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Motorguide trolling motors (and how NOT to treat your customers)

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
This will be a bit long, but I felt I should post it for those considering a trolling motor purchase in the future. I've got an older model Motorguide Great White - a GWB52V (52#, bow-mounted, variable speed) that's been in service since '02 with no problems (until now ). The motor has been used a good deal but certainly not beaten on.

I was prepping the boat for the season a few weeks ago & performed my usual re-installation of the trolling motor on the bow. I went to test it and nothing - nada - zip . Checked all the connections, checked for power at the plug, etc & everything seemed fine up to the motor itself. Popped the top cover off the head unit & I immediately saw that the plastic was singed & the circuit board (Motorguide's "Dura-Amp" board) was fried on one side. So I made some calls to try to find a replacement board. The very first person I called informed me that Motorguide no longer makes the board & that my only option is to purchase a digital conversion kit (because their motors are now digital) to the tune of $350 . Now mind you, a new motor would run roughly $450. (This same person commented that the Dura-Amp system was flawed from the beginning & that he was surprised mine lasted so long.) I then spent a few days scouring the 'net trying to find someone who still had one of these boards in stock - no dice.

So I decided to call Motorguide directly figuring that if I relayed my dilemma to them, surely they'd understand my situation & offer some help. Very wishful thinking on my part as it turns out . I get "Betty" on the line & tell her my tale of woe. I explain that I'm not looking for anything free, but the fact that they chose to stop manufacturing a vital part for a 6 year old motor has left me with very few attractive options. She reiterates that the digital conversion kit is the cheapest fix & that there's nothing they can do because the motor is out of warranty. I told her I understood that, but this situation is the equivalent of me taking my car to the mechanic for a starter & him telling me that I have to buy a whole new car. She didn't seem to get that analogy. I then suggested that - given the circumstances - maybe they could offer me the conversion kit at a discount. She then placed me on hold for a few moments while (I'm assuming) she checked with someone. When she came back she again notes that the motor is out of warranty & there's nothing they can do. So now I'm really ticked & I ask her "OK then - why would I ever purchase another Motorguide again knowing that you simply don't stand behind your product and don't take care of your customers?" Silence on the other end of the line. I asked if her decision was final & she said yes & I thanked her for her time before hanging up.

Now at this point I'm so pissed at Motorguide that there's no way I'm giving them any more of my money. I began to research Minn-Kotas & the feasibility of changing motors with minimal impact on my existing rigging. But in the end, it was going to be too problematic for me to make the switch - I just wasn't in the mood for a big re-rigging project. So I decided to make a few more calls to see if the conversion kit was available for less money. During a conversation with one person, he mentioned another option available to me. He told me he could sell me an analog kit that would essentially convert my variable speed motor to a 5 speed unit (plus 2 reverse speeds which I didn't have previously). That kit would run $150. Thinking I could definitely live with that, I went that route. I recieved the parts 2 days ago & an evening's worth of work later I'm back in business .

But I'm still pissed at Motorguide - I just think that they could have done SOMETHING for me given the circumstances. Not to mention the fact that they never even mentioned the analog kit to me. During this process, I probably spoke to a half dozen shops that sell & repair both Motorguide & Minn-Kota motors. Without exception, they all reported that they repair MANY more Motorguide units than Minn-Kotas. One guy put the ratio at about 8 to 1 (Motorguides to Minn-Kotas). Another guy simply said, "I make a living off of Motorguide repairs". I sort of lucked out this time, but if I've ever got to buy another motor it will definitely NOT be a Motorguide. It's a shame too 'cause as I said up until now the motor has been great. And I'm not even upset that it broke down - 6 years without incident is pretty good for a marine environment. It really comes down to the fact that the company needs to improve their product & their customer service.
post #2 of 14
Sorry for your troubles Vinny. Mercury Marine now owns Motorguide. You might want to pass along your tale to them.
post #3 of 14
Sorry guy, no sympathy from me. I think your expectations are to high and by todays standards old school.

6 years old, used, saltwater, circuit board = Eventual failure.

I don't know of one company that stocks, services and endorses replacement parts for what could be considerd timed out technology

The only other alternative to your product would have been an extended warrentee and that would have cost you probably 150- so now you have a work around.

