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Way2slow

Looking for feed back on Aluminum boats

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OK, I'm feeling out you tin can guys. I'm considering joining your ranks next spring.  I have had a couple smaller 15' and 16' over the years to try in small lakes/ponds and got rid of them almost as fast as I got them because when sitting in the pedestal seats, you never sat level, the things always leaned one way or the other.  Now I'm thinking of maybe getting as wide of a 17'-18' model as they make, used of course not a new one.  I want one that has a pretty good ride (for aluminum), thinking maybe one of the die pressed hulls instead of riveted/welded.  Figured they would have the best ride and speed.  There seem to be a lot of aluminum boat owners on here so figured this to be a good place for some feed back.

As some of you know, I've always been a speed freak.  I have not owned a bass boat since the late 70's that would not run at least 70 mph, but I have gotten where I'm very comfortable being able to cruise at 3/4 throttle in the upper 40's to mid 50's and have no qualms about over powering a hull to do that. 

I've gotten to the point I'm going to the lake very seldom because I'm mostly by myself now and pushing 70 (age not speed) these big, heavy, glass boats can get to be a pain in the butt at times when conditions are bad.  Plus, being retired, hauling and feeding them is getting pretty dang expensive and figure I'll see if I can reduce that expense some also.  So, I'm thinking of selling or giving the Javelin Renegade 20DC to my granddaughter (who says if I ever got rid of it she wanted it) and getting me something a little smaller and lighter, and thinking along the lines of an aluminum to do that.  I still have three other 17.5'-18.5' glass bass boats that stay at different lakes that I seldom use because I seldom go to those lakes (long trips), but my main boat is the Javelin I haul to the different lakes around GA I go to, and that's the one I'm thinking of down sizing.

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My Xpress, with the Hyperlift pad hull was a great boat.  Tough as nails.  Yes, hatches leaked a bit, and rough trips on Erie or Ontario would require checking for loose screws.  The layout was easily my favorite.  Mine did have a casting deck extension. That boat is still tearing up the club scene with the guy who bought from me.

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I own a Lowe Stinger 170. Mine is a 2010, the last year for that floor plan. I have had 11 boats in 40 years. This is one of my best boats. I would rank it 3rd behind my two big fiberglass rockets. There is tons of storage on the boat, it rides well, has a very wide front deck (wider than my friend's Z8 Nitro) and will store 12 rods up to 7 foot in the center rod box. The boat with a 75 HP (max hp allowed) runs in the high 30s and if propped right should hit 40 mph. Mine does not for several reasons. First I run an old 2 stroke 3 cylinder Merc ( bought it cheap when I repowered). I run on the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal creeks where the possibility of hitting something submerged is high, so I choose to run a performance aluminum prop and a Stingray Hydrofoil. This does not provide the fastest combo but rather the best overall and smoothest ride in rough water. This saves my internal organs so I will be satisfied running around 35.  Overall it is a good boat. Their trailers, I not impressed with for several reasons. My main dislike is the hub and axle, the way the boat "sits" on the bunks etc. I have gone as far as I can to make the boat glide on and off that trailer. My next job will be to remove their welded on brackets and start from scratch so it is done right. I believe they specced one trailer and used it for too many models meaning  none fit right.  Anyway as it sits the boat takes off almost perfectly level, I have been out fishing and dealt with 20 plus mph with a legit foot to two foot waves and caught stripers ( kept hiding around some islands ( but had to run that rough stuff to get back).  The boat is terrific when we go to Center Hill, and Dale Hollow out in TN/KY. These are more like the waters you would be running down in your areas I believe.

I purchased this 17.5 foot boat because I wanted a boat I could run rigged with a trim/tilt plate and a 25 hp engine. I did this to fish a lake near my home and it had a hp restriction. With that setup and the right prop it came out level and ran 18 mph. I also knew I would move and could repower. If I was starting out fishing waters that had no hp restrictions then I would have looked at 19 foot boats. They can take much bigger engines and some have terrific storage layouts. I would automatically ignore the boats that have front livewells, to me that is stupid. 

Good Luck in your search. Check out Crestliner, Xpress,AlumaCraft, Triton, etc. I would avoid Trackers, the quality never impressed me.

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My first boat was a 18' Lund with a 150 4-stroke Yamaha & a T8 kicker. 96" wide & very stabile. You could stand on the gunnel and it maintains level.

My current boat is a Starcraft 20' 2" and has a 100" beam. Powered by a 250 Pro XS with a 9.9 Pro kicker. It is a heavy boat at 1734lbs,  boat only. Top speed is 60 mph with two guys & gear. Also very stable in the water. Both boats are rivet construction. 

Lund, Starcraft, Crestliner & Alumacraft are the most popular brands around the great lakes. The debate about welded hulls versus riveted still goes on but the the riveted hulls are still most popular. 

 

starcraft 004.JPG

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Dwight, that's a nice boat but that ain't doing much down sizing for me, plus that one is too purtty for me.  I'd be scared to put it in a lot of places I go, being scared I might scratch it.  Other than length difference of an inch or so, maybe, yours is bigger and heavier than my Javelin all the way around.  I would feel like I'm fishing out of the Queen Mary in a boat that size.

