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Gettin'old

Boat opinions

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Gettin'old

Hello everyone, I'm a newbie. I've been lurking for a while and finally decided to participate.

I'm trying to get an idea regarding slalom wakes. The two boats I ski behind regularly are a friends '04 Sunsetter 21 XTi (diamond hull) and my parents old Ski Challenger. I have skied better boats (CC196), but both of these do a good job. I am looking to purchase something and with all my research it seems like the best boat for my needs/budget is an Echelon LX, my concern is that its a pre-diamond hull. My main question is how does the Echelon wake compare to my buddy's XTi?

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85 Barefoot

Pretty comparably, depending on speed and skill, some would prefer the xti, some would prefer the echelon. Generally speaking echelon will be smaller but firmer.

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Malibudude

The Echelon is a great sled. While it doesn't have the diamond hull it isn't as necessary due to the fact it's several hundred pounds lighter that the XTI and narrower. Great slalom boat! Is it on par w/ the CC196, well depending upon the MY that's a tougher call. In '98 the Response came out on the diamond hull but will be a few more dollars than an Echelon, ski behind it you''ll be impressed. This boat tossed Malibu into the spotlight. I'd certainly not hesitate to buy one. Be through the course behind an Echelon and 196 back to back, each can hold their own.

Ski Challenger don't have any info or knowledge on that boat to compare.

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jk13

I've posted this before, but lat summer I had a top-level skier behind my Echelon at a family reunion. His comment after a bit of free skiing was that other than the speed control, there hasn't been a "leaps and bounds" difference made in the quality of wakes behind tournament boats since that era. Now this is a very nice guy and your definition of what he said may vary.

If you know how to edge through an XTi wake, which is a great crossover boat, you should have no problem behind the smaller, lighter dedicated 3 event tractor Echelon.

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Skier007

Have a 94 Echelon LX, probably the best open bow ski boat that year. Have freinds who get into deep shortline and all say its a great boat. My one buddy says it is one of the best barefoot wake also. Cant go wrong with that boat.

Edited by Skier007

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bretski75

If your looking for a walk thru open bow from the 90's, Echelon is the cats meow bar none. Except a 99 SSLXI, but thats more $$.

I have skied them all, but I am biased

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Gettin'old

All good input guys, thanks a bunch. Just as you stated bretski, I am after a walk through open bow slalom/family machine. I would love something like my buddies SSXti or even better the SSLxi, but it just isn't in the budget. With all the research I have done it seems like the Echelon is my best bet. The biggest thing missing from the boats of that era is the rear ski locker. I have looked into Sport Nautiques and the Prostar 205 also, but I really like the look of the Echelons and it seems they get better slalom reviews as well.

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EchelonMike

All good input guys, thanks a bunch. Just as you stated bretski, I am after a walk through open bow slalom/family machine. I would love something like my buddies SSXti or even better the SSLxi, but it just isn't in the budget. With all the research I have done it seems like the Echelon is my best bet. The biggest thing missing from the boats of that era is the rear ski locker. I have looked into Sport Nautiques and the Prostar 205 also, but I really like the look of the Echelons and it seems they get better slalom reviews as well.

I like your prospect list because I have owned most of them! :-)

My '96 Prostar 205 had the best slalom wake, followed closely by my '97 Echelon LX. My 23 XTi is actually quite excellent! The wake is slightly larger than the Echelon but in my opinion is slightly softer. My hard core slalom buddies cannot believe a 23 footer skis so well. It would mow down the gates in a slalom course due to its beam, but tracking and wakes are outstanding.

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Michigan boarder

Well, here's another spin. I rarely slalom behind my Echelon (I know, I know). A few times a year, mostly cuz I don't have access to a course. But I do use it for wakeboarding (with wedge, no ballast), barefooting, and surfing (with wedge and ballast). So my point is, if you find that it is a great slalom boat, you can also rest assured that it does all the other stuff very, very well. Even with the simple 265hp Merc 350.

post-8942-013052600 1320322507_thumb.jpg

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Woodski

The Echelon is an excellent slalom boat, there is actually very little difference between the wakes for the Echelon and Response series of boats. A couple of things that help the Echelon is to upgrade to a newer CNC prop, that helps soften the wake and to make sure you keep the boat light when you are skiing the course. The things that help are low on fuel and remove the rear seat. The SV23 hull came out with the Response and it really has only gone through some minor upgrades that fine tune the wake a small amount. I ski mine through short line, the wakes are really sweet in the 28-35 range. There is a bit of a bump at 15-22 and a bit of a dip at 38+. The barefoot wake is excellent. The open bow is very nice. Tracking in the course is very good, some rudder tuning also helps.