Just wait till you return your lcd/plasm tv ( 17% consumer return rate) that is less than 1.5 years old......nobody on earth has parts for that.

Good luck with your motor, just the same
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ehiney View Post


I don't know of one company that stocks, services and endorses replacement parts for what could be considerd timed out technology



Well, according to the repair shops I spoke with, Minn-Kota does. They generally did not have many good things to say about Motorguide parts & customer service. But they all seemed to agree that Minn-Kota is much better in that regard.

And I don't own a plasma/LCD TV. My "old school" 36" tube unit just keeps on tickin' .
post #5 of 14
Guys, I hate to be the bearer of bad news,but all trolling motors are designed to last just past the warrantee period. I own a riptide, my 3rd. They are not bad,BUT given a few yrs of salt and they all fail somewhere. I will be keeping my fingers crossed this yr because mine is going on 4yrs. Most times when they are repaired sometime soon after something else =goes. Like the old car that keeps taking instead of giving. Good luck JP
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by John P View Post
Guys, I hate to be the bearer of bad news,but all trolling motors are designed to last just past the warrantee period. I own a riptide, my 3rd. They are not bad,BUT given a few yrs of salt and they all fail somewhere. I will be keeping my fingers crossed this yr because mine is going on 4yrs. Most times when they are repaired sometime soon after something else =goes. Like the old car that keeps taking instead of giving. Good luck JP


The upside to going the route that I did is the fact that (internally) the motor is essentially a brand new unit. The only old part that remained was the armature (the part that includes the copper windings & the prop shaft). Everything else was tossed & replaced with new components. I even replaced the power cord.
post #7 of 14
First the pliers, and now the motor.

I think you complain a lot.

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kings over Queens View Post
First the pliers, and now the motor.

I think you complain a lot.



I know - definitely getting old & crotchety . But I did get a nice T-shirt out of the pliers thing .
post #9 of 14
VinnyB,
Where did you get the $150 fix that gave you 5 forward and 2 reverse speeds? Did you install it yourself? Did you have to get into the motor head and bypass the MOSFET. Is there a changeout of the brush board?
Isn't the new setup sucking down you batteries alot sooner?
I'm presently in Motorguide hell myself and am trying to figure out which way to go.
Thanks for the help.
Rod
rhustedt@yahoo.com
post #10 of 14
I was contemplating replacing my Minn Kota Riptide with a Motorguide....now I won't. Thanks for posting your experience....I'll run this one til it dies.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbh034 View Post
VinnyB,
Where did you get the $150 fix that gave you 5 forward and 2 reverse speeds? Did you install it yourself? Did you have to get into the motor head and bypass the MOSFET. Is there a changeout of the brush board?
Isn't the new setup sucking down you batteries alot sooner?
I'm presently in Motorguide hell myself and am trying to figure out which way to go.
Thanks for the help.
Rod
rhustedt@yahoo.com


Rod:

I got the rebuild kit from Boris Marine Electronics in Texas. Just do a google search & give 'em a shout - they were great to deal with. I believe the person who helped me out was Jason - very knowlegable. Yes - I installed it myself in a few hours. Everything inside the head unit (including the handle) gets tossed & replaced. In the lower unit, the only thing that remains is the main housing (which includes the magnets), the armature (the part with the copper windings & shaft that actually spins around) and your prop. Everything else gets replaced with new - including the part of the housing that contains the brushes, wiring, etc. They even give you a new end cap.

Since it's essentially the same thrust as my old unit (54# new vs. 52# old), I haven't noticed any appreciable difference in power consumption. I rarely run my battery down fully anyway - I'll throw it on the charger every 2nd trip or so. So far, so good with the rebuild.

Good luck & any other questions feel free to ask away.
post #12 of 14
vinnyb,
Just ordered the five speed kit from Jason. My motor is a foot control so I needed a few more parts i.e. $175
Hopefully I'll have 'er fix this weekend. Thanks a million for your help.
Rod
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
You're welcome Rod - good luck with it. Just take your time. It's pretty straightforward, but getting the new brushes in place on the armature can be a little tricky.
post #14 of 14
My buddy had a MG 101lb on his new Ranger a few years ago and after 2 PCB's and a new motor in 2 years, he got rid of it and put on a MK 101lb and hasn't had a problem ever since. He also had problems with MG customer service.
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