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Stick

Ur Wisdom needed on boat choice

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Stick

I have an empty boat lift that needs to be filled. I've got $10-12k to spend after purchase of a lake house near Dallas. I've grown up with Glastrons, but now want a DD or VD. It seems I'm in the F3, Echelon, Sunsetter price range with years between 94 to maybe if I'm lucky 99-00. It'll be a family boat with kids under 10 on it reguarly so I want something with storage/space and deep enough they won't fall out. An open bow is a necessity and I don't want the climb over the dash type, I want a walk through for the kids. The lakes here in TX can get rough, so I don't want one that will take water over the bow. It will be used for equal amounts wakeboard, ski, tubing, cruising.

Questions:

Is one of these boats a better choice? Is there another boat not mentioned that would be better?

What years do I need to look at to avoid wood in the boat?

Which boat/years would possibly come with a manual wedge or could I add a manual wedge to?

What hull are these boats on and which hull should I be looking for?

Does anyone know of one for sale that would work for me? I would like to get one in the next month.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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skicrave

Welcome to the site!

The Echelon or a '96 and up Sunsetter would be a MUCH better choice. Those models are representative of the modern era of Malibu, and feature updated technology including EFI (in most cases), SV23 hulls, all fiberglass construction and much more. The F3 is a great boat, but the difference between it and the Echelon or Sunsetter could not be more drastic.

You can add a Wedge to any Echelon, and any Sunsetter made from '95 on. You cannot add a Wedge to the F3.

Both the Echelon and the Sunsetter are available in walk-through bow configurations, but the Sunsetter is a larger boat with more freeboard and more capacity. It will be a better wakeboarding boat, while the Echelon will be a better skiing boat.

Good luck with your purchase!

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Malibudude

Welcome to the Crew.

Nothing wrong with wood just make sure to have it fully inspected. ’93 was the first year w/o wood in the echelon, the Sunsetter followed in ’95.

Most boats in this price range are going to be in the early ‘90’s and most likely won’t come with the wedge installed. You can add the wedge as early as the ’93 model year for approximately 1k installed.

It depends on how much emphasis on slalom you want and if your on a course. The Echelon is a great boat for that but has limited storage, no much of a concern if you’re on a private lake or close to home. The Sunsetter is a bit larger w/ more storage and higher gunwales. It’ll also perform better at wakeboarding, still a good slalom boat, just not the Echelon. You’re essentially asking for a crossover boat and at some point you’ll need to decide more emphasis on skiing or wakeboarding as to whether you’ll want the diamond hull vs. the sv23. Given that the Diamond hull was released in ’98 most models in the $10-$12 will be earlier models however. The diamond hulls are superb for slalom but require a lot of weight to get a decent wake for boarding, conversely the SV23 hull of the Sunsetter while ok for slalom isn’t as good as the Echelon, but a much better choice for wakeboarding w/ a DD.

Each model summed up:

Sunsetter

Decent slalom boat

Good to intermediate wakeboard boat

Higher gunwale than other the Echelon

’95 later no wood

Open bow models

Adding a wedge is possible

Smoother for cruising than the Echelon

Larger than the Echelon

Echelon

Great to excellent slalom boat

Ok to good wakeboard boat

Low to the water line

Less storage

Short gunwale

Able to accept the wedge

Open bow or closed bow models

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bretski75

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skicrave and malibudude are dead on. If your budget was a little higher the sunsetter LXI is a fantastic crossover, but all are great, well built options.

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chuckc983

The market appears to be pretty hot for boats around 10k (limited selection and some very old boats) - if you could up your budget to 12-20k I think you could find lots of boats that would be ideal.

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awilco

Sunsetter! Great family ski and play boat.

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Michigan boarder
The lakes here in TX can get rough, so I don't want one that will take water over the bow.

Given this criteria, which boat would really be best for him, a V-drive? I know my 94 Echelon would probably not be a good choice (I LOVE the boat, and have a 10, 8 and 3 year old). It's a downside that it sits so low in the water that on windy days with a chop a sea spray is inevitable. But it's an upside that at 20mph my 3 year old can sit in the back with her little arm hanging over the side catching the spray.

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srab
I have an empty boat lift that needs to be filled. I've got $10-12k to spend after purchase of a lake house near Dallas. I've grown up with Glastrons, but now want a DD or VD. It seems I'm in the F3, Echelon, Sunsetter price range with years between 94 to maybe if I'm lucky 99-00. It'll be a family boat with kids under 10 on it reguarly so I want something with storage/space and deep enough they won't fall out. An open bow is a necessity and I don't want the climb over the dash type, I want a walk through for the kids. The lakes here in TX can get rough, so I don't want one that will take water over the bow. It will be used for equal amounts wakeboard, ski, tubing, cruising.

Great information so far. I'll just add, FWIW, that they will all take water over the bow, given the right/wrong

circumstances (which primarily involve driver inattentiveness or error, but, sometimes, as with a child in the water

with a slack or tangled rope and a set of rollers coming straight at you, there's just nothing that you can/should do

to avoid dipping the nose: it's gonna happen).

These are not I/O's.

On the other hand, it's only water. A chili-dip here and there isn't gonna sink your boat.

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mibarefooter
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skicrave and malibudude are dead on. If your budget was a little higher the sunsetter LXI is a fantastic crossover, but all are great, well built options.

My ski partner has a Sunsetter Lxi and it is by far the most versital boat in my eyes.

Good luck in your search.

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Malibudude
Plus1.gif

skicrave and malibudude are dead on. If your budget was a little higher the sunsetter LXI is a fantastic crossover, but all are great, well built options.

My ski partner has a Sunsetter Lxi and it is by far the most versital boat in my eyes.

Good luck in your search.

While I tend to agree, though the SLXI is better at slalom and the SLX is better at wakeboarding, due to the size and the storage it is arguably the best crossover. I didn't recommend it as it'll be difficult to find one in the price range stated unless it's just barely floating.

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Stick

Thanks for all the input. I spoke with the local Malibu dealer who didn't have much used to sell due to them not selling many new ones now. He knew my lake well and seemed to think the Sunsetter would be the way to go for the wind and chop it gets. He had a great deal on a Response there to sell, but said he didn't feel like it would fit my needs, espcecially on my lake. So, it looks like I'm looking for a Sunsetter, and it looks like I'll have to move up closer to $15k to get anything.

What year did they switch from the F3 model to the newer Sunsetter and when did the V drives come out?

We will probably do more wakeboarding than skiing, and after skiing behind I/O all my life, even a V drive must have a better wake.

Thanks.

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Malibudude
Thanks for all the input. I spoke with the local Malibu dealer who didn't have much used to sell due to them not selling many new ones now. He knew my lake well and seemed to think the Sunsetter would be the way to go for the wind and chop it gets. He had a great deal on a Response there to sell, but said he didn't feel like it would fit my needs, espcecially on my lake. So, it looks like I'm looking for a Sunsetter, and it looks like I'll have to move up closer to $15k to get anything.

What year did they switch from the F3 model to the newer Sunsetter and when did the V drives come out?

We will probably do more wakeboarding than skiing, and after skiing behind I/O all my life, even a V drive must have a better wake.

Thanks.

The Sunsetter LX first appeared in '95.

The First year for Malibu w/ a VD in the line up was '96.

The Sunsetter LX is a good choice and good all around performer and since you state it'll be use more for wakeboarding and rougher water I'd say it'll fit the bill. Increasing the purchase price will certainly open more boats available.

Here is a '97 Sunsetter LX for sale on the Crew for 15k.

Another '97 for $17,550.

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