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Looking at an '89 Blue Fin Spectrum 1700

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  • Looking at an '89 Blue Fin Spectrum 1700

    Hello, as my title states I'm looking at an '89 Blue Fin Spectrum 1700. I wasn't really on the hunt for a boat before spotting this thing but the idea has been in the back of my mind for a while (though I was thinking more jetski until now). Around here most boats seem to be outfitted as either a ski boat or a bass boat with not much in between. I really like the fact that this is kind of a cross over between the two. From looking through the cover it will need some upholstery work as some of the seat vinyl is torn, but I didn't have much time and it was only a quick look. From what I can tell it still has the original Force 50, though I think a 75hp would be more suited to it based on my dad's 17' Bass Tracker. According to the owner the motor "runs good but needs a new CDI." The owner is "asking $2400 but due to bad CDI will take $1900." According to NADA the average retail value is $1310, and low retail value would be $1150. Since it needs motor and upholstery work I think it would be at the low retail, but I don't know how accurate NADA is concerning older boats.

    So Questions:

    What should I check out if I decide to move on this thing? I've never had a boat before, and the only thing I know is to make sure the wood is in good shape. Anything else I need to check out?

    What is a CDI? How much will it cost to Fix?

    What should I offer?

    If it ends up needing a new motor can I run a 74 hp?

    Any other information you can give me about these boats would be appreciated.

    These are the pics of it and the sale sheet that I snapped on my phone, I'll try to get better ones with my camera while I'm at work next week. Click the picture for a larger version.

  • #2
    Re: Looking at an '89 Blue Fin Spectrum 1700

    Wow nothing, I was hoping for even a little input. I went by a took a better look at the boat today, and it appears in even better shape than I thought. I'm stuck between the boat is a great deal if it is a $200 fix for the motor, and it's a terrible deal if the motor will take more (like replacement). From what I can tell today the thing is all original, and probably garage kept for most of its life. The interior is really in great shape, and turns out only the driver seat bottom has any real wear on it. The carpet is getting to look a little rough but it is 23 years old. What I could feel of the deck reaching over the side felt solid. Of course I don't really want to go climbing in the boat checking it out more without the owner and someone more knowledgeable there with me, so there may be some rot more hidden toward the center of the deck. My biggest concern is that motor. I'm still not sure what this ($200 online) CDI part he mentioned on the sale flyer is. If I knew what that is and for sure that it is the problem I wouldn't have a problem buying the thing, but if it's not the problem I might be buying a $1900 paper weight, sure as hell couldn't afford a $3000+ dollar motor on top of the boat purchase. Replacing/upgrading the motor in a year or two might not be a problem, but not immediately after I buy the boat.

    On other note here's what pictures I was able to get with my good camera today. Got the best I could, didn't want to go taking off the covers when I haven't even talked to the owner yet. As before, click on the picture to enlarge. *** Warning enlarged images are BIG.***


    • #3
      Re: Looking at an '89 Blue Fin Spectrum 1700

      A few more...

      If it matters any the prop has the numbers 10 x 12 on it. Also the top was made by Superior Marine. As for the extras seen (Bumpers, Life Jackets, etc.) I'm not sure if any of that is included with the boat. Everything at this point depends on the motor. Of course since the owner states it runs good, I will want to see it in the water running (or at least running on the ears) before making my final decision. Right now I'm thinking about offering 1300 to 1500 depending on what I find out about the motor. Does that sound about right?

      So at this point any feedback is welcome. Doesn't matter is it constructive, destructive, or "hey noob go back to playing you computer games, ald leave the boating to us." Bad feedback is better than no feedback, at least then I'll know someone is paying attention.


      • #4
        Re: Looking at an '89 Blue Fin Spectrum 1700

        Wow, can't believe there are no replies.

        Well, welcome to iboats.

        That boat looks to be in decent shape.
        I have seen many of them, and worked on a few, owned a '95 model.

        They are kind of an aluminum byliner.
        On the cheaper end, usually didn't hold up too well.
        Upholstery cracked and faded, floor got soft.

        But this one really looks nice, like it sat in a garage for 20 years.

        I was not impressed with the way the boat handled in the water, but I am picky.

        I think the boat was only rated for 50 hp in 1989, which really is not enough.

        Consider that motor to be a throw away.
        You may get her running for 200-500, or it could be a whole lot more.

        $1400 is tops.
        Then you need to go find a motor, or start down the road of repairs, on a motor that has no value.

        If you are not a mechanic, I would just look for another motor.
        If you are a mechanic, I would still look for another motor.
        Medford, WI


        • #5
          Re: Looking at an '89 Blue Fin Spectrum 1700

          OK I will give my .02 on this one. Spectrums are entry level boats regarding quality or workmanship, and cost, so as a first boat this may be perfect for you to learn on. I own a 1996 Spectrum and it has a similar look but I have the merc 90 HP not a Force 50 which is at the lowest end of power, and quality and IMO way underpowered for that size of run about boat. It is also one of the less desirable brand of engines, and Force is no longer in business, but parts are still around, sounds like if you did buy, you will need at least this CDI which I don't have a clue about. Based on what you have shared, this boat is broken, and doesn't run, so sea testing that thing isn't gonna happen, that's strike one. The fact that it's a Force IMO is strike two, and the fact that a dealer is selling this boat, tells me that they don't want to fix it, which would allow them to get top $$ for it, why is that? IMO that's strike three, and because there are a million boats around, why would anyone buy a broken boat? They are asking top dollar for a poor power plant. And to me that boat is worth only what the motor is valued at. the hull has 0 value. Trailer may be worth $500.
          Unless you want to buy a project, meaning you want to tear that motor apart, replace the CDI and perhaps more, I would move on and spend your cash where you can get a perfectly good running boat, motor, and trailer. This boat is not turn key, but maybe you want to work on your boat all summer or pay a boat mechanic to do this for you. Depends what you are interested in. but don't buy the first one you see, Maybe make it a point to look at a minimum of 3-4 used boats that fit your needs, so you have a choice, because you do!!


          • #6
            Re: Looking at an '89 Blue Fin Spectrum 1700

            im about to check one of these out this weekend...


            • #7
              Sign up today
              Re: Looking at an '89 Blue Fin Spectrum 1700

              I just bought one, I over paid but the boat is nice all there and needs to be cleaned. It has a good running 79 80hp mercury. So far so good. The max rating for the 89 is 85hp.