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Minn Kota - Will Never Buy Again

Post By: ...YouKnowWho      Posted: 8/3/2020 10:54:46 AM     Points: 102    
Minn Kota has made some great products over the years, and I've owned over a dozen of them. Unfortunately their new, fancy Ulterra will be the downfall of them and their horrific warranty and customer service doesn't help their case.

I've had my Minn Kota Ulterra trolling motor for just over 2 years now... and it's been to our local (and only) authorized repair rep 5 times (6 after this last weekend) and shipped back to Minn Kota in Minnesota on my own dime ($75) and it still is not functioning properly. Yet again it refuses to auto deploy and stow, leaving me out in the middle of a lake wrenching on it to just let me get my boat on the trailer.

Last time I shipped it to Minnesota, they tested it indoors in their shop (even though I told him my problems only occur first thing in the morning when it's cold out) and wrote me back a nice letter explaining that their motors "shouldn't be used in temperatures under 40 degrees". REALLY!!?! Aren't you based out of Minnesota? It's August 3rd in Colorado and when I got onto Spinney Mountain Reservoir on Saturday it was colder than 40 degrees out... when exactly do they think I'll be using their products?

But this motor, their customer service and refusal to take responsibility for their faulty designs and lack of repairs will ensure that I'll be going with Garmin from now on. Now they want an additional $600+ to fix it even though they have a record of the 5 previous repairs for the exact same problem and their "authorized repair facility" tells me that he's seen well over a hundred of these units with the exact same problems. In fact, Minn Kota has done so much as re-engineer the self-deploy motor mechanism, and a bunch of parts because they break so often... yet Minn Kota won't authorize a proper repair on my motor that they've been unable to fix the last 5 times.

Do yourself a favor and buy Garmin's new motor.
 Reply by: jdavis      Posted: Aug. 3, 12:11:02 PM     Points: 118    
Does garmin have a self deploying and stowing troller?
 Reply by: Ajax5240      Posted: Aug. 3, 12:15:53 PM     Points: 30256    
From my point of view... Things are continuing to get more "fancy" which leaves more opportunities for failure.

The auto-deploy sounds like a great idea, but does not sound like it has been refined to the point of dependability yet.

Based on age, yours has to be about one of the first generations of the Ulterra.

Their customer service and local shops are fairly worthless..
 Reply by: Goosehunter82      Posted: Aug. 3, 2:32:51 PM     Points: 57130    
What Ajax said.
 Reply by: malty falcon      Posted: Aug. 3, 2:37:26 PM     Points: 6818    
Sorry your Ulterra has been a pain. I am very happy with my Gen 2 Terrova, it works like a dream , and has really helped me fish solo.

 Reply by: yard dogs      Posted: Aug. 3, 3:03:15 PM     Points: 703    
Shouldnt be used in tempts under 40 degrees????

 Reply by: shiverfix      Posted: Aug. 3, 4:20:23 PM     Points: 3772    
I understand Ajax, but to a point. Remember, there was a time when an electric trolling motor was fancy, or a push button starter for an outboard, or an electric downrigger... Everything is fancy until it is commonplace.
 Reply by: Hawaiian Punch      Posted: Aug. 3, 6:19:37 PM     Points: 8170    
Mine is hard to deploy first thing in the morning.I found if I sit facing the drivers seat,with my left hand on the shaft to the motor so I can push the deploy button and pull on the shaft at the same time . . .gets it to deploy . . . .the next time I need to deploy it,it works fine.
 Reply by: Ajax5240      Posted: Aug. 3, 6:27:50 PM     Points: 30256    
Shiver, no doubt about that! Iím a gadget guy, I love neat and new things! they can be amazing when they work right, and one heck of a pain in the as.... when they donít!

What I try to avoid is buying the first of anything. First year of a redesign or new engine platform in a truck, first overpriced flat screen, etc.

Those first releases seem to be when they are working the bugs out, somewhat using the customer as a guinea pig. Then fixing the issues found in Gen1 with the release of Gen2. If they donít warranty the issues their guinea pigs found for them, thatís a frustrating one! Seems to be the case for this poor guys Ulterra.

