What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

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digginfool
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What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by digginfool » Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:33 am

I recently had the poly tear off the bottom of my boat. I reached out to a number of people who might know someone in South Florida who could replace it. Nobody knew of anybody so I had to expand my search. I knew from my research that doing the bottom of the boat is a critical project; you don't get do-overs. Do it wrong and your boat will never ride right. I'm a busy man. I own a construction company and have large projects running over a hundred miles away from the shop. I also have three kids that are heavily involved in sports and it uses nearly every minute of what little spare time I have. A lesson I learned a long time ago is some jobs are best being left to those that do it for a living and since I neither had the time, experience nor the inclination to take on a poly replacement project, I was willing to pay someone else to do it. Moreover, I was willing to pay to have it done right. I figured since the poly installation had lasted over 10 years, who better to do the job than the people who built the boat. And so off I went to the manufacturer.

I got the quote for the poly replacement and a couple of other items I needed and/or wanted for the boat, one of which was a trim tab. With the old poly, the boat had a porpoise that could not be removed no matter how much we fiddled with the hull jacks (rear of engine was as low as it was going to go without cutting the stand). Unless the boat was fully loaded with all seven seats filled, I pretty much had to keep RPMs under 4,000 if I was in water more than a couple feet deep (which is to say, all the time down here in South Florida). I figured it would be nice to have a trim tab, thinking that the boat would still have at least some amount of hop to it even with the new poly. Why not? I've got an 800 pound chunk of cast iron riding around in the back of the boat. It could use all the help it could get. Quote finally came in and despite nearly choking on the $4,800.00 price, I elected to go ahead with the work. It was being done by the world famous manufacturer so I was definitely going to get what I paid for, right?

The big day came and I excitedly headed off for the 400 mile round trip to retrieve my boat. The anticipation was huge. I could not wait to get my 'new' boat in the water. The next day, I launched the boat and the experience was nothing short of extreme disappointment and frustration. Where before my boat wanted to hop at higher speeds, now it stood on its nose at all speeds; so bad that water was being sprayed out in front of the boat. Using what knowledge I've gained through the limited time I've been involved in this hobby, I began applying adjustments to hull jacks and engine angle. I raised the back of the engine a half inch. Nothing. I raised it another half inch. Better but still not right. Adjusted jacks down, up, together, opposite. Nothing. Enlisted some very experienced help. He was even more perplexed than I. Through all of this, one of the first things I noticed was that when the rigging went back in the hull, on one side they used most of the old holes in the ribs but on the rest of that side and the entire right side, new holes were drilled. some forward, some rearward. What the heck happened to my rigging while it was out of the boat? Why didn't/couldn't they put it back in the way it came out? Did they drop it? Sprung it? Further, an inspection of the bottom of the hull revealed a dimple in the bottom, back under the fuel tank, about 2-1/2 feet in diameter and 1/4" deep. How could this have been missed while the steel flex was applied and then after the poly was installed? The hull was upside down, flat on the ground. Not too hard for somebody to look down the length of the boat to see if it was right. Finally, I called the manufacturer. As hoped, they said 'bring it back, we'll make it right.'

Now, keep in mind I'm 200 miles away; each way. This is no small task to take it back. Thankfully enough, the manufacturer agreed to meet me halfway to pick it up. I point out the issues to the kid who met me and he even pointed out an additional flaw in the bottom I hadn't noticed. So, off my boat goes. At least it's going to be right when I get it back. This is the world class manufacturer; builder of the best airboats on the water. What could go wrong, right? A few days later, I get a video text that shows the view of my boat from the operator's seat and it is off the nose and back on its tail, porpoising wildly on the waterway at 3,200 RPM. Then, when the operator floors it and the tach hits 5,000, the boat porpoises so violently he drops his phone. I ask if perhaps we could reach a happy median, somewhere between plowing through the water and porpoising out of control. The reply was 'Only one person on board. I thought you said you always ride with a full load.' Great. Obviously not going to get anywhere. I ask if they had removed the spacers under the engine, the answer was no. I asked how the adjustment was accomplished and the answer was with the jacks and bending the tab at the back of the hull up. So, that was it; here you go, now you figure it out.

