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liledgy 01-06-2013 01:24 PM

Pontoon shopping at Chicago boat show
My sibling and I our looking to replace our 24' foot party barge with a smaller pontoon. 18-20', 4 stroke motor, composite floor, etc. I know bennington is a good brand, can others here name a few other good quality co.'s? It will just be for cruising, I would think a 50 hp would be enough (maybe). Any motors to avoid? Other options? Thanks for the replys.

Tristar Racing 01-06-2013 01:32 PM

If you like the Harris Flotebote line, I can get you in touch with a tremendous sales person my family has worked with for 18 years.

I don't have much input on your questions however. I know Merc 4 strokes were backordered for a while and that was causing rigging delays. I don't think that signals a reason to avoid them though.

MIskier 01-06-2013 02:34 PM

Crest and Premier are both good brands as well. You wont find many brands that use composite decks. I know for a fact that Bennington and Premier both use plywood in their decks.

Really no difference in price between the major 4 stroke brands out there, although Yamaha does offer a 5 yr warranty on their motors.

scottsx2 01-06-2013 03:08 PM

Premier makes a really nice boat, nothing wrong with those E-TEC motors either, they work well and are super quiet!

bbymgr 01-06-2013 04:39 PM

Honda has a 5 year transferable warranty on their outboards as well. They are a little more, but worth it.

MASTIQUE 01-06-2013 04:40 PM

Harris is the best!! They last forever!!

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jafo9 01-06-2013 05:52 PM

That's a pretty small pontoon. I'm assuming you are looking for a 2 logger and will be on relatively flat water and you don't plan to tow anything. Even at that size I think you may be underpowered. I'd look at a 75 or 90 minimum. If you stay with the big brands, you will be fine with reliability. There really isn't much to go wrong with a pontoon other than the motor. I have a premier with a honda motor. However, for me it came down to the floor plan. I just couldn't find a Manitou, or a Bennie with the floor plan that fit our families needs. I didn't shop any of the other brands because non of then had a true performance package at the time.

The software for outboards may be a bit more proprietary than the inboards that are all mainly versions of a small block chevy (no offense to the PCM/Ford guys). Having said that, you may need to check with your mechanic if they can and will work on your Yamaha/Honda/Merc/'Rude. My old mechanic when I had my MerCruiser told me he could no longer work on my boat when I bought the Honda as he didn't have the software to interact with the on board diagnostics. Fortunately, I do most of my own work anyway.

Another brand not mentioned above is AquaPatio. Also, South Bay makes a nice toon.

In the end, since your needs seem pretty basic, your decision on brand will likely be more influenced by dealer/service proximity than the "best" brand.

mattsn 01-06-2013 07:01 PM

Any of the Godfrey products would be ok. The Aqua Patio is the best value for the $$$$. Sanpan brings lot of extras, but cost many $$$. Sweetwater is entry level and I doubt if you will be happy with it.

I have and still owe Merc Honda and Yamaha. The Honda is best for pontoon. Quality, quiet, warranty cannot be beat. You should be able to negotiate a good price at the show by comparing dealers. Good luck.

Iskidaily 01-06-2013 07:08 PM

I have a 23 footer with a Honda 60HP. I got lucky on the engine size... its quiet, energy efficient and has enough power to pull a tube, a skier, kneeboard or wakeboard - Doesn't compare to the xStar, but works for fun with the family in a pinch

03geetee 01-06-2013 07:12 PM

Have no other experience then my Father in Laws 24 ft Weeres with a 60hp 4 stroke Johnson. Great boat, no issues what so ever, and she sits in the water 5 mos a year with just a basic cover. Starts every spring on the first turn of the switch, we grille, fish, party, cruise you name it on her. No complaints vessel is 10+ years old now and we have nothing but gas into it.

*dont mind that ugly boat in front of the Weere's Pontoon*


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