Thursday, November 10, 2011

Force 10 Funk

Vero Beach
27.39.56 N 080 22.27 W

I spent most of the day doing a galley stove rebuild.  I'm not happy.   Here's the story.

We have a 19 year old Force 10 galley stove.  It uses propane.   It has two burners and an oven.   Recently, the oven fails to warm up.  I decided it was time to fix it with a new thermostat.   Since buying Tarwathie, we've had a back with a "cruising kit" of spare parts for the stove.  We never had occasion to use it before.   The idea of a cruising kit is to have the parts to do any necessary repair from anywhere in the world where replacement parts can not be ordered.

I remove the stove, then I took it apart.  Lots of dirt accumulates in the inaccessible places over 20 years, so I had lots of cleaning to do.  Both the stove parts and the spaces behind beside and under the stove got a good cleaning.   Then I set out to fix it.

I figured that since the stove was so old, that I would do a complete rebuild and install nearly all the parts in the "cruising kit".  I soon found that I was thwarted.  With three burners on the stove, there were three of each burner-related part, except the spark plugs.  All three of our plugs had failed and I wanted to replace them.   Then I discovered that the kit did not include the oven thermostat that was my primary objective.  

The stove has three burners, each with a thermostat.  However the left burner, right burner, and oven burner come with copper tube tails of short, medium and long lengths.  I found that the cruising kit had three thermostats; two shorts and one medium, but no long one.  OH NO!

I called Force 10 in Canada.  The original Force 10 company was bought out by another company in 2006.  I talked to a nice young woman and explained the problem.  She found the part numbers for a spark plug and an oven thermostat and offered to send them, but she planned to charge me.  I protested.  The reason why I needed them was because of a defective cruising kit bought from them.   She asked about dates.   The stove was a 1992 model and the cruising kit was bought in 1997.

She said that the kit was too old to honor any sort of warranty on it.   I countered, "But the whole purpose of a cruising kit is to put it on the shelf against the possibility that it may be needed some day."  "True," she said, "But you can't call up 15 years later and say that it is missing parts."  I had to admit that 15 years was a long time, so I gave up and paid her money.

Now as an afterthought, I think I gave up too easily.   It might be reasonable for a customer to inspect a kit to see if it contains all required items.   However, for this customer to detect that it had the wrong length thermostat he would have had to take the stove apart and try to actually install the spare part.  That's above and beyond.  Force 10 should have honored my request for a free replacement.

My only other experience with the new Force 10 was a couple of years ago.  I wanted to order new cast iron burner tops.  They corrode.  I called Force 10.  They said, "Sorry those things are out of stock and obsolete.  We can't supply one."    I checked some of the cruisers forums on the Internet and found that lots of Force 10 customers had that complaint.  They were angry that the only option Force 10 offered was to buy a whole new stove for thousands of dollars.   Then I checked the West Marine catalog.  They are selling new Force 10 stoves with identical tops.  Then I looked in my cabin.  I also have a Force 10 cabin heater.   I tried to move the burner top from that to the stove.  It fit perfectly.   Force 10 was lying when they said there were no more of those burner tops to be had.

Now, when the parts I ordered come, I'll have to spend another day to take the stove apart once more to install them.

Humph.  Indignation.  :-(

On a completely different subject, I rode my bike to the beach today.   Look what I found when I got there.

1 comment:

  1. Dick, for the first time, I think I will disagree with you. Had you purchased kit same time as the oven there'd be no issue other than the duration of any warranty (19 years? That the oven has lasted that long sounds like a winner to me). Unless the kit specified your year and model stove/oven and 'all parts needed for complete rebuild', then whatever they did to help you was kindness. 'Complete Rebuild' is actually a fairly subjective term, isn't it? I mean, a complete rebuild of carbs could mean just replacing the whole thing! Or just the gaskets. And yes, it probably IS prudent to check (as much as possible) that ALL the parts are there.
    All in all, you done good to rebuild the oven, it'll work like a charm. Let it go.


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