How bad are soft spots on a foredeck? Should I walk away?

Discussion in 'Newbie Lounge - NEW' started by jamus, Jul 11, 2020.

Should I walk?

  1. Don’t walk, RUN!

    60.0%
  2. If it doesn’t bug you and you won’t make it worse, ALL GOOD

    6.7%
  3. You’ll have to fix it eventually, so get a discount.

    33.3%
  1. jamus

    jamus New Member

    5
    Jul 10, 2020
    Considering ‘99 Sea Ray 400 Sundancer (DA?)
    Mercury Horizon 8.1
    New to this forum and thread and hoping for some guidance.

    Just finished structural survey (this guy went above and beyond - 8hrs w/ us) on ‘99 400 Sundancer. LOVE THIS BOAT & LAYOUT!

    Everything was going well until we hit the foredeck. Probable leakage in a couple spots. Bow equipment has been pulled and reseated/sealed at the bow (approx 4sf) where the anchor, windlass, spotlight and other equipment is attached. Additional soft deck around starboard and middle hatch (approx 10-15sf). Don’t know if the hatches were resealed and previous owners were not the type to be up on the deck. One estimate from a fiberglass guy next door was $20-$30K because he’d want to do the entire foredeck.

    Other than that, some normal stuff about hoses, blown exhaust gasket on the generator (that they never used), inverter problems (never used), water pump needs to be replaced, vacuflush rebuild of the valves, 1/2 of the electronics are in need of updating, and spotlight moves but doesn’t shine. Oh, and it looks like a drip from the riser gaskets on both engines. All in all, I’m generously guessing $10K if I hire it all out.

    Here’s the kicker: Repowered with recent Horizon 8.1 - total hours... 20

    We’re already at a decent price, but the deck work is considerable and I’ll be saddled with the devalue when I resell. Trying to figure out if I walk, or ask to drop the price another $20K (or more) to let the previous owners walk away. I’m not looking to take advantage of their misfortune, but the work that the deck needs seems scary.

    Caveat: I am not the fix it guy. I’m the guy who writes the checks. I don’t anticipate doing much of this work, other that with my buddies who are excited to get under the hood.

    Thanks for your consideration. Hope to join your ranks as an owner sometime soon
     
  2. Carpediem44DB

    Carpediem44DB Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Aug 18, 2015
    Sanfransico Bay area
    2006 44 DB Sedan Bridge Raymarine gs165 w Quantum HD Radar
    Achilles 350 Dink
    Nick Jackson Davit
    Cummins QSC 8.3 500 HD
    Best advice I think would be keep looking. If your not a fixit guy, buy a boat that was owned by a guy who was or at least did not defer maintenance. It sounds like this boat did a lot of time being a condo and not a boat. Let a fix it guy get a deal on this one and find yourself a gem that you will not regret buying no matter the price.
    Carpe Diem
     
    CaptRonn and JVM225 like this.
  3. NotHerDecision

    NotHerDecision Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 28, 2016
    Houston, Texas
    2001 Sea Ray 460 Sundancer
    2014 Seadoo 155 LTD
    2105 Seadoo 130 SE
    2013 Mercury Dinghy
    Cummins 6CTA 8.3L
    Walk away. Too much to address without local knowledge. Where are you located?
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
    JVM225 likes this.
  4. jamus

    jamus New Member

    5
    Jul 10, 2020
    Considering ‘99 Sea Ray 400 Sundancer (DA?)
    Mercury Horizon 8.1
    Located in the Pacific Northwest. Little bit of rain in these parts, so want to make sure the hatches have been fully sealed before Fall.
     
  5. Ididntdoit

    Ididntdoit Well-Known Member

    Dec 5, 2007
    New England & South Florida
    1976 17 Sport
    90hp Etec
    that is a huge undertaking and yes, it can "eat" 20k really fast if a pro is doing the work - if it is fixed properly and documented, I would not worry about resale value - I would consider it a plus on a boat of that age - don't know what your paying, but looking at a '98 down here with rebuilt 3116 cats for 65k - solid boat but needs cosmetics
     
  6. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer, Raymarine C80 suite with radar, Mercury 310 Hypalon w/8hp Yammie 2stk
    2X 454 carbs w/ vDrives
    That much area of soft deck is VERY significant. Get an estimate of the cost of the deck repair. That will give you an idea of the discount between one that has a dry deck and one that is wet like this one. And the discount should be MORE than that cost because of the risks and the fact that the value of a dry pristine boat is much higher than one that has a major repair needed. And if you don't fix it, it will make that boat very hard to sell when you want to. I personally would run.
    Those of us that have been around boats for a long time will tell you there is no such thing as a cheap boat.
     
