my letter to yamaha


Mr. Terry Beal

Marketing Executive


6555 Katella Ave.

Cypress, CA 90630


At this point you are probably wondering why I have sent you a package with a 2000 model YZ426 gas tank in it. Very simply, you are my last hope of assistance, so I hope you will read on and understand the details of my situation. This gas tank is from one of my Yamaha thumpers – one that I have owned since July 2000, but which has relatively few hours on it. Most of my racing is off-road, but this bike is used only for motocross. Thus, when the tank cracked above the right-side radiator shroud mount, the bike was approximately nine months old, but only had 21.5 hours actual riding time on it.

I know that the motorcycle only had that much time on it because I keep track of my hours in a spreadsheet. True, that makes me a bit of a geek, but that fact, along with the photos I have included, should tell you my bikes are very well cared for. Twenty years of riding and racing have taught me the value of TLC and attention to detail. You should also note from the photos – taken when I discovered the crack – that the bike has OEM shrouds and graphics that are nearly new in appearance. Again, evidence of my diligence in maintaining my equipment.

What you should also notice is that there is absolutely no crash damage evident in any of the photos. That’s important because “impact damage” is the reason the Service Manager at Central Yamaha of Plano, TX gave for denying me any assistance with warranty replacement of the tank. As you can see from the rest of the attached documentation, I am clearly not the only person to experience this problem. I believe that, including my own and the case of a friend whose bike was bought at the same dealership as mine –2 weeks later – that there are 19 examples of cracked gas tanks in the attached information. Many of those – including my friend’s – were replaced by Yamaha, no questions asked. Yet, in spite of the evidence my claim was denied by a Service Manager who admits that he does not ride dirt bikes and in fact has never owned a YZ. I mention that because I believe that if he had, he would understand that you generally do not suffer “impact damage” to the top of your gas tank without substantial evidence…like, say…a cast on your leg!

After that exercise, one of my good friends who owns Champion Motorsports of Roswell, NM attempted to work directly with Yamaha in getting my tank replaced. He told me he “ran into a brick wall” after a month of trying. Of course, he also told me stories about people like the guy who bought a TT-R90 and never once tightened the spokes, yet Yamaha warrantied his rear wheel when it collapsed. Where is the consistency?

I am a mechanical engineer, and I have been in product development for my entire career, so I understand how design decisions get made. I understand that accountants, engineers, and marketing people make the product development decisions they do for good reasons. It is very easy to see, therefore, why Yamaha chose to reduce the wall thickness of the gas tanks on 2000 and newer YZ426 models. The problem is that owners immediately started having problems with cracked tanks. Although made with good intent, it was a bad decision, and Yamaha should take responsibility for it, if not as a complete recall, at least on a case-by-case basis. Yamaha has failed me in this respect.

I was a loyal Kawasaki rider until 1998, when I bought my first YZ400. I completely changed my program – in spite of the hassles and the reduced contingency money available. My entire stock of spare parts got replaced with Yamaha parts, and I officially became a “Yamaha Guy”. There are three of them in my garage right now, and I have personally been responsible for the sale of at least a half dozen others. I have practically been a disciple for this product because it’s so good. I have had nothing but respect for Yamaha’s achievement in bringing such a revolutionary product to the market in the way that they did, but my attitude has been drastically changed by this experience.

Make no mistake, I am keeping a very close eye on what Honda is doing with the CRF450.

Terry, if you can do anything to help restore my faith in Yamaha, I would certainly appreciate it. If not, then I at least have the satisfaction of having taken it to the top before giving up.



will pattison

racer, engineer

Will, Excellent letter. Bravo! Please update when/if you hear anything from the big cheese.


'01 WR250F less air-box lid, Grey wire, baffle and most of the throttle stop, plus YZ tank and seat, and a few cosmetic enhancements thanks to the trees!

now thats a good letter. i hope i never have a problem with my 01 yz426. i to am keeping an eye on the honda CRF450. once 2003 hits my yamaha loyalty might be switching to Honda! sense there customer service actualy CARES about what problems people have with the bikes they purchase from them

Very Professional Letter! I wish I was able to write like that but most of my letters have a lot of the four letter words in them.I have not had a problem with my 01' tank yet and hopefully I won't. Please keep us posted on what happens. If that letter does not make something happen then Yamaha has a real problem. Good Luck! and great letter! :)



yamaha sucks

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