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Fish209

any good guides on what to look at when buying a used wakeboard boat?

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Fish209

I'm planning on checking out a couple boats next weekend and was looking for some help in what to look for. are there any good online guides on what to look for when inspecting a used wakeboard boat? I'll be looking at an 2005 Wakesetter LSV and a 2007 Wakesetter VLX.

 

1.) 2005 Wakesetter LSV:

700 hours. Monsoon 340. Manual Wedge. Four factory (under the floor) ballast tanks (MLS-Malibu Launch System) that hold 1,250 pounds plus two 750 pound fat sacks in the rear lockers that are plumbed into the factory rear ballast (Plug and Play) and a 1000 pound triangle fat sack for the bow that has it's own reversible pump and also controlled by switches at the dash. Upgraded ACME 1235 prop. Owner sounds very knowledgeable and does most of the work himself. Says the interior and gel coat is in great condition. Pictures look very clean and he assures me the boat is every bit as clean as it appears in the pics.

 

2.) 2007 Wakesetter VLX:

300 hours. Monsoon 340. Automatic Wedge. Malibu stock Ballast system (nothing additional). Heater and hot water shower. Pictures also look very clean and owner sounds knowledgable.

 

The 2007 VLX is a little less, but by the time I upgrade the ballast system to something similar to what the 2005 LSV already has, both boats will be abou tthe same cost. I like the additional size the LSV would provide (and possibly a bigger surf wave because the boat is bigger/heavier???), but the lower hours and newer VLX is nice. I'll be splitting my time on the boat between approximately 50% surfing, 30% enjoying the water, cruising the river (Delta in Northern CA), and 20% wakeboarding, tubing, etc...If all things are close to equal between these two boats, which would you go with.

 

What are some of the specific things I should look for when viewing these two boats next weekend? I won't have the opportunity to take them in the water on the initial inspection. Would you suggest that as an absolute requirement before buying? Or are there other things you can check that could take the place of a water test if that's going to be hard to do.

 

Thanks in advance for any help!

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ahopkinsVTX

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Ballay

Definitely a water test. Make sure it all works as the owner says it does. Check operations of all pumps. Check temp, voltage, lights. 

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shawndoggy

I've seen the CL ad for that LSV.  It's a pretty good looking boat.  There are a couple of "weird" things about it tho... first off the tower isn't stock.  It looks like it has been replaced with a samson blade (aftermarket) tower.  This could definitely be viewed as an upgrade, but I'd at least ask the question about why the tower was replaced.  The second thing is the "chrome" wedge.  It has a manual wedge but the foil is indeed "finished in chrome".  I don't think that that's a stock or factory option and I'd ask about that too (i.e. did he lose a foil and fab something up to replace it?).  

For me the stereo on that boat also needs some work... using the observer's compartment for subs is a hard no (doesn't sound as good, and wastes valuable storage).  But all boats of that vintage are going to have their little weird stuff.  The stereo wouldn't really bug me that much (easy enough to fix) but I would definitely want to hear the story behind the wedge and the tower.

I think this must be the vlx?  That's a great price.  Obviously needs some tlc on the vinyl. 

Between the two boats I'd strongly prefer that samson tower on the lsv over the illusion-x tower, assuming the explanation of why it's on the lsv makes sense.  I'd also prefer the lsv over the vlx just for size if you are buying the boat for surfing.  Yes, the vlx will surf, but the lsv will be better, all other things being equal.

I'm with the others -- I'd really really want to put both used boats on the water and make sure they perform.  There are many things that will be revealed on a water test that you can't tell or see just from running the boat on the hose.  It would be like buying a car based on idling it in the seller's driveway.

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Cazan
1 hour ago, shawndoggy said:

I've seen the CL ad for that LSV.  It's a pretty good looking boat.  There are a couple of "weird" things about it tho... first off the tower isn't stock.  It looks like it has been replaced with a samson blade (aftermarket) tower.  This could definitely be viewed as an upgrade, but I'd at least ask the question about why the tower was replaced.  The second thing is the "chrome" wedge.  It has a manual wedge but the foil is indeed "finished in chrome".  I don't think that that's a stock or factory option and I'd ask about that too (i.e. did he lose a foil and fab something up to replace it?).  

