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View Full Version : Recommend a friend an I/O


CruisinGA
05-15-2011, 02:19 PM
Some friends just bought a lake house and have asked for some boat advice. They are not "boat people" - wouldn't know the difference between a Boston Whaler and a MasterCraft.

As much as I'd like to steer them to a MasterCraft, all they want to do is cruise the lake, pull some tubes and do some waterskiing. I'm thinking I/O bowrider or deck boat is the best fit. They have no need for the world-class inboard pull that has the drawbacks of lack of low-speed maneuverability and cruise speed inefficiency.

Not knowing much about I/O brands, I was trying to brainstorm for "middle of the road" names they should be looking at. Cobalt is probably too high, nor do I want them to suffer with a Tahoe.

This is what I've come up with, please comment with experience or other names I've missed-
$20-25k price range

Hurricane
Bayliner
Four Winns
Chaparral

CantRepeat
05-15-2011, 03:01 PM
Tahoe Q4, they are the VWs of the lakes and cheap.

CruisinGA
05-15-2011, 04:13 PM
I thought Tahoe was bottom of the I/O barrel?

bbymgr
05-15-2011, 04:23 PM
SeaRay
Regal
Rinker
Crownline

73blue
05-15-2011, 04:31 PM
I thought Tahoe was bottom of the I/O barrel?

In my experience, the Q4 (18') Tahoe is slightly better quality than the 18' Four Winns, Bayliner, Glasstron, etc. Once you move up from the base model, however, the Tahoe gets passed by the others pretty quick. The best quality/value for the small I/O is SeaRay IMO. If you are looking for something a little bigger (20-22') then Four Winns, Crownline, etc make pretty good boats.

LaRue
05-15-2011, 05:06 PM
They have no need for the world-class inboard pull that has the drawbacks of lack of low-speed maneuverability and cruise speed inefficiency.
l

We owned a 19' Sea Ray for 5 years before buying our first Mastercraft and she did all that we wanted. If i went back to an I/O i would strongly consider one again or a Cobalt. However, i don't see too many drawbacks keeping a Mastercraft as an option. Our Maristar does all that the Sea Ray did only better. More room, more power, better quality, nicer wake, sharper looks, ...plus its a Mastercraft. :D

Jerseydave
05-15-2011, 05:17 PM
We owned a 19' Sea Ray for 5 years before buying our first Mastercraft and she did all that we wanted. If i went back to an I/O i would strongly consider one again or a Cobalt. However, i don't see too many drawbacks keeping a Mastercraft as an option. Our Maristar does all that the Sea Ray did only better. More room, more power, better quality, nicer wake, sharper looks, ...plus its a Mastercraft. :D

That plus with kids around the stern a V-drive is much safer than an I/O

thatsmrmastercraft
05-15-2011, 06:38 PM
That plus with kids around the stern a V-drive is much safer than an I/O

That is a huge difference. Had an I/O for a year and it always made me nervous. Not to mention all the bellows issues that can arise.

cf_koch
05-15-2011, 08:42 PM
I have had great experience with Sea Rays in the past. The quality does not live up to the standards of MasterCraft, Cobalt or Formula but they are well made, well equiped and hadle rough water very well.

Trig2275
05-15-2011, 11:03 PM
We had a Rinker 232. I thought it was a great boat for the price. It's no Mastercraft by any means but also cost a third of a MC. It cruised great. Easy to maneuver. Good for tubing or other "recreational level" Watersports and was very simple to operate.

TXX9
05-16-2011, 01:14 AM
You can get a heck of a used MC in the 20-25k range. Just because you buy an older year model, doesn't mean you are buying something high maintenance, if it is a MC. Why would you sacrifice MC quality for a newer year model IO. TT member Kyle is selling his beautiful 190 for less than that (thread link below). I would pay $15k (or whatever he ends up deciding it is worth) for his boat before I would buy any IO for twice as much.



http://www.mastercraft.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=40847

Brian B
05-16-2011, 01:38 AM
You can get a heck of a used MC in the 20-25k range. Just because you buy an older year model, doesn't mean you are buying something high maintenance, if it is a MC. Why would you sacrifice MC quality for a newer year model IO. TT member Kyle is selling his beautiful 190 for less than that (thread link below). I would pay $15k (or whatever he ends up deciding it is worth) for his boat before I would buy any IO for twice as much.



http://www.mastercraft.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=40847

Exactly! I just bought a 10 year old X10 with 100 hours on it!

Thrall
05-17-2011, 11:11 AM
I'll echo the safety issue around the back of an I/O. For $25k there's alot of DD and Vdrive boats out there.
Chapparal seems to be good quality if you're going the I/O route. Buddy has a '98 that appears to be holding up well.
Rinker, Crownline are good boats as well.
For their uses, I'd have them look at the jet boat run abouts like Yamahas and Sea Doos.
Better low speed maneuverability than a direct drive, not quite as good as an I/O, but the advantages are, no stern drive to slice someone up, shallow draft, can't really tear up the running gear. With some added weight, the wakeboard wake is ok. Lot's of spray and aerated water, probably not great for slalom. Low maint, less moving parts and Doos and yamahas are generally good build quality.
Have 3 friends with Sea Doos and they've all been good boats for them. One just bought the big twin engine 23'?? Doo. Very comfy boat for cruising, etc and it will do about 55mph flat out.
ANother friend just sold his Doo Challenger for an X15.........finally. But he lives on a lake and put close to 1000 relatively trouble free hours on it, no major repairs. Paid $26k brand new in 02 or 03 and got $15k out of it a couple months ago when he sold it.

BWB-745-
05-17-2011, 12:03 PM
Family boat is a Crownline and it has given us zero issues, always starts right up weather its been ran all weekend or first crank of the season.

