HELP! 1998 Sundancer 330 with 5.7 EFI V-Drives? First timer!!

Discussion in 'Newbie Lounge - NEW' started by SkiPharmer, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. SkiPharmer

    SkiPharmer Member

    114
    Jul 27, 2014
    St. Croix River, MN
    "Apres Ski" is a 1995 Sea Ray Sundancer 330, Twin 454 MerCruiser V-Drives
    Twin 7.4 Liter Mercruisers V-drives
    Hello,

    I have boated for many years always single engine open bowriders, wife and I are looking at a 1998 Sea Ray Sundancer 330, it has the MerCruiser 5.7L V-Drives....can anyone tell me about this set up? We boat on the St. Croix River in MN/WI, and will be looking to do some entertaining/using the boat as a cabin and some over nights, we have a new baby as well. I have searched on here a lot and it seems every other 330 from this time period has the 454's, I am worried about this boat being underpowered as we often do have a large crew with us and stuff. Anything else I should know about this boat? here is a link....THANKS!

    http://www.boattrader.com/listing/1998-Sea-Ray-330-Sundancer-102291457
     
  2. rondds

    rondds Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Jersey Shore
    2001 380DA
    Merc 8.1s (2008)...Hurth ZF 63 V-drives...WB 7.0 BCGD (2013), Garmin 8208 & 740 MFDs, GMR 24xHD dome
    The late '90s 330s are great boats and is perfect for a young family (ie: small kid). With the diner-booth layout (which I like) and 5.7s, it is sort of a rarity. I've never seen either of those setups but I'm certainly no authority. My first instinct is that this boat might be a bit sluggish with a big load aboard.
     
  3. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer
    2X 454 w/ vDrives
    You will need to do a sea trial. My guess is that you will need to run almost WOT to stay on plane and it will take a long while to get on plane. The fuel economy will not be better at all than a 454 model since you will be running the small blocks a lot harder.

    If you are in an area where you have lots of no wake zones mixed with areas you can run on plane (that is, if you need to quickly get up on plane and then drop off to idle a lot), then it may be a major issue. You will notice that standing up at the helm in that series of 330 is not practical because the canvas and arch are too low for that. So when you are getting up on plane, you will be driving blind. If you have to do it a lot, it might just be downright dangerous.

    So if you want a slow cocktail cruiser, the 5.7s might be OK. If you do any amount of on plane travel, you will not be happy.

    Also, the 5.7 version will be very hard to sell when you are done with it.
     
  4. handtools

    handtools Member

    78
    Mar 30, 2011
    Ohio, Lake Erie
    1994 330DA(sold), 1995 Sea Rayder F16(sold),1989 Stingray SVC 222
    Twin 5.7 L FWC V-drives, 120HP Sport Jet, 350 mag Alpha l
    My 1994 330 with the 5.7's always performed flawlessly. Never used the tabs to get on plane, easier maintenance access, didn't matter if I had two aboard or eight, still ran fine. I would not hesitate to get one with the small blocks. Just my 2 cents!
     
  5. SkiPharmer

    SkiPharmer Member

    114
    Jul 27, 2014
    St. Croix River, MN
    "Apres Ski" is a 1995 Sea Ray Sundancer 330, Twin 454 MerCruiser V-Drives
    Twin 7.4 Liter Mercruisers V-drives
    Were these fuel injected? Not sure 1994s had them..I'm worried the boat will be underpowered. The marina selling it told me it would get use less gas because the engines were lighter...not sure I believe that. This boat has been for sale most of the season and I wonder if that's why. I appreciate all the input!
     
  6. handtools

    handtools Member

    78
    Mar 30, 2011
    Ohio, Lake Erie
    1994 330DA(sold), 1995 Sea Rayder F16(sold),1989 Stingray SVC 222
    Twin 5.7 L FWC V-drives, 120HP Sport Jet, 350 mag Alpha l
    They were carbs, rated at 250hp. My guess is the fuel injected engines are rated higher. If I were you I would sea trial the boat and see how she does! I have a friend with a 32' St. Tropez with 454's and I run with him all day no problem.
     
  7. Jimmy Buoy

    Jimmy Buoy Active Member

    Dec 3, 2008
    Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
    340 Amberjack
    twin 8.1S 370 Hp + 4.5 Westerbeke Genset
    My last boat was a 32' Wellcraft St Tropez. No, not the same boat but similar in size and weight. It had 5.7 V-Drives and was offered with twin 7.4's as well. Talking to a visiting owner of a similar boat we had an interesting conversation. Seems his buddy had the same boat with 7.4's so at the beginning of each season they'd leave the storage building at the same time and have a race to their marina. Sometimes the 7.4 won - sometime the 5.7 won. It was that close. Apparently the additional weight did make a difference. The only scenario where the 7.4's were clearly the winner was when the boat was loaded with passengers. My boat when loaded with full fuel/water/gear/family still wouldn't have a big problem getting on plane with trim tabs deployed. If you do a lot of low speed "putting" the 5.7's will consume quite a bit less fuel too!
     
