River sled advice
So I am looking to get a river sled for fishing/exploring up in the valley. I won't be hunting or carrying large loads and will not need to carry more than 3 ppl. I am relatively new to boating so forgive me if I don't know the lingo or ask silly questions.
I found a 18' North River center console on CL today. It has a 1987 Merc 150 outboard jet. I called the guy up and he said the hull had some dings and dents but didn't leak and that the motor ran strong. He has it priced at $4000. I am going to head down tomorrow and test it out, but I wanted to get some opinions on the boat/price. Will this be a good boat to learn on, or should I be looking for something smaller/less powerful? In general, how reliable are late 80's merc outboards? I realize that I am not going to get a gem for $4k, and since I am learning I kind of want a beater anyway. Let me know if I am missing something obvious here.
Thanks a lot!
Have the owner take you out for a spin on the river w/a couple buddies (weight you expect to carry) and see how she performs.
Offer to pay for the gas and fees associated with the launch, etc.. and spend a good hour or more evaluating the boat.
Keep an eye on the gauges and RPM's while running, looking for any overheating issues or battery not charging and so on.
Base your opinion on what you find and don't get too excited and fall in love with it.
Has it been rebuilt? Is it oil injected or premix? Your demo ride will give you an idea of fuel consumption also, (fill it before you go and then when you return do it again). Take a GPS for a rough estimate of the trip distance and do the math.
Take a look at the impeller and sleeve, do they look worn? Is the impeller a 4 blade stainless or aluminum (big difference in price and longevity on rivers)?
Has the motor ever been rebuilt? How about the lower end controls for the bucket, are they sloppy and in need of a rebuild/repair? Check out the foot itself, is it solid, are the metal grates straight or all bent up and a pain in the arse to remove?
Just some thoughts on my end.
Personally I'm not a merc fan, but if the price was right...
I would get something that is not as heavy....if you want a small open jet sled, and definitely a smaller motor. I would personally shoot for a jon type boat with a 40-60 hp powerhead.
Opinions sure vary about this one. Personally I think the boat and motor are a good match. Lighter weight, quicker revving two stroke that uses the less expensive 2 stroke oil. I used to own a 17 foot Almar with a 150 2 stroke Yamaha jet and never once thought the motor was to big.
Yes, gas consumption will a little high compared to a newer motor but this is a used, $4,000 rig. But generally fuel consumption is related to rpm range. With a bigger motor you can slow her down a little instead of running flat out all the time. Before you know it your buddies and a ton of gear will be in the boat with you and you will not regret buying the 150 hp.
My thoughts are if the motor checks out to go for it.