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NSXBill
09-21-2005, 04:17 PM
Introduction

During my search for a new boat (new for me, anyway), I made myself aware of the various differences associated with model year changes of the MasterCraft ProStar 205. I did searches, asked questions, spent a lot of time at the dealer lot looking at used boats, called the company, compared brochures, and everything else I could do. I found that there are a lot of myths out there. It was interesting research and something I enjoyed doing. So, I thought I would share the information with others.

It is important to note that boat-model changes are not like car-model changes. Changes can be sporadic, and may not coincide with particular model-year changes. I even found that features can appear and disappear within a single model year. Not being able to look at each and every boat of each year, the information here reflects my experience and is as accurate as I could make it.

My hope is that this information will eventually find itself in a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on this or other discussion boards/forums. Perhaps this will inspire others to write about other great MasterCraft model runs.

My chronology concentrates mostly on the PS 205 Direct Drive, but also contains some information relating to the 205 V-drive and the early X-Stars (because they were based on the PS 205). Items I was not certain about are marked with an asterisk. And of course, as usual, ICBW. Enjoy

MasterCraft ProStar 205 Changes by year

1992
Introduced in the summer of 1991, production of the ProStar 205 model began. Banking on the successful new hull of the 1991 ProStar 190, the PS 205 was MasterCraft’s first try at a real tournament-level ski boat with a functional walk-through bow. At 20.5 feet long, it had a beam of 85 inches and weighed 2550 pounds.

It was powered by a 250/275* hp carbureted 351 (5.8 liter) Windsor Ford engine marinized by Indmar (Some believe the noted 275 hp engine was actually rated at 285 and known as the HO version). The transmission was the venerable Borg & Warner Velvet Drive. The PowerSlot (1:1.5 ratio) transmission was optional.

The PS 205 was basically a longer PS 190 with a walk-through bow. The hulls were identical except for the extra length.


1993
Hp increased to 285 for the last year of the carbureted Ford. Some late models were available with MasterCraft’s first attempt at a production electronic fuel injected (EFI) engine, the LT-1. The LT-1 was Indmar’s version of the General Motors Corvette LT-1 engine. It had a displacement of 5.7 liters, multi-port fuel injection, distributor-less ignition, a gear-driven water re-circulating pump and boasted 319 hp.

Gas struts were added to support the motor box. Roto-cast driver’s seat first appeared.


1994
MasterCraft “officially” introduced EFI to all its boats.

Standard power came from an entirely new General Motors-derived 5.7 liter Indmar engine. This engine sported twin-injector throttle-body injection (TBI), a more conventional distributor and belt-driven recirculation pump, and 275 hp. The LT-1 was optional.

1995
MasterCraft changed the entire hull and deck for the PS 190, but the PS 205 remained the same as the 1994 model. It is a popular misconception that the PS 205 hull changed for the 1995 model, but it did not. The Velvet Drive was replaced by an Italian-built Hurth ZF transmission for both the 1:1 and the 1:1.5 ratios by the 1996 year, but perhaps as early as 1995.*



1996
MasterCraft changed the entire hull and deck for the PS 205 to closely mirror the changes made to the PS 190 the year before. The beam is increased to 87” and the weight to 2660/2690* pounds. Side height is significantly increased.

The increased size and weight of the boat, coupled with the hull changes produced what is generally considered to be a better ride in rough water with more room, at the expense of some slalom-wake quality. Better wake-board characteristics would also soon become apparent.

The hull differences in detail: The early hull had two strakes on each side starting at the bow and ending before the front tracking fin. The bottom was very flat at the back and had "spray pockets" or cutouts on each side in the rear. The 1996+ hull is quite complex in comparison. It also has two strakes on each side, but they start further back and extend all the way to the rear, turning into distinctive "steps" in the back. The spray pockets are present also, but are now in the outboard step of the hull and are of a different size. The most interesting difference is the presence of channels on each side, in the flat outboard part of the hull. The channels are about 3" wide and 1" deep. They start about where the front fin is located and go almost to the back.

The deck and interior saw major changes also. As noted, the inside was deeper. The Styrofoam one-piece rear seat (with removable cushion) was replaced with a permanently-mounted seat-back and a bottom cushion which could be slid out and positioned level with the newly-padded transom to form a sun pad. The floor area under the rear seat was left open, thus creating storage space or room for longer items on the floor. The battery was moved from the back to under the observer’s seat. The observer seat now lifted in one section whereas before, the seatback was hinged and the seat bottom could be completely removed. Storage extended under the bow seat from under the observer seat. The driver got a cup-holder and the observer got a side cubby with two cup-holders. The dash pod changed with a relocated stereo and raised instruments. The windshield frame was made sturdier. The ski locker in the walk-through floor was replaced by a smaller storage box described as a cooler. Bow seat-backs were no longer removable for storage; however, a small hinged storage section in the front of the bow was available. The taller hull made for increased ski storage along the sides.