For me the stereo on that boat also needs some work... using the observer's compartment for subs is a hard no (doesn't sound as good, and wastes valuable storage).  But all boats of that vintage are going to have their little weird stuff.  The stereo wouldn't really bug me that much (easy enough to fix) but I would definitely want to hear the story behind the wedge and the tower.

I think this must be the vlx?  That's a great price.  Obviously needs some tlc on the vinyl. 

Between the two boats I'd strongly prefer that samson tower on the lsv over the illusion-x tower, assuming the explanation of why it's on the lsv makes sense.  I'd also prefer the lsv over the vlx just for size if you are buying the boat for surfing.  Yes, the vlx will surf, but the lsv will be better, all other things being equal.

I'm with the others -- I'd really really want to put both used boats on the water and make sure they perform.  There are many things that will be revealed on a water test that you can't tell or see just from running the boat on the hose.  It would be like buying a car based on idling it in the seller's driveway.

Pretty much dead on!

Vinyl is expensive...4-8k depending on who and where you get it done.  Other things to consider is condition of trailer (tiers and bearings can easily be $500-700.) Cover too...a good one will cost $800 and up.  Stereo?  If it’s a priority then a minimum of $2k for something decent.

When I bought mine last fall I wish I had somebody with me that had knowledge of inboard specs stuff. Try to bring them along if you know somebody.  You can learn a lot here but it can’t replace somebody with actual experience. Things like how making sure Perfect Pass works, drive shaft drip rate, steering cable feel, etc...

good luck!  

 

 

 

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Fish209

Awesome info guys!!! THANK YOU!!!!

ahopkinsVTX - Great article by Wakegirl. Definitely helpful!

shawndoggy - yes the two boats you mentioned are the two I'm thinking about. Great info. Thanks for pointing out the Samson tower and the finished chrome wedge. I wouldn't have known to ask about those. Also, thanks for your opinion on the LSV being your choice over the VLX and confirming my suspicion the LSV would provide a better surf wave. Thank you!

Cazan - Thank you! I will need to see how the interior is on the VLX that needs a little tlc. If it's just the two cushions he said, it shouldn't be that bad, but we'll see.I'll check the trailer and consider the stereo. If I like one of these boats, I'll try to make sure to put it in the water and possible bring a knowledgeable friend with me when I do.

 

You guys have definitely made me lean towards the LSV if he will be a little flexible on the price. Do you think it's priced about right for a 2005 LSV with 700 hours on it with the features it has? Here's the link: 2005 Malibu Wakesetter LSV

 

The other one for reference can be viewed at: 2007 Malibu Wakesetter VLX

 

Thanks so much!!!!!

 

Edited by Fish209
Added link for 2nd boat

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Cazan
56 minutes ago, Fish209 said:

Awesome info guys!!! THANK YOU!!!!

ahopkinsVTX - Great article by Wakegirl. Definitely helpful!

shawndoggy - yes the two boats you mentioned are the two I'm thinking about. Great info. Thanks for pointing out the Samson tower and the finished chrome wedge. I wouldn't have known to ask about those. Also, thanks for your opinion on the LSV being your choice over the VLX and confirming my suspicion the LSV would provide a better surf wave. Thank you!

Cazan - Thank you! I will need to see how the interior is on the VLX that needs a little tlc. If it's just the two cushions he said, it shouldn't be that bad, but we'll see.I'll check the trailer and consider the stereo. If I like one of these boats, I'll try to make sure to put it in the water and possible bring a knowledgeable friend with me when I do.

 

You guys have definitely made me lean towards the LSV if he will be a little flexible on the price. Do you think it's priced about right for a 2005 LSV with 700 hours on it with the features it has? Here's the link: 2005 Malibu Wakesetter LSV

 

The other one for reference can be viewed at: 2007 Malibu Wakesetter VLX

 

Thanks so much!!!!!

 

Honestly I think they are both priced pretty good.  $36.5k for a 23LSV in that shape is a “good” price, not the best but pretty good. I’m sure he will move off of that.. if you get it for 35k that’s good but if it’s as clean as it looks I wouldn’t be feel bad at $36k. Most 23LSV in that era are pushing high 30’s- low to-mid 40’s. 