  7. Henry Boyd

    Henry Boyd Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 24, 2007
    Newburyport, on the peaceful and serene Merrimack
    ‘09 Sabre 38 Hardtop Express “Serenity”
    Volvo D6 w/IPS450 Pods
    Look we just acquired a new to boat that had low hours and has been babied all its life (heated indoor winter storage) and all the bells an whistles.

    in two seasons we’ve spent $21 k on new nav electronics, $8k on upholstery and canvas and another $5k upgrading galley, adding TVs & internal WiFi for streaming tv, sheets, silverware, plates, etc.,etc. and that’s on a pristine boat. It also might sound ridiculous, sheets, TVs, silverware and dishes, but a boat this size is more of a second home than vehicle

    The 400 is a big boat. The 8.1 is a great gas engine, we had the sterndrive version in our old boat. But this is a gasser. At plane and cruise speed, based on our consumption numbers it’s probably sucking down between thirty and forty gallons per hour. A similar sized boat with diesels will be about half that.

    My recommendation, is keep looking. All of the things you found plus the gasoline engines makes this a poor choice for a future romance.
     
    Woody likes this.
  8. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2009
    IL
    281
    V8
    Having walked away from two boats, I feel you pain. The first one had a list of "normal stuff." Well guess what, that's not normal. That's deferred maintenance. I am a DIY type guy for many things, but didn't want to take on such a project. Hiring it out is cost prohibitive.

    The second had the soft deck issue (everything else was great). That was a tough one. It wasn't "that bad" and like you say, not a place we'll be hanging out. My thoughts where you could remove the hatch and get to it by digging out and replacing the core (someone on here did that, so not my idea). Not a professional repair, but good enough on a 20+ year old boat. IF I could get a big enough discount. But again, did I want to do the work? I asked the seller to find out about repair and/or gave him the options of selling to other interested parties "as is." He offered a $3000 discount, not nearly enough. He was in the process of buying another boat, and the dealer was willing to take it on trade. He still has it, so I think it might have fallen through.

    So as others have said, if you're not the DIY type, it's probably a walk. Unless you can steel the thing. You'll be writing some big checks and at the mercy of your providers schedules. If you do decide to go thru with it, add inside storage costs to your repair estimate -- the boat will need to sit inside a while to dry out. Good luck.
     
  9. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    This isn't a simple easy repair because the area is large and well outside the hatch area. 15 ft sq is too late to access in the 1/2" access between the gelcoat and interior fiberglass so either the exterior gelcoat and resin or the interior fiberglass layer will need to be removed to get to the balsa core layer. The worry here is how do you remove the balsa coring and still preserve the non-skid texture of the deck. Removing the damaged/rotted core is pretty easy, drying the core is easy, however, preserving the texture and appearance of the non-skid is not easy. The repair can be done from underneath but that makes a disastrous mess of the boats interior and is an approach most fiberglass repair guys won't touch.

    Walk away and keep shopping unless you can get the seller to assume total financial and structural responsibility for the repair. An area as large as you describe is very likely more like a $25-$30,000 and will take a long time to do, given that this is the busy season. You likely will not be boating until this time next year, if the balsa coring id very wet.

    The other consideration is that all of the other hatches and port lights will need to be removed, checked for rot then rebedded and sealed with fresh silicone.

    Good luck with it...........
     
    DavidBukstel likes this.
  10. jamus

    jamus New Member

    5
    Jul 10, 2020
    Considering ‘99 Sea Ray 400 Sundancer (DA?)
    Mercury Horizon 8.1
    There’s a significant “upcharge” in the Pacific Northwest. For instance, a solid ‘99 400 DA w/ diesels is listing at $125K. The same gasser lists at $95K. I figure if I can get a solid discount at $65K, I can seal the hatches and defer for a couple of seasons, take the repair at my timeframe. But I could be smokin’ something. It is legal here.
     