Ron Grover
05-17-2011, 12:45 PM
One of the main considerations is depreciation. Any of those others the bottom drops out of them fairly quick especially on used models 5-10 years old.

Mastercraft is proven quality and the depreciation is much less. Overall ownership costs could prove to be less with a MC than a I/O.

BWB-745-
05-17-2011, 04:24 PM
^^ That is a great point.

pmkkdx
05-17-2011, 05:54 PM
I agree on a lot of points that MC would be higher quality and retain value over time, better boat, yada yada yada ... but the point was a family boat for a non-boat family ... i.e. a learning boat.

I can only imagine a total newbie trying to unload / load or even dock a DD or Vdrive with little to no experience. Those we cuss at the boat ramps & docks!

most of us have had our time on the water learning all the valuable tricks of the trade over time, but likewise, we started somewhere with a less than MC quality boat in most cases.

I guess I would have to recommend a mid sized 17-19 foot open bow I/O as a decent starter family friendly and easy to manuever boat to learn with ... unless several of the family members could spend considerable time with an experienced operator(s) of a DD or Vdrive before making a purchase in that category... just my own thoughts.

around these parts, a decent mid grade / mid priced family open bow I/O would probably be a SeaRay as probably be my top choice. Bayliner I hear has drastically improved their quality but from friends owning in the 80s into mid 90s they were less than desirable (maybe that has changed?) but not sure how they hold value...

Brian B
05-17-2011, 06:03 PM
My first boat was a 19' Bayliner. I had it for 3 years, put 100's of hours on it, and lost all of $500 when I sold it. I'd say they hold their value well, and are well built.

TXX9
05-17-2011, 06:21 PM
I have seen more idiots at the boat dock in IOs and pontoons than DDs or VDs. If you are gonna learn how to operate a boat, why not learn how to operate DD/VD right off the bat, it's not that difficult. It is even harder if you have been operating an IO for years. I wish I had started with an MC back in 85 when we bought our first boat, a 16' Invader, Volvo Penta, brand new for $8500. If I was going to recommend a boat to anyone with a $20-25K budget, it would be a high quality boat like a MC, CC, or MB.

Thrall
05-17-2011, 08:54 PM
I agree on a lot of points that MC would be higher quality and retain value over time, better boat, yada yada yada ... but the point was a family boat for a non-boat family ... i.e. a learning boat.

I can only imagine a total newbie trying to unload / load or even dock a DD or Vdrive with little to no experience. Those we cuss at the boat ramps & docks!

.

Yeah, but at least they will never drag the outdrive up the ramp if they get a DD or VD!:D

When steering them towards an I/O make sure they're not blinded with the price points of the 4cyl and 6cyl models. With a budget of $20k+ make sure it's at least a 5.0 or 5.7 V8. Not much worse (other then not having a boat at all) than loading up the family and friends for a nice day on the water and the boat can't even get out of the hole!

I'd still try to talk them into one with a prop UNDER the boat or no prop at all. And as far as driving/maneuverability, my buddy with a Chapparal says he'd rather have drove my 190 anytime then his I/O, unless the lake was real rough. Another friend who is not the most saavy person when it comes to things like driving took the plunge with his first boat being a 23' Wakesetter and he's stuck it on the trailer every time without issue and hasn't smacked a dock. First time he loaded it was in 3'+ swells on Powell. I was scared just watching him!

nmcjr
05-17-2011, 09:38 PM
My experience with I/O's was that the I/O portion was a maintenance issue/ problem waiting to happen. I would never own another, not even considering the safety aspect/usability. If the ony concern is that a Vdrive is hard to back up, and if that is the only reason he is considering an IO, then that is an easy one to solve with just a few lessons. I would really push him to find a nice Maristar or similar and he'll thank you once he knows better.

GoneBoatN
05-18-2011, 01:01 PM
I started out with a 1995 Bayliner 2050 LS. But my budget was way lower. Bayliners got a bad rep because early models used wood construction (plywood flooring and wood stringers) and people did not take care of them correctly (mostly keeping winter time moisture out of the boat). Yes, the outdirve of an I/O implies a lot of complexities (bellows, bell housing, all the gears, u-joint, gimbal bearing...). However they are a dime a dozen. Mine is a simple small block 5.0 chevy with a 4-barrel carb - runs like a champ. On the engine itself, anything that goes wrong can easily be self fixed. Takes me about 30 minutes to remove the engine from the boat and have it on the garage floor where I prefer to work in it. I do my own "regular" maintenance (including the outdrive) but I don't have the required tools to do much with the outdrive beyond that. Treat them correctly and they run well. Mis-treat them in any way and you are most liklely looking at very costly repairs. I actually enjoy that boat and in fact still have it altought that is another story. Mercruser maintenance manuals can be found on line and there is a great forum with plenty of support on iboats.com.

As far as safety of the I/O, I did not consider that much of an issue. Anytime the boat is near a person in the water, any engine should be off. In fact given the ability to steer better in reverse afords the ability to keep the boat between the person in the water and other boats on the water with out having to go around. I'm sure this topic could turn into the great debat but the point is there are advantages and disavantages to every thing not to mention differences of opinions.

However, if I had a $20k budget, I would look to get an good used inboard. I see plenty of good boats in the $15k-20k range, in years that have little to no wood in the construction. Find someone that kept the boat stored indoors and ensure the maintenance was performed. I would buy from a dealer who knew the maintenance was performed on the boat and was willing to do an inspection for any problems. Right now from what I see in my local area, it is a buyers market on used boats but boats are moving as well.

If you end up sticking with I/Os you may want to add Larson to your list.