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Jeff Policky
Jeff Policky, Motorcycle Mechanic
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 2425
Experience:  Yamaha Gold, Suzuki Gold, Honda Bronze, Polaris Bronze, BRP
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I purchased a new 2009 Kawasaki 1700 Voyager ABS in 2010

Customer Question

I purchased a new 2009 Kawasaki 1700 Voyager ABS in 2010 from Cities Edge here in Minnesota and today the bike has 14,600 miles on it. A few years ago, it was in for the first ignition recall, though the problem continues yet today. I had received another recall notice in the mail last fall, and Gardy's in Stillwater, MN did the recall service this time. Then less than 200 miles later a bearing went out in the engine and this time it will cost me thousands according to the shop. Should I have to pay for this, did I purchase a "Lemon". I do not feel that I should pay for this repair, the bike is almost new. I would appreciate some guidance on how to proceed with this matter. Thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Motorcycle
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 1 year ago.

Hi and thank you for your question.

First and foremost, whether you have a case for a lemon law is solely dependent on the laws of your state. To be able to answer that question, only a lawyer can advise you in that regard.

Having said that, I will state my gut instinct on various lemon law cases I have seen in the SE US when I was a factory service rep.

The first thing that jumps out at me is which bearing failed and what is the shop saying is the cause of failure?

Another relevant factor would be how many identical failures has Kawasaki had on this year or model?

In the cases I have been involved in, judges tend to be lenient towards the manufacturer "if" they are acting in good faith to resolve the issue. Often, the failure has to have happened 3x on exactly the same problem/part.

From what I have seen you share, there were 2 ignition recalls that Kawasaki did take care of, and now you have had a bearing failure in the engine. The bike is now 7 going on 8 years old. With just over 14k miles on the bike, that averages a little over 2k per year. If you press forward with this issue legally, you need to have all of your maintenance records, esp oil changes. Since you live in the great white north, I imagine the bike is stored for several months a year too. You would need to produce records of the bike being winterized properly as well. The reason winterization is critical is because of chemical reactions that occur in the oil and leaving that oil in will lead to a premature bearing failure. That is assuming it has had a plain bearing failure.

If you could share some more details, such as exactly what bearing has failed and why they believe it failed, I could speak more intelligently to the cause and responsibility of the failure.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Shown in my Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 ABS Motorcycle Service manual, 9-2 exploded view in crankshaft/transmission. It is the seal 92049 or pn.92049-0107 and bearing 601A or pn. 601A6307 that was pointed out to me by the owner of the Champlin Sinclair station here in Minnesota. Jim is the owner there and not only works on cars but motorcycles. He did not go in to any details on why it failed, just told me he could not take on that at this time . Jim also suggest ( amongst a few other mechanics) that Kawasaki should cover this repair. And yes I know that the bike is a 2009 model though purchased in 2010. During the time of factory warranty the bike was serviced by the Kawasaki service technician from the dealership, they have the records. I did two to three oil changes per year with motorcycle oil from Valvoline and a frame or wix oil filter. Though both ignition recall repairs were performed by Kawasaki, 1st one at the please of purchase (cities edge in shakopee, mn.) and the 2nd performed by Gardy's (I'm Stillwater MN.) The ignition issue still persists and the bike stalls when I ride down the road.
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the additional information.

I am not clear on the failure of what you called a bearing now. The part number and name you referenced is a seal, not a bearing. There is a bearing behind that seal which supports the countershaft and front pulley. These bearings can fail on any bike but typically it is associated with a chain drive bike. The reason a chain drive bike is more susceptible to this failure is from having the chain over tightened and stressing the bearing, especially under suspension compression. A belt drive bike would be less susceptible, but not immune, to the problem because a belt has more inherent give or shock absorption properties than a chain. A chain would transmit effectively 100% of the shock. Based on that, this failure is generally associated with a maintenance related issue, as opposed to a factory defect in materials of workmanship. If the problem is a leaking seal, without a bearing related problem, this is definitely not a warranty issue. It is squarely on the owner. The reason being oil seals and gaskets are known to have a service life, which means they do not expect them to live forever. Look no further than any extended warranty policy and notice they never cover oil seals or bearings as the cause of failure. They will cover seals and gaskets if a warrantable part failed and seals and gaskets have to be replaced as a result of that repair, but they will not repair an oil leak because a seal or gasket failed.

Now the ignition issue is something entirely different. If you are having the exact same symptoms now as you had at first, and it is what the recall was supposed to address, it needs to be addressed. There are still some questions. First, is it the same symptom and the same cause? If it is not the same cause, it would weaken a lemon law case. Similar symptoms with a different cause would show that the dealer/manufacturer is resolving the problem at that time. They can't guarantee you won't have additional problems, just warranty them if you do. My questions at this point are, as stated previously, is that EXACTLY what the recall was intended to address, and are these the EXACT same symptoms as before the recall was done, and, was the 2nd recall issued to resolve a problem the 1st recall didn't fix? Sadly, in the eyes of a defense lawyer, if all of these layers don't align perfectly, you don't have a case. For me to be able to address this further, I would need to know the answers to those questions.

It doesn't matter which dealer did which recall, any genuine Kawasaki Motorcycle dealer can perform the repair. The only question mark there would be did each perform the repair/recall properly. If they did not, it becomes the responsibility of the service department at the dealer and not the manufacturer (human error).

Expert:  RSRBOB replied 1 year ago.

Where are we at on this? Just wondering.