01-14-2009, 10:22 PM #1
- Join Date
- Nov 2007
- San Pedro, CA (LA Harbor area)
Kawasaki Ultra 250X Warranty Problems 011408
TRAWLERCAT CHRONICLES – Kawasaki Warranty Problems 011408
My brand new 2008 Kawasaki Ultra 250X that now has 24 hours of engine run time has spent more time at the dealer than on my driveway. Why? Because on the first trip to Avalon, Catalina Island she almost sank from under me. I was towed back to Long Beach by Vessel Assist. When I dropped (it) off at the dealer they determined that it was one of the four cooling lines that simply popped off. She is now an (it) until this gets resolved.
In addition to all the salt away cleaning that I did the dealer only reconnected the hose back, changed the oil and installed a new set of spark plugs. Guess who was charged for the oil change and spark plugs? For your future information the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act (beginning with Civil Code section 1790) AKA: Lemon law provides protection for consumers who buy new motor vehicles and we’re not just talking passenger cars here. The law requires that if the manufacturer or its representative in this state, such as an authorized dealer, is unable to service or repair to meet the terms of an express written warranty after a reasonable number of repair attempts, the manufacturer is required promptly to replace the vehicle or return the purchase price.
On the return trip from Two Harbors, Catalina Island my Ultra simply died. One moment she was running great and the next moment no electrical connection could be established. This time Sea Tow towed me back to Long Beach. Within two weeks I was towed back by two separate tow companies. Feel free to read the full story of those two trips below.
This time the dealer told me that an electrical part called a modulator was the culprit. While I was at the dealer getting ready to pick up my Kawasaki Ultra it started once, twice and then no more. The dealer could not figure out the problem so the Kawasaki field representative had to be called in. He determined that the problem was a loose fuse box that shorted a fuse. It was very difficult to see that the fuse was blown.
Each time that I attempted to ride my Kawasaki Ultra I needed to install a new set of spark plugs; do you know how expensive those laser fired plugs are? The Kawasaki kept fouling the spark plugs. On the fourth time that I returned to the dealer the Ultra was started by the mechanic and in his presence it simply quit running. He commented that this did not sound good and that was the last time that I saw my Kawasaki Ultra 250X with 24 hours of engine time. The date was December 22, 2008. The (it) is currently sitting in pieces and it does not look good especially when I’m told that on one of those tow’s back she inhaled some seawater through the exhaust.
On January 14, 2009, I will call the Kawasaki Motor Corporation at 949-770-0400; which is the number provided to me by the dealer. Another phone number listed on their web site for warranty related issues is 949-460-5688.
Stayed tuned for the response. At this time I am told by the dealer that the Field Representative is requesting that I pay for some of the labor. So, what do you think? In case you’re wondering I have an additional four year warranty that I purchased from Kawasaki.
See you on the water, but not on my Ultra at least anytime soon.
07 Seadoo GTX (Friebezied)
Almost sunk my ’08 Kawasaki 250X – September 14, 2008
On the return trip via Vessel Assist from Avalon, Catalina Island Q: What’s the most common statement you hear Captain Nathan? A: Well, when their either on the tow boat or the receiving end of that long yellow one inch poly pro line, I usually hear, “I just had the boat in for service”. Some of the other common problems heard are – (enter any one of the following): this or those break/broke, boat won’t start, boat is taking on water, or how could I run out of gas.
And so the story goes about how my new ‘08 Kawasaki 250X almost ended up at the bottom of the San Pedro Channel (roughly 3000’ deep). Yes, modern well built PWC’s may have positive flotation but, have you seen the cavernous bowels of that Kawasaki beast or have you personally tested it, like I tried Sunday? That pint size looking sport fisherman of a boat (Ultra 250X) certainly looks like it can take on some water and mine sure did. Start off with a 900 pound ski; add to it when full (22 gallons) fuel tank; a near 200# rider and about 30 pounds of safety/survival gear and that weight adds up. At some point the roughly 5.1 pounds of seawater per gallon with all that weight would certainly test any positive flotation system. To give you an indication of just how low in the water I was – the ocean was up to my knees before the rescue.
