Jump to content

 

Welcome to TheMalibuCrew!

As a guest, you are welcome to poke around and view the majority of the content that we have to offer, but in order to post, search, contact members, and get full use out of the website you will need to Register for an Account. It's free and it's easy, so don't hesitate to join the TheMalibuCrew Family today!

Indy443

'98 Sunsetter VLX. Advice.

Recommended Posts

Indy443

New member and first post, so thank you for taking the time to give me some information. 

Planning to take an in-person look at this boat this weekend, and wondering if the community can give me some detailed things to look for/inquire about. I intend to look for any leaks or water entering the boat. Temperature of exhaust manifolds and any engine noise that does not sound right. I've never done a compression test, or leak down test. What is the communities advice on that? Here is the ad:

https://nh.craigslist.org/boa/d/malibu-sunsetter-lx/6687831839.html

Owner and I have exchanged multiple emails and I have received additional images showing detailed photos of the engine bolts, additional interior photos, etc. Including a time stamped video of the boat running and at speed from this morning. Sounds and performs flawlessly. 

Obviously I will give the boat a thorough look through / water trial over the weekend but would like to know specific things to look for on this boat.

Thanks!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
minnmarker

Compression test is key and watch the oil pressure. Should be 40 or over at speed.   Also look for blisters in the gel  coat and good steering and running gear.  Maybe pop the distributor and take a look for corrosion.

Of course make sure the idle is smooth and it runs well at speed.

Everything else is cosmetic and obvious,

Have fun shopping!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
minnmarker

If you buy a compression tester make sure you get one with a long neck. Pull the plugs, pull the safety lanyard and spin the engine. Keep track of which plug wires go where.  Easier than you think.

Wear "wrenching" clothes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Indy443
16 hours ago, minnmarker said:

If you buy a compression tester make sure you get one with a long neck. Pull the plugs, pull the safety lanyard and spin the engine. Keep track of which plug wires go where.  Easier than you think.

Wear "wrenching" clothes.

Thank you for the advice Minnmarker. I've received video of the boat at idle and at speed and all looked good. Heading down on Sunday for a test of the boat. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
UWSkier

Oil pressure gauge on that vintage might wander around a bit so don't be alarmed if it's not steady at 40 PSI or higher.  You really only care if it says 0.  There's a second oil pressure sensor that feeds the ECM and will start the computer beeping loudly if the pressure is too low.

Watch for temperature once running.  Should be 160F.

Ask for the boat to be cold when you turn up so you can cold start it and see how it idles/warms up.

Pull dipstick and look for milky oil.  Pull transmission dipstick and look for same.  vDrives are pretty bullet proof but can pull the dipstick there too.

Watch for the red V-drive light to be illuminated.  If it stays on above 1200 RPM or so, it's at the least low on fluid.

Look at drive shaft as it exits V-drive and meets packing nuts.  How much is it dripping?  Should be one drip every few seconds.  Not a big deal if this is leaking more as it's a typical maintenance/wear item.

Drive and feel for vibration.  Roll up to full throttle holeshot.  Boat might vibrate on holeshot and smooth out if the prop is slightly dinged or there's a bent driveshaft.

Spin prop by hand with boat in neutral.  If you can't do this, the strut is probably bent.

Feel the controls.  Is the steering stiff?  Is the throttle stiff?  Stiff going in and out of gear?  Again, cables are wear items, but it's something to consider in negotiation.  FWIW, the '01 in my signature is getting new cables tonight for about 80 bucks total so not a dealbreaker if you can do your own work.

Look in bilge for any sign of oil leakage.

Look around head covers for any sign of oil leakage.

Ask how frequently the oil has been changed.  Same with Impeller.

Does it have a heater?  If so, it's a gray box under the dash with some springy black tubes coming out of it.  Feel around on the box after the boat's been driven for water leaking out.  Heater cores go bad, and on the '01 Sunsetter VLX was a pain to replace due to the way they screw in the kick panel.

Test all lights, especially dash and running lights.

Find out the age of the battery.

Turn on the stereo and listen for speakers that are popping, cutting out, etc.

Run the blower and bilge pumps.  The latter especially shouldn't squeal when you turn it on.

Inspect trailer tires for cracking.  Do you have a long tow ahead of you if you buy the boat?  If so, ask the seller if they'd be willing to split the cost with you if you have a hub failure on your drive home.  If the tires are more than 8 years old, ask if they'd be willing to split the cost of new sneakers with you.

Inspect carpeting on bunks.  Is bare wood showing through?  Bolts?  Staples?

Check trailer lights for proper function.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Indy443

UW Skier, you have armed me with many great items to check over. Thank you. Will report back post inspection on Sunday. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nitrousbird

The boat you linked is a LX, not a VLX.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nitrousbird
3 hours ago, UWSkier said:

Does it have a heater?  If so, it's a gray box under the dash with some springy black tubes coming out of it.  Feel around on the box after the boat's been driven for water leaking out.  Heater cores go bad, and on the '01 Sunsetter VLX was a pain to replace due to the way they screw in the kick panel.

