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Thread: Test drive a used boat or not?

  1. #1

    Test drive a used boat or not?

    Looking at buying a 94' Sea Ray from a guy in Idaho and the timing will make it so I'm unable to take it to the lake for a test drive.

    The pics of the boat are amazing and everything looks like it's legit.

    I will for sure hook the garden hose muffs to it, but that might be all.

    My question is would anyone buy a used boat without taking it to the lake to test drive it?

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  3. #2
    It would be better to test drive the boat, but not a requirement. Starting the engine with the garden hose would be a must do item for me. Honestly with boats or cars it takes me about 2 minutes to tell if the item was well care for and if I'm interested in buying it.

    It's a good looking boat in the pictures, but everything looks good in pictures. Don't forget to check the trailer. Depending on what part of Idaho the boats up there general get a more use then boats in Utah as they have a lot more water.

    A couple years ago I sold a 32' Cigarette with a blown 502... the guy bought it without ever hearing it run... he got a good deal because all me shit is top flight

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  5. #3
    He lives in Blackfoot and the boat only has 402 hours on it.

    Dang, Blown 502...that's the one thing I'm not 100% pleased about. It only has wimpy 305, but if the boat in the condition he states, I'll put up with it.

    Here's the ad on KSL:

  6. #4
    The Snake runs right through Blackfoot so all those miles were probably done on the river.

    Honestly that looks like a really nice boat at a good price and the 305 should be fine in a 21' openbow.

    Also Blackfoot is about the same elevation as SLC so you shouldn't have to reprop it. It should come out of the hole hard with the 5 blade SS.

    Being it's a 94 I assume it's carbarated and not injected? If so save yourself a bunch of headaches by running ethanol free gas as carbarators hate that stuff. Download the app Pure Gas to find who sells ethanol free gas near your. The gas sold today is not the same gas sold in 94 when the boat was manufactured.

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  8. #5
    Also... check the date codes on the trailer tires. If those are the original tires they are nearly 25 years old and should be replaced, even if they look good.

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  10. #6
    Thanks Iceaxe, that is all excellent advice. Yes, engine is carbarated and the Exxon in Sp. Fork sells non-ethynol for a reasonable price.

    The guy is actually on his way to my house with the boat. This deal has gone way too good, so far.

    I texted him this morning, instead of texting back, he called me and we had a real conversation on the phone. He asked were Salem was and he told me that after he got off work, he was headed to Helper to pick up the boat he bought. Told me he'd drag it down and we could close this deal this evening. He should be here in about an hour.

    Fingers crossed hoping that it's all he described (or deals off).

    Have been getting tired of looking at neglected crap that people are trying to sell.

    Stopped and looked at a 95 Mariah 202 Shabah in Lindon yesterday...guy said the original upholstery was in "fantastic condition"...yea right. Dried out crispy and a few holes, head rest came off in my hands. No bow or cockpit covers, no wakeboard tower and the stereo was missing. And to top it off, it hadn't been licenced since 2011. I can only imagine what the fuel looked like after sitting that long. The boat did have a 454 with a Bravo 1 which I really got me excited. He wanted $8,000 for it. Crazy.

  11. #7
    I was at Powell recently with some friends. One of them brought the boat...just like the one up there, a 19' with the Merc V8. I think it was a '97?

    It was thrashed. Everything falling apart. Worked fine in MacGyver mode but nearly bonked at the end a mile from the rolled in on it's last legs.

    Anyway, that one looks nice. Was probably in a garage with a cover on it, well taken care of. That's pretty old, though...don't be surprised if you buy it to discover some little gremlins here and there. When you take it out, come tell us how it did.
    Suddenly my feet are feet of mud
    It all goes slo-mo
    I don't know why I am crying
    Am I suspended in Gaffa?

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  13. #8
    Looks super nice. Love the color.

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  15. #9
    The seller (very nice young family) showed up at my house about 830 last night and the boat is amazing. Couldn't be more pleased and glad I didn't settle for the first POS I looked at.

    Hooked the garden hose up and it started up quick with no blue smoke and ran smooth. Power trim functioned normal as well.

    Side note: I thought the sellers were buying a boat in Helper, but they were just staying overnight with family and driving on to Grand Junction this morning to buy a sweet looking 25' Sea Ray Cuddy. He too is hoping the seller's pics and description are accurate.

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  16. #10
    I do have a couple more questions though...

    1--Back when I was boating regularly, I always used transom tie downs while trailering a boat and so did the others I boated with, but I've noticed that some choose not to and this boat didn't have them when he showed up.

