Hydraulic swim platforms?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Z-Worthy, Jan 21, 2018.

  1. Z-Worthy

    Z-Worthy Member

    369
    Jun 20, 2014
    Sandusky, OH
    1997 400 Sundancer
    350hp CAT 3116s
    My wife and I absolutely love our 1997 400DA. It’s basically the perfect boat for us and how we have traditionally used it. But we recently had our first child, and now we’re looking around the docks and realizing that there are certain items that would really come in handy with a growing family. Bow pads with back rests are my wife’s #1 wish-list item, but a hydraulic platform is my #1 item.

    I hear horror stories about maintenance and high cost repairs on the hydraulics and mechanical components, but how much of that is due to saltwater use and/or differed maintenance? How reliable are the mechanicals on those platforms in a freshwater environment? Is it a bad sign if the previous owners were testing the weight limits with a heavy jet ski or dinghy? And what should someone look for when researching used boats?

    It also seems really hit-or-miss when looking for 420/44 Sundancers with the hydraulic platform. Was that a factory option? Or are they all aftermarket on those models? If we want a factory OEM platform, what models and years did Sea Ray start offering them? Thanks guys!
     
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  2. kysearay

    kysearay Member

    47
    Jun 15, 2017
    KY
    42 Sundancer
    8.1's gassers
    We had a TNT platform lift built and installed on a previous Harbormaster Houseboat and really liked it when it worked. It was a hydraulic model and after a few years one of the cylinders started leaking, easy fix but something else to work on. We did enjoy dropping it down in the cove and seating in the water. Also with the oem platform being 2ft above the water I would also like to explore adding one to my '05 420.
     
  3. mobocracy

    mobocracy Member

    205
    Jun 29, 2014
    United States
    310 Sundancer
    350 Mag & Bravo III
    The current issue of Power and Motoryacht has an article about hydraulic platforms. I think they're pretty slick, but I'd also worry about their reliability.
     
  4. Zach312

    Zach312 Member SILVER Sponsor

    394
    Jan 23, 2011
    Hudson, WI
    2008 47 Sedan Bridge, 2013 Caribe D11
    Cummins QSC-600's
    We have had them on our 40 sundancer and our 47 sedan bridge both game as factory options. We love it and this is almost a must have for us.

    No issues in 3 years of fresh water use.
     
  5. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    I am on my second one.

    There is no escaping maintenance, not necessarily every year but you will have spend money on it over a period of time.

    If you are adding an after market, I would want to make sure the stern area of the boat has the appropriate internal structure to support.

    Mark
     
  6. dcpringle

    dcpringle Member

    424
    Dec 13, 2012
    CT River
    2000 Sea Ray 480DB "Diamond Girl"
    Cat 3196 660HP
    We have a factory GHS on ours. We love it and it was one of the top things on our wish list when we purchased Diamond Girl. We've had couple of issues, mainly with one of the unlock pistons which had been leaking. I was able to do the rebuild myself for approximately $7.00.. it's really just gaskets, and pretty easy. I also wired the wireless remote controls which were super easy as well. Overall, i dont know i'd go without one...
     
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  7. Escapade

    Escapade Member

    969
    Jan 10, 2007
    Lake Michigan
    390 Sundancer 2005
    Twin 8.1's
    Nice thread! My brain works on a " Should Cost" basis and I'm in the market for one that should cost $15 - 18K and be reliable. Is my should cost a fantasy or have you found a hidden gem of a dingy Lift builder? A few more years of tuition and mortgage on our business and we may be past some of this should cost thing.
     
  8. dcpringle

    dcpringle Member

    424
    Dec 13, 2012
    CT River
    2000 Sea Ray 480DB "Diamond Girl"
    Cat 3196 660HP
    Prior to buying Diamond Girl, we were looking at another 48DB which didnt have the lift. I called around and found that most were between 15k and 22k for my boat. Nothing is stopping you from doing a little shopping now. Hit the big ones like, TNT, GHS, and nautical structures.. I'm sure the other guys know of a couple of more.
     
  9. Z-Worthy

    Z-Worthy Member

    369
    Jun 20, 2014
    Sandusky, OH
    1997 400 Sundancer
    350hp CAT 3116s
    I worry about purchasing a boat that had an aftermarket lift installed by a previous owner. How do I know the PO properly reinforced the transom before install?

    Do boat manufacturers design and/or build the hulls/transoms differently when incorporating a lift from the factory? Or is a brand new build essentially the same as an aftermarket install?
     
  10. LG111

    LG111 Member

    253
    Jan 4, 2015
    NW
    410
    8.1
    Hope this helps. We have a 2001 410 so not to different than your 400. In 2012 the previous owner added a SeaLift one piston lift. 4 zincs on each arm. We purchased her in 2014 and in Salt water. The only maintenance we have performed is zincs and paint on under water gear. Zero problems and knock on wood since I am stating this.

    With the lift you'll need house batteries to drive it. We have 4 L-16 Trojan batteries between the engines. Plenty for house and lift.

    Look into SeaLift as an option. Custom platforms with video's on their website.

    Now some of the fun stuff. My wife and her friends have this huge inflatable duck. They load on the duck and i lower them down. Off they go. When they get back I lift them up. Never wet. We carry a 11ft Apex dinghy with a 25hp. No problem lifting. No issues on boats performance. Yes very expensive but worth every penny and the BBQ space is huge!
    Good Luck

    Mark
     
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  11. dcpringle

    dcpringle Member

    424
    Dec 13, 2012
    CT River
    2000 Sea Ray 480DB "Diamond Girl"
    Cat 3196 660HP
    if the boat came from the factory then the transom would IMO the same. most of the manufactures should be able to tell you weight the boat can support. I know most can do 850lbs for dingy but some can do more...
     
