Yamaha begins engine recall effort

KENNESAW, Ga. - Yamaha Motor Corp., USA, has initiated a voluntary recall on four of its outboard engine models in an effort to replace potentially defective throttle link rods that could prevent operators from shifting the remote control into neutral, unless the engine is shut off.

The engine models identified by Yamaha's “Factory Modification Campaign” as having the possible defect are the 2002 through 2005-model F225, LF225, F200, and LF200 outboard motors.

Yamaha has distributed Technical Bulletins to its dealers detailing the problem and instructing them on the necessary repairs. Yamaha has also sent letters to owners of the engines, asking them to have the units repaired by authorized dealers.

Claude Von Plato, the manager of Yamaha's Marine Service Division, said in a phone interview this morning that approximately 30,000 outboard engines are impacted by the recall.

“The issue at hand is that there is the possibility of a fast idle, which can effect the ability to shift into neutral, it's real low speed, it's not a high-speed issue at all,” Von Plato said. “We discovered an issue with the throttle arms, the rods, in the production of them there was too much variation. So we changed the whole process and we decided to err on the side of prevention.

“We could have just sent a technical bulletin out and said, 'If you see restricted motion, or it's more of a stiff motion, do this.' But we said, “We'll, let's err on the side of caution.' So [the recall is] definitely voluntary.”

Von Plato said Yamaha has been working on the problem for about a month and that the fix needed is not a difficult one to make. He went to say that the Technical Bulletin is already in the hands of Yamaha's dealers and that the letters to the customers impacted have been mailed as well.

The Technical Bulletin
“In affected outboards, there may be excessive friction in the ball joints of the throttle link rods,” Yamaha writes in the Technical Bulletin. “This friction could prevent the throttle return springs from returning the throttle linkage all the way to the idle position.

Yamaha tells its dealers that the “inability to shift into Neutral without shutting off the engine could result in an accident with personal injury, and/or property damage.”

But Von Plato says any danger is very slight.

“There's a possibility you might bump a dock or something, but I really don't want to speculate,” he said.

“Your dealer will replace throttle linkage rods with new ones of a different type,” Yamaha writes in the letter to its consumers. “This service will be performed without cost to you for parts or labor … Yamaha is manufacturing the kits for this modification as quickly as possible, but your dealer may not be able to get kits for all customers immediately.

Yamaha tells its customers not to operate the motors again until the modification is performed.

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