  8. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    Our marina never stocked the 330DA with 7.4's. The 5.7's were adequate, much more fuel efficient and a lot easier to work on. We have a close friend who recently traded his 330DA for a newer 44DA.....they ran the 330 since it was new, had only normal trouble with it (maintenance related repairs) and loved the boat until their teenagers grew to the pack-animal stage where friends always had to tag along. For a couple and a couple of young kids, the 330DA is a great choice.
     
  9. magstang1

    magstang1 Active Member

    May 30, 2010
    Lake St.Clair
    1998 31 Sedan Bridge
    Twin 350 Marine Power
    If you plan to overnight the fixed forward berth will be a good option. Being able to serve breakfast without taking a bed apart, especially while entertaining young kids, would be nice. The rear seating area has a generous sized table as well. Again, with kids, everything takes more room. The fixed dinette below is a usable size and your refrigerator is a reasonable size as well.

    I wouldn't hesitate to jump into a 330. I have a 290 and two young kids. Overnighting and eating meals on the boat is do-able, but takes planning. The extra space would be more than welcome. It seems like every time I move up in size, the next model up becomes the ideal for me but the 330 would make a great family boat. My 290 works, but the 330 would be a better option.

    As far as performance, you will have to decide yourself. Load it up with fuel and water and see how she runs. My 290 is the twin V6 model and everyone warned me not to buy it. I had one guy tell me I wouldn't be able to get it on plane. This is my third year and I've had no problems so far. Would the extra power be welcome? Sure, but this combination doesn't prevent me from doing anything I want to do. Burn extra fuel? If your range is short, who cares. Will the difference between 1.5 and 1.2 mpg make a difference? How much gear you bring with you will likely make more of a difference. If you were cruising extended ranges I would probably recommend the larger engines. The smaller power plants will certainly need to work harder and if I were far offshore that would probably make me nervous.

    Never trust advice from someone who stands to make a profit based on your decisions. Take the dealer's advice under consideration but certainly don't let it sway your decision.
     
  10. SkiPharmer

    SkiPharmer Member

    114
    Jul 27, 2014
    St. Croix River, MN
    "Apres Ski" is a 1995 Sea Ray Sundancer 330, Twin 454 MerCruiser V-Drives
    Twin 7.4 Liter Mercruisers V-drives
    Thanks for all the help! I may put in an offer in a couple weeks…he has it priced at $54k, I am gonna see if you drops it to $50k or less……appreciate all the help! I have never driven/owned this type of boat, any other advice?
     
  11. mwph

    mwph Active Member

    Jul 8, 2008
    Lake Guntersville, Tennessee River, Alabama
    1998 250 DA
    7.4L, B3
    Your sea trial will answer some of your questions, but being present for both your hull and engine surveys will answer even more. With 800+ hours, I would ask for a compression test and riser/manifold inspection. Don't forget to include your generator while shopping for a surveyor. It would be unfair for me to say that the boats price is higher than average, but all things considered, at $54k, I would expect everything to be in good working order.
     
  12. Alegria

    Alegria Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Lancaster,PA Boat: -Sue Creek, MD
    2000 410 DA
    3126 CAT
    That boat is in immaculate condition based on the photos. We are a family of 5 and now with my oldest in college a family of 4. While the 330 serves all our needs as our kids get bigger, want to bring friends, we would like more room. We have a dinette too. At first I did not want it, but having it I find it to be wonderful. It is where we all eat breakfast in the AC when we are cruising.

    I think the 5.7's are fine and yes they will use less fuel. GoFirstClass here had the 5.7's I think PM him for input on performance... I have the 7.4's and like them but our old boat had the smaller 305 engines and it was fine.

    I agree on the compression tests and manifold/elbow inspections. Are the manifolds raw water cooled? If you are in fresh water they should be OK. Fresh water boats usually command a premium price. While you have to factor in the market you are in. I can tell you most 330's listed around me are in the low $40K...

    Good luck the 330 is an awesome family boat. It has been a great boat for us you will enjoy it!
     