The Sammy Duval model was introduced sporting different colors, graphics, and interiors.


1997
Hp was increased for the LT-1 engine to 328. Otherwise the boat was basically identical to the 1996 model.

The X-Star model was introduced. Solid color green or blue hull, with large “X-Star” lettering plus standard power amp and stereo differentiate the X-Star from the regular PS 205.


1998
Hp was increased for the standard TBI engine to 308 with the introduction of the Vortec version, and the prop was changed to a 4-blade version.

The PS 190 closed-bow boat had a significant hull change in 1998 which become somewhat infamous and the subject of numerous debates. It is important to note here that no such change took place in the PS 205 line.

New were side-graphics with the rear of the stripe arching back upwards, as well as the “MasterCraft” lettering moved below the stripe. Interior graphics were also changed. The observer’s side cubby with two cup-holders was deleted and replaced with a single fold-up cup-holder added to the side, just aft of the observer’s seat.

X-Star graphics were changed to the now-familiar oval “X” graphics with that model now sporting a fat sack and extended pylon in addition to the power amp’d stereo to differentiate it from the regular PS 205.


1999
MasterCraft introduced the ProStar 205V, a V-drive version of the 205.

1999 also saw the first major changes in the direct-drive in three years. While the hull was identical to the previous model, the deck and interior saw significant changes.

To make an even deeper interior, the deck was even higher; so much so that part of the exterior stripe was actually above the rub-rail (hull-deck mate point) so as to make it appear less top-heavy. Most deck and interior changes were aimed at increasing interior room. The top of the deck sides were thinner and more rounded. The motor-box was smaller and sported a two-piece design for the first time. The rear seat no longer slid out to form a sun pad, but was wider and located farther forward to make room for the first appearance of the rear ski locker. The rear locker had a one-piece padded cover which doubled as a sun pad and opened from the rear, or swim platform. The walk-through and bow area were enlarged and the bow cup-holders were moved off the sides to the area down between the seats for the first time. The walk-through floor “cooler” was replaced by a larger ski storage area again, but with a lift-out, slotted cover. The side storage lost its lower, carpeted bunks in favor of zigzag bungee chords to increase floor space.

Exterior stripe scheme was the same but with a skier “laying it down” pictured in the “MasterCraft” lettering (this was apparently also true of some late 1998 models). A “swoosh” with the 205 logo replaced the 205 lettering at the rear side. The windshield trim became silver for the first time.

Other differences included new electromechanical gauges in a new dash layout, with a thermo-formed side accessory tray, as well as a straight-bench observer’s seat as opposed to the curving seat used previously (these three features carried over to current MC models).

The interior styling could be described as unique for that model year. Shiny vinyl with simple piping contrasted with the previous models’ large, colorful accents. The carpeting had a texture or pattern formed into it. The previously-mentioned two-piece motor cover had a vertical handle and was bare gel coat in the middle, flanked by padding on each side (unique for ‘99 model). The driver’s seat was open in the lower back and also unique to the ’99 model.

Hp was increased for the standard TBI engine to 310, where it stayed until being discontinued after 2004. The LT-1 engine was discontinued and the new LT-R engine (early in the model year known as the MX Max or Vortec 5.7+) was introduced. The optional LT-R featured multi-port EFI, and distributor-less ignition, but was based on the same GM 5.7 liter Vortec engine that the successful TBI engine used. The LT-R carried a 330 hp rating.

The X-Star model (now a V-drive for the first time) included the first generation ZeroFlex Flyer tower for the first time.


2000
The hull and basic deck remained the same as the 1999 model, but the direct-drive PS 205 underwent its second major interior styling change in as many years.

The entire interior was redone in what is basically the current (2001-2005) interior scheme including upholstery, carpeting, seating, stripe/color scheme, etc. The motor box was still a two-piece unit, but was designed and upholstered like the current boats. The ski locker in the walk-through lost its lift-out cover in favor of a hinged, carpeted door reminiscent of the 1992-1995 models. A new driver’s seat more-closely resembled the current ones. The rear locker cover was changed to a two-piece, clam-shell cover. The doors opened out to each side providing access from inside the boat or from the swim platform. The rear seat bottom, however, was still NOT designed to lift out and place level with the transom to increase the sun pad size as the 1996-1998 PS 205’s and the current boats do.

The exterior remained the same as the 1999 with an oval 205 decal replacing the swoosh decal on the rear side.

The single axle trailer had disc brakes, 15” aluminum wheels, and larger width tires for the first time. A flip-up folding trailer tongue was optional. Tandem trailers got disc brakes as well on both axles.

