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97 SNOB vs. 98 RLX - Let's get ready to rumble!!!!


escmanaze
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Alright everybody, I'm in Utah, driving to SoCal next weekend to buy one of these two boats. Obviously I will test drive both and hopefully even test-ski both, but I figured it would also be nice to get the opinions of the folks on here.

 

I ski the course, longline or 15 off, usually in the range of 30-32 mph. That is the primary purpose of this boat. My goal is that after the first summer of owning this boat, I'll consistently run 15 off at 34 mph. I do, however, also wakeboard and wakeskate, however, usually I'm still only in 4 feet of water even when boarding and skating, so a big wake is certainly not expected, but I do like it to be shaped correctly at least. I usually board at 22 mph and skate at 21 mph. I do occasionally go to Lake Powell or something and get deep water where I would actually put down the wedge on the RLX and probably even load a few sacks into either boat. Both boats don't have towers, but do have fly-high poles for my boarding purposes.

 

So, put yourself in my shoes, which one do you buy and why?

 

http://www.ski-it-again.com/php/skiitagain.php?topic=Search&category=Comp_Boat&postid=19616

 

http://www.boattrader.com/listing/1998-Malibu-Responce-Lx--Open-Bow-340442

 

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The SNOB is not going to be as versatile of a hull as the RLX for boarding of any sort. However, there's no comparison in quality between those boats. Malibu was more of a value buy at that time and it shows in pretty much every way.

 

98 RLX: More versatile hull, damned HDS box, value boat at the time, more interior room, harder wake all around (pre-diamond I'm assuming). Monsoon 350 MPI the better motor between these two particular boats (referenced SNOB has a 5.0 Pro-ski TBI). Older PP system. Personally I don't think 'bu really hit their stride until the 01+ model years but maybe that's just me.

 

97 SNOB: Great slalom hull (though the SNOB does not ski as well as the CB version- different weight distribution, prop shaft exit, etc. but still better than almost any ski boat), absolute top of the line boat at the time, that particular one has the Chevy TBI 302 I believe- most people opted for the GT40 so I don't have much experience with that mill. Kinda kills resale a little. At 30-32mph this boat should have a substantially better wake than the 'bu. Also has Z-box and PPSG, that's a huge upgrade.

 

Between these two exact boat ads, I'd go with the SNOB.

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The referenced boat actually has the 5.7. Jhughes is correct that most opted for the GT40, one of the best powerplants ever, however to 5.7 was solid. I'd go Nautique in this case, although I am somewhat biased. I've never been a huge fan or the older Bu's, as their fit and finish was quite a bit behind MC and CC.
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The Gt40 is a Ford 5.8 liter (351 windsor). 5.7 is gm 350. The ford 5.8 were know for good low end torque. The 5.7 gm is a throttle body injection (tbi). The tbi is a very simple fuel injection, about simple as there is - its basically an electronic carburetor. I ski behind a 94 MC 205 with the 5.7 tbi, its a bigger boat than that 196 and seems to fine.

 

The Malibu is a 5.7 gm vortec. I think in 98 it 320hp. It has the vortec heads and direct port fuel injection. There's 8 injectors, one on each intake port for the cylinders (vs 2 injectors for all 8 cylinders on tbi).

 

All that said. They're all good engines.

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I am not sure what you are talking about in terms of fit and finish, our 99 Malibu sportster is in beautiful condition. I think it will come down to how it was cared for, but everything is intact as was everything in my 98 Response, I wouldn't put much stock in that comment.

 

The Malibu does have a "hard" table, much more so than the 06' I ski behind with the diamond 23 LSV but as mentioned, will help you to stay on edge through the wake. The great thing for us is that the Malibu has proven to be a great all around boat in that it is a pretty capable wakeboard boat. Without the wedge at 17 mph it puts up a nice wake and with the wedge down it puts up a pretty nice roller. It has the 310hp which is frankly brutally strong for the lightweight Sporster but probably just right for the heavier response. The Malibu is carbureted. Not a big deal but they do need to be serviced/rebuilt for ongoing reliability.

 

I dont have any experience with the Nautique, but have heard the slalom wake is better than the boo, but I will say as mentioned above, if you want a good compromise, we have been pleasantly surprised by the Malibu.

