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blagrata

Boat lift advice for 2011 VTX

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blagrata

So I am in need of a lift for a 2011 Malibu VTX.  I'm new to the world of lifts and have done a lot of research and read a lot of posts on this site.  I have a few specific questions and was hoping that someone on here had some direct experience with either the models that I'm looking at... or a VTX.

The lift choices in this area are:   Hewitt, Shoremaster or Shorestation

The guy selling the Hewitt has a great reputation and has been very helpful on the phone so far.  The company selling the Shoremaster or Shorestation seems nice enough on the phone... but I have heard that it can be tough to get them to support the product after the installation.   So far... +1 in the Hewitt catagory.  I have read that general opinion is that Shorestation is best... Shoremaster and Hewitt a little less so.  Also the guy I talked to said they would warranty labor on Shoremaster and not on Shorestation.   I'm considering both the vertical and hydraulic lifts from Hewitt and the vertical lift from Shoremaster.  6100 lbs from Hewitt.... 5000lbs from Shoremaster.   Initial quote on Shoremaster is about $12K with tax and canopy.  No solid numbers from Hewitt side of things yet... but the guy said the vertical cable would probably be about $2k less than the hydraulic.

So a few specific questions:

1.  The bunks on the Hewitt Hydraulic are of fixed width.  I have no idea if it will fit the chine pattern on the VTX.  I'm hopefully going to get a measurement from the guy.  Anyone have a VTX or equivalent on their hydraulic?

2.  On a Hewitt hydraulic what happens if the fluid bleeds out from someplace?  Does the boat slowly settle down in the water?   Both vendors indicated that a failure would most likely happen when the lift is moving... not stationary.  This is a secondary house so I'm not interested in finding out the boat has been floating in the water getting beat on by waves for a week.  

3.  Does anyone have the Hewitt tower canopy?  Is this better or worse than something with extended curtains?  Seems like it's pretty good coverage... but could be annoying getting in or out of the boat.  I'm probably also going to order a waterline cover to put on the boat when I'm not there.

4.  If both would work... is the Hewitt hydraulic worth $2k more than an equivalent capacity vertical cable?

In the end I think I'll favor the Hewitt just because the guy will provide much better customer service... and I think that might be better than any small differences in lift quality.  

 

Thanks in advance for any suggestions that anyone may have.  

 

 

Edited by blagrata

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wheelman

I have my lsv on a Hewitt hydraulic lift. It has been flawless for 8 years. My bunks fit perfectly between the chines and I imagine my chines are wider apart than yours. The hydraulic lift has a self locking over centre of gravity design so if you have a leak in the full upright position it will not come down. 2k more for a hydraulic lift is money well spent. 

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Sixball

I have a local brand Midlander. Don't know if they sell down in your area. But what I want to say is any of the good lifts are for the most part trouble free. Any of the cable lifts do require cable replacement at some point. I get around eight years on mine. I use a good quality cable. Bunks I might think at some point I have not yet. Seventeen years on mine. I have done the bunk covers once and likely going to do them again in the next year or so. I also put a motor on mine after years of hand cranking. I used a Hewitt, got very good service and info from them. For that reason I would not hesitate using them again. 

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Michigan boarder

I have no experience with hydraulic lifts, my little Echelon is on a cantilever HarborMaster lift.  But, for what it's worth, I am on a ski team that installs and removes lifts and docks to help raise funds for the team (so I am around them a lot, looking at their design, places to grab, etc.) and there seems to be a trend of all the newer boats & lifts being hydraulic, and moving away from the cable style lifts.  The hydraulic lifts are HEAVY! 

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h2oratJR

My Shorestation is over 20 yrs old .  Other than replacing Canopy  & Cables when needed thats all ive had to do. It stays in year round with boat on it & an ice eater keeping it open Dec- April . Since replacing the cables with stainless ones its been a long time since ive had to do cables . The Hydraulic lifts the hoses need to replaced every 5 years . 

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Michigan boarder
3 minutes ago, h2oratJR said:

My Shorestation is over 20 yrs old .  Other than replacing Canopy  & Cables when needed thats all ive had to do. It stays in year round with boat on it & an ice eater keeping it open Dec- April . Since replacing the cables with stainless ones its been a long time since ive had to do cables . The Hydraulic lifts the hoses need to replaced every 5 years . 

I'm the same way - a couple of cables over the 20 years I've owned it.  The pulley bearings can be found at Napa for $7 each (I have 3 pulleys).  I bought the lift used 20 years ago, keeps going.

Just sharing my experience with the new larger v-drives, seems more are hydraulic lately.  That may be a factor of who the local dealer is though.

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minnmarker

My Shoremaster cantilever is 25 years old.  It's on its 3rd canopy and just got it's 3rd cable last year and 2nd motor two years ago.  It has had bunks for 4 different boats.  Very adaptable.  So far no problems at all.  All the good brands are over engineered, and if you make sure they are level and solidly planted on the bottom and not twisted they should all be fine for a  long time.  If they are not solidly planted - like if you could rock them on two legs when not weighted - then any one of them will be over stressed and have problems.

Installation - and re-installation ever spring if you're in ice country - is key!

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semi

i just got rid of my Hewitt electric lift. I would say go with Shore station or shore master. Its not that the hewitt is a poor lift but the power lifts are SO SLOW. I mean painfully slow. It took me over 4 minutes with my finger on the dead man switch to lower or raise my Ranger fishing boat. Completely poor design if you ask me. Others on our lake have complained since the local dealer only sells Hewitt. 

i just installed a Floe and its about 3x as fast with my boat. Yes, 3x if not more. takes under a minute. I understand you are talking hydrolic, but ask the question. Hewitt lifts are usually very slow in raising and lowering. 

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MinnesotaBoater

The FLOE full length bunks can be positioned both in width and height to fit your boat perfectly.  The FLOE VSD (vertical screw drive) lifts are extremely quiet.  You can add guide ins to make positioning your new boat in the lift easy to do without damage to your new boat.

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The Hulk

Check out a MAX VL pro 6k . With extended 24-36" drop it will have way more coverage like 5ft.. way more than the Hewitt wake tower which LOOKS great for coverage but it's NOT. The Hewitt tower canopy is pitched at such an angle that a ton of that height is wasted on the top peak.the outter sides of the tower will hit way before getting up in that peak. Shorestation will require $1509-1800 extended drop for similar coverage and will flap in wind because they do not have a deep dish canopy. 

I'd go with a floe if u can handle the price shock or go with a fully loaded MAX tricked out which would still be on par or less than a non loaded SS or Hewitt 

In general Hydraulic are fast but typically less travel range and typically require more water depth. I'm not a fan of cantilever as your back end can be hanging out the back of the canopy if u dont lift it all the way up..

All these are good lifts but max and floe will be the best. Max u get the most for your money and are by far the strongest way overkill on structure with thicker extrusion profiles, cage rollers,walk in guide ins with new bow surrounding stop etc.

There is typically minimal cost difference between a 5k and 6k so go 6k if you can.. it's well worth the resale if u ever have to..  a 5k lift is already becoming a harder resale in a few years it will be like a 4k lift  is now. A 6k will hold its value you won't loose anything. So absolutely go bigger. 

Ask yourself if this is the last boat u will ever own? But if u get a 6k it will proably be the last lift u will ever own.. FYI prices on lifts increase about 5% a year so the difference now is minimal

My only advice to people is do NOT skimp in a lift. You spend crazy money on a boat and why not make boating easier with a nice lift and protect your investment. I'm amazed at people who spend 100-200k on a boat and complain about $500-1k costs for proper lift accessories.

Happy hunting!

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