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When you bought your first perf. boat, what do you wish you knew?

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Old 02-23-2011, 10:21 AM
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On my first boat I wish i knew about BAM before spending 3x as much to have the trannies rebuilt by a local schmuck!
Wish i knew what to look for myself when buying a boat other then trusting a surveyor and later finding out the transom around the exhaust was rotting....guess it could have been worse!
I also wish i knew not to trust an engine builder based on the fact they do great street/race engines and know NOTHING about marine stuff!
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:34 AM
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If your a gear head/wrench turner like me ... get something your comfortable working on ... if not - learn!! I've been wrenching on boats all my life - almost all Merc stuff.... so I go and buy a diesel cruiser with Volvo's - DP drives and all .... what a pain in the a$$ this thing can be... Pretty simple ...fuel/pressure/boost/ blah blah blah .. my a$$ .... Wish I would of bought the same boat with 502's and BIII's .... (other than I get GREAT fuel mileage with the diesels) Needless to say after f'n with this thing over the years I'm learning quiet a bit about it ....
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:36 AM
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Never buy a NEW boat.....and never buy small blocks!!!!! Live and learn!
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:32 AM
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Never buy a NEW boat.....and never buy small blocks!!!!! Live and learn!
Not sure I agree.

Now is a great time to go have what YOU want built for you vs someone else's compromises. this way there are no nasty surprises.

I have a small block boat that rocks. Id say this.

Dont do small block because you'll spend what it cost or more to do it right vs a big block.

If you do build a small block prepare to spend big block money.

As for street car engine guys- only a few know how to properly build for a marine application.
street car guys dont typically understand the needs of an outdrive boat and cause reversion issues because they overcam to make the big # on the dyno

- and as a result you get a poor idling deal that sucks in water and doesn't run until you break into the top half of the tach.


Oh yeah #5 -learn how to replace an impeller on whatever you buy -you'll need to do this at least once a season anyway.


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Old 02-23-2011, 12:48 PM
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I researched a lot before buying my first boat, so I pretty much had the bases covered. Inevitably, a person will continue to learn (a lot) once they buy a boat, but patience and research (and lots of both) help a bunch.
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Old 02-23-2011, 01:13 PM
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B.O.A.T.

Bend, Over And Take it.

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Old 02-23-2011, 01:33 PM
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B.O.A.T.

Bend, Over And Take it.

Or, Bring Out Another Thousand hehe
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Old 02-23-2011, 06:00 PM
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1) Walk away and think about it for a day after the test drive. Lots of emotions get brewed up when you hear a big block crack off for the first time. Take everything you notice as mildly irritating and think about how you will be able to handle it day in and day out.

2) Take a long test drive and find all of the flaws in the boat's manners. If the owner has nothing to hide he will not rush you. If he does act impatient there is something he doesn't want you to know. If I had done this I would have never bought my 26 Sonic.

3) Never let the exterior condition cloud your judgement about structural integrity. If I had done this I would have never bought my 22 Donzi.

4) Get a survey done and take the advice of the surveyor. Following this advice I bought my 32 Regal and did not get any surprises, and the boat has been wonderful to us for 6 years.

5) Even if you prefer the looks of boat A over boat B, take it for a test drive anyway to compare the way it rides. Though I was never into the looks of Fountain's graphics at the time, after I rode in a 29 Fever I wanted to sink my 26 Sonic.
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:31 PM
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Here are some things you can do to save your wallet or hide depending on what type of gal your wife is.

1. Inspect boat for signs of sinkage or water damage and stains inside the interior where water may have been sitting for any length of time. Look for unusual stress cracks excluding the normal ones around radiuses. When most boats sink they incur stress cracks that are not consistent with normal operation.
2. Fuel – check contents of filter, ask when last changed, ask how long current load of fuel has been sitting in the tank(s), when was fuel last added?
3. Run engine (preferably under load) and take sample of oil and send to Caterpillar for analysis.
4. Leak down test (not compression) – pull all spark plugs out, inspect them and test cylinder leakage at tdc. Makes notes for % on each corresponding cylinder.
5. This may or may not be necessary - If leak test is good for all cylinders, pull of exhaust manifolds for visual of exhaust ports on both, the head and manifold itself. You’re looking for water trails on the inside of the exhaust.
6. Pull drive(s) off and check for rubber leaks. Pull drain plugs out of drive and check magnets. Check color and smell of oil. If present, water will come out quickly before the entire lot of oil does. Check drive coupler and check splines on input shaft for knifing or lack of grease.
7. Inspect the bilge during AND after a run to look for oil leaks, antifreeze leaks, water leaks, broken hose clamps lying in bilge etc.
8. The trailer is of course separate from this. If using in saltwater, stay away from the tubular, hollow framed trailers that rust and die from the inside out. Even the gas pressurized ones leak and have issues with seals and salt.

9. NEVER forget to search high and low for signs of an owner who thought he could install his own stereo and other electronic equipment. A lot of guys will splice into anything close just to get some power to a device. This causes MAJOR headaches more often than not!! If you see optional equipment installed, follow the wires to see how it's rigged.


All the cosmetic stuff including broken door latches, damaged or faded carpet and sun damaged upholstery is also important in terms of what it costs to replace but these things are the very last thing to take interest in. A nice, covered, pretty boat is still very expensive to repair if the above doesn't’t look good. This is true particularly for one who can not or does not do his own repairs. Upon arriving to check the boat out, notice if it has been stored with drive all or most of the way up. This stretches out the bellows and leaves them in the fully extended state. They usually die quicker this way. Based on common sense, if the owner did not know this than there are probably other things he didn't’t know to do either… If the current owner has to explain everything being a mess you can bet he won't take your call later when you are asking about issues when you've taken delivery and got it home.

As crazy as it sounds, I would not buy a used boat from someone if they could not afford me the time to do this stuff on my own before paying.

Last edited by SDFever; 02-23-2011 at 07:54 PM. Reason: Spelling and Fixes
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:49 PM
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If a boat is offered with twins and you buy the same boat with a single it will probably be a slug...
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