Dr. Diesel, Foley Engines, and me...
Spoiler: this will be long, due to the convoluted path it takes, along with
documentation of what happened. This won't be pretty, including a couple of
frank language instances - and before any raving fans get out, and sharpen,
their swords, the documentation is clear, below...
Long-time readers of my logs know that we were ashore for a surprise visit
to Lydia's grandson over the last Christmas holiday season. During that
month ashore I accomplished a great deal of boat repair and upgrade
purchasing, the installation of which, if you're a regular reader, you've
already seen in these parts.
I've saved this post until now to give them every possible opportunity for
redemption. Many months later, I can reasonably say that they'll not step
forward for that, so, herein lies a cautionary tale.
I'd read in various forums and lists of Dr. Diesel's rude and crude approach
to business. I wrote that off to oversensitivity on the part of those not
accustomed to doing business in the Northeast US. The fact that I'd also
read that they were the got-everything source for diesel parts led me to
disregard the warning bells.
A little background is in order, first, to set the stage. When we bought
our boat, it came with two spare, looking new, based on rebuilds I later
saw, injectors for our Perkins 4-154. I'd always found that comforting, but
would have been happier had I an entire extra set aboard, the better to do
swaps when I might not be able to find an injector service location in
whatever far-flung locale I might find myself at the time.
Thus, when we began to suspect that perhaps our injectors weren't entirely
up to snuff (certainly, they'd never been tested, let alone reconditioned
nor rebuilt in the time we've had the boat, and nothing in the logs which
came with the boat made any such mention - it may well be that they were
original to the rebuilt engine which was installed some known 3800 hours
earlier, and maybe more), getting our injectors serviced while the boat was
inactive for a month seemed like a good idea. Along the way, I thought I'd
pick up a couple of others.
I'll spare you the gory details, but finding a location which could service
our injectors, without involving multi-hour car rides, in Georgia, from the
middle of the Bahamas, was daunting. I eventually, through internet
searching and some phone calls, had some leads, but, aside from knowing that
one company could send them off and get them rebuilt if they weren't able to
do it themselves (and could sell me two other rebuilt ones as well), and
several others who specified that they'd have to send them off to service
them, and didn't necessarily have any spares to sell, it didn't appear
promising to get it done simply. Not having any spares to sell suggested
that they might, in the end, not be able to service them at all (if you
don't have spares, maybe you also don't have the right parts to rebuild??).
Thus, I was left with one site, a long drive from where I'd be, which might,
in the end, have to send them off, anyway. Their pricing on a rebuild was
about $100, and on a spare, the same but with a core charge, making it about
$130. If it just needed servicing, it was more like 40 bux each, but I had
no specific confidence that they wouldn't need to be sent
off, involving more time.
So, I decided to look into alternatives. Foley Engines' website makes very
positive claims about their being all things diesel, and, as well, that they
have every part you could possibly want, in stock, ready for immediate
delivery. So, Tuesday evening before Christmas, about 10 minutes before we
were about to go out to look at a local light display, I gave them a call.
"This is Doctor Diesel. How can I help you?"
"Hi. I've got a Perkins 4-154 and I'm thinking of purchasing either 4
injectors for it..."
(interrupting, fast speech) "Our injectors come in a special package. 4 for
$395, and we throw in a free fuel filter."
"Hm. That sounds like a pretty nice package. How much would it be if I
wanted to buy two more?"
"Same deal - couple hundred bux extra for two more." (still fast speech,
nearly interrupting my question)
(Thinking - maybe it would be simpler and about the same cost or better in
the end to just do it there)
"I've got to go, but the boat's in the Bahamas and I'll only be in the
states until the 14th..."
"I'll send out a call tag, you box up your 4 injectors and UPS will fetch it
on Tuesday. You'll have them back to you before you leave."
(Still trying to get off the phone)
"I've got a local source I need to check..."
(Interrupting, again, sounding angry)
"This isn't Billy Bob's, it's Foley Engines. We do it right. Give me your
address to send the call tag and lets go. What are you waiting for??"
(trying to get out the door, as my family's waiting)
"OK, thanks, I'll get back to you..."
