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tcbass

Help me with these issues with my new Stratos 186VLO

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Hello, as most of you know I bought a used 2014 Stratos 186 VLO. I just had it out for the first time. These are my thoughts and issues. 

Non-fixable issues:

1.)  Trailer tongue is too short, cannot lower pickup tailgate when backing up trailer. Much harder to do when you have a steep declining ramp.

2.)  Trailer safety cables too short. I could buy some new ones but you'd think these would be standard length.

3.)  Rod holders holes are too narrow for spinning rods. I can't believe they don't make the holes big enough for spinning rods. Most every bass fisherman also uses spinning rods.

 

Fixable Issues:

1.)  Can't see trailer when backing up with tailgate up........any good trailer guides that that aren't huge white pvc pipe ones? I'm looking for something that would just hold a thin rod up so that I can see the trailer above the tailgate.

2.)  Speedometer light doesn't work and the speedometer didn't work. I recorded on my phone the speedometer staying at zero when I was going WOT. I did it again and the speedometer slowly rose to 37 mph with 2 people in it. When I test drove it it went 48mph. I checked electrical wires and they all seemed to be fine. 

If I have to order a new speedometer where can I order the correct replacement for cheap?

3.)  Trim light also does not work. I will be checking out bulb when I get a chance.

4.)  Evinrude E-Tec is apparently a 2 stage start outboard. You turn it til it hits one point and 4 lights go on on the rpm gauge. Once those lights go off you turn the key to the right some more and it starts. Well, this one doesn't seem to have a hard stop for the 1st stage and it's easy to go right to starting it without letting the lights turn on and off. Is there a way to fix this?

5.)  No boat buckles. That problem will be easily solved though. Forgot how much of a pain it is when you don't have those! 

6.)  2 Bank Charger.....the boat has what appears to be a 2 bank Minn Kota charger but has 3 batteries, the 2 for the trolling motor and the 3rd for starting. I believe that they have the 2 TM batteries connected and are charging them with 1 bank while charging the starting battery with the other.....isn't that incorrect? Shouldn't you be using a 3 bank?

 

Other than those issues the boat is great. I love the 115 horse Evinrude E-Tec. I do wish it was a 20 footer. Being my 1st bass boat I realize that you are giving up about 3-4 feet of boat for the driving position and seats because your legs are extended out. I have short legs and can actually sit in it like a regular chair so there's about 2 feet of wasted space. I wonder if the new Lund Bass boat doesn't waste that space since you sit more regular in it.

 

Well, thanks for the help in advance.

 

 

 

 

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 Lets start with the fixables. Try adding "spot" mirrors to your outside mirrors that may help. Those stupid tubes as you say do work but look dumb on a fiberglass bass boat. If the spot mirrors do not help you could go to an RV supply store and look into the add on mirrors they use to tow with

Items like this https://www.zoro.com/reese-clip-on-towing-mirror-72787/i/G8137114/?utm_term=D_PB20_Auto&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=PLA_US_2&utm_content=Auto %26 Truck Maintenance&gclid=CNLn0_i7ps4CFZPo6QodpYMGEA&gclsrc=ds or

https://www.realtruck.com/cipa-custom-towing-mirrors/?productid=886813&gad=CK1Eqb0CEgiAIunlUZTpsxitqKv_AyCxirIS&utm_campaign=product+ads&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=886813&utm_keyword=CIPA+Custom+Towing+Mirrors

or add a back up camera.

Now the tach I recommend you pull it out and see what brand and series it is. many of them are available on the internet at places like West Marine, Bass Pro and others. Most likely you have a blown fuse or burnt out bulb on the lights. Make sure you have your running lights switch on and check for voltage at the bulb. If your speedometer uses a pitot tube ( a hose going to a pitot tube on the back of the boat the tube or hose can get clogged. Remove it from the gauge and blow compressed air back to the back of the boat. It happens.

Add your rod buckles they are easily obtained from places like Bass Pro or Cabelas.

I run a 24 volt trolling motor and a 2 bank charger all the time. I also have 3 batteries. The one for the engine is not hooked up to it and does not need to be.  If your trolling motor is a 24 volt one then one bank of the charger should be connected to tm battery 1 and the second bank should hook to tm battery 2. The engine battery runs the engine, lights,electronics and pumps for livewell and bilge. This engine does not need to be recharged by an onboard charger. It is recharged by your outboard engines alternator while the engine is running. A 3 bank charger is a luxury item.

Here are a couple of thoughts on your trailer. Please post a picture of the tongue on the trailer. If it is a swing away a welder metal shop may be able to build you a longer bolt on swing away piece.  The break away chain or cable are usually a set length but the length you need varies by your vehicle and particular hitch arrangement. When i purchased my current S10 ZR2 the hitch was recessed further back under the truck so the holes the chains clipped into was farther away from the ball.  I added 2 heavy duty shackles to my hitch then I added 2 heavy duty snap links like this from Lowes. It added enough extra length and made connecting and disconnecting to the truck easy.  

