I have 1996 Maristar 200 VRS with the TBI 350 rated at 285 hp and a 14x18 OJ 4 blade prop. The engine only has about 50 hours on it because it was replaced by the previous owner after the block froze. Since I haven't been around any similar boats I was wondering if this scenario is typical or if I should have more power.
Anyways when we are wake surfing and have the boat loaded down with 400lbs in the rear locker and 6-7 people all in the back of the boat you will have to have it completely wide open throttle to get the boat up to the 11-12 mph where the best surf wake is and sometimes it struggles to get going even that fast. Is this normal? Or should the newer motor have more power than that?
We can just move a person or two to the front of the boat which will allow us to achieve the surf wake a about half throttle. I just get tired of trying to get people situated in the right spots all day to get a good surf wake.
If I should have a little more power where should I start looking? Any upgrades recommended on this engine?
Engine upgrades are going to be expensive. You are much better to go with Kelly's suggestion and get a lower pitch prop. Before you do run the boat at wide open throttle and record the top speed and the engine RPM. That will give you a reference.
After the prop the next thing to look at would be a trim tab. It can give you lift at the stern where all your weight is. Moving people to the bow for starts is a common occurrence on boats.
285 HP is a normal HP rating for a TBI 350. I beleive my carbed 351 was rated at 270HP. Like was said, a new prop is your best bang for the buck. If you want more power out of the motor, its going to be Heads / Cam / Intake for a few grand.