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Need Echelon Advice and Manual


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Have contract on a 1994 Echelon and wondering what to look for. I've done a dry land inspection and it's very nice...esp. the new motor! Funny history on boat...but sat most of life...taken in lien deal...next owner didn't winterize and block cracked.

So...from a visual standpoint...VGC. Not new but nicest used open bow comp ski boat I've found in a year of looking.

Planning on water test in few weeks to make sure all works as should and starts/runs fine.

Mostly a stern drive and outboard guy...but have been a few inboards so used to various sounds, ride, etc. But really, what should I pay closest attention to during water test? I know older inboards vibrate a little...but how much should there be?

This is a BIG purchase for my family with times we live in so want to make sure I don't overlook anything. Appreciate all insights.

Should note a casual slalom skier so lot of controls on this new to me...timers, speed settings, etc. Hey...at least I knew to buy a 'Bu right? Hope to have my 7 and 9 yr olds experience the zen I do when skiing.

Also...no manual with this. Does Malibu sell reprints going back years? I do my own maintenance and would like to see what "factory" says to do.

Up in Midwest...so will have to winterize. Oh...it's the 350 Mercruiser...265HP I believe...

Thanks!

Grant

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Welcome....This should help a bit. http://www.themalibucrew.com/forums/index....showtopic=18037

Also, the boat should have very little to no vibration. If there is noticable vibration then there may have been prop damage. Many times the driveshaft and/or strut gets bent slightly too. Best bet is if you sense anything is "not quite right" have a marine mechanic take a ride with you too.

Other question: Was the boat stored inside or outside when not in use? If outside without a good cover may have been exposed to water/moisture. Any soft spots in the floor? Any stiching in the seats pulling out from the vinyl or cracks around the stiching.

Good luck with your purchase...post pic's when you have it

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Welcome....This should help a bit. http://www.themalibucrew.com/forums/index....showtopic=18037

Also, the boat should have very little to no vibration. If there is noticable vibration then there may have been prop damage. Many times the driveshaft and/or strut gets bent slightly too. Best bet is if you sense anything is "not quite right" have a marine mechanic take a ride with you too.

Other question: Was the boat stored inside or outside when not in use? If outside without a good cover may have been exposed to water/moisture. Any soft spots in the floor? Any stiching in the seats pulling out from the vinyl or cracks around the stiching.

Good luck with your purchase...post pic's when you have it

There wont be any softspots in the floor being that its a glass floor not wood.

There shouldnt be any vibrations at all unless the prop or shaft was damaged

check to make sure the windshield screws are not broken, they had a tendency to shear off. I ended through bolting mine.

Forget about the Computron ever working right, It was a POS from the factory.

If you have any specific questions PM me , I have had mine for 16 years this April.

Great boat by the way

Edited by WakeGirl
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Similar comments to above. The Echelon was the first boat to get the SV23 hull which put Malibu on the map as a top tounament boat builder. That is pretty much the same hull that is still in use with some minor tweaks. As far as running, there should not be any significant vibration, if there is, it is probably (in order of probability): a prop issue, bushing wear, engine alignment or possibly a bent shaft. You can check the shaft easily with a dial indicator. If you are not a tounament boat guy, don't be surprised that there is a slight "leak" from the shaft in to the bilge, it is supposed to do that to lubricate the bushing, and is controlled by the big nut you will see right there behind the transmission. A boat of that age might have stiff steering, that is also not uncommon, it is the cable on it's last legs. As far as things to check, hull condition, basic running gear condition, controls, upholstry and general cleanliness. IMO, and making an assumption here, the Mercruiser marine conversion to the GM engine is first class and offers a very good package, they use top quality parts.

I have owned an Echelon for many years and am very satisfied with the boat, a very trouble free, reliable, great skiing and barefooting machine.

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I don't think you need a manual, I don't have one, and unless your talking about how to use the computron, there really isn't much else that is confusing. This site will serve you much better than a Malibu manual. However a Merc manual may serve you well. I have used mine a few times.

