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2012 Tracker Pro Guide V-175 WT - Cracked Hull


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Fellow LOU Friends,

 

In November 2012, I purchased a brand new 2012 Tracker Pro Guide V-175 WT w/ 115HP Merc 4s in Allentown, PA.  I spent the winter rigging it for Lake O and the following 3 seasons building on that rigging to what I believe to be one of the best rigged Tracker boats that I have seen.  I have fished this boat a lot, and put lots of hours on it for a weekend warrior.  I have over 700hrs on the Main motor.  The boat has treated me very well, and I've had no issues or malfunctions with any systems or workmanship whatsoever (other than the trailer... the trailer has had issues but Tracker stood behind them and fixed them).  This boat has pulled in hundreds of fish and made many great memories with friends and family.

 

I'd like to publicly let all of you know that after 3 jam-packed seasons of solid fishing on Lake O from April - October each year, my boat started to take on water at the end of this season  I was running the bilge often and I wasn't sure where it was finding it's way in.  Luckily - this happened at the end of the season.  I filled the boat with water while it was on the trailer, a lot of water, and eventually found that just under the starboard bunk as it sits on the trailer, a predominant leak was occurring.  I could not see the damage at all, because it was hidden underneath the bunk.  Now to call the dealer - they were very understanding, accommodating, and I brought the boat down the very next day.  2 days later I got the dreaded call.  They lifted the boat off the trailer and found a significant crack in the hull along the outer most stringer weld location.  They had also pulled up the starboard floor panel, removed foam, and identified significant stringer/weld issues at this location.  Their local aluminum welder who tends to fix issues contracted by Tracker, was not comfortable with tackling the fix.  And now here I am, being told that the whole boat needs to be shipped down south to the factory to get assessed, and either fixed or fully replace the boat hull altogether.

 

I have had little sleep after hearing this news... as a simple google search has me fearing for the worst and many months or even years dealing with Tracker service.  I am not sure what to expect, and I was told that I am completely insulated by directly interfacing with the Tracker Factory.  I have no say in the matter, what they do for a fix, and cannot even speak to the people assessing or performing the fix.  This leaves me very uneasy, as I like to be in control of every situation.  I'm told that, at a minimum, the boat will be gone for 2 months.  Again, lucky this is happening in the off-season.  

 

I will update this thread as further information is obtained as I get exposed to the reality of what is about to unfold.  I really hope Tracker does the right thing here, as I am an avid boater and fisherman who needs this boat to be in tip-top shape for the 2016 season.  I have so much custom work and mounting done to this boat, I really hope it doesn't set me backwards and leave me little to no time to get things back in order for April.  Wish me luck.

 

Regards,

 

Devin

 

Pictures of the boat for reference:

 

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Edited by FleetTracker
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Good luck, Devin.  Hopefully you won't need any luck & everything will fall into place.  So, who gets the boat shipped down to the factory...the dealer?  Who has to pay for the shipping?

This is an interesting post to watch unfold.  It's a bummer that that happened to you, much less anyone else.  Best of everything to you.

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Thanks all - I'll keep the status updated as time goes on.

 

Tracker pays for all shipping and logistics to and from the factory, and obviously covers all warranty work 100% via their 5 year warranty.  That so far, has not been an issue or topic of concern whatsoever.

 

I do not haul this boat on the trailer more than taking it up to Lake Ontario in the Spring, and taking it back in the Fall.  That's about 2 hours each way on I-81 from Binghamton to Sackets Harbor.  It stays in the water in a slip all season.  It has spent very minimal amount of time being hauled over the road... I can't imagine the trailer being the culprit, but based on the yielded location, it certainly may not have helped the situation.

 

Lake Ontario is a tough lake to aluminum boats - you can't deny that.  In my 3 seasons being on the lake, I have witnessed 2 newer Lund's and a Starcraft breaking rivet seams and taking on water.  I do not want this post to turn into a topic of debate, but the fact is our lake is rough on all aluminum boats (welded or riveted) that are fished hard and often with the hours racked up like mine.  I honestly can't say that I'm surprised in this outcome and where I'm at, but just hoped I would never be here.  I did get the Dealer to give me their data and this is the first of this boat model going back to the factory for them.  They've sold 17 of them over the last 5 years since they were introduced.  I am going to try to get Factory data from Tracker for my own knowledge and curiosity and will share if I get it.

 

Hopefully Tracker makes it right.

