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Discussion Starter #1
Saw another thread about nearly free boats and while I posted there, I should have started a fresh thread.

Circa 2012 I pick up a boat from the parents neighbor for $100. It's a 1988 Red SeaRay Seville 16 foot open bow (100 hp) with bad floors and a motor that isn't running. Knowing the neighbor is the original owner and the guy is typically super retentive about stuff, I'm surprised the boat was neglected after the tarps decayed. 1998 was the last registered year on the boat. Boat was hardly used at all. Original prop looks perfect etc. I tow it home and somehow have it three years before hopping on the project. One stator and four carbs being cleaned later it runs on a fresh can of fuel. Then the floor gets done, some wood under seats etc. Drop it in the water and enjoy the 2016 summer going out tons of times. Boat paid for itself that one summer. Come 2017 it wouldn't run right and I tried everything except actual carb rebuilds or looking at block seals.

2017 and the SeaRay is becoming a disappointment. Late summer 2016 I picked up a 1989 Blue 17 foot Larson open bow with 3.7L stern drive (165 hp). I talk to a few folks that work on boats and they say the motor is notorious for head gasket failures. 89 is the last year of production and it is half of a ford 460, aluminum block with cast iron head. Those of us that work on cars can understand that the mid 70's to late 80's was not the best time for dissimilar head/block combos w/o head gasket issues. Guy told me it takes on water but the bilge keeps up, the gauges flutter around a bit and the starter was a cheap one that doesn't turn the motor over well. I am mad at the SeaRay so I start working on Larson. Starter goes in and is slow turning it over, warrantied that out and put in the next that does start it well. Dunk it into the water to find the shift bellow is broken at about the 1" round spot that is letting a ton of water in. The darn bilge would have to be on 100% of the time to consider keeping up. I learn how to do the bellows and hey...that's not a fun job. Drop it in the water for a shakedown and it runs well but has a serious flat spot in the throttle. Not being a carb expert at all, I have a local specialist rebuild it. Boat is amazing.

Fast forward to 2018.. Buddies parents are selling their 2006 22 foot pontoon and since I'm a good friend they will sell it for thousands less than it should go for. Who am I to say no to the type of boat we want with tons of extras. It has a Johnson four stroke with fuel injection and is low hours. Boat comes with the best porta potty you can buy, nicest grill, the carpet looks like new still. Everything works well except the speakers are shot. So I have picked up new ones to install tomorrow, along with the electronic grill ignitor, and a set of pontoon centering bunks to help with loading up as we are dry docking at the marina. All the slips were snatched up for the season. The gear that came with the boat was worth another thousand or two by itself. Brand new life jackets, dock lines, 7 bumpers, two spare props, anchors with line, and the list keeps on going to the point that I filled the 4 Runner with gear and then put stuff into the boat in order to get it all home.

Three years and a different boat each year. Fairly sure the pontoon will be around for a while as we love it, the dog loves it and there's room to have the dog and friends along. This is what we do to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
 

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You're going to have a heck of a time cutting grass with those!! :sidelaugh Sounds like you're well on you way to working you way up to the luxury yacht. Pontoon boats are definitely a nice way to party on the water!
 

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We have owned several boats. The current pontoon is the best boat of all of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
For what we do, I think the pontoon is also the one for us. Tons of storage, the grill is great (I'm a foodie, I try to feed the world). The dog who didn't seem like he wanted to go in the bowriders and wouldn't hardly walk into the water has become a full blow bum of a water dog. The other weekend he paddled out to us (we got him a life jacket) and this weekend he took over my side of the raft. Literally all day, he rested his head and slept.
 

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I like the Sea Ray! I'll bet the outboard sang a song! :cool:
When I fired it up originally after it sat for 18 years it ran pretty good. Sure the carbs had to be cleaned and the tank pumped, ran good though. Got a nice year out of it before it just wouldn't run quite right. Confused me since it had run so good on the first time out of the year and the spark box died. Then sure it would start but every so often it would bog a second and pick right back up. Went through all the reasonably easy stuff to no avail. That motor though.. what a system of 2 cylinders not running below 1800 rpm. Sputter putt sputter putt... hit 2k and smooth as a baby.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited by Moderator)
Stuffed jalapenos again tonight, made more half sour pickles... all for going boating.

Our pooch has maybe gotten a little spoiled. When he started swimming we wanted him to be safe and got a dog life jacket. We have added snout sunscreen (recommended for non-black nose dogs) and ... Doggles. Here is a picture of his typical day on the river.
 

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As the season is coming to a close and I have ordered shrink wrap, I noticed I failed to mention that a couple of seats had been torn up by a critter prior to us buying the boat. PO's were quoted around $2500 to fix (not a full redo) the upholstery. When I had the Searay, I purchased the Sailrite LS-1 sewing machine (made for canvas, seats, bimini's, covers). Took a bit to find the correct match to the pontoon's seats and I have been slowly learning how to sew and have fixed two seat bottom pieces so far. There was a bit of skipping stitches that I got worked out and once the boat is here at the house, I will try to get the rest done before it's put away for winter.

Check engine light came one three times. Light is supposed to flash a code, of course it didn't. Being me, I bought the FSM, cable and software in order to hook up and know for sure what was causing this issue. Cam position sensor didn't set a full on code, only said it had an issue under engine monitoring. Ordered a new one and while waiting I pulled the existing one and wiped any residue off. To date no return of any issues.

Got a piece of the back platform rewelded by a buddy after noticing it was cracked.

On to the future plans: (Spring time)
I plan to remove the carpet and switch to a marine vinyl floor as they are easy to maintain. Then add aluminum sheeting to the underside (skinning) to reduce water coming up off the toons and hitting the supports.

It never ends right?
 

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Something to consider. Vinyl flooring is easier to maintain, but will get very hot in the sun and can get too hot to stand on.
 
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