Searay 205 - Joys of a buying a used boat, alot of tips and good laugh

Discussion in 'Sport Boats' started by searay205, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. searay205

    searay205 Member

    Nov 27, 2016
    2011 Searay sport
    5.0MPI Catalyst
    New to forum but not new to boats. I purchased a used 2011 Searay 205 Sport from an individual in Florida (140 hrs on clock). I did due diligence prior to buying. Hunted down previous owners and ensured the boat was stored inside or under cover and flushed after each use. Seller was a boat flipper. I wanted this particular boat since it had the ULTRA RARE Mercruiser 5.0 MPI. In addition it didn't have the wakeboard tower which I did not want since I go under bridges and it was to heavy to lower by myself. It did come with a brand spanking new 2017 galvanized trailer. One thing I loathed about the boat from beginning was it was catalyzed boat...and it was coming from salt water. I live in Houston and my previous boat is 30 years old in salt water so I know if flushed the engines will last forever.

    I live in Houston so seller transported over and title transfer went off without a hitch!! Take out on first outing and first item I notice is an alarm going off. After Marinemaxx quoted $206 to pull the code I purchased a Rinda diagnosis tool ($600) set up to pull codes with catalyst engine. Quickly determine it was post oxygen sensors. What a surprise. I replaced O2 sensors and code went away. As far as the Rinda tool what a dream. My dash temperature gauge led me to believe I was running on the high side of engine temperature. Nope Rinda read engine temp and I found engine and manifolds running perfectly cool. I also verified hours on boat with Rinda in addition to tons of other data. I was showing excessive misfires on #3 cylinder even though boat was running great. I pull spark plug wire and terminal was completely corroded. I cleaned and reinstall. All other spark plug terminals perfect. I guess when they built engine they forgot the dielectric grease on that one. As far as the catalyst I plan on retrofitting back to traditional manifold in future. As far as pre cat O2 sensors I will just drill and tap to mount on manifold or purchase a spacer plate between manifold and riser and mount there. All the parts to retrofit come to $1400 which includes the $400 module to trick computer to think rear o2 sensors are installed. Truth be told I may just disconnect siren. Rear o2 sensors are useless as far as how the engine runs. On side note Mercruiser did not install knock sensors on this engine. If I run 89 octane zero pinging but 87 it will ping under wide open throttle for extended periods of time.

    I did run into a problem mid-season. Boat would just stall when going into neutral. Not instantaneously, it would run for a second or two and stall. I found the shift cable sheathing had been damaged allowing salt water in which caused the cable to bind. This in turn caused the shift interrupter switch to kill the engine. The shift shaft seal looked perfect, water passage o-ring in good shape, bellows dry. I don't know how the cable failed. Shift is butter smooth now with no leaks and no stalling. I was originally tricked into thinking it was the IAC valve but it wasn't.

    As far as Searay quality I feel it is pretty crappy. (Carbon steel trim bracket where you can get stainless off ebay for $50) Definitely not the Searay of yester year. If I knew what I knew now and was buying a new boat I would go with an outboard as the catalyst has increased the cost and complexity of these engines where they are not economical to own. I now have 175hrs on the boat and the bugs have been killed, only ghost left is when to replace manifolds, temps look good so I will hold off. The failures I have seen in the past is either the manifold thins behind the exhaust port where the exhaust gas enters the manifolds and thins and fails (water constantly boiling against cast iron and erosion corrosion occurs) or the manifolds crack externally. Cracks occur when sediment builds and cooling is lost, usually in corners. The new manifolds are very smooth so sediment concerns may not be an issue. No way to check thickness behind exhaust ports without destroying manifold.

    Below are all my activities for your enjoyment

    2011 Sea Ray 205 Activities

    1. Trim Cylinder bushing replaced (external).

    2. Trim Cylinder pump bracket upgraded to stainless steel.

    3. New stereo and speakers installed. Pioneer/Alpine. Pioneer Bluetooth works perfect kenwood was horrific and never connected after numerous radios.

    4. Verified no Knock Sensor. Run 89 octane fuel and boat runs flawless with no pinging.

    5. Removed and tightened battery switch.

    6. Repaired Bimini top bow rail. Solid aluminum bars inserted. Repaired small Bimini canvas hole. New Bimini top tie downs for straps.