It looks like he probably just had the wedge chrome plated to match the turn down tips.  But def check that area and wedge bracket like Shawndoggy said for any damage.  The tower is really only question...why did he change it out?  The illusion X came out in 2004 and yes they are not great and many people have had some issues with them.  The Sampson tower will def be much less Maint and probably less headaches but why is it on that boat?? 

As far as the 21 VLX...it looks like more than just 2 seats.  Looks pretty faded to me all around.  If you could get that for $30-$31k that’s a great price IMO with room to upgrade the interior and ballast. 

Also don’t try to put it on the water...demand it.  If either dont want to water test then major red flag. Hooking up to a fake a lake don’t cut it either.

Edited by Cazan

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Fish209

You guys are all awesome! Thanks for the great advice!

 

Thanks Cazan! very helpful tips! I will check the Wedge brackets on the LSV for any signs of damage. I like that Samson tower now that you guys pointed it out, but it sounds like I need to find out why it's on this boat. What should I be concerned with as reasons they changed the tower out? Is there anything specific I should look for regarding the tower when checking out the boat?

 

Thanks again!

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Cazan
3 minutes ago, Fish209 said:

You guys are all awesome! Thanks for the great advice!

 

Thanks Cazan! very helpful tips! I will check the Wedge brackets on the LSV for any signs of damage. I like that Samson tower now that you guys pointed it out, but it sounds like I need to find out why it's on this boat. What should I be concerned with as reasons they changed the tower out? Is there anything specific I should look for regarding the tower when checking out the boat?

 

Thanks again!

My first thought when I see a tower replaced is they hit something.  A garage door, garage frame,  bridge, tree...you name it.  Obviously that will damage the tower, gelcoat and fiberglass. Both can be fixed and more glass can be added for support.  This may or may not be the case.  Maybe he got a bad Illusion tower (there were plenty) and he decided to replace with something better? The IX was made by Metcraft...who is no longer in business.  They have there fair share of issues.  Just search illusion x tower on this site. 

If he did hit something and had it fixed I’d be asking a lot of questions and would want to see some records of the work. If it looks to be repaired good and structurly sounds then I’d use it as a negotiatble item.  Maybe get it inspected by a professional. 

Bottem line just make sure it adds up.

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shawndoggy

^^^ yeah that.  You don't want to hear that he hit a bridge in the middle of the night going 30 mph in the delta and ripped the original tower off. 

price wise I'd say they are both priced very fairly.  You'll be just as deep into the vlx once you fix the upholstery and do the bags.

One thing to ask about on both is the trailer.  You want to hear that it's well maintained.  How old are the tires, have the bearings ever been done, when were the brakes done?  Unless you have a slip, if the trailer goes down so does boating.  

I'd want a 2315 prop on the LSV, and I'd want to swap out all of those janky old sony cabin speakers, and move the subs, and probably do new tower speakers too.... ahh hell, I'd just start from scratch on that stereo.  

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Fish209

I'll definitely get some detailed information on the tower. I'll also look at all the mounting points to see if I see anything funky.

I actually live on the Delta and have a HydroHoist boat lift this boat will live on (other than the winter). He said the trailer has just been worked on and has new tires. As long as it can work for about 2 or 3 miles from the boat launch to my house a couple times a year, I should be good :)

Thanks again guys!!!

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Sparky450

Fish, Great to see you getting serious. I am going to throw another one at you. If weather is good, I will also be out this weekend if you want to go for a test run.

https://modesto.craigslist.org/boa/d/2007-malibu-21lsv-sunscape/6741916055.html

Edited by Sparky450

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Fish209

Hey Sparky, Crazy that we have boating weather in November. Hopefully you get out this weekend. The total hours just scare me a little too much with yours. It's going to be a GREAT boat for someone that's for sure! Best of luck with the sale!

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Cazan
4 hours ago, Fish209 said:

Hey Sparky, Crazy that we have boating weather in November. Hopefully you get out this weekend. The total hours just scare me a little too much with yours. It's going to be a GREAT boat for someone that's for sure! Best of luck with the sale!

Don’t let hours scare you.  I’d rather have a boat with higher hours that has been well maintained and cared for then a low hour boat that hasn’t been.  Engines are meant to run. 

That is a really nice boat and looks to have been very well cared for by a crew member. I wouldn’t cross it off your list.  That 23 LSV is nice but so is his 21 VLX. 

