Go Back  The Hull Truth - Boating and Fishing Forum > BOATING FORUMS > Dockside Chat > Vendor Talk
Reload this Page >

Minn Kota Ulterra Issues - Buyers Beware

Notices

Minn Kota Ulterra Issues - Buyers Beware

Old 05-22-2020, 10:42 AM
  #1  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Ponce Inlet, FL
Posts: 68
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Default Minn Kota Ulterra Issues - Buyers Beware

I just got off the phone with Minn Kota service. This is the 3rd major problem I have had with my Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra in the 3 short years I have owned it. Unfortunately, this time I am out of warranty. I'm posting here because Minn Kota does not provide any avenue to level up service for what appears to be a lemon of a trolling motor, and I want to warn other potential buyers of my experience.

Without going into great detail, the GPS fix on the motor does not function, at all. This after spending at least an hour waiting for a service technician to speak to me about the issue, and then waiting a month for a new iPilot GPS control head to be shipped to me. Now that the new head is installed, the motor still has no GPS fix. We troubleshot all possible issues that could be coming from the boat, particularly any voltage drop during operation. I was just informed that once again I would be forced to pull the motor off the boat, for the second time in one year, and drive it 1 hour away to their nearest authorized service center, where a new GPS control head or main control board will be replaced (on my dime) in hopes of fixing the issue.

If you are thinking of buying Minn Kota, a few things you may want to consider, that I wish I had prior to purchasing:
1. Where is their nearest service center? Based on my experience, and many other owners experiences on multiple boating/fishing sites, you will likely need to use it.
2. How badly do I need spot lock? Is it the main reason why I am buying the motor? If it is, you may want to explore other manufacturers.
3. How dependent will I be on the motor for my days on the water? If the motor is non functional, will I still be able to fish where and how I want to fish?

When it is working, the Ulterra is great, and holds a spot pretty well in both heavy wind and current. Unfortunately, my experience has been that the motor is not working more often than it is, and now that I am out of my 2 year warranty window, Minn Kota's support response has been less than impressive. Buyers beware.
Old 05-22-2020, 11:06 AM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Burlington, VT
Posts: 141
Received 18 Likes on 13 Posts
Default

I'm on my third trim module. It was out of warranty but they refused to acknowledge the issue. The third one was the redesigned module that seems to prevent the water intrusion problem. I installed them myself but the parts weren't cheap. The first gens were junk for this reason. I still wish I had gotten a terrova despite my limited bow access.
Likes:
Old 05-22-2020, 11:33 AM
  #3  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: cape coral, fl
Posts: 6,024
Received 594 Likes on 360 Posts
Default

Nothing new with the Ulterra. The updated control board will fix the issue. I went round and round with the MK techs and finally got mine repaired with the updated board. Knock on wood, I have had zero issues in over a year with the new control board. I had three boards replaced under warranty and was at the end of my rope with this trolling motor. Mine is also past the warranty date as well now. I have all my emails back and forth with the head tech saved if this board fails.

When I bought my boat they screwed up and put the Ulterra on when I ordered the Terraova. I was thinking cool a free upgrade. After the frustration, removing the motor, driving to the repair shop etc. It definitely was not a free upgrade. I have many friends that have the Terraova and have never had an issue.
Likes:
Old 05-22-2020, 11:57 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Ocean City, MD
Posts: 343
Received 107 Likes on 76 Posts
Default

My buddy got the ulterra and had some problems. Went with the terrova and hasn’t had problems. I got the terrova for my boat. No problems so far.
Old 05-22-2020, 12:53 PM
  #5  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 280
Received 8 Likes on 5 Posts
Default

Just got mine back from the repair shop.. $600.00 to replace the trim motor. Should be a class action against Minn Kota for this product!!
Likes:
Old 05-22-2020, 01:17 PM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 832
Received 120 Likes on 67 Posts
Default

