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!

Looking at Buying a 1999 Malibu Sunsetter LXI - Looking for Guidance


Recommended Posts

I am looking seriously at a 1999 Malibu Sunsetter LXI.  325 HP Monsoon Direct Drive.  935 Hrs.  Appears to be well maintained and in good condition considering the age.

Wondering if you can provide specific advice on details to look at when looking at the boat and test drive.

I know to look at some things: 

- Blisters, chips, scratches on the hull

- Corrosion on wiring, evidence of water damage

I am wondering how to check things like the steering:  On an inboard-outboard, I know to look for play in the motor unit without the steering wheel moving.  I don't know how to check this on the Direct Drive (Inboard) unit.

How much of a concern is the 935 hours on the engine?  What sort of repairs can I anticipate in the near future?

Helpful hints would be appreciated.

Thanks, Dan

Link to post

Check the "How to buy a boat/test drive" on this site.  935 hrs - if maintained - is no biggie.  Steering should be one finger; a new cable is not that expensive if it needs one.

  • Like 2
Link to post

I may be backwards in my thinking but I’m of the opinion that an older boat with high time is much better than low time.    
 
First, the boat gets used a bunch.  That means it works.  And a boat with that many hours MUST be maintained or it simply won’t run.   
 

Second,  when it comes to engines, use it or lose it.   Especially in a marine environment.   Running an engine after    prolonged inactivity is detrimental unless it was properly pickled.  
 

I thought of it this way;  1000 hours at an average speed of 20mph is 20K miles.    I know it’s not the same but what do you think of a car with 20K?

My 83 Landcruiser had 275k on it and towed my boat just fine.    

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post

@DMG-  a compression test and leak down test can tell you a lot about the health of the engine, in your case I would certainly do both.  Steering on a DD is a similar test, look for little rudder to steering wheel free play and a free steering cable (steering should be a one finger amount of effort).  Check the rudder to bushing play.  Transmission should engage / disengage quietly.  The shaft seal will probably drip, that is normal and it should not be more than slightly warm to the touch after running.  When test driving note the following - the boat should probably pull slightly to the right or take a small amount of left hand down pressure to follow a straight path, that is normal and when you go to reverse, it will back up to the right, normal for a left hand rotation prop.  Drive train should be smooth and vibration free.  Good luck!  And in case you don't know, that model boat is really well liked by its owners, there are several on this site that love them and tend to be hard to find.

  • Like 2
Link to post
12 hours ago, Woodski said:

Transmission should engage / disengage quietly.

Except for the pronounced "whirr" in reverse, which is normal.  But yes, it should not clunk in or out of gear.

Link to post

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to reply.  Much appreciated and very helpful information.  Enjoy your day!

Link to post
On 4/12/2021 at 9:45 PM, Eagleboy99 said:

Or 45 hrs/yr.  Likely skiing, not idling.

Over the last ten years I have averaged a measly 30-45 hours a year.  At least 1/2 of that is burned during the annual trip to Lake Ouachita.    

Edited by Bozboat
  • Like 1
Link to post

@DMG For boats of this vintage I would also recommend a close examination of the gauge functionality. These boats are equipped with Medallion gauges which are now obsolete and new old stock replacement gauges and gauge computers are expensive. They are not standard analog gauges that can be switched for any off-the-shelf variety. If they aren't working correctly count on at a minimum some troubleshooting work and maybe hunting down some NOS replacements.

Link to post
10 minutes ago, drh said:

hunting down some NOS replacements

If they are a complete failure after all attempts to repair, just yank them out and replace with Ron Tanis' TRD Conversion kits.  Many of us here have done that.  The new gauges are far, far better than the old Medallion system IMO.

Link to post

@Eagleboy99 I got really lucky a couple years ago and found a guy on Craigslist who did that to his 99 Mastercraft because the MDC had failed. He was selling the entire set of 7 functioning gauges that were identical to mine for $150 I think (and I made almost all that back selling just the tach on Ebay). At this point I've replaced nearly all mine except the tach and one speedo. Only downside is one speedo says Mastercraft and one says Malibu...oh well.