Aside from the cosmetics, I would run it pretty hard to make sure everything is in good order, sustained 42, 43 MPH to simulate a barefoot run. To test the tranny I would do a few things. And leave the family at the dock for these. Nobody needs to get hurt before you take posession.

1) hard acceleration from idle

2) at 25 to 30 mph make a sharp turn (180 dagree) and accelerate out of it. Only add power throughout. I have seen trannys slip here as this probably puts the most stress on it. (I don't mean spin out, or what some people call a bat turn)

You will feel quite a bit of turbulance in the sharp turns but there should be no or very little vibration going straight if everything is aligned. If the boat pulls, probably to the right, that is normal and you can adjust that.

take a good look at the trailer before you go too far.

Its a very solid and simple boat. there isn't much to go wrong and most that does you can fix yourself, aside from the computron if you have it. The only other things that aren't dealbreakers are the heater and shower, which are pretty simple systems.

Where are you located?

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If you test drive it and like it have it surveyed or inspected by the local Malibu dealer for anything you may have overlooked.

-Chris

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When I ordered my 94 Echelon, there was no manual per se for the boat. It came with instructions for the Computron and some information from individual suppliers regarding their respective componants such as steering, shifter/throttle etc. It did come with a manual from Merc for basic engine info. It's hard to remember (so many boats, so many years)! The biggest problem area I had was the electric fuel pump. It went thru about 3 of them at roughly $750 ea. You will absolutely love this boat. It does everything very well.

ENJOY!

Boatman

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Have contract on a 1994 Echelon and wondering what to look for. I've done a dry land inspection and it's very nice...esp. the new motor! Funny history on boat...but sat most of life...taken in lien deal...next owner didn't winterize and block cracked.

So...from a visual standpoint...VGC. Not new but nicest used open bow comp ski boat I've found in a year of looking.

Planning on water test in few weeks to make sure all works as should and starts/runs fine.

Mostly a stern drive and outboard guy...but have been a few inboards so used to various sounds, ride, etc. But really, what should I pay closest attention to during water test? I know older inboards vibrate a little...but how much should there be?

This is a BIG purchase for my family with times we live in so want to make sure I don't overlook anything. Appreciate all insights.

Should note a casual slalom skier so lot of controls on this new to me...timers, speed settings, etc. Hey...at least I knew to buy a 'Bu right? Hope to have my 7 and 9 yr olds experience the zen I do when skiing.

Also...no manual with this. Does Malibu sell reprints going back years? I do my own maintenance and would like to see what "factory" says to do.

Up in Midwest...so will have to winterize. Oh...it's the 350 Mercruiser...265HP I believe...

Thanks!

Grant

I have a 1997 Echelon LX bowrider and it's been great. Also powered by the Merc 265. I have all the Merc manuals - can run you a copy if you end up buying. Just drop me a line and I'll run it through the scanner.

Everyone has given good advice above. Make sure shaft seal is not dripping too much or too little. Make sure the transmission shifts in and out of gear smoothly, without any slip or funny noises. They call them "velvet drive" for a reason - mine goes into gear without a noise - love that! In reverse, inboards make a whine noise that sounds strange if you are used to an io or outboard - this is normal. Crawl under the boat and inspect the fiberglass around the shaft, strut and rudder.

I would not buy a used boat without a water test. Mine has no vibrations - i have been in some older boats that almost tickle your feet, especially when seated at the back seat. That is not normal, probably a shaft or prop issue.

You will like the echelon slalom wake. Very flat and easy to cross. The boat also handles great and accelerates very well.

Good luck!

-- Mike

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I almost forgot, I am not sure when the HDS came out, but mine has it. I havn't had an issue though. Make sure you take a look at that when you have it in the water.

If you don't know what it is its the box directly stern of the shaft coupling that the shaft goes through the bottom of the boat. It has had some issues, I believe mostly due to hitting something underwater. Do a search on "hydrophonic" and you will get plenty of info.

