in your endevor and keep us posted

  7. #7
    If you have a legit problem with your ski you deserve to have the problem resolved under warranty. The only problem I see your having is the gas in the oil, hopefully R&D have solved this problem, not that it should cost you anything out of pocket but I really see this is as your only problem.. The speedo is trivial, I have a 99 and an 03 150, one speedo reads 58 the other 80 both ski's gp's between 64 and 67 paddle wheels are notoriously off, the one on my 250 happens to be the most accurate one I have ever had on ski's or boats.. As far as the low fuel warning,,, again,, the ski has NO reserve, it's doing what it's supposed to do,,,, warn you that you are getting low and should fuel up soon... There was a thread on here and most guys agree when the low fuel buzzer comes on you have approx. 6-8 gallons left, I really dont see what the problem is, put the R&D oil/fuel fix on it, fill it up when it beeps at you and enjoy your ski.
    Last edited by Chris288; 08-23-2007 at 10:15 PM.

  8. #8
    Sorry...from what I gather, it seems like you're a little cry baby that threatens legal action if someone doesn't react fast enough or tell you what you want to hear. My take was the dealership probably didn't tell you what you wanted to hear, or you didn't want to do what they suggested, so now you don't want to speak with the service manager, or have anything to do with the dealership. So you start writing letters to the GC threatening legal action...over, and over, and over.


    If you're going to sign your name at the bottom with some fancy signature block and "J.D." in it, you should proof read your letters better. Typos don't fair well.

    ...you are intimating Kawasaki would rather litigate this matter as opposed to acting as a responsible cooperate entity concerned with customer safety.

    ...it appears Kawasaki is systematically engaging in an cover-up of known defects I have previously placed you on notice about and other known defects.

    ...Please take notice; as a consequence of Kawasaki’s recent correspondence wherein Kawasaki...

    ...To date, I have received to other communication regarding this matter whatsoever.

    Must be easy nowadays to get a J.D. Easy to get a J.D., but not so easy to pass the bar exam, eh? I didn't find you in Martindale.com or any other lawyer search website.

    Congrats to you on joining the ranks of many other litigious idiots in the United States.

  9. #9
    Thank you for your reply. I truly find your opinion interesting when contrasted with others, and particularly a private reply I received. It is important to recognize that some of the defects taken in isolation may appear minor; however, when taken in the aggregate, these defects are quite serious.
    The most serious of these issues, gas and carbon in the motor oil, should not be readily dismissed as an incidental defect. Besides causing premature engine wear, the impact of which may not be realized until the watercraft is outside its warranty coverage, the defect may cause the engine to seize or potentially explode without any warning. As you may agree, living with the potential consequences of these defects is simply unacceptable. This point is best underscored by a message I received from another forum reader. Specifically, the author was fearful of bringing his child on the watercraft or even venturing too far from shore because of his own concerns regarding the gas/oil defect.
    Finally, your supposition that R&D has engineered a product that will resolve this problem is seemingly misguided. It is inconceivable that as an end user of a product that any person should be responsible to remedy a manufacturing defect. Can you imagine if you bought a new car and each time you went to fill your tank you also had to change your sparkplugs and oil? Can you then imagine that the dealership and the manufacturer then told you they intended to do nothing to remedy the defect? When a consumer purchases a product they do so under the presumption that it will perform as the manufacture has represented. Here, the manufacturer represents that the performance of this watercraft will require an oil change every 40 hours (see owner’s manual), not every three (3) hours. Riva has changed my oil after each of my last three fill-ups and each time the oil was contaminated with both gas and carbon. Is my position that this is unacceptable misguided, perhaps?
    As for R&D’s product; beyond the manufacture’s rhetoric, I have seen no data supporting their claims. Moreover, it is unclear as to whether Kawasaki will attempt to void a warranty because of the modification. Whatever the result, should it be the responsibility of end users to repair a manufacturing defect?
    For me, I have only sought to express my concerns and I thank you for your reply.
    Cordially,
    r-
    Last edited by email2; 08-24-2007 at 01:45 AM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkman View Post
    Sorry...from what I gather, it seems like you're a little cry baby that threatens legal action if someone doesn't react fast enough or tell you what you want to hear. My take was the dealership probably didn't tell you what you wanted to hear, or you didn't want to do what they suggested, so now you don't want to speak with the service manager, or have anything to do with the dealership. So you start writing letters to the GC threatening legal action...over, and over, and over.


    If you're going to sign your name at the bottom with some fancy signature block and "J.D." in it, you should proof read your letters better. Typos don't fair well.

    ...you are intimating Kawasaki would rather litigate this matter as opposed to acting as a responsible cooperate entity concerned with customer safety.

    ...it appears Kawasaki is systematically engaging in an cover-up of known defects I have previously placed you on notice about and other known defects.

    ...Please take notice; as a consequence of Kawasaki’s recent correspondence wherein Kawasaki...

    ...To date, I have received to other communication regarding this matter whatsoever.

    Must be easy nowadays to get a J.D. Easy to get a J.D., but not so easy to pass the bar exam, eh? I didn't find you in Martindale.com or any other lawyer search website.

    Congrats to you on joining the ranks of many other litigious idiots in the United States.

    Wow, you sound like an angry man. It appears I’m fortunate to have omitted my addresses (yes, that is plural). Was it my name that offended you? It is unclear why you have sought to attack my character. As for your research techniques, try using “Martindale-Hubbell” on Lexis/Nexis as opposed to “Martindale”; you may find what you’re looking for… lol. Nevertheless, it appears I’d be remiss not to respond to your rather affronting and misguided rhetoric.
    The watercraft has only been brought to one dealer, Riva Yamaha. Though Riva has been awesome, they have been frustrated by Kawasaki’s non-responsiveness to the gas/oil defect. Interestingly, engineers were here in South Florida inspecting watercrafts with this defect in June. Kawasaki has paid for all the oil changes and two sets of sparkplugs. In fact Kawasaki pays for the oil change on another U250 every 5 hours (Note: Kawak has not been so generous with other owners). Riva is also dealing with three other watercrafts with this same problem. I applaud the integrity of Riva and trust their findings.
    To be clear, since Riva has been unable to obtain a straight answer from Kawasaki about the gas/oil problem, I simply decided to have these watercraft experts undertake the task of finding the problem. Thus I agreed that I would pay for them to identify the defect and I would deal with Kawasaki accordingly. For me, I’d rather have the problem fixed than worry about being harmed by an exploding engine or being stranded miles from land because of a seized engine.
    Lastly, you are quite an offensive person and I was offended by your fundamentally egregious attack on my character for no apparent reason.
    Cheers,
    Robert
    Last edited by email2; 08-24-2007 at 01:47 AM. Reason: completeness

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