Link to post
1 hour ago, drh said:

@Eagleboy99 I got really lucky a couple years ago and found a guy on Craigslist who did that to his 99 Mastercraft because the MDC had failed. He was selling the entire set of 7 functioning gauges that were identical to mine for $150 I think (and I made almost all that back selling just the tach on Ebay). At this point I've replaced nearly all mine except the tach and one speedo. Only downside is one speedo says Mastercraft and one says Malibu...oh well.

Did your year of Sportster not have the 4-1 5" gauge? IIRC, 99 MCs used  separate gauges.

Link to post
electricjohn

Don't think you can find anybody who has a bad thing to say about the Sunsetter. Easy to work on too.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Burton167can

just sold my Wakesetter with 975 Hours, the motor ran flawlessely, no reason to think it wont go for at least another 1000 hrs. I feel like there is a much higher demand for <500hr boats, if the 900+ hours doesnt bug you you can generally pick them up for a great deal, but on the flip side make re-sale a bit harder. Dont shy away from a good boat. 

Some of the things that went on my 01 setter were:

Waterhoses cracked and leaked

Oil Pressure Sensor - Beeping alarm

Alternator (2nd one in 20 years, not bad)

Gas shocks a bit weak in rear hatches

Shaft packing needed adjustment and was likely near the end of its life

Trailer bunks could use new carpet

Edited by Burton167can
Link to post
On 4/16/2021 at 8:42 AM, footndale said:

Is the back seat one piece or 3 pieces? I think 99 was one piece but some had 3 piece. My brother has a 99 SLXI. Great boat.

Back seat is one piece on the one I am looking at...seems like everyone love this boat!  Getting more excited all the time.

  • Like 1
Link to post
On 4/16/2021 at 4:32 PM, Burton167can said:

just sold my Wakesetter with 975 Hours, the motor ran flawlessely, no reason to think it wont go for at least another 1000 hrs. I feel like there is a much higher demand for <500hr boats, if the 900+ hours doesnt bug you you can generally pick them up for a great deal, but on the flip side make re-sale a bit harder. Dont shy away from a good boat. 

Some of the things that went on my 01 setter were:

Waterhoses cracked and leaked

Oil Pressure Sensor - Beeping alarm

Alternator (2nd one in 20 years, not bad)

Gas shocks a bit weak in rear hatches

Shaft packing needed adjustment and was likely near the end of its life

Trailer bunks could use new carpet

Good info...those all sound like typical aging issues, so I would almost expect that to happen.  Everyone seems to agree that the life on that motor should be 1000+ hours!  Good  news, so I am hoping the boat lives up to the hype.  Confident it will be great.

Link to post
electricjohn

Time is the biggest factor for boat engines. Problems are going to happen due to age and lack of use. I can't recall anyone wearing out an inboard. Outboards? My second one is getting near the end but boat is 52 years old.

Link to post

I have an 01 ss lxi with around 340 hours.  Like everyone says they are super simple and very dependable.  They are however 20 years old.  If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty they are easy to work on.  When I look at (even slightly) newer boat prices these things are a bargain and are fully depreciated at this point.  Enjoy!

Link to post
On 4/12/2021 at 4:45 PM, Eagleboy99 said:

Check the "How to buy a boat/test drive" on this site.  935 hrs - if maintained - is no biggie.  Steering should be one finger; a new cable is not that expensive if it needs one.

Can't seem to find this "How to buy a boat/test drive" on this site...have found quite a few things on youtube, but I am wondering if I am just missing on the Malibu Crew forum.  Any hints on where it's located?

Link to post
6 hours ago, DMG said:

Can't seem to find this "How to buy a boat/test drive" on this site...have found quite a few things on youtube, but I am wondering if I am just missing on the Malibu Crew forum.  Any hints on where it's located?

 

Link to post

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...