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Newbie! A Few Questions........

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Hey folks, i am going to look at a 2007 Wakesetter VLX. Im not new to boating but i am very new when it comes to this style of boat. Im looking for some help on what i should be looking for when i go to see the boat. Just some things that will help me determine if its worth buying or not other than the visable condition. The motor was replaced by indmar in 2010 under warranty and the upholstery was replaced under warranty in 2010(not sure why). Would this sort of thing be considered a red flag? My information on the boat is very vague at the moment but any tips would be greatly appreciated.


Edited by ranger04
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Not a red flag, really. Motor could've been bad winterization, and vinyl was notorious for getting "burned" when you put the cover on, and the glue on the backing of the vinyl got too hot and burned through the back side and essentially stained the vinyl. So those are two very explainable scenarios.

I'd rather have a boat owner that used his warranty than left it all bobo.

Take it for a test run. Fill and drain all the ballasts. Make sure the steering wheel turns easily in both directions. Shouldn't have any shuddering or vibration.

Check the oil and fluids, make sure they aren't burned (that can be a sign of neglect) Make sure cruise works, power wedge goes all the way down, and all the way up (must be moving to do this, generally idle speed is best) I'd check to make sure the bilge pump turns on, all the nav lights work, horn works, blower works etc.

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A quick search of this forum would give you lots of info on what to look for when buying a boat. I'd want to see maintenance records, don't forget to look at the trailer and make sure it's in good shape.

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IBIP made some very good recommendations; I won't repeat his, but here are few more:

Look inside the oil fill cap for "milkshake" color residue, it's a sure sign that there is water in the engine oil (bad!) and while some people will change the oil to hide this they usually forget to check inside the fill cap. (I walked away from a certified pre-owned truck at a dealership because of this once, it's an engine headache you don't want to deal with). I'm not sure if there is something similar for the v-drive transmission, but I would check the fluid in there too. The water line that runs to the engine goes through the v-drive and you don't want to have any water mix with the transmission fluid either.

Take a flashlight and look for a "bathtub ring" or other high water marks inside the bilge, in the front ballast/drain hatch (next to the driver's seat) around the inside of the rear lockers, etc. You want to see if you can find evidence if the boat was flooded/sunk and that is the root of the issues.

Ask when, if ever, the impeller has been changed. Many people view this as an annual maintenance item. If it hasn't been changed you'll want to do that right away.

Test every feature/accessory you know of, and double check the ones you care about. You want to make sure you know what's "turn key" and what you're going to need to spend some time on. If something doesn't work correctly it gives you negotiating power with the seller for a lower price or they offer to fix it.

If you're concerned about the engine replacement and/or the vinyl replacement get the engine serial number and HIN and call Indmar (engine) and Malibu (vinyl) to ask about the history, they should have something in their records for the warranty. Ask them what the notes say on why the engine and vinyl were replaced. Use your judgement on the answers they provide and see if it passes the "sniff test": are they feeding you BS, or does the reason make sense and you're OK with that reason.

Depending on who you're buying the boat from, dealer vs. private party, ask about any flaws you see. If you're buying from a private party they should be able to explain how any damage happened or repairs that have taken place. Every boat, even brand new boats, have issues/damage. Unless it's a blemish/item you're willing to cover yourself, find out the history of what happened; a responsible owner will know all the details of their boat. I use the heck out of my boats before I upgrade and the two Malibus I've sold I make sure that the buyer knows they can contact me in 10 months or 10 years and I'll try to remember details and help them the best I can. I suggest you try to buy from someone who cares where their boat goes since it also (typically) shows they cared about the boat while they owned it.

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