  11. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    Even at a deep discount like that, you would still be paying 65k for someone else’s serious problems that you aren’t skilled to address.
    I would keep looking if I were you.
    IMHO: It is usually cheaper to pay the premium price up front for the better boat.
     
    DWABoat, Woody and CaptRonn like this.
  12. Henry Boyd

    Henry Boyd Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 24, 2007
    Newburyport, on the peaceful and serene Merrimack
    ‘09 Sabre 38 Hardtop Express “Serenity”
    Volvo D6 w/IPS450 Pods
    Frank is just about the most knowledgable guy here on Sea Rays. His guestimate of the possible repair cost is just about the differential between what you hope to get this boat for and what a good condition version would cost you. At best its a zero sum game, at the worst you could up spending the equivalent of a well kept diesel boat.

    I get it, you saw it, and you fell in love. We've all done it at one time or another. There have been more cars in my garage over the years that I care to admit that at some point I asked myself the question of "what was I thinking". You're an adult and can make your own decisions. None of us have any investment in this boat and the consensus so far, is to walk away. Collectively the group that has responded to your post probably has a couple hundred years of collective boating experience. We've given you the benefit of our hard earned experience. Do with it as you want. I will tell you this; whether you pass on this boat, or not, this group will try its best to help you with whatever Sea Ray you end up with.
     
    techmitch likes this.
  13. El Capitan

    El Capitan Well-Known Member

    Jul 9, 2014
    Chicago IL./Vero Beach, Fl
    1970 SRV 180 w 2.5L Mercruiser.
    2000 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer
    120HP Mercruiser
    Yeah. Keep looking.
     
    CaptRonn likes this.
  14. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    jamus, I don't know if this is your first boat or not but the fact that you fell in love with it gives me an indication.

    You have to ask yourself one BIG question: Are you looking to buy a boat you can take your friends out on this summer, or are you buying a boat that likely will be tied up in expensive repairs for the first year or so and that you don't get to use.

    If your answer to that question is the first option; buying a boat to use, then run like hell from this boat. Go find one you can use and have fun with, not just spend the first year writing checks for repairs.
     
  15. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    Let me correct a misconception with your logic right about now............if the core is already spongy, then it is wet. A wet core only gets worse as its begins to rot. This is not something you can put off and expect to get to at some pint in the future. If will get worse quickly to the point that the deck loses it structural integrity.

    I'm in a large marina owned by a Sea Ray dealer in Florida and we see neglected hatches repaired frequently. I have never seen one get any easier or less expensive to repair by waiting. In fact, the boat becomes almost impossible to sell once the rot gets obvious.

    Please do yourself a favor and take a dose of pragmatism and please don't try to wait.....either cut and run now or buy the boat and repair it so you can enjoy it without worrying about it.

    And, thanks Henry.............


    Frank
     
    techmitch likes this.
  16. Misterhelms

    Misterhelms Member

    39
    Jul 5, 2020
    In Market
    Boatless
    I have a question in light of this thread. I just completed a survey yesterday on a 2007 340DA. The surveyor discovered a similar issue, but on the swim platform. There are mounts on the platform to hold a Highfield CL310 Dinghy. Not sure who did the installation, but it didn't look like there was a lot of caulk around the mounts. Should I be concerned?
     

    Attached Files:

  17. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2009
    IL
    281
    V8
    If its a detachable platform, I would be less concerned. Platform is an easier fix -- can get from both under and over. Plus, many people cover the platform with faux teak and such, so surface matching is less of a problem.
     
  18. Misterhelms

    Misterhelms Member

    39
    Jul 5, 2020
    In Market
    Boatless
    This one is not - it's molded into the body of the 340.
     
  19. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2009
    IL
    281
    V8
    Still could be an easier fix if you're willing to cover it with faux teak afterwords. Depends how bad it is, but should be stopped before it advances into the main structure.
     
  20. firecadet613

    firecadet613 Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2007
    Indiana
    '07 V358
    T- VP 5.7GXi
    Simple fix would be to drill into the coring and inject West Systems epoxy to drive the water out and solidify the core. When complete, SeaDek the platform.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020

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