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aTrain

First Malibu Purchase Help...... Is it worth it?

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aTrain

Hello all,

I'm seeking some help in buying my first Malibu. I've stalked these forums and google as much as I could to catch myself up. I believe I'm read up enough to make a sound decision but I need some expertise. Some background about me: I've been boating since I was little but recently became a boat owner (huge difference). I first purchased a 1997 18' Seadoo Challenger 1800 twin Rotax engine a year ago (not a complete mistake) with 220 hp but I'm ready to upgrade to something more powerful and reliable. I primarily used the Seadoo to cruise and tube around the lake. I eventually plan on wakeboard with the next boat I'm going to buy. I have a large family and we always fill the boat up when we take it out. Obviously I've settled my eyes on Malibus/Mastercrafts etc. I'm pretty handy when it comes to cars or mechanical work as I've had to fix a few things on the Seadoo.

So here's my dilemma. I've found two boats under my $15k limit: 1998 Sportster LX for $9500 and a 2000 Sunsetter for $12500. I understand the specs of each boat and concluded that the Sunsetter would suit my needs better, but here's the catch. The Sportster seems to be in good condition that I can take it out come spring time. The Sunsetter on the other hand has some issues. Please see the links below:

Sunsetter

http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/rds/boa/4086563427.html

Sportster

http://kpr.craigslist.org/boa/4075682226.html

So here are my questions to the gurus:

1) Is it worth it to get the Sunsetter with all the repairs? (I've read the thread on here about the Shaft Strut replacement/repair).

2) Knowing how the owner treated the boat, is it safe to assume that the engine maintenance could've been neglected?

3) Can anyone give me a best estimate for the rudder, strut shaft and tracking fin repair? Or is it possible to do it all by myself?

4) Anything else I should be looking for?

I'm waiting on more pictures from this guy (I live in Seattle) that would probably help everyone better. I believe with some time and patience I can get the gelcoat to be decent so as long the hull hasn't been damaged. I wouldn't be able to afford a v-drive that is in good condition and would have to settle with a dd. I'm trying to look forward and not waste money buying and selling or getting a boat I know I will sell eventually (i.e. the Seadoo).

Sorry for the long winded post. Thanks for your help!

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eyekode

It is pretty late in the season. You could also consider just waiting till spring when more boats become available. At this point you are just paying to winterized and store!

I recently bought a 98 sportster (my first boat). It is an absolute blast to drive! I am guessing much more agile then just about anything else out there. But is pretty small and has very little storage. Also that stainless steel prop will need replacing.

The v-drive is more boat in every sense of the word. Bigger, more storage, nicer interior, more freeboard if you want to weight it etc. But be sure you know what you are getting. Maybe get an estimate from another shop for the repairs? Who knows what else is lurking...

Good luck!

Salem

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Asmodeus2112

There is a lot of uncertainty with repairing that Sunsetter, I believe it will come in around 16K on the low end, and 21k on the high end to get in shape. Not sure if you are a trailer boater, or if you have a slip or lift, but if you need to use the trailer often another trailer or work to that one will be needed as well. In my opinion the Sunsetter LX direct drives are the best boats for the 15k budget. I've owned two and am searching for my third. I would not consider a sportster unless all you did was ski with two other people and had a lift. It's small, no storage, low person capacity etc. I agree with eyekode, there will be many better choices out there over the next 6 months, I wouldn't hurry and buy one of these. You can also find Sunsetter LXi's for mid to high teens.

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dlb

Don't spend your time on a fixer upper at this time of year. You should be able to find a better deal in the middle of winter....

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brad72

We recently bought a 2002 Sunsetter LXi and love it for the space, storage, handling and power. We looked a the the Sportster but found the playpen bow not well suited for the family because of having to climb over the dash to get to it and were't keen on the lower free board. The open bow on the Sunsetter is excellent just being ably to walk through. We take out 3 adults and 5 kids at a time and never feel cramped. There is usually 2kids in the bow, 2 adults on the observer seat and 2 kids on the rear seats, with one out the back, and the driver of course.

My worry with the fix up boat would be damage that is not obvious and having to replace and re-align all the running gear. Very fiddly and time consuming job

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WakingMeHappy

I have a Sunsetter so am partial to that model but I wouldn't buy the Sunsetter you're looking at. To many better choices out there that don't need fix'in.

You said you have a large family. Define large. Over time you may find the doghouse on the Sportster may get in the way if there's too many people in it.

I would keep shopping. You have all winter.

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Slayer

I have to agree with those claiming that a sunsetter lx or lxi is your best bet. The sportster is a great boat, too. The compromise is storage.

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Baddog

Sunsetter for certain. Ficer upper? OK, just not that one.

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WakeGirl

A Sunsetter LX will likely be in your price range, an LXi will likely be just out of your price range. Wait & get the right boat for your family, a Sportster will be too small. At the $15k mark, if you can stretch just a little, you could start looking at early VLXs which would be better suited than any of these boats for the needs that you list. (And no, I wouldn't consider that LSV that you linked to.)

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EchelonMike

You said large family so the Sportster will not fit the bill very well...no walk thru to the bow and limited space. Don't get me wrong - awesome boat - but a Sunsetter is probably as small as i would go. We had an Echelon LX which was great but we ran out of space.

Widen your search - shipping a boat is not expensive and you can buy a better boat at a better price.

Good luck!

-- Mike

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aTrain

Thank you all for your responses and advice. From time to time the good idea fairy bites me and I need people to keep my bearings straight. I've heard nothing but great things about the Sportster but like most have said, it won't fit my needs. Although I don't have a family of my own just yet. When my 20-30 relatives come over every weekend in the summer we go out on multiple trip filled to the max and tubing at the same time. I'll sit and wait and see what floats my way. You guys are right. The season is still early to buy boats. Hopefully I can land a good one. Thanks again

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk - now Free

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Baddog

Good greif. I'm suprised that boat doesn't capsize from being top heavy.

That apparently is what the ballast tanks are for.

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itznowonder

I used to have a sportster and loved the little boat. I learned how to wakeboard so I put a wedge on her. The wake still wasn't much for wakeboarding. so, for the 'fit the family' it isn't right for you and if wake boarding is in your plan then that's a negative as well.

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