Want to get into Jets. Never owned a boat and have questions!
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Want to get into Jets. Never owned a boat and have questions!

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    Junior Member 5.0Thunder's Avatar
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    Default Want to get into Jets. Never owned a boat and have questions!

    I've never owned a boat but can't think of anything I'd enjoy more than a boosted (screw/roots or turbo) big block Jet. I've built turbo and roots blown cars and want to have some fun on the colorado river since it snakes through our land. Occasional lake runs would be likely as well. I don't know much about boats in general so I have a few questions that I'm hoping you guys help me with.

    Budget: Low-ish. I'm a fan of doing a lot with a little and it shows in my car builds. I think it's best to learn on something reliable, proven, and with lots of parts availability. I'm probably looking for a running big block boat in decent condition that I can add boost to and maybe EFI. Maybe even just a solid hull/jet that I can install a junkyard engine into (aluminum LS maybe).

    Is 5K a good budget for a running boat? is 1500-2k good for a "roller"?

    Questions:

    - Terminology? There is the hull (chassis?), the pump, engine, linkages, gauges, seat with seat rails, and a few other things. What are Stringers? What else is important?

    - Good running gear for a beginner? I've heard names like berkley for jet pumps, a BBC, LS, SBC, or SBF would probably be the power plant. What else is there to consider?

    - Boat size? I've seen 16ft and some as long as 24ft. Does the longer hull help stabilize a heavy engine? This is why I considered aluminum LS for short boats.

    - Hull Type? Looks like there are some with a single V/U shaped hull and some with two (like eliminator). is one better for a noob? One inherently more pricy?

    - Hull Material? Looks like a lot of the older ones are wood but I saw a guy had a new one built out of fiberglass. Any aluminum? I'd prefer light weight for towing reasons.

    - Buying Pointers? What are the common things to look for when buying a used boat. People mention stringer, hull, & pump condition but idk what to actually look at.

    - Towing weight? I know it's odd, but if I can land a small light boat, I want to pull it behind my Volvo wagon. I've seen them on single axle trailers so I think it's possible.

    - Maintenance? Aside from Engine tune-ups and draining water from engine and hull, what is required of the pump or other items?

    - Cost to own? Do boats require yearly inspection and registration? Do pumps/running gear require replacement or service often?

    - References? I've done some searching in this forum for info but are there any ultimate noob guides or any videos you guys recommend for somebody trying to absorb as much as possible?

    These are all the questions I could think of due to my lack of knowledge so there may be other important jet boat specific things you may want to point out. Please do!

    Thanks for all your help!

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  3. #2
    Hoodys and swim trunks Elkidminoltu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5.0Thunder View Post
    I've never owned a boat but can't think of anything I'd enjoy more than a boosted (screw/roots or turbo) big block Jet.
    Welcome, answers in red. They'll be more of a guide and information. It'll be up to you to decide with more research.

    Budget: Is 5K a good budget for a running boat? is 1500-2k good for a "roller"? This is a good start especially on the west coast (Cali, Havasu, Las Vegas). Shit, search the "Inland Empire" CL and you'll find running boats for $2500! Out East there aren't as many boats so the prices start to rise.

    Questions:

    - Terminology? There is the hull (chassis?), the pump, engine, linkages, gauges, seat with seat rails, and a few other things. What are Stringers? What else is important Hull, trailer, engine plates, driveline/PTO, flexplate, PTO button, water cooled exhaust/headers, wire harness, gauges, forward/reverse lever, cables, steering, seats, fuel tanks and pump assembly are the basics. Stringers are the upright boards on the inside of the hull that run from the transom (back of the boat) to the front. A "full stringer" boat means they run all the way to the front, while a "1/4" stringer" boat only runs a 1/4 of the way up from the rear, and then terminate into a false floor. You generally want to look for a full stringer boat for more rigidity. Also look for gunnels (side boards connecting the floor to the cap), and a bulkhead (board under the dash/bow) for further structure. Remember, these add weight but since you're running the river you're going to want structure.