Why didn't you just sell the unit while it was under warranty if you were so unhappy with it? I can tell you there are far more people happy with their Minn Kota Ulterra than there are unhappy. I've had two minor issues with my Ulterra which all led to a bad battery and a bad power plug, otherwise my Ulterra has been flawless. Till this day I stand behind Minn Kota and will say they have the best thing going if you are looking for a trolling motor with spot lock. If you would have made the purchase with West Marine you could have opt to buy one of their extended warranties which would have carried you out to 5 years.
Old 05-22-2020, 01:22 PM
  #7  
Admirals Club
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Slidell, LA
Posts: 4,398
Received 4,115 Likes on 2,042 Posts
Default

Cue the Ulterra lovers... shoulda just sold it.
Old 05-22-2020, 01:27 PM
  #8  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 280
Received 8 Likes on 5 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by Sirhc View Post
Why didn't you just sell the unit while it was under warranty if you were so unhappy with it? I can tell you there are far more people happy with their Minn Kota Ulterra than there are unhappy. I've had two minor issues with my Ulterra which all led to a bad battery and a bad power plug, otherwise my Ulterra has been flawless. Till this day I stand behind Minn Kota and will say they have the best thing going if you are looking for a trolling motor with spot lock. If you would have made the purchase with West Marine you could have opt to buy one of their extended warranties which would have carried you out to 5 years.
I assure you there are far more people who have had issues with Minn Kota products than not.. Mine was inline with 20+ other units waiting for repairs. The money these units cost should yield far better quality!
Likes:
Old 05-22-2020, 01:36 PM
  #9  
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 5
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Default

I got mine 2 years and 1 month ago in April 2018 (this will be important later) and have had constant issues. Mine trips the breaker after about 15 or 20 minutes of use under a normal / light load. Obviously, that presents a minor challenge when you need power to stow the unit (sarcasm). I replaced the breaker thinking that was the problem but I am still having the same issue. I have double checked the wiring and there are no issues there. I am almost 100% certain it is the motor itself and has some short of electrical issue. I had the exact same 36v setup for my previous Minn Kota and never had an issue.

Then, last weekend, I was utilizing the auto stow feature and it just died (not related to the aforementioned "breaker" issue because the unit still had power) halfway up....yep, that's right...stuck halfway deployed and halfway stowed. I had to limp home with it in that position. It has since been removed and taken to my local authorized service center. I am doubting that Minn Kota covers any of this since it is now beyond the 2-year warranty period. I wish I had not bought this motor.
Likes:
Old 05-22-2020, 01:46 PM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 2,231
Received 714 Likes on 405 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by rippinlips0148 View Post
I assure you there are far more people who have had issues with Minn Kota products than not.. Mine was inline with 20+ other units waiting for repairs. The money these units cost should yield far better quality!

It just seems that way because everyone that has a problem gets on social media and blasts it. If this were the case, Johnson Outdoors would be out of business. I never see threads started with "I love my Ulterra" or "I love my Minn Kota", it's always someone who's gotten a lemon posting about how terrible the thing is. Same goes for most anything such as depth finders, stereos, automobiles, phones, TVs, etc. It's always the people that have had problems that are the loudest.....
Old 05-22-2020, 02:51 PM
  #11  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 1,635
Received 134 Likes on 99 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by Sirhc View Post
Why didn't you just sell the unit while it was under warranty if you were so unhappy with it? I can tell you there are far more people happy with their Minn Kota Ulterra than there are unhappy. I've had two minor issues with my Ulterra which all led to a bad battery and a bad power plug, otherwise my Ulterra has been flawless. Till this day I stand behind Minn Kota and will say they have the best thing going if you are looking for a trolling motor with spot lock. If you would have made the purchase with West Marine you could have opt to buy one of their extended warranties which would have carried you out to 5 years.
Sorry you are unhappy with your Ulterra. I highly doubt there are more unhappy owners than happy given the amount of market share they have. I have had mine 3 years and not a single problem. I love all the features and no other trolling motor company offers anything close. No auto stow, no remote control over motor depth, no LED screen to select what you want to do.
You did not say if your motor was 1st or 2nd generation. The 2nd generation has been more trouble free than the 1st. I would not trade mine for any other motor.
Old 05-22-2020, 03:22 PM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 381
Received 85 Likes on 54 Posts
Default

