Sea Ray build quality -- is newer better?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by EricW, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. EricW

    EricW New Member

    Mar 16, 2008
    Essex, MD
    1994 290 Sundancer
    Twin 2005 220hp 4.3 MPI's FWC w/ Alpha 1 Gen IIs
    I believe that generally speaking, the newer the Sea Ray, the better it's built.

    Whether its the construction methods, hull/deck materials, hardware, or design, it seems to me that each generation is an improvement upon the previous one in terms of quality. I'm not referring to space utilization, cockpit/cabin layouts, or styling. Just overall quality/strength/reliability/fit & finish.

    Any thoughts/opinions?
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  2. beernutz

    beernutz New Member

    Aug 16, 2009
    Mobile, AL
    2000 190 Signature BR
    5.0L EFI 240 hp Mercruiser
    Up until recently I thought that about Toyota too.
  3. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    Some of the construction techniques used in the 80's and early 90's were questionable for bigger boats. A lot of mid sized and larger boats had problems. When the Merritt Island, Palm Coast, and Sykes Creek reached their stride in the mid-late 90's you just weren't going to find a better quality or engineered production boat. When the "Automobile Logic" began to rule the brand, there were some cost savings achieved that did affect the overall quality of the boats.

    So, I won't agree that newer is necessarily better............I think maybe one needs to evaluate each model and year before buying a boat.
  4. katricol

    katricol Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 4, 2008
    2000 540DA
    CAT 3196 660 HP
    I don't agree that newer is better. I just do not see it at all , trying my hardest to be objective.
  5. skolbe

    skolbe Active Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    St. Louis, MO
    320 Sundancer, Mercury 310 Sport Inflatable Tohatsu 6HP
    350 Mag V-Drive - Kohler 5ecd
    I think it varies by model. Once the economy slowed down - the quality slipped for a while.
  6. Larry&Leisa

    Larry&Leisa Active Member

    Oct 26, 2006
    Keystone Lake Oklahoma
    1999 330EC
    As Frank said.. I think you have to look at each model/year plus knowing what you want to do with the boat.. My '06 SD is built very well.. but then so is my '94 370EC.
  7. billnpat

    billnpat New Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 15, 2009
    Lindenhurst N.Y.
    Twin-Zeus-Cummins QSC 600 (T-574 hp - 420 kW) Zeus Propulsion includes Helm joystick, Onan 21.5Kw di
    Twin-Zeus-Cummins QSC 600 (T-574 hp - 420 kW) Zeus Propulsion includes Helm joystick, Skyhook® Stati
    Not from what i've been reading in boating mags
    I AGREE...:thumbsup:
  8. DaNinja

    DaNinja New Member

    Jun 19, 2008
    God Bless Texas/Lake of The Ozarks
    1995 BR200
    Mercruiser 5.0 Alpha I
    I may be biased, but the SeaRay dealer told me that it would be better to repower my old lil' Ray. He could have tried to up-sell me, but told me he has a demand for the older lil' Rays.
  9. Dave S

    Dave S Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Upstate South Carolina
    The words "quality" or "better built" are very subjective and mean different things to different people.

    In the end we all make our choices of which product to buy based on our own parameters and likings whether it be Sea Rays or something else.

  10. EricW

    EricW New Member

    Mar 16, 2008
    Essex, MD
    1994 290 Sundancer
    Twin 2005 220hp 4.3 MPI's FWC w/ Alpha 1 Gen IIs
    I'm only referring to quality of overall construction. Things like gelcoat resin, bow rails, hinges, cleats, wiring, and some design features are certainly better each year, right?

    But, maybe some of the older hulls had a better built structure?

    An example of a design feature -- 93 and older DA models have the big tinted triangle side windows that have a reputation for leaking and making the foredeck flex. In 94, they went to portholes in the deck instead. Result --stronger foredeck and less leaking.

    Remember, I'm not talking about styling and layouts.
  11. Iprof

    Iprof New Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Aug 8, 2008
    Lake Simcoe
    A 300 DA 4kw Gen-set, central vac, electric head, windlass, AC/reverse heat, Lowrance 522ci GPS Char
    twin 5.7 with Alpha drives
    We looked for a long time almost 2 years before I bought my 300. We looked at the models of the 90 and up even new but the craftsmanship that went into our 88 is not present on the newer boats. While some of the material they used then I question but the boat is 22 years old shows and runs great. We have been thinking about a 93 440 but the coring is a concern to me. We looked at one this summer and the owner must have said 10 times his core is dry, he has a moisture meter that can prove it. The quality has gone but so has job loyalty, hard to take pride in building a better boat when you are new to the job or looking to move before you get laid off. Funny that some one mentioned the automotive management of a plant. When my friend Doug M was on a tour of a few of the Bruinswick plants he noticed the same thing, he asked the plant manager of the Tn (kn) plant where he got his plant management training, it was from the automotive sector before Bruinswick hired him to run this plant.