I got the boat back last Thursday and took it out Saturday, with a full load; five adults, two kids. I accelerated and suddenly found ourselves porpoising so violently, we were almost thrown out of the boat. The only way the boat was controllable was with a huge amount of downforce on the trim tab. I was using so much trim tab you could feel it holding the boat back. Tuesday of this week, I removed all the spacers from under the engine. Last night, test ride number two. This time, not as big a load but still significant. Full fuel, three adults (I weigh 200, Elevator Guy probably around 230, my wife 135) and a cooler full of ice, food and beverages. We pull away from the ramp, I start to accelerate and again, mad porpoising that started so quick and violent that Elevator Guy's sunglasses went flying. WTF?!?!?! So, slam the trim tab down and go. I guess I'll have to figure out how to undo what the 'experts' did for me. By the way, I forgot to mention that the boat was returned to me with one of the legs on the forward seat snapped off but casually reinstalled and just flopping around. There's no way nobody noticed. It's still broke.

I don't understand why a company that had spent so many years developing a reputation as, if not the best built boats, certainly one of the finest, could not find it in themselves to provide a level of service that would ingratiate their customers rather than antagonize them. Not to mention that but to do so with such indifference. When I went to pick up the boat after the 'adjustment,' nobody even came out to talk to me. The receptionist merely said 'your boat's in the yard, keys are in it.' I hate to say it but it's almost as if the 'adjustment' from one extreme to the other was deliberate. The manufacturer had the boat for nearly two weeks which was more than enough to dial in the ride. Obviously, this company intends to ride on their laurels as long as possible while focusing on new endeavors that would not have been possible had they not started off building airboats. These people have lost sight of how they got to where they are. Airboats are sold more by word of mouth than any other manner. Main stream media would never work. It's reputation. It's customer service, it's pride in your product with workmanship to match. It's also about looking at the big picture. The gentleman running the shop, who is a pleasant enough guy, missed an excellent opportunity to up-sell as well as groom a very likely potential future sale. Gone is the opportunity to sell me an upgraded jack (mine adjusts from a single point rather than multiple points across the width of the hull). Even if I didn't need it (although multiple people, including the kid who picked the boat up, have said my jack is a poor design), it certainly would have given me more ability to fine tune and he could have generated some revenue out of the extra time being spent. He could have used the opportunity to explain why their new hull design is so much better and show the differences. At the very least, he could have taken a few minutes to educate me in the techniques used to fine tune a hull. In my opinion, a trim tab is supposed to augment the hull, not control it. It should be used for changing conditions or loads, not stabilize an out-of-tune hull. I like my boat but know there's enough things I'm not crazy about that I will eventually replace it. I thought I knew who would build it. Not so sure anymore. I'm disappointed to say the least.

One last thing, and only because someone out there who has no chip in this is going to accuse me of it, I was nothing but courteous throughout the entire episode. Never made any accusations, never raised my voice, never even complained. Just asked for help. The rest is history.
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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by TheElevatorGuy » Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:28 pm

230??? I like that number, more like 250ish........

Im going to fire my attorney and hire the digginfool to write all of the letters I have to send out from time to time!!!!
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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by PeaRiverOpossum » Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:21 pm

Sounds sooooooo familiar. That's all I'll say. Same thing happened to me but with a different manf. Took me months to get it right.

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What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by DynaMarine » Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:35 pm

Good to know.....good customer service usually pays off in the long run. Might be painful at first but 9 times outta 10 it's worth it.
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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by getitdone » Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:58 pm

:happy1:
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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by Diamondback_Airboats » Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:34 pm

This is Bobby Fleckinger and let me assure you that we will not, have not, and won't EVER forget where we came from. We are not saying that our company never has problems, as with all companies including companies 20 times our size, we all have problems. We strive for the best customer service for anything that we do and will continue to do that. We appreciate your opinion and will do anything that it takes to makes this right. We have done 8 million things right and we do not feel that with this one instance we deserve being told that we forgot where we came from.

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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by digginfool » Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:41 pm

Going to try to upload the video text.