"This is 5:30 on a holiday weekend (A TUESDAY for a Friday holiday???).
Don't waste my time." (click)
Well... That certainly was interesting! So, we go off to our outing, and I
mull my realities. They're supposed to be good at what they do, in business
forever, and despite the alarm bells ringing from having read horror
stories, I decide to proceed. So, when I return home, I take a chance and
call them, about 7PM. Sure enough, the same guy answers. I tell him that
I've returned from my errand and want to proceed.
He gets my information, tells me to put the credit card info and where to
send them in the box, confirms that it's $595 (395 package plus 200 for two
more injectors), and rings off. The fact that they wanted my old injectors
didn't resonate with me, being very harried at the time, what with about 15
different sources of other parts rattling around in my brain, and the rushed
nature of his presentation to me...
Well... Hm... It all sounds pretty straightforward, they surely should be
able to fulfill the order based on what the website looked like. So, I type
up a letter (excerpt below) to put in the box with the injectors, give the
box to the UPS guy on Tuesday, and go on about my business, which had me
away from my base most of the time, visiting family.
This was my letter to them, shipping and CC info redacted, printed Wednesday
"Dear Doctor Diesel, not BillyBob's :**)) [handlebars and full beard, tm],
Thanks for taking time with me on the phone Tuesday evening. I apologize for
any misunderstanding; I'd called just to get some basic info as I was on the
way out the door.
As you know, this is arriving via a call tag; thanks for being there after
In the interests of time, as you know from our discussions I'm leaving the
country on the 16th, sending me 6 of your 4-154 injectors, rather than
waiting for rebuild/whatever, on mine, would probably serve both our
interests best. Per our discussions, that's on the order of $595 less any
core charges/credits realized by sending you these 4. FWIW, your straight-up
sale of $395/4 is very nice, and a filter bonus is a nice touch :**))
In the event of needing this info, my engine SN is 154U31081, and doesn't
have glow plugs.
You can reach me at 770-887-0397, or email@example.com
Note that since no core charges had been discussed in our original, I was
naive enough to expect that there'd be CREDIT for the 4 I was sending.
HAH! - as you'll soon see...
Sure enough they arrive there timely at Foley - but I get an email on Monday
1-4, from one of the sales guys (see below for the exchange) wanting to
confirm that it's OK to charge my card for 795 - 495 for 4 exchange
injectors, and 200 for the other two, plus $50 each core charge, plus
in-and-out UPS charges, as I learn on a phone call while all this is going
on. As usual, I'm running around like, in the British expression, a
blue-assed fly, and don't have time to fully asses this development, but I'm
certainly upset about the bait-and-switch, and, on the fly, don't remember
that the original 4-injector package was for $395. Dumfounded, I reply in
haste, forgetting to review my document I'd included above, thus misstating
the original package price (emails shown below):
"On Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 3:11 PM, Mitch M wrote:
Good Afternoon Skip,
I would like to thank you for your order of Perkins injectors.
Because you only had turned in 4 injector cores I would like to have you
confirm that you want to order 6 injectors for total of
$795 (with core deposits)plus the UPS to us and out to you.
Please contact me with confimation of order and shipping requirements.
Foley Marine & Industrial Engines
( my reply)
When I spoke to "Doctor Diesel" immediately before sending in my others, he
said that an additional 2 (knowing that I had 4 and wanted 6) would be
another $200, over and above the $495 special for 4 with a fuel filter
thrown in, specifically, $695, not $795, not an additional $300, ergo $795.
As he was rather brusque I assumed he just wanted me to get on with it, not
discuss options, and was very put out on my first call, which happened just
as I was about to go out the door. I mentioned investigating rebuilding and
new injector costs with some locals, and really had to go to an appointment.
This earned an arrogant assertion that this wasn't Billy Bobs, it was Doctor
Diesel, and why was I bothering him if I wasn't going to do an order now?
After I returned from my appointment I called again, to confirm our original
discussion on pricing, and that we were leaving the country shortly. He
stated that I could be assured of quick service, and why didn't I just get
on with it for $695, including that they would be in our hands much before
our departure on the 14th, asking me to package them up for UPS pickup and
include a note about payment and where to send them.
