Vacation, rented "cottage" with rented pontoon. Return of the security
deposits quite late....now the story is "not returning the deposit
'cause you trashed the outboard". It was a 20-something foot pontoon,
no idea size of engine (the guys will remember and they aren't here
right now). I have photos of our grandkids tubing on the last day we
were there....proof the boat was operating.
This was an "upscale" rental, complete with decorator coordinated bed
linens. $200 non-returnable cleaning charge, $750 dam. deposit. It was
cleaner when we left than when we arrived, thanks to grandma (me).
All of the adults made their own "final inspection" to look for
forgotten belongings, but owner wasn't present when we departed.
This would be why to not include a boat with a vacation rental.
Most are pretty forgiving about the exact mix. I'm guessing it was an
older outbard since most new ones would not use premix and would have
seperate oil and gas tanks. Which suggests it could have been
anything that broke it. I'd request reciepts from a commercial repair
shop with diagnosis on it.
Bottom line though is unless your'e willing to upscale the battle
you're pretty much at their mercy. I'd leave bad reviews where ever I
could though. Unless you get some pretty convincing evidence that it
was your fault.
I'm reading between the lines and think
that we heard about the decorator linens but
nothing about what they did regarding putting
fuel in the engine for a reason......
If it was supposed to be 32:1 and you mixed
it 40:1 I would say it would be fine. If you
put straight gas in, I'd say significant damage
could start within minutes and the engine
could seize quickly. A lot would depend on
how it was used. Sitting idling at the dock
it would run longer. At full power, I would
think it could be over in minutes. It's like
running your car without engine oil.
Some related issues. Do you know for a
fact that you did not put oil in it? Was it
clearly explained what you were required
to do or not do? If they are demanding
payment and/or keeping the deposit you
have a right to see a diagnosis/bill, etc
from a reputable repair place that says
the engine failed from lack of oil.
On 9/7/2011 10:02 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I know nothing about the required mix, except that it is normal for
outboards and lawnmowers....there were five adults who had some hand, at
different times, in fueling or operating the boat. All experienced
boaters and careful.
There was a book of "rules" sent to us during the contracting for the
stay...one week. All who were inclined to operate the boat had to
provide copies of driv. license prior to arrival. Rules included no
smoking on premises, which I presume meant outdoors as well as in :o)
Tell us the whole story, please. Did you add any gas to what was provided
when you took possession of the boat? Did you mix any oil and gas? How
much gas and how much oil? Questions are a lot easier to answer when facts
As I said, I'm just grandma....son and daughter handled fueling. Both
are careful and experienced. I'll know more after I speak with my son.
I believe that the arrangement was to provide fuel for us, but there
was none. One of the running lights on the boat was broken, so couldn't
use it after dark until my son and daughter repaired it. The owner said
nothing about the engine until my daughter asked for the deposit, which
was already two weeks overdue and a month after we left the cottage.
I would check the rental laws in the state where
this occured. Many now have strict limits on
how long a landlord has to return a deposit or
tell you why they are keeping it. And the ones
I've seen require it to done in 30 days or less.
That might be the only defense you need. If
the landlord cannot show that he notified you
in writing within the required period, you get
the deposit back. Some even give you 2X
the deposit back if it was wrongfully withheld.
You'd also need to make sure those laws
apply to short term vacation rentals. I've
seen them come into play in normal month
to month rentals.
Not only that, but automix technology (auto oil injection) came to
2-strokes over 35 yrs ago.
I did a stint as an outboard motor mechanic back in the early 70s.
The biggest motor killer wasn't oil/gas mix, but running the motors
aground and clogging the cooling water intake. Even then, the motors
would seize up, then run fine after cool down.
The whole thing sounds like your basic get-a-piece-of-the-refund scam,
I did a google search on law for the state and got some very good info;
the state law is very specific about time limits to return dep, notice
of damages as basis for not returning, etc. I'm just curious about what
could possibly have gone wrong with the engine, as I'm sure it is a
bogus claim. Will know more later.
The short answer is no one here can tell you
what happened or did not happen to the engine.
You can't even tell us if you know oil was
required to be mixed for the engine, if anyone
mixed it, what ratio, if you ran it normally
after it was refilled for an extended period,
or just filled it incorrectly prior to leaving
and left it to seize later with the landlord.
If it was a 2 stroke and required oil to be
mixed, the tank was empty and you
filled it with straight gas, then ran
it at full power for even 10 mins, I would
think that is long enough to trash it.
If the tank was half full and you topped
it off, then it would probably survive.
But since you don't know much at
all about what really went on, I don't
know how you can expect anyone here
to cover all the endless possibilites.
Nor do I see how you are so sure
the landlord is lying.
On 9/7/2011 12:07 PM, email@example.com wrote:
My ignorance shows ... didn't know how many combinations there might be
(like, are they all 2:3 oil:gas) or whether a minor miscalculation might
ruin an engine.....I've never even used a gas mower :o)
I'm not SURE the landlord is lying, but their written terms and rules
were so explicit, I expected the same level of conduct in return.
Informing us a month after we left the rental is a little stinky,
considering their otherwise very strict requirements.
My gut feeling is that they inherited a nice lake place, blew their wad
remodeling and decorating, expected to make another wad renting it
out.... And I fully understand the difference between being wrong and
I agree it's not right that they notified you more than
a month later. If it's a popular area they probably
would have had other renters in those weeks after
you. Meanng it seems odd that either the landlord
or some other renter didn't find out the boat
didn't work. But, in the landlord's defense,
that could have happened and it might have
taken a long time to get a marine mechanic to
look at it. They can be busy this time of year.
In that case, while they would have know that
the boat wasn't working, they might not have
had a report saying what caused it. Still, no
excuse for not getting back to you much
earlier to at least tell you something.
I guess if it were me, I'd figure out who put
gas in it last and what they did or think they did.
Based on that, I'd then ask the landlord for
documentation that shows what exactly was
wrong with it and what it says caused it.
What does the state law that you looked at say
with regard to amount of time to return deposits?
Is it an out for you?
And even if you did ruin the engine, you're only
responsible for what it was worth, not a brand
new engine. If it was 20 years old, that may
not be that much. Knowing the engine you
could maybe find similar ones on Ebay.
Perhaps the majority of NEW engines MIGHT be 4 stroke - but by a very
large margin, the VAST majority of operational outboards in North
America are 2 stroke. And yes, MANY 2 stroke engines are now oil
injected - but again - the LARGE MAJORITY of operational outboards in
North America run pre-mix.
Two basic 2 stroke systems.Both burn oil with the gas and lubricate
the engine with the fuel mix as it flows through the crankcase.
Oil injection has an oil tank and a gas tank.A pump on the engine
meters the proper amount of oil according to engine speed and load.
Premix means you put the proper amount of oil in the gas.
4 stroke means the oil is in the crankcase and is not (in an ideal
world) burned by the engine.Wet sump means the oil stays in the
crancase and is pumped around to lubricate the engine - dry sump
stores the oil in a tank and pumps it through the engine to lubricate
Which kinda makes one wonder where the rentee got the gas from. The
marina I once worked at was the only source, so wasn't an issue.
Other vendors would probably be likewise savvy and unless they
purposely wanted to screw the original renter, why would they allow a
rentee to use straight gas. Frankly, I think the whole story is
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