Removed this link. Didn't realize it had given full access to my Photobucket site.
Last edited by digginfool on Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by DynaMarine » Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:04 am

Diamondback_Airboats wrote:This is Bobby Fleckinger and let me assure you that we will not, have not, and won't EVER forget where we came from. We are not saying that our company never has problems, as with all companies including companies 20 times our size, we all have problems. We strive for the best customer service for anything that we do and will continue to do that. We appreciate your opinion and will do anything that it takes to makes this right. We have done 8 million things right and we do not feel that with this one instance we deserve being told that we forgot where we came from.
Couldn't agree with ya more...well put Bobby.
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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by digginfool » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:54 am

Diamondback_Airboats wrote:This is Bobby Fleckinger and let me assure you that we will not, have not, and won't EVER forget where we came from. We are not saying that our company never has problems, as with all companies including companies 20 times our size, we all have problems. We strive for the best customer service for anything that we do and will continue to do that. We appreciate your opinion and will do anything that it takes to makes this right. We have done 8 million things right and we do not feel that with this one instance we deserve being told that we forgot where we came from.
This May I will have been in business for 28 years and it is true that all companies have problems, mine no less than any other. It's also true, as has been spelled out in the storylines of numerous posters, short stories and proverbs over the ages, that despite all the good a person/organization does it is the bad that is most easily remembered. What separates is how the bad is handled. It's one thing to say you will make it right but at who's cost and convenience? In my particular case, I drove 400 miles round trip to drop my boat off, 400 miles to pick it up, 270 miles to meet up to have the problem resolved, 400 miles to pick up after problem supposedly resolved and now what? Another 800 miles to give yet one more chance to make it right? My company may not be the size of the manufacturer in question but it's no small operation, either. My time is worth a lot of money and I've already given up a substantial amount to this fiasco. Who do I see for that? Am I to accept an apology and an empty promise? Obviously, I don't expect a monetary payout but the time has come for the burden to transfer fully to the manufacturer to make this right. And despite all the indignation and protestations, not one person from the manufacturer has reached out; not a PM, not an email, not a phone call. Nothing. And the manufacturer in question has the information needed to reach me and the knowledge of what's going on. Do they have the fortitude to follow through? I guess we'll see.
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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by John Fenner » Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:51 pm

How about I save you another trip, I can make that boat dance a bit and run flat, with likely minimal effort, maybe Bobby can reimburse my time with a barter or something, I have a couple projects tying up my work area right now but I can look at it and find the issue at hand in a matter of minutes.
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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by Tony480 » Fri Mar 07, 2014 3:40 pm

So your complaining about a boat you bought used that's had how many different owners? And I recall an old post where you hit something and ripped your poly...so now they should fix it?? Lmfao

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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by digginfool » Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:07 pm

Quote:

"One last thing, and only because someone out there who has no chip in this is going to accuse me of it, I was nothing but courteous throughout the entire episode. Never made any accusations, never raised my voice, never even complained. Just asked for help."

Funny how I could read the future. The usual suspects never fail.
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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by lariat » Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:07 pm

I have sat on this story for nearly 14 yrs. I do not like stirring the pot, and I am not trying to now. Just telling an experience.
Soon after I graduated college, and got married, my wife and I love the outdoors and wanted to get an airboat. (I had one previously. The whole thing cost me 2500). Anyway, we had no children and were going to go "all out" on our new toy. We went and visited with 3 different manufacturers. After deciding what we wanted,(15x7 1/2 with a big block 454 HO) we called all three to get prices. One was a sheer pleasure to deal with, but was high on price. The other was not willing to build the boat like we wanted. The third was good to deal with, and the price was something I could live with. Here we go....lets get our boat built.
Fast forward to considerably longer than I was told, and we were off to get our new boat. We pull into the facility and there is a boat very similar to ours, but it was black. I said to my wife; " Man, ours is going to look good in the red we ordered." We walked in and asked to see our new boat and sign the paper work. Well....Ours was the black one. I was so ready to get it, (and like I said, I don't like controversy) we didn't say anything..Heck, black is nice. Well we drive back home (approx. 130miles one way). and I drove straight to show one of my buddys. First thing he did was crawl under it to check out the bottom. He came out laughing and said; "looks they took your boat for a heck of a test ride". Puzzled, I said what? He said all the slick bottom is worn off. I was sick. It was a Friday, so I had to wait till Monday to call them. Well, they were nice enough to say they were sorry, but their test driver must have dry loaded it at the gravel ramp. We will gladly give you a gallon of slick bottom to replace it. Just swing by and pick it up. (remember I'm 130miles from there). Just so happened that my wife would soon be going that way, so she picked it up, and I had to tear down my new boat to put new slick bottom on it.
Once the bottom was redone and I put some time on it, it was amazing. Ran better than expected, and was a lot of fun. (Loved that boat). Well a couple yrs later I decided to get a grass rake for it, and add a little color to it. While I was setting that up, I told them about the original color screw up, and they agreed to re paint the black areas my color of choice, but any extra would cost extra. Well, I agreed. I got it to them, and finally got the call that it was ready. Went to pick it up and it was not what I had requested. They agreed to make it right. (Another 130mile trip). When it was ready, they had someone meet me halfway. Eventually sold it for nearly what I originally paid for it, so it definetly did good with holding its value.
There's my story. I have no hard feelings towards anyone, and not saying I wouldn't give that manufacturer a shot at my business if I ever have a new boat built again, but then again.............?
Damn, that boat did run good though.