    7. Adjusted glove compartment.

    8. Two new oxygen sensors installed in pre-cat location 140hrs. Pre-cat oxygen sensors moved to rear positions.
      1. Boat alarming on starboard oxygen sensor
        1. Rear oxygen sensor rusted away
    9. Depth finder gauge made by Hawkeye. Thru-haul transducer on starboard side under engine. Model D10XDX (depth and temp)

    10. A multitude of screws tightened. Partition walls in engine compartment etc.

    11. Installed correct size fuses in fuse panel.

    12. Reoriented bunk-boards. Repaired minor nicks in haul with marine tex.

    13. Applied anti-corrosion spray to electrical connections.

    14. Installed new boat letters and registration.

    15. Installed correct Sea Ray toggle switches on dash

    16. Fixed bilge pump float level – dash switch incorrect and would blow fuse

    17. Cleaned up wiring by battery. New correct length battery cable.

    18. Changed fuel filter 5/28/17 at 153hrs.

    19. Changed oil filter and oil at 153 hrs. 4.5 quarts of quicksilver semi-synthetic 20w40 and royal purple oil filter. Oil level found to be ¾ full when checked in water.

    20. Two new Bimini top mounts on windshield forward. In future Taco marine may sale an insert which can be modified to work with my concave brackets. If plastic insert exists a new one will not make a difference. New fittings didn’t do much to “tighten” up ball and socket fit.

    21. New mercury high five prop 153hrs. Purchased used for $300. Max RPM went from 5500 rpm to 5000 rpm (max for alpha 1 outdrive). Wide open speed 56mph. Installed prop lock with Loctite 242. Prop greased. Best improvement done to boat!!!! Pull a skier up in an instant. LOVE IT!!!

    22. Rebuilt starboard trim cylinder. Cylinder end cap will need replaced next time as corrosion existed behind wiper seal. Should present any issues as O-ring and shaft perfect. Filled cavity with grease. (6/2017) Trim cylinder squeaking.

    23. Painted struts for ski locker and side cushions. Minor rust. (6/2017)

    24. Greased steering cable. Removed from steering knuckle and greased in and outer part of cable. Steering working very good. (6/2017) Prior to greasing steering was very stiff. Now 1 finger turning.

    25. Replaced IAC valve. Engine would stall at idle. Used AutoZone part TV278 lifetime warranty. Old part was hanging up on little piston to sleeve fit due to salt? Did not fix stalling issue.

    26. Replaced shift cable, shift shaft and shift shaft arm and seals in shift shaft housing. Stalling issue resolved. Had a difficult time running cable. Use boroscope, cable makes right angle turn once inside haul. Use a coat hanger to snag cable and help along path. Ensure shift cable bellows adjusted correctly. Trim outdrive all the way up and stretch bellows and snug in place if not when drive is lowered bellows will be crushed. You do not have to drain outdrive oil there is a check valve in upper and lower outdrives halves which stop flow. (7/15/17 at 160 hrs)

    27. Starter drags sometimes when starting engine. Will try new ignition switch. Very minor annoyance. Ignition switch did not resolve problem. Starter gets better the more it is used.

    28. Bimini Top bracket screws. Purchased 10-24 aluminum rivet nuts. Windshield frame approximately 1/8” think and total depth is .50”.

    29. Rebuilt port side trim cylinder. Cap had corrosion but was acceptable to reuse. If needed again consider buying new cap. (11/2017)

    30. Used rivet nut on port side front bracket back bimini mount. Appears to work well. Used Loctite so heat to remove. This is key if you strip out bimini mounts. Searay quality not good.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
  2. 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.
    Wow, that's quite a list. I had to get a coffee refill before I got through it.

    Now, a question for you. If you knew before you bought it what you now know about the boat, would you buy it again?
  3. Little Ducky

    Little Ducky Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2017
    Chattanooga TN/Dickson TN
    1998 SeaRay 290 Sundancer
    Twin EFI 5.0L w/Alpha 1 drives
    Just an FYI Sea Ray is/was taking care of bad O2's as a warranty item even after warranty expired.

    They were doing this either out of the kindness of their heart because of a known issue or there is a longer warranty on emission related parts.
  4. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    Your list sounds like a nearly average year of boat ownership. Perhaps just not on something quite that new :)
  5. searay205

    searay205 Member

    Nov 27, 2016
    2011 Searay sport
    5.0MPI Catalyst
    If i had to do it again I would but if I were buying new (never happen) I would recommend an outboard over sterndrive. Outboards have great accessibility, reliability, same power, much cheaper.
    1)This was the exact boat i wanted. Blue, 5