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Jeff Browning

Upgrade or Sell and Buy Another

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Okay; here's a question for the New Year that I've been wrestling with.  18 Months ago I bought a 2008 Tracker 175TXW w/ a 50hp 2-stroke.  It came with a Humminbird 597 DI and the black and white stock one on the front.

I have saved and have the money to pay for the following upgrades in cash:  I'd like 2 Humminbird 999 si's or Helix 9 si's, the 360 unit, a talon and an 80# trolling motor.  Eventually I'd replace the 2 stoke 50 for a 4-stroke 75 but that's another year off.

I can sell the boat to a neighbor for $7500. 

My question is this...if you had the cash for the upgrades would you upgrade the boat you have (paid off) or sell it and buy (finance) a new, 190 TXW w/ a 115 for a little extra space.  My plan has always been to upgrade with cash so I save then spend.  But I'd take the money from selling the boat and put it on the new one.  I know that new ones don't come with all the stuff I want, but the motor upgrade, which a new boat would have, is what's making this decision hard for me. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts/opinions.

Jeff

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I just did the same, upgraded to a new 2015 Competitor 175 with a merc 115 4s elxpt.    Now i just have to sell my Tracker to help pay for the Alumacraft 

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What pushed you in the direction of the new boat vs. upgrading what you had? 

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Do you need more boat or do you want more boat? A byproduct of having more storage will be filling it up and the new boat will feel small. It's inevitable you will fill up all the storage lockers. Were I to upgrade, and stick with Tracker, the 195 would be my choice. It's a much larger boat with a bigger fishing platform and wider beam.

I went from a 17ft boat with a 90hp to a 20ft boat with a 225hp. Both aluminum. The 17ft boat was easier to load/unload alone and I fish alone most of the time. I went with a bigger boat with safety being the number one factor for the change. Second was storage and layout. I fished tourneys for 9 years out of the 17footer and grew out of it. The 20footer is a lot of boat. It's not as easy to maneuver in between docks. I have no complaints other than that, Fuel and oil consumption is similar, but the new motor is fuel injected rather than carbureted.

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Here's my two cents worth.  Electronics are more important than the boat for locating fish, and the types of bottom that hold fish.

Getting into a larger boat, with the same electronics, will not do much to improve your catch other than being able to fish in a bit harder weather.

I'd rather be in a "marginal boat" with good/great electronics, than a luxury liner with inferior electronics.

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My deciding factor would be if you fished tournaments. If you did, I would go with the larger boat. If you fish for the fun of it like I do, stay with what you got and upgrade the electronics.You say you would upgrade the trolling motor, what #thrust is yours, not powerful enough When I bought my boat, 17 ft. Lowe, I was not really looking for a large motor, maybe a 40-60. The boat I bought has a 90hp Johnson, It will run fast but most of the time  I am at 3/4 throttle. I launch close to where I am going to fish. Have you priced a new boat, sure you have, they are proud of them, couldn't believe the price but then again I cheap.

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I have an '02 17' aluminum bass boat that is paid for.  I'm upgrading the electronics on it. The boat is more than enough for the waters around here but would need to watch the weather on any bigger lakes (wind and waves mostly) since it is mostly a flat bottom rig.  I have a couple of other expensive hobbies (archery and motorcycles) so I won't be spending all my time on fishing.  No need to go with a new boat.

If you're happy with your current boat, fishes well, economical and safe then stick with it.  Upgrade what you have the money for and build it into what you want.  If it is too small or not right for the waters you fish then switch up and upgrade later.

It's all a matter of what fits your needs and wants.

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Taking a different tack, I'm not a big fan of selling a boat to someone I know, and no doubt will be interacting with regularly after the sale.

I did that once, for the next year and a half, until that guy took a different job out of state, everything that went wrong with that boat was my fault, something that I didn't tell him about.  Telling him to do his research, that he bought the boat below market cost didn't work.   Telling him that if the boat was in better shape it would have cost more money didn't work.   Finally I just had to communicate that "look, we're done here - you wanted the boat , I sold you the boat, you gave me money, I gave you the boat - end of story.   Not my problem anymore."

It became my job to coach him through every tick little repair.   So, anyway, based on my experiences, I wouldn't sell a boat to a neighbor.  I'd do a trade with the dealer and eat the difference OR if I had storage room, keep boat A for a back up.   If you ever get your own fishing show, you will need a camera boat.

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12 hours ago, Jeff Browning said:

What pushed you in the direction of the new boat vs. upgrading what you had? 

Well one thing is, I wanted more room for the family and the Tracker only had a bench style seats so when I took more the sat on the decks, then when I had 4 people the 40hp Merc wasn't enough power for my liking.  Fig if I was to spend 6k on a new engine, and make some seating for the decks I'm over 7k since my merc would need a new warring harness for the 4s. cleaning out my fuel tank, and the fan wants to try skiing and tubing. So thats why I upgraded

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I'd pay cash for the upgrades - they will do more to improve your fishing than the new boat...unless the old boat is a complete PITA to fish out of.