Really, I just had her in for service! She just had her ten hour service. You’ll need to read the follow up story to find out what happened.
First, let me thank Lee Phan for the rescue, Young and Brian for the tow in to Avalon and Captain Nathan for the official tow back to the mainland. Paul Pham #99 for the great riding; up until him and I parted ways – four miles short of Avalon, Catalina Island. That’s where I almost sank! I was about the same distance that Craig Warner #1 was when I first caught sight of him on his return ride of the LB2CAT race. I of course was still heading towards the only turn around point in the opposite direction.
Sunday morning two other riders started with us but must’ve had one of those rare “self preservation moments” (SPM) for short, deciding it was in their best interest to turn around and head back to the mainland while the heading back was good. And today was a calm day but, the marine layer was everywhere. It made for a Halloween, eerie ride to our island which failed to show itself, until about seven miles out. The 8:00 a.m. ride time became 9:30 a.m or so mostly due to fog.
Our ride originated from the Long Beach Launch Ramp and sometime around ten a.m. I knew something was wrong when my speed dropped from the low sixties to the high twenties in just a few seconds. The engine kept running but, I could tell that she was getting heavier and heavier and tipsy; at one point she almost went turtle and turned over. Had it not been for the calm flat sea conditions today she most certainly would’ve turned over and I would’ve resembled a paddle boarder on his way to the island while wearing a helmet.
I wish I had that bilge pump like the one I have installed in my GTX. When something like this happens you almost certainly always know how to avoid it the next time. I remember doing a quick mental check while I was still moving. In my opinion my options were: keep riding her till she stops (four year warranty check; Sea Tow check; VHF check; those fins floating by, not shark but dolphins; double check). Those that know me know that when it comes to off shore preparedness there are usually only two things that I don’t carry. One is an EPIRB (emergency positioning device) and the other is an inflatable life raft outside of that I carry more than the above average boater. Spare spark plugs/tools. YES. Mask/Fins/Snorkel. YES. However, today no cell phone. If you recall this beast’ glove compartment (it leaked) ate my last one and I’m still waiting for a replacement.
After a quick hook up by Lee Pham we proceed to tow her but she was just too full of seawater to move. I jump off into the abyss to undo the drain plugs and that’s when I felt this tow rope rub against my leg. Just kidding. No fear of sharks here but I would not want to chance swimming to shore. Best bet is to always stay with your boat until you are rescued.
This time she starts moving and in a short while we can tell that the water was slowly beginning to drain. Other riders soon arrive and Young takes over the tow duty and I jump on Brians ski.
Lessons Learned: Install that bilge pump. Carry two ropes. Use one for towing and one for anchoring. Tow rope should be a minimum length of 35 feet with the necessary snaps in place; you may not have much time so make sure your line is not tangled. West Marine or BoatUS sells throw lines that pay out as you throw the bag and hold on to one end of the rope. This would also make a good tow line as it releases quickly. Keep in mind that our first tow rope broke due to the combined weight of the ski and water. Purchase the Vessel Assist card for $115 per year – its cheap insurance if you are planning on visiting the island with or without your riding friends. I don’t encourage anyone to ride alone but I still do.
When you arrive at Avalon requesting a tow - here are your options. If you have Vessel Assist - no problem – they have three boats available to tow you back to the mainland that is, if you have the right card. If you don’t, they don’t even want you on their dock and will likely tow you off if anyone other than Vessel Assist is doing the towing. We quickly found that out.
My card is a Sea Tow card purchased at the Long Beach Seafest event. My previous card was Vessel Assist. Lee’s card was a $150 Vessel Assist card which he thought was a full service Vessel Assist card. If you paid $115.00 for the card then you have the right card. Lee’s card was worth a tow back to as far as where I was just towed from. Average tow is $700.00 and with a partial tow card you pay the difference. Option 2: If you have Sea Tow, Vessel Assist can tow you back; you pay the $700, and then make a claim to Corporate Sea Tow Offices in New York City for a refund. Option 3: Wait the two hours Sea Tow time that it would take them (Sea Tow) to get from the mainland to Avalon. In two hours I thought that my ski would’ve sunk and that’s how I ended up on the Vessel Assist boat.
