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Hi everyone! I found a 1986 Malibu Skier for sale with 1100 hours on it. The boat looks to be in good shape, except for some tears in the interior. I’ve never had a boat before and I’ve been wanting get one for years, at $4,500 i figure this would be a good starting point. 

Before I go and check it out, can anyone share some tips and things to look for? So far I’ve read that the “typical” marine engine lasts for around 1500 hours and the 86 skier is made with wood stringers. I figure a compression check for the engine would be required but I don’t really know anything about fiberglass or how to tell if the stringers are rotten. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks! 

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On 5/2/2019 at 3:13 AM, ahopkinsVTX said:

Read this before going to look at it:

Then read this if you choose to buy it:


Thank you for the links! After reading them,  I checked out the boat and found two soft spots in the floor. When I mentioned concern about the floor the owner said he’d take $3,500 for the boat. The boat ran good but those soft spots make me a little worried. 

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1 hour ago, braindamage said:

If the seller’s response to the soft floor was to lower the price by $1k...run ...run ...run. 

There are other boats.

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On 5/9/2019 at 9:12 PM, Lanman said:

Here's one for $5800


You say that you have never owned a boat before.......how do you plan to use it and what are your requirements?

Thank you for the link! I plan on teaching my son how to ski and do some tubing. He’s 4 1/2 now but I figure he’d at least like jumping off the swim deck! 

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A 35 year old mechanical device and a boat especially is really in the category of “classic” rather than for cheap everyday use. We just sold our 92 Euro (one of the first all fibreglass versions) and despite being a great boat (480 hours) it was showing it’s age. Needed more “tenderness” and compassion than a modern version. Our young adult boys didn’t have that so it wouldn’t work well enough for them. A carby is immediately a stumbling block if it doesn’t run right straight after launch. 

Based on experience, there is nothing worse than having young kids on a boat after all the hassle of getting them organised and then telling them we have to go home because the boat isn’t running right. 

You may need to reconsider your budget. 

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4 hours ago, Lindt said:


You may need to reconsider your budget. 

I agree.  Keep your eyes open for an all composite boat, if you can move your budget to $10k (including taxes, registration, insurance, etc.).  A carburetor should not concern you though, it's a simple device and you can swap it out for a rebuilt if you have any trouble with it.  Lots of carb'd boats running around flawlessly out there, including my '94, and I'll be training my 13 year old daughter to operate mine without concerns.

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