  13. SkiPharmer

    SkiPharmer Member

    114
    Jul 27, 2014
    St. Croix River, MN
    "Apres Ski" is a 1995 Sea Ray Sundancer 330, Twin 454 MerCruiser V-Drives
    Twin 7.4 Liter Mercruisers V-drives
    This boat is in crazy good condition...it is priced fair for here (Minnesota), get at MAX 5 months of boating a year. Yes I was gonna get all that checked out too... I have a good mechanic I was gonna bring along and inspect things, you guys are awesome! I was gonna offer $45k....
     
  14. magstang1

    magstang1 Active Member

    May 30, 2010
    Lake St.Clair
    1998 31 Sedan Bridge
    Twin 350 Marine Power
    Check every piece of canvas to make sure it's present, and functional. Make sure you have all the seat filler cushions and table legs. There should probably be short legs for the dinette and rear seat to convert to a berth or sunpad.

    Run the engines watching the temp and oil pressure. Start the generator and let it warm up. Transfer a load to it via air conditioning and battery charger. Make sure it runs and generates voltage. If your air conditioning runs on the genny, you are probably fine.

    Run the windlass from the helm and the foredeck.

    Turn on the vacuflush. Make sure it creates suction and doesn't intermittently turn on every few minutes by itself. If the pump runs periodically without operating the toilet, you have a leak.

    Turn on the fresh water from the holding tank. Run all the faucets one at a time. Galley, cockpit, transom shower (if present) head and toilet. Make sure they all work. Listen carefully to make sure the water pump builds pressure and turns off once pressure is reached. If the pump doesn't stop with the faucet off, you have a leak.

    Look in the bilge UNDER the engines. Any oil or water? Check all the fluid levels. While you're in there, take a look at the batteries. They should all be the same type and date of manufacture per bank. You will probably have 3 or 4. If they are old or mismatched, $100 per battery to replace and you do all of them at once.

    Run the heat and air conditioning for 10 minutes or so. Make sure it runs and you don't get a fault code on the thermostat. If it doesn't shut off by itself, you are fine.

    Check all the lights, interior and exterior. Nothing worse than electrical gremlins. If you feel comfortable, make sure you have 120v at the outlets while the genny is running.

    Make sure your fridge works. $1500 to replace it if it doesn't.

    Try out the microwave and stove. You will use them with a family on board.

    Make a list. Go through it one item at a time and check them off. Don't rush. You're buying a small house on the water.

    Take lots of pictures in the process. Especially in the areas people usually don't. In the bilge, inside the step down to the cabin where your air conditioner and shower sump are. Every time you check off an item, take a picture or two. Everyone has a smart phone and they are easy to delete.

    Check the hull carefully with the boat out of the water. Any knics or gouges? I had a nick under the water line turn into $5,000.

    Pay attention to the small stuff. If enough of it is not in working order it will eat your wallet alive. Those little round lights in the cockpit that didn't work on my boat were $50 a piece. I never would have guessed that. Cracked navigation lights? $1-200 more.

    Good luck!
     
  15. SkiPharmer

    SkiPharmer Member

    114
    Jul 27, 2014
    St. Croix River, MN
    "Apres Ski" is a 1995 Sea Ray Sundancer 330, Twin 454 MerCruiser V-Drives
    Twin 7.4 Liter Mercruisers V-drives
    Wow that list is awesome...I would have ever thought about doing half that stuff...MUCH appreciated! I'll let ya know what I decide to do, there is also a 2000 340 for about $72k...not sure if that much more of a boat would be worth th extra $$$
     
  16. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer
    2X 454 w/ vDrives
    The 2000 340 is about the same amount of boat as the 1998 330. There are some differences, but the basic size is the same.
     
  17. skylark

    skylark Member

    214
    Aug 17, 2012
    Barrie, Ontario
    2004 380 DA
    8.1 MPI's
    That's a great list!

    I will add... make sure that all the manuals and service records are with the boat
     
  18. magstang1

    magstang1 Active Member

    May 30, 2010
    Lake St.Clair
    1998 31 Sedan Bridge
    Twin 350 Marine Power
    They say the path to knowledge is paved in wasted dollars.

    Care to guess how I learned all those things? I'll give you a hint: It doesn't involve the easy or inexpensive way.
     
  19. SkiPharmer

    SkiPharmer Member

    114
    Jul 27, 2014
    St. Croix River, MN
    "Apres Ski" is a 1995 Sea Ray Sundancer 330, Twin 454 MerCruiser V-Drives
    Twin 7.4 Liter Mercruisers V-drives
  20. Ididntdoit

    Ididntdoit Well-Known Member

    Dec 5, 2007
    Newport, RI
    300 Sundancer
    5.0MPI Bravo III
    Wow - nice boat - that canvas alone would be 5-6k not to mention, the camper makes it like a whole other room! I would seriously consider that one - we have quite a few active members here with "non sea rays" good luck...
     

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