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Need crew advice, buy boat or walk away?


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I found a '03 Sunscape that I'm interested in on a dealer lot. I talked to the sales guy several times and he shared what he knew of the boats history, condition and some pictures. He claimed the boat was clean and the motor ran well. I negotiated a price and planned a trip as the boat is located 9 hours from me. I planned to inspect the boat and run it, if it checked out and I would haul it home. Well, things did not go as planned as the boat was pretty dirty when I saw it. Maybe it was clean under the dirt as the hull was in great shape with only minor fading and the interior while dirty, did not have and cuts in the vinyl and the carpet was not stained. I guess clean is a relative term. I would have bought it dirty but the icing on the cake was the motor would not run smooth. When I got there the mechanic had scanned the motor and determined several fuel injectors were plugged. They were cleaned and a new fuel filter installed. After running for about 30 minutes the boat started to loose RPM's and bog down again. It was thought that several injectors were plugged again. The boat had low hours and had not run in several years. I think it did not run due to lack of use and old fuel. I told the dealer I would be in touch and headed home boat less as I had to return to work on Monday.

I feel the boat could be a great boat given some time to clean it up and flush the fuel system if bought for the right price. I don't have much confidence that the dealer will thoroughly flush the fuel system or clean it up as it is brokered and they don't want to put any money into it. I suspect the owner wont want to negotiate much either but who knows.

Should I walk away and keep looking or is it worth a gamble and another long road trip? Part of me says walk away but the other part of me knows it could be a great boat. Any words of wisdom are welcome.

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Assuming it's a Monsoon, I would not be super concerned about the fuel system. It can be overhauled completely. Drain and refill tank, purge fuel lines, new filters, new fuel pump, send injectors out for a proper ultrasonic cleaning (not the mechanic at the dealership blowing them out with compressed air) and the fuel system would be good as new...all for about $600.

If the engine shows good compresion, and is otherwise in good shape, I would just figure in a fuel system overhaul in the price I would be willing to pay.

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Maybe the fuel tank needs to be flushed out and new gas put in. Or maybe just new gas. Gasahol only stays fresh for a few months - unlike good old pure gasoline.

I've been putting a new fuel filter in a riding mower every 2 hours of operation since it was "rescued" from the shed last year after a few years of neglectful rest. Lots of "sediment" in the fuel tank. Too lazy to remove the fuel tank and do it the right way so we keep a coupe of spare filters on hand...

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Sounds at least a grand off the asking price would get you a good detail job & a fuel system cleaning & it could be a good boat. Maybe have the dealer, or better yet another inboard Mechanic do a thorough inspection with a compression test, maybe a leakdown test, and you should be good to go. All that could be done before you made the drive.

Edited by Bill_AirJunky
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Wouldn't you think if a dealer was interested in making a sale, he would have at least hired some high school kid to vacuum & wash the boat. And gosh, maybe even take it out for a ride so he knew what he was selling??

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Walk away. If it were closer I'd say have them flush the fuel out of the tank, new fuel, new fuel filter, have the injectors sent off to be cleaned and flow matched etc. and maybe even request that they change the fuel pump while they're at it, and then give it another try.

This could be as simple as a fuel filter (which will cause those issues) or it could be a problem that they chase for 3 months trying to get it all worked out.

The distance makes it not worth the risk, in my opinion. 90% chance that this is simple and it's a good boat. But a 9 hour trip with a 10% chance you're going to be chasing gremilins makes my head hurt a little just thinking about it.

Your call, though. I certainly don't want to discourage you from a boat you really like. But - it's the end of the season. There are deals that are about to be had in the next month or two.

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Missed the 9 hour away part. I'd only play that game if I was chasing a pristine boat or a super deal...not one that was dirty when I got there or had any issues the dealer didn't already have a handle on.

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I would walk, the dealer did not put any effort into having the boat ready for your arrival. It has been neglected. No effort by the seller to clean it, it doesn't run correctly. Walk.

Edited by dlb
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I went to check out a 247 last year while on our boat hunt, pics looked clean dealer said it was in great shape. Made the 3hr trip to Fresno, and was pissed . All kinds of dock rash, and vinyl damage conveniently not pictured, Scum line in the bilge ...wtf

Cut your losses and move on

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I would make a low ball offer and have the boat shipped. You have already seen it. No need to do the drive both ways when a shipper can do a one way haul. The owner knows he is facing a stiff bill from the dealer to get the boat in sellable condition. Now that the owner knows what he is facing he is sure to cut a deal. I'm sure when the owner and the dealer set the price they thought they had a boat that ran well since it ran great when they put it away 2 years ago.

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Sounds similar to my deal. The boat I bought was not as far away though. Seller had a bottom line and if not sold would just keep till spring and recoup the money spent on repairs since a higher price could be had. In my case, the areas I wanted to be sound that I did not know how to fix were in fact good and sound. The trouble areas were issues I could fix and I negotiated new parts in the deal. Anyway, I'd try to get a deal but if no deal, then walk.

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On another note, when I have a part of me that does say walk, I find that if I don't, I regret it. But again, it's worth offering a price based upon your time, fuel there and back, trailer shape considering tires and bearings, and the work you would do to fix it. If this is a consignment the dealer may take 10 percent of selling price.

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When I bought mine in Portland, OR, 5 hrs from home, I called someone who lived near the dealer & had them go check the boat out for me. He called me back with his 2 cents..... dock rash in a couple places, missing head unit, and a few other small items. But it was info I used to tell the dealer I needed a fiberglass guy, a stereo guy & a mechanic there to clinch the deal. He did, they made the repairs, some of which was right in front of me, and after a good test drive, I drove away with the boat. I probably would have been a little disappointed if I'd found the boat with $1000 in problems. So it worked out well, and I have another ski buddy too.

I've done the same thing with the golf cart which was for sale in Phoenix. And this October a ton of riders are getting together at Apache Lake. And guess who is joining us in the chaos. Another riding partner that resulted from a toy purchase miles away from home. :rockon:

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