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BLW

Older Malibu Skier info

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BLW

Hello and please excuse my ignorance

I have been looking to buy a ski boat for about the last 6 weeks i dont know anything about ski boats and i only have 6000.00 to spend, i have been looking at older mastercrafts and ski nautiques because of their reputation and no wood construction. I have seen a couple of good looking malibus on craigslist and they are very affordable. I was wondering how they are constructed , it seems like all the ski boats use the same running gear as far as engines and trannys go. The 2 boats i am looking at are a 91 Malibu skier for 5000.00 with 330 hours on it and a 87 malibu skier for 4500.00 with 660 hours on it. Are these basically the same boat or were there drastic changes between these years? I read one blog that said the malibu has a better wake than the mastercraft of the same era. I personally think the malibu looks better than the MC or the SN. Any input that can be given would be greatly appreciated, thanks for your time and knowledge.

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DONTW8

There are plenty of 1986 to 1991 boats still running.

The best boat is the one that spent it's time in somebody's garage it's whole time and not moored in the water.

I would not get hung up on brand between Malibu , Mastercraft, Correct Craft, Sanger, or if you find a perfect Ski Centurion that would be an option, in that vintage.

Many will make the argument that a high hour boat is not much worse than a low hour boat.

But in this age group previous owner care is by far the most important.

I regularly ski behind a 1991 Malibu Sunsetter with the 265 HP carb Chevy engine. It runs fine and has spent it's entire life in a 3 sided shed. It gets very little TLC and still keeps on going.

As an infamous poster named Pistol Pete will chime in " If you own a boat, you should be prepared to be a mechanic. "

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Levi900RR

Hey man, GO FO THE MALIBU :werule: If no other reason (they do look cooler) do it for this website. There are a ton of people on here that have older Square Windshield Bu's that would love to help you keep one going for years and years.

There really isn't any different between the 87 and 91. I think there is a year break in the early 80's where they wen't from a Ford motor to Chevy. There is a huge price difference between one that has been cared for and one that has not. If I were you I would suggest keeping your eyes open for a 93-94 as they were a no wood boat. That being said if you find an older wood model that has been well cared for you are all set.

Not sure where your located but here are a few to look at:

1990 in Detroit

Nice looking 88

86 with a Tower

These are great little boats and an awesome way to get into a Malibu and not break the bank.

Good luck and keep us posted :rockon:

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plano86skier

I sold my 86 skier earlier this summer. Great ski boat for little money! However, the wood thing is something you need to think about. This spring I replaced the floor and 1 stringer on the boat due to rot. If you don't mind taking the time to rebuild the floor, it's really not that hard. It can get expensive, for example, I used 3 gallons of epoxy to put the new floor in @ just over $100 per gallon. But, doing it yourself can save a lot, since it is mostly a labor intensive project. Not rocket sceince, just time consuming. There is a great article under Bill's Boat works that describes in detail the rebuilding of a Ski Nautique.

Anyway, if you continue on with the wood boats, look at the ski platform and where it connects. On the 86 the bottom of the platform's bracket lag screws directly into the secondary stringer. So, if there is going to be a problem with stringers, then it will more than likely show up here first. If the owner will let you, take out the lag screw at the bottom and look at it and poke inside to see if it's soft.

By the way, my old '86 boat is on ebay for sale again. So that one has had the floor replaced and one stringer replaced also. The other stingers were in goo shape and I would expect them to last a long time.

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skier_88

I may get a lot of slack for saying this. I just sold my 88 Skier and replaced the floor and all 4 stringers. I had an 86 Skier before it and sold it because of wood issues. Malibu's are AWESOME boats and the classics are just as nice. However....unless you buy one with all new wood, I'd be leary. Ski Nautiques and Malibu switched to composite around 94, I believe. Mastercraft switched in 83. For that money, you can find an awesome mid 80s Mastercraft and never have to worry about rot. Personally, I'd look at the Stars and Stripes....but only if I couldn't find a Malibu with good wood or at a killer price so you have room to replace the wood.

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Woodski

Smart move to be checking feedback from other owners on what to buy. You commented on wake, not sure what discipline you are focusing on, but I would certainly give each brand or model a test run which includes a ride behind the boat before you make your final selection. As an FYI, the early '90's MC's (late '90's are not so good) are commonly given thumbs up on slalom wake performance and Malibu hit a home run when they introduced the SV23 hull in 1993 on the Echelon, the first Malibu with no wood. Comments on wood construction are valid, that is one area of concern and potential significant repair, there are a couple of excellent threads on this site of people that rebuilt Skiers. Set up your priorities, that will help in your search, one being appearance you mentioned and I feel Malibu has made several great looking boats, particularly the older ones. One item you might also consider, it is a bit more difficult to get Ford powertrain parts compared to GM as GM now dominates the market, SkiDim will be your friend there.

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BLW

There are plenty of 1986 to 1991 boats still running.

The best boat is the one that spent it's time in somebody's garage it's whole time and not moored in the water.

I would not get hung up on brand between Malibu , Mastercraft, Correct Craft, Sanger, or if you find a perfect Ski Centurion that would be an option, in that vintage.

