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downeast450 09-16-2011 12:08 PM

OBM service "standards"?
I have been doing my own service on all of my motors and engines for 50+ years. i enjoy it. Recently I inherited a 2 hp Suzuki obm that was running fine when I put it away 18 months ago. I tried starting it in May and got no spark at the plug so I decided to take it in and have our local dealer get it running. I was very busy and thought it would give some business to a local (Brunswick, ME) shop while I found out about their services.

2 weeks after dropping it off I got a call telling me the condenser and points were in. it would cost about $200.00 and would be ready in a week.

2 weeks later I got a call telling me they could not get the flywheel off and I could come get it to finish the work because they already had $70.00 in labor into it.

Upon arriving to pick it up I was told it wasn't ready and could I come back next Wednesday. They showed me the motor with the flywheel missing??

I returned to get it and they handed me a box of parts that included the flywheel and the rest of the motor with the gas tank loose and held only by the fuel line. They explained they would have had to bill me for another hour if I wanted it put back together!

When I go it home I discovered they had stripped the slots in both Phillips screws that adjust the points position.

I was not happy and shared that with them. I got a reply.."if you knew anything about obms you would know screws get stripped, I have stripped hundreds of them in my 35 years....."

I insisted on a refund of the $70.00 and have been promised a check.

It isn't the $70.00 that is so disturbing in all this it is the way they do business. Is this a norm? I haven't used a dealer in decades for anything and perhaps I am just out of touch?


SlowButSteady 09-16-2011 12:48 PM

Over the years I have had very mixed results with outboard/small engine shops. Some seem very competent, others rather inept. I've seen both ends of the spectrum in both large "authorized service centers/dealers" and "one guy in his garage" sorts of operations. Ask around, there's likely to be a good shop near by who is well known, but never has to advertise much because he gets all the business he can handle via word of mouth.

downeast450 09-16-2011 01:25 PM


Thanks for the reply. I have ordered the parts and will fix it myself. I was wondering if my experience was as out of line as it seems to me. I had several e-mail exchanges with the owner who defended his practices and declared his amazement at my concerns about the way he handled this simple "repair".


emoney 09-16-2011 01:34 PM

One of the most important relationships you'll make, outside of your spouse, is a competent OB mechanic shop, lol. I do the majority of the work on my little engines, but usually get help if it's something serious on the big one. Finding the "right guy" is key. Ask around, you'll have to wade through 50 different opinions, but eventually, a pattern will form. Pick up the O.E.M Service Manual for your engine and have at it. The little ones are usually quite easy to work on. Plan on cleaning or rebuilding your carb once a year, and keep a close watch on your fuel system and you'll be fine. In response to your question about "is this the norm", sadly enough, quite often when you're in the "wrong" shop. Best wishes.

mdbee 09-16-2011 05:04 PM

Learn to work on it yourself. You never know when you might be the only "mechanic" around.

By the way, you might get lucky and switch to a "standard" fractional screw when replacing those stripped out metric screws. Tap sets are cheap.

downeast450 09-16-2011 06:17 PM

I can fix it myself. I was trying to give some business to a "professional". I am wondering if this kind of shoddy service is common.


dabnis 09-16-2011 07:34 PM


With my Dad's help I started working on engines about 65 years ago. With a proper set of tools and good shop manuals one can do almost anything needed, short of bearing presses. Nice gesture to give him some business but when he said "if you knew anything about obms you would know screws get stripped, I have stripped hundreds of them in my 35 years....." you had to know you went to the wrong place. Kind of like taking your car with a problem to an American made car dealer and being told "It is OK, they all do that"
When you do it yourself you know it is done right.


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