First let me say that I have no ill feelings or words towards Keith Berryman or Silas Brannen. I just didnt agree with the way it was handled. Here's the truth. Read on.

On 20 Mar 2008, I trailered my bike into Big Bike of Jacksonville (owned by Keith Berryman) for repair. Keith assigned my bike to Silas Brannen. They determined that a bearing on my cam failed and needed to be replaced, as did the cam. They removed the parts just mentioned and my top-end. While the bike was down waiting for the warranty company to inspect it, I asked them to send the heads sent off to be powder-coated black. Silas removed them and he personally delivered them to a company in Orange Park, FL. But he neglected to remove the valve guide seals, resulting in them melting and creating an internal oil leak. During the rebuild, Silas did not reinstall the gaskets in my intake, resulting in an air leak. When I rode the bike after the repair, I noticed a lot of “popping” on deceleration. I checked the plugs and found it was running very rich. I called the shop, unsure of whom I spoke too, and explained the situation. They told me to bring it in and they will check it out. I told them Saturdays were my only option. They said that was fine but they don’t schedule appointments on Saturdays, but they will get me in first am. I was there when they opened and they made a quick adjustment and I was back on the road. But nothing changed. I contacted them immediately and they said for me to ride it for a week and let them know. So I rode it and called them to inform them that nothing had changed. That next Saturday, under their direction, I was at their shop again when they opened. Silas decided to remove the factory one-way valve on my breathing system that connects the two heads. I left to ride home. Enroute, I noticed not only did it still pop, but now I had this huge cloud of white smoke from my exhaust when I accelerated. At times the cloud was so thick, that I couldn’t see the cars behind me. I called them and they had me come in the following Saturday, I was there when they opened. On the third Saturday visit Silas installed some different size jets and made more carb adjustments. This didn’t fix the problem. I was going through spark plugs monthly due to excessive fuel and oil, with weekly cleanings in between. On my next Saturday visit, I spoke to Keith and asked if Skeeter could look at my bike this time as I’ve heard he has a lengthy past in the v-twin world. Keith told me that once a bike is assigned to a tech, no one else touches it unless that tech leaves the company. So this time they felt that my riding style may have a hand in the problem. So Silas and I went for a ride. He determined and noted on the work order that “Customer blips the throttle when sitting at lights. This loads up engine and causes it to stall. Customer shifts too soon and lugs engine. Advised not to do both.” So now, they opted to blame me for the carb popping/smoke situation. I have been riding for over 28 years. The first 9 years of my driving was done solely on two wheels as I did not have a car. I have probably amassed over half a million miles riding with the exact same “riding style” on 4 different engine configurations (transverse twin, transverse four, two-stroke single and v-twin).

 In Aug 2008 I took the bike in for another air/fuel adjustment and also asked them to check my clutch as it was a getting very grabby and hard to get into neutral even when rolling.  I was physically sitting in their shop for over 7 hours; they charged me 1.5 hours of labor. So what did they do the remaining 5.5 hours I was there?! They looked and determined that the nut on the basket had backed off. They put in their work order, “Inspected clutch and found clutch nut loose. Removed plates, inspected and put back together”. I paid them $141.00 for that and went home happy. Clutch worked great! Three days later it’s back to the same grabby feeling. Now I have the carb problems and my clutch is not releasing at all. At this point, the bike is not ridable. I contacted BDM Tampa and trailered the bike down there for an inspection from people I know and trust. During that Saturday travel, the trailer tire blew out and I had to call a mobile tire company. After three hours and $245.92, I was moving again. Got to Tampa and explained all the problems and what I think it may be. I’ve known Shannon Price for over four years and requested he tend to My Lady. He went through the bike and found that a bolt was run through my transmission wall from the primary. He speculates that an air gun was used as an electric tool wouldn’t have the torque, and the tech would feel the resistance of a hand tool. He said, “There’s no way an electric gun could produce enough torque to rip the metal of the wall like it did.” My tranny fluid emptied into my primary and down the outside of the tranny. This destroyed my clutch plates causing my clutch to become grabby again. He removed the heads to check for an internal oil leak; suspecting the valve guide seals. He removed and replaced them. It was determined that the seals were left in the heads when they went to powder-coating. He did a carb adjustment and made it ridable again. Two months later I came back to Tampa and picked her up. Rode her home, she ran great! The carb problem wasn’t entirely fixed, but at least she was ridable. While riding around Jax and St Aug, the bike would become hard to start and would at times still stall. I took the bike back to Tampa for a fix on the carb. This time Shannon found that the one-way valve that comes factory with the engine was gone. He removed the straight tube Silas installed and replaced the factory valve. Now, finally My Lady was well. As Tampa has always done…perfect customer service from the original sale to the final repair. As of 9 April 2009, the bike runs absolutely perfect, and my riding style is back to exactly how it has always been and I’ve had no problems at all.

