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Who makes the best pontoon boats?

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Old 07-06-2010, 09:39 PM
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That would prolly work for me. It would have to have exhaust lol. How fast is it?
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Old 07-06-2010, 09:46 PM
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Great point about the tri-toon. I wouldn't own a party barge with only two pontoon's. Makes a HUGE difference, especially when you have it loaded down.

As far as I/O, there are several around here with 496s. For my uses the outboard works better. Way less draft, easier maintenance, less fuel, cheaper, and not much difference in performance. On the Southbay's you have to remove the fuel tank to change the water pump impeller. Not something I want to deal with. Plus, after a few minutes the "cool factor" of having straight exhaust on a 'toon gets old and you end up using the silent choice. I'm an I/O guy on performance boats but for the 'toon I'm sold on 4 stroke outboards.
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Old 07-06-2010, 09:59 PM
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Check out the Tahoe Pontoons. They have come along way and offer I/O as well as tri toon options. We just became a dealer after years of working with the Godfrey products.
Tahoe is a top notch product.
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Old 07-06-2010, 11:11 PM
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Check out playcraft pontoons. They run well at loto and will do 80+ with promax 300s. They also do I/O up to 525. They also make mild models too. If they holde up to loto they will do well anywhere.
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Too Stroked View Post
I've seen and worked on a ton of them. My recommendation would be Bennington.
We have a 2575 RLI Bennington and it is a nice boat. A 250 Yamaha was installed initially. However, it didn't have enough power to get on top and plane. Plus, the CG left the bow in the water. Therefore, the 250 was traded for a 350 which helped the CG, but not enough. Plus, the engine skag was way to low for trailering and shallow water. We first suggested a trim tab that would move the CG aft and provide clean water to a raised prop shaft Ht....Bennington Engineering vetoed that idea.... We then requested approval for installation of a 6" set back hydraulic jack plate....Again, Engineering vetoed that idea....(Reason, jack plates had not been tested) We then did our own CAD work, ran our own stress numbers, ordered material and installed a transom gusset system that would probably help most pontoon boats....As the fasteners were tightened it became obvious why Engineering was reluctant to approve a jack plate. The whole transom moved into alignment...The overhung load from a 350 is plenty, if not to much without a gusset system...The 6" Hyd. jack plate was then installed....Completely different boat, carves inside, rides bow high over chop, feels solid and runs 55-56 mph.
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:21 AM
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Bennington, South Bay, JC.
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CcanDo View Post
We have a 2575 RLI Bennington and it is a nice boat. A 250 Yamaha was installed initially. However, it didn't have enough power to get on top and plane. Plus, the CG left the bow in the water. Therefore, the 250 was traded for a 350 which helped the CG, but not enough. Plus, the engine skag was way to low for trailering and shallow water. We first suggested a trim tab that would move the CG aft and provide clean water to a raised prop shaft Ht....Bennington Engineering vetoed that idea.... We then requested approval for installation of a 6" set back hydraulic jack plate....Again, Engineering vetoed that idea....(Reason, jack plates had not been tested) We then did our own CAD work, ran our own stress numbers, ordered material and installed a transom gusset system that would probably help most pontoon boats....As the fasteners were tightened it became obvious why Engineering was reluctant to approve a jack plate. The whole transom moved into alignment...The overhung load from a 350 is plenty, if not to much without a gusset system...The 6" Hyd. jack plate was then installed....Completely different boat, carves inside, rides bow high over chop, feels solid and runs 55-56 mph.
As I think you found out, Bennington engineering is pretty conservative. And, they really don't have much experience with high performance - if one can actually use that phrase in the same sentence as "pontoon boat." As your thread on the old M-00 boat clearly showed, you know your stuff from an engineering standpoint. We have to remember though that 99.999% of the "tooners" out there don't need the kind of performance some of us do. So, even the best pontoon boats are way past their limits at anything over 50 MPH.

PS: Working the whole thing out on CAD was udderly (sorry, I couldn't resist) cool, but beyond what most folks can do. That must have gotten somebody's attention at Bennington!
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Old 07-07-2010, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Too Stroked View Post
As I think you found out, Bennington engineering is pretty conservative. And, they really don't have much experience with high performance - if one can actually use that phrase in the same sentence as "pontoon boat." As your thread on the old M-00 boat clearly showed, you know your stuff from an engineering standpoint. We have to remember though that 99.999% of the "tooners" out there don't need the kind of performance some of us do. So, even the best pontoon boats are way past their limits at anything over 50 MPH.

PS: Working the whole thing out on CAD was udderly (sorry, I couldn't resist) cool, but beyond what most folks can do. That must have gotten somebody's attention at Bennington!
You put some thought into your post, Thanks ! Somehow, the adage seems appropriate, "Pet the cow and get the calf".

The only drawings Engineering saw were the trim tab and trailer. (We also designed the Roadrunner trailer that's under the boat.) Two build attempts were made and then this one, still a little off, but close.

Engineering was told we had done something to the transom, by the dealer. However, no one has seen the installation. We belive the dealer knows, because it got back to us that a customer had asked about the "HD Transom System" on a Bennington w/350 Yamaha he had heard about.

We were surprised to learn flex was not coming from the bow, but the transom.

Another observation has been demographics of "Tooners", Cruisers, Ski Boats, Small Pleasure Boats and even some Low End Hi performance. There is some common denominator that applies to a those groups. The reaction from most, when this thing zips past them is not only hilarious, but opportunity.

In summary, the reaction is comparison of features and benefits to what they own vs. what they didn't know existed.
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Old 07-07-2010, 03:26 PM
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Captains Choice on 378 sells bennington.
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Old 07-08-2010, 03:15 PM
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CcanDo,
In your bag of computer modeling software, do you have anything for hydrodynamics? That's a class that wasn't offered where I went to college, but I have this weird thought. Pontoon boats obviously weren't built for speed and I don't think anbody's going to argue that. But a tube is a pretty lousy hydrodynamic shape as far as I know. Has anybody ever looked at lifting strakes and / or steps for a tooner to gain more speed by reducing drag? Just a weird thought ...
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