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Author Topic:   Advise on 13' Sport Purchase
paul_boatforum posted 07-29-2000 05:54 PM ET (US)   Profile for paul_boatforum   Send Email to paul_boatforum  
I am looking at purchasing a used 13' Sport. The boat is an 85' with an 85' 30hp Johnson outboard. The boat looked good - no bottom paint, good gellcoat, and normal wear for a 15 year old boat. The engine was run on ear muffs when I looked at and from a general standpoint it ran fine. The offer is there to run the boat in a river nearby - which I would do before buying. The price is reasonable.

My question for those that have purchased boats of this kind is - is getting a mechanic to look at a definite? I mean I realize it would of course be optimal, but are there general things that can be checked when seeing the boat? Things like the overall sound, looking for water in the lower unit oil, etc. While I am not spending 20K, I don't want to waste 4K.

I have owned other smaller boats and a larger one, so I have dealt with outboards from a general standpoint. The boat is not exactly in an area where marinas exist so while not impossible, getting someone to see it is not as simple as going down to the next dock. I guess with a used car I wouldn't buy without getting it checked out, is getting a small outboard the same? I purchased a small 6hp envinrude without question and it has been fine for 6 years. Just thought maybe these smaller engines are not a big of a worry???

I know this question has been asked a million times and appreciate any thoughts and guidance. This would be my first whaler and I have been wanting one for years....


eolson posted 07-31-2000 08:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for eolson  Send Email to eolson     

I'd get a *qualified*, skilled mechanic to look at it before plopping down $4000.

I bought a 15' Sport with Johnson 70HP back in October. The previous owner (PO) and I took it out for a 1 hour test ride on a nearby lake. It ran like a champ. The PO agreed to let me take it to a mechanic for a test (which cost about $50). The mechanic was 25 miles away from the PO's house, but that didn't faze him at all - I offered to give him a deposit check, but he trusted me.

Unfortunately, the mechanic that I went to didn't do much of an examination of the boat. The engine bought the farm about 40 hours later. When it died, I took it back to the original mechanic, who charged me $50 to "look at it" and advised me to buy a new Honda from them for $6500 dollars. No way I was going to do that. I asked some friends for references, found a really excellent mechanic (not at a dealer this time), who rebuilt the Johnson 70HP for $1200. I've got about 60 hours on the rebuild and it's running like a top!

The 2nd mechanic found that I had a rebuilt 1980 powerhead on a 1985 lower unit, and that it had been incorrectly rebuilt (the main bearings incorrectly installed). I would have thought that the original dealership mechanic would have checked serial numbers or otherwise noticed that I had a 1980 powerhead on a 1985 lower unit -- the private mechanic noticed that within 3 minutes flat.

Sorry for rambling.

I'd get recommendations from other boaters - find a good mechanic - then have him check out the 13' before you buy it.

Best of luck with your purchase - hope you're successful!

Gainesville, FL

bigz posted 07-31-2000 11:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    

At the very least have the engine compression checked and the lower unit pressure and vacuum tested --- that will tell you a whole lot on the condition. On the boat check the drain tubes make sure none are cracked which might have allowed water into the core or saturated the plywood in the transom --- also carefully check the hull particularly below waterline and keel area for an indication of previous repairs --- Frankly your buying the hull, a 15 year old 30 Johnson isn't worth all that much --- unless the boat and motor fully check out I would deem $4000 a bit pricey -- then again that is a matter for debate --- Regards Tom

paul_boatforum posted 07-31-2000 03:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for paul_boatforum  Send Email to paul_boatforum     
I agree with the idea that the engine is not the value of the boat given a 85' 30hp. So (I have to ask), assuming the following:

85' 13' sport
No bottom paint
hull coating look great
no visiable cracks near drain plugs
wood in fair to good condition
hand rail
boat cover (always covered)
trailed (tilt) - good shape

Is the boat itself worth like in the 3K range? I am not looking for estimates on the selling price. I just want to get a handle on what the boat itself might be worth. I wasn't sure if we're talking $1,500 or $3,500 for the boat less an engine.


dave_maggio posted 08-01-2000 08:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for dave_maggio  Send Email to dave_maggio     

I think we have been trading e-mails, but, I think that a boat in great condition with a really good trailer ($400 new) would probably be worth $2,800. A really good used 30 hp motor is probably worth another thousand. The thing that I would be worried about with the motor is the skiing. My friends and I killed a 25 hp johnson in 5 summers of hard skiing. Does the guy who is selling it have kids or is he of skiing age or build himself...


paul_boatforum posted 08-01-2000 09:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for paul_boatforum  Send Email to paul_boatforum     

Yes, we have exchanged emails - which were a great help! I called Mitch's marine and they said they would fit me in this week to check things out.

For what its worth, I called a marina in D.C. as well. While they were backup in the service department, I still had a good conversation with the mechanic. He at least gave me the impression that these older 25, 30, and 40hp johnsons/evinrudes were fairly good engines. Also, this mechanic had an older 13' with a 25hp. He talked about talking out into the bay during decent conditions all the time. The guy was nice and helpful...

I agree that I would take the kids out in the bay proper with a 13', but its nice to know I could..I miss being out to some of the eastern shore places like hooper island, etc, which are just across from solomons island.

I will let you know the out come...Paul

paul_boatforum posted 08-01-2000 03:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for paul_boatforum  Send Email to paul_boatforum     
Just as a "for what it's worth" follow up - I did have the compression tested by a mechanic today and both cyclinders where at 125. Also took it for a spin and it rode as as expected...a nice steady little boat!

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