Edited by FleetTracker
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all to familiar story with these boats it seems

 

best of luck 

 

A friend of mine nad a 16 ft. Tracker with a major problem, had to send it back to the factory, when they finely settled they gave him a new boat and a bigger motor.(60hp).

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No disrespect... But I guarantee I fish harder and in much rougher water. Many times the fiberglass boats head in while I keep at it. Have you fished the east end? I am in no way trashing Tracker (yet)... we'll see how they handle this process.

Like I said, this lake is brutal and there's not much a weld can do to withstand the beating it will put on the boat over time. Fiberglass absorbs, dampens, and flexes. You can't flex a weld between stringer structure and hull when you're dealing with these thinner gauge aluminum boats. Simple as that.

Edited by FleetTracker
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Buying it in Allentown leads me to believe you bought it from an independent dealer rather than BassPro. I think you have a lot better chance of getting the best outcome. The independent dealers livelihood depends on good customer service and return customers. They will fight for you if needed. With BassPro shops, that's usually not the case. Your dealer has already dug into the matter, BassPro would have probably put your boat in a corner and waited for a factory rep. 

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I had two old Starcrafts that cracked the chine. TIG welding fixed the cracks and they were ok. The cracks I believe were caused by a heavy load on the gunwales while the boat was on the trailer. Lesson learned was do not let a lard ass sit on the gunwales. I now step over the transom .

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Buying it in Allentown leads me to believe you bought it from an independent dealer rather than BassPro. I think you have a lot better chance of getting the best outcome. The independent dealers livelihood depends on good customer service and return customers. They will fight for you if needed. With BassPro shops, that's usually not the case. Your dealer has already dug into the matter, BassPro would have probably put your boat in a corner and waited for a factory rep.

Correct. I went with Bowers Marine. They are the 2nd oldest Tracker dealer in the Country with a long solid history with Tracker Marine. Edited by FleetTracker
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As soon as I read the title I knew I had to read if it was manufacture or user error. I purchased the tracker 18 in 2013 and ,similar to you, was happy with my purchase. Whoever, I purchased mine through bass pro and as others have said, you are much better off by going through a direct dealer. I use my boat every weekend and trailer 40 miles one way to get to the lake. I am now going to be taking a closer look and be a bit more mindful of wear and tear on my hull.

Nice lookin' rig. Here's a look at my salmon rigged Tracker. (Riggers removed)

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Keep us posted on the service . I may need it in the future

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Sorry to hear the bad news Devin. They advertise the Deep V's as "Big Water" boats and that was part of the reason I considered the 2011 Targa 18. Well that and the opinions of my sons who loved the boat. Perhaps you should let them know there's quite a few LOU members watching them now.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks fellas. Nice rides. I will be sure to let them know that there are hundreds if not thousands of current and potential owners and anglers following this particular warranty claim. If it does happen to you guys, I sure hope it's within your warranty period.

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I have a 2005 Tracker 175 Targa with 90 HP Merc 2 stroke & 9.9 Merc pro kicker 4 stroke aux

that has been used entire month of May thru 2014 out of Olcott NY on Lake O. Run as far west as

The Bar and trailer as far east as Point Breeze! Have had 0 hull problems in that time. I live on

Chesapeake Bay (saltwater) in Annnapolis MD area and use the boat extensively June thru

December there. I traded a 21 ft Pro Line center console for this boat (ease of trailering) and

have 0 regrets! I try to fish in less than 4 footer's but that is not always possible. Sounds like

you got a boat built when the welder showed up with a hangover! My Tracker has caught

hundreds of Salmon, Trout, Stripers, Bluefish, Seatrout and numerous Drum, Cobia & Walleyes

also. Hope Tracker makes things right with you! I can say nothing but good things about mine!

By the way it is set up for trollng, downriggers,sub troll, planer boats etc. and I went to

Cumberland Lake KY to purchase it! Used buddys 23 ft fiberglass deep V w/a cuddy May 2015

on Lake O for a little more comfort (we're both 70+) but didn't catch a greater amount of fish!

By the way I have a 32 ft Tiara I use offshore for Billfish & Tuna!

Good Luck hope all turns out OK!!

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I love the the  commecials during the game that show a shinny new truck pulling a 10 ton trailer over boulders & threw mud or  through fire. Show me that truck after doing that every day for 30,000 miles.

 

If you are going to be out in 4'waves or worse on a consistant basis, something is bound to happen. IMO that boat is not made for that pounding . Maybe a more heavy duty commercial boat would be better. IMO not trackers fault.