The biggest reason: take the electronics with you when you eventually move to a new boat.  My 101 Terrova has been on three different boats, my 360°,1198 and 798 have been on two.

Since I buy used boats, I just swap the electronics off what I buy onto the old boat and out the door she goes.

I probably would not upgrade the motor on the existing boat unless I planned to keep it a long time, you'll never come close to getting your money back when you sell...again, unless the existing motor is a complete PITA.

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Thanks for the replies and lessons learned.

The TM is 45# and when I was on the Ohio the wind came up and I was blown all over the place.  The motor would not hold position.  I'm hoping a bigger TM would help with that, plus the 24v system should run for a little longer on non-windy days.

The 50hp, 2-stroke, runs but is finicky.  It starts and runs fine when cold, but after I've gone to a spot, when I need to start it I have to choke it every time and it's difficult to start without increasing the throttle to nearly 1/2.  I've had to pull start it several times until I learned how to overcome the issue.  I believe a 4-stroke would be less finicky and start normally (I could be wrong) because the other boats I see with them start like car engines.  I will have the engine looked at this spring as I don't have the money for the electronics and the engine this year and don't want to finance things like that.

I plan to explore a little more this year.  I'd like to get to Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River and Erie.  I know I need to watch the weather up there.  I don't "NEED" a bigger boat, and any tournaments I fish will be local club tournaments.  I am running out of storage, but that's mostly due to my not figuring out the most efficient way to organize my things yet. 

I work a 14 day on - 14 day off schedule and plan to fish even more this year!!  I will spend a lot of time in the boat this year. 

 

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54 minutes ago, Jeff Browning said:

The TM is 45# and when I was on the Ohio the wind came up and I was blown all over the place.  The motor would not hold position.  I'm hoping a bigger TM would help with that, plus the 24v system should run for a little longer on non-windy days.

 

My boat is light for an 18+ footer (<1,100 pounds empty) and does not have high sides, so it doesn't get batted around in the wind much...and there's still no way I'd go with less than a 36 volt system for exactly the reasons you mention:

  1. I don't want to get blown all over and that 101 will hold me in all but the worst wind,
  2. I want that long battery life - I often fish 10 or 12 hour days and always have plenty of juice left.

A couple of other things:

  1. I fish a lot of current, that 101 will hold me in some pretty decent current.
  2. If I really need extra power I've got it. We had to run back about 5 miles on LOTW last summer because I had a problem with my starting battery...took about 2 hours on the Terrova, fishing all the way...

It probably costs me an extra 75 - 90 lbs. between the extra battery and the 4 bank charger, but it's worth it to me.

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13 minutes ago, Further North said:

My boat is light for an 18+ footer (<1,100 pounds empty) and does not have high sides, so it doesn't get batted around in the wind much...and there's still no way I'd go with less than a 36 volt system for exactly the reasons you mention:

  1. I don't want to get blown all over and that 101 will hold me in all but the worst wind,
  2. I want that long battery life - I often fish 10 or 12 hour days and always have plenty of juice left.

A couple of other things:

  1. I fish a lot of current, that 101 will hold me in some pretty decent current.
  2. If I really need extra power I've got it. We had to run back about 5 miles on LOTW last summer because I had a problem with my starting battery...took about 2 hours on the Terrova, fishing all the way...

It probably costs me an extra 75 - 90 lbs. between the extra battery and the 4 bank charger, but it's worth it to me.

and this is where Tracker has failed IMO. Their package deals that include the bare bones minimum keep the pricing low and people are unhappy and upgrade equipment and or boats. I'm not saying that is the case in the OP's situation. Trackers are not usually ordered. They are bought off the showroom floor The advertised pricing is with underpowered motors. They all come wired for 12v trolling motors (OP, you may need to upgrade the wiring if you choose to keep the boat and upgrade the TM). They all come with a single entry level graph on the bow, etc. If one was to order a Tracker, rather than buy it off the showroom floor, the pricing is right in line with the competition that is similarly rigged, maybe even higher. Personally, I would purchase the graphs and trolling motor online even with a new boat. Can save a ton of money doing it that way.

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4 minutes ago, slonezp said:

Personally, I would purchase the graphs and trolling motor online even with a new boat. Can save a ton of money doing it that way.

That's what I do, then rig it myself.

I save a bunch of $$$, and I enjoy the work.

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Guys, in your experience, are my engine issues just typical of a 2-stroke Merc?  I am not equipped to get deep into the motor and just talking to some guys around the river they seem to think it's no big deal.  I've been a mechanic for over 20 years, all be it on aircraft, I can't stand it when things don't operate like they are supposed to. 

I will look into the wiring issue for the 24 and 36v options.  I didn't even consider that, but it won't keep me from doing it.  I love that kind of work too - so long as I have a place, out of the weather, to do it.

Thanks again for the input.

Jeff

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I'm just a dumb Cajun but this is what I read on sell and buy another.

