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Old 11-11-2012, 17:12   #1
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Jonco Marine Repair in Barra, MX

A message for any boats headed to Barra de Navidad:

In February, 2012 our transmission failed as we sailed into the Barra lagoon. After receiving a tow from another cruising boat we contacted Jonco as he was listed in the cruising guide and the only English-speaking mechanic we could find. He convinced us we needed to rebuild the engine as well as the transmission due to low compression and leaking oil. Nine months later and we were still stuck in Barra. We had to rebuild the engine 3 times before he finally installed the correct pistons/ring set. Each time we had to wait weeks for parts and pay extra for labor. Eventually, we had to leave the boat for the summer at the very expensive Grand Bay Marina and then I had to fly back in late August to finally put the engine back in the boat. I returned again in October after the hurricane season to finish the break-in.

We agreed there would be a break-in period where the engine would be run under load for 25-50 hours as stated in the workshop manual. This was to be followed by work to re-torque the head, change the fluids, and give the engine a final check-over. After receiving his payment, Jonco stopped replying to phone calls and refused to perform any follow-up work. Needless to say, this has cost us many months and thousands of dollars in unnecessary expenses. In the end, we have an engine that runs but will now need to find another mechanic to complete the job.

And, unfortunately, we were not the only victims of Jonco at the time. A week before we broke down, another sailboat was towed in with a blown engine. Like us, they spent many months stuck in the marina while Jonco made excuses about why the wrong parts were ordered and how much more it would costs to get it right. Eventually, they managed to escape with a working engine but their story is eerily similar to ours.

Finding a reputable diesel mechanic in Barra is difficult. As far as we know, Jonco is the only English-speaking mechanic in the area, which is why we chose to use his services. In hindsight, we would have been better served to pay someone to remove the engine and truck it to Puerto Vallarta or Guadalajara in search of a qualified professional.

If you break down in Barra, talk to Secondino at the marina office. He is a very good source of information and can recommend a professional who may be able to help. Don't expect any recommendations for Jonco from the marina or any other cruising boats you meet. Sadly, we had to learn this lesson the hard way.
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Old 11-11-2012, 17:16   #2
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Re: Cruisers Beware: Jonco Marine Repair in Barra, MX

Welcome to CF, but please read the rules!
Dealer/Vendor and Customer Disputes
This forum is not intended to be a mechanism for people to vent frustrations about vendors or sales from private parties. Please settle your differences with the seller, manufacturer and dealer through other means but not through our community.
Any fool with a big enough checkbook can BUY a boat; it takes a SPECIAL type of fool to build his own! -Capngeo
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:04   #3
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A good learning experience for other CF'ers to take the time to know your own engine. You don't have to be a diesel mechanic to know when one is taking you for a ride. Understanding your parts list from your engines workshop manual, understanding the basic diagnostics for your own engine as well will save you serious time and money. Even if money is not an issue time usually is, who wants to be stuck somewhere for a year instead of cruising.

Sorry to hear about your troubles.
"So, rather than appear foolish afterward, I renounce seeming clever now."
William of Baskerville

"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm."
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