I did, based on a quote of 4 exchanges and two new for $695, to be in our
hands not much more than a week from now.
I expect that to be the case.. Additionally, not only were core charges not
discussed, the clear implication, as I'd called to ask about new or rebuilt
ones, straight up, initially, as per my included note, there was some
suspicion that I'd earn core value with my 4. I certainly can live without
core credits but don't expect to have additional charges from left field.
I believe I've given you my credit card information and delivery
information, as my email was never discussed during our conversations. He
assured me that regular UPS would have it there in plenty of time (From my
included note) to:
Shipping is to (redacted)
Please confirm my conversations with him and assure my timely delivery. My
preferred card is Discover but you may also use Mastercard or PayPal (my
He came back with:
On Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 5:18 PM, Mitch M wrote:
While I found your email difficult to follow, let me summarize as
solution. We are able to accept your order for 6 remanufactured fuel
injectors for your Perkins 4154 for $695 plus $25 inbound UPS Call Tag
Service to us plus $20 outbound shipping to you. We will keep the four old
units you turned in. We have the remanufactured units in stock and they are
ready to ship.
Please confirm your order by indicating that you authorizing us to charge
your credit card for $740. We must have this authorization by tommorrow AM
to ship these units to you to meet your time line.
Again, rushed, still not remembering my original discussion and confirmation
letter, and, not wanting any more time to elapse, I agreed. The hundred
dollar reduction helped, but the added hundred from what was agreed,
stumbled upon as I reviewed what had happened later, stung. Bait and switch
had me hung up - they had my injectors, and there would not be enough time
to explore my local options, abandoned on what seemed like a good deal. Ah,
well, I licked my wounds and continued with all that I had to do WRT
traveling and following up on the remaining items I had to order or follow
up on warranty issues. Significantly, during the time of their eventual
arrival, I was on a plane and unable to inspect them when they arrived. I
got back in time to open the package as I was starting to pack, Friday,
before our weekend departure for the boat.
Imagine my consternation when, having included (with my 4 used injectors)
the banjo bolts and crush washers (the thing on the top of the injectors
enabling the return fuel line), as my new ones had them, thus assuming that
injectors came with them, the 6 I received had none. As, again, we were
preparing to leave for dinner, a hurried phone call at 5:45 Friday (having
someone answer the phone in the original order at 7PM made me assume I'd
find someone before a presumed 6PM closing time) to Foley to see if there
could be some way to get those shipped to us got this response:
(Ring, ring, pickup) "Doctor Diesel, how can we help you?"
"Hi, this is Skip Gundlach. I've received the package but my injectors
don't have any banjo bolts and..."
(Interrupting...)"It's Friday night and we're closed!" (click)
Hm. Always interested in helping someone spend a bunch of money, but screw
up an order, and, "We're closed!" Looking at their website shows that they
closed at 4 on Fridays, which is certainly reasonable, but if someone's
going to answer the phone, anyway, the summary disconnection when what, to
us, was an emergency presents itself, seemed to fit in the original pattern.
Needless to say, this didn't sit well with me, since it was, indeed, the
weekend, and we were to be on a plane early on Sunday. I dashed off the
following email with (spoiler message!) harsh language retained:
"From: Skip Gundlach
Date: Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 6:05 PM
Subject: Re: INJECTOR ORDER
To: Mitch M
Well, I have to say that at least when I'm getting f**ked it usually feels
When I called at 5:45 to discuss the problem below, someone answered the
phone. No sooner did I identify my self than I was curtly informed that it
was 6PM and you were closed, and the phone hung up, enhancing my first
experience when I made my first call to discuss the possibility of
purchasing either 4 or 6 injectors for my 4-154. See prior communications
However, the two rebuilds I have aboard already have the banjo bolts for the
fuel, along with the proper washers. Given that, I sent those bolts and
washers with my 4 exchange units presuming those to be part of the rebuild
process. NONE of the 6 you sent me has one, nor washers. I am well and
truly f**ked as the engine CAN'T run without them, and we leave on Sunday to
the Bahamas, where our engine sits without injectors.