Placarded capacity was increased to 12. Weight was increased to 2950 lbs (this may be true of the 1999 as well).*

The X-Star model changed little (still with the first generation tower) with the exception of gaining built in ballasts.*


2001-2005
The ProStar 205 direct-drive inboard was discontinued for the 2001 model year. It was replaced by the ProStar 209. The ProStar 205V V-drive and the PS 205V-based X-2 were still available as 2005 models.

(C) Copyright 2005 Bill Rothery, permission to use with credit

roddydog
09-21-2005, 04:31 PM
Wow, nice work. I was starting to look for a 205 to replace my 1990 PS190. Now I know a lot more. Thanks.

Footin
09-21-2005, 04:39 PM
Bill, I remember when you posted this last year, it was an very valueable resource as I was shopping for a used 205.

It is well worth the repost now. Nice work.

BradD
09-21-2005, 05:00 PM
Bill, don't forget the ProSport version. It has a swivel bucket seat for the passenger rather than the traditional rear facing bench.

ski_king
09-21-2005, 05:06 PM
Good info!

Somewhere there is a thread like this for the 190 and its predecessor the Skier19.

Can anybody find it?

east tx skier
09-21-2005, 05:09 PM
Awesome as always, Bill. Thanks for posting it here.

West TN Wake
09-21-2005, 05:43 PM
Glad you posted that. You're just the guy I need to talk to. I am considering purchaseing and early to mid 90's 205. I am interested in it for wakeboarding. Can and/or will it produce a nice wake without putting lots of weight in the boat. I don't really want to have to mess with putting more than 1100 or 1200 pounds in the boat. It just seems like to much trouble. Anyways this is the boat I thought I wanted. Can you give me some advice?

Ryan
09-21-2005, 05:44 PM
Great work! I have been working on a model history with pictures nabbed from numerous sources. I couldn't figure out if those variations in 97 were upgrades or accross the board changes. I am glad to have had the in-floor ski locker and cup holder story clarified.

east tx skier
09-21-2005, 05:55 PM
WTW, I can offer you wake pictures of a 93 205 at various speeds unweighted. Perhaps not exactly what you're looking for as it shows more at slalom speeds, but might provide you with a jumping off point.

Bill has researched the subject of 205s more than anyone I know of. But bear in mind, he owns a 2001 209. :)

The later model 205 (1996-2000) is probably better for wakeboarding. It has more boat in the water and was, as Bill notes, the basis for the original x-star.

The pictures are here. (http://www.writeonrice.com/shoot-out.htm)

SKI*MC
09-21-2005, 08:47 PM
thanks, thats my next science project!

thijs
10-10-2006, 12:39 PM
Really enjoyed the outline

BarefootWt
12-02-2006, 08:23 AM
Excellent review! Could you help me understand why the LT-1 had a short life span - looks like 94 - 98?

Footin
12-02-2006, 10:08 AM
This review really helped me when I was shopping for a 205.

I love my 94

Jesus_Freak
12-03-2006, 05:26 AM
Helped me tremendously.

http://www.tmcowners.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=12302

rspiecha
12-03-2006, 02:11 PM
I once owned a 94 MC 205 and the engines are not vortec, and the transmission was a borg-warner. Auesome boat.

east tx skier
12-03-2006, 10:00 PM
I once owned a 94 MC 205 and the engines are not vortec, and the transmission was a borg-warner. Auesome boat.

No vortec until 1998.

bkblaida
12-03-2006, 10:30 PM
West TN

We own a 97 205 and the wake without ballast for a beginner to intermediate are very good. Serious wakeboarders have told me that minimal ballast in the center, close to the rear seat give an awesome wake. We love the boat and consider it the perfect family crossover boat.

NSXBill
12-04-2006, 08:08 AM
No vortec until 1998.
Made changes noted above. Glad to see the post still alive :)

Thanks,

Bill

Linkster
12-05-2006, 09:09 AM
"Velvet Drive was replaced by an Italian-built Hurth ZF transmission"

Any opinions on which is better? Would that make anyone choose one year over another?

BrianM
12-05-2006, 09:13 AM
"Velvet Drive was replaced by an Italian-built Hurth ZF transmission"

Any opinions on which is better? Would that make anyone choose one year over another?

I think most will say six of one half dozen of the other. Both good transmissions.

H20skeefreek
12-05-2006, 09:44 AM
Excellent review! Could you help me understand why the LT-1 had a short life span - looks like 94 - 98?
Because in 1997, Chevrolet went with the LS1 motor, DSQing the LT1. For whatever reason, only Malibu got permission to use the "Corvette" motor after that point. I assume it had something to do with the cross-promotional "Corvette Malibu" ski boat. I would bet that in the deal were exclusivity rights to use the "Corvette" engine in a boat for a certain amount of time, during which the other manufactures (MC) steered away from it. 'bu isn't using the "Corvette" motor anymore, but MC hasn't snatched it up either.

JohnE
12-05-2006, 11:42 AM
Just want to echo the fact that this was a great post/ thread, and say thanks.