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WakeWorld Discussion Board » >> Boats, Accessories & Tow Vehicles Archive » Archive through January 14, 2005 » 87 ski centurion « Previous Next »
By Kenny Cox (kcox) on Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 10:16 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I'm looking at a 97 ski centurion. I love to board but I'm not that experienced at the ins and outs of buying a boat. What are the indicators that would tell me not to buy. Aside from the gapping hole in the hull! just kidding. It was suggested to check the runners but I don't know how to do that or what I would be looking for.so specifics are the key. The boat is about 20' and has 351 engine. Thanks
By Nate (norcalmalibu) on Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 10:41 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
first off is the boat a 87 or a 97? The quality of centurions has gone up over the years but in the 80s in my opion are totall junk. I used to ride behind a 88 centurion and we always were working on it. Finnaly the saftey coller snapped on the propeller shaft which then proceded to slide out and hit the rudder around 40mph exjecting some people in the lake. After that incident the boat was gone. I also had a guy within the last week come in to my work and tell me he was on a mid 80s centurion that capsized on him. This is some food for thought.
By Matt White (matt_w) on Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 11:56 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
What 97 centurion? I have a 95 Centurion Falcon and they are not a good wakeboard boat. They are good for barefoot and slalom. They are also a smooth water boat, so don't buy if you ride in choppy water.

I am not impressed with the quality of my boat overall, but I am satisfied, I got what I paid for.

If you are unsure of the boats condition, hire a marine surveyor to check everything out.

By Kenny Cox (kcox) on Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 3:29 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Sorry it's a 87 looks clean from the pictures. It seams to have a hull design that becoms wider in the middle then tapers back. I had never seen that befor. Kenny
By Salmon Tacos (salmon_tacos) on Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 5:48 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Those side bulges are to reduce side spray. Here's what Centurion's website says:

"The pursuit of the ultimate tournament boat took CENTURION to some strange places. On a hunch, the company bolted some two-by-fours to the side of a boat and shaped it to reduce spray. This experiment ultimately led to the Tru Trac II with the world's first "S" spray rails."

I don't think the bulges would affect the wake but, other than that, I have never heard how the wake is on them. They aren't very common.

By Kenny Cox (kcox) on Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 6:21 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
How do you check for salt water damage? is there a tell tale sign that indicates the engine is suffering from a lack of up keep? is 400 hrs alot for a 87. Thanks for the update on the bulges, sure looks kinda freaky
By Salmon Tacos (salmon_tacos) on Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 6:48 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I don't know of any easy ways to check for salt water damage since it's an inside-out kind of thing. There may be some things to look for on the outside of the boat but I'm not sure. Mostly though, it's the inside of the engine that will suffer most from improper use in salt water.

400 hrs. is not much at all for an '87.

Looking back to your original post, one way I know of to check the stringers is to try to turn the screws that are typically screwed into them in the engine area. In general, if the screws bite the stringers are ok. If they keep spinning, it's a sure sign of rot.

Finally, from what I keep hearing, Centurion quality might not have been so good until recently. If that's the case, I hope you're getting a great deal. One of wakeboarders' favorite 80's boats, the Ski Nautique 2001, can be had for around $6K in very good condition. Mastercrafts, Malibus, and Supras are generally a little less. Aside from more consistent quality, the nice thing about these old boats from larger manufacturers is that you'll be able to find many other owners with whom you can consult. The Nautique, in particular, has great owner representation in several online communities.

Anyway, I don't mean to say that you shouldn't buy this Centurion. I'm just saying that an extra measure of scrutiny may be in order.

Show some pictures!

By Kenny Cox (kcox) on Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 8:21 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post

By Kenny Cox (kcox) on Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 8:24 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post

87 ski centurion

By Kenny Cox (kcox) on Thursday, October 14, 2004 - 9:20 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Thanks for the tip on checking the stringers that will come in handy. also, the advice on the price will be of help as well. It seems in the grand sceme of boat hiarchy that ski centurion is near, if not at, the bottom.I will have to get a tow behind it to check the wake, that part is crucial. Talk about a cold adventure! the water temp in the pac northwest is down this time of year. Maybe it's near mt st. helens and a steam vent warms the area. Thanks Kenny
By Kevin R Baugh (krbaugh) on Friday, October 15, 2004 - 6:02 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I would definitely agree that ANY boat that age should be gone over extremely well. Most boats of that age had wood floors and stringers. Plus the wood in those days was not the treated kind that is being used today so it tends to ROT. I can tell you that they don't just capsize and they used the same shaft and safety collars & engines as the rest of the industry was using at the time.

Salmon Tacos (salmon_tacos) was exactly right about the bulges on the side.