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Thank you all for the replies...esp the turn one. Good thing I asked about vibration and my gut feel on a Euro F3 last summer...major vibe in that one!

To answer all questions...no HDS box by shaft on hull.

Live in NW IL

No heater or shower option in boat...

No visual wear throughout boat...in fact, bow cover never installed...I found that under front cushion

Was looking for manual to primarily for engine maintenance specs...trans fluid type and amt, idle RPM, spark plug type and gap, that sorta stuff. One reason why I wanted an inboard...have you tried working on an outboard lately? ;-)

steering on trailer seemed very smooth and effortless.

Never used any kind of speed control, Perfect Pass, etc. so the Computron deal not working doesn't bother me. I'm more of a hit it till we're going 34MPH, keep it at that, increase power in turns and come back to 34 in straights.

Got tired doing deep water start last year on neighbors bayliner with the 3.0...man...talk about a wall of water!

Anyways...thanks again to all...easing my mind on this for sure...and wife's...who felt we should just get a "normal" boat for $3-4K...

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Live in NW IL

Another Echelon owner from NW IL here, where are you located? If it's close, I'd be happy to go take a look/test drive with you. I always enjoy doing that.

Seth

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Here is a great site for all Mercruiser Engine Schematics and parts. They are not bad on price for Mercruiser parts. They also usually have hard to find parts. MarinePartsExpess.com Here is the Engine Schematics page.Mercruiser Engine Schematics. They were very helpful with my 1995 Echelon. If yours is a carb version with the 350 Magnum Ski 1991-1995 , then we have the same engine. I have done just about everything to this particular boat so if you have any questions don't hesitate to post and I'll try and help.

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One other thing to check on the 1994 Echelon is see if it still has the plastic housing for the raw water impellar. I switched it out for a brass one from Discount Inboard Marine Discount Inboard Marine. That was one of the best moves. It helps make a more difficult task easier, and helps the impellar last longer and the engine running cooler. Now the impellar lasts at least a year (over 100 hrs.) and the engine running temp. usuallt doesn't exceed 120 degrees. The biggest plus is changing out the impellar, it is much easier to take apart and easier to get the old impellar out and new one in. Also, the brass housing doesn't warp and crack from the heat like the plastic OEM Mercruiser housing. The plastic one can be replaced with the brass one quite easily, and the brass one comes ready to go with impellar already inside the housing. The brass unit fits perfect with all the existing hardware. I believe it is a Jabsco Raw Water Pump.

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Live in NW IL

Another Echelon owner from NW IL here, where are you located? If it's close, I'd be happy to go take a look/test drive with you. I always enjoy doing that.

Seth

I'm in Crystal Lake...boat in S. Wisconsin. Looking like mid-April for water test. Lakes just opened up around here after all the rain this past weekend. Was REALLY jonesin' to be out on the water now that ice is gone!

Did ski once in April in college when it warmed up really fast..felt warm...till I hit water. Wow...and then realized I could still see snow on banks of lake...in Wisconsin.

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Here is a great site for all Mercruiser Engine Schematics and parts. They are not bad on price for Mercruiser parts. They also usually have hard to find parts. MarinePartsExpess.com Here is the Engine Schematics page.Mercruiser Engine Schematics. They were very helpful with my 1995 Echelon. If yours is a carb version with the 350 Magnum Ski 1991-1995 , then we have the same engine. I have done just about everything to this particular boat so if you have any questions don't hesitate to post and I'll try and help.

yeah...it's a carb version...and no electronic coversion...still points. So likely will go a Mallory Unilight conversion at some point...ran old Ford motors that way...was just a kit you put under cap and converted to pointless...add a hotter coil and presto...HEI.

