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Warning of faulty work on Hydraulic Steering from EC Ruff Marine

garyboats

New member
I feel compelled to warn boaters, captains, crews and the boating industry not to use the services of EC Ruff Marine of Pompano Beach Florida. My prolonged experience has resulted in being on the receiving end of faulty, almost life threatening “repairs”, overcharging, misrepresentation of service capabilities, and if that is not enough…terrible customer service.
This began when I noticed a small hydraulic oil leak coming from the rear gasket of my Sea Star steering cylinder on my 2002, 49’ Grand Banks Eastbay. I researched authorized Sea Star service centers in the Pompano Beach Florida area and contacted a listed company, EC Ruff Marine for an estimate.
After significant back and forth to get them to provide an estimate for their service, I agreed to a “rebuild” which they said would take approximately one week. After 2 weeks of periodic checking in with EC Ruff, they informed me that since the steering cylinder is not made anymore, they were unable to find a part and they were searching for a reasonable facsimile. A week later, they said they had the part, and the cylinder was finished.
I was also told that since they did not remove or reinstall the cylinder that I would not get a warranty on the part unless my Captain/Licensed Mechanic installed, flushed and bled the steering cylinder, pressure tested the cooler, sent oil for analysis for water in steering fluid. My Captain informed me that all of this was unnecessary but complied in order for me to receive at least a 30-day warranty.
After the installation, I immediately sea trialed the boat and came back with a different area hydraulic oil leak from the steering cylinder. I called EC Ruff Marine and was told their technician was away and I would have to wait a week for his return. After the week of not being able to use the boat again, the technician came and said it was the part that is not made any more and he would have to refabricate or find a new part. He came back a week later with the part and it was installed. After approximately 3 engine hours during 3-4 weeks of running the boat, I completely lost my steering as I navigated through a narrow canal, with only my engines and bow and stern thrusters available to gain control of the vessel. Once secure, I discovered that the entire hydraulic oil reservoir was in the bilge. (see pics attached).
At this point, I contacted Grand Banks and they recommended that I contact Boat Steering Solutions in Venice Florida, which I did, and decided to get a brand-new Sea Star Steering Cylinder to be safe. They were able to make a brand-new Steering Cylinder in less than a week and provide me with a 2 two-year warranty for parts and service. Their new warrantee system ended up being similarly priced as the rebuilt, not warrantied system that I received from EC Ruff Marine.
Here is the final blow from EC Ruff. When my Captain/Licensed Mechanic installed the new Cylinder from Boat Steering Solutions and removed the old cylinder, rebuilt by EC Ruff, we noticed one of the rods was apparently inserted backwards as the snap ring was on the wrong end (see Pics attached). I sent those pics to Boat Steering Solutions and the following was their reply: “Hi Gary, I had Daryl take a look at your pictures, and it actually looks like it is your old cylinder that is not built correctly. (Good catch for noticing that!) The new cylinder is assembled correctly”. This apparently was the problem all along and which ultimately blew the rod and all the hydraulic oil with it.
This could have been a disastrous situation, we had just returned from being out in a heavy sea and had I completely lost steering just 30 minutes sooner, I would have been at the mercy of the ocean.
EC Ruff Marine has made no meaningful response to satisfy the issue, other than to say my warranty is no longer valid and it is not their problem. I have made multiple attempts to speak directly with Mr. Ed Ruff himself, and there has been no return call or any attempt to satisfy my issues in any way. I can only assume that they have no interest in the safety or the satisfaction of their customers.
Motto of this story is, only use “Authorized Service Centers” who have been trained by Sea Star, which EC Ruff is not, and NEVER USE EC Ruff Marine for any of your service or parts needs.
 

gowithtai

New member
A late reply from me but I had considered using him for a stern thruster on my KK. After this write up and other social medial sites I am steering clear of a disaster with them.

Thanks for posting as we need to stay away of folks like this.....
 
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