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Author Topic:   Value of Pre-Installed Electronics
montauk dave posted 03-23-2005 12:10 AM ET (US)   Profile for montauk dave   Send Email to montauk dave  
Are the fish finder, VHF radio, and stereo that comes from the factory worth the price? The dealer is willing to give 20% off list and it will be warranteed. I am new to boating and I would rather not cut the holes in the boat myself. Any recommendations are appreciated.
bigjohn1 posted 03-23-2005 04:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
Dave, give us the prices the dealer/factory is charging "extra" for these add-on items - also model #'s. I assume they are all NAVMAN brand right? You will get better better feedback with actual prices and model numbers for the vhf and fish finder. People will compare your figures with what they know and/or have bought those items for via other sources. Even at a 20% discount (20% of what?) the dealer may be charging you substantially more than you could buy these items for...who knows. Knowledge is power....
montauk dave posted 03-23-2005 08:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for montauk dave  Send Email to montauk dave     
the electronics package is a 4350 Fishfinder, 7100 VHF Navman radio, and the stereo is a Clarion AM / FM digital stereo with CD player, waterproof speakers (2) and remote control. the price all together is about 2 grand minus 20%. any help would be much appreciated. thanks.
jimh posted 03-23-2005 08:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
First of all, I think it is just plain NUTS to get a AM/FM/Cassette radio on a boat. If you have to have music, get an iPod.

A good VHF radio costs about $150 and a good antenna and mount about $75. It takes about 30 minutes to install them. Figure about $225 tops. I argue against flush mounting them.

A really good fishfinder and transom mount transducer is about $400. These are not hard to install, either.

So I think you have about $625 in gear. Add an iPod for $400. You'll have a much better system for about $1025. Your console won't be full of oddly shaped holes. The iPod will sound better than any Clarion stereo. If you need radio get a boom-box for $50.

bigjohn1 posted 03-24-2005 12:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
Dave, Agree with Jim on most points he makes...the 7100 vhf comes in black only (according to my research and speaking with my local dealer). A white vhf just seems to match better with the natural color of your boat. I'm not sure where the factory installs the vhf either. If you do it yourself as Jim says, you get to choose where to install it - and that location may well be different than where the factory installs it. I just finished installing vhf and a combo plotter/sonar in the past 2-months and its fairly easy. Since you're getting a 20% discount, I think you'll still be money ahead buying and installing equipment yourself rather than giving that $1,600 to the dealer. Another reason you might want to hold off for now is that you may decide you want a gps chartplotter in the future depending on how you use this boat. That is going to be an ADDITIONAL component that you will need to find mounting room for on an already small console. Best to hold off and add electronics later..after you have done your research and really decide what units you need/want. I'm not knocking NAVMAN equipment at all, its just that I think you'll be happier in the long run if you wait for now. The money spent will be way less also!
jimh posted 03-24-2005 09:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Also, $400 for an iPod is much more sensible than for a boat stereo. I use my iPod all over the place: on airplane trips, on long car trips. My wife takes it to work everyday to listen to instead of the radio! We use a recording radio device, sort of a TIVO for radio, and pre-record about 12-hours of radio programs each week. Then we listen to them when and where we want.

So take the $400 off the boat budget. You'll use the iPod more off the boat than on the boat. Now you're comparing $1,600 to $600--that is a big difference.

The Boston Whaler electrical panel in the console is very nicely done and makes it very simple to connect accessory equipment's power wiring.

Now, that all said, if you are a mechanical and electrical nincompoop, you may be better off buying it all pre-installed.

montaukman posted 03-24-2005 10:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for montaukman  Send Email to montaukman     
Ok...Still teetering about my component installation on my new 170. I am in the same boat as Montauk Dave. I refuse to pay dealership fee's though.

I have a person who will install VHF(flushmount) and antenna, stereo with 2 speakers (all flush Mount) and GPS/chartplotter for $680. That is based on $85 per hour and he allocated 8 hours for the job.

I am leaning toward going with him. I feel confident that i can do the mechanical aspect myself but i am really nervous about the wiring. I am clueless as to how to know if I need a breaker panel, how to wire to it, how to ensure that i get a constant power to the radio for memory, do i go to the accessory switch. All this stuff.

You all have been so helpful but i need serious hand holding and i don't want to use up peoples time or bother the forum with my basic questions. Plus, as welcome as the replies were for you, they were still offered to me based on an idea that i had some kind of electrical ability. I am an electrical idiot. lol.

So, does that seem like a fair price for installation?

Thanks for all your help. Once everything is installed, i will take note and see how it was done so i can do it on future ventures.

