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Purchase of 1993 Malibu Echelon


Hobbs930

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This is my first post and will be my first experience with wake boats. Looking into purchasing this 1993 Malibu Echelon. It has 430 hours on a 350. The guy says the carb needs rebuilt and it has a small oil leak at the timing change cover. The upholstery isn’t bad compared to similar boats in the same price range. It could use a buff and the swim deck also needs some attention. The tower speakers don’t come with it but he said he put two new marine batteries in it, just replaced the manifolds, has ballasts, and a cover to go with it. He is asking $6,000. Is this reasonable and what else should I look for when I go look in person?

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@Hobbs930- an Echelon is a great boat specifically a great slalom / barefoot 90's era boat and the first Malibu that is of wood free construction.  If you are looking for a wake boat I would think better options are available but @Michigan boarder can chime in on setting one up for wake sports.  As for your questions:  430 hours is very low and in good condition will provide many years of great use, carb rebuilds are very easy & there are videos and manuals that run through the rebuild process.  You can change the timing chain cover gaskets/seals without removing the pan although not the ideal method.  Many threads / links on refurbishing a swim deck.  Given you noted manifolds were replaced, assuming exhaust ones, I would suggest doing a compression and leak down test prior to writing a check for it.  Manifolds are replaced due to corrosion and leaks, hopefully external but if an internal leak it opens the possibility of water getting in to the combustion chamber.  As for price, always hard to speculate not knowing actual condition although that price for a 430 hour direct drive ski boat if in good condition is good.

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I bought a 94 echelon in 2013 for 6500.  Mechanically was a 10, interior was a 6 or 7, gel had oxidation so probably a 5, teak deck was in good shape but needed stripped, cleaned, oiled and sealed.  Starbright sells a three product kit that works great!  Made it look brand new. Boat came with an aftermarket tower, cockpit cover and basic stereo. I think it had around 500 hrs when I bought it and it was a screaming good price at the time. I traded it on my next boat in 2017 for 9000 if that helps with your valuation?  Computron worked but went out shortly after purchase which can no longer be replaced with new part.  The price sounds good to very good from your description and in this market. 

It is an excellent slalom tug and with weight and wedge can be a serviceable wakeboard boat.

Ive added photos of boat after a gel coat sand and polish and teak deck work for reference.20140911_133113.thumb.jpg.f0aba181acfc7ef3773606a5d7a301b9.jpg20140911_133128.thumb.jpg.b0ecfdcf9aeed8009d4fc9697d58a840.jpg20140912_102551.thumb.jpg.3e245a95be7d3296cdbad0750cbfeb08.jpg

Edited by bovhica
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2 hours ago, Hobbs930 said:

This is my first post and will be my first experience with wake boats. Looking into purchasing this 1993 Malibu Echelon. It has 430 hours on a 350. The guy says the carb needs rebuilt and it has a small oil leak at the timing change cover. The upholstery isn’t bad compared to similar boats in the same price range. It could use a buff and the swim deck also needs some attention. The tower speakers don’t come with it but he said he put two new marine batteries in it, just replaced the manifolds, has ballasts, and a cover to go with it. He is asking $6,000. Is this reasonable and what else should I look for when I go look in person?

I would be concerned about the guy saying the carb needing rebuilt.  If it is running poorly it may have nothing to do with the carb, there could be compression issues, or timing issues.  A compression check on all cylinders would be a good idea, assuming he is willing to take the time.  Probably 15 minutes of time, the plugs are easy to get to.  If compression is good, then the rest can be serviced.

What is your primary interest in boating?  That boat will do slalom and barefoot extremely well, it will provide a decent wakeboard wake, and it will be difficult to surf.  It pulls tubes fantastic and when attached to the pylon you have pretty amazing control over the tube.

In perfect shape that's a $10k boat any day, so you have some room to make improvements and not be "under water".

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Thank you all for the info. 
I will try and do a compression test when I go look at it. 
The boat will mainly be used for tubing and cruising. May occasionally have someone wakeboard behind it but not on a regular basis. 

