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1999 Ski Nautique 196 Zero Off Conversion and Restoration


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Im looking at a 1999 ski nautique with over 3000 hours and thought this might be a good boat at the right price for a zero off conversion.

 

I know this has been talked about alot around here but I haven't seen any specifics around this version ski nautique. What does it take to convert one of these boats for Zero Off? What is the cost?

 

Also, if a boat has a tower on it and you want to take it off, how difficult is it to fill the holes and make it look like it was never there?

 

Lastly, what is the average cost for a new interior?

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I think it depends upon how good the hull is.

 

Let's say that the hull was great. A new interior is around $3,000 or so.

 

Guessing that the new zero off engine will run you around 10,000. (Check with Jody)

 

So you would have something like $18 000 into it. Now it looks like that year goes for around $14,000, but that would be without zero off and typically an old interior.

 

Fixing the holes from the tower is no big deal. If you don't want to do it yourself, it should cost you less than what you could sell the tower for.

 

So if its what you want it would turn out great and would be a completely dependable pull.

 

If you do it - WE WANT PICTURES!!!

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5G's on a 99 boat and trailer provided the gelcoat is nice is a good start. Keep in mind their are a lot of misconceptions on what motors can be retrofitted for ZO and what can not. FORD'S CAN NOT! So you are probably looking at a re-power and with 3000 hours on the tranny you might want to consider a new tranny also as PCM's really do not have lots of life once rebuilt they have a high drum and case failure rate, most of the time when they fail they are not worth the money to rebuild.

Watch craigs list, ski-it-again, Ebay. From time to time pull out motors pop up on these sites.

I have sold over the last couple of years about 20 engines to guy's doing the exact same thing.

If you can put your self together a nice ZO boat for $15K-$20K you are doing good.

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I have a 1994 Ski Nautique, but there are several 1997-1999 on my lake. It is a nice boat to slalom behind. If the hull and everything are in good condition, why not put a new engine in it. It tricks pretty good too. If you can find one with the PCM GT-40 engine, and put Stargazer on it you will have a damn good ski boat.

 

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@Gregy i'm in the process of converting my 08 response to zero off, as far as I am aware 2005>indmar engines in malibus were drive by wire, so the conversion is new e controls ecu, zero off , and a pigtail wire loom adapter from Malibu, it's cost me around $3k usd exc freight, I don't think you will be able to convert the 99 indmar without major expense,

 

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I converted my '97 Nautique last winter and its a straightforward engine swap. If the hull is in good shape, $5k for the boat and trailer is a good deal. You should end up spending less than $20k depending on the how much of the interior needs work and how many little things add up. Compare that to an '07-09 with 500-800 hours at $28-$34k. You'll have a hull that's 95% as good as the 196 models and a brand new engine. If you don't mind doing a little work, its definitely the way to go.

If it was easy, they would call it Wakeboarding

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I sold my '99 GT40 for $18.5K, then split a 2007 with my lake co-owner. I liked my '99 better. The 2007 is nice, but the Masters Navy is one of my all time favorites, and the '99 outperformed the 2007 in side by side hole shots. It looked like new also, and the 2007 is showin a little wear and tear with 800 hours on it, but it was slightly less than what Bruce lists above. I don't know if it made sense for me to plop that kind of money in the '99 as I wouldn't be able to come close getting it out. I didn't like the 200's, so we went for an 2007 with higher hours. I probably couldn't tell what boat I was skiing behind if I was blindfolded....

 

Starting at $5K and all in for $15-$17 with ZO, I would probably do it...

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I second that @jfw432. I bought my 08 Moomba knowing it was a drive by wire. It didn't come with ZO, but I thought no big deal, its DBW, and I'll just throw it in. Unbeknownst to me at the time, to add ZO, I was going to need a new ecm. I was down with $1500 for ZO, but I wasen't down with + another $1500 for ecm. I "cheeped out" and got stargazer.. And now I have the Z-box. Do I wish I had ZO? Yes. To tell you the truth though, I can't tell a difference between Z-Box and ZO. The difference is I had to spend many hours tweaking it to get it to feel identical. I'm guessing of those who could tell the difference, it wouldn't be worth the cost to not to.
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@usaski1 you are reinforcing my understanding. Everything needs tweaking and customizing so it fits your skiing style. I personally can't feel the difference between PP classic and a new zero off system but this is my first year really skiing the course. The people I do know who can feel the difference, can feel the difference between new mastercrafts and nautiques and thus have different ZO settings for each boat. If you're B1 on one boat and C2 on another, is C3 on a PP z-box really going to cramp your style?

