View Full Version : 1990 Mastercraft TriStar project

05-30-2010, 07:22 AM
New to the site. Ive been looking for a MC for awhile and came across this boat on ebay. Just wondering if anybody had any advise on this boat. I don't mind putting in some work but don't want to get in over my head.


The item that you are bidding on is a 1990 MasterCraft TriStar 190 with a Trailer. The boat was used only in freshwater in Connecticut. The boat is equipped with an Indmar 351 Ford motor pushing 250 horsepower. We did have the boat running this year but there are some issues with it and would be a great boat for someone who wanted to put some time into it.


* Captain's seat bolts on the front of the seat are pulled up from the floor.
* The flooring has a good amount of soft spots from moisture over the years including between the windshield walk-thru.
* The motorbox cover is cracked from someone standing on it. You would not be able to tell unless you sit or press down on it.
* There are blisters on the chines under the water line. Some of which are popped.
* Decals have dock rash to them and are pretty worn
* The muffler has a fiberglass repair job to it that is leaking.
* Shaft packing needs adjustment and/or new stuffing
* Steering Cable should be replaced
* There is play in the Shift Cable. This could need either need a new shift cable, new linkage or even possibly Transmission work.
* Float Switch for the bilge pump does not work
* Strut looks slightly bent and the prop needs reconditioning.
* Driver's Seat is torn on a seam and has some vinyl tape over it.
* Rear Bench Seat has a tear on a seam with the same vinyl tape over it.
* Lifting ring on bow is loose and needs to be tightened.
* The trailer will need new tires, new brakes and most likely new bearings.
* Once the boat is detailed and buffed out, it will look pretty decent being a 20 year old boat.

05-30-2010, 07:48 AM
Not a bad little project if it doesn't need transmission work IMO. If you buy for 3-4K. That boat in good - great condition is worth $7500 - $9500 IMO as a benchmark. With the popped gel blisters it will need some gel work. Sounds like the owner is at least honest in his ad. Where are you? Because it needs trailer work before you can even take home. Personally I'd pass if I weren't within a few hours of the boat. You'd be better served finding one ready to go and paying more.

05-30-2010, 09:01 AM
Its about a 4 hour drive for me. Here is a little more info I found on the boat.


Thanks for your input.

06-04-2010, 04:41 PM
tri stars handle funny in hard turns. this model did not last a long time. it is a family boat

06-05-2010, 11:07 AM
We enjoyed our TriStar as a "first" MasterCraft. Having grown up with a S & S and now having an X5/195 I didn't notice anything unusual about the handling. The TS was MC's first open-bow boat in 1987 and after 5 years was replaced by the 195 and 197 and the Maristar line. I think it's a great way to get into a 90s MC for under $10k.

In deciding whether to buy the boat I guess it depends on how willing you are to tackle mechanical and cosmetic issues.

Things I did on mine: (costs are approximate -- can't remember exactly)
- steering cable -- $140 -- a couple hours work
- strut - $250 -- a couple hours work (and really awkward to get at the mounting hardware because of the built-in swim step)
- prop - $100 - $450 (depending on whether a shop can straighten or you buy new)
- brakes -- $50 - $400 (depends on whether you just need brake shoes or complete backing plate, surge actuator, etc.) -- a couple hours, depending
- bearings -- $100 -- one hour
- tires -- $250 - $300

As for the floor soft spots...
The center floor panels are fiberglass but have a plywood wood core. Getting the walk through panel out is a pain. If you need to do it PM me and I'll explain in detail.It can be chiseled out and replaced. Mine wasn't too bad so I just added a layer of fiberglass mat on the bottom side. The fuel tank is under the walk-thru so that does provide some support.