I am now out of business, and forced to try to find the appropriate banjo
bolts and washers, as you were so kind to point out just before you hung up
on me, on a weekend. There MIGHT have been a simple solution, but your
outstanding customer service made certain that could not be pursued before
I cannot adequately express my outrage.
So, off we go to Pizza Hut, and while we're waiting for our order, I get on
my son-in-law's iPhone and start looking up West Coast Perkins distributors,
which, being 3 hours behind us, would be open, hoping that someone will have
them in stock and they can be overnighted to us for Saturday delivery.
I succeed, sort of, with the first one, but they have none in stock.
However, they do recommend several GA distributors, and give me the proper
part numbers to ask for. Relieved at making some progress for our
emergency, I resolve to follow that up first thing Saturday morning.
Saturday morning and several phone calls later, I find one which has not 6
but 4 in stock (enough to get us back up and running), but they close at 1
PM. Over a 2-hour drive away, I've got to leave immediately, but,
eventually, succeed, arriving at precisely 5 minutes before closing. They've
got the parts waiting for me, and my immediate problem is resolved. I'll
still want to obtain 4 more, as they're only $3.16 each, and the washers
$.30, but that can wait for convenience, rather than desperation.
However, having received at best cavalier treatment at Foley, I don't let
them know that. Once I'm back on the boat, I follow up, just to see what
they'll do. I got no response to the above (surprise!), so sent a note to
firstname.lastname@example.org which is the recommended contact means on their
website. Here's the email exchange, all in one piece:
"----- Original Message -----
From: "Flying Pig"
To: "Foley Engines"
Sent: Friday, January 22, 2010 10:02 AM
Subject: Banjo Bolts
So, I got your rebuilt injectors which, per our original pre-Christmas
conversation, arrived just prior to our departure from the States to the
Bahamas. Having now returned to the boat in the Bahamas, we've confirmed
that they are the correct ones, which installed without event.
However, 6 days ago, in a followup to Mitch as I was opening my package
after being away in your neck of the woods, seeing my father for what I
expect to be the last time, I observed with horror that, unlike the other
two which I had in my spares stock (which is why I ordered 6 rather than 4,
in order to have 4 spares), these came with neither banjo bolts nor crush
As I sent in my banjo bolts and crush washers with my exchanges, since my
new ones had them, I was stunned to see that my new/rebuilts from you had
Needless to say, the engine won't run without them. Nearly a week has
passed with no response to my note to Mitch asking for a solution. Other
than to take a flying leap, do you have suggestions as to how to resolve
Followed, on January 30, by (to "info@" and "mitch@"):
It's now been two weeks since my note to Mitch, and a week since my note to
"info" - the recommended means of contacting Foley Engines - both regarding
the need to obtain banjo bolts and crush washers for my purchase, with no
response to either, so I have limited expectations here.
When Mitch called me regarding the 4 4-154 injectors I'd sent via your call
tag, and we discussed the fact that this would be a rebuild, not an outright
purchase, he didn't mention that I'd included my banjo bolts and crush
washers with them. As discussed in my original discussion with Dr. Diesel
(or whoever it is that answers the phone), I also bought two others, as I
already had two in spares, wanting to have 4 in spares for a future time
when I might not have the ability to get a service or rebuild done.
Those two in my spares alread had the banjo bolts and crush washers with
them, with a lovely little red plastic cap on it. I thus assumed (stupid, I
know) that such was the way rebuilt or new injectors were delivered. It's
also why I included the banjo bolts and washers on my return 4 injectors.
However, the 6 injectors I received, timely, but unopened until my return
from a trip stateside, and just before leaving for the Bahamas, had, as I
presume is standard for your operation, neither banjo bolts or washers.
That presumption being the case, I'm a bit surprised that my returns, which
included them, were not remarked upon. In any case, the 6 I got are lovely,
and 4 of them are safely installed, with the other 2 joining my
already-owned pair in spares.
We are, in fact, a sailboat, and, as such, don't REALLY need an engine.