All the best,


bigjohn1 posted 03-24-2005 05:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
Alan, the fact of whether or not that price of $680 is "good" or not is all relative. In many cases, peice of mind is beyond any dollar figure placed on it. If you are comfortable with it, go for it. I would recommend that you discuss some things with the installer though - just to make sure. If he's worth his salt, he will "tin" all the electric connections and use shrink wrap over electric connections. Make sure you specify things like the use of sealer on all screws that go into the boat's gelcoat. Also be specific on instructing him to apply sealer to all holes after they are drilled - to avoid delamination. The sealer trick is one I learned from the fine people right here on this forum. If you are paying good money for an installation job like this, ensure you insistant on quality and YOU set the standard, not the installer. Some people stick their head in the sand so-to-speak and get taken advantage of.
rtk posted 03-24-2005 07:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk     
Is it worth it? That is hard to answer. I do my own installations but I have been doing it a long time. I work alot of hours now and I have been paying more people to do things. I do enjoy the electronics installs so I do that and pay the dealer to maintain the rest.

You can add the items you are interested in at anytime, so you are not in a hurry. I hate spending money on something with a quick decision and not being happy with the purchase.

The benefit of the factory rigged package would be dealer service support of the package that came from the factory. Is that offered if you order the factory electronics package? That would be a plus. Especially if you don't want to mess around with them. Like bigjohn mentioned peace of mind. Doesn't work, bring it to the dealer and say fix it please. Do it yourself, your on your own.

If you know a good installer you can save some money by shopping your electronics yourself. Research what you want and shop it online. You get exactly what you want at a good price. Definitely make sure they caulk and seal everything. Sounds obvious but I have seen too many things installed on a boat without sealer or bedding and it does lead to problems.

Eight hours labor doesn't sound out of line for flushmount installations, etc. I don't think anyone in this area is charging less than $75.00 per hour for anything so the hourly rate sounds like market. If they do excellent work the money is well spent.

It's only too expensive if your not happy with the purchase : )

Good luck and have fun with your new toys


Sheila posted 03-25-2005 03:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
You must be dying of anticipation with delivery so close.

Are you sure you want to flushmount all these electronics? I know this subject has come up before, but think about it.

What if two years from now you decide to upgrade something and the cutout is quite different? What if you want to take your GPS home and add some charts, using your computer? Or lay out a course and waypoints from home? Or you're trailering your boat on a long trip and don't want to leave all those expensive goodies on your boat in the hotel parking lot overnight?

Our Revenge 25 has ample console space. We have two helms. The main station has a GPS, fishfinder, sidescanning fishfinder, and VHF. The helm up in the tower has a GPS, fishfinder, and VHF. None of these electronics is flushmounted.

montaukman posted 03-25-2005 07:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for montaukman  Send Email to montaukman     
Hi sheila,

I know what you are saying about flush mounting. You are def correct but I think the look of the finished end product outweighs the saftety of having things removeable.

Besides, i am only having the VHF and AM/FM stereo flus hmounted. The GPS/chartplotter is on the mount. That will be removeable.

This is an understatement. but yes, iu am soooooo anxious about delivery this Sat. Nervous too in that i habve always docked a boat and have never trailered so untiul i get adept at it i am going to be uptight about the people waiting at my local ramp. I'll deal

I am more concerned with the things that are potentially wrong with the boat upon delivery and how the dealer will fix things.

This is me....i am this way will all big purchases. I was a wrecj when i boutght my convertible.....i know it, accept it and deal with it.

Thanks for all your advice and I will post pics once all the electronics are in...two weeks or so.

Thanks again,


jimh posted 03-25-2005 08:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Sheila makes a good point: flush mounted electronics cannot be easily removed for use elsewhere. Besides taking a GPS home for programming or data upload/download, you might want to use it in the car. It seems somewhat inefficient to invest $2,500 in a device that is only used a few hours a week in the boat. It could be useful in the car, too.

The advantage of flush mounting electronics is they are harder to remove, so a casual thief may be deterred. It also gives the boat a more finished look.

With some of the new console designs, it really is not an option; you are almost forced to flush mount electronics.

On larger boats the trend is toward one large central display device which can be used by several instruments to display data. One display might show you RADAR, SONAR, Chart Plots, GPS Navigation information, and Engine Data. Currently these systems are probably too expensive to use on a trailer boat.

Sheila posted 03-25-2005 01:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sheila  Send Email to Sheila     
Forum member Casey (C_Mccann) has installed such an integrated system on his Revenge 25. It is impressive.
montauk dave posted 03-25-2005 11:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for montauk dave  Send Email to montauk dave     
i want to thank all of you for your advice.i ordered my boat today and held off on all the electronics.i have a couple of months before it arrives so keep those ideas coming.i going to check them all out.

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