3 1/2 years in the Ol' Spinecrusher 896 (long)

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Charlie Richardson

Well-Known Member
Mar 7, 2000
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Hey guys, well it's been 3 1/2 yrs now and I thought I'd give an update on my 896. As some of you know, I had some stress cracking problems a couple of years ago, but after about 4 or 5 months of staying on the phone with Tracker and generaly givin em hell they finally stepped up to the plate and covered $3200.00 in repairs.If there is one word that is paramount in your dealings with Tracker it is PERSISTENCE. Sooner or later (later usually) they'll get so sick and tired of hearing you voice that they'll do almost anything to just make you go away. I am happy to report that I no longer have a stress crack problem. I run it like a bat outta hell in rough water, it cracks, no problem. They are only cosmetic cracks and Ol' crusher has so many scratches on her now from limbs and logs tht ya can't see em anyway.
About a year or so ago a ran her up on a 1/2" piece of rebar that some fool had driven into the top of a stump. I had to really mash on the big motor to get it off. Fearing the worst I took her in to the local fiberglass shop. The owner crawled under it and after looking for a few minutes said "Heck son that ain't but 3/8" deep, on a Nitro that ain't even half way through, you still got more glass left than most boats come with" so I left it alone. I'll tell ya that boat is a Tank.I'll admit that I am probably harder on a boat than 95% of fishermen. To me it's a tool, a means to an end. If there's logs, stumps and brush between me and where I want to go I'll fire up that merc and do whatever it takes to get there, well almost. My only limiting factor is enough water for that Trophy to bite in and keep water psi.
My only complaint is the rough water ride and then only in following seas. A couple of years ago my fishing buddy(a Basscat owner) and I took one hell of a ride at Sam Rayburn and ever since he's called it the Big Red Spinecrusher. The funny thing is that when we are going to the stumpbeds of Lake Fork or the mesquite flats of Lake Guerrero they all seem to want ot take Ol' crusher.
Probably the best thing has been that EFI Merc hanging on the back. Man it still starts at the first turn of the key and ain't let me down yet. I've hit stumps so hard that when the water quit flying (and sometimes my fishin buddy)I'd almost hesitantly look back to see if it was still attached to the transom and I'd hit the key, she'd fire up and off we'd go again.
Finally, the very best thing about the Ol' spinecrusher is that as of two months ago, she's paid for. Yeah guys no more monthly notes. I wuz gonna replace her with a Basscat when she was paid off, but after listening to all my fishing buds give me crap about my inferior Tracker for these years and still having her when their " top line" boats have all come and gone I've kinda grown attached to her. I think I'm gonna run her till she wears slap dab out, or I do. I'm not sure which will come first.
A final word to all you out there who are considering a Nitro or Tracker boat. Don't be mislead by the bashers on the other boards. If you like the Nitro getcha one. It might not be as prestigous as a Ranger or some of the other brands, but if you are buying it for a fishing boat and plan on keeping it for many years you won't be disappointed. They are tough well laid out well performing boats and one hell of a value.........Cmack
Cmack, glad to have you back on line with us.

Lots of changes going on recently in Tracker's customer service area. They have a new manager who's very committed to fixing poor performance from dealers, as well as revamping the headquarters service area. I hope we will hear some success stories soon.

As far as product goes...I'm with you. I really like my Nitro. It grows on me more all the time.

And those Merc motors! While Optimax hasn't been perfect, in general, Mercury owners have had a lot less to worry about than OMC owners.
Charlie -

I'll second everything that Rich said........

I've been wondering for some time what ever happened to your troubles. Every time I'd drop you an e-mail, I just kept hearing from your wife that you were offshore or something like that. I feel relieved to know that you got Ol' Crusher taken care of.

The problems that you and others,like Sam H., were experiencing at the time with Customer Service were giving all of us Tracker supporters doubts as to whether we would ever again trust our hard earned bux to a company with such an attitude. Thank goodness, that attitude - which I saw as primarily in the person of the old Manager of Customer Service, Mike Nichols, who just didn't care - has changed significantly. Nichols once told me that he thought customers should be grateful that they weren't charged freight to bring their boats back to Tracker for warranty repairs....... Charged to fix something that was in no way their responsibility! I wanted to take his head off. Fortunately, there was 200 miles of phone line between us! I managed to keep my cool - reminding myself that losing my temper wouldn't do anyone any good..... Had I been making calls on my own behalf - rather than for others - I don't know what I would have done........

There have always been really GOOD people at Tracker - people like Jenny Corley - who would do all they could, within the boundries of their jobs, to set things straight.

I was lucky enough to be with Rich on a visit to Tracker about a month ago - I was only the Chauffer! I had a chance to meet some of the New Guard........ What a difference! I even got a chance to hand Jenny some flowers! I'm sure she views me as a royal PIA - but, to all of you at Tracker, she was the salvation of MANY of your Customers. Jenny's efforts were all that kept many of us on your team and will bring us back as repeat buyers.

I also had the opportunity (Thanks to my temporary association with Rich!) to shake the hands of Doug Patillo, Rick Emmitt and Nathan Long..... More REALLY GOOD PEOPLE! They gave us the courtesy of a good deal of their time. They explained what had been done, where they were now and where they were going. My faith has been restored - even if Doug's hints of having Penny Berryman there were not realized!

Temporary financial conditions put me in a position that I had to part with my Nitro about 3 months ago....... When those conditions have passed - I will be going right back to MY brand.......

Welcome back, Mr. Cmack! Very glad to see ya!


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