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salt water boats


brody
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I have been operating in salt water with closed loop cooling for about 20 years (3 different boats) other than a preemptive replacement the exhaust manifolds/risers every 5 years, I never have had any issues. Is the trailer galvanized? If not I would check closely for rust, I only use my trailer twice a year, once in once out, and have had rust issues when I had painted trailers in the past.
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A closed-system does not necessarily mean a saltwater boat but I would ask the question.

Having grown up on fresh water Lake Placid and now living out here in the fashionable Hamptons (Eastern Long Island, NY) where it is ski in saltwater or nothing.

I would say there is a huge difference...

I can show you 100 year old boats still operating on Lake Placid that look and function better than year old Mastercrafts or Correct Crafts. (As a matter of fact a fellow Baller owns one of them.)

Saltwater corrodes EVERYTHING and electrolysis is a major problem with both trailer & boat electrical systems and every other system. The engines cooling systems should be rinsed out after every use for a minimum of 15 minutes, the ass-end of your car needs to be thoroughly rinsed after every launch and then there is the problem of the steering & control cables stiffening and eventually failing because of the saltwater sloshing around in your bilge as you accelerate and decelerate...

Find a Fresh water boat or get a Helluva deal for all of the replacement parts you are about to buy...

P.S. JackQ you might try Zinc Anode pencils in your exhaust manifolds that will help but you still need to clean the garbage off of the swirlers.... I learned that the hard way.

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A boat is just a tool to ski with. Salt water may be the only skiing option. Use the boat in salt! Use a salt water boat! Just ski!

 

I have purchased several salt water boats. Some were poorly maintained (mine worst of all! I often wouldn't rinse or flush it). Maintenance is higher when using it in salt. I now ski fresh (sort of) water. But I've still gotten salt history boats for my fresh water. Once in the fresh water, maintenance is normal. Make sure everything (like steering and throttle cables) works well and the past salt history should not affect your ownership costs too much. Repairs may take a bit longer to break loose rusted bolts - but that's @Jody Seal's problem.

 

A closed loop cooling system is a good thing. Along with the salt tolerance, you might get better fuel economy. The closed loops seem to get to proper operating temperature quicker and seem to maintain a more even temperature allowing more optimal operation.

 

In San Diego, we have the most expensive water in the US. Plus we have wastewater runoff rules. A fifteen minute flush here may not be reasonable or legal. But everything deals with and works in salt here. So maybe we're not too paranoid about salt. But I do know a few people who spend more time flushing and wiping their boats than skiing here. If they had worked during the flush times and saved the water bill they could have a brand new boat by now. (Depends on how much the new MC really will cost!)

 

Eric

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Just got in a 2006 with a Excalibur that runs on Brackish/salt river. Key to salt water boats is to keep the salt water on the out side at all cost! Dripping shaft seals underwater gear and worse water pump or engine fittings leaking can cause extreme damage in a short amount of time. This engine has less than 600 hours on it and looked very good on top........however this customer had a crazy flush system that leaked and sloshed salt water around in the bilge until,,,, yep! the oil pan leaked. Enough salt / brackish water thrown around by flywheel causes major damage that can go unseen until it rots through the block of the engine. over 4 hours removing this oil pan, changing rear seal and prepping near destroyed pan surface to accept a gasket along with drilling out rusted bolts. if you are going to play in the salt water with an inboard count on your service life of the engine components cut down to about a quarter of that of a fresh water boat.

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@brody Just because it has closed-loop cooling doesn't mean it was run in saltwater. Ask the seller how much time, if any, the boat ran in saltwater. Inspect everything under the engine cover, including the underside of the oil pan, spark plugs, exhaust manifolds, fittings, steering cable and rudder assembly, etc. Watch the exhaust as you start the boat on the hose and see if the cooling water is rusty. A properly-maintained boat that's been run in saltwater will not look like some of the photos you see in this thread. You can tell by the overall condition of the boat whether or not it was cared for. That's a critical consideration for any used boat, not just ones run in salt. Good luck!

 

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@Jody_Seal If you can put a new engine in for 10k, the maximum damage should be $1400 per year (probably less in reality). That's on par with lake memberships, gas bills and a trip to Regionals. Certainly not any reason to keep your boat out of salt if you need to ski in salt. Hidden salt damage sucks but there is usually plenty of evidence externally (a leaking oil pan has to look bad). Manifolds are a consumable item in any of California's waters.

 

I'd get another season out of those manifolds. High temp silicone seal and waterproof epoxy stick applied weekly can keep you going a long time!

 

Eric

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@eleeski their is a difference between you and me I am repairing this for a customer and have to stand behind my work. even if it were my boat I would still replace at least this one manifold.

 

Proper maintenance and service is a state of mind for many!! What some of may think is correct may not be the same for others.

 

We have an old American Skier we run in the salt, more or less a little island hopper for day trips and snorkeling. flushed and regularly oiled up top to bottom and kept up. So far so good ! have had the boat since 88. (On and OFF)!

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@brody Reading between the lines is can be problematic in buying anything, used or new. For anything you feel you are reading between the lines for explicitly ask! The answer may surprise you, good or bad, and then you know.

Just because its closed loop doesn't mean saltwater, could be just the way the engine comes. With Nautiques the 6.0L engines only come closed loop, that's how PCM makes them. Not as familiar with the Mastercraft engines but could be the case.

I grew up on salt water and know of boats that are 15+ years old and still going strong there with just basic maintenance.

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thanks for the input guys, I have emailed him twice and have not received a response back, so I am assuming he sold it and hasn't taken it off yet. But if he does respond I will definitely be asking the questions you guys are suggesting.
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I bought a 2003 Malibu Response LX back at the end of 2003 (used one year as a promo boat). The boat has a closed cooling system. The promo boat owner indicated it was a mixup when the boat was ordered and that the boat had never been used in anything other than fresh water and all indications were he was speaking the truth. We have had the boat now for 10 years and always used in fresh water lakes. Just reinforcing what others stated earlier - just because the boat has a closed cooling system does not automatically mean it was used in salt water.
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2 questions:

 

1. If you have a closed cooling system, do you have to winterize? Seems like you would not, as long as the system is running regular antifreeze/coolant.

2. What would be the drawback of having closed cooling? More weight? Bigger motorbox? No shower capability? You should be able to still have the heater.

 

Just curious.

The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.

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Often the ‘closed cooling’ systems in ski boat inboards are only partial. The fresh/salt water often dumps into the manifolds and the raw water pump would need to be protected from freezing. However, a closed cooling system would lessen the risk(to block, heater…) and enable a longer season in climates with freezing temps.
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My family has had many sailboats--large and small--over the years. Florida is not a great environment for the boats, as they see salt and lots and lots of sun all year long. We have had the best luck buying from the northern climes and freshwater areas. Shorter season, less sun, no salt. Happy used owner.
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BraceMaker I agree. I often dry ‘sail’ a ski boat in October in April, before and after lifts are in to extend the season in Vermont. One year I even put it in December 23rd, we had to break a bit of ice on Lake Champlain to get the boat in since our smaller lake was frozen. It would make it a bit easier to have a closed cooling system, the fall evenings are so short its often dark when the boat is being pulled out and temporally winterizing is a pain.
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