Many will make the argument that a high hour boat is not much worse than a low hour boat.

But in this age group previous owner care is by far the most important.

I regularly ski behind a 1991 Malibu Sunsetter with the 265 HP carb Chevy engine. It runs fine and has spent it's entire life in a 3 sided shed. It gets very little TLC and still keeps on going.

As an infamous poster named Pistol Pete will chime in " If you own a boat, you should be prepared to be a mechanic. "

Thanks for your input, actually i have been an automotive mechanic for the past 25 years and the apparent mechanical simplicity of the older boats is one of the factors that draws me to them.

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BLW

Hey man, GO FO THE MALIBU :werule: If no other reason (they do look cooler) do it for this website. There are a ton of people on here that have older Square Windshield Bu's that would love to help you keep one going for years and years.

There really isn't any different between the 87 and 91. I think there is a year break in the early 80's where they wen't from a Ford motor to Chevy. There is a huge price difference between one that has been cared for and one that has not. If I were you I would suggest keeping your eyes open for a 93-94 as they were a no wood boat. That being said if you find an older wood model that has been well cared for you are all set.

Not sure where your located but here are a few to look at:

1990 in Detroit

Nice looking 88

86 with a Tower

These are great little boats and an awesome way to get into a Malibu and not break the bank.

Good luck and keep us posted :rockon:

Thanks for your input, i was curious when they went to no wood, what year and model is this boat pictured at the bottom of your post, it is a beautiful boat.

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BLW

I sold my 86 skier earlier this summer. Great ski boat for little money! However, the wood thing is something you need to think about. This spring I replaced the floor and 1 stringer on the boat due to rot. If you don't mind taking the time to rebuild the floor, it's really not that hard. It can get expensive, for example, I used 3 gallons of epoxy to put the new floor in @ just over $100 per gallon. But, doing it yourself can save a lot, since it is mostly a labor intensive project. Not rocket sceince, just time consuming. There is a great article under Bill's Boat works that describes in detail the rebuilding of a Ski Nautique.

Anyway, if you continue on with the wood boats, look at the ski platform and where it connects. On the 86 the bottom of the platform's bracket lag screws directly into the secondary stringer. So, if there is going to be a problem with stringers, then it will more than likely show up here first. If the owner will let you, take out the lag screw at the bottom and look at it and poke inside to see if it's soft.

By the way, my old '86 boat is on ebay for sale again. So that one has had the floor replaced and one stringer replaced also. The other stingers were in goo shape and I would expect them to last a long time.

Your comments on the floor rebuilding are very helpful, i love working with wood and with the right input from this sight i think i would feel confident about replacing a floor or stringer if it had to be done. I will read that "Bills boat works article", and thanks for the tip on the swim platform bolt.

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BLW

I may get a lot of slack for saying this. I just sold my 88 Skier and replaced the floor and all 4 stringers. I had an 86 Skier before it and sold it because of wood issues. Malibu's are AWESOME boats and the classics are just as nice. However....unless you buy one with all new wood, I'd be leary. Ski Nautiques and Malibu switched to composite around 94, I believe. Mastercraft switched in 83. For that money, you can find an awesome mid 80s Mastercraft and never have to worry about rot. Personally, I'd look at the Stars and Stripes....but only if I couldn't find a Malibu with good wood or at a killer price so you have room to replace the wood.

Thanks for your honesty.

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BLW

Smart move to be checking feedback from other owners on what to buy. You commented on wake, not sure what discipline you are focusing on, but I would certainly give each brand or model a test run which includes a ride behind the boat before you make your final selection. As an FYI, the early '90's MC's (late '90's are not so good) are commonly given thumbs up on slalom wake performance and Malibu hit a home run when they introduced the SV23 hull in 1993 on the Echelon, the first Malibu with no wood. Comments on wood construction are valid, that is one area of concern and potential significant repair, there are a couple of excellent threads on this site of people that rebuilt Skiers. Set up your priorities, that will help in your search, one being appearance you mentioned and I feel Malibu has made several great looking boats, particularly the older ones. One item you might also consider, it is a bit more difficult to get Ford powertrain parts compared to GM as GM now dominates the market, SkiDim will be your friend there.

I will definitely give favor to the 93 and up malibus in my search, and i have always felt more at home working on Chevy stuff.

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Levi900RR

Thanks for your input, i was curious when they went to no wood, what year and model is this boat pictured at the bottom of your post, it is a beautiful boat.

It's a 1993 Euro F3 Skier, thanks for the complement! :blush:

Edited by Levi900RR

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Shine

It's a 1993 Euro F3 Skier, thanks for the complement! :blush:

And it's NAKED!

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Baileyak228

I sold my 86 skier earlier this summer. Great ski boat for little money! However, the wood thing is something you need to think about. This spring I replaced the floor and 1 stringer on the boat due to rot. If you don't mind taking the time to rebuild the floor, it's really not that hard. It can get expensive, for example, I used 3 gallons of epoxy to put the new floor in @ just over $100 per gallon. But, doing it yourself can save a lot, since it is mostly a labor intensive project. Not rocket sceince, just time consuming. There is a great article under Bill's Boat works that describes in detail the rebuilding of a Ski Nautique.