 

edit: I don't mean to derail this thread and I love that year nautique. Just trying to understand the point of the conversion.

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Z-box mimics ZO much better on dbw than non-dbw. If you stick w/the GT-40 (non-dbw) the Z-box will be servo controlled. Will it come closer to the ZO feel than Stargazer or Classic? Yes, but it will not be as close as USA1's Moomba w/dbw. You may not be happy w/it.

 

Best options IMO would be to repower or look for a newer used boat w/ZO. My thoughts are if you can restore the '99 w/new interior, cables, engine w/ZO for $16-18K it is probably worth it. If it will cost $20K it is less attractive and anything over $20K I'd lean toward spending a little more for a newer boat. I've always used the $2K per year rule of thumb, i.e. if you can step up to a '07-08 for less than $2K per year you'll come out ahead. So, if the '99 when all is said and done costs $20K and you can get an '07 or '08 for approx $28K you'll come out way ahead on future resale buying the '07-'08.

 

Obviously, this rule doesn't take into account budget. If you've only got $20K for a ZO boat you're option is the '99 (and it is a good option). BTW, I've put over 2K hours total on 4 different '97-01 Ski Nautiques and over 500 on an '07 hull. From a slalom perspective I have no preference on hulls. Both are incredible. Handling I'd give the edge to the '07 strictly because the off-side turn (starboard) is superior. Tricking goes to the '97-01 and jump I have no opinion as I don't jump (except when my wife speaks).

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@inboardfix, You're a funny guy! Knows his ZO stuff too. Helped me upgrade my 02 SN196 a few years back. Couldn't be happier with it. Shame, I have to put it away tomorrow for the winter. Maybe I'll take up hockey. Never mind, bad idea. MS says "hockey rocks".
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I do think there is some truth in the dbw vs cable throttle statement. Although I cant verify, many have said the same, that the zbox / sg pull with throttle cable boats is "okay" although I was reading a thread on here where someone had some glue or a catch of some sort on the throttle cable, removed it, and it was fine. Bottom line is, if your okay with spending 20k, and zo is your goal, do it. If you are trying to get that zo feel for as little money as possible. Z-box. I might try the z-box option first. If i didnt like it, rip it out. Sell the system on SIA, and do the conversion.
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@454SS, not if it was like the one a guy in my old ski club had. Huge rooster tail, spray like a firehose at anything shorter than 28 off in any kind of headwind, and got pulled all over the course when anyone approached 200 pounds skied behind it. It was relegated to barefooting at his cottage, no one wanted to ski behind it. Could have just been a bad mold or something...
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Shane, I really don't remember the year, but it was around there. He liked the barefoot table better than anything else. I guess if you are a big slalom skier and are content with the wakes and want to get a ZO conversion on an old paid for or cheap deal now boat, you just need to ask how long are you going to keep it? Very unlikely that you have a huge market to sell an old boat to for a $7-$10k premium.
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Imho there is nothing wrong with the pull from Zbox, the issue is to get nicely balanced segment Times (same as with Stargazer)

When I first put Zbox in I got it dialed to Perfect 1,3 and end course times but still felt as I was chasing the Boat.

Turned out I could have a. 02 slow #2 ball and a. 04 fast #4 ball, thats a. 06 pickup in just 2 buoys, you just can't ski that. Very difficult to tweak for that but one thing that made it better was to increase the Zbox value ( Think I ended up @ 15)

Made the Boat react harder through the Gates and out of #1 to prevent the slow time to #2.

