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WakeWorld Discussion Board » >> Boats, Accessories & Tow Vehicles Archive » Archive through April 01, 2004 » used boats...what to check for? « Previous Next »
By drunk monkey (drunkmonkey) on Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 9:21 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I'm going to be looking a little more seriously this weekend at several used boats that fit what I've been looking for. What areas should I pay closest attention to to make sure it isn't about to have big problems.

The boats are about 10-12 years old, but are both CC and MC boats, so I assume they're made pretty well and should hold up. Beyond the obvious cosmetic stuff, how should I check the hull, or any wood/fiber glass, the motor etc. Or anything else you can think of.

I'm not sure if taking a test drive will be an option so I need to be able to check everything else out fully before making a snap decision.

By cdm (cdm) on Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 9:38 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
You must test drive the boats.. No exceptions, referably weighted.. A visual inspection just isn't enough.. Good Luck!! Welcome to the wonderful world of boat ownership.... Its an intersting ride..
By Rob Chatelain (robert_c) on Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 2:38 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Check for any wood rot, that includes seat frames and floor boards. Feel carefully all over the floor for soft spots. When checking the engine look at the condition of hoses, belts and wires this will give you an idea if the boat has been well maintained or if you will need to invest some money into it. Compression check is a must! It's not so much the number as the consistancy between cylinders. Check the little things too ie. horn ,bilge pump lights etc. Move the steering wheel side to side check for smoothness and visually inspect the bottom of the hull for any dings,chips or cracks.
If your gut doesn't feel right, walk away, it took me a while to find the right one and I'm not sorry.
Good luck

By Chris Olsson (moondoggie) on Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 2:46 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I would not look at a MC in that era you are talking about. MC's quality went way down in the late 80's early 90's when their company went public. The companies focus became more on profitability than on quality and their boats showed their change. Of course now they are once again on the top of the heap, I know I own an x-star and have owned an 85' stars and stripes in the past. Be very careful if looking at years 88-92ish for mastercraft.
By SANGeRIA (sangeria) on Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 2:52 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I second Rob's post...having suffered from buying a boat that a) had rot and b) burned a valve due to compression issues I can't stress those 2 things enough.
By b (banks) on Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 3:15 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
make sure you ride behind it too if you can, some boats won't show their true colors until they pull something
By Karl De Looff (boarditup) on Wednesday, February 18, 2004 - 7:00 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Here is my list:

Compression check
Visual inspection of spark plugs
Oil analysis (only if you are really serious, this is a bit expensive), need about 20 hours on the oil for this to work
Use a moisture meter on the wood, if any
Check for vibration and shaft alignment/true problems.
Check for steering slack and rudder pack wear.
Look at all electrical connections for corrosion

Good Luck

By drunk monkey (drunkmonkey) on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 6:46 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
How do I check the compression? What exactly is it, anyway?
By SANGeRIA (sangeria) on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 8:43 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Compression is the pressure created inside the cylinder needed to ignite the air/fuel mixture and move the piston. If the cylinder is not airtight you will have low compression and therefore lose horsepower and/or burn a valve, etc. You need to purchase/borrow a compression screws into where the spark plug goes on each cylinder. Unhook the main wire on the rotor and turn the key for a few seconds. Do this for each of the cylinders and check the plugs for fouling when you take them out. You want the compression in each of the cylinders to be plus or minus 5% of each other and if I recall you're looking for a PSI of between 110-120 depending on the motor. Best insurance if you're uncomfortable with this is hiring a professional mechanic to check it out. Will be the best money you spent on the boat assuming you get somebody who knows what they're doing.


By Bob (bob) on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 9:19 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
along those lines when doing a compression check be sure and hold the throttle fully open otherwise you get a false reading because the air cant get in the cylinders, you WILL get a lower reading. BE SURE WHEN DOING THIS YOU DISCONNECT THE CENTER WIRE FROM THE DISTIBUTOR AND CONNECT IT TO A SPARE SPARK PLUG AND GROUND IT AWAY FROM THE CYLINDER YOU ARE TESTING IF YOU DONT WANT A FIRE
By KStateAlumni(aka Brad Beach) (bbeach) on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 10:32 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Hey Chris I disagree with your opinion of 88-92 Mastercrafts... You are DEAD Wrong... Am I biased, ABSOLUTELY, but since I own an 90 MC I can tell you that quality is top notch... As long as the boat is taken care of they are solid. Check my profile if you want to see an early 90's MC that has been cared for...

If you owned an 85 S & S how can you attest to the quality of an 88-92 MC?

By Karl De Looff (boarditup) on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 10:54 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Most NAPA stores and many other parts retailers will rent a compression meter for $10 or so.
By Rod McInnis (rodmcinnis) on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 5:02 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
It is hard to give a boat a decent inspection. Obvious problems might be apparent from a visual inspection, but subtle problems can be hard to detect unless you know what to look for.

Having sold a couple of boats, I can give you a little of the sellers perspective.

1) I would certainly NOT allow some looky-lou to start taking apart the boat. While it is easy enough to run a compression test, a sloppy mechanic can easily get oil/grease all over the uphosterly and/or carpet in the process. There is also a chance that something will get damaged. I would be really pissed if the prospective buyer cross threaded the compression tester and stripped out a spark plug hole.

2) I would be willing to take the boat for a test ride, but only after I had the deal wrapped up and a deposit in hand. The test ride is to insure that the boat operates as I have indicated, NOT to see if the buyer likes the wake! If some real issue is raised, then I would either fix the problem or refund the deposit.

3) I would certainly be willing to have a professional mechanic or surveyor examine the boat, but only after we had reached an agreement on the sales price and I had a deposit in hand. The buyer would have to pay the mechanic/surveyor.


