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Need advice on 17' - 20' inland Midwest lake boat

 
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strokeoluck



Joined: 02 Oct 2008
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:03 pm    Post subject: Need advice on 17' - 20' inland Midwest lake boat Reply with quote

Hi all,

My wife, two kids and I are thinking about buying a boat. We moved to the Twin Cities area last summer and quickly discovered why you don't see many natives around the subdivisions...because most of them are on a lake! We have a 10 year old and an 8 year old, and they both spent time w/friends out on boats this last summer - and really enjoyed it. Since we figure we only have several years left w/the kids before they stop hanging out w/Mom and Dad, we thought this might be a good way to spend some family time together in the summer. My schedule is somewhat flexible so I can take a day off here and there, as well as leave early to drop the boat in the water and get a good half day of boating in.

We live 1-2 miles from three separate all-sports lakes that don't seem to get heavy traffic (my son and I fish off the docks at these places from time to time). We also live about five miles from the biggest lake in MN - Lake Minnetonka. I've been on that lake several times, but I'm told that unless you have a 22'+ boat it's a pretty rough ride due to the larger waves, and boats. We have a three car garage with only two vehicles. The two car area is about 21' deep, but the third car stall is 25' deep. A friend of ours trailers a 19' boat (w/no fold-away tongue) that he angles in via the two car garage door area, but it's parked in the third stall after he "wiggles" it into place by manual force. I'm thinking we could do the same thing?

Here are my questions:

- What size boat should we purchase? I'm told that we should probably stick with a ~18' "runabout". My hunch is that we'd occasionally have one of the kids friends on board (or two) so at most we'd have six people in the boat. Again, we'd want to store it in our garage during the boating season. After that we'd store it in a farmer's barn most likely; I'm told there's lots of them around here that will store it for $100 - $150 for the season.

- What size engine do we need? We'll probably just be pulling the kids on tubes, and eventually a little water-skiing. I don't have a desire to go super fast, or burn tons of gas by going super-fast; just want enough oomph to pull the kids.

- What brand of boat should we buy? There are so many manufacturers out there. Yet every time I look at a boat online all I really see are an engine, and a hull. And most of the engines are MerCruisers. So given our basic needs should I go with a basic manufacturer?

- Our budget is $10k or less; what sort of used boat should we be looking for?

- Is it ok to buy a boat in the off season? I'm told that boat prices go up as soon as warm weather (over 40 here in MN) appears. But I'm also told that I should never purchase a boat without riding in it, so I can hear any vibration.

- Where would I find reliable used boat values? Every time I check NADA their values seem to be 20% - 30% lower than what people around here are asking for their boat. When I ask them why that is, the general response I get us "those NADA values are out of sync w/reality; no one uses them".

- What else SHOULD I be asking that I'm not?!

Thanks very much in advance for your help!

Rob
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boatScotty
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Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 229
Location: Pacific Northwest

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:08 am    Post subject: Need advice on 17' - 20' inland Midwest lake boat Reply with quote

Wow, you wrote a fair bit...

I will just offer you a few guidelines - buying a used boat is like buying a used car - you want one that is both; a good deal and a good fit for you.

With the load you are carrying, do not get a 4 cylinder engine - get a 4.3 minumum (that comes from "Mike the mechanic" here).

Look in your local Boat Trader and Craigslist (You are familiar with those?).

Pricing also varies from area to area - in one state, a specific boat is considered gold, two states away, they can't sell them! Look around.

And yes, I would buy a boat in the off season. Right before Christmas (these next two months) is a good time. I bought my last boat with 3" of snow on the deck!
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strokeoluck



Joined: 02 Oct 2008
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:49 am    Post subject: Follow up question Reply with quote

Thanks very much Boat Scotty.

I've got one follow up question for you. You say buying in the off season is the best time. However, some online article I read said one should never buy a boat unless you can actually take it for a ride in the water. They said that's the only way you can hear if there's a vibration. I have no clue what causes vibration (bad prop?; $200 fix?). If I look at a boat in the dead of winter in MN I'm assuming the boat will have been winterized and they won't even be able to start up the engine (?). If this is all accurate, are you saying that the better deal I get in the off season offsets any potential risk - and costs - associated w/not being able to check it out on the water?