That kick panel should be long gone - that's where the sub box goes.  I've not replaced mine (heater cores on partial closed cooled motors last far longer as they live in coolant instead of lake water), but have changed one heater tube and relocated another - access seemed fine.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
UWSkier
35 minutes ago, Nitrousbird said:

The boat you linked is a LX, not a VLX.  

Ad title is wrong. It's a VLX. And we put the kick panel back. I mounted a Bass link to it and put the floor heater vent back so it warms the driver's legs. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nitrousbird
6 hours ago, UWSkier said:

Ad title is wrong. It's a VLX. And we put the kick panel back. I mounted a Bass link to it and put the floor heater vent back so it warms the driver's legs. 

You are right - I never looked at the interior pics.  I also moved one of my heater outlets forward to heat the driver's legs.  My boat originally came with a Basslink, where the hack put the damn thing in the observer compartment.  Before gutting the garbage install and going new to everything, I relocated it to the under the dash but still removed the kick panel and pushed the Basslink further back...though that only lasted a few months until a real sub took its place.  IMO, the kick panel just needs to be removed regardless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
powbmps
On 9/10/2018 at 8:40 PM, Indy443 said:

New member and first post, so thank you for taking the time to give me some information. 

Planning to take an in-person look at this boat this weekend, and wondering if the community can give me some detailed things to look for/inquire about. I intend to look for any leaks or water entering the boat. Temperature of exhaust manifolds and any engine noise that does not sound right. I've never done a compression test, or leak down test. What is the communities advice on that? Here is the ad:

https://nh.craigslist.org/boa/d/malibu-sunsetter-lx/6687831839.html

Owner and I have exchanged multiple emails and I have received additional images showing detailed photos of the engine bolts, additional interior photos, etc. Including a time stamped video of the boat running and at speed from this morning. Sounds and performs flawlessly. 

Obviously I will give the boat a thorough look through / water trial over the weekend but would like to know specific things to look for on this boat.

Thanks!

 

@Indy443 - Do you live local to the boat?  I'm about 15 minutes away, if you want another set of eyes looking at it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Indy443
22 minutes ago, powbmps said:

@Indy443 - Do you live local to the boat?  I'm about 15 minutes away, if you want another set of eyes looking at it.

@powbmps I live about two hours away, and plan on arriving at 10am on Sunday morning. Being not too familiar with the boat, if you are serious about joining me on Sunday for my initial look and lake test I would be grateful. That could only help.

 

If you are indeed serious I'll get in touch via PM and send you my number. Thank you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HHARRIS
1 hour ago, powbmps said:

@Indy443 - Do you live local to the boat?  I'm about 15 minutes away, if you want another set of eyes looking at it.

^^^^^^ That right there is awesomeness !

 

HUGH
:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BlindSquirrel

Looks like a decent price and you’ve got lots of good advice here. If it’s close to a shop, you should get the hours pulled from the computer. After I bought mine and took it out a few times we noticed the hour meter did not spin!!! Took it to a shop and got lucky... the hours were less than what the meter says. 

I have the same tug, and would add to note the color of the plug wires. If they are light blue, they are likely originals. When I bought mine I sent ~$400 on maintenance items... plugs, filters, fluids, cap and rotor, etc.

If you didn’t know already, in the reference tab at the top of this page you can find the manuals for the boat. We love ours, with some fat sacs and a suck gate, she surfs pretty well! Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Indy443

So I just returned from looking over the VLX. The boat is very clean and well cared for. No sign of abuse and generally a well taken care of fresh water lake boat. We met at the sellers house, talked, and went down to the harbor where the boat is kept in a slip. Uncovered the boat and started it from cold. Motor fired up and purred nicely. No oil leakage and clean water in the bilge. Good temp and oil pressure. Manifolds not hot at all after a long warmup. Brought the boat into the open lake and ran it for about 15 minutes, ranging from hole shots to cruising. Boat sounded and ran silky smooth. As we are returning to the harbor we get some stuttering and what sounds like the motor misfiring. ?? Slow down, bring it up to speed a few more times, it keeps doing it. Definitely not right. 

Seller is concerned, hasn't done this before to him? Plan is for him to bring the boat in to diagnose what it could be. Didn't leave with the boat and am okay with that, but not walking away from it altogether.

Any thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bozboat

So many variables it is hard to say without more information. FI or carb? What engine?

what is the maintenance history?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
shawndoggy

sounds like at the very least a tuneup is in order?  probably replace plugs/wires/cap/rotor/fuel filter.  Would be nice if you could push those costs to the seller (or lowball seller based on "problems" and fix/diagnose on your end).

As @Bozboat notes that could be lots of stuff (and something as potentially "simple" as water in the fuel)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bozboat

It is good looking boat, definitely worth pursuing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...