Let’s run this scenario through if you were solo riding. You are halfway between the mainland and Catalina Island and you get that sinking feeling or your PWC engine suddenly quits and won’t restart. Is this an emergency YES/NO? Can I talk to anyone via cell or VHF, but preferably the USCG or a tow company preprogrammed on the cell phone YES/NO?
GPS on board to give them your position coordinates YES/NO? Throw out the drift anchor to keep you in the approximate location and hurry up and wait. Now how is this any different than what the skipper on a 40’ BlueFin Sport fisherman would do? You tell me?
If you’re planning on riding offshore then you need to build what we call seamanship. Seamanship is simply the art of managing a boat. It is what gives me the confidence to ride offshore. Seamanship involves knowledge of a variety of topics and specialized skills such as navigation, rules of the road, weather, communications, execution of evolutions such as towing; dealing with emergencies; and survival at sea. It also starts with knowing everything there is to know about your boat. You should know what it is capable and not capable of doing. Also where you store safety and other equipment and how to deal with common problems. Some of the limitations that you should know about your ski are its maximum range and range at various speeds; maximum fuel range; economical cruising speed.
You always wear a full wet suit, boot and gloves for thermal protection from the elements YES/NO? VHF securely mounted on your vest YES/NO? Spare GPS YES/NO and the list may or may not go on depending on the trip you are taking.
The Ride back on the tow boat was certainly a slow one but not as slow as my sailboat racing friends. Average speed that you will be towed may only be about 14 knots. During that two hour tow I heard constant chatter. These guys are busy. One large power boat was taking on water just outside of the Palos Verde’s peninsula; one was near the breakwater with a broken engine and a few more that I can’t recall as far down as San Diego.
To top it all off, the salt water finally stopped draining out of my Ultra’s drain plugs around the time that CHP (California Highway Patrol) pulled me over. Yes, I was in a hurry to get her home to get working on her so I was moving a little faster than usual. No I did not get a ticket, yes you probably would have. No, the tow back did not cost me any $$. Yes, I bought a four year warranty with the new ski. Yes, I now have Vessel Assist. And yes, did I tell you she just had her ten hour service.
SUBJECT: Ocean Breakdown/Sea Tow/LB2CAT Ride 10/19/08
Sundays LB2CAT training ride is brought to you by (insert Tow Service Sponsorer name here). Some of you reading this already know about my ocean breakdown yesterday. Those that know and called “thank you” it’s just one more benefit of belonging to a “riding club” such as pwcoffshore.com and/or So Cal. A club is not only a good source of friends to ride with but of friends you can count on. I believe that were I still out there drifting aimlessly where as Captain Ron would say; If it’s gonna happen; its gonna happen out there. One of you may be the one that rallys the troops to start the search or not.
THE RIDE: I may now have a new local record. I’m possibly the only jet skier that’s been towed back from both Avalon and Two Harbors, Catalina Island by both Sea Tow and Vessel Assist respectively, within a two month period. So which one do I recommend or which Ocean Tow Service should you have? If you don’t notice me recommending one over the other it’s because I have both. Bottom line is you’re gonna get towed if you call. What you probably want to know is what if it was me. What do I do? If you’re out in the middle of the ocean and your friends don’t ride back or loose you don’t panic – yes, “grasshopper” there are sharks out there; just as long as they’re not Great Whites circling you you’re o.k.
Read my previous story titled: Almost sunk my ’08 Kawasaki 250X – September 14, 2008 for some more entertainment while you’re still waiting for a new issue of WaterCraft World or the other PWC rag. Yes JJ (Jason Johnson) Sep/Oct issue pg 26; that was me that hauled your wet self back to your RXT-X after you took that gnarly spill. Just in the nick of time too. I didn’t know they installed ejection seats on that RXT-X’. Barely snatched him from the jaws of that Great White lurking around the course. What, you didn’t see him? Why do you think I stopped?
