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Old 11/01/2006, 11:53 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 50
Bad experience with Iwaki service & support

I just wanted to share the experience I have had with Iwaki America's service department. I have been a big fan of their pumps for many years and operate 5 different Iwaki models on my systems currently. I always take great care to maintain the pumps and keep them operating at peak effeciency and have never had an operation problem until this year.

I purchased an Iwaki 70RLT to drive my protein skimmer this year and things went fine for a few months. The pump worked well and was quiet and effecient as usual. It then started to gradually make a little more noise until it finally caused me concern and I disconnected it and decided to RMA it. I put a backup unit on the skimmer and sent the pump off thinking that Iwaki service would be a no-brainer; the pump was well within warranty and this sounded like an obvious defect in the motor bearing. Things did not go well from there...

Iwaki's service agent called me at 5:00AM in the morning not taking time to consider my west coast location and left a voice message asking me to call him back to discuss his inspection of the pump. I called back three times over the next three days and always got the guy's voice mail. He never returned my calls. I finally got through to someone who had access to the inspection report and they told me that the pump was in extremely poor condition, had rust on the mounting brackets and that the operating environment had allowed water to enter the motor bearings leading to the pump's failure. I was pretty surprised by their analysis - they were shocked that there was rust on the housing of a steel pump working in a humid saltwater environment! I don't know about you guys but every Iwaki (and other brand) of pump that I have ever seen operating in a real world home marine aquarium has been pretty beat up looking. They pit and rust and they accumulate dust and grime but they keep running. I was very disappointed to be told that my pump was not maintained in a suitable environment, whatever that means. Our equipment operates in harsh environments and this pump is designed for aquarium use so I think it's pretty unfair to blame the conditions for the damage. They offered to replace the motor for $290; more than the cost of an entirely new pump.

What really annoyed me most though was the attitude; the person I spoke with had no clue about aquariums (and told me so) and simply refused to entertain any idea that maybe, just maybe there was a defect with the motor on that pump. I even asked if they would be willing to split the cost of the repair, given that I was a long time customer and the pump was well within warranty but no, they were right and I was wrong; end of story. They generously offered to ship me back the pump free of charge and that was the extent of their service.

Now I am a realist. I accept that perhaps the pump was not operating in the perfect environment; it's pumped into a sump and maybe it gets splashed occasionaly just like many others do. I was willing to bear some portion of the cost of the repair but this was outrageous. Needless to say, I am no longer a happy customer of Iwaki and will not be buying any of their products again; there are alternatives that work as well for less money and I can tell you their support and service is not worth anything extra. I'm sure many of you will have had the oppostite experience dealing with Iwaki so YMMV but this has been my experience and I caution anybody with an Iwaki product that may be operating in less than perfect conditions; don't be surprised if they turn their back on you when you run into trouble...


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Old 11/01/2006, 01:20 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Fort Worth TEXAS
Posts: 127
i had the exact same problem with aquamedic. i know your frustation. mine had problems the first day a received it. i returned it the same week and they told me:
they were right and I was wrong; end of story.

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Old 11/01/2006, 02:01 PM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 50
Another thing that annoyes me is that these pumps do not look they are designed to be robust in our environments. The first Iwaki pump I bought (an MD55RLT) for a smaller skimmer has a lot of problems with the fastners. The bolts that hold the wet end onto the pump motor were all seized in after 2 months of operation and I snapped one of the bolts off doing a regular cleaning without applying much torque and using WD40 to loosen them up. Putting a steel screw in an aluminum thread and expecting anything less in a salt water environment is asking for trouble; I was able to drill the broken bolt out and retap it but I'm sure I would have been blamed for that if I had sent it back. Had the same problem with the bolt that holds the fan onto the back of the drive shaft; sheared right off when I tried to remove it for cleaning...

I now install anti-seize compound on the bolts of all the Iwakis when I get them new and every time I service them. I also use various Dolphin and Sequence pumps on my setup and have NEVER had a problem like that.

At least the experience has taught me something about this vendor and my advice is don't bother; Sequence and Dolphin make great products and the customer service is top notch from what I've read on these boards. If you need an Iwaki type pump then consider Little Giant and Pan World...

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Old 11/01/2006, 02:37 PM   #4
Rip Current
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: OH
Posts: 179
They told me the same thing!! "Saltwater ruined the bearings sorry cant help ya" CLICK...........

So I bought a Red Dragon and never looked back!!!

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