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6 minutes ago, Hobbs930 said:

Also I’ve read that this style of boat is rough and wet in chop. Just curious how rough and if there is any way to remedy this. 

Not much or very little you can do for chop.  This boat is designed for slalom/ barefoot and glassy water.  It is lightweight, low freeboard and flat bottom.  If ride in chop and cruising a larger lake is a concern, I would pass.  Much better options out there for your use.

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29 minutes ago, bovhica said:

Not much or very little you can do for chop.  This boat is designed for slalom/ barefoot and glassy water.  It is lightweight, low freeboard and flat bottom.  If ride in chop and cruising a larger lake is a concern, I would pass.  Much better options out there for your use.

Understood, will be on medium to small lakes for the most part with the occasional large lake. I’m more of anchor out and float around kinda guy but the people going with me really enjoy tubing so it doesn’t seem that I’ll have too many issues. Grew up with dirt track cars so I really like the idea of the gm 350. Gives a familiar feeling. 

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10 minutes ago, Hobbs930 said:

Understood, will be on medium to small lakes for the most part with the occasional large lake. I’m more of anchor out and float around kinda guy but the people going with me really enjoy tubing so it doesn’t seem that I’ll have too many issues. Grew up with dirt track cars so I really like the idea of the gm 350. Gives a familiar feeling. 

We used ours the same way with the addition of morning and evening slalom sessions, which was our primary reason for purchase.  It will do just fine for your activities except in rough water.  As long as you can accept that, it's a fun boat. Gm 350 is a great motor. If maintained properly, it's near bulletproof. Definitely take @Michigan boarders advice...get it tested and checked out. 

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9 hours ago, Hobbs930 said:

Understood, will be on medium to small lakes for the most part with the occasional large lake. I’m more of anchor out and float around kinda guy but the people going with me really enjoy tubing so it doesn’t seem that I’ll have too many issues. Grew up with dirt track cars so I really like the idea of the gm 350. Gives a familiar feeling. 

It's not very good for this, unless you are on calm water.  I've had some success on tie-off's with pontoon boats on either side of me but it is not good by itself with rollers coming into it, they can go over the bow very easily.  They actually take a wave better from the stern.

But you know what, for $6k you can't go wrong, assuming it checks out.  So I'd say do your diligence, then buy it and if you don't like it you can flip it and not lose anything.

By the way it rides like it's on rails on the water, it doesn't lean much and tends to turn VERY abruptly, so the car guy in you will freaking love it especially at 40+mph.  Remove the exhaust and straight pipe it and you'll be amazed.  The cooling water (in large volumes) mixes with the exhaust so it won't be "car" straight piped, it will have a fantastic rumble that will make that SBC sound like it's built.

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18 minutes ago, Michigan boarder said:

It's not very good for this, unless you are on calm water.  I've had some success on tie-off's with pontoon boats on either side of me but it is not good by itself with rollers coming into it, they can go over the bow very easily.  They actually take a wave better from the stern.

But you know what, for $6k you can't go wrong, assuming it checks out.  So I'd say do your diligence, then buy it and if you don't like it you can flip it and not lose anything.

By the way it rides like it's on rails on the water, it doesn't lean much and tends to turn VERY abruptly, so the car guy in you will freaking love it especially at 40+mph.  Remove the exhaust and straight pipe it and you'll be amazed.  The cooling water (in large volumes) mixes with the exhaust so it won't be "car" straight piped, it will have a fantastic rumble that will make that SBC sound like it's built.

I think I’m gonna do just that! I’ll look it over and do the tests and hopefully bring it home. Most places that we tie up are almost always calm water, so I think I will be able to manage. It will definitely get some exhaust work, I really like the idea of that. Thank you all once again! I’m gonna try and go look at it Sunday and I will keep you guys updated on it!

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27 minutes ago, martinarcher said:

I wonder if I could convince my wife to let me do this to our '01 Wakesetter... Let those bald eagles scream

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