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Bought my first boat - '94 Echelon LX


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Recently purchased my first ski boat a '94 Echelon LX and wanted to start a thread on my, I mean my boats issues, repairs restoration etc.  I purchased the boat down in Lewisville TX back in March '17

long time lurker.... Very sad to see your echelon go... That's really sad  We're still going strong on our '93. We've replaced our interior and engine. Very happy with it. Previous owner kep

Heres the completed floor.  I still have to do the area under the helm and add some black trim around the ski locker lid and the rudder access hatch.  The lids for those two areas are smaller than the

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you have much more patience than i do.

i would have hit the wall just typing all of this.

not sure about your boat but mine has a few odd brass pieces near the oil filter that cobble up to a couple oil sending units.

if yours is similar that mess can leak and be hard to see resulting in drips from the bottom of the bell housing.

welcome to the real world of boating and also welcome to tmc.

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1 hour ago, minnmarker said:

First, welcome to TMC.

Quite the saga!  I hope you got a REALLY GOOD deal on the boat with all you've had to do to it so far.

I think / hope I did OK on the purchase.  I bought it for $5k including trailer.  I anticipated that I was going to have to do some work to get it where I want it.

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42 minutes ago, tvano said:

you have much more patience than i do.

i would have hit the wall just typing all of this.

not sure about your boat but mine has a few odd brass pieces near the oil filter that cobble up to a couple oil sending units.

if yours is similar that mess can leak and be hard to see resulting in drips from the bottom of the bell housing.

welcome to the real world of boating and also welcome to tmc.

I was waiting on getting a tire replaced so I had some time to kill.  Thanks for the suggestion re: oil filter plumbing.  I'll take a look at that when I get the boat back from the shop.

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Michigan boarder

I love a red Echelon, nice boat!  Man, what an adventure you've had.  But - it does look good, nice interior, gel looks good, lot's of things going for it.  $5k is a record (I think) for a running Echelon, so yeah, you did alright!

I didn't read anything about the impeller, did you change that?  If not it is likely shot or on it's way.  That's another way to ruin a good day on the water.  Otherwise you are off and running, about got all those parts you need.

Also - the storage hatch and engine cover are all 3 the same gas springs, BakesOnline has them.  Part# 5611004.

2016 Closed and open bows 2 compressed.jpg

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1 hour ago, Michigan boarder said:

 

1 hour ago, Michigan boarder said:

I love a red Echelon, nice boat!  Man, what an adventure you've had.  But - it does look good, nice interior, gel looks good, lot's of things going for it.  $5k is a record (I think) for a running Echelon, so yeah, you did alright!

I didn't read anything about the impeller, did you change that?  If not it is likely shot or on it's way.  That's another way to ruin a good day on the water.  Otherwise you are off and running, about got all those parts you need.

Also - the storage hatch and engine cover are all 3 the same gas springs, BakesOnline has them.  Part# 5611004.

2016 Closed and open bows 2 compressed.jpg

yeah the impeller is next on my list.  I need to remove the old one and see what I've got.  Gel is in fair shape.  A little faded and has some small cracks and gouges but nothing terrible.  I may try my hand at repairing some of that this fall/winter.  Thanks for the part number for the struts!

I love the photos of your Echelons btw.  I have several of them saved for inspiration / reference.

Edited by nosnarb
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Epic saga! Great write-up about the joys of finding a boat priced at the bottom of it's range. Lucky for me mine was mostly cosmetic issues and it's been mechanically sound for 9 years now. In need of a few touch-ups but we'll get to them.

Curious about your 'stern lights' you've mentioned before. Pics of those?

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Michigan boarder
6 minutes ago, nosnarb said:

yeah the impeller is next on my list.  I need to remove the old one and see what I've got.  Gel is in fair shape.  A little faded and has some small cracks and gouges but nothing terrible.  I may try my hand at repairing some of that this fall/winter.  Thanks for the part number for the struts!

I love the photos of your Echelons btw.  I have several of them saved for inspiration / reference.

Just replace it, don't analyze it.  I change mine out every 2 years, just as a preventive maintenance measure.  I put a fresh one in last week.  Prior to that I've only had 1 fail, and when it did I was not driving, and that event compromised the head gasket, which then compromised the piston/engine.  It's not worth the risk.

Edit: Thanks for the props on my boat.  I started out well, kept it in the black, and then went waaaayyyy deep with the engine rebuild.  Had it out last night for the first time this year, love that boat.

Edited by Michigan boarder
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On 6/22/2017 at 2:32 PM, jk13 said:

Epic saga! Great write-up about the joys of finding a boat priced at the bottom of it's range. Lucky for me mine was mostly cosmetic issues and it's been mechanically sound for 9 years now. In need of a few touch-ups but we'll get to them.