    - Good running gear for a beginner? I've heard names like berkley for jet pumps, a BBC, LS, SBC, or SBF would probably be the power plant. What else is there to consider? In order of least complex and cheap to most complex and cheap --> BBC, BBF, SBC, LS. Jet boat parts for a big block Chevys and Fords are easy to find and generally much cheaper than other applications. Many jet boats came with these packages so exhaust manifolds, pans, carbs, PTO parts and motor plates are easy to find. Small block Chevy parts are a little tougher to find for jets specifically, but they are out there. Small blocks are not the best bang of the buck because you need torque on a jet. Guys run them, and they run well, but 9/10 a big block boat will outrun you. LS motors are a great choice for being light and torquey, but jet boat specific parts are hard to come by. There's a small aftermarket for them so things like over-the-transom headers and engine plates are expensive unless you make your own.

    - Boat size? I've seen 16ft and some as long as 24ft. Does the longer hull help stabilize a heavy engine? This is why I considered aluminum LS for short boats. Most "go-fast" V hulls are 16-20ft. The cats (catamaran) boats are fast(er) up to 24ft. Stabilization for high speeds can be found in boats with tunnel-hulls or modified-V's. Google gullwing, CP, TX19, tunnel hull, cat, and eliminator daytona to see examples. Again, V-hulls will be cheaper, generally.

    - Hull Type? Looks like there are some with a single V/U shaped hull and some with two (like eliminator). is one better for a noob? One inherently more pricy? See above. People recognize the performance of the non-traditional V-hulls so you're going to pay a little more for them.

    - Hull Material? Looks like a lot of the older ones are wood but I saw a guy had a new one built out of fiberglass. Any aluminum? I'd prefer light weight for towing reasons. Older hulls are generally fiberglass. You'll read about people talking about a boat's "layup." This generally refers to the hull thickness and overall construction of the boats. A heavy layup is generally something over ~650lbs hull only, and a light layup is one under that. Some manufacturers used carbon fiber, or plastic, balsa, and foam core to make the boats lighter. Aluminum hulls are available, Eagle boats comes to mind, and are generally used for river race applications, but are available for pleasure boats. Again, the more premium the material, the more you'll pay.

    - Buying Pointers? What are the common things to look for when buying a used boat. People mention stringer, hull, & pump condition but idk what to actually look at. Engines and pumps are rebuildable and generally dont require special knowledge to do so make sure the engine and pump roll over without feeling "loose." You know, like bearing play. It's a good idea to rebuild an unknown pump anyway for piece of mind. It'll also take out any second guessing when it comes to a boat's performance.
    -Concentrate on looking for rotted stringers, floors and transoms. A good rule of thumb is to bring a screwdriver with a plastic handle and bang on these parts. You want to hear a nice "CRACK" or "THWAK" when you tap them. It should sound like a piece of kiln dried wood thrown on the concrete or a wood baseball bat hitting a baseball. If you hear a "THUD" or hear changes in pitch towards the back of the boat then it's sign the parts are wet inside and the wood is rotting. You will have to cut out the stingers and replace them which is a messy and time-consuming job.
    -Look at the bottom and check for cracks, or gouges that look deep. Bring a long straight edge and place it on the underside of the hull parallel to the bunks and see if it's flat. Boats that spend alot of time on the trailer can develop a "hook" in the bottom which pushes the nose of the boat in the water and scrubs speed. These can only be corrected by "blueprinting" the bottom which requires extensive fiberglass work.


    - Towing weight? I know it's odd, but if I can land a small light boat, I want to pull it behind my Volvo wagon. I've seen them on single axle trailers so I think it's possible. 1500-3000lbs

    - Maintenance? Aside from Engine tune-ups and draining water from engine and hull, what is required of the pump or other items? If you keep up on the grease and don't run the pump dry in the driveway then it should run for 10 years before needing a rebuild. Like anything, maintenance goes a long way to keep things running tip-top. Run the valves if it's a solid lifter motor, change the oil and winterize it if you live in a climate that drops below freezing for any part of the year.

    - Cost to own? Do boats require yearly inspection and registration? Do pumps/running gear require replacement or service often? Pretty cheap, less than a $1000 a year I'd say. Most places don't have a boat inspection, but you'll have your registration stickers, insurance, and fuel costs.

    - References? I've done some searching in this forum for info but are there any ultimate noob guides or any videos you guys recommend for somebody trying to absorb as much as possible? Check out JetBoatPerformance.biz, Scream and Fly, Riverracer.net, and search Google. Ther's also SoCalJetBoats.

