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Used Boat Help


Matt_M
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Hi, I'm looking to buy a used ski boat but I'm not sure what would best fit my needs. Any recommendations or advice are greatly appreciated and thanks in advance!

 

1. It will only be used as a slalom tug so flat and soft wakes are my most important criteria (I usually ski 15 or 22 off at 32 mph)

2. It will only be used for free skiing and tracking isn't the most important to me.

3. I'm indifferent between inboards and outboards.

4. OB preferred but not required

5. ideally around 15k (20k max)

 

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  • Baller
Any bubble back SN 196 1997-2002. Bullet proof motor. Best wake period..especially longer lines and slower speed. Tracking should be very important to you as it makes the drivers life easier...the bubble back's got ya covered there too. Will give you decades of trouble free use. Don't even bother looking any where else. Ya, there are a few others that can meet your needs but wake for wake at the line and speed you're talking....they just don't compare.
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I owned a 2000 SN 196 and my ski buddy has a 2002 LXi. Both wakes are awesome. The LXi is bigger/roomier and has an open bow. I'm partial to nautiques, but you'd be extremely happy with an LXi. My 196 drove and tracked a little better than the LXi, but if you need the space @Ilivetoski is right.
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@Matt_M…You can get a lot of ski boat for $15-20K. If I were in your situation, and was just looking for a slalom tractor, I'd set my sites on a TSC1 boat. More specifically, I'd try and find a '97 SN TSC1 w/GT-40 motor (I wouldn't mess with a carb'd boat, unless you are into that sort of thing). If you are patient, I'd bet you could find one well kept w/under 1000 hrs for $10-12.5K.

 

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Thanks everyone! Also, are there certain engines that I should avoid with either Malibu or Nautique? As far as the Nautique 196, @Wish , are you also referring the the PCM GT-40? I've also seen the 196s with the PCM Pro Boss 351 and Ford PCM 351 (not sure if there is any difference between the latter two).
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1997 Ski Nautiques or Mastercrafts in good condition are pretty hard to find for under $12K (at least they were for me in California) but you should be able to find a low-hour '97 for somewhere in the $13-$15K range. If someone is asking the higher side of that range it should have a trailer in very good condition with newer tires and fully functioning brakes and the boat should be pretty pristine.
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Keep in mind that the bubble back with a gt-40 has a loyal following and will hold value- I've had mine for several years and could sell it for what I paid. I ski regularly between my TSC-1 and my neighbors TSC-2 at -15 31-33 mph and don't notice a difference.
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For reference…this time last year (April of 2014) I was looking at buying a mint condition 2nd owner 1997 SN w/right at 1000 hrs for $11,000. It didn't have a trailer and I couldn't find one quick enough. I was going to drive 22 hours roundtrip for it. I almost put it on a Wakesetter trailer, but wasn't sure it would work out. Anyhow, I missed out, but the deals are out there…

 

Like @TallSkinnyGuy alludes to, sometimes the part of the country you are looking at is an important factor in price…for whatever reason.

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I know this is probably going to be controversial but what would you consider to be "low hours" and at how many hours would walk away from a boat? Also, what are other things that you would check when evaluating an engine? Unfortunately, I'm no mechanic. Thanks again for all the advice! I'll probably go with the 196 or LXi (depending on where I find the best deal).
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@Matt_M There are lots of boats out there from the 1995-2000 with under 750 hours on them and many with under 500 hours (I would consider under 500 to be low hours for a boat of that era). However, a 1000-hour boat that was well maintained could be much better than a 500-hour boat that was poorly maintained.

 

When I was shopping for a boat of this era I was hoping to buy from an original owner who had good maintenance records. I ultimately had the owner take it to a trusted boat mechanic and I paid the mechanic about $175 IIRC to do a "used boat checkout service" which included compression testing of all engine cylinders. I also wanted a hull that had no significant damage and had not been beached.

 

I've got a long list of items for a used boat inspection that I found on the Mastercraft forum. PM me with your email address and I will email it to you if you want it.

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One point to consider....you will find a number of boats in your price range that could use a little TLC. This can work to your advantage, or it can work against you.

 

A hull with gelcoat that looks dull or chalky and graphics that have rub marks can be easily fixed up. Nothing a little wet-sanding and buffing won't fix. This might even allow you to negotiate a killer deal. For reference, I had my entire boat wet-sanded and brand new graphics put on for $700 (CDN). This is also something you can easily do yourself if you are so inclined.

 

Interior...if the interior is coming apart at the seems or seems brittle...this is a different story. A full interior can run you 2,000-4,000 depending where you live. It's more work and more money than you think, when you first look at it.

 

Of course, the more work you are willing to do, the better the deal potentially.

 

 

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My Dad and I were looking at the same list pretty much at the end of last season. We wound up going with a used 2000 MC PS190. We LOVE this boat! Great ski wakes, one owner boat, under 500 hours and got it for just over 16K. It was garage kept and in near-mint condition. Looks newer than our 08 Wake Setter.

 

The key is just really making sure you are looking around and not settling for something that isn't in your list. With sites like BOS, Ski it Again, Craigslist, etc. it is easier to see whats out there, but the hunt is really exciting and frustrating all at the same time.

 

Whatever you go with, I'm sure you'll find something great. Just a big fan of the Pro Star myself.

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  • Baller

I have a 97 SNOB and I can attest to the very small wakes at conditions you mention. I run 30-32 mph most often at 15 off and the wakes are terrific.

 

I actually got a boat with the "5.7 pro-ski" engine in it. It is fuel injected, but it is throttle body fuel injection instead of multi-port fuel injection. For this reason, it has less power than the GT-40, but I feel like I got it discounted for that reason, and even at elevation here in Utah, I never really even think about it having "less" power as it still gets me up and out of the water as fast as, if not faster than, any other boat I've ever skied.

 

For 15-20k you shouldn't have any problem finding one in great condition. Good luck, report back.

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Look for an early 2000 response lx the wake is great and they handle batter than any boat out there. The nautique is great if you drive in a course but handles like a tank outside. They are built for driving a straight line only.
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I have a 1999 snob

. Nautiques do not turn at slow speeds like the flat bottom inboards but one thing the nautiques have over the other boats is tracking. My wife has never skied and my normal boat driver moved to Florida, She has no problem driving my snob she hated driving me behind my 1986 Supra comp ts6m. Boat will be up for sale soon, Family wants a v drive everybody surfs and I ski with friends with inboards. In Nor Cal

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The three boats I ski most are a '00 Response Lx, a '97 bubble butt and a 2000 bubble butt both with GT-40's. Love to ski all 3 though wake at 28 off opener better behind the Nautiques...shorter than that kind of a wash.

 

Nautique built better, tracks better, FAR quieter, FAR better driver seating position to throttle, wheel, windshield. Rope never catches on the bubble butt and tapered platform. Nautique also has HUGE glove box space...seems kinda silly but sweatshirts/sweatpants, towels all fit in there nicely to keep out of the way and off the dash. They have a drain, too...so drop drinks and ice in there if you want not to mention the drained in floor cooler. Motor box is hinged off the floor so can open the motor box without getting ropes etc on the floor in with the motor or under the box when you set it back down.

 

Response Lx has a trunk, more generous open bow than the open bow SN of the day, is a better footing boat, has the wedge option. The 2000 SN has tune-able rudder...nice. Overall in this vintage both are nice boats...but I take the SN to own if given the choice by a significant margin.

 

 

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