Thanks again.
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strokeoluck



Joined: 02 Oct 2008
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:30 pm    Post subject: follow up question re: engine Reply with quote

Boat Scotty,

I'm also curious why you said I'd need the 4.3 engine (190 HP?), when most of the 17' - 19' boats I'm reading about online seem to have the 3.0, 135 hp engine in them. Is the 3.0 not enough to carry several people AND pull a water-skier or tuber?

If anyone else wants to provide comments on this that's greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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MikeW
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Joined: 01 May 2006
Posts: 680

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello strokeoluck, I have been around boats for many years. I think you will be disappointed if you buy a boat in the size range that has a 4 cylinder engine. Yes they are a bit more economical to run but if you want to pull skiers it will be much easier on the engine if you are in the 200hp range. Cool
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boatScotty
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Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 229
Location: Pacific Northwest

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:28 am    Post subject: Buying in the off season Reply with quote

At the best of times, it is buyer beware - in the off season that holds even truer.

As I said, I bought my last boat in the off season, with snow on the deck. It was a harder to find boat at a better than fair price.

I guess, the tough part of off-season buying is that you will have to decide what boat you want, what kind of shape an 'average' representation of that boat would be and if the price break of being off season can allow you to 'take a bit of chance'.

I buy out of season. I buy in snowstorms, in the middle of winter, when people are hard up for Christmas, when people sell after they have put in major $ and they are tired of owning it. I make purchases by looking over the item, seeing how the person lives and treats their stuff and by looking into their eyes asking direct questions. Needless to say, I buy from owners, not dealers.

You will need to make your own judgment on this one. You seem to have lots of internet experience; it will, though, come down to what your skills are in buying a good boat.

Otherwise, purchase when the season it on, from a marine dealer (someone who traded it) or when other people are looking to try and buy.

In summary, I buy off season and the costs do offset the risks - I have owned (and enjoyed - I am not a dealer) over 110 vehicles; cars, trucks, buses, tractors, motorcycles and - boats.
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boatScotty
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Location: Pacific Northwest

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:33 am    Post subject: 4.3 engine in 17-19' boat Reply with quote

4.3 in 17 footers....

http://peterborough.kijiji.ca/c-cars-vehicles-boats-17-foot-Doral-Bowrider-with-4-3L-Mercruiser-and-trailer-W0QQAdIdZ69100726

http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/boa/861800144.html

http://www.us.buysell.com/root/search/1100/681/5185/1/false/Fish_Ski_Boats.aspx

A loaded small boat pulling a skier - I think you are going to want a bit more 'umph' than the 3.0. Many owners of 3.0's in small boats ask forums how to upgrade to a 4.3.
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strokeoluck



Joined: 02 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:10 pm    Post subject: boat info Reply with quote

Thanks much for the information guys. I'll let you know what we decide to do.
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boatScotty
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Joined: 07 Nov 2006
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Location: Pacific Northwest

PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 9:56 pm    Post subject: boat info Reply with quote

Did you see the boat posted here? Ski boat with a 4.3! 4300 and looks nice, with a trailer...

http://www.boatersline.com/viewtopic.php?t=3687&highlight=
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strokeoluck



Joined: 02 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:51 am    Post subject: bought one Reply with quote

Hi guys,

Thanks again for your input. We found a used boat through CraigsList and wrapped up a verbal deal late last week (seller was heading out of town for a week so we're meeting Mon/Tues at the bank to wrap things up). It's a 2005 Bayliner 18.5' with the 4.3L engine - about 50 hours on the boat. It also came with an installed Lowrance GPS/fish finder/depth finder, three batteries and an installed back-up battery charger. The boat and the trailer came to $9k. It appeared to be in pretty good shape. The guy was selling it because he and his wife just had two young boys, he's gone a lot, and they just weren't taking it out on the water as much as they'd like. Now I just have to clean out the garage to make room for it this spring (I'm storing it at a farmers place for the winter).

Thanks everyone!
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