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mheichelbech

15-20 year old fiberglass boats??

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Seriously considering buying a boat again. I’ve had 3 so far all 14-17.5 feet.  I’d like to get a bigger one, 19/20 feet.  The models in the budget I have set seem to be in the 15-20 year age range.  Rangers, Skeeters, Pro Craft type models are most popular in my area.  In my experience, Rangers provide the best ride in rougher water.  I feel like they are the “Toyota” of bass boats.  My questions are:

 

Is Yamaha longer lasting or cheaper to maintain and keep long living than a Mercury or Evinrude/Johnson?

 

Some boats/engines I see have been essentially rebuilt, rebuilt motor, new carpet, upholstery, etc.  Would it be better to have an older engine that’s been “rebuilt” or one that maybe doesn’t have a ton of hours or the owner says he never had any trouble, etc.

 

What about trailers?  How can you tell the condition of the axles?  I had a friend who bought a boat and the hub or something had been welded back and it all broke and his wheel came off at the boat ramp (not a pretty sight!)

 

Just curious about the main pitfalls of a boat that old.  I’m aware that it’s important to know the overall condition and service history.  Curious abou those pitfalls you never hear about until it happens to you.

 

All advice/experience is greatly appreciated!

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Wood construction.  There's wood under that fiberglass somewhere.  As I get older, I want less projects and work. Soft decks and transoms are common.

Do your research before you buy.

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Take a really experienced boat person with you who knows what to look for. If you are not really knowledgeable in fiber glass boats, especially older ones, you can end up buying a real money pit.  Old fiber glass boats can come with lots of fiber glass and gelcoat problems, which can get really expensive to restore.

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1 hour ago, OnthePotomac said:

Take a really experienced boat person with you who knows what to look for. If you are not really knowledgeable in fiber glass boats, especially older ones, you can end up buying a real money pit.  Old fiber glass boats can come with lots of fiber glass and gelcoat problems, which can get really expensive to restore.

Thanks...that’s what I was looking to know about...what are those hard to see pitfalls.  

 

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My Ranger is 31 years old this spring and is still as solid as the day I brought it home. Everything depends on how it’s been stored and maintained. 

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It is ALL about who has operated and or maintained the boat. If you are patient and carefully look you will have the opportunity to buy a boat that has been owned by someone akin to the "little old lady who drove it only to the supermarket." A friend about a year ago bought a 1985 Bassmasters Classic Ranger 361V with a Johnson GT 150 and Evinrude trolling motor. The gentleman who owned it absolutely took amazing care of it. It looked brand new, boat and trailer. He paid 7200 for the rig. Even had new batteries and new carpet and upholstery, which he had custom made to match the old upholstery. 

As far as engines, I ran a Johnson GT 150 on an 88 Skeeter and it was flawless. I have heard many times that Mariner is the largest sold motor brand in 3rd world countries where maintenance is difficult at best.

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My 2005 is falling into that year boat.  When I was looking, the main things I checked were, in order, transom, big motor, hull and trailer.  Transom.....lift up and down on the motor while trimmed up and check for flex or cracks.  Check the motor mounting bolts for sealant and if it is a wood core transom, any brown streaks from the holes.  Big motor.....try to get the hours and maintenance records.  Always have it checked out by a mechanic on your own dime if you don’t buy.  Rebuilt lower unit is normally due to some sort of impact and you just need to know who did the rebuild and why.  Check the transom extra close on those with a rebuilt lower and the underneath side of the hull.  Replaced,power head or rebuilt power head requires more info.  Who rebuilt and why.  Did the reason for the upper to blow get rectified or identified? I have a Yamaha 250 HPDI on my boat and I will tell you that Yamahas need to be serviced regularly.  There are a lot,of fuel filters.  They got a bad rap for blowing but mine has 500 hours and runs well.  I do keep up on the maintenance.  Trailer.....make sure all the lights work and if it has brakes that they have been maintained.  As for the axles, if they are leaking grease or oil then you will have to address.  Maintenance history on the bearings would be nice.  Finally, water test the boat and not on the hose.  Make sure everything works as stated, pumps, lights, gauges, etc. and if the motor performs well.  Check for stress cracks in the gel.  While usually cosmetic, some are problematic and may indicate a bad stringer system.  It took me 2 years of looking to find my boat and I had to be flexible when I found it because it was full of mold from sitting under a bad cover for a couple of years. It has taken a lot of work but it is a great boat that I got a good deal on.  I have towed it all over the country.  

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20 years old is a 1999 model and I don't know of any name brand bass boat 20 years old that has glassed over wood transum or stringers. 1990 and older some Skeeters still had wood transum and stringer that dry rot.

If you can find a single owner boat that has been garaged it should be in excellent condition and only the engine may be suspect. Check the engine run hours, there should be an hour meter. Ranger came with Mercury OB and Skeeter with Yamaha.

Triton is also an excellent hull starting in 2005, BassCat from 1990 to date would be a few other boats to add to your list.

Tom

PS, don't call someone's Ranger a Toyota, they were considered the Cadilac of bass boats 20 years ago.

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22 hours ago, WRB said:

20 years old is a 1999 model and I don't know of any name brand bass boat 20 years old that has glassed over wood transum or stringers. 1990 and older some Skeeters still had wood transum and stringer that dry rot.

If you can find a single owner boat that has been garaged it should be in excellent condition and only the engine may be suspect. Check the engine run hours, there should be an hour meter. Ranger came with Mercury OB and Skeeter with Yamaha.

Triton is also an excellent hull starting in 2005, BassCat from 1990 to date would be a few other boats to add to your list.

Tom

PS, don't call someone's Ranger a Toyota, they were considered the Cadilac of bass boats 20 years ago.

I hate to say this but I have much greater respect for a Toyota (esp Tundra) than I do a Cadillac.  I meant that as a compliment ie the best.

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