THANKS, GUYS, FOR THE SUGGESTIONS. NOW, HERE IS THE PLAY-BY-PLAY SUMMARY OF THE YANMAR PARTS GAME. LISTEN UP, Y'ALL:
I have spent hours online and on the phone trying to beat the bloated prices that Yanmar demands for replacement parts. The Company has a lockdown on their distributors, including fixed prices and limited sales territories. If you're in Louisiana, as I am, you can't shop. You buy from the bayou guy. You buy bayou. Period. Carlos Slim, the Mexican megalo-monopolist, could take lessons from these tyrants. You can't even get a Parts Manual without paying the Company $80 and waiting for the mail to arrive. Oil pumps jumped 50% in price in the last two weeks. Torresen Marine adds 10% to the already outrageous Yanmar prices.
As suggested by HUGOSALT, I attempted an end run, surreptitiously calling Yanmar tractor parts suppliers using Yanmar marine parts numbers (meticulously gathered by squinting at websites and diagrams for hours). I reasoned that Giants in the Earth might get better prices than Yachties in the Club. From Hoye Tractor Parts, great guys by the way, I managed to get some cross-references and tractor model numbers. But Big Daddy YanBucks has his thumb on the tractor guys too. Their tractor parts are even more expensive than their marine parts. I imagine that farmers with unplowed fields are more desperate for parts than yachties with warm Daiquiris. So, Yanmar sticks it to the hayseeds with vigor.
I then tried a "Chinese-Fire-Drill" end run, looking at Chinese suppliers of "after-market" parts (translation: counterfeit parts). The ebay ads are enticing: Yanmar ring sets are $16 instead of $50 each. I lusted after high-pressure fuel injector tubing and oil tubing. My engine is covered with rusty spiderwebs of this stuff. Basically, the parts are steel tubes with flare fittings and nuts on the ends --- your basic steel soda straws with threads. Should be about $8 each. Yanmar wants $45 each.. I need an armload.
Uber-Alas, the Chinese can sell you most any part you need for current-production tractor and excavator parts. But the Yanmar engine model 3GM30 has been out of production for about 9 years, except in Europe where the Japanese are shipping boatloads of new engines to the Continentals and the Brits like a latter-day Marshall Plan. For me, a damn Yankee, it's No Tickee, No Washee. I am resigned to buying from Tyrant-osaurus Wrecks, Inc. and paying their exorbitant prices.
I do, however, have a line on some salvaged Yanmar engines. I may rob Piston to pay Poppet, making one good engine out of two, even rebuilding a third engine to sell. The profits could pay for all this mechanical mayhem.
There is a silver cylinder lining to this tale. The Chinese suppliers have websites with hyper-interactive chat features. Their salespeople are often lovely young, educated women who seem quite attracted to mature American men. I won't go into detail except to say that the off-site Skype conversations have been enchanting.
SO, HERE IS THE BOTTOM LINE ON YANMAR PARTS, GUYS: Forget the tractor dealers. Forget price competition among retailers. If you have a current-production Yanmar Engine, try the Chinese entrepreners at Manufacturers, Suppliers, Exporters & Importers from the world's largest online B2B marketplace-Alibaba.com
by entering the engine model and parts numbers. You might be able to cross-reference industrial parts and marine parts. Even if you can't find what you want, you will get an eyeful. You will find hard-driving manufacturers like America of the 1950's, but on digital steroids. You will learn why Walmart products are over 80% Chinese-made. You might even meet a lovely cherry blossom to brighten your day and fill your email inbox with unbeatable offers.