    Do boaters just not do that these days? Seems like a no brainer to me, but maybe I'm just too old school?

    2--I also never started an inboard boat without the engine compartment blower running for a few seconds but I've noticed that the 2 boat owners I've boated with lately that they almost never turn the blower on. The one time they did was after fueling at Halls Crossing and that was only after the fuel attendant told him to. They both have fuel injected engines...but not sure that makes any difference though.

    Am I the only boater that runs the blower to vent the engine compartment before I hit the starter?

  17. #11
    I never used transom tiedowns on my boats, if I hit a bump big enough to bounce the boat out of its trailer bunks I've got bigger problems.

    Turning the blower on before starting is a no brainer to me. If there are gas fumes under the hatch it can explode. If you've ever watched a boat explode because of this it's not pretty. I watched two guys die starting a boat while launching because of a fuel leak. It was a big explosion.

    Fuel injection would greatly reduce the risk of explosion as it's more of a closed system. With a carburetor, particularly with running ethanol laced fuel, it's not uncommon to boil the fuel out of your float bowls when the engine is stopped after running hard. This heat sinking is a big problem with carburetors, ethanol and boiling fuel. Ethanol has a much lower boiling point than gas.

    New boats with fuel injection, electronic ignition, lack of plug wires because of direct coils, yada yada all greatly reduce the chance of explosion do to a fuel leak.


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  19. #12
    Unless you are running a diesel setup - use the blower. Its easier than being in a burn ward for months.

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  21. #13
    Bogley BigShot oldno7's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    We're all here, because we ain't all there.
    I don't have far to trailer my boat so, no tie downs.
    If I was going more than 10 miles, it would be worth doing.

    Running the blower for 5 minutes is life saving and simple.
    I'm not Spartacus

    It'll come back.

    Professional Mangler of Grammar

    Guns don't kill people--Static Ropes Do!!

    Who Is John Galt?

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  23. #14
    Bogley BigShot oldno7's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    We're all here, because we ain't all there.
    My boat weighs 10,000lbs so it stays in place, barring an accident.
    I'm not Spartacus

    It'll come back.

    Professional Mangler of Grammar

    Guns don't kill people--Static Ropes Do!!

    Who Is John Galt?

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  25. #15
    So how is the new boat running?

  26. #16
    Overall, the boat was everything the seller described and have had no major issues so far.

    Although there have been a few nuisance issues that I have to scratch my head over as to why someone wouldn't just fix this easy stuff.

    I replaced the broken anchor locker latch ($40), 2 sun deck gas lift supports ($40), boat winch strap ($20), and put the dual batteries in separate battery boxes ($24) so I can utilize the storage space under the sun deck and a few other things I can't think of right now.

    The trailer, on the other hand, needs a little more attention. The trailer came from the factory with a removable surge brake actuator/coupler. It must have been before the swing away style as this one has a pin that allows the actuator to slide out and stored on the floor. To disconnect the brake line, it has a quick disconnect hydraulic coupler with male end fixed to the master cylinder and the female attached to a 24" flexible brake hose. The guy told me that he'd stepped on the male end and broke it off and just never used the brakes from then on. So as a result, the brake fluid has absorbed moisture and rusted the master cylinder and basically rendered the actuator useless.

    On top of that...the first time we hooked on to the trailer, I noticed it made a slight jingling noise until we got up past about 15 mph and then it would stop. We determined it was coming out of the right rear brake drum, so I pulled it off and found out the shoes and everything else were missing! Except for a metal retaining clip and one of the pins that come out of the wheel cylinder and push the shoes making the nice jingling noise

    So the next few Benjamins that I flush down the toilet will be for a new surge brake actuator ($200), new brake backing plates w/shoes attached ($100) and new drums w/hubs and bearings ($110).

    Not sure what to do about the hydraulic disconnect coupler though...I need to find out what threads it has and try to find one that works. I've seen some on Summit Racing and Jegs, but I'm not sure if they are the same threads. If I can't find one that fits a trailer brake system, I'm going to use a 6' brake hose and just coil and attach the extra hose to the trailer until I need to pull the hitch off.

    So other than that, we have put about 35 hours on the boat and have been loving the hell out of it. We've launched at Utah Lake (until the scum got too bad), Yuba (until they closed the main ramp) and Deer Creek. All three of my boys can now get up on a wakeboard and get a little more daring every time we go out. The family time a boat provides is worth it's weight in gold.

    Tried to work in a trip to Lake Powell, but with my son Justin (17) playing football for Salem Hills and my other son Brandon (15) running cross country for Salem Hills we just couldn't make it work. For sure next year!

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