I love my Ulterra, 3 years and no problems.
Old 05-22-2020, 03:44 PM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Tn
Posts: 123
Received 24 Likes on 20 Posts
Default

I have had mine for 3 years no problems at all.Love it.
Old 05-22-2020, 07:15 PM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 832
Received 120 Likes on 67 Posts
Default

I'm sure this thread will be read by those that who do research before a purchasing and so I will say a few things that will give you the best chances of having a functional unit. Never leave your I-Pilot or Ulterra out in the weather or in humid conditions. If your boat is not stored inside then purchase a quick disconnect mount and remove it to your garage or house after each outting. The Ulterra is very sensitive to the power source being used. Make damn sure you have good batteries and a good plug/outlet, I recommend battery tender in this case. If you have one failing battery in your 36v system or a bad connection you will more than likely experience erratic behavior from your trolling motor such as spot lock disengaging or the unit not deploying completely and freezing up. Also for the the Ulterra keep a small bottle of armor all on the boat, lube the drive belt as required, this will also help the unit preserve power during deploy and retrieve operations. Treat these units not like trolling motors but as if they are an electrical component on your boat. Do the following and you will have far better luck than those that don't.
Likes:
Old 05-23-2020, 11:32 AM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 893
Received 306 Likes on 183 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by Sirhc View Post
I'm sure this thread will be read by those that who do research before a purchasing and so I will say a few things that will give you the best chances of having a functional unit. Never leave your I-Pilot or Ulterra out in the weather or in humid conditions. If your boat is not stored inside then purchase a quick disconnect mount and remove it to your garage or house after each outting. The Ulterra is very sensitive to the power source being used. Make damn sure you have good batteries and a good plug/outlet, I recommend battery tender in this case. If you have one failing battery in your 36v system or a bad connection you will more than likely experience erratic behavior from your trolling motor such as spot lock disengaging or the unit not deploying completely and freezing up. Also for the the Ulterra keep a small bottle of armor all on the boat, lube the drive belt as required, this will also help the unit preserve power during deploy and retrieve operations. Treat these units not like trolling motors but as if they are an electrical component on your boat. Do the following and you will have far better luck than those that don't.
I had to replace trim motor which my tech says has been the biggest issue. He thinks new motor design maybe solved problem. I love it. I never hear of Rhodan issues. Are they better somehow or just not a big enough sample on market to choose from?
Old 05-23-2020, 01:09 PM
  #16  
Admirals Club
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Slidell, LA
Posts: 4,398
Received 4,115 Likes on 2,042 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by P G T Beauregard View Post
I had to replace trim motor which my tech says has been the biggest issue. He thinks new motor design maybe solved problem. I love it. I never hear of Rhodan issues. Are they better somehow or just not a big enough sample on market to choose from?
Rhodan doesnít have the auto deploy or auto trim. Terrova either, very few complaints about them as well. The auto deploy is awesome, and Iím sure the majority work fine, but in saltwater environments they have had a history of problems. And when you canít get the TM into stow position while out on the water, it can be a real headache.
Likes:
Old 05-24-2020, 09:00 PM
  #17  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Ponce Inlet, FL
Posts: 68
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by Sirhc View Post
I'm sure this thread will be read by those that who do research before a purchasing and so I will say a few things that will give you the best chances of having a functional unit. Never leave your I-Pilot or Ulterra out in the weather or in humid conditions. If your boat is not stored inside then purchase a quick disconnect mount and remove it to your garage or house after each outting. The Ulterra is very sensitive to the power source being used. Make damn sure you have good batteries and a good plug/outlet, I recommend battery tender in this case. If you have one failing battery in your 36v system or a bad connection you will more than likely experience erratic behavior from your trolling motor such as spot lock disengaging or the unit not deploying completely and freezing up. Also for the the Ulterra keep a small bottle of armor all on the boat, lube the drive belt as required, this will also help the unit preserve power during deploy and retrieve operations. Treat these units not like trolling motors but as if they are an electrical component on your boat. Do the following and you will have far better luck than those that don't.
This is all very good advice. Outside of removing the motor from the boat after every trip, I subscribe to the same routine. My motor has been regularly greased according to Minn Kotaís maintenance directions, and has a dedicated battery bank that always stays on a Minn Kota onboard charger when not in use. Those batteries are all purchased at the same time, are only 3 months old, and consistently deliver 37.8 - 38.0 V at the plug (even under load), as checked by a multimeter. Although I do not remove the motor, I do unplug it from the outlet when not in use.