The one area that will show its age will be the engine. Mostly equipped with the 265 hp option the newer stuff is in the 310-350 hp range. Another difference will be carburetion v. fuel injection. As long as you don't mind a carbie, should be no issue. Some will come with fuel injection, but many will be carbed. The big difference is the cylinder heads got a big boost in 1996 with the introduction of the Vortec cylinder head, which boosted power to the over 300 level for all applications. A small block Chevy is very easy to upgrade, so if you are mechanically inclined you can do lots of upgrades if you want.

Edited by Woodski

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Slayer

Another great all around boat is an SSLX which has the SV23 hull and you can get into one for a price comparable to the Echelon. It will not ski like an Echelon but depending on your skill level, it will not be bad. I regularly ski with a few guys on our lake that are very good skiers and typically ski at 22-28 off and they all had really good things to say about the SSLX wake characteristics. Again, it's no Echelon and no SSLXI, but tough to beat for the price point given the size and walk through open bow. It's a larger boat, lots of room, and great fun. If you pull the rear seat and go low on fuel as Woodski recommends, it will help the wake tremendously. It does feel huge in the course though.

The guys I ski with are all MC owners. One has a 94 PS190 (great boat BTW), one has a 77 S &S, one has a 99 Sportstar open bow, and the other a 95 PS 205 (seemed to have a more stiff wake than my SSLX but good nonetheless). None of them are unhappy to ski my boat FWIW. We rotate boats each time we ski.

Good luck, welcome to the crew, and be sure to post pics of whatever you buy, regardless of Mfr.

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Gettin'old

Good to know the Echelon can do some wakeboarding and surfing as well. I guess one other question I have is what is a reasonable price on one? I have found one a few hours away listed for $11k. It is a '94, carbed, no wedge, but looks to be in extremely good cosmetic shape with only 350 hours. Sellers says he has maintenance logs and all.

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bretski75

I agree with inlandlaker on the 205. I skied a 97 Prostar 205 and it had a bigger kick at 22off than an Echelon but close to the Sunsetter LX. If you don't mind giving up a little on the slalom wake and gaining quite a bit of space the SS LX and 205 are nice.

I have yet to see a sport Nautique of that era that compares.

With the Malibus, EFI started as an option I believe in 96 with Merc or Indmar, with the exception of the Presidents edition with the EFI big block, not sure if you could get that in an open bow or not. My 97 with the Scorpion has been rock solid and would recommend it to anyone. But in a boat that old my number 1 priority would be how well it was taken care of, not the year. I believe in good shape with decent hours 10 - 13 is a good range.

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Michigan boarder

Good to know the Echelon can do some wakeboarding and surfing as well. I guess one other question I have is what is a reasonable price on one? I have found one a few hours away listed for $11k. It is a '94, carbed, no wedge, but looks to be in extremely good cosmetic shape with only 350 hours. Sellers says he has maintenance logs and all.

That could be a good price, especially if it's been taken care of. Definitely in the ballpark. Does it have any other options? Like:

-open bow (that's the Echelon LX, the regular Echelon is closed bow)

-tower

-heater

-stereo upgrades

Lastly, does it have a Computron computer?

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Gettin'old

It looks very well taken care of, but pictures can always be deceiving. Options would include:

-open bow

-upgraded stereo (CD and speakers, no sub)

-computron

-matching bimini

-separate towing and storage covers

-wakeboard pylon

No tower, wedge, or heater.

Michigan boarder - what kind of tower is on your Echelon? Do you have more pics of it?

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Ndawg12

That could be a good price, especially if it's been taken care of. Definitely in the ballpark. Does it have any other options? Like:

-open bow (that's the Echelon LX, the regular Echelon is closed bow)

-tower

-heater

-stereo upgrades

Lastly, does it have a Computron computer?

You mean does it have an actual working computron, right ? :biggrin: That would be impressive if so....

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Michigan boarder

It looks very well taken care of, but pictures can always be deceiving. Options would include:

-open bow

-upgraded stereo (CD and speakers, no sub)

-computron

-matching bimini

-separate towing and storage covers

-wakeboard pylon

No tower, wedge, or heater.

Michigan boarder - what kind of tower is on your Echelon? Do you have more pics of it?

It's a Boss tower, installed at Skier's Pier here in Michigan like 10 years ago. It seems to be OK. If it didn't already have a tower I wouldn't put one on it, just use the extended pylon.

Do you know about the computron and it's problems? They are not reliable. I redid all of my connections in 2008, the first year I got the boat. 2 years later it started acting up again. Not worth the trouble. I don't really use it at all anymore.