HP - pull your base side covers off and lube up the release mechanisms with some dry lube type stuff. My terrova was tough too, some lube worked wonders. Hope it helps!
 Reply by: ...YouKnowWho      Posted: Aug. 4, 7:49:28 AM     Points: 102    

After posting reviews on multiple websites, submitting a complaint to the BBB and having an attorney send over a copy of the Colorado Lemon Law (yes it pertains to automobiles, but it gives Minn Kota an understanding that there's precedence for replacement requirements in this state) along with a nicely worded document Minn Kota has agreed to send me a NEW Ulterra.

This Ulterra will not have a warranty associated with it, but it's better than them fixing my old one for a 6th time. Supposedly they have re-engineered the following parts:
-Quick Latch Mechanism
-Stow/Deploy motor
-Tilt Bracket
-Pivot Pin for the Drive Housing
-Tilt bracket assembly
-Output gear

So to conclude the update, I'm satisfied that they are replacing the entire unit with a new one. Won't have it for a few weeks because they're having a hard time sourcing it, but I'll take that over missing the last 2 months of boat-fishing season with my my trolling motor being sent to Minnesota (which has been the case for the last 2 years in a row).

 Reply by: Ajax5240      Posted: Aug. 4, 9:16:29 AM     Points: 30256    
Thatís a win for sure! Good work!
 Reply by: Team CO.F.F.      Posted: Aug. 4, 6:27:32 PM     Points: 57    
Sorry to hear that man...Hope Garmin works out better for you.
 Reply by: RogBow      Posted: Aug. 4, 7:32:13 PM     Points: 1871    
It's unfortunate that people have to threaten companies or leave bad reviews everywhere just to get something fixed.
 Reply by: anglerwannabe      Posted: Aug. 4, 7:47:46 PM     Points: 59330    
My question is, Why Garmin? Have you used a similar product from them that works better? Done some research and found better product reviews for this item?

My experience with Minn Kota is a little different than yours. I found their customer service great. Their service guy here in the Springs though.. that was a horrible experience.

To tell you that it won't operate well under 40 degrees is terrible. Especially here in CO.
 Reply by: ...YouKnowWho      Posted: Aug. 5, 7:45:56 AM     Points: 102    
Yeah that's a great question!

I've had Garmin stuff for years (both in boating, GPS, watches, hunting gear, friends with Garmin on their planes, etc) and they has always been wonderful and bulletproof. I think their products that I've recently purchased like LiveScope, Garmin Instinct watch and their Garmin Xero A1 scope have been technological game changers in each of their industries and have lived up to my abuse.

I have a friend who has had the new Garmin trolling motor for a few months now and here's the pro's and con's that he's listed.
-brushless motor = better sensitivity while utilizing built in transducer / less vibration "noise"
-more lb thrust for less voltage (87lb thrust off a 24 volt system)
-compatible with the 2 other Garmin units on my boat
-wirelessly communicates with my other Garmin units
-ease of stow and deploy
-better at correcting speeds (seems to stay more consistent at a speed measured in 1/10th's of a mph while trolling) in wind conditions than my Ulterra which was constantly over/under correcting

-not auto deploy like my Ulterra
-heavy, very heavy. Like over 100lbs
-shorter shaft length (offers a 58" shaft as longest available, so may come out of water in wavy/windy conditions)
-the spot lock isn't as accurate as the MotorGuide motors, however more accurate than my Ulterra

So we will see. Hopefully the new Ulterra works better now that they've re-engineered all the pieces that have broken and I don't need to drop over $3k on a new trolling motor.

1 more thing, I was speaking with an older gentleman who was a rep for Minn Kota about 15 years ago and he was based out of Minnesota with them. His biggest complaint that he had with them is they didn't invest as much time in everyday/real world testing as they should have. He was always urging them to give some of their prototypes/new technology to fishermen who were out every day, using their equipment how it would ultimately be used to determine what works/doesn't work, breaks, stress points, etc. He said they always released their products before adequate testing and made changes a couple years down the production cycle, resulting in a lot of unhappy customers.
 Reply by: anglerwannabe      Posted: Aug. 5, 11:27:54 AM     Points: 59330    
great reply thank you!
 Reply by: RogBow      Posted: Aug. 5, 5:28:30 PM     Points: 1871    
I'm a fan of Garmin as well. Great products.

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