Conditions were good for wide open throttle riding to the island and that we did. I wouldn’t know of the return trip because I didn’t come back on my own horsepower. Incredible - I thought to myself. And I used to make this trip on my sailboat and considered 4 hours a relatively good time. It didn’t matter if we sailed, motor sailed or powered over it would still take 4 hours or so each way.
The Seadoos fueled up with 5 gallons and the Ultras with 8 gallons of that premium Avalon gold. The dinghy dock is now gone for the fall and winter. You fuel up just like Mexico. They hand you the hose from up above and when done you can either drive off with the law in pursuit or simply place your cash or credit card in the handy dandy blue bucket on a string. No doubt we can outrun any boat there but not their radios.
From Avalon we proceeded up the Catalina Island coastline to beautiful Two Harbors. To say that it was a beautiful glorious day would be an understatement. The only thing missing were dolphins which I saw on my leisurely ride home. They were body surfing off my Ultra on a string (polypro).
The sun shone just so on the water making for some great film footage and some great riding but nobody brought a camera. The ride from Avalon to Two Harbors was even more spectacular. If you are into some waving jumping there were lots of good opportunity and if you didn’t get that last landing just the way you wanted – no problem, a similar wave set was sure to come. As we sped by we saw numerous fishing and diving boats either on anchor or still searching for a good spot for their paying customers. These boats tend to leave some Dukes of Hazard (old TV show with car that gets launched in every episode) jump opportunities just by moving. On one wave as I got launched rather unexpectedly I saw myself nearly doing a full barrel roll; only problem is I would not know what to do with it once in the air. There are no PWC riding schools on this coast. If I was back in Miami – Wave Academy would be the place to learn how to do these barrel rolls.
The great part of this 14 mile part of the ride is that if you wanted ocean conditions you just headed off shore a bit. If you wanted more lake like conditions you just swung back in towards the coastline. Just dial the ride dude! The other great thing about riding up the coast line is that you are now heading into somewhat head seas with the island blocking all of the offshore wind. End result is a much more comfortable ride. This ride is probably way better than any other part of the coastline and island.
Why just last week this same group rode from Cabrillo to Marina Del Rey. That ride was more like several rides in one. Initially we got great rollers just off Cabrillo but once past Pt. Fermin it settled down rather quickly then we came up on Pt. Vicente where it got rough again and then we had the Redondo Beach bay area that was lake like. The run from there to Marina de Rey reminds me of the Dana Point to Oceanside ride. Behind the fuel dock was the best looking powerboat complete with its own on board helicopter that I’ve ever seen. According to John the owner was somewhat stuck up. I guess it’s because he would rather be riding with us than sitting on that 20 million dollar yacht. Ten gallons each way for us on the Ultra 250X.
Keep in mind that the ride to our favorite Island is always on a beam sea with the ride home varying but also on a beam sea that’s why anytime you go up or down the coast it feels way more comfortable. Once we reached Bird rock John and I stayed for some food and rest. Wow, that was a good workout. Paul and Lee departed back to Long Beach.
Once on approach to the dinghy dock I started scanning the area to see who was there, that I knew. On this trip I saw a sailboat with a Seadoo on its forward deck and so I naturally swung over for a closer look. This is the first time I’ve seen a sailboat carrying a jet ski. Don’t’ get me wrong I love sailing and I love burning that petro on my jet ski but carrying one on a sailboat just seems like too much of a contradiction.
Before long Skipper Frank, his friend Lazlo, John and I were having a great conversation about sailing, travel, Bulgaria and PWC adventures. We then decided to carry the conversation on to land. It’s awkward to put it into words here but in about five minutes flat I could tell that the other three made it perfectly clear that there was a significant other in their lives; and that they were of the opposite sex. Why did I mention Bulgaria? If you don’t know you haven’t been there lately. Since you only have a choice of only one restaurant on Two Harbors thank goodness it’s a good one. The Bulgarian exchange girls are still working there as long as their visas hold out. Food is great and the service and views are excellent.