(Message edited by krbaugh on October 15, 2004)

By Salmon Tacos (salmon_tacos) on Friday, October 15, 2004 - 7:46 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I thought of something: You hear about more problems with certain boat brands, car brands, etc.; but you need to consider that MAYBE the perceived lack of reliability is not a problem with the boats, but more a problem with the owners.

Branding is a powerful thing. There are Chevy people and there are Ford people (and there are those of us who think that's kind of silly). Anyway, what if either "Centurion people of the 80's" did not maintain their boats very well OR "80's Centurion people of 2000+" are more likely to bash their own boats? I think that's entirely possible.

Anyway, aside from having the boat checked out, if you care about a nice large wake, just be sure to take it for a ride with ballast. Beg, borrow, or steal 1500+ lbs. of fat sacks (if you're going to buy an older boat, you'll need them anyway). I have no idea how that hull will handle it. The bulges are obviously a unique hull feature. So are the curved strakes near the keel. It would be interesting to see the wake that is produced. Try to brave the cold and actually ride but if you can't, at least load it up and LOOK at the wake. Is it washy? Does it curl over? Is it more of a hump than a ramp? If you want to, take some pictures and post them on here. People should be able to tell something about the quality of the wake, if not the size.

By zack votaw (zackv) on Friday, October 15, 2004 - 8:06 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Dont buy it!!!
By adam Curtis (acurtis_ttu) on Friday, October 15, 2004 - 8:12 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I agree with alot of what has been said, but be prepared to constantly work on a boat that old. I bought an 88 ski supreme, had it checked out and everything was fine mechanically. But its the little things that will annoy the crap out of you. There's just alot of little maint. work to do. If you add up the money spent and time into that baot I would have been better off waitng and getting something newer. Remember ther is always a better deal!
By Salmon Tacos (salmon_tacos) on Friday, October 15, 2004 - 8:45 am:    Edit Post Delete Post

What are some examples of the little things? Unless you have a boat under warranty, I don't really see much of a difference. Old direct-drives are SO simple to maintain and repair, much simpler than old cars, for example. If you have one in good shape, maintenance shouldn't be any harder than it would be on a newer boat. Things wear out but if the boat has been maintained, those things should have been replaced along the way.

Keeping a boat in good shape is a constant battle whether it's 2 years old or 20 years old.

By adam Curtis (acurtis_ttu) on Friday, October 15, 2004 - 9:05 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
From my experience only with the 2 boats I've owned one being an 88 ski supreme the other a 97 mastercraft. It seemed liek something always rattled loose on the sierra. I would find little screws/nuts in the bilge, I had problems with the windshield not lining up, after about two months you couldn't put more than 3/4 tank of gas in the full tank or it would flood ( I spent hours trying to find the problem w/ no luck). under dash wires would rattle loose, vent hoses would pop off, I could go on and on. I woudl say soem of it has to do w/ better engineering but the rest has to do with age. The guy I bought it from took very good care of it, but its those little things. The MC was mechanically sound but needed a little work on the interior, interior, ect, but nothing rattles loose, or I don't find screws in the bilge, vent hoses stay clamped. Just my opinion, and my experience.
By eric (pinkbike) on Friday, October 15, 2004 - 7:06 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
My uncle has the same boat and its really same ones you have four people in it, but with sacks and gear wow it would be very small. Also the wake is pretty small because the boat is so light. But if you want storage this isnt the boat for you
By connor gerding (wannagowakin) on Friday, October 15, 2004 - 7:39 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
ok, we just bought a 89 centurion falcon, it had 492 hours on it when we bought it and we put fifty more on in five weeks and its been great. the wake isnt amazing but i dont need an amazing wake. they are quality boats by my dads standards whp has been around inboard ski boats for 20 years. they seem to be a good brand to me, also the owner before us took great care of it and kevin is right the drivetrain is the same as my uncles 77 MC
By Kenny Cox (kcox) on Friday, October 15, 2004 - 9:15 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I can handle some repairs here and there I consider myself handy in that area. But I do need a wake. Until I can get fat sacks or something to weight it down I would have make do with what the boat has to offer. I anticipate poor weather this weekend so it will have to wait.perhaps eric can give me some insight on the wake his uncles boat puts out with out sacs. I tend to agree with conner that I don't need the best wake in the world but my kids will get older and they will want more air. The drive train is described as sound. We will see.
By Salmon Tacos (salmon_tacos) on Saturday, October 16, 2004 - 9:20 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I was looking through some used boats just out of curiosity and I thought I'd share some interesting information:

* I noticed that the NADA values are almost identical for just about any 1987 inboard ski boat.

* I noticed that the Centurions were generally listed for no more than about $1K over NADA.

* I noticed that the Nautiques were listed for anywhere from $2K to $8K over NADA.

