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Old 04-02-2014, 10:24   #1
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Yanmar 4JH4AE catastrophic breakdown experience

Towards the end of last sailing season, the Yanmar 4JH4AE diesel engine (with less than 130 hours) on my 2010 Beneteau 43, lost a valve seat and a valve dropped into the piston and the resulting mayhem cracked the block.

My insurance company, Seaworthy, sent a surveyor who determined that the engine was a complete loss due to "mechanical failure." Yanmar, through Mack Boring, says that the engine is out of warranty by over 1.5 years, and the extended warranty does not cover valves.

Now, I have a useless engine on a practically new sailboat with no recourse but to repower at my own expense. Before you purchase a boat, I urge you to consider my experience and make an educated decision based on how companies support (or, do not support) their products.
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:32   #2
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Re: Yanmar 4JH4AE catastrophic breakdown experience

Im sorry to hear it. Hopefully this means you have some overdue good karma coming your way. Boo on Yanmar. maybe beneteau might help you get one at cost?
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Old 04-02-2014, 11:54   #3
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Re: Yanmar 4JH4AE catastrophic breakdown experience

Do not give up on your insurance company. Sometimes they will pay in your situation. But you have to push them.

David
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Old 04-02-2014, 12:12   #4
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Re: Yanmar 4JH4AE catastrophic breakdown experience

Yeah, you had an extended warranty? I've found them to be useless. The only extended warranty I ever bought was on a VW Jetta years ago. Sure enough it had a catastophic transmission failure. They wouldnt pay because the trany was destryed by a small part that was not part of the warranty! it's a real rip off.
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Old 04-02-2014, 13:31   #5
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Re: Yanmar 4JH4AE catastrophic breakdown experience

I'd talk to Beneteau USA. They might have some leverage with Yanmar. Let us know what you end up doing.
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Old 04-02-2014, 13:41   #6
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Re: Yanmar 4JH4AE catastrophic breakdown experience

So what did Seaworthy say -- not covered due to mechanical wear?
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Old 04-02-2014, 15:56   #7
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Re: Yanmar 4JH4AE catastrophic breakdown experience

No, Seaworthy said "mechanical failure."
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Old 04-02-2014, 16:34   #8
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Re: Yanmar 4JH4AE catastrophic breakdown experience

Insurance is great, until you need it. Case in point, two storms same season, two claims for damage and repairs made between claims. Although damage and repairs were inspected by insurance company representative, company dropped us for too many claims, which apparently is industry policy. Of course they couldn't say that so they gave an excuse equivalent to the sun rising 3 degrees off of due east.
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Old 04-02-2014, 16:59   #9
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Re: Yanmar 4JH4AE catastrophic breakdown experience

you cant possibly expect the insurance company to pay for a mechanical failure...........now if you winterize your engine yourself and it freezes and cracks, its covered..........if you suck up a plastic bag while crusing and blow your engine, your covered.......
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Old 04-02-2014, 17:09   #10
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Re: Yanmar 4JH4AE catastrophic breakdown experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Navicula View Post
you cant possibly expect the insurance company to pay for a mechanical failure...........now if you winterize your engine yourself and it freezes and cracks, its covered..........if you suck up a plastic bag while crusing and blow your engine, your covered.......
It's a game, we pay out some claims and use your premium to hire lawyers to keep from having to pay...
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Old 04-02-2014, 17:41   #11
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Re: Yanmar 4JH4AE catastrophic breakdown experience

This might be a long shot, but see if you can find a good independent adjuster nearby. I know a guy who filed a homeowner's claim for damage to his house. The claim was denied on some grounds, I don't recall. He contacted a sharp adjuster who reviewed the terms of his insurance policy, and wrote a letter arguing that they had to cover the damages and citing their own policy clauses to prove his point. They realized he was in the industry and stopped arguing and covered it 100%.

The secret to it was not using logic or linear thinking like most people do, it was all about semantics and wording the letter in language they could decode as "I'm not letting this slide, and the next letter you get will be from a law firm."
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Old 04-02-2014, 19:30   #12
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Re: Yanmar 4JH4AE catastrophic breakdown experience

If you had paid for an extended warranty I would have my Lawyer write a nice letter stating a dropped valve seat would be due to either improper machining or materials out of spec. Even if the valve stem head was faulty, the valve seat should not have dropped.

Yanmar has a reputation for building good engines. That may have been so 20-30 years ago. But WAY too many Yanmar engines have failures now a days.

Looks like its Beta engine time.

I've owned two Yanmars, a 3QM that broke a valve rocker bearing where it was cast at the valve tower and my current 3gm with the typical early 90's piston land failures. For me that's a 100% failure rate.

Sort of sounds like Yanmar has some QC issues with materials to me.
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Old 04-02-2014, 19:36   #13
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Re: Yanmar 4JH4AE catastrophic breakdown experience

Sorry to hear about your trouble! I also have a 4JH4AE (which is running well right now) and it gave me a lump in my throat to hear about what happened. Keep us posted about how it comes out. Good Luck!
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Old 04-02-2014, 20:14   #14
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Re: Yanmar 4JH4AE catastrophic breakdown experience

A good insurance company should pay when a catastophic failure occurs. A friend had a valve drop in his engine and his insurance covered most of the cost of a new engine. Maybe tell your insurance that you will take your business elsewhere and also mention them on Cruisers forum if they will not help.
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Old 04-02-2014, 21:09   #15
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Re: Yanmar 4JH4AE catastrophic breakdown experience

Just out of curiosity, you say you only had 130 hours on the motor. How have you been storing the motor for the past 3+ years? A valve could have rusted up while just sitting around.

Motors like to run or they decompose just like anything else. If I were Yanmar I'd do an investigation and pull the head. And if the valve were rusty I would NOT warrantee it either. I suspect the valve stuck open and thats what raised hell in the cylinder.
Boats require maintenance! With out it, sitting in a saltwater environment takes it's toll.
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