Bought my first boat to tinker on. Looking for advice

TripleJGraffis

Petty Officer 1st Class
Joined
Jan 18, 2024
Messages
304
Hello, I recently purchased a 1989 Maxum 1700XR. So here's the backstory. First off, I have been searching for a decent project boat for quite some time. I realize I will possibly put more money into it than what it is worth, but for me, if I can learn something new, then the new knowledge and experience in boats will be priceless compared to the amount of money I put into it. I have little to no knowledge of boats, but have been wanting to learn with a project boat for years. I was not really expecting to purchase a boat, but this one stood out when I hopped on Facebook Marketplace. It was posted for 500.00, which was a red flag for me, until I saw that it had just been reduced to 500.00 from 2000.00. I reached out and asked what was wrong with it....Why such a huge reduction in price? He explained that he had already done his own work on it and as of this past summer, he had it out on the water with his family. He explained that the motor was giving him some issues, and being an engine mechanic, he proceeded to completely dismantle the engine to find the problem. Turns out the pistons were bad and the block needs to be bored out. He originally had it posted running at 2000.00, but then nobody was biting at that price tag. He and his wife took on other priorities in life and ultimately agreed to take the loss and post it at 500.00 just so he could get it out of his yard. I asked if anything else is wrong with it, and he stated that aside from the engine needing a good cleaning, and to be bored out and get new pistons and rings, everything else is cosmetic. He did not keep it covered up and it has since snowed and a lot of debris has made its way inside. I did get to climb inside of it this month and shovel the snow out and get a better look a things. The whole boat needs a good power wash and is very sun damaged.... Eventually I will go at it with a buffer and give it a good polish and wax job. The seats are a bit cracked, but I might make due for now. My main concern so far does seem to be the engine getting rebuilt, and then after that, make sure all other components that are legally required are taken care of. I am looking for advice from other project boat enthusiasts on how to get started on things and what to look for and what to do. Any constructive criticism is welcomed as well, however, I do not wish to receive any responses telling me to cut my losses and sell the boat.....to not go through with this.....that I am wasting my money on an old POS when I can get something newer and in better shape for the same amount that I am putting into this old boat. I enjoy bringing life back into old objects and don't care if I am "Wasting my money", because it is mine to waste and like I said earlier, the knowledge, experience, and even stress that I will obtain as a result is priceless. Any and all helpful assistance is appreciated! I look forward to your responses!
 

alldodge

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 8, 2009
Messages
41,038
Welcome
I do not wish to receive any responses telling me to cut my losses and sell the boat.....to not go through with this.....that I am wasting my money on an old POS when I can get something newer and in better shape for the same amount that I am putting into this old boat.

Well alrighty then. Boring a block means to rebuild not clean, remove motor and rebuild it. Then as Scott mentioned dig into the hull and find out how much of the hull needs to be gutted and rebuilt
 

briangcc

Commander
Joined
Jul 10, 2012
Messages
2,155
Considering it snowed into the boat, I wager its mostly frozen. So until it thaws out, you have no easy way of telling if anything is soft. That's floor, stringers, and transom. Any trapped water froze too so you may have other issues below deck.

Best bet, if possible, is get the boat warmed up / thawed out in a heated garage / shelter so that you can start some investigation as to what this is going to entail. Just because someone had it out on the water last season, doesn't mean it was the brightest or safest of ideas to do so.

Given the age, and that there's snow inside, there's a very good chance all wooden items will need to be pulled and replaced. My gut tells me you have one heck of a project on your hands. Not insurmountable, but definitely an undertaking....and the motor is likely the least of the issues you'll find.
 