  The Hillman Group Snap Link

I hope this helps.

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1 hour ago, tcbass said:

 

Non-fixable issues:

1.)  Trailer tongue is too short, cannot lower pickup tailgate when backing up trailer. Much harder to do when you have a steep declining ramp.

2.)  Trailer safety cables too short. I could buy some new ones but you'd think these would be standard length.

3.)  Rod holders holes are too narrow for spinning rods. I can't believe they don't make the holes big enough for spinning rods. Most every bass fisherman also uses spinning rods.

 

1. Easy fix. Learn to back up with the side view mirrors. I haven't used my rear view mirror or turned around in years. 

2. No, you wouldn't think there is a standard length as not every vehicle to trailer will be the same length. Just get some new ones. 

3. Take out the rod organizer. I've never had them in my boats and would never want them. They take up an unnecessary amount of space and limit storage.

 

1 hour ago, tcbass said:

Fixable Issues:

1.)  Can't see trailer when backing up with tailgate up........any good trailer guides that that aren't huge white pvc pipe ones? I'm looking for something that would just hold a thin rod up so that I can see the trailer above the tailgate.

2.)  Speedometer light doesn't work and the speedometer didn't work. I recorded on my phone the speedometer staying at zero when I was going WOT. I did it again and the speedometer slowly rose to 37 mph with 2 people in it. When I test drove it it went 48mph. I checked electrical wires and they all seemed to be fine. 

If I have to order a new speedometer where can I order the correct replacement for cheap?

3.)  Trim light also does not work. I will be checking out bulb when I get a chance.

4.)  Evinrude E-Tec is apparently a 2 stage start outboard. You turn it til it hits one point and 4 lights go on on the rpm gauge. Once those lights go off you turn the key to the right some more and it starts. Well, this one doesn't seem to have a hard stop for the 1st stage and it's easy to go right to starting it without letting the lights turn on and off. Is there a way to fix this?

5.)  No boat buckles. That problem will be easily solved though. Forgot how much of a pain it is when you don't have those! 

6.)  2 Bank Charger.....the boat has what appears to be a 2 bank Minn Kota charger but has 3 batteries, the 2 for the trolling motor and the 3rd for starting. I believe that they have the 2 TM batteries connected and are charging them with 1 bank while charging the starting battery with the other.....isn't that incorrect? Shouldn't you be using a 3 bank?

 

Other than those issues the boat is great. I love the 115 horse Evinrude E-Tec. I do wish it was a 20 footer. Being my 1st bass boat I realize that you are giving up about 3-4 feet of boat for the driving position and seats because your legs are extended out. I have short legs and can actually sit in it like a regular chair so there's about 2 feet of wasted space. I wonder if the new Lund Bass boat doesn't waste that space since you sit more regular in it.

 1. Again, learn to back up with side view mirrors. It's ridiculously easy. 

2, You're better off unplugging the boat's speedometer and leaving it. It isn't an accurate gauge of speed and will almost never read accurately. Any marine mechanic will tell you the same thing. Use your GPS on your electronics for an accurate reading. 

3. You've already been instructed to check the bulbs earlier.

4. It's called a system check. Any system check gauge I've used was initiated turning the key to the "on" position which had a "hard stop". Then I would turn the key to fire it up. No idea if yours is supposed to stop. That would have been a question for the mechanic that checked out your boat.

5. They are great and a cheap fix.

6. I've explained this to you before. You should have a charger for every battery on your boat. Yes, your outboard does charge your battery while running but what most people don't realize a short 5-10 min run doesn't fully charge a battery even at WOT. If you are short runs each time or simply make a couple miles run and stop to fish all day and then take the same trip back, you are never fully charging your battery that runs everything on your boat aside from your TM. Your battery is left being uncharged which will lead to failure. Get a 3 bank charger or a remote charger to hook it up to when you're done. Playing a guessing game each time is stupid.

I've had one of these on my past 2 boats. Never had an issue. Awesome charger.

https://www.amazon.com/Dual-Pro-Bank-Professional-Charger/dp/B0000XQ76S

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1 hour ago, tcbass said:

Hello, as most of you know I bought a used 2014 Stratos 186 VLO. I just had it out for the first time. These are my thoughts and issues. 

Non-fixable issues:

1.)  Trailer tongue is too short, cannot lower pickup tailgate when backing up trailer. Much harder to do when you have a steep declining ramp.

2.)  Trailer safety cables too short. I could buy some new ones but you'd think these would be standard length. They are perfect for the short trailer tongue

3.)  Rod holders holes are too narrow for spinning rods. I can't believe they don't make the holes big enough for spinning rods. Most every bass fisherman also uses spinning rods.

