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TechOneSkier

Screws Pulling Out On 1998 Sunsetter

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TechOneSkier

First post ever.

After 30+ years of skiing, I am moving up to a inboard ski boat: Malibu, N*******, or M**********.

Malibu seems to be the most boat for the money.

I am prepared to make a deal on a good looking 1998 Sunsetter LX with less than 500 hours on it.

HOWEVER, all the screws on the bench seatback hinge have pulled through the fiberglass, as have the screws for the engine cover hinges (both at the cover and in the floor) and the screws for a bulkhead near the driver's knee. Easy to fix BUT is that a sign of things to come? Anyone have similar problems? Is this unusual for this make, model, year? Is there a warranty which might apply? Thanks in advance for all constructive responses.

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85 Barefoot

I've not heard of or seen that without abuse.

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Murphy8166

First post ever.

After 30+ years of skiing, I am moving up to a inboard ski boat: Malibu, N*******, or M**********.

Malibu seems to be the most boat for the money.

I am prepared to make a deal on a good looking 1998 Sunsetter LX with less than 500 hours on it.

HOWEVER, all the screws on the bench seatback hinge have pulled through the fiberglass, as have the screws for the engine cover hinges (both at the cover and in the floor) and the screws for a bulkhead near the driver's knee. Easy to fix BUT is that a sign of things to come? Anyone have similar problems? Is this unusual for this make, model, year? Is there a warranty which might apply? Thanks in advance for all constructive responses.

I had a 97 sunsetter for 10 years and never had that problem.

I would not worry about it to much as you could always run some nuts and bolts to hold them in or just fill the holes with some evercoat formula 27, redrill and and put the new screws in.

I would be more concerned about the motor mounts going into the stringer. Make sure you check those big bolt

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flapjack

I am prepared to make a deal on a good looking 1998 Sunsetter LX with less than 500 hours on it.

HOWEVER, all the screws on the bench seatback hinge have pulled through the fiberglass, as have the screws for the engine cover hinges (both at the cover and in the floor) and the screws for a bulkhead near the driver's knee. Easy to fix BUT is that a sign of things to come? Anyone have similar problems? Is this unusual for this make, model, year?

I've got a 99 response LX with about 800 hrs on it. It has not been abused, but it isn't babied either. It has probably seen more open water than the average response (I'm suggesting it has seen plenty of bumps and stuff).

1) The screws for my engine cover are basically toast and loose. I have never touched them.

2) I'm guessing the stripped screws in the front and back are a result of some sort of repair or upgrade. For example, putting in a depth guage, perfect pass, shower, etc. you are often loosening "wood screws" set in the fiberglass. After a couple of screw/unscrew cycle, these get shady.

3) The floor of my ski locker has basically pulled out of the back of the rear bench. I assume this is just from rough water with skis and stuff in the trunk.

So, I think this stuff you mention is pretty normal.

Good luck with your purchase.

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Slayer

I just bought a 1997 Sunsetter with 665 hours ans it didn't have the issues you speak of. It's a great boat and we love the hell out of it. We were in your exact position nearly a year ago looking at all the boat manufacturers you mentioned. The decision to buy Malibu was centered around performance, quality, and style. Good luck with your house purchase.

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james11music

Sounds like pretty normal wear and tear. I have a 93 sunsetter and when i bought it three years ago it had the same problem with the engine cover hinge screws being stripped out. It's just simply a poor design to use screws on something that heavy that is getting opened and closed so often. I just got some stainless bolts and nylon locking nuts and the problem is solved. My engine cover isn't going anywhere. This would work just as well on the rear locker hinges. I will add that it was a pain to get the hinges bolted to the floor once the hinge was attached to the cover. My boat doesn't have an access panel behind the engine cover so i would need to open the cover to get my hand underneath the floor which left me no room to hold the screw head in place while turning the nut from underneath. I would recommend getting the hinges that have a locking pin holding them together that way you can bolt one half of the hinge to the floor and one half to the engine cover and then attach the engine cover with the locking pin. Good luck with the boat search!

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TechOneSkier

Thanks for all the quick responses. Local Malibu dealer also said the issues are normal wear and tear on any boat and not likely a sign of anything significant.

I will certainly check the motor mounts and keep an eye on this thread for further feedback and issues.

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BFrank

Thanks for all the quick responses. Local Malibu dealer also said the issues are normal wear and tear on any boat and not likely a sign of anything significant.

I will certainly check the motor mounts and keep an eye on this thread for further feedback and issues.

Sound like a perfect bargining point!!

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TechOneSkier

Amusing followup: The dealer fixed all the screw issues along with a variety of other issues, then took the boat for a test run. When they started the engine, water shot out the side of the block. Dealer says it was probably the result of poor winterization cracking open one of the water jackets (though I am in FL the boat came from NC). The deal is now on hold while they rebuild the engine at their cost. Not sure if that makes this a better deal or a worse one.

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BFrank

I would walk away, sounds like she had a rough life...there are a ton of boats out there many in your neck of the woods!! Did you go on only inboards.com?

Only Inboards

or Ski It again

Ski It Again

and I used Craigs pal to search diffrent states close by for deals and steals!!

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TechOneSkier

How the story ends:

So while we were deciding to whether to stay with the deal, we visited a second dealer. Just as we were leaving the second dealer they rolled in a showroom condition 299 hour 1998 open bow 19'6" Ski boat with a GT40. The boat had not yet been touched by the dealer. Owner wanted a reasonable price, dealer did their checks, I used the Tyler Ski Club Guide to Buying a Used Ski Boat (http://www.tylerskiclub.com/usedboat.html) as a checklist for my inspection. Boat had a weak battery and alternator which seller replaced, but was otherwise in perfect condition. I walked away from the original deal and bought the second boat.

My thanks to everyone who replied and to the hosts of this forum. I appreciate the reassurance on things I suspected and the ideas on the things I had not considered.

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TechOneSkier

P.S. I did spend a lot of time on Craigslist, InboardsOnly, Boat Trader and even EBay Motors. However, I had a trade in which I did not have time to sell so I leaned towards dealers.

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Steve B.

Congrats, I'm sure you'll like the 19'6" with GT 40. They make nice boats too.

Steve B.

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