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Here is a great site for all Mercruiser Engine Schematics and parts. They are not bad on price for Mercruiser parts. They also usually have hard to find parts. MarinePartsExpess.com Here is the Engine Schematics page.Mercruiser Engine Schematics. They were very helpful with my 1995 Echelon. If yours is a carb version with the 350 Magnum Ski 1991-1995 , then we have the same engine. I have done just about everything to this particular boat so if you have any questions don't hesitate to post and I'll try and help.

Assume this is the right motor then?:

5.7L COMPETITION SKI GM 350 V-8 1987-1995/0B514627_0F775199

or

350 MAG ALPHA GM 350 V-8 1987-1995

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The engine serial no. should tell you which one. My 1995 was electronic and used a Thunderbolt IV distributor. Converting over should help starts and idling. The Echelon is a great boat. Have fun.

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The 94 should have the Thundervolt IV ignition even as a carbed unit. Mine does adn is carbed. If it is truly points, I would suggest attempting to find a Thundervolt IV setup, they are very reliable and have the timing curve dialed in for marine use.

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Here is a great site for all Mercruiser Engine Schematics and parts. They are not bad on price for Mercruiser parts. They also usually have hard to find parts. MarinePartsExpess.com Here is the Engine Schematics page.Mercruiser Engine Schematics. They were very helpful with my 1995 Echelon. If yours is a carb version with the 350 Magnum Ski 1991-1995 , then we have the same engine. I have done just about everything to this particular boat so if you have any questions don't hesitate to post and I'll try and help.

yeah...it's a carb version...and no electronic coversion...still points. So likely will go a Mallory Unilight conversion at some point...ran old Ford motors that way...was just a kit you put under cap and converted to pointless...add a hotter coil and presto...HEI.

Pertronix sells the kits to covert from points to electronic ignition for about fifty bucks. I already bought one for the 93 echelon I bought a few weeks back,very simple to install with basic hand tools.

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The engine serial no. should tell you which one. My 1995 was electronic and used a Thunderbolt IV distributor. Converting over should help starts and idling. The Echelon is a great boat. Have fun.

OK...here's the serial number for the engine:

OF224903

where do you do cross ref check for that then to see what exact motor as well as if it has the Thunderbolt IV ignition...and assuming the replies about that the ignition is already electronic?

AND NOW kinda concerned as I don't find any numbering sequence starting with the 224 on Mercruiser engine pages...

Sorry guys (and if there's gals following) I don't have boat in front of me to check this...still waiting for weather to break so we can water test.

Just familiarizing myself with the mechanics of the boat so I can turn wrenches...

Hey...new topic...full insurance on boat, motor, trailer for year $147. That surprised me...thought it would be higher...and from solid firm...Allstate...have home and cars with them too after shopping around and couldn't beat them. Checked discussion on site and sounds to be about right.

Edited by GrantD
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That serial number correlates with a Mercruiser 5.7L Competition Ski GM V8 1987-1995 with serial numbers running from OB51467 thru OF775199. Click on the different components in the schematic to see if they match up with what is on your motor. If they do you should be good to go. The schematic shows that engine used both breaker point ignition and Thunderbolt IV depending on the year. Take a look at the distributor cap that should tell you which one. Mercruiser shows they used both a Mallory and Prestolite on the breaker point ignition and the Thunderbolt IV on the electronic version. Skidim has pictures of all three distributors for comparison.SkiDim Distributors

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That is SUPER CHEAP. I would think that that policy is not a stated value, but market, or appraised , or whatever the language is.

I have been back and fourth on this and here is the conclusion that I have come to. Because our boats are so old the values have a range based on condition. For example site unseen if my boat was a total loss I would be worried about some adjuster who doesn't know the difference between a bayliner and a malibu telling me my boat is worth 5 grand because its so old. Even thought its really worth maybe 13 - 15K.

So I made sure my policy is a stated value. So I can specify a replacement cost of whatever I think that is. It will cost more of course.

But at that price you were quoted, maybe your better off rolling the dice. That is cheap.