JASinIL2006

Vice Admiral
Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Messages
5,592
There are few restoration threads for 1989 Maxums in the Restoration area. I found this one, and while it only outlines the beginning stages, it may have useful information/pics for you:


The stickies that @Scott Danforth linked are super helpful, too. The best advice I can give is to approach this project exactly as you state: something you're doing to learn more about your boat and to enjoy the work. Many of us found our restorations to be very enjoyable (well, except maybe for grinding out the old fiberglass) and very helpful in learning about our boats. Just be sure you know what you're getting into, dollar-wise as well as labor-wise. Reading other resto threads will give you a good idea of what to expect. Also, if you post your progress, including pictures, you'll get lots of advice and guidance along the way.

Good luck!
 

airshot

Rear Admiral
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Messages
4,539
Welcome


Well alrighty then. Boring a block means to rebuild not clean, remove motor and rebuild it. Then as Scott mentioned dig into the hull and find out how much of the hull needs to be gutted and rebuilt

Hello, I recently purchased a 1989 Maxum 1700XR. So here's the backstory. First off, I have been searching for a decent project boat for quite some time. I realize I will possibly put more money into it than what it is worth, but for me, if I can learn something new, then the new knowledge and experience in boats will be priceless compared to the amount of money I put into it. I have little to no knowledge of boats, but have been wanting to learn with a project boat for years. I was not really expecting to purchase a boat, but this one stood out when I hopped on Facebook Marketplace. It was posted for 500.00, which was a red flag for me, until I saw that it had just been reduced to 500.00 from 2000.00. I reached out and asked what was wrong with it....Why such a huge reduction in price? He explained that he had already done his own work on it and as of this past summer, he had it out on the water with his family. He explained that the motor was giving him some issues, and being an engine mechanic, he proceeded to completely dismantle the engine to find the problem. Turns out the pistons were bad and the block needs to be bored out. He originally had it posted running at 2000.00, but then nobody was biting at that price tag. He and his wife took on other priorities in life and ultimately agreed to take the loss and post it at 500.00 just so he could get it out of his yard. I asked if anything else is wrong with it, and he stated that aside from the engine needing a good cleaning, and to be bored out and get new pistons and rings, everything else is cosmetic. He did not keep it covered up and it has since snowed and a lot of debris has made its way inside. I did get to climb inside of it this month and shovel the snow out and get a better look a things. The whole boat needs a good power wash and is very sun damaged.... Eventually I will go at it with a buffer and give it a good polish and wax job. The seats are a bit cracked, but I might make due for now. My main concern so far does seem to be the engine getting rebuilt, and then after that, make sure all other components that are legally required are taken care of. I am looking for advice from other project boat enthusiasts on how to get started on things and what to look for and what to do. Any constructive criticism is welcomed as well, however, I do not wish to receive any responses telling me to cut my losses and sell the boat.....to not go through with this.....that I am wasting my money on an old POS when I can get something newer and in better shape for the same amount that I am putting into this old boat. I enjoy bringing life back into old objects and don't care if I am "Wasting my money", because it is mine to waste and like I said earlier, the knowledge, experience, and even stress that I will obtain as a result is priceless. Any and all helpful assistance is appreciated! I look forward to your responses!
Get educated on fiberglass work as you will likely be doing a bunch ! Old fiberglass boats have a wood skeleton encased in fiberglass and this needs cut open to inspect for rotted wood. In all probability it is rotten and will take many months of messy, itchy work to cut open, fit new wood structure and reglass everything. Be prepared to spend around 5K or more to do it right. You can almost add that much more for a rebuilt engine and outdrive. These are reasons that many of us have switched over to aluminum boats....FAR less work and expense, but, to each his own. Search long and carefully before proceeding.......
 

matt167

Captain
Joined
Sep 27, 2012
Messages
3,855
1989 Maxum is also Bayliners cousin. Personally I would assess the cost and weigh the dump fee and selling trailer to recover your cost.. $10-20k into a boat that is 34 years old doesn’t make that much sense when you could save the same money. and buy a newer boat in the 2-3 years of nights and weekends it’ll take to restore it… restoring a boat with a good motor/ drive is usually the way to go.