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granddaddy55

@Fish209 

I’ve got 622 on a 14’ and it runs great, the hours should not be the measure unless said motor has a known issue like damper plate coming your way on high hours , don’t go for the boat you have to fix upholstery to get low hours plus you have to install the pnp plumbing and sacs as well! Oh yea and fix stereo ???

go for that water test he is offering , it doesn’t get better than that buying a boat in the offseason 

It’s still a negotiation that you hold the cards for after your session on his boat as he’s trying to sell a boat in the off season 

Edited by granddaddy55

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shawndoggy

dang, @Sparky450, that boat looks GREAT.  @Fish209... you know all of those bad things I said about the LSV stereo?  Sparky's is done RIGHT.  Nice work!  Plus basically everything to need to install a surfgate system?  Holy smokes.  onboard charger, power wedge, bags plumbed in... that boat appears to be dialed to tmc standards.  

I hear you re the hours, but that's what 20 days a season on the boat over 11 years?  That sounds like a well loved and well maintained ride.  I'd certainly take a look if I were in the market.

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Cole2001

To me I wouldn’t be afraid of high hours on an engine I’d be more afraid of the high hours on the actual boat itself. The upholstery is one of the first indicators on how the boat has been maintained. I’ve seen boats with less than a 100 hours in worse shape than ones with 500plus. 

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formulaben

Check your PMs.

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Fish209

Well...now you guys have me second guessing things :)

The 2005 Wakesetter LSV sold so that one is off the list.

I was considering a really clean 2007 VLX from a dealership as well. I hadn't heard back so I was assuming that one wasn't going to work, but I just heard back and we are getting closer to working out a deal that would work for me. That one can be found here: 2007 Wakesetter VLX. It is also close to Go Surf Assist and can get the boat to them for installation.

That LSV sounded like it might have been the best option with the extra size, but that one sold. I still have a few to look into:

1.) 2007 Wakesetter VLX - Near me (Listed at 32K, but there is some room). Cheapest of the group, but will need some interior work.

2.) 2007 Wakesetter VLX - Texas Dealership (Listed at $37,500, but I can likely get it for around $35K shipped to me). Very clean and taken care of boat! This one is at a dealership with a great reputation. The owner of the boat purchased it new back in 07 from the dealership and always had it serviced there.

3.) 2007 Sunsetter VLX - (Sparky450's boat) (listed at $37,500, but haven't talked about price). I met Sparky and his wife a couple weeks ago. GREAT people! I am just concerned with the fact it already needed the engine replaced and the 1,100+ total hours on the boat.

4.) 2006 Wakesetter VLX - (just saw it on CL. I have a message in, but haven't talked to him yet) Looks very clean, but is priced a little high at $40,000. If he is flexible, this might be one to consider.

These are listed in order of least expensive to most expensive. Not even sure how to list them in order of my preference :)

 

Any tips why one might be better than the rest? Any one you might eliminate from consideration? Any specific information you would make sure to find out about any of these?

 

THANKS FOR ALL THE GREAT HELP EVERYONE!!!!

 

 

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riot138

I bought a boat around this time last year and didn't really consider the cost of upgrades.  If the boat is stock from 06/07 your looking at stereo, bimini, prop, additional ballast, boat cover and trailer tires to name a few.  Those things all had to be updated for me and it cost over 7K.  So now your 39/40K is really a stock 32/33K boat without those upgrades.

Edited by riot138

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LateNightSalami

My two main concerns would be the gel coat condition and the condition of the engine. For the engine you can do a couple of things if you want to get really thorough:

1. See if there was a recent compression test, was it in spec?

2. Get an oil sample and send it off to be tested: this will let you know if any gas is getting into the oil somehow which should help determine the condition of the internals

 

For the gel coat:

The worries would be abrasive damage and osmotic blisters. For abrasive damage: ask how the hull was cleaned and taken care of, are there any major chips/cracks that need to be fixed?. People should be using mainly acid washes (hydrochloric or muriatic acid) and wax. I would stay away from anything that has been power washed or sanded. For osmotic blisters, these can get pretty prominent if the boat is left in the water rather than put on a hoist when it is not being used. The water works its way through little imperfections in the gel coat and accumulates forming little blisters. Many of these are purely cosmetic but some can separate teh gel coat from the fiberglass and eventually start breaking down the fiberglass. Fixing this type of work can get VERY expensive VERY quickly. When I was looking at used boats I would get under the hull and feel around with my hand to see how smooth the hull was and if I felt any blisters. A big note of warning: osmotic blisters will contract if the boat is left out of the water for a long time...especially in the winter. So if you are looking at a boat in cold weather that has been on a trailer for a few months whatever blisters you see/feel will be much larger when it gets back in the water.

