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torchtime 11-20-2012 02:18 AM

Looking at 2004 - 197 - Need some direction
New to the team and have been trying to do as much research as possible. Sold my old outboard boat and looking to pick up a MC. Have many close friends who own them, but would like some other opinions.

Have a family of 5 with 3 young kids. My 7 and 5 year can ski on two and really enjoy it. My wife and I ski at 15 / 22 off and enjoy playing around with a wakeboard. We are on a large inland lake but also have a pontoon for cruising when needed.

Found a 2004 MC 197. Excellent shape with 1 owner and all work done at a MC dealer. Has a tower with board and ski racks, barefoot boom, clarion speaker system with tower speakers, mp3 / cd player. Boat has 500 hours on the MCX engine. Owner replaced vinyl because MC stops making repalcement vinyl after 7 years ? -Is that true?

I spoke with the tech who did the maintenance on the boat and he recommended it over some of the boats that had sitting in their lot. This surprised me since he gets nothing out of telling me that.

It does not have perfect pass. Other than that it is loaded and really well taken care of.

The owner is asking $29,000. Does that sound right. My friends are telling me that it is worth about $25-$26 K.

What do you think? Should I look for a bigger boat with my growing family or something more versatile for all wake sports? I am guessing my kids who get into wakeboarding for another couple of years and this wake is great for getting them really into skiing.

I have also heard from others to stay away from the 197's until 2005 when things got better. Is this true? Where there any issues with that engine or model year on a 2004 - 197?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

wheelerd 11-20-2012 03:00 AM

I don't know the ins and outs of the 04 197 . . . but I recently owned an 01 X5 (195) which is very similar. My wife and I have twin 12 year olds. It served us well -- tournament-level skiing wake for the kids and I, and an OK wake for beginning wakeboarding. We upgraded to the X2 mostly because our boys are now wanting to bring their friends with them and the X5 was getting a bit cramped. The X2 wake WITHOUT ballast scared them at first when we tried kneeboarding and wakeboarding behind it!

The MCX is a desirable option, for the bling factor if nothing else. (The standard engine was the 310 HP RTP-1 which is more than adequate. That's what my X5 had.) Having all the vinyl replaced is a definite plus since the MC's from the early 2000's are notorious for upholstery issues.

I think the price is in the ballpark. I just checked on and there are a couple 03's in that range -- one actually over $30k.

You may outgrow the 197 eventually, but for now enjoy the incredible slalom wake, the barefoot boom, and the ease of working on a direct drive.

jkski 11-20-2012 07:25 AM

In terms of price, a friend and fellow member on this board purchased the same boat you are describing, minus the barefoot boom ($300) for $25k 2 years ago, with a few less hours. So, I think the price is a little high but given it is at a dealership they likely have it marked up a couple grand so there is probably some wiggle room.

As for the size of the boat, if you did not have the pontoon boat I would say it is too small for your needs and depending on how much you will use the MC and whether or not you want to take both boats out at the same time, it still may be too small. As your family grows and starts bringing friends out, the boat will be cramped and a 209 or 214 would better serve your needs then.
Hope this helps.

JohnnyB 11-20-2012 08:01 AM

As far as 2004 197, i have had no issues besides the vinyl...was a bad year for vinyl. Mine is set up like yours...great for footin and slalom skiing. Ok fir wakeboarding according to my early 20s nephews

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JohnE 11-20-2012 09:11 AM

I agree with your friends. I think it is a couple of thousand too high. I also think you will outgrow it quickly. That is a decision you will have to figure out.

As far as the boat, there are no issues with the 04 that I am aware of except for the bad vinyl. That was resolved by 05. They did make the change to drive by wire in '05, FWIW.

Ski-me 11-20-2012 10:05 AM

If you are after an excellent ski wake, the X14 or 214 is a good option as well.....just going to be higher in price because they didn't make them in 2004. I think 07' or 08' was the first year. Same hull as the 197 but larger inside.

The 209, although bigger than the 197, has mixed opinions on ski wake. The 197 and 214 are in a similar class. The 209 is more of an "all around" boat.

I have 3 kids (an lots of cousins) and have an older 205. I looked at the 197 and it is small....especially up front. The 197 does look cool but I like the front space in my 205 better....

georgea0731 11-20-2012 11:42 AM

try ski-it-again for comparing prices
Here's a great site for boats. I have had both X7 and 197. X7 is the suv and allows both great skiing and basic wakeboarding. The 197 with a extended pylon is o.k. but with no X7 ballast. With each boat 214, 205, 209, 197, etc. There's always a trade off. 03 and 04 did have vinyl issues, and the 04 had a small empty bucking trailer issue, but managable. As Christmas comes, dealers should be willing to deal. Good luck and post pictures once you get one.

JohnE 11-20-2012 11:44 AM

214/ X14 has a TON more room than the 197. Virtually no down side aside from the ski wake at slower speeds. There are some 214's for sale in the high 30's and I'd be inclined to purchase that over an older 197 for an extra $10K (providing I had the means to do so)

east tx skier 11-20-2012 11:53 AM

The only other thing an 05 will have that an 04 did not was throttle by wire. Since Zero Off isn't available (easily) for an 05 MC anyway, I still prefer the feel and feedback of a cable throttle. Agree that the price is a little high and your friends suggestion are more in the ballpark.

rhsprostar 11-20-2012 04:23 PM

I own an 04 197 and love it. Everyone is right with respect to the vinyl though. 01-04 MC light grey vinyl is aweful and will crack very easily. I have replaced about 50% of mine with a much better quality that looks 99% the same as the original. It sounds like your vinyl is already done which will justify a higher price for that boat. Its not cheap to replace all the vinyl either from MC or aftermarket. I would guess around $2k mark.

Drive by wire isn't something you need or even would notice to be perfectly honest. In fact the 05's had issues with the drive by wire when they initially came out.

Perfect pass can be a marriage saver if you need it, but not a neccissity.

IMHO it's better to pay a few $$ more for a boat that you have the history and maintenace records for. The fact the the actual mechanic vouched for the boat i a huge plus. The new vinyl will also justify a higher price.

Now it is fall/winter so I would offer a few bucks less without insulting the guy and then split the difference.............

Good luck, you are going to be sooooo much happier with a 197 than your outboard!:D

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