Edit: NDawg saw that one coming!

That seems like a fair price, assuming it is in as great of shape as he advertises. If you can get it closer to 10, that's a good deal. But I'd pay more for a really well cared for boat. Here's another pic of the tower:

post-8942-054235700 1320342319_thumb.jpg

Edited by Michigan boarder

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MALI-MONSTER

Good to know the Echelon can do some wakeboarding and surfing as well. I guess one other question I have is what is a reasonable price on one? I have found one a few hours away listed for $11k. It is a '94, carbed, no wedge, but looks to be in extremely good cosmetic shape with only 350 hours. Sellers says he has maintenance logs and all.

I love all of this Echelon pride on this thread!

As a price data point, I bought a 1997 Echelon (closed bow) back in May for $10K. It had 230 hours, a Monsoon 320 (EFI), no other upgrades, and a complete (1997-2010) maintanense record from the local Malibu dealer.

It has been a great familiy boat so far with no mechanical issues. I personally couldn't imagine not having the closed bow to store all of our gear and stuff for the day on the water. We looked at open bows (LXs) too but were turned off by the limited storage and smallish seating in the bow. As far as the slalom wake goes; it is way better than my skiing level. Like others have said, I do notice that it gets significanty flatter without the rear seat, a smallish driver and spotter, a 1/4 tank of gas, and 32 mph.

Don't forget to consider the trailer in the boat deal as well. Most of the work I've had to do over this summer has been to my trailer.

Good luck and keep us posted on your purchase!

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Michigan boarder

I love all of this Echelon pride on this thread!

As a price data point, I bought a 1997 Echelon (closed bow) back in May for $10K. It had 230 hours, a Monsoon 320 (EFI), no other upgrades, and a complete (1997-2010) maintanense record from the local Malibu dealer.

It has been a great familiy boat so far with no mechanical issues. I personally couldn't imagine not having the closed bow to store all of our gear and stuff for the day on the water. We looked at open bows (LXs) too but were turned off by the limited storage and smallish seating in the bow. As far as the slalom wake goes; it is way better than my skiing level. Like others have said, I do notice that it gets significanty flatter without the rear seat, a smallish driver and spotter, a 1/4 tank of gas, and 32 mph.

Don't forget to consider the trailer in the boat deal as well. Most of the work I've had to do over this summer has been to my trailer.

Good luck and keep us posted on your purchase!

Good point on the trailer, that thing can rack up a lot of dough quickly. Tires, brakes, bunks/carpet, wiring, and integrity of the steel (rusted out?).

The open bow was still a must for me (my personal preference). It's small, but really it's great for kids, or 1 adult. My kids are up there all the time. Or keep the dog up there. Or you can still pile a bunch of gear up there instead, I have a vinyl bow cover we sometimes use when it's cold out and that could keep gear in place. But if you put 2 medium sized adults in front (like a wife and her friend), and you are skiing/boarding, odds are the nose will plow a wave and they will get wet. If the same 2 are up front while you are cruising around at idle on a Saturday night, it's a good spot.

Here's another pic (I do love my boat!)

post-8942-017054600 1320351609_thumb.jpg

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Gettin'old

Great looking boat Michigan. I have read a little about the computron problems, if it isn't working properly is it something that can just be ignored as if it didn't exist? If it is faulty how can one know if the engine hours are correct?

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Steve B.

Mali, sounds like you got a steal on that boat. For some reason, the Echelon series seems to have been a great build. Every one of them I know about has held up extremely well and ran like the wind.

The layout, interior, performance at least to me way outperform the MC and similiar Nautique. I didn't like the playpen of the CC's.

The 205's are certainly nice, but their interiors and overall design and build just doesn't equal the Echelon in the long haul.

Steve B.

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Michigan boarder

Great looking boat Michigan. I have read a little about the computron problems, if it isn't working properly is it something that can just be ignored as if it didn't exist? If it is faulty how can one know if the engine hours are correct?

I think so, seems like there was someone else that just disconnected their display. I think the only thing it does is turn the blower on automatically if the RPM are below a certain point, otherwise it is just for displaying data. It's just a matter of time (and money) before I eliminate mine and re-do my dash. And yes, you will lose the engine hours with the carb engine. It seems that if you have an ECM and fuel injection there would be something else logging engine hours too (I think). Part of my dash re-do plan includes an hour meter and Stargazer.

Edit: AdeL and ecadwell on this site did a lot of work on their dashes. If you do a search or contact them they will likely have better input on eliminating the computron.

Edited by Michigan boarder

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