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Spills994

Test driving, What to check before buying 2001 Malibu Sunsetter VLX

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Spills994

I've finally convinced myself to pull the trigger on a boat after looking for a couple months (first time buyer) , I'll be driving about 4 hours tomorrow to test drive the boat, I've already looked at the boat and had the local shop do a compression check and go through the boat. So besides that what are some for sure things to check on and off the water?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Also, anyone towing with a 2009+ dodge hemi?

Thanks!

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mgb1974

Check for leaks.

Check that everything works electrically.

Age of trailer tires. My boat sat outside before me and I blew a trailer tire on my first trip. Sun and age kills trailer tires.

You will be good with the dodge.

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DocPhil

what did the shop check exactly?

Edited by DocPhil

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williemon

Check trailer tires date code, they are good for only 4 or 5 years. Might insist on new tires even if you have to pay for them. Make sure brakes do not stick and make sure hubs are good to go. Don't forget lights.

On the boat, check that all interior lights work, speakers, dig around and look at the blower and the blower hose in the bildge. Listen for fuel pump whine since that could indicate fuel pump screen or fuel pickup or filter blockage.

Easy to turn the rudder with the steering wheel? If not, could mean steering cable is on way out. Make sure all gauges work and the depth guage too. Check all seams on interior vinyl seats and all for possible seams that may bust before summer is out. Check for gelcoat scratches, gouges and such. While running boat in water you want to notice how much pull to the right it has. Not a problem and can be dialed in for more or less. One that I drove had a big time right pull but another I drove and later bought had the rudder filed so it is not really noticeable at all. For my needs it's good. If you needed a really good slalom course pull then you may want more right pull. Check tower and wedge operation if it has them to make sure they fold up properly. Check prop shaft drip rate, make sure it has been aligned properly. Spin prop by hand after the test drive while it's all still wet. Should turn when you pull on it with one finger but will have a bit of drag. If it takes a full hand to make it turn, suspect alignment or prop shaft placement through the log may be off. You may need to have the rubber hose on the shaft log Unclamped and moved to view the log for wear. I got goosed by that one. If shop did an alignment properly, it should get noticed if that is an issue. I had opted to perform alignment myself since shop suspected an issue due to strut bushing wear but we did not know it would be that bad of an issue. Check swivel seat operation and all gas strut operation on the storage hatches. M sure there's more. Check what prop is on it in case you need a different one.

Edited by williemon

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Spills994

The shop did a compression check and "ran" through the boat to tell me what all it needs, when I drive down tomorrow I'm going to ask for the list of needs and if there isn't one I'm going to request a refund. And the compression test results as well.

Awesome thanks guys! I will use these as a guide when I'm down there tomorrow!

When I was down last I noticed that one of the trailer buddies aka grease or bearing cover was missing. Is that a must have before hauling 4 hours or can it wait till I get home?

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Spills994

Oh and does anyone know of the top of their head what the trailer dimensions are for the Dorsey trailer? My storage spot is a like 11.5 feet by 30 feet. And it's a covered spot.

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Rznhales

Covers can be put on later, but make sure the wheel bearings have been checked. We pulled ours almost 7 hours and had to stop and keep putting grease in since a few had bad seals. We also had 3 of the 4 tires throw tread since they were old. We just sold our '01 last year and they're pretty straight forward. Run the motor and check for leaks, if the compression check results are good, take it for a lake test. Look for leaks and how much, sometimes it is the packing nuts which a supposed to leak a little, fill and empty ballast tanks/bags, test perfect pass if it has it, look at the seams in the vinyl if it hasn't already been replaced. Ours looked good but after a season and a half of good use most of the seams were splitting. Look around the tower attachment points for cracks. Check the wedge to see if 2 or 3 screws in each leg. Some were upgraded since they had issues with the screws coming out and people loosing the wedge foil. Pull the ballast bags up and look at the condition of the carpet and compartments, if there has been any water in the boat you'll see corrosive issues.

Take a spare and tools with you in case you have issues. Be prepared! Grease gun, 4 way lug wrench, couple blocks of wood, etc can make a bad trip a little better if things go bad while towing. Good Luck!!!

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Spills994

What leaks are you guys referring to?

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Spills994

And there are some very very tiny spider cracks where the tower was installed.

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Bill_AirJunky

What leaks are you guys referring to?

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Leaks at the prop & rudder packings, various ballast intakes, raw water intake, etc. Not to mention all the water hoses on the front of the engine (by the transom).

I'd test ride behind it, fill all the ballast, run the heater & shower, the stereo, & all the lights. Also have your wife of buddy ride while you drive. Check out the trailer tires, brakes & brake fluid. I even took mine for a test spin behind the truck too.

Spider cracks in the gelcoat around the tower are not that unusual. But excessive movement in the tower is a can of worms you don't want to mess with. Give it a few good shakes side to side, and front to back. Look at the base of the tower & any hinge points. When they fail, you will learn the definition of BOAT the hard way.

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WakingMeHappy

Check the HDS. Just let it sit in the water and wait to see if the bildge starts filling with water. HDS leaks are very common but also easily repaired.

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UWSkier

Check the HDS. Just let it sit in the water and wait to see if the bildge starts filling with water. HDS leaks are very common but also easily repaired.

No HDS on a V-Drive. :)

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Spills994

Wow, thank you all that wrote back, this forum is full of awesome people!

Oh and there's no wedge, pp, heater or shower.

I will post pics later today if I end up purchasing it!!!!

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Spills994

Didn't end up getting the boat, it wasn't in as good of condition that I thought, and it had battery issues along with a nasty looking rudder repair.

Thanks guys for the help.

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hethj7

Better to walk away and wait for the one. I know that is tough sometimes, but you'll be glad you did in the long run.

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Spills994

I think I made a good decision, it just felt like I was rushing into it. I'm still looking for a fairly priced v drive though! Or direct drive.

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jwl019

Location, how far are you willing to travel, and price range? I bet if you give the crew a little time, you will have several pages worth of options!

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Spills994

Oklahoma City, probably willing to drive up to 10+ hour round trip. Preferably under $18k and I know it's bad but doesn't have to be a Malibu haha. It's going to be my first boat.

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