Curious about your 'stern lights' you've mentioned before. Pics of those?

heres to smooth sailing from here on out

00c0c_3qeo_WPl_UTZU_1200x900.jpg00c0c_3qeo_WPl_UTZU_1200x900.jpg

Its the 2 round lights just above the swim platform, well one round light and a hole anyway.  This is an old pic.  I replaced them with a couple of LED stainless round lights that I found on amazon.

Edited by nosnarb
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3 minutes ago, Michigan boarder said:

Just replace it, don't analyze it.  I change mine out every 2 years, just as a preventive maintenance measure.  I put a fresh one in last week.  Prior to that I've only had 1 fail, and when it did I was not driving, and that event compromised the head gasket, which then compromised the piston/engine.  It's not worth the risk.

Edit: Thanks for the props on my boat.  I started out well, kept it in the black, and then went waaaayyyy deep with the engine rebuild.  Had it out last night for the first time this year, love that boat.

Are they all pretty universal?  I figured I needed to pull the existing one out to see what type it was prior to replacing.  Thanks!!

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Michigan boarder
1 minute ago, nosnarb said:

Are they all pretty universal?  I figured I needed to pull the existing one out to see what type it was prior to replacing.  Thanks!!

Not sure, but I do know that I used item 745061162624 for my Echy.  Again, from BakesOnline.

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Michigan boarder

By the way, what braces under the rear seat are you looking for?  In your pics it looks like you have the side armrests, so the seat base should slide forwards and up and then rest on those armrests.  There should be aluminum inside the upholstery that stiffens the edge, is that what you mean?

Also, looks like there are no speaker holes anywhere in the boat.  I bet there is one on each side of the rear seat in the side panel (combing panel).

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3 minutes ago, jk13 said:

Hear, hear!

Interesting placement on those lights, which were added after the fact. 

yeah it was either patch the holes or replace the lights.  I went with replace the lights.  I initially thought that they were original but I havent seen another echelon with them.

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Just now, Michigan boarder said:

By the way, what braces under the rear seat are you looking for?  In your pics it looks like you have the side armrests, so the seat base should slide forwards and up and then rest on those armrests.  There should be aluminum inside the upholstery that stiffens the edge, is that what you mean?

Also, looks like there are no speaker holes anywhere in the boat.  I bet there is one on each side of the rear seat in the side panel (combing panel).

I pulled the rear seat base and placed it on top of the armrests.  I didn't have to apply much pressure to get it to bow so either I need to add some tubing underneath it to stiffen it or have that seat re done with the proper bracing in it.  I haven't successfully found a pic or diagram showing how the internal bracing of that cushion is done.

For the speakers (and the rear cup holders in the engine cover) I had to slit the vinyl to expose the holes.  New speakers reside there now.

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8 minutes ago, Michigan boarder said:

Also, looks like there are no speaker holes anywhere in the boat.  I bet there is one on each side of the rear seat in the side panel (combing panel).

 

Just now, nosnarb said:

I pulled the rear seat base and placed it on top of the armrests.  I didn't have to apply much pressure to get it to bow so either I need to add some tubing underneath it to stiffen it or have that seat re done with the proper bracing in it.  I haven't successfully found a pic or diagram showing how the internal bracing of that cushion is done.

For the speakers (and the rear cup holders in the engine cover) I had to slit the vinyl to expose the holes.  New speakers reside there now.

And you can see his front speakers on the dash in the jet ski tow pic. @nosnarb from the factory the front speakers were mounted to little plastic L brackets under the helm and in the side pocket on the pass. side. Sounded like you were holding them in your hand--no mid-bass at all.

@Michigan boarder posted a pic of his rear seat bracing for me a few years back, it's just two pieces of thick poly bolted through the flat base. Basically looks like 2 2x6s cut to fit between the arm rest and ripped down so the front one taller is than the rear to match the rake of the bottom of the arm rests. I used some 1.5" poly snow plow cutting edges I had lying around. It does require removing the seat cover and foam to do it, or using L brackets and hoping the screws don't pull out.

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Michigan boarder
7 minutes ago, nosnarb said:

I pulled the rear seat base and placed it on top of the armrests.  I didn't have to apply much pressure to get it to bow so either I need to add some tubing underneath it to stiffen it or have that seat re done with the proper bracing in it.  I haven't successfully found a pic or diagram showing how the internal bracing of that cushion is done.

For the speakers (and the rear cup holders in the engine cover) I had to slit the vinyl to expose the holes.  New speakers reside there now.