  12. LG111

    LG111 Member

    253
    Jan 4, 2015
    NW
    410
    8.1
    Weight is calculated via a couple of variables per SeaLift. The weight of what needs to be lifted including the platform but more importantly the length of the boat plays a higher importance as not changing the performance level of your boat.

    From a conversation with SeaLift, mine can lift 1200lbs one piston but limited to 750lbs. If the boat was a 45ft then I could lift say 900lbs with little performance change. Again same platform on a 55ft might be a match to the 1200lbs and so on.
     
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  13. carterchapman

    carterchapman Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 25, 2008
    Lake Chickamauga/Marietta, GA/Ft. Myers, FL
    2006 Sea Ray 58 DB
    MAN CRM V8-900s, Twin Disc Drives; Onan 21.5 Generator
    My lift is a factory installed GHS. No problems other than paint and anode replacements. My dockmate just bought a 55DB with no lift and Florida Bow Thrusters is going to travel to Chattanooga and install a GHS lift for 35K. Same boat as mine with a longer platform that will have to be cut halfway off to match the 58's shorter fixed platform.

    I have never owned a TNT lift, but I am told their cylinders cannot be rebuilt and replacements are expensive...someone with a TNT lift may chime in and correct me...
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
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  14. ASH

    ASH Member

    191
    Dec 4, 2013
    ia
    Sundancer
    Cummins
    I have a factory installed GHS on my 05 420. It is a fresh water boat. I have had no issues and no maintenance. We really like it. I put Sea Dek on the lift and the back of the boat to help with the "slick" issue. My boat is stored on a lift under a roof so I do get to inspect the working parts of the lift every time I go boating. Good luck.
     
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  15. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Probably already common knowledge, but GHS is based in the Tampa area. They will directly service their lifts if your boat is on the west coast of FL.

    They had serviced the lift on the boat I bought just prior to it going on the market. I was able to call them, discuss what they had done to the lift, and confirm performance characteristics.

    Mark
     
  16. J.Wilt

    J.Wilt Member SILVER Sponsor

    656
    Jan 29, 2010
    W. Mich. / Lake Michigan
    420 Sundancer 2005
    Cumming 6cta V Drives
    Highfield 310 , 15hp Mercury
    CC3E2747-F596-4121-9140-952AADF028DB.jpeg We had a SeaLift installed last spring on our 05 420DA, looked at a few other models but loved the simplicity of the SeaLift design. I believe the cost was close to 19k + 2k to have it shipped up to Michigan + 3k to have it installed by our marina machanic. The marina wanted to sell me the brand that they normally sold but after installing the SeaLift on my boat they they showed my lift to several others in our marina. The main reason we added the hydraulic platform was because we have a daughter with special needs and it is so easy now to get her in and out of the water. We don’t have a large dinghy but it is so slick to be able to use the remote to launch and retrieved it now. Worth every penny !
    EFD34D7E-2E91-48E0-B77A-655DCC3E6EF8.jpeg 68A69D04-C8FA-4FCE-B41D-9EC1FF16FD9C.jpeg 307EC04E-4235-4072-9EF5-CE4089852D40.jpeg F6641FDB-B475-448F-AC50-4BFD93811CB3.jpeg 41C8A5F8-15A7-4B99-94D5-C3CEB7BDC9F5.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
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  17. PlayDate

    PlayDate Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Dec 25, 2006
    Washington DC
    1994 370 Express Cruiser
    454 Mercruisers

    I installed a TNT platform on my boat 13 years ago. I'm sure being on fresh water helps but there is very little maintenance to it. It has two hydraulic cylinders. I rebuilt both last year. TNT sells seal replacement kits for the cylinders. I started down that route but the kit they sent me was expensive ($160 per side) and had a few wrong seals. I ended up returning the kit to TNT and sourced the seals directly from fastliftparts.com for $38 (both sides). The hardest thing about rebuilding them is getting the new seals on to the piston.
     
  18. Blkbird

    Blkbird Member

    201
    Jul 5, 2010
    Lake Lanier, GA
    1997 Sea Ray 450 Sundancer
    Twin 3126 CATS
    Seems like hydraulic lifts work well in fresh water but salt water is their nemesis. Any stories about salt water usage?

    Also like to hear more about how the transom is reinforced for a lift. Just what is involved in that work?
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
  19. quality time

    quality time Active Member

    Oct 30, 2007
    Upper Chesapeake Bay
    2003 480DB and Kencraft 190 CC
    QSM11's
    I don't want to jinx myself but we've had no major GHS issues in 4 years of brackish water use. My boat was in salt water for the first 10 years and I didn't see or hear of any previous owner problems.

    The only issue I've had is with the locking cylinders not closing fully. One was replaced during our survey and I've rebuilt two since. The shaft gets gummed up with marine growth and fails to retract into the body. I finally solved that by adding rubber boots over the shafts.

    The lift was a major must-have for us and I don't think I could go to a boat without one now.
     
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  20. fr8dog

    fr8dog Member GOLD Sponsor

    211
    May 25, 2012
    Florida
    460 Sundancer 2005
    Cummins 480 CE
    I have a GHS lift that was installed Sea Ray. I've had the boat for 5 years in Florida. Other than zincs and bottom paint, only issue has been one frozen uplock. Cannot imagine not having one.
     

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