An update to my dilemma: one of Minn Kotaís service managers called me not long after I posted this review. He walked me through a few more troubleshooting steps, and we were able to discern that the brand new GPS control head I had just purchased from them is faulty. So they are sending me yet another control head.
Old 05-25-2020, 09:35 AM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 893
Received 306 Likes on 183 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by Combee1 View Post
This is all very good advice. Outside of removing the motor from the boat after every trip, I subscribe to the same routine. My motor has been regularly greased according to Minn Kotaís maintenance directions, and has a dedicated battery bank that always stays on a Minn Kota onboard charger when not in use. Those batteries are all purchased at the same time, are only 3 months old, and consistently deliver 37.8 - 38.0 V at the plug (even under load), as checked by a multimeter. Although I do not remove the motor, I do unplug it from the outlet when not in use.

An update to my dilemma: one of Minn Kotaís service managers called me not long after I posted this review. He walked me through a few more troubleshooting steps, and we were able to discern that the brand new GPS control head I had just purchased from them is faulty. So they are sending me yet another control head.
itís made for salt water. When itís a bit snotty I have no business on the bow trying to manually deploy tm. If my Ulterra breaks Iíll buy another. Iím not taking it off and storing in a climate controlled environment. Itís heavy, awkward and Iím not gonna do it. Itís made for salt water so it should be able to handle being outdoors. You know it could be my F300 would do better taken off and stored indoors too but Iím not doing that either.
Old 05-25-2020, 12:58 PM
  #19  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Ponce Inlet, FL
Posts: 68
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by P G T Beauregard View Post
itís made for salt water. When itís a bit snotty I have no business on the bow trying to manually deploy tm. If my Ulterra breaks Iíll buy another. Iím not taking it off and storing in a climate controlled environment. Itís heavy, awkward and Iím not gonna do it. Itís made for salt water so it should be able to handle being outdoors. You know it could be my F300 would do better taken off and stored indoors too but Iím not doing that either.
Great analogy. That's my thinking as well. Minn Kota knows these motors are mounted to the BOW of a saltwater fishing boat. They should be made to endure more than two years of that type of use without major issues.

And I'm totally with you. I'm not about to remove my Simrad GPS, depth finder, and autopilot controller after each trip either.
Old 05-25-2020, 01:07 PM
  #20  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Ponce Inlet, FL
Posts: 68
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by Laurentide View Post
I'm on my third trim module. It was out of warranty but they refused to acknowledge the issue. The third one was the redesigned module that seems to prevent the water intrusion problem. I installed them myself but the parts weren't cheap. The first gens were junk for this reason. I still wish I had gotten a terrova despite my limited bow access.
Somehow I missed this response. The first thing to go on mine was the trim motor. That was replaced under warranty. While replacing the trim motor, the service center noticed that the deployment/stowing motor was making excessive noise and was about to fail, so they replaced that as well. Just recently, the deployment/stowing motor started making that same noise.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.