You're on it!

On the rear seat, it should be a sheet of white plastic HDPE.  There is a front stringer (aluminum hollow rectangle stock) and a rear stringer (same material), with the front stringer a little taller so that it tilts the seat back a bit.  To brace it when in the sundeck position there is a strip of aluminum flat stock that is the width of the stringer that runs along the stringer and terminates at the end of the HDPE.  I think it runs along the stringer for 3 inches and then 3 inches past it, out towards the edge of the seat.  After a few years, I had a big guy sit on it while we were surfing and mine sagged.   I found that I actually had one missing, and the bolt/nut was falling out of another.  So I pulled it all off and cut new pieces of aluminum, a little wider and a little longer.  Solid as a rock now.

JK13 beat me to it!

rear seat bottom.JPG

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Michigan boarder

I just realized that might not be very clear.  From the top down in the above pic the parts are the stringer, then the HDPE, then the aluminum strip bolted thru the HDPE and thru the hollow stringer with a nut inside the stringer (inside the uphostery), then the seat foam, then the vinyl.  Hope that make sense.

Edit: my closed bow 454 had a stringer going along each side as well from front stringer to back stringer, to make a rectangle of stringers when looking down at it.

Edited by Michigan boarder
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Just now, Michigan boarder said:

I just realized that might not be very clear.  From the top down in the above pic the parts are the stringer, then the HDPE, then the aluminum strip bolted thru the HDPE and thru the hollow stringer with a nut inside the stringer (inside the uphostery), then the seat foam, then the vinyl.  Hope that make sense.

Edit: my closed bow 454 had a stringer going along each side as well from front stringer to back stringer, to make a rectangle of stringers when looking down at it.

Ive got the hdpe base on the bottom of the cushion but when they re did the upholstery they built a 2x base and carpeted it for the base cushion to sit on.  I don't remember seeing any holes in the hdpe.  I may have to drill a couple of holes in the hdpe to see if the aluminum strip is in there before I commit to removing the upholstery.  Although if its not in there then I would have to remove it anyway.  I may have to make that a winter project. 

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One other issue I do have is the steering binding in one direction.  I can turn right with my pinky, turning left however has to be done one handed with a full grasp.  Am I looking at replacing the steering cable or is there something else I should check first?  Seems like I read something on here about the cable binding on the rudder but I cannot seem to locate it now.

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@nosnarb:  Epic story.  The holes in the HDPE base are for air circulation, you will want those to avoid moisture buildup.  I suggest hydraulic oil for the velvet drive, it is much quieter that way.  Most Computrons are dead, I suggest investing in a Perfect Pass system if you plan to ski, there are others if boarding is the primary form of activity.  No surprise on engine box hinges, as noted the gas struts are available from Bakes and other retailers also.  Bilge pump and blower are critical, make sure they work and blower is plumbed correctly (intake down low).  That wood steering wheel done correctly can be sweet if that is what I am seeing, a hub is available from Grant as a direct fit.  Sounds like all the wiring needs attention, specifically making sure all the grounds are good.

You need to learn how to barefoot, the Echelon is one of the better barefoot boats.

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44 minutes ago, Woodski said:

@nosnarb:  Epic story.  The holes in the HDPE base are for air circulation, you will want those to avoid moisture buildup.  I suggest hydraulic oil for the velvet drive, it is much quieter that way.  Most Computrons are dead, I suggest investing in a Perfect Pass system if you plan to ski, there are others if boarding is the primary form of activity.  No surprise on engine box hinges, as noted the gas struts are available from Bakes and other retailers also.  Bilge pump and blower are critical, make sure they work and blower is plumbed correctly (intake down low).  That wood steering wheel done correctly can be sweet if that is what I am seeing, a hub is available from Grant as a direct fit.  Sounds like all the wiring needs attention, specifically making sure all the grounds are good.

You need to learn how to barefoot, the Echelon is one of the better barefoot boats.

yeah I ran a new heavy gauge ground to the engine block and ended it in the storage compartment behind the spotter with a distribution block.  I'm gradually moving all of the wiring over to the positive and negative blocks.  I might add a sub or some tower speakers in the future so I was trying to make that job a little easier later.  I dunno about the barefooting...looks a bit painful.  New 4" blower and vent are in....existing blower evidently was 3" but oh well, I made the 4" work without much issue.  Bilge pump is working good.  I don't remember if the hub I used was a grant or not but it is a solid aluminum body with the slot for a tapered shaft so it fits nice and snug with no slop.  Steering wheel is a wood and aluminum grant wheel.

Edited by nosnarb
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