 

Fixable Issues:

1.)  Can't see trailer when backing up with tailgate up........any good trailer guides that that aren't huge white pvc pipe ones? I'm looking for something that would just hold a thin rod up so that I can see the trailer above the tailgate. Use your mirrors

2.)  Speedometer light doesn't work and the speedometer didn't work. I recorded on my phone the speedometer staying at zero when I was going WOT. I did it again and the speedometer slowly rose to 37 mph with 2 people in it. When I test drove it it went 48mph. I checked electrical wires and they all seemed to be fine. Pickup tube probably has a blockage any graph that has gps should also tell you the speed.

If I have to order a new speedometer where can I order the correct replacement for cheap?

3.)  Trim light also does not work. I will be checking out bulb when I get a chance.

4.)  Evinrude E-Tec is apparently a 2 stage start outboard. You turn it til it hits one point and 4 lights go on on the rpm gauge. Once those lights go off you turn the key to the right some more and it starts. Well, this one doesn't seem to have a hard stop for the 1st stage and it's easy to go right to starting it without letting the lights turn on and off. Is there a way to fix this?

5.)  No boat buckles. That problem will be easily solved though. Forgot how much of a pain it is when you don't have those! Boat buckles come in 2 sizes. Buy the larger size

6.)  2 Bank Charger.....the boat has what appears to be a 2 bank Minn Kota charger but has 3 batteries, the 2 for the trolling motor and the 3rd for starting. I believe that they have the 2 TM batteries connected and are charging them with 1 bank while charging the starting battery with the other.....isn't that incorrect? Shouldn't you be using a 3 bank? The alternator can charge the starting battery providing you make long runs. A charger with 1 bank per battery is insurance that a dead starting battery won't leave you stranded

 

Other than those issues the boat is great. I love the 115 horse Evinrude E-Tec. I do wish it was a 20 footer. Being my 1st bass boat I realize that you are giving up about 3-4 feet of boat for the driving position and seats because your legs are extended out. I have short legs and can actually sit in it like a regular chair so there's about 2 feet of wasted space. I wonder if the new Lund Bass boat doesn't waste that space since you sit more regular in it.

 

Well, thanks for the help in advance.

 

 

 

 

 

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I'll have to check the pickup tube. When I try using the mirrors when I finally see the boat trailer it is way off to one side and then I have to do a huge correction which can be a pain. A cheap backup camera sounds like a good idea. 

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You would be amazed how much help the extended mirrors can do to help you. I also not sure what vehicle you are towing with but a lot of today's vehicles have smaller mirrors than say the old Fords had you know the one that had a metal arm extend out turn down and reconnect to the truck door sheet metal.Towing was so much easier with that style mirror.

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Good advice...on backing up...I'll never be able to use the mirrors...so I turn around.  It is what it is...when I try to use the mirrors the signal to by brain gets crossed up, no matter how much I practice.  I've been towing and backing up trailers for almost 40 years...I've I haven't figured it out in that time, I'm not going to worry about it.  I do plenty of other things well.

The back-up camera is a great idea.

On the charger: To reinforce what others have said, if you make consistent long runs, your big motor will charge your battery...if, like me and a lot of other fishermen, the lakes you fish are relatively small...or you hop from spot to spot...you'll never get back what it takes to start the motor, much less what the electronics and other accessories are using.  On the lake I fish most often, from one end to the other doesn't take 10 minutes...no way I'm going to ever fully charge the starting battery.  Even when I fish a big lake like Lake of the Woods...I spot hop with the longest run typically coming at the end of the day...when my battery is at its weakest...

I run 5 batteries:

  • 3 for 36 volt trolling motor batteries.
  • 1 for the big motor.
  • 1 for the electronics and the accessories.

I don't have a radio, I don't ever run my live well pumps (converted the live well to storage)

I run a Minn Kota 4 bank charger and a separate Minn Kota single bank charger.  It's a little redundant...but I'll never have to worry about not having enough juice to crank the motor.

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If the speedometer's are off, is the boat slower or faster then it is saying?

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1 hour ago, RUSS9999 said:

If the speedometer's are off, is the boat slower or faster then it is saying?

That all depends on the setup. Most bass boats change angle when you trim and that means the angle the water enters the hole changes. On my dad's boat the speedo reads into the upper 60's and then you trim a little further and feel the boat gaining speed but the speedo drops into the 30's. GPS is a far more reliable way to get an accurate speed on a boat. If you don't have one and want to find out the difference between gps and your speedo, just download a speedo app on your phone and compare. 

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I have a Lowe 180W with a 90h Johnson.  The pick up for the speedometer is built in to the lower unit. On a slow day it says 43 and on a good day 45. My old Tracker Tournament TX with 60h was the same speed, but I fill like the Lowe is faster.

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Backing up a trailer using mirrors can be difficult, especially if nobody has shown you how to do it.  So...here ya go.  It includes simple tips that make it really easy.

You're welcome. :)

 

 

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Glen, that's a great video.

...I've done everything you suggest, and I still have to turn around...I can't process the the input from the mirrors...I still want to turn the wrong way every time after 40 years...

Dunno if it's visual dyslexia...Or that I'm overthinking it at some subconscious level...

...my brother is exactly the same way.

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