Yep, heard that weld vs rivet argument all my life.  Welded boats crack, riveted boats leak because the rivets come loose but welded boats always seem to cost a lot more I think is the main reason for seeing more riveted boats.  That's why I figured I would avoid that debate and get a stamped hull, but I've heard complaints of them cracking also.

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Way2slow here are some pics of my Lowe just for ideas. I use both fishing seats some times and a leaning post other times

Go take a look at a few videos on you tube. There are some Boat test.com's reviews that are pretty good.  If I was purchasing another I would go for a 18 foot with  115 to 150 four stroke myself.

HPIM0400.JPGDSCN0017.JPG

 

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I'd be looking for an Xpress X series, used.  There's an X19 with a 150 Yammie on Boat Trader.  It's a little underpowered, but for $10,900, looks pretty clean.

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I've been thinking of upsizing a bit. I have a 14' aluminum now and would like to go to 17 to 18 feet. I still want aluminum to keep it light.  So far I've been looking hard at Lund and SmokerCraft and like what I've seen. The SmokerCraft Pro Camp has a nice balance between light weight and features. Their Ultima and Pro Angler also look nice but they are getting up there in weight.

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I'm not looking right now, just getting an idea what I want to look for.   About  December, sometimes people get to looking at those useless boats and thinking that would be some quick Christmas money and some outrageous deals come up.  One of  those almost too good to be true deals would probably spur my interest  sooner but otherwise, not right now. 

You also have to remember, I usually buy at actions, normally something needing some engine work that I get for about a quarter on the dollar.   Like my Javelin, at the time I got it, it was easily a $17,000 boat and I got it for less than $5,000 but all the injectors and other major parts of the motor was in the storage boxes on the boat and nobody would touch it.  I spent $1,100 getting the ecm upgraded and getting it running, and have not had a minutes trouble in the 10 years since.

Fishnkamp, yours is about the size I have in mind, but from the few I've been in, because of the hull, max out at about 45 mph before they start doing unpleasant things.  That's why I was thinking of one of the newer stamped out hulls.  I've heard they perform pretty much like a glass hull.

As for being under powered, out of about 11 motors between 4hp and 325hp, I think I can just about put any amount of power I want on one.  Matter of fact, I need to start thinning those out some also.

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I don't own a tin boat right now but I have owned them and have several friends who own them.  Out of all that I have owned and or ridden in there is only one that I would ever consider owning if I were to switch back to a metal boat and that is an Xpress.  They handle lift and ride more like a glass boat than anything else out there.  Find someone who owns one and get a ride.  One of my fishing buds has an 18' with a 4 stroke Yammy.  It runs in the low 50s. 

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Float pods welded on the back will virtually eliminate the boat rocking or leaning as you mentioned in the first post. My boat isn't any wider than my friends boat but is twice as stable because I have pods on the back of mine. Just a thought to consider with a tin boat.

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There are aluminum hulls and then there are aluminum hulls. Most of the 16-18ft brands have cookie cutter hulls with the main difference being the whole welded/riveted thing In my opinion the layout and storage where they can vary greatly and steer your choice.Your budget will play a roll as well. Cookie cutter boats run $14-$30k new and some of the higher end boats run $30-50k or more. Since we're showing off our tin My 20ft Lund with a 225 Pro XS

006.JPG   

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Ya'll are giving me a little different respect for the tin cans.  All the rednecks I know around that have them are the Tracker's and Lowe's and such or Pontoons,  As you said, the cookie cutter models.  The largest aluminum I've ever been in was a 17.5 Tracker with a 115 Merc on it and I have a couple friends that have them with 90's, but I've always tried to avoid going with them in theirs.  I always come up with an excuse to take mine.  Which it never takes much arm twisting because they had rather go in mine also.  It's so nice to be able to run 10 miles in choppy water and your eyeballs are not still bouncing 10 minutes after getting there and have to get your kidneys and insides back in their proper place. 

To be honest with you, I've messed with boats for about 55 years, owned at least 20-30 (with jons and all I have seven now) but have always looked at aluminum in the class of jon boats and canoes.  Very few people I know even own them.  I have never even seen or thought of an aluminum boat anything like Dwight's having a 250 or like Slonezp with a 225.

I'm glad I got on here and asked, because even though many of ya'll know, I know a little more than the average bear about boats and motors, but finding out I'm dumber than dirt on tin cans.

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Crestliner used to make a boat back in the early 2000s called the CMV.  It will do everything you mentioned and it not one of the "Cookie Cutter" boats.

Mine is an '05 and I love it - pics here: http://s189.photobucket.com/user/groznak/library/2005 Crestliner CMV?sort=3&page=1

Some are from the original owner before I bought, some are after my electronics install

There's one for sale here: http://northernwi.craigslist.org/boa/5820221614.html

...and they pop up from time to time.  With a 150, it'll get over 50MPH.

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I bought a 2000 18' SeaArk ZX180 earlier this year with a 115 Johnson and couldnt be more pleased. Very stable runs 49mph on GPS loaded with 2 anglers and all their tackle. Seems to handle good to me and the ride is as good as any other similar aluminum boat I have been on.   