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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by Bubba » Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:18 pm

I am very confused. You got a quote to replace the poly on your boat, the work was completed and done the correct way??? But now you are not happy with how your boat rides? What does that have to do with them putting new poly on? Did you pay them to redo your bottom and tune it or just replace the poly?
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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by cowboy » Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:13 pm

If Bobby says he will make it right, he means it.

Diamondback has always been the first in line to ante-up for every cause in Airboating.
Including Operation Airboat where they pay to ship boxes and boxes of donated items to our troops in the M/E.
Year after year, and that is but one example.
Bobby damn sure supports Airboaters all the way.

All those troops know is that this stuff came from Airboaters... of which one is Bobby.

If he says he will make it right, then he means it.

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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by highlife57 » Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:15 pm

It don't matter, they should have taken it for a test ride!!!!

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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by fl cracker » Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:36 pm

I don't think it's standard procedure to take a boat for a test ride after a Poly job. It's Likely the boat was tuned to compensate for the Sheety poly that came off the boat. If you get tires installed on your car they damn sure don't test drive to see if it rides nice unless it's in for a mechanical issues.
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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by digginfool » Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:45 pm

Okay everybody. Take a breath. I never said anything about Bobby. In fact, he and I have spoken on the phone extensively. I probably used words that were too emphatic; rather than saying "obviously" I should have said "it appears" along with the caveat that 'I hope that isn't the case.' Diamondback is a fine company. They wouldn't have the reputation they have if they hadn't earned it. With that being said, am I happy? No. Did Diamondback have the opportunity to satisfy my concerns? Yes. But it's no longer an issue of the digginfool and Diamondback Airboats. In fact, it never was; I went out of my way not to mention who the players were. Most would not have made the effort to connect the dots to figure out who. Be that as it may, it's now about Bobby and me. We have spoken, we have a path towards a resolution and if apologies are in order, they will be made. Until then, chill.
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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by HuntingBigun » Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:36 pm

Lol digging you just trying dig that foot out of your mouth you knew that everyone knew it DB and when Bobby posted your answer was post video no class plus you never even made a effort to call Bobby before writing your essay 11 year boat you ripped the poly and had a handling issue so did you pay him to address all this post your work order where they charged you to do anything more than what you agreed to yep I own DB and love it

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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by MilkManDan » Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:40 pm

Man that is some fancy back peddling. Lol. Replace damaged poly on a 10 year old boat and fix the ride for free. Man diggingfool has some interesting posts.

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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by Scarecrow » Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:46 pm

The holes getting deeper----but keep digging fool. :scratch: :rebel:

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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by digginfool » Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:49 pm

I don't think $4,800.00 is doing anything for free. The whole story is at the beginning of this thread. Read what you want into it; we'll see at the end. I'm not trying to dig my foot out of anything. I've nothing to apologize for. We'll see where the class is once the players are convinced.
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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by Tony480 » Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:04 pm

Another useless thread from you...about like the pissing match you got in with Gerald....seems to be a trend with you.

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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by digginfool » Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:13 pm

That thread wasn't about Gerald. It was about an incident that occurred that had nothing to do with him. Gerald is a dear friend of mine. I was at Old Glory just two nights ago and brought him dinner. Once again weighing in with no chips.

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Re: What Happened To Pride And Workmanship?

Post by gso480jr » Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:26 pm

My 2 cents, hey I could talk negative and complain about 4 airboat companies I've dealt with in the past 25 years of owning and building Airboats. What I learned is simple, if you want to airboat, you might better just learn to do your own work. Then there's nobody to blame but yourself. You would be wise to read plenty on the subject, SA offers plenty of information. Ask for and heed to advice from the ole timers and well versed veterans. My saying is, "if you want something done right, do it yourself." Take pride in your workmanship, it's much more rewarding than bragging about someone else. Don't have the time to spend on keeping your boat right, then you don't have the time to enjoy it either. imho

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