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No disrespect to Bu', the materials used just weren't quite what MC or CC used. That's the simple reason they were/are a little less expensive than the other two. Don't get me wrong, I'd still be happy with a TXI, and in fact that may be my next boat with the 200 pricing being too out of reach right now.
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It seems to me that one might argue the slalom wake to be a touch nicer and the hull to be a touch more overbuilt on the SNOB. However the RLX is still world class in both regards (I owned a 98 RLX) For me, the only major difference is the convenience/versatility with the wedge. If I put any value on boarding, it would be a no brainer for me: the RLX hands-down.
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Yes the Response has a very low freeboard.

 

@swc5150, out of curiousity, what materials? I was just noticing that the vinyl on the older Bu is of very good quality and has held up well over the years, but conversely, the 06 has the very common problem of the vinyl discoloration when left covered in heat. Do you have an opinion about the glass layup or other components??? To be fair, I have only had a Malibu tow boat and the three that I see on a regular basis are all good boats. I think I know what you are trying to say, just wondered if you had a specific issue or ?????

 

I should also mention, we just yanked the rubber mat off of the 06 ski step, it was wearing out and we were tracking the material off of the step onto the interior/carpet.

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The CC hulls are built like tanks, from the resins on up. They're the only tournament boat company that actually recommends hang by the lifting rings. Back when I sold MC's, we accepted this fact, but were sure not to mention it:) I also prefer PCM to the others out there, but that's my own opinion after owning 8 MC's and 3 CC's.
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Looking at the 2 engines' pictures is all I would have to do to eliminate the Bu. It sure looks like this boat has been used in a salt environment: engine mounts rusted badly, alternator rusted and even the transmission cooler is rusted. Additionally, it looks like the riser gaskets have been replaced. Finally, it looks like a Cutler intake/efi which was common on these engines. These intakes did not have a bronze lined water jacket. Eventually (if it hasn't already occured) these water jackets seep due to deterioration caused by rust (unless the engine is closed cooled).

 

Everything has a price but the Bu is not discounted compared to the CC. This particular Bu would have to be in the $8K-9K range for me to be willing to buy an 800+ houred boat with evidence of salt exposure.

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Thanks again everybody. Feel free to keep them coming, I really appreciate the input.

 

Scot, my real name is Scott as well. I do indeed ski Utah Lake, I think I'm right around #38 on the wait list right now. I live in North Lehi like you, so I figure with that info, you'll be able to easily look up my last name on the wait list. You actually gave me a tow on course #1 about a year ago behind your 08 Lxi and I thought the wake was very nice at full length and 15 off at 32 and 30 mph. I assume your 00 RLX was comparable?

 

Certainly I wouldn't plan on either boat being real great in a windy Powell or UL, so hopefully I can avoid that scenario as often as possible.

 

Anybody agree with inboardfix? Obviously he's putting out some fairly serious allegations on the bu, and if multiples of witnesses agree, that's something I should look at very seriously.

 

Thanks

 

Scott

 

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that is an interesting observation and probably a good one to look for. I know on my 97 SN the manifold bolt heads are painted black like the manifold as they have never been removed. the manifold does have some rust now but have been told that's normal for the age. But, my motor mounts are not rusted and the trany cooler looks new. Fresh water only boat.
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You can straight up ask the guy if its been used in saltwater, see what he says. I had a boat that had been used in saltwater. The engine had some rust, but the trailer was really rusted. Had to strip it down repaint. Springs and spring eye bolts were just about rusted to nothing. So take a look at the trailer.
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Personally I don't think that Monsoon looks that bad/rusty. All depends on how someone cares for their boats. I always vent my engine compartment when the boat is not running but for those that keep the doghouse closed all the time and put the boat away wet, you get ridiculous corrosion in the engine compartment. I've seen FW boats that look like corrosion nightmare everywhere in the engine bay due to just routinely putting the boat away soaking wet with the doghouse closed up tight. Chemistry at work.

 

That said, it's too much money to pay for that Malibu and yes, at the time, Malibu materials/construction were borderline comical compared to the same year SN. No thanks on those rotary switch dashes, thin vinyl, & ridiculous gauges. Vapor lock was so common in that era Monsoon that I had a buddy who put a porthole in the doghouse just so he could re-start it hot. In 2001 they switched dash designs and they've been getting better all around ever since.

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I agree with inboard, I would ask the salt water question. I would also ask for lots of detailed email pics. If I were near either one, as a fellow balla would gladly put eyes on the boat as a favor to you, maybe someone here can help with that. For what it is worth, we bought the 99' Sportster for 11500 18 months ago with 250 hours on it. We threw another 1500 at it and it is high and tight. I strongly disagree with comments about flimsy vinyl and switches. Keep looking, boat buying season has just begun.
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I strongly disagree with comments about flimsy vinyl and switches.