Anyway, if you continue on with the wood boats, look at the ski platform and where it connects. On the 86 the bottom of the platform's bracket lag screws directly into the secondary stringer. So, if there is going to be a problem with stringers, then it will more than likely show up here first. If the owner will let you, take out the lag screw at the bottom and look at it and poke inside to see if it's soft.

By the way, my old '86 boat is on ebay for sale again. So that one has had the floor replaced and one stringer replaced also. The other stingers were in goo shape and I would expect them to last a long time.

where can i find bill's boat works article i would be interested in reading it

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Levi900RR

And it's NAKED!

Yep, my decals were a wreck when I get her. I have thought about having some custom made like the stock ones but I like the way it looks for now.

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plano86skier

where can i find bill's boat works article i would be interested in reading it

For those that are interested, here is Bill's web site giving all the details on the rebuilding of his ski nantique.

http://billsboatworks.webs.com/

There is a full discusson somewhere on correct craft fan, but I couldn't find it.

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martinarcher

rugger's rebuild of my boat can be found here.

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maliblu

rugger's rebuild of my boat can be found here.

As the owner of an 89 Sunsetter that I plan on keeping, I know that a floor and stinger restoration is in my future. Ive followed a couple of on them on this sight and always wonder that if the first wood rots so easily and the newer boats dont use wood then why do we rebuild them with it and not whatever the boats are reinfoced with now? Is there no composite material that can be used as a substitute for the wood?

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martinarcher

As the owner of an 89 Sunsetter that I plan on keeping, I know that a floor and stinger restoration is in my future. Ive followed a couple of on them on this sight and always wonder that if the first wood rots so easily and the newer boats dont use wood then why do we rebuild them with it and not whatever the boats are reinfoced with now? Is there no composite material that can be used as a substitute for the wood?

These are probably the top reasons....

1. Wood is stinger than a hollow fiberglass stringer and since these boats were designed with wood originally, it just makes sense structurally to use wood.

2. Wood will be cheaper than making custom fiberglass stringers.

3. If the boat is 24 years old and needs new stringers now, most of us figure if a rebuild gets us to 2036 or farther, we're doing pretty good. Realistically, you can rebuild a boat a lot better than Malibu did when it comes to stringer longevity. They put an awful lot of holes in the stringers and they still lasted 20+ years.

4. Wood is easier and safer to work with and shape than fiberglass stingers.

Good luck with your rebuild. Be sure to start a rebuild thread and keep us updated with pics.

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maliblu

These are probably the top reasons....

1. Wood is stinger than a hollow fiberglass stringer and since these boats were designed with wood originally, it just makes sense structurally to use wood.

2. Wood will be cheaper than making custom fiberglass stringers.

3. If the boat is 24 years old and needs new stringers now, most of us figure if a rebuild gets us to 2036 or farther, we're doing pretty good. Realistically, you can rebuild a boat a lot better than Malibu did when it comes to stringer longevity. They put an awful lot of holes in the stringers and they still lasted 20+ years.

4. Wood is easier and safer to work with and shape than fiberglass stingers.

Good luck with your rebuild. Be sure to start a rebuild thread and keep us updated with pics.

Thanks for the information, my rebuild will be in a year or so. The floor is solid but I can only assume the stringers are weak based on other projects I have seen on line. We didnt get to use the boat all last year because I was unemployed but I landed a good job the first of the year so I'm really jonesing for summer now just to get on the water again and to try out my new XMP OJ prop I got last week.

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martinarcher

No problem. If your floor is solid and original I would have a good look at the stringers before deciding to tear up the boat and rebuild it. If the stringers aren't soft or rotten...run that baby!

I'll be looking forward to what you think of that prop. What size did you get? Are you planning on running ballast?

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maliblu

No problem. If your floor is solid and original I would have a good look at the stringers before deciding to tear up the boat and rebuild it. If the stringers aren't soft or rotten...run that baby!

I'll be looking forward to what you think of that prop. What size did you get? Are you planning on running ballast?

Nope, no ballast, we use it just for cruising around the lake and I slolomn occasionally and might pull a tube once in a while. I bought a ski boat because it got me a V8 and through the hull exhaust and I liked the simplicity of the trans and no outdrive. That being said I thought I could add some pitch to the original 13X13 prop because it had plenty of low end and reved way to high so I had a local prop guy add some pitch and cupped it a little. This did not work at all, it fixed the reving but the boat slowed way down and the motor just sounded like it was lugging all the time so I took it back and he took some pitch out. This helped but it is still not right, I would much prefer to back the throttle off to control the rpm's then have cupping or some unsymetrical cobbed pitch lugging the motor down. I bought a 13X12.5 with a .o90 cup. I think this will work for what I am looking for, it might be to much for the stock motor on top end but I think part throttle will be just fine and I plan on making more hp later with cam heads and intake or maybe an LS based motor swap, we will see. I have to research the swap, those motors are super common in the salvage yards now and make more than 300hp easy, they have antiquated the old small block.

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