John and I enjoyed a great tuna melt sandwich with a “cold brew” while our new friends enjoyed great looking plates of waffles, eggs, potatoes and a thick ham slice. This was at 10:45 a.m. Three and a half hours earlier I was at the launch ramp in Long Beach. Little did I know that it would be another seven hours before I finally made it home that day?
Sea Tow Captain and Deck Hand – It just so happened that my Sea Tow driver and deck hand was the same one that towed Dubz back after his breakdown just prior to the LB2CAT race. He can now say that he has towed everything from jet ski’s to a 40’ Carver. Only my tow by his standards was rather fast at a whopping 14 knots per hour where as the Carver towed at a reasonable 8 knots.
Several sea towing stories and adventures were exchanged during this two or so hour adventure. One story that I recall is of a couple that left from Huntington Beach on their power boat with the intent of going to Catalina Island on a 4th of July weekend. It seems that they somehow ended up totally missing Catalina Island and ended up on Santa Barbara Island before they knew something was wrong. The woman kept telling the man; you see this can’t be Catalina its way too small and there are no moorings. Somehow they also managed to break down with their only way of calling for help being her cell phone. No GPS or VHF on this boat. She dials 911, and gets the Highway Patrol, who routed the call to the USCG who in turn routed the call to Sea Tow. Enter my Sea Tow Captain and same Deck hand (his younger brother by about 10 years). You see my Sea Tow Captain was born in a hospital but the only home he has ever known is on a boat slip in Newport Harbor.
Just as we’re about five miles from Queens Gate (entrance to LB Harbor) I spot Franks boat. The one carrying the Seadoo on the foredeck. I watched him leave while waiting for my tow about 4.5 hours ago. He is sailing with that SeaDoo on deck. I don’t know if he saw me waving but I’m sure he didn’t miss that green beast at the end of a red poly pro line.
Also, just as we make it into the breakwater we notice all these fireboats. Sea Tow Captain tells me that he heard on the radio as he headed out that a scuba diver was reported drowned – just inside the breakwater. This morning I read the following in the LB news. LONG BEACH - The search was suspended Sunday night for a man who fell out of a fishing boat near where the Queen Mary is docked in Long Beach, a fire official said.
The man was fishing with a friend in a small boat and fell overboard about 11:30 a.m. about 100 feet south of the breakwater near Pier J, said Long Beach Fire Department spokesman Josh Johnson. It was unknown whether the man could swim. Divers and boats from the Long Beach Fire Department, Long Beach Lifeguard Association and the United States Coast Guard searched to no avail, and the rescue effort was called off around 5:30 p.m. 5:59 p.m. to be exact because we were just passing by when the fire boat formation was pulling away.
The search is to resume at sunrise, but KCAL9 reported the man is presumed dead. No shit Einstein. You’ll know where the lobsters will be dining tonight.
Sea Tow Captain also told me that some boaters also like to use Bird Rock as a landing platform. Bird rock is located dead center to the entrance of Two harbors – right about where I broken down. One can’t fail to miss it due to its white bleached guano covered surface. It is also approximately one story in height. Thank goodness for autopilot.
What to do at Two Harbors. People watch. Wait for the Catalina Express. Sit in the bar and have buffalo milk or other beverage of your choice. Take a hike to the other side of the island – twenty minutes max. Go take a hot shower – 50 cents. Try a great ice cream cone at the store next to the restaurant. Sun bathe. Walk the beach. Swim. Fish. Learn to speak Bulgarian? See you on the water.
01-15-2009, 12:16 AM #2
Damn ralph! Get started on the lemon law deal! Pay the difference for an 09 260X.
Does this mean we're running the GTX? RXP?
01-15-2009, 12:18 AM #3
01-15-2009, 12:41 AM #4
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