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Looking at 2004 - 197 - Need some direction

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  • Looking at 2004 - 197 - Need some direction

    New to the team and have been trying to do as much research as possible. Sold my old outboard boat and looking to pick up a MC. Have many close friends who own them, but would like some other opinions.

    Have a family of 5 with 3 young kids. My 7 and 5 year can ski on two and really enjoy it. My wife and I ski at 15 / 22 off and enjoy playing around with a wakeboard. We are on a large inland lake but also have a pontoon for cruising when needed.

    Found a 2004 MC 197. Excellent shape with 1 owner and all work done at a MC dealer. Has a tower with board and ski racks, barefoot boom, clarion speaker system with tower speakers, mp3 / cd player. Boat has 500 hours on the MCX engine. Owner replaced vinyl because MC stops making repalcement vinyl after 7 years ? -Is that true?

    I spoke with the tech who did the maintenance on the boat and he recommended it over some of the boats that had sitting in their lot. This surprised me since he gets nothing out of telling me that.

    It does not have perfect pass. Other than that it is loaded and really well taken care of.

    The owner is asking $29,000. Does that sound right. My friends are telling me that it is worth about $25-$26 K.

    What do you think? Should I look for a bigger boat with my growing family or something more versatile for all wake sports? I am guessing my kids who get into wakeboarding for another couple of years and this wake is great for getting them really into skiing.

    I have also heard from others to stay away from the 197's until 2005 when things got better. Is this true? Where there any issues with that engine or model year on a 2004 - 197?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  • #2
    I don't know the ins and outs of the 04 197 . . . but I recently owned an 01 X5 (195) which is very similar. My wife and I have twin 12 year olds. It served us well -- tournament-level skiing wake for the kids and I, and an OK wake for beginning wakeboarding. We upgraded to the X2 mostly because our boys are now wanting to bring their friends with them and the X5 was getting a bit cramped. The X2 wake WITHOUT ballast scared them at first when we tried kneeboarding and wakeboarding behind it!

    The MCX is a desirable option, for the bling factor if nothing else. (The standard engine was the 310 HP RTP-1 which is more than adequate. That's what my X5 had.) Having all the vinyl replaced is a definite plus since the MC's from the early 2000's are notorious for upholstery issues.

    I think the price is in the ballpark. I just checked on OnlyInboards.com and there are a couple 03's in that range -- one actually over $30k.

    You may outgrow the 197 eventually, but for now enjoy the incredible slalom wake, the barefoot boom, and the ease of working on a direct drive.
    Last edited by wheelerd; 11-20-2012, 02:03 AM.
    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." (Henry Louis Mencken)
    2005 X2, Viper Red, MCX, Acme 1285, PPass, rear 750 sacs, KGB, IBS, Bennett Wake Plate
    (previous) 2001 X5, 1991 TriStar 190

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    • #3
      In terms of price, a friend and fellow member on this board purchased the same boat you are describing, minus the barefoot boom ($300) for $25k 2 years ago, with a few less hours. So, I think the price is a little high but given it is at a dealership they likely have it marked up a couple grand so there is probably some wiggle room.

      As for the size of the boat, if you did not have the pontoon boat I would say it is too small for your needs and depending on how much you will use the MC and whether or not you want to take both boats out at the same time, it still may be too small. As your family grows and starts bringing friends out, the boat will be cramped and a 209 or 214 would better serve your needs then.
      Hope this helps.

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      • #4
        As far as 2004 197, i have had no issues besides the vinyl...was a bad year for vinyl. Mine is set up like yours...great for footin and slalom skiing. Ok fir wakeboarding according to my early 20s nephews

        Sent from my Motorola RAZR MAXX using Tapatalk 2
        Everyone Dies, but not everyone lives

        2004 Prostar 197, ACME 843

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        • #5
          I agree with your friends. I think it is a couple of thousand too high. I also think you will outgrow it quickly. That is a decision you will have to figure out.

          As far as the boat, there are no issues with the 04 that I am aware of except for the bad vinyl. That was resolved by 05. They did make the change to drive by wire in '05, FWIW.
          '97 Prostar 190 - LT-1

          Prior boats - 2009 X14, 2008 X14, 2005 197, 1988 Tristar 190, 1989 Prostar.

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          • #6
            If you are after an excellent ski wake, the X14 or 214 is a good option as well.....just going to be higher in price because they didn't make them in 2004. I think 07' or 08' was the first year. Same hull as the 197 but larger inside.

            The 209, although bigger than the 197, has mixed opinions on ski wake. The 197 and 214 are in a similar class. The 209 is more of an "all around" boat.