+1

Malibu materials/construction were borderline comical compared to the same year SN

"Comical" is a bit of an overstatement. As far as construction, I don't believe any modern (93' Echelon and later) Malibu ever felt cheap or flimsy in rough water (that's not to say that Correct Crafts aren't built even-better, but what's the point? It's not like Malibus are cracking or warping or...). You'll be fine with a Malibu (or a SN).

That said, it's too much money to pay for that Malibu

I certainly agree with that.

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Thanks everybody. I think I'm leaning toward the SNOB right now, again, we'll see when I get down there.

 

What about that engine in the SNOB? Obviously, everybody loves the GT40, nobody talks about this proski 5.7. I'm at 4500 feet. Am I going to be turtle slow? Or just not insanely fast like the GT40? SWC above says it's solid, so I assume it at least has a good track record for reliability?

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You'll be fine with the 5.7. The GT40 shines with it's low end torque, but it's not like it's way better than the 350. I've also owned a TBI MC, then a few multiport LT1's, and I didn't notice any difference from the fuel delivery. Both ran great, without the having to make any of the old carb tweaks. At altitude, you'll appreciate that.
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Personally I dont think either of those two boats will be a limiting factor in you progressing at that level. More important is the actual condition and maintenance of each boat. Both boats are well over 10 year old boats, and how each of them have been treated should be a HUGE deciding factor on which one you purchase. Same goes for evaluating the current owners. Most times you can tell as much about a boat by talking to the owner as you can by actually looking at the boat. Good luck and make sure you do your homework on the boat and owner!

That being said the SNOB does look sweet!

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I looked at a boat in a very affluent area thinking ...this should be a well cared for Bu..... Dove up to the million $+ home and a BMW pulls in behind me. "Sorry dude. Thought I'd miss ya. Cool, ok I'm supposed to show you the boat" says the 17 year old kid. Looked ok on the rack but wow once under say all the problems came out, crazy rough motor MPI, gauges not working, pylon very very loose, lots of rattles, blowers and lights not working. Maybe all repairable but it goes to the level of care mentioned above. The kid said his dad took care of it...he thinks. Know of another buyer whose questions to obvious issues with a boat (like large portion of carpet burned) were answered every time with "... Oh that, well me and my buddys were drinking and......". You can tell a lot by the owner.
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I have a 97 SN with the TBI engine. It's a great engine and I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between it and the 343 excalibur in my 2008 SN club boat unless I opened the motor box. I also think the wake behind the 97 is better.
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Thanks kpickett for the personal recommendation. The guy selling it is actually a member here on BOS, I think he just doesn't hang out here much. I actually got the reference for the boat from another baller named, I think Baja, so that makes two guys on here that know the boat/person in person and are vouching for it. Obviously, both might be a little biased as they are his friends and strangers to me, but still, it's good to know that at least somebody has seen it in person and isn't here sending me a PM that says "dude, that boat has been breaking down once a week, that's why he's selling it."

 

kpickett, have you skied this one as well, or do you just see it on the lake? At least at bakersfield elevation, does the 5.7 proski TBI feel powerful enough to you like TWB says? Apparently MC was using that same engine in these years as well? Thanks much for the input TWB. From a former owner of the same motor in almost the same boat, that's good to hear.

 

Thanks everybody, feel free to keep the opinions rolling, I leave first thing thursday morning.

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kpickett, have you skied this one as well, or do you just see it on the lake? At least at bakersfield elevation, does the 5.7 proski TBI feel powerful enough to you like TWB says?

 

Yes, I've skied this one. It has way more than enough power. It's a great boat in great shape. It has a fantastic wake and no spray.

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@escmanaze, I skied behind the SNOB again a few days ago on Monday.. Matched my PB unless you're supposed to still have the handle when you round 3 ball...so i guess that's one ball behind PB with a 2@34mph -15 off. I'm skiing about where you are at 28-30-32 mph. Definitely bring your stick to give it a go. It's on a fantastic lake.
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Alright everybody, here is the maiden voyage, just a quick evening with the pregnant wife, the kid and the Grandma. Probably the only trip we'll get for a few months since it's now getting cold here in UT. Thanks again to everybody for all the help. I'm absolutely in love with the boat so far.
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