In our Boat the key lies in getting a Good #2 ball time then the pass is good

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I'm sure you've considered it but just in case... You will never resell that boat for anything close to what you put in it. I fully get this concept and I've put almost triple the original cost into my own boat but I have no real intention of ever selling it either so I understand. However, if you think you'll want to change over to something else in 5 years or so, this probably isn't the best investment since the number of people that will find this boat valuable will be very limited.
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I have a '93 Prostar with only 260 hours on it. I could sell my current engine, re-power with zero off, add a Bennett's wake plate (knocks down chine spray/improves tracking), and I'd have as good of boat as is currently on the market for less than 10 thousand extra clams.

 

It'd be a fun project if I didn't already have a new TXi sitting in the club boathouse. However my wife might be more willing to drive if she had the added ease of zero off....

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$10K in an old boat, or sounds like a new ski and ski vacations in Acapulco or Costa Rica for a few years to me...

 

I wouldn't put a dime in anything old except the '97-01 SN. But that's just one man's opinion..but I am SN biased.

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Sub 15K for sure, I bought a '00 in '10 for 17K even w/84 hrs. The 97's at that time were 14-15.5K(asking price) depending on hours.

If re-powering, why do you care if it has a gt-40? You could pick up the one with the carb engine on another BOS thread and re-power w/out paying for a gt-40. If not re-powering, the gt-40 rocks.

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PCM pricing for the conversion is more than 15% higher than it was when the first ZO conversions were being done. An EX330 w/Mefi 4 conversion is now approx $2500 if the dbw change is required. Additionally, if the SN being converted is a Limited or Team the Gateway box must be replaced so add another $750.00 to the total. $2500 + $750 (if Lim or Team) + 1590 (ZO) + $25 ZO CAN harness+ shipping ( $75-100) is a close approximation of cost to upgrade a Mefi 4 ignition to E-control w/ZO.

 

Upgrade of your steering system to the exact system used by later model SN196s is a piece of cake and relatively inexpensive ($180 steering cable + $70 pinion + a couple hours to do it). Also, a new EX343 would be dbw and your existing control cable would work (have to be re-routed to the port side of engine).

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Don't know if your rudder box has a grease fitting but greasing it will help....a little. Replacing can be tricky as a new helm has to be installed. Had a good friend help . Lots of small parts from the tilt mech that has to be taken apart for instal. Pay attention to how it comes apart. Take photos.
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Rico Add about another $900 for a new 343 by the time it is sitting on your shop floor ready to bolt on your tranny, due to the Ford retro mounts and adapter harness ! PCM had another rather large price increase as of Feb 1st. I usually charge about 5-7 hours to do that type of re-power in a Ski Nautique plus about $300-$400 of incidentals in parts and materials,fuel lines,exhaust hoses and many other parts that owners ignore!
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I have a 1997 with GT-40 and StarGazer Z-Box. It did take a little calibrating to dial in the Z-Box. What I discovered is the GT-40 in those model years appears to have more torque and usable h.p. than the newer Nautiques. The addition of the ACME 422 makes this even more pronounced. I am able to validate the torque and top speed by running the boat side by side with newer models. My 1997 is quicker and faster. The quickness of the GT-40 was shown in this older FM video

.

 

What I discovered was the GT-40 with the servo was responding to quick with the default settings. This response could be felt in the course, especially on the way to 3 ball. In the background adjustable settings for the Z-Box, I adjusted the Ball Time Settings and was able to create the exact feel I was looking for with equal tolerances to ZO. Is it as easy to use and drive as a ZO Nautique? No, but it sure is an inexpensive option I have adjusted to. I have a total of $16,000.00 in the boat & trailer minus the shippping, that includes the speed control and upgraded steering components.

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@rico - I'll be honest, I ran into an individual that was unable to dial in his Z-Box system. I have first hand knowledge, it is used outside of Sacramento on the delta. I think this can be contributed by high narrow banks and short setup. I beginning to think site location may make a difference. I disagree about PP Classic. I am able to run a line length shorter behind PP Classic. There is no penalty for mistakes with PP Classic like there is Z-Box and ZO.
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