            I have 3 kids (an lots of cousins) and have an older 205. I looked at the 197 and it is small....especially up front. The 197 does look cool but I like the front space in my 205 better....
            - Jeff

            1994 205, LT1

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            • #7
              try ski-it-again for comparing prices

              Here's a great site for boats. I have had both X7 and 197. X7 is the suv and allows both great skiing and basic wakeboarding. The 197 with a extended pylon is o.k. but with no X7 ballast. With each boat 214, 205, 209, 197, etc. There's always a trade off. 03 and 04 did have vinyl issues, and the 04 had a small empty bucking trailer issue, but managable. As Christmas comes, dealers should be willing to deal. Good luck and post pictures once you get one.
              Previous Boats: 04 X7, 98 190, 96 205, Sylvan Deck
              Thanks and best wishes, George & Sara Amonette
              770 634 5437
              amonette516@comcast.net

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              • #8
                214/ X14 has a TON more room than the 197. Virtually no down side aside from the ski wake at slower speeds. There are some 214's for sale in the high 30's and I'd be inclined to purchase that over an older 197 for an extra $10K (providing I had the means to do so)
                '97 Prostar 190 - LT-1

                Prior boats - 2009 X14, 2008 X14, 2005 197, 1988 Tristar 190, 1989 Prostar.

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                • #9
                  The only other thing an 05 will have that an 04 did not was throttle by wire. Since Zero Off isn't available (easily) for an 05 MC anyway, I still prefer the feel and feedback of a cable throttle. Agree that the price is a little high and your friends suggestion are more in the ballpark.
                  Previous: 1993 Prostar 205

                  Red 1998 Closed Bow Ski Boat, Ford 351, 310 hp, Acme 4 blade, Perfect Pass SG.

                  FAQ


                  Tyler Ski Club


                  To me, this forum is about love of inboard boats. It is about the sharing of information and, on a good day, some humor. It is not about post count, brand of boat, or any other superfluous labels that lend themselves to a false sense of superiority. Please, respect one another, try to pass on accurate information, and keep your eye on the ball.

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                  • #10
                    I own an 04 197 and love it. Everyone is right with respect to the vinyl though. 01-04 MC light grey vinyl is aweful and will crack very easily. I have replaced about 50% of mine with a much better quality that looks 99% the same as the original. It sounds like your vinyl is already done which will justify a higher price for that boat. Its not cheap to replace all the vinyl either from MC or aftermarket. I would guess around $2k mark.

                    Drive by wire isn't something you need or even would notice to be perfectly honest. In fact the 05's had issues with the drive by wire when they initially came out.

                    Perfect pass can be a marriage saver if you need it, but not a neccissity.

                    IMHO it's better to pay a few $$ more for a boat that you have the history and maintenace records for. The fact the the actual mechanic vouched for the boat i a huge plus. The new vinyl will also justify a higher price.

                    Now it is fall/winter so I would offer a few bucks less without insulting the guy and then split the difference.............

                    Good luck, you are going to be sooooo much happier with a 197 than your outboard!
                    sigpic
                    04 197 TT LQ9 stargazer w/Z-Box
                    PB 2@35 off
                    Previous...
                    96 Prostar 205 Lt1
                    93 Prostar 205 HO
                    81 Leaves and stripes(Can. edition)

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                    • #11
                      FYI>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                      http://boats.smartcarguide.com/listing/5702122/

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                      • #12
                        Threadjack.......

                        Rod, i thought you were banned
                        Everyone Dies, but not everyone lives

                        2004 Prostar 197, ACME 843

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                        • #13
                          I am..

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                          • #14
                            Depending on the overall condition, I don't believe the price is out of line. With new interior and a tower, if it's in great shape I think that is reasonable...or at least where I would expect. $25k is lowball, in my opinion, unless the upholstery was redone because of abuse and the boat has dings all over it.

                            FWIW, my 2003 TT 197 was well taken care of and we never had one issue with the upholstery. No cracks, stains, or thread tears. Just sold mine with about 400 hours on it. It's all in how you take car of things.

                            Assuming the boat runs smoothly and the condition is very clean, the only issue I see is lack of a speed control. That is one of those items that is very nice to have, but is pricey to add later. And once you've had speed control, you won't want to do without it.

                            Also consider the 2004 is on the same hull running through the 2013 models, which will sell new for $50k +. So suddenly $29k really doesn't sound that bad if it is well maintained and runs strong.

                            In short, the boat is worth what a willing buyer and seller agree upon.

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                            • #15
                              Wow - thanks for all of the quick replies.

                              If you had your choice of getting the mcx engine or the powerslot transmission, which would you prefer? The boat I am considering has the mcx with the 1:1 tranny. Is it worth it to find the powerslot?

                              We will be doing a lot of dock skiing. We are right on the lake, but it does get windy on our side, so we head a mile across the lake to a course when needed. Our lake can get some big rollers during the day. How will a 197 handle that type of water?

                              I guess my biggest concerns are getting something too small that will have a tough time in rough waters and a boat that my kids grow out of in 3-4 years. I guess that wouldn't be that big of a deal if I picked up a 197 and used it for that time and then looked into a x14 in 4 years. I can't swing $40 K right now for a X14.

                              This might be barking up the wrong tree, so please don't ban me yet......one of my hardcore MC friends said something to me about a Malibu Sunsetter lxi. He said the ski wake was nice and a big family boat, but the fit and finish of Malibu is not up to par with MC. Any thoughts?

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