The prices on the Nautiques tell me that either I, along with some other people I've known, got great deals; OR the listed prices are way higher than the actual selling prices. Granted, some of these boats had enhancements like towers, stereos, etc., but even if you subtract the retail values of those accessories, all the Nautiques are still listed for well over NADA.

I don't know what this means to the difference in actual selling prices of different manufacturers' boats. Maybe people tend to list Nautiques very high. Maybe people list Centurion boats more realistically. Maybe Centurions actually sell for $3K. Who knows? I just thought the huge difference between manufacturers, in in list prices minus the NADA prices, was interesting.

By craig (skier86) on Sunday, October 17, 2004 - 9:58 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Hey 400 hour doesn't is not that many hours on a 17 year old boat. I made some mistakes in buying my first boat that might help wou. First im not bagging on a ford engine, but i had problems with mine. then i bought a boat with a chevy and have had fewer problems. but i really think that it had to do with the guys who owned the boats before me. i have ridden in my old boat since and i can feel a difference in torque. The ford has more. but here are some things to look for.

1.ask if it has a points or electronic distributor. if it has point take a screwdriver and pull the cap off to see if any moisture is on the points. (an electronic distirbutor is a plus)
2.check where the stringers are attached to the floorboard if there are any loose screws. run your fingers along the carpet and see if you can feel any screwheads where the stringers are.
3.does it have an extended pylon,if not borrow one when you test drive it. bring a friend and let him ride using the pylon. put your hand on the floarboard where the pylon is attached. you can feel the floor twist if the mount for pylon is loose. or if the floor is warped.
4.also check behind the driver's seat to see if the floor is warped.(thats usually where the icechest goes) so the is more moisture and the floor may be rotted.
5. check the brass drain plugs at the base of the engine block. make sure that they are not froze on, also check the main plug in the hull and at the rear of the boat, make sure you are able to remove them.
6.pull the dipstick on the transmission, and smell the oil. the oil should be pink and not have a burnt smell to it.
7.grab the prop shaft with one hand and try turing the prop with the other. there should be no"play" between the two.
8.check the hull of the boat between the runners of the trailer. see if there are any stress cracks from driving the boat onto the trailer.
9.check the runners on the trailer, make sure that they not rotted.
10.check the engine and tranmission mounts, make sure they are tight. also check to see how close the transmision is to the hull of the boat. you should be able to slide your hand under the tranny. if not, you might need new mounts.
11. check to see if there are holes in the exhaust tubes. pull up the doghouse to see if there is alot of water in hull. there should be little or none after running the boat for a half an hour.
12. check bearings, if you buy the boat(bearing buddies are a plus) make sure you pack them with marine grease before you travel anywhere.

i know this list seems long but i have had plenty of problems with my first boat. but i learned alot about being a boat mechanic. but that is not what you really want with a boat. however i know now how to take care of my boat and have not had any problems. alot of how a boat prefoms is how it is maintained. i have found a chevy engine easy to work on because it is the same engine in my truck. but i really think that i picked up more well maintained boat the second time around. the engine probably doesn't make a difference.

By Kenny Cox (kcox) on Wednesday, October 27, 2004 - 8:52 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I thank you all for such a great source of buying tips. The report on the boat is as follows;
The runners on the trailer are rotten but fixable. The trailer hoist is broken and needs replacement. I would imagine that the wheels need grease or bearings as well but couldn't tell from looking or driving. The boat looked great but the floor was weak in areas. One was at the base of the pylon and it had loose screws in the stringers. one of them wouldn't twist tight and was stripped. with a closer look it was rotting. The guy looked at me like I was a fanatic when I was running my hand under the tranny. The engine checked out ok but the tranny fluid did seem a little less than pink if that makes sense. It is too cold to drive it or board behind it. The owner a real estate agent, has winterized the boat so it would have to wait until spring. The deal is $4500.00 and I don't know what to think about that is it worth it. I have a few months to mull it over

By SANGeRIA (sangeria) on Thursday, October 28, 2004 - 3:20 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Don't do it...you're looking at at least $3k worth of dry rot repair and most likely engine repair as well.
By craig (skier86) on Thursday, November 04, 2004 - 12:18 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Im glad that my recomedations were useful, I would say not to buy the boat. There are alot of nice boats that year between 7-10 grad. I would say save your money, keep your eye out for another deal and buy in the spring
By Kris Lowery (linus8103) on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - 4:54 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I have a 1990 Mastercraft you can buy...with a brand new tower... you will not have to worry about the bottom rotting out. This is a much better quality boat...and I'll sell it cheap $8500 my email is linus8103@aol.com
By Kris Lowery (linus8103) on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - 4:54 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I have a 1990 Mastercraft you can buy...with a brand new tower... you will not have to worry about the bottom rotting out. $8500
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