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  • 2 months later...
Similar comments to above. The Echelon was the first boat to get the SV23 hull which put Malibu on the map as a top tounament boat builder. That is pretty much the same hull that is still in use with some minor tweaks. As far as running, there should not be any significant vibration, if there is, it is probably (in order of probability): a prop issue, bushing wear, engine alignment or possibly a bent shaft. You can check the shaft easily with a dial indicator. If you are not a tounament boat guy, don't be surprised that there is a slight "leak" from the shaft in to the bilge, it is supposed to do that to lubricate the bushing, and is controlled by the big nut you will see right there behind the transmission. A boat of that age might have stiff steering, that is also not uncommon, it is the cable on it's last legs. As far as things to check, hull condition, basic running gear condition, controls, upholstry and general cleanliness. IMO, and making an assumption here, the Mercruiser marine conversion to the GM engine is first class and offers a very good package, they use top quality parts.

I have owned an Echelon for many years and am very satisfied with the boat, a very trouble free, reliable, great skiing and barefooting machine.

Hey, I have a 94 Echelon with a broken drivers side front windshield. Can you get me the Taylor Made part number from your windshield so I can try to get a replacement? It should be 747961094-01 but I want to confirm.

Cheers!

Link to comment
Similar comments to above. The Echelon was the first boat to get the SV23 hull which put Malibu on the map as a top tounament boat builder. That is pretty much the same hull that is still in use with some minor tweaks. As far as running, there should not be any significant vibration, if there is, it is probably (in order of probability): a prop issue, bushing wear, engine alignment or possibly a bent shaft. You can check the shaft easily with a dial indicator. If you are not a tounament boat guy, don't be surprised that there is a slight "leak" from the shaft in to the bilge, it is supposed to do that to lubricate the bushing, and is controlled by the big nut you will see right there behind the transmission. A boat of that age might have stiff steering, that is also not uncommon, it is the cable on it's last legs. As far as things to check, hull condition, basic running gear condition, controls, upholstry and general cleanliness. IMO, and making an assumption here, the Mercruiser marine conversion to the GM engine is first class and offers a very good package, they use top quality parts.

I have owned an Echelon for many years and am very satisfied with the boat, a very trouble free, reliable, great skiing and barefooting machine.

Hey, I have a 94 Echelon with a broken drivers side front windshield. Can you get me the Taylor Made part number from your windshield so I can try to get a replacement? It should be 747961094-01 but I want to confirm.

Cheers!

Sure...I'll look it up next time out...might be a week or so though...no rest for wicked full time!

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  • 1 month later...
Similar comments to above. The Echelon was the first boat to get the SV23 hull which put Malibu on the map as a top tounament boat builder. That is pretty much the same hull that is still in use with some minor tweaks. As far as running, there should not be any significant vibration, if there is, it is probably (in order of probability): a prop issue, bushing wear, engine alignment or possibly a bent shaft. You can check the shaft easily with a dial indicator. If you are not a tounament boat guy, don't be surprised that there is a slight "leak" from the shaft in to the bilge, it is supposed to do that to lubricate the bushing, and is controlled by the big nut you will see right there behind the transmission. A boat of that age might have stiff steering, that is also not uncommon, it is the cable on it's last legs. As far as things to check, hull condition, basic running gear condition, controls, upholstry and general cleanliness. IMO, and making an assumption here, the Mercruiser marine conversion to the GM engine is first class and offers a very good package, they use top quality parts.

I have owned an Echelon for many years and am very satisfied with the boat, a very trouble free, reliable, great skiing and barefooting machine.

Hey, I have a 94 Echelon with a broken drivers side front windshield. Can you get me the Taylor Made part number from your windshield so I can try to get a replacement? It should be 747961094-01 but I want to confirm.

Cheers!

Sure...I'll look it up next time out...might be a week or so though...no rest for wicked full time!

Remembered you wanted the window info...nothing matches that 747961094-01 sequence. The numbers I have are:

Driver's Side

ABYC H-13

ANSI Z 26 1

Passenger side sticker

47 50449

481 6or8 410

Hope that helps!

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