Need help from the gurus...

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boybadone
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Need help from the gurus...

Post by boybadone » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:27 pm

Hey guys,

I have dreamed of owning an aluminum boat for years now. I love the idea of having a boat that is durable, relatively light and most importantly rot free!

I am finally in a position to buy one. Unfortunately, my budget is very tight and aluminum boats are not plentiful in Chicago. Luckily, I have found two within my price range (under 10k).

The first is a 20 ft 1988 Challenger Elite with a 351 and dominator jet. I do not have much info on the second yet but I believe it is an Almar Sounder 22-24' with 2006 135 Optimax outboard (around 2 to 2.5k hours). This boat was used commercially at a towing company and is well worn with a bunch of noticeable dents on the side. I will likely sell the Optimax and purchase an Etec 135HO prop.

Admittedly, I know very little about aluminum boats other than what I have researched. That being said, I realize these boats are completely different.

If I purchase the challenger with what looks like a 6 to 10 degree deadrise, I will use it on the shallower parts of our local river (Fox river). This boat seems to be turn key and they are only asking $7500.

If I purchase the Almar (20 degree deadrise?) I will use it on the deeper part of the river, lakes and the occasional trip to Lake Michigan. This boat is only $3000 with motor and trailer but the Etec will cost me $7000.

I know this has been long winded and slightly confusing but I would really like to hear your comments on my options. Will the challenger be too harsh a ride (the river can become congested)? Would you put a newer motor on the Almar? Is it worth it? Will the dents affect the performance?

Any insight you can provide will be much appreciated. Thanks!
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challenger interior.jpg
challenger star bow.jpg
challenger star.jpg
challenger stern.jpg
almar starboard stern.jpeg
almar starboard.jpeg

Chaps
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Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by Chaps » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:50 pm

They are such different boats . . . I'd rather own the Almar with a new outboard engine for the $2500 premium than a V8 Jet anything but the choice has more to do with where you really plan to do your boating.
1987 24' LaConner pilothouse workboat, 225 Suzuki
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boybadone
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Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by boybadone » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:30 am

Thanks,chaps. So you do not think the almar is too beat? What do you think a boat like that is worth? It has not been run in 2 years. Is there anything I should look at?

boybadone
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Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by boybadone » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:31 am

Also, what speed do you think I will run with a 135ho etec (closer to 150hp)?

boybadone
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Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by boybadone » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:05 am

I am worried the almar will be underpowered with the etec.

Chaps
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Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by Chaps » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:42 pm

The Almar is a little rough but for 3k its a steal IMO. Why a 135 etec? Do you already own it? Is the existing engine broken?
1987 24' LaConner pilothouse workboat, 225 Suzuki
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boybadone
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Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by boybadone » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:02 am

Hi chap, love your boat by the way.

The current motor has not been run in at least 2 years and has over 2000 commercial hours. Needless to say, I do not trust it.

I cannot afford a new outboard but I found what I believe to be a good deal on a 2015 etec 135HO. This motor is around 147 hp and built on the same 2.6 liter platform as the 150 and 200.

Chaps
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Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by Chaps » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:05 pm

That Merc might surprise you, give you a year or two of service. Hire a mechanic to see if and how well it runs before you buy it.
1987 24' LaConner pilothouse workboat, 225 Suzuki
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boybadone
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Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by boybadone » Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:43 pm

So you would not be concerned with the big dents? Anything I should look for? Can I remove the paint without damaging the aluminum?

Chaps
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Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by Chaps » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:37 pm

I don't see major dents in the pics, just some love bumps. The blue paint would probably come off with a chemical paint stripper but unless it is peeling I'd just give it a light sanding and repaint. The other boat is way better cosmetically and if that ranks pretty high with you then that might be the better choice but the Almar is something you can beat the hell out of then leave it for your kids kind of a boat.
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boybadone
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Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by boybadone » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:21 pm

Thanks chap! Does the 135 seem under powered? Is there anything I should look for? I am not familiar with metal boats.

Fisherman
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Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by Fisherman » Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:02 pm

I feel the 135 HO on that hull will work fine, as long as you're not looking to be the fastest guy out there. I have that same motor on my 20 aluminum and I push 37 mph and need to make a prop adjustment and I think I'll get a few more hp out of it.

boybadone
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Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by boybadone » Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:00 pm

Thanks Fisherman, what kind of boat do you have? Anything I should look at when I view the boat?

Chaps
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Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by Chaps » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:10 pm

You're not likely to encounter corrosion pitting on the hull given you are all fresh water. I'd look to see what the wiring looks like, is it butchered? Look in all the hatches and behind the helm for signs of poorly done projects or repairs. Crawl under boat and look at the entire hull to see if its been run up hard on rocks, that kind of stuff. See what functions and what doesn't (steering, throttle & shift controls, lights, electronics, trailer stuff, etc.)
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boybadone
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Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by boybadone » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:09 am

Thanks so much guys. I appreciate all your your help. I know this all seems obvious too you but I am completely green.I have learned a modest amount over the years about NON ALLOY boats but aluminum is completely new to me.

The very first boat I purchased 10 years ago was a mess with a rotten transom, floor and stringers. I try to avoid those kind of mistakes now ha.

Donco7
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Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by Donco7 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:52 am

Buying a boat is about application, what are you going to use it for. The inboard is a good shallow water and will ride rough in chop and the prop with more vee will ride nicer but not for shallow. Don't worry to hard about things on the boat being worn out ( bilge pumps, wipers, horn etc) those can be replaced. The important thing is the hull solid and no cracks in welds. The prices seem like good buys compaired to what things cost here (Seattle). Definitely look the boat over good especially the bottom for dents and cracks. Beautiful thing about aluminum boats is that with elbow grease you can bring back the good looks.
Donco7

boybadone
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Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:18 pm

Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by boybadone » Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:06 pm

Thanks, Donco7. The accessories I am not concerned with. I can sort all that out. I am more concerned with the structure but I will look for obvious damage and cracks. The dents cannot be removed, correct?

Donco7
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Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by Donco7 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:46 pm

You certainly can remove dents from aluminum, if the dent is not to big you can pound it out, if it is big enough that it stretched the aluminum then you cut it out and reweld in a patch. Saying that is much easier then doing it, if you had a good welding shop around with experienced welders its possible. Otherwise you have a boat with character. Donco7

dave
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Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by dave » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:15 pm

Chaps wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:37 pm
I don't see major dents in the pics, just some love bumps. The blue paint would probably come off with a chemical paint stripper but unless it is peeling I'd just give it a light sanding and repaint. The other boat is way better cosmetically and if that ranks pretty high with you then that might be the better choice but the Almar is something you can beat the hell out of then leave it for your kids kind of a boat.
I like the term "Love bumps". Isn't that one of the reasons we have an aluminum boat?

Chaps is right on. I would get the Almar, have the engine serviced, and bequeath it to the grandkids.
2000 hours really isn't that much. Since it was in commercial service, I would ASSUME it had reasonable maintenance because it was supposed to generate income. If it won't run, it won't make money.

boybadone
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Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:18 pm

Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by boybadone » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:35 pm

Thank you, gentlemen. You have put my mind at ease. I will get the Almar if I can get the seller on the horn.

Take care

boybadone
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Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:18 pm

Re: Need help from the gurus...

Post by boybadone » Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:24 am

Unfortunately, the challenger has been sold and the owner of the almar will not respond to my calls. If anyone has a line on an alloy boat witching my price range (10k) Please let me know. Thanks!

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