Is a similar-model upgrade worth it?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Z-Worthy, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. Z-Worthy

    Z-Worthy Member

    Jun 20, 2014
    Sandusky, OH
    1997 400 DA
    300hp CAT 3116s
    My wife and I love our current 1997 400DA with diesels. We’ve poured a ton of cash and time into upgrading the canvas and upholstery, restoring the gelcoat shine, installing SeaDek, baselining and maintaining the engines and systems, etc. But I always seem to have the itch to move to a 420/44 with the thought (probably inaccurate) that it would have less annual maintenance and items to repair/replace. But my wife says that moving from a 20yr old boat to a 10yr old boat is absolutely no different; they’re both going to have the same amount of issues. I see it as spending ~$100k for less work and more fun, she sees it as spending ~$100k for a hardtop.

    On one hand, I feel like we finally have everything in tip-top shape after spending 4yrs getting it there. So theoretically this season should be our best yet with the least work. But on the other hand, I feel like we’re just waiting for the next thing that needs to be repaired/replaced.

    Has anyone made a similar move? Basically upgrading in age but keeping the same size, layout, dock, etc? Was it worth it in the end? Did anyone wish they had kept their older boat and regretted it afterwards?
  2. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    Full disclosure - I want a hardtop very badly.

    If I were in your shoes I'd look at what I think it should cost to maintain a brand new boat vs the 20 year old rig you're currently running. Would a brand new 400/420/440 cost substantially less to own and operate than yours? I think you'd be kidding yourself if you think you could step into a new boat and not have the itch to make things "yours" via upgrade projects. Seadek being a great example.

    Canvas needs replacing every so often, 10 year old upholstery isn't exactly new, service on well maintained motors and tranny's should be the same year over year until you have the full overhaul?

    I'd buy the newer 42/44 for the hardtop but I'd plan/budget for it to cost exactly the same as your 97 in terms of upkeep and projects. I hate to agree with your wife here but I'd say you're likely spending $100k for the top...and hopefully a few more cup holders.
  3. bahamabreisus

    bahamabreisus Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Hampstead NC
    500 dancer, previous 420,390,300 dancers
    detriot 8v92
    Funny, we ask ourselves the same question all the time. First I dont think thats a 100K move, I think its a 150K plus move. We have a great boat with most everything in in great shape. Am I buying someones issues. I think we will plow ahead and do mire upgrades. I know our boat.
  4. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    You already have the lowest cost diesel engines to maintain and run that Sea Ray ever installed on a 40ft boat. Moving to a 42/44 DA with Cumming engines isn't going to reduce the mechanical maintenance, but will increase it due to the added cooling system maintenance required.

    As I recall your boat, it was probably the best equipped 400DA I ever saw and was a one owner boat that was exceptionally well cared for.

    If I were you, I'd enjoy what you have and invest the $150K the trade up will cost you in something that doesn't depreciate. This is from a guy who is doing exactly that......My boat is 20 years old and I enjoy keeping it in the condition she is in. I particularly enjoy telling the new Marine Max guys "No, I don't want to sell my boat because you don't have anything I would consider trading it for".
    JC3, Z-Worthy, trebbel and 2 others like this.
  5. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    I’m a huge fan of the mid to late 2000’s 420/440 Sundancers with the Cummins motors and hardtop. My dock neighbor has one and that boat actually inspired me to move from my old 300 to my current 410 when I saw up close the difference the bigger boat with diesels made to the type of boating we could do. He got his boat a few years before I moved up and every time I stepped foot on it I was struck with a strong case of envy.
    It would have probably cost me just under 100k more to get one of those in the condition my 410 is in and with one in an expensive private college and another kid starting at another expensive private college this coming fall I was not considering the more expensive option.
    Like Frank said, the maintenance is going to be at least as much on the 420/440.
    Your boat is similar to mine. The things I like better about the 420/440 are the hardtop (I hate canvas), the slope down shape of the bow that makes visibility over it better, much more room in the bilge to work (he can really walk around down there) with basically the whole cockpit raising open, and the Island Berth in the Master. My friends boat cruises a hair faster than mine too, but not that much to make it matter.
    I like most of the cabin layout a little better in my 410. Especially the forward head and very spacious shower. The separated head and shower in the 420/440 feels a little more closed in and the slightly shorter settee means less seating. Trust me though, I would be very happy living with those things.
    The other negative I noticed about the 420/440’s is that most of them are either blue or pewter hulls that up close really show their age. If I got one, it would have to be a white hull for that reason and they seem to be few and far between.
    Other than the design differences, the 420/440’s are basically the same size as what I have now.
    If I didn’t own a boat and the cost weren’t a factor I would go for the 420/440 if I could find the right one.
    But since I already own my 410 I don’t think I would go through the trouble of selling it and adding 100k to go out and buy the same size and basic style boat despite the advantages I see to the 420/440.
    Now if you could consider the mid 2000’s 470, that would be a different story...............
    My boat was a trade in on a 2005 470. Wow! That guy stepped up for sure.
  6. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody gonna be happy.