However, I went to the cost and effort to obtain not only replacements, but
spare injectors for our engine. Yet, 2 weeks and two emails later, here we
sit at anchor in Marsh Harbour without either the banjo bolts I sent up, or
2 more to go with the non-exchanged pair.
Regardless of how it happened, and whether it was my stupid mistake or not,
I'm looking for suggestions on obtaining the needed parts - 6 banjo bolts
and a dozen crush washers.
As you folks are the widely-touted answer to all questions diesel, what do
you suggest for my predicament?
This received the expected silence, so I sent another, again, to both "info"
and "mitch" on February 10th, with the original attached:
"So, I gather you're just going to ignore me. Is that correct? If so, I
might try to get on with my life with an unpowered sailboat. If not, I'd
appreciate hearing from you some time soon, right at 4 weeks from
notification that I'm without banjo bolts, and stuck. For that matter, if
you're going to tell me to go get stuffed, I'd appreciate knowing that, too,
see above about not waiting to hear from you on the matter.
Thanks - I think.
This one produced a response from "info":
Our Mitch will email you first thing tommorow AM. If you prefer he will call
you but please advise.
In the interim please line up a credit card and a shipping address. We can
get these banjo bolts and washers right out to you.
The Foley Engine Team"
Well... Progress. Let's see how this plays out...
----- Original Message -----
From: Mitch M
To: Skip Gundlach
Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2010 9:16 AM
Subject: PERKINS PARTS
Good morning Skip
Thanks for your email.
If you would like to go ahead and purchase additional parts for your
simply contact me via e-mail or phone with the following information.
Complete credit card information.including the name on the card, card
number, expiration date, and the last three digits of the code on the back,
and the card's billing address
Engine model number and serial number.
List of parts that you need.
Address of where you would like the parts sent.
We will then work up an invoice with all the charges, email it to you
and ask for your emailed confirmation.
From: Flying Pig
To: Mitch M
Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2010 11:45
Subject: Re: PERKINS PARTS
Hi, Mitch, and thanks for the followup.
I'm working on a landside address for someone who's coming over shortly.
In the past 4 weeks I've managed to come up with part numbers and
pricing, but all west coast.
How much are they, and how much would slow-boat (surface, cheapest)
delivery be to either the same address as the injectors went to, or another
From: Mitch M
To: Flying Pig
Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2010 4:05 PM
Subject: PERKINS PARTS
Good afternoon Skip,
Thank you for your reply e-mail.
This purchase of banjo bolts and washers falls well below our minimum
order for parts for this obsolete engine. Unless you would like to add
perhaps $50 of parts to your order, I suggest that if you have found the
parts somewehere else, you should simply go ahead and order them. Afterall,
this is not a large transaction and any savings would be minimal.
From: "Flying Pig"
To: "Mitch M" ; "Foley Engines"
Subject: Re: PERKINS PARTS
Date: Thursday, February 11, 2010 9:40 PM
Given that I've been without them for this long, and sent you mine which
went unremarked on receipt at Foley, perhaps you'd be kind enough to put
them in an envelope - or, since the cost is so trivial, as a courtesy for my
inconvenience, since I should have had them in the first place (either mine
or replacements), but didn't, new ones? - and send them along, ground, to
the same location as the injectors were delivered?
My research into trying to find other sources was solely as a product of the
non-response to my several emails to you and "info" over the last 4 weeks on
By now, I expect you get the picture: Spend enough money with them, and
they're all over it, bait and switch notwithstanding. Severely inconvenience
a client, whether through stupidity, obstinance or other, and communications
go to a black hole.
As I write this, it's been almost 6 weeks since my request for my originals
or a courtesy (all of under $15 bux worth of parts) replacement, with no
communication nor fulfillment. Reasonably speaking, given the history, I
doubt that a followup, such as I did on the first request for banjo bolts,
would produce any different response. Truth of the matter is I wanted to
give them enough rope to hang themselve; they obligingly paid it out, tied
the knot, and jumped.
Caveat Emptor. If you're not where you can walk in and get assurance and
proof of exactly what you want, at the price you were quoted, deal with
Foley Engines with extreme caution - and don't, whatever you do, ship them
any parts without getting a written proof of expectation on both parties'
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