Over A Barrel
Over A Barrel
I’m wrapping up a big preventative maintenance job on our 55-hp turbocharged Yanmar auxiliary. It started small, I intended only to replace the coolant and pop the caps on the heat exchanger to see how the tubes looked. But if you give a moose a muffin…
The coolant drain cocks were clogged with crap and the coolant that did drain didn’t look so good. So I decided I would remove the heat exchanger from the block (it is also the exhaust manifold) and have it serviced. But if I pull and service the heat exchanger, I might as well do the oil cooler. And once these parts are gone, the raw water pump is irresistibly accessible. And if all that’s gone, it would be foolish not to service the starter motor at the same time.
Two weeks passed and the parts are flushed, dipped, serviced, greased, pressure tested, soldered, and painted. I’m beginning reassembly, happy to have found and addressed several problems.
The only sting was the total cost of the Yanmar OEM replacement hoses and gasket: $431. I’m talking about seven small hoses that pass saltwater and coolant and one gasket for where the turbo mates to the heat exchanger. Yikes.
Boaters complain about this kind of thing all the time: “Those bastards charge an arm and a leg because they know they’ve got you over a barrel!” And boaters complain for good reason, hapless mariners do get gouged sometimes by manufacturers or retailers who slap the Marine Tax on goods. But this is different.
Only Yanmar-authorized distributors can sell Yanmar parts. And a Yanmar distributor can sell Yanmar parts only in their proscribed geographic area. This means if I find a Yanmar part online, with a distributor in California, that distributor cannot ship that part to me in Canada—they can’t even ship that part to Washington state.
Is this a big deal? It is in this case.
Take the exhaust gasket. Authorized parts distributors in Victoria sell it for $60.68. In Washington state, distributors have it for $14.63.
Take one of my U-shaped hoses (I need three of them). In Victoria, $67.44 each. In Washington state, $26.60 each.
My $431 Victoria parts bill shrinks to $157 in Washington state.
I don’t have answers for this discrepancy, but I do have a solution. Port Angeles, WA is 90-minutes away via a $32 ferry. I’m on my way.
In our twenties, we traded our boat for a house and our freedom for careers. In our thirties, we slumbered through the American dream. In our forties, we woke and traded our house for a boat and our careers for freedom. And here we are. Follow along at http://www.logofdelviento.blogspot.com/