I put $10k into a 14’ boat. But I bought a lake ready tin boat that I converted from someone’s fishing barge back into leisure boat. Much of the cost was a new motor and trailer. I love my little boat but add up those costs and I’d never do it again on such a boat.
 

Chris51280

Ensign
Joined
Jan 24, 2018
Messages
932
It's a17ft boat with most likely a 3l 4cyl motor in it. for the same money you could get a little bit bigger boat with a 4.3 or 5.7l motor which will be more value to you. Since this boat already requires an engine rebuild and most likely a deck and stringer replacement, not ideal for a return of investment. TBH, no rebuild is a good ROI but why spend the same for a smaller boat and smaller engine. 4.3 and 5.7 engines are available plenty. get a 18 or 19ft boat or a 3.0l engine that is running
 

DeepCMark58A

Commander
Joined
Aug 17, 2015
Messages
2,080
It's a17ft boat with most likely a 3l 4cyl motor in it. for the same money you could get a little bit bigger boat with a 4.3 or 5.7l motor which will be more value to you. Since this boat already requires an engine rebuild and most likely a deck and stringer replacement, not ideal for a return of investment. TBH, no rebuild is a good ROI but why spend the same for a smaller boat and smaller engine. 4.3 and 5.7 engines are available plenty. get a 18 or 19ft boat or a 3.0l engine that is running
Too late he bought the boat.
 

Lou C

Supreme Mariner
Joined
Nov 10, 2002
Messages
12,087
Yep I agree with all the responses about the likelihood of rot due to it being left open. I’d also question the seriousness of the seller about fixing it; anyone who knows wood/composite boats knows leaving them open to the weather is a death sentence. Be prepared for a complete gut & rebuild.
 

stresspoint

Lieutenant Junior Grade
Joined
Sep 19, 2022
Messages
1,028
i think most of the responses here are saying its a bad idea to spend all your time and money to fix an old boat that has been left to the elements and with a broken motor as well.

you will get plenty of experience doing the resto so go for it , there is plenty of good info on the internet , there is also lots of bad as well.

start with a total strip down to bare bones and assess the project from there. look at the cost of materials and incidentals , they are expensive , you will also need special tools and extra tools most people do not have on hand for things like the drive and fiber glassing. shop trolley build to move it around , a step ladder is also a must :).
at that point that is where you can say with confidence if the project is worth all your effort or not.

look at the big picture ,? is the boat what you want , ? is it going to be as good as you are going to be expecting when all your time and money has gone into it.


keep the tread up to dat as you go and ignore the nay sayers unless there criticism is constructive .
 

Lou C

Supreme Mariner
Joined
Nov 10, 2002
Messages
12,087
It is true that you can, if you learn properly and can see that project through to the end, build/restore a better boat than you could have bought. You're not doing it to make a profit like commercial boat companies, you're doing it to learn and gain satisfaction. However, most people really can't envision the hours, mess, hazardous materials, etc that is all part of projects like these. Very easy to get bogged down and discouraged, to say nothing of the hazards, using sharp cutting tools, grinding fiberglass, using resins, etc.
I did one, and that's it. Never again.
 

stresspoint

Lieutenant Junior Grade
Joined
Sep 19, 2022
Messages
1,028
to add to my last post !, one very important thing to do before moving on , be sure all the paper work is in order and the boat is in your name..

here is my Maxum SR1800 that was a basket case when i got it.
 

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Scott Danforth

Grumpy Vintage Moderator still playing with boats
Staff member
Joined
Jul 23, 2011
Messages
47,987
The OP wants to build his project. so we can encourage him.