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I love the the  commecials during the game that show a shinny new truck pulling a 10 ton trailer over boulders & threw mud or  through fire. Show me that truck after doing that every day for 30,000 miles.

 

If you are going to be out in 4'waves or worse on a consistant basis, something is bound to happen. IMO that boat is not made for that pounding . Maybe a more heavy duty commercial boat would be better. IMO not trackers fault.

 

I agree with your stance on some of the marketing materials company's choose to use for various products.  For instance, if you look on Tracker's website, you'll see these Deep-V boats completely airborne coming off a 3-4 footer.  Not conditions the products are meant to live in long term.  Can it handle it to get home safely?  Sure... but certainly these boats are not meant to survive in this stuff regularly.

 

I have 2 boats, this 'little boat' and I also have a 245 Penn Yan Contender for days that are not so forgiving.  I DO NOT take this boat out in consistent 3-4' wave conditions.  If the forecast has a high chance for turning that way, the big boat goes out and the little boat stays in the slip.  Have I got caught in some not so nice conditions with the Tracker?  Sure... but it's not my only boat and thus I know when to keep it at the dock. 

 

Speaking of, Most recently as of last week, I just bought an even larger (and faster!) boat and will likely be selling the Penn Yan in the Spring for anyone who is interested in going larger.

 

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Edited by FleetTracker
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Ok, I talked to the Tracker Dealer (Bowers) and they provided me some low-quality pictures of the damage. It appears that the Crack started at the right-most and forward-most main stringer support where it met with the hull on the starboard side. At this location there is about a 1/16" gap at the worst location where the hull actually sags down a bit lower creating the gap, and the initial crack is about ~4 inches long. The Crack progressed laterally in the Aft direction in hairline-form another ~12" totaling almost 16" long. Brutal...

Bowers is getting all the return-to-factory paperwork ready by Wednesday for me to sign and return to them. He says that Tracker isn't sending any more drivers out to the Northeast for the rest of the year, so they won't be able to pick-up and move the boat down until the first week in January so the clock isn't going to start ticking until mid-January. Makes me nervous that I get it back in time. I'm currently in Istanbul, Turkey for work and have to go to Doha, Qatar later this week followed by Kuwait. Tough dealing with all this crap from afar right now. I'll be back home x-mas eve though...

Bowers did indicate that this damage may be enough to warrant a new hull from Tracker so they recommended completely gutting the boat of my custom rigging, brackets, materials from the boat. Ouch. They did an excellent job removing literally everything that I've installed on the boat over the last 3 years. No matter the outcome at this point, I'll have a whole heck of a lot of boat rigging to do in a very short time before the season starts in April. May have to take some time off work to make sure I'm ready for drag-screaming season.

Take care all and I appreciate the kind thoughts and hopes for a good outcome.

BTW... here's the new ride for 2016 (new name TBD). Excited to have twin 200s, never had 2 engines before. Should be a great fishing boat - purchased from another fellow LOU member.

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Edited by FleetTracker
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That sucks. I remember the last time we fished, kicking the bilge on a bit. Happy you found the leak, but not happy for the situation the Reel Happy is in.

As many others said, I hope Tracker treats you right. And does it in a timely fashion.

If not... I'll leave the keys to my Trophy in your hand for the weekends I'm not around. If you need a smaller rig to get out in. It's not rigged to the gills like the Happy, but it's got enough on it to do well. I know how hard you fish and couldn't imagine you not out there.

Anyway, good luck with it.

And we're watching Tracker, we're watching!

Edited by greenboatluke
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  • 2 weeks later...

Update Today from the Dealer: Tracker came and picked up my boat from the dealer in Pennsylvania and is trucking it to the factory this week.  I was advised by the dealer that Tracker could take up to 3 weeks upon arrival to determine what they will do; rebuild or replace.  I'm hoping for the latter.  Due to the damage at a critical structural location, I'm quite concerned of latent damage and the integrity of other areas of the structure as a direct result of this issue.  Not to mention the amount of foam that is being removed to be able to address this issue, and the disassembly of the boat to be able to assess the damage.

 

This fiasco is not something that I want to go through again in a year or two.  We all shall see.  Regardless, I'll need a boat back by mid-March because there is significant re-rigging to do of equipment and I need to be ready to fish in April.  The new boat is also going to go through some upgrades this spring.  Might need to take some time off just to rig the 2 vessels.

 

Happy New Year everyone!

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