    Hope this helps! Honestly, look for hulls that are available locally and then start your research. This forum has alot of information already!

    -Dave

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    Junior Member 5.0Thunder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elkidminoltu View Post

    Hope this helps! Honestly, look for hulls that are available locally and then start your research. This forum has alot of information already!

    -Dave
    Thanks for taking the time Dave! I appreciate all the info! I've rummaged the local craigslists a couple times a week lately to check on any new deals but haven't found too much. Anything in my price range so far has been a V-hull from the 70s and 80s, but not very pretty or well kept. A few placecrafts, tahitis, etc. Didn't know they were fiberglassed. Not sure if they were balsa or foam cored. I'll be keeping all of your pointers in mind. I think i might talk to some sellers and just come by to check their stuff out. Practice the checks you told me about and just get used to looking at everything. It'll probably help me when I get serious.

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    Wish I lived near vegas..

    1979 Eliminator

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    Senior Member Mouzer's Avatar
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    did we miss where u located.............alot guys on here dont mind going with ya to check out a hull with ya if your local to them....ive looked at quite a few boats for newbys by me...1 guy wanted this one boat so bad i said no he went back and bought it then sold it 2 weeks later..it had a 455 olds and a panther pump bad combo but a nice boat...after he sold he bought 1 with a 454 berkley split bowl combo, something he could build on


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouzer View Post
    did we miss where u located.............alot guys on here dont mind going with ya to check out a hull with ya if your local to them....ive looked at quite a few boats for newbys by me...1 guy wanted this one boat so bad i said no he went back and bought it then sold it 2 weeks later..it had a 455 olds and a panther pump bad combo but a nice boat...after he sold he bought 1 with a 454 berkley split bowl combo, something he could build on
    Whoops, I added location to profile. I saw a group of jets on Lake Ray Hubbard a couple years ago during a concert on the water they were doin. I didn't have boat fever at the time or I would have gone over and asked a million questions. lol

  9. #7
    Senior Member Mouzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5.0Thunder View Post
    Wish I lived near vegas..

    1979 Eliminator

    i
    bought this elim sprint for 4k off craigslist it came with built motor 454 from gs marine and pump i had new interior done sold it for 6000

    pic of it at elsinore when i had it clean boat....

    Last edited by Mouzer; 04-11-2017 at 12:39 PM.


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    Senior Member Mouzer's Avatar
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    ok see your in texas...look on texas hot boat website

    they have a classified section and there a great group of guys......
    Texas Hot Boats
    Last edited by Mouzer; 04-11-2017 at 12:41 PM.


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    Junior Member 5.0Thunder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouzer View Post
    i
    bought this elim sprint for 4k off craigslist it came with built motor 454 from gs marine and pump i had new interior done sold it for 6000

    pic of it at elsinore when i had it clean boat....

    That's the kind of deal I need right there. I'll keep looking. Hopefully texas isn't just an expensive state for these.

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    Senior Member Mouzer's Avatar
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    ask him if he would sell less motor great start..think it came from cali ive seen it before

    https://dallas.craigslist.org/ndf/boa/5991546860.html


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouzer View Post
    ask him if he would sell less motor great start..think it came from cali ive seen it before

    https://dallas.craigslist.org/ndf/boa/5991546860.html
    Lol that one has been in my favorites for a while now. Race gas motor had me thinking twice though. We have e85 here so I can run high comp or boost with that fuel.

    what about this??

    https://dallas.craigslist.org/ftw/boa/6084137586.html

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    Senior Member Mouzer's Avatar
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    looks like the old berkly not a split bowl..........im a v drive guy ..these guys on here are pretty smart when it comes to a good hull and drive combo....thats a nice looking boat though.....wait for there opionion........jet boat performance will pop on here he is a jet boat wizard..these guys in this section will tell ya what to stay away from.......
    Last edited by Mouzer; 04-11-2017 at 01:34 PM.


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    Senior Member Mouzer's Avatar
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    this one just sold yesterday.....i coulda got it for ya for 1100 and shipped for about $700 on uship

    http://www.performanceboats.com/boat...-deck-jet.html


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouzer View Post
    this one just sold yesterday.....i coulda got it for ya for 1100 and shipped for about $700 on uship

    http://www.performanceboats.com/boat...-deck-jet.html
    Dang seemed like it would have been a good deal.

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