  12. jollymonsrv

    jollymonsrv New Member

    Feb 17, 2009
    So. Shore MA.
    2007 290aj
    twin horizon 350/300 v drive
    I am disguted by the "NEW" Length/hexpansions of older /newer models the last 2 years...1st searay 1971 180 ob.....followed by 96 21 cc 98 270 sd ...2000 215 2004...New model look like 2 quality/pride .GONE BAYLINER .IMHO B4 2008 is best 2 buy...PLEASE PROVE ME WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  13. Groucho

    Groucho New Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Albany/Lake George NY
    2006 290 DA
    496 B111

  14. fc3

    fc3 New Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Nov 12, 2006
    Northern NJ
    1999 Sea Ray 330DA
    Twin 7.4 MPI (310 propshaft HP) V-drives
    Twin Mercury Marine marinized 7.4L L-29 V8s
    Cast iron block w 4-bolt mains
    4.25x4.00 bore & stroke
    Prove you wrong? Your third grade english teacher is crying tonight after trying to read that post.
  15. offduty

    offduty New Member

    Nov 4, 2009
    Gulf of Mexico, Intercoastal
    2008 290 Sundeck
    496 B III
    Sea Ray has suffered quality issues since they were purchased by Brunswick. This also occurred to Slickcraft when they were purchased by AMF in the early 70's. The solution to their quality issue wasn't resolved until the Slikker family repurchased the brand and returned to building quality not quantity. Unfortunately C.N. Ray recently passed so Brunswick will probably remain at the helm.
  16. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    The sale to Brunswick was nearly 30 years ago..........How can that possibly be relevant today, particularly since Sea Ray Boats has always been an autonomous subsidiary. The only connection I've seen is that Brunswick supplies the money and makes the profit, but Sea Ray makes the product decisions.

    You might make the claim that Mercruiser engine packages are the standard, but I'm not even sure that is valid since Cummins, MAN, Caterpillar, Volvo, etc. also provide engine packages
  17. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    97 270DA 5k Kohler A/C,
    85 Monaco 197
    7.4 300hp BII,
    260hp Alpha 1
    As I learn more of the boating industry, I was shocked to learn that in 50 years Sea Ray had only built 50,000 boats. I think the millions of cars built tainted my perception of the size of the market. With the broad range of boats Sea Ray has built over many years it would be impossible to subjectively compare in a general way.

  18. mawyatt

    mawyatt New Member

    Dec 13, 2007
    Clearwater, Fl
    2008 Sundancer 38DA
    8.1L Mercruisers
    Our 2008 SeaRay 38DA is better than our 2005 260DA that was better than our 2005 185 in overall quality. Of course the 38DA is more expensive and built in Merrit Island which may explain the improved quality. I am not saying the 38DA is perfect, far from it, many areas could use some improved quality. The transom door and lockers gel coat seams are examples, but in general "stuff" just seems to fit better and the wiring is very well bundled. Even out of sight places, like under the bed where the AC is located, the floor storage areas are all well finished and respectable.

    All in all I think SeaRay does a good quality job with it's modern boats.
  19. hack4alivin

    hack4alivin New Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Apr 18, 2008
    Joppa, Maryland
    320 Dancer
    Twin 350 V Drives
    I think you might be confusing quality with technology. I cannot speak on the quality of the older boats, but what I can say is we bought a Sea Ray mainly because of the reputation behind them. Reputation is something that is build, and given over time, so by that right I would say the quality of the “older” Sea Rays must have been good.

    Now when the technology comes into the picture of course the newer boats have the advances in technology that may make you feel you have better quality. With the newer engines being monitored with all the latest sensors and computer modules you would think the quality is better? That’s not quality, it is just technology.

    AKBASSKING New Member

    Apr 13, 2008
    Great Columbia River in the PNW
    1988 Yacht Fisher
    Twin 375hp Cat 3208 T/A
    Ken I would agree with you. I find my 86 is easier to work on than some of the newer boats. I don’t have all the bells, whistles and gismos the new boats have. My hull was made in Knoxville and I must admit much heavier than the hulls today. But as a SR employee told me at the Miami boat show told me: I could practically break ice with my 86 hull.

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