You will be going from a boat that aint equipped the way you like it to a boat that aint equipped the way you like it and ya gaining a note?

Before I up graded anything I'd put that 50 hp in the shop!

One thing I will not put up with is a motor the don't run right peroid!

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7 hours ago, Jeff Browning said:

Guys, in your experience, are my engine issues just typical of a 2-stroke Merc?  I am not equipped to get deep into the motor and just talking to some guys around the river they seem to think it's no big deal.  I've been a mechanic for over 20 years, all be it on aircraft, I can't stand it when things don't operate like they are supposed to. 

I will look into the wiring issue for the 24 and 36v options.  I didn't even consider that, but it won't keep me from doing it.  I love that kind of work too - so long as I have a place, out of the weather, to do it.

Thanks again for the input.

Jeff

I have an '02 Merc 75 that is cold natured.  Once I get it started it runs good all day.  But the first start is the hardest.  When was the last time you changed your fuel line and bulb to the engine?  They go bad fast with today's fuel and can lose pressure to the engine. When was the last time you drained the fuel tank?  Water and other crap settle in the bottom and cause problems.  You may need to pull the tank to clean it properly.  Add a bottle or two of Seafoam to your fuel tank to help clean out the carbs and absorb any moisture in the fuel.

You said you've had to pull start the engine.  Why?  Batteries run low?  May be time to replace them especially if you're going to upgrade to a 24V system.  Why start with weak batteries?  Plus, you'll need to add a 3rd battery for starting the engine if you don't already have one (I currently have two connected in parallel that drive both the TM and engine...so I'll need to add one for starting and electronics only when I convert to 24V).  Like they say, it's only money...

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Keep the boat. Upgrade the trolling motor and electronics, service your outboard (I highly recommend buying the Mercury official shop manual and doing it yourself,) and save the rest of the money. Keep the outboard in top shape, so that you can sell it for a good price next year when you're ready to upgrade to the 75hp.

Then while fishing think about how much richer you are for exercising restraint, and relish in knowing that a bank doesn't have the title to "your" boat. 

 

 

 

 

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I would suggest you upgrade & stay out of debt. Also as others have suggested get your motor running correctly so you can enjoy it. The sell it & upgrade cycle is always available in the future.  

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I agree with Ohio Archer. Carbureted Mercs are finicky in the cold. Being that old, if your fuel delivery lines and bulb are not ethanol rated, they probably have broken down and clogged up the carb(s) 

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Thank you again for the info on the motor.  I will order the shop manual form Mercury and do some of the work myself.  While the lure of having a boat that no one has messed with but me is appealing, the thought of a payment is not appealing.  Listening to your opinions on upgrading I think I will go that route and have the motor serviced.  I will change the fuel line, filter, and plugs and check the tank for contaminants.

Thanks for the input!

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Jeff

I have a 2005 50 HP Mercury 2 stroke (ELPTO). I've had it for 2 years and use it a lot. I agree with what to other poster said citing his 75 HP. The 3 cyl 2 stroke merc is never going to idle as smooth as a 4 cyl 4 stroke. That is just the nature of the beast.

About 2 weeks ago I finally winterized the motor so I had to run it on the muffs. Because of work it had been 8 weeks since the motor had been run. This motor fired right up which is typical when cold and sitting for a while. But for the first 12 months I had the boat once warm or when at idle for extended periods of time the motor would lose prime. Same thing when I arrived at the fishing spot, if the motor set for an half hour I would have to pump the primer bulb to get it running.

I had replaced all of the fuel lines, fuel pump, filter, tried different carb jets, on and on which helped but still not perfect.  A big part of the problem was that I have two 6 gallon fuel tanks and the problems happened with both tanks so I thought the problem had to be somewhere else. Out of despiration I took both of the tanks apart and resealed them. The problems went away mostly when using 1 of the two tanks.

Still some minor idle problems continued. After much head scratching I finally found a small air leak in one of the new fuel lines. Fixed that and I'm very happy now. Starts warm, holds prime, life is good. So my advice is go over the entire fuel system start to finish and make sure there are no leaks large or small.

 

ON EDIT: I forgot to add, my opinion re: keep the boat or sell. I grew up on the Jersey Shore and we had boats let me tell you. After college I swore I would never have a boat but my wife nagged to into getting one anyway. :) It had been almost 40 years since I boated so it felt like I was starting all over new and some things like bow mounted TMs were new to me.

Anyway, my opinion of course, I would not ever want to owe money on a boat, not even a little. There is a  difference in my opinion between owing a boat and a boat owing you. Some of my friends parents when I was a kid had large boats (25-40 foot big water units) that they couldn't afford to take out. Of course we are not talking about boats that size. When I bought my 16' tin I paid cash. I can go fishing all day and use less than $20.00 fuel and usually much less than $20.00. But things do break and go wrong and even little boats can cost big money to keep afloat  so given that this is a hobby, my vote is IF the boat does MOST of what require of this hobby then keep the boat and fish the daylights out of it.

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