For the motor and drive, find a good post 1992 motor and drive. it will be cheaper than rebuilding the 1989 motor. can find good longtails on junk boats under $1000 (Free if you take the boat). cost to rebuild a 3.0 with pistons, machine work, etc. is about $2k

DIY cost for the hull are between $3500 and $5000

DIY costs for upholstery will be between $1500 and $2200

However The OP also has not been back since post #1
 

docben

Seaman
Joined
Jan 13, 2024
Messages
50
Hello, I recently purchased a 1989 Maxum 1700XR. So here's the backstory. First off, I have been searching for a decent project boat for quite some time. I realize I will possibly put more money into it than what it is worth, but for me, if I can learn something new, then the new knowledge and experience in boats will be priceless compared to the amount of money I put into it. I have little to no knowledge of boats, but have been wanting to learn with a project boat for years. I was not really expecting to purchase a boat, but this one stood out when I hopped on Facebook Marketplace. It was posted for 500.00, which was a red flag for me, until I saw that it had just been reduced to 500.00 from 2000.00. I reached out and asked what was wrong with it....Why such a huge reduction in price? He explained that he had already done his own work on it and as of this past summer, he had it out on the water with his family. He explained that the motor was giving him some issues, and being an engine mechanic, he proceeded to completely dismantle the engine to find the problem. Turns out the pistons were bad and the block needs to be bored out. He originally had it posted running at 2000.00, but then nobody was biting at that price tag. He and his wife took on other priorities in life and ultimately agreed to take the loss and post it at 500.00 just so he could get it out of his yard. I asked if anything else is wrong with it, and he stated that aside from the engine needing a good cleaning, and to be bored out and get new pistons and rings, everything else is cosmetic. He did not keep it covered up and it has since snowed and a lot of debris has made its way inside. I did get to climb inside of it this month and shovel the snow out and get a better look a things. The whole boat needs a good power wash and is very sun damaged.... Eventually I will go at it with a buffer and give it a good polish and wax job. The seats are a bit cracked, but I might make due for now. My main concern so far does seem to be the engine getting rebuilt, and then after that, make sure all other components that are legally required are taken care of. I am looking for advice from other project boat enthusiasts on how to get started on things and what to look for and what to do. Any constructive criticism is welcomed as well, however, I do not wish to receive any responses telling me to cut my losses and sell the boat.....to not go through with this.....that I am wasting my money on an old POS when I can get something newer and in better shape for the same amount that I am putting into this old boat. I enjoy bringing life back into old objects and don't care if I am "Wasting my money", because it is mine to waste and like I said earlier, the knowledge, experience, and even stress that I will obtain as a result is priceless. Any and all helpful assistance is appreciated! I look forward to your responses!
Good luck mi amigo! I too bought a fixer from FB but sounds like mine is in much better shape than yours. I didn't see where the engine model was mentioned. Is it an OMC? If so, do you have the model number for us to look up? Thanks, and again, best of luck. :)
 

TripleJGraffis

Petty Officer 1st Class
Joined
Jan 18, 2024
Messages
304
Welcome


Well alrighty then. Boring a block means to rebuild not clean, remove motor and rebuild it. Then as Scott mentioned dig into the hull and find out how much of the hull needs to be gutted and rebuilt
Thanks! Plan on doing exactly that
 

TripleJGraffis

Petty Officer 1st Class
Joined
Jan 18, 2024
Messages
304
Considering it snowed into the boat, I wager its mostly frozen. So until it thaws out, you have no easy way of telling if anything is soft. That's floor, stringers, and transom. Any trapped water froze too so you may have other issues below deck.

Best bet, if possible, is get the boat warmed up / thawed out in a heated garage / shelter so that you can start some investigation as to what this is going to entail. Just because someone had it out on the water last season, doesn't mean it was the brightest or safest of ideas to do so.

Given the age, and that there's snow inside, there's a very good chance all wooden items will need to be pulled and replaced. My gut tells me you have one heck of a project on your hands. Not insurmountable, but definitely an undertaking....and the motor is likely the least of the issues you'll find.
I appreciate the insight! I just wish I had access to a heated area so I could get looking at it now.
 
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