By drunk monkey (drunkmonkey) on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 5:27 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
those are some good points Rod and everyone else, thanks. I was kind of doubting someone would really let me start jacking with the engine and stuff. A test drive after a preliminary agreement is made is a good idea.

Anyone have any comments on what he said?

By Karl De Looff (boarditup) on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 7:39 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Any seller who will not allow a mechanic's inspection makes that boat a pass. I am a dealer and know what to look for. I will turn down a boat that is in poor condition to keep my reputation.

I believe the best deal is a 2003 demo boat with full warranty. You can buy it at dealer cost - less than used loan value - and still have a full warranty.

By WakeNup (hockeyruss) on Friday, February 20, 2004 - 5:23 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
No demo without deposit, that sounds a little shakey.....I would not let someone start taking my boat apart but definetly would allow a in water test, if not it seems like you have something to hide. Plus I would never buy a boat without an in water demo, even hearing the engine run in someones driveway is one thing, but how do you know if the tranny slips or is shot without a demo.
By John Richard (jrichard) on Friday, February 20, 2004 - 7:57 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Having sold a few boats, I'll throw in my 2 cents: I agree with Rod....not only no demo without deposit, but no demo without a purchase agreement. I've never let anyone test drive a boat until we've come to an agreement on price and I have a deposit. Then the purchase is contingent only on a test drive demonstrating that the boat is mechanically/operationally as I have described. Interestingly, I've never sold a boat where the buyer does a comprehensive/professional mechanical inspection.

I can't tell you the number of "buyers" that I've talked to via telephone that want to "test drive" a boat I'm selling and then don't bother to show up to view the boat, much less take it out. Allowing test drives before coming to terms on price is a sure way to waste a lot of time.

By Chris Olsson (moondoggie) on Friday, February 20, 2004 - 8:30 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Hey Brad Beach,
Not trying to knock your boat, looks nice. I can tell you that the quality of their boats went way down from the MC dealer's advice he gave me quite a few years ago when I was looking to buy a 89-90 MC 190 in about 96'. The MC dealer told me that the quality of their boats in that era was less than their old stars and stripes design and their post 93' boats. Could have just been a sales technique to get me into a newer boat, I don't know. He told me that they used a thinner gelcoat to lower costs and the tolerances weren't watched as closely as they used to, to try and get the bottom line down so the boats could be more profitable. The same goes for their carpet and interior. I looked at the boats very carefully back then and had to agree with him. Keep in mind MC was still one of the top boat manufacturers for that time. But Ski Nautique started to become boat of the year for those early years in the 90's when MC changed their strategy. Before that it was MC all the way. MC had to rethink what they were doing. They redesigned their boats and their manufacturing techniques to get back on top of the heap. MC still made a great boat, just not as good as they did in the mid 80's and post 93'. That is what opened the door for Nautique and all the other boat companies for that time in my opinion. Hope this helps.

By KStateAlumni(aka Brad Beach) (bbeach) on Friday, February 20, 2004 - 9:06 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
If anything MC didn't start building a bad hull design until post 95. And I've certainly never heard/seen of thier standards being lowered. I do however believe that thier down years were 96-99 when thier hull wasn't that great for skiing wakes. I've never seen poor quality or gelcoat thinness or interior/carpet problems in any MC that wasn't abused... I'd have to say Chris that this "dealer" didn't know what he was talking about. In the future you might want to comment on things that you experienced and NOT something some yahoo dealer told you while trying to get you to buy an newer boat! If I took everything some dealer told me while trying to sell me a boat and turned around and bashed others boats using thier info, I don't think I'd have many friends...
By Paul (psudy) on Friday, February 20, 2004 - 9:18 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
You need to make sure that chicks dig the boat as well. To do this, pull it through a downtown area and stand in the back with your shirt off "looking cool." That should be a good indicator.
By Chris Olsson (moondoggie) on Friday, February 20, 2004 - 9:29 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Nice Brad,
Once again, someone taking something WAY to serious. A lot of these post are from experience and opinions, remember that first and foremost. Just because someone has something to say that you do not agree with, doesn't mean that you have the right to bash them or their opinions. I told you what I heard and what my opinion was about those years boats. If you don't like it, too bad. This tread wasn't posted for you in the first place. It was posted for a guy trying to make a decision about 2 boats he was looking at to buy. Ski Nautique made a better boat during those years, that is my opinion and the opinion of the pros that issue the awards. MC's quality was less than the previous years. That is also an opinion. I complimented your boat, don't forget that either. If you have problems with others saying something you don't agree with, then maybe this site isn't for you. I may be wrong, I already said that in my last thread. From what I saw however, I agreed with the "Yahoo Dealer" at the time and didn't buy that boat. And I do remember saying that MC still made a great boat. Release the demons, your day will be a lot better.

By KStateAlumni(aka Brad Beach) (bbeach) on Friday, February 20, 2004 - 9:51 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Thanks for the compliment on my boat Chris. I wasn't trying to be defensive about your comments, well maybe a little. I was merely trying to point out to the guy looking to buy a boat that what you said was one dealers opinion and not neccesarily fact. My intent was not to bash you for your posting, but then again I doubt it was your intention to bash someones boat either.

That is all! Demons gone!

By Chris Olsson (moondoggie) on Friday, February 20, 2004 - 10:07 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Thanks Brad,
All's good. By the way, I ran Track for Stephen F. Austin in Texas back in 93-97. K State was always in the top ten for both their men's and women's teams. Do you follow K-State athletics, and if so are they still contenders for NCAA's currently?

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