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Have only had my Lund for this one season, but so far I'm quite satisfied.  

This one's 18'9" LOA with a 96" beam - she weighs 1475 hull only. The IPS2Hull design though Time Tested & Dependable is certainly Not a speed demon.  However, with the 200 hp 2-stroke it has no problem getting around.  Top end is 60 mph with just me & my gear.  Additionally, trailering, launching & recovery (solo) are all completely doable, especially considering your own level of experience.

Best of Luck to you on your journey from Plastic to Metal.

A-Jay

Lund Pro V Bass on Trailer.jpg

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A friend of mine had a tracker avalanche, which is the only stamped hull I can think of, other than the deep v version which had transom issues. I thought it was a nice boat. he had a 150 XR6 motor on it and it was good for 60 or so. Drank fuel like it was the space shuttle though! I don't imagine there are many of them out there as the stamping process must have made the hulls quite expensive compared to other aluminium boats. I don't think you're going to find many smaller aluminium boats that are going to run 70+ however much you overpower them.

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Xpress Hyper-Lift Hull ;)

The Hyper-Lift Series is their plan Jane model, they offer 3-4 package upgrades.

The 17' model has a 67" bottom width, 95" beam, & is rated for a 115 HP. The only issue I have with the 17' is it only comes with an 18 gal fuel capacity while the 18' comes with a 30 gal tank.

The 18' has a 67" bottom, 95" beam, approximate hull weight is around 1,200# & is rated for a 115-175 HP.

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Yea, it sounds like the 18' with one of my 325 mod motors on it would be about my style.  Just kidding, probably a 175 on the 18' would make a nice package.   Actually, I would probably be a lot more Leary about over powering an aluminum hull, especially having NO experience with them other than my jons.  Fiberglass fatigued will give you early warning signs, metal fatigue can be instantaneous and catastrophic, not something one would want to deal with in water too deep to walk in. 

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Catt, your trying to send me to the soup line.

I went to the Xpress sight and looked at the 18' HyperLift.  Over $23K for a basic, stripped boat with a 115.  By the time you make a real boat out of it, and put a 175 on it, I'm sure it would run well over $30K and probably close to $35K.  That's a lot to pay for an empty beer can.   Probably not many of those going to be showing up at auction. 

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You might be able to find one of the Rangers from the first aluminum line they came out with that ran from the mid 90's into the early 2000's. I haven't been in the mod-v style ones, but I've ridden in multiple of their v hull style boats. They offered a nice platform, that was stable, and gave a ride much more like a glass boat. Some of the bigger models were rated for 125's and maybe more as I can't remember how big their biggest model was. Here's a few links to examples. 

http://muskie.outdoorsfirst.com/classifieds/65544/Ranger.Cherokee/

http://walleye.outdoorsfirst.com/classifieds.asp?a=46510

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Kind of off topic, but regarding the rideability of tin.  I've only been in those spine smashing flat bottoms, which surely would jar a filling from a tooth for you, so seating could be a consideration.  Have any of you used any type of seat shocks on them?  I know I've seen a few on the market, but never really considered how much use they would be... but, considering the nature of most (no offence to the smooth riding ones) tin cans, it may be worth considering.  I know that as I age, little things which didn't used to concern me, now have to be considered.  I think perhaps an absorbing shock under my can could be one of those if I were looking at rebuilding an aluminum boat.  *Actually, I wouldn't mind having one of those spine smashing, flat bottoms in about a 2072 variant with a jet for the local river...the wife, however, disagrees.

 

 

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Whether yall like em or not,..im happy with my deep-v tracker. 20 years old and not a leak yet, stable and got me home everytime. And even with a bad back?,..I've had rougher rides in glass boats. 40 hp so its not a gas pig, trailers light, and I can still fish huge lakes. oh yeah, no console opens it right up like a floating deck

 I know they are far from the best, just saying,..mine works for me

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Why down size to a aluminum bass boat? Back in 2005 I down sized and looked at 17.5' to 18' aluminum bass boats trying to keep the HP to 115 to 150, 2 & 4 stroke engines.

What I finally decided on was glass Triton TR 175 SC  w/115 Optimax 2 stroke, Motor Guide 92 lb trolling and swing tongue trailer to fit into my garage easily. The reason for another glass bass boat was rod and tackle storage, fuel efficency, towing and trailering ease, stable fishing plate form. I didn't like the way aluminum bass boat fished in the wind we have in SoCal. Being able to launch the boat by myself and put it back on the trailer in the wind was another factor. Higher freeboard aluminum boats are not easy to handle with a trolling motor in wind as the lower freeboard bass boats. 

If I pulled the boat onto shore or fished areas where I came in contact with trees or rocks then I would go with aluminum.

I have owned about 15 bass boats over the years including both glass and aluminum at the same time.

If aluminum is the goal then the Xpress 18' is a good choice.

Tom

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Xpress X18, 150 HP, + fuel = 1920 lbs

Trition TRX179, 115 HP, + fuel = 1787 lbs

Don't see wind blowing that tin boat around!

Those questioning the Xpress ride compared to glass aint never ridden in one!

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