During the repairs, I contacted S&S via their website and inquired into the popping and smoke. They replied, “The one-way valve needs to be put back in as it is causing an air leak.” Hence the white smoke, popping and stalling at lights. So Big Bike’s claim of my “riding style” carries absolutely no weight. I took the old tranny case and guts to Silas at Big Bike and asked him to give me $455.92 for just the tranny case and the trailer tires. He told me I had to speak to Keith, which I immediately did. Keith said, “I will honor the tranny case ($210.00), but not the tires." In my opinion, with that comment, he admits guilt. He then said, "I can’t be held responsible for someone else not taking care of their equipment”. I told him that I agree with what he is saying, but had he not damaged my bike, I would not have been put in a position to need to trailer my bike. He walked away and that was the end of our conversation. I waited for a couple of months and decided to fight for what was right. On 26 January 2009 I sent Keith a Demand Letter. I waited 2 months, not just 1 month as the law dictates. He ignored me. On 5 March 2009, I was kind enough to send him a friendly reminder letter letting him now I’m not going away. I also supplied him with a breakdown of my expenses regarding getting my bike fixed (gas, trailer rental [UHaul], various repair parts, so on) and copies of all my receipts and work orders from Tampa BDM.

On 23 June 2009, we went to mediation. The mediator introduced herself and told me to start. I told Keith and the mediator that we all know why were here, and that what I want reimbursed is on the spreadsheet. He looked at the mediator and only said, “I want a court date”. She asked Keith to please participate, but he repeated himself. Calmly saying only those five same words. She asked me to exit the room and she spoke to him briefly. She came out and told me that he is adamant about the court date. She recommended I lower my requested amount and reluctantly I did, to $1000.00. He wouldn’t budge. So our court date was set.

On 25 August 2009, Keith and I entered Judge Gary Flower’s chambers to present our cases. I subpoena Mike Dean (Tampa Service Manager) and Shannon Price (Tech that did repair) as phone-in witnesses. I showed the judge the old tranny case, the nugget of aluminum that rolled around inside that case and pictures of how the 5 bolts holding the primary to tranny case were hidden behind the clutch basket. I explained that the clutch basket had to be removed in order to access the 5 bolts, and that they never needed to touch those bolts at all for this repair. Mike Dean and Shannon Price explained what they found and what they had to do to rectify the problem. Keith told the judge that his tech, Silas, found RTV silicone within the clutch basket area and it should not have been there.  He also said that the oil leak in the heads was caused by high RPM running; he claimed I had 46 “rev limit hits”. His evidence for any of his claims? Just a number he wrote on his little note pad. No pictures or any proof of any sort. He also claimed I had 20 repair visits to Tampa BDM in 2 years. I had 16 visits, 3 were recalls, 9 were warranty starter/ inner primary replacements due to poor machining, and the remaining 4 visits were warranty work for electrical problems. He had no proof of anything he claimed. So, desperate and now trying to act like a high level attorney, he tried to discredit my witnesses. He calmly asked Mike Dean questions about Big Dog Corporate policies and also attacked Shannon Price’s level of expertise in this field. Shannon Price explained that he presently was a Level 1 Tech, but was prepared and about to take his Level 2 test. After some talking and evidence reviewing I asked Keith what Silas’ level was in Big Dog’s training. He told me that Silas Brannen is a Level 2 Tech, again showing no evidence. So it took a Level 1 Tech to deduce and rectify the negligent (or purposeful) damage (forgotten parts [air leak], removed factory parts, rubber seals left in heads during powder-coating, and total destruction of my transmission) done by a Level 2 Tech.

I won, and was awarded by Judge Flowers $256.27 for damage and expenses, and $215.60 for court fees. He completely dismissed all my travel expenses (gas and trailer rental, fluids, and some parts). I did not nit-pick every expense I could just to screw Keith. There were many expenses I didn’t list. I didn’t even put the $141 for the false repair (day they damaged my tranny) on the spreadsheet! So, my $1125.41 was reduced to $471.87. So the lesson was learned by me the hard way on many levels. Now I share this knowledge with you so you don’t get screwed like I did.

          On a personal note:

I got a copy of the rev limit hits Keith spoke of. It shows 2 hits, not 46. Plus, with the number of times my bike was in the Tampa shop for warranty repair (mostly starters), it could have been done by a tech during a test ride. It has been speculated by me, 2 custom builders and numerous Harley riders that the bolts were removed and reinstalled to break the seal between the tranny case and the primary case (only logical conclusion) resulting in a slow leak which I would later take back to Big Bike of Jacksonville for repair. A repair like that would cost me hundreds of dollars in labor (flat rate charge) and parts, and all they would have to do is simply tighten the bolts. Now I'm not saying Keith told Silas to sabotage my bike or if Silas took it on his own or if another tech did it to create problems for Silas or Keith. But my bike was trashed while in the care and shop of Keith Berryman, owner of Big Bike of Jacksonville and neither of them did anything to rectify the situation.

Bottomline…Don’t let Keith Berryman or Silas Brannen touch your bike. I don’t care how well they’ve treated you in the past, here’s proof of who they are and what they do. Oh, and don't let Keith's "christian" outer shell fool you. Here's proof of exactly who he is.                                                  

 

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