 

90% of boat owners are pretty anal about the service of their boat so this might be over kill but you also don't want to be stuck with a project and to have to sink more money into something that you just bought.

Edited by LateNightSalami

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shawndoggy

@Fish209 I was right where you are now back in 2009.  I was struggling between a crew member's 04 lsv and an 06 vride.  The LSV was dialed by that era's standards, but had 450 hours, whereas the vride was bone stock but had fewer hours (170 IIRC).  I let the hours make the decision for me.... and I eventually easily put in just as much money as the LSV would've cost to do trailer maintenance, ballast upgrades, tuneup, etc etc.  And I still had a smaller boat.  

Now @Sparky450's boat obviously has a LOT more hours than the boat I was looking at.  BUT .... these things don't really "wear out" if well maintained.  Yes, I'd want to know the story behind the engine failure.  But the fact that one motor went doesn't mean the new one will too... a low hours motor (assuming it's a crate install or a well done rebuild) isn't really any different from a motor with the same number of hours in a different boat.  So what else is there to go wrong on a "high hours" boat?  upholstery (a malibu weak spot for sure... and I'm not sure the number of hours is THAT important vs. care over the past decade), the illusion X tower bushings, steering cable/rudder, packing nut (the seal on the driveshaft... they are designed to leak, just not too much), carpet (you can trust your eyes on this), gel (again trust your eyes), trailer maintenance (brakes, hubs, tires), maybe ballast hoses (the hoses on my 06 did get dry and cracked).  Aside from the pretty major expense of redoing the interior, the rest of that stuff all falls in the category of regular maintenance and you'll be doing it eventually on any boat anyway.

I also wouldn't really recommend buying a 13 year old shipped boat sight unseen, especially if it's your first inboard.  I looked at four boats before I bought one.  Even drove 11 hours to buy one and then bailed on it after the water test.  The pics looked fantastic, but in person it was more beat than the pics suggested.  If you are gonna go with the one in Texas, fly out and look at it, or barring that at least have a crew member do a drive by for you.

Finally, don't let a couple thousand bucks make the decision for you.  What I mean by that is that you seem to have a pretty good handle on the high and low anchor points in the market.  Obviously you aren't going to spend $50K on a 2006 vlx.  But if there's one you feel great about for $37k and one you are kinda meh on for $33k, spend the money.  These boats don't really depreciate much at this point and if you pay a little more for a boat that's got more features or is in better shape, you're likely to get it back on resale.

ALL THAT SAID -- @Sparky450's boat has two strikes -- over 1000 hours and a replacement engine.  Even if YOU can get comfortable with those issues, they are going to have a big impact on resale because potential buyers are going to see those items and move along to the next boat.  So that's a boat where all things considered the price really has to be right on the front end.

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05hammerhead

Ive got a loaded to the gills 05 VLX that is on the dealer lot ready to get traded.  Id need to be somewhere in the 35ish range to go get it, but its solid in every aspect.  383 motor(900 hours), full MLS with 2500lb additional plumbed with reversibles, bangin sound system.  Just sayin. 

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Sparky450

So SD comes up with valid points. Why did the engine let loose?  And what engine went back in. This is what I found when I opened up the engine at 830 hours.

89231D34-BDE1-4700-A298-B287E9E3B994.jpeg

0E09624F-8549-42AB-9051-0D0EDE5273F0.jpeg

BE19EE8A-279E-45EB-B1F9-844C64FDF834.jpeg

I am not sure what those caps are from but they were there from assembly. They look like the caps for the injectors to me. (Don’t mind the missing valve spring. It got repurposed to another piece of equipment🤪). 

The engine was replaced with a Marine Power new long block  R&R was completed by myself and an employee. I didn’t want to wait 2-3 months for a dealer. Final check code clear and alignment was completed by the local dealer. I have the receipts. It now has over 320 triublefree hours.😎

Edited by Sparky450

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