    I agree with Frank's comments. Your boat sounds like it is perfect for your use and in excellent shape. Why trade it just because you have an itch for a hard top?

    My boat is 23 years old and I can't see any reason in hell why I would trade it. I love it and love spending time on it.
  7. Z-Worthy

    Z-Worthy Member

    Jun 20, 2014
    Sandusky, OH
    1997 400 DA
    300hp CAT 3116s
    Thanks for the insight, guys. And Frank, thank you for the kind words towards our vessel! Going through this winter storage season knowing we have an impending oil pan replacement coming up before spring launch has given me 5 months to imagine how much greener the grass is with a newer boat. Sometimes it just takes some seasoned advice to bring me back down to earth. :D
  8. Blueone

    Blueone Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2007
    Lake Erie, Ohio
    2004 420 Sundancer
    Cummins 6CTA 450's
    Owning a boat is already the worst thing you can do for a return on investment... It's a life style... You know what it costs... If your comfortable with the expense do what makes you happy... If you want a newer boat go for it.... Life is too short .. And the summers are too short... And the weekends are too short....

    My three kids are out of the house.... The fourth goes into College this year...We are looking at shrinking the house and growing the boat.... It's time to have fun!
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
    melida and Great Lakes like this.
  9. Boatguy49036

    Boatguy49036 Member GOLD Sponsor

    Nov 4, 2017
    Marblehead , OH
    390 Sundancer 2004
    Garmin 7612 XSV
    8.1 Horizons
    8.1 Mercruiser
    Blueone, “Shrink House, Grow Boat” is my New motto! Thanks
    melida, Jetgod and Blueone like this.
  10. barlow

    barlow Member

    Feb 28, 2009
    Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand
    450 Sundancer
    3116 T/A Cats 350 hp
    Its been enlightening to read of your dilemma and the various points of view. We have been considering a move ourselves but as time goes on the thought of taking on someone elses issues has less and less appeal.
    Good luck with the decision process.
  11. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    The question I ask this question of the Marine Max peddlers who walk our docks asking owners if they want to trade up for their new 510DA: "That 510DA will cost me at least 5X what I paid for this boat. Am I going to have 5X more fun with it than with my old 450DA, which BTW, is a larger boat than the new 510DA?" They usually just walk away.

    So, another approach is to ask yourself if you are going thave $100K+ (and I think that is going to be more like $200K) more fun sitting under a hardtop?

    If you have money burning a hole in your brokerage account, I think you may have more fun driving to the office every day in a Porsche Carrera or a Lexus LX or LS than sitting under a hardtop on Saturday afternoon.

    Welcome back to reality....!
  12. HUMPH

    HUMPH Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2009
    2003 410DA,
    2004 C14 Caribe
    CAT 3126TA's 350HP/
    50HP Honda
    I had the same dilemma about a year ago. I love my 410DA but would love a hardtop and a hydraulic swim platform. I came across a 460DA that ticked these boxes and would have been $60K to $70K more than I could sell my boat for. One problem is that I judge these boats against mine and they fall short. I would end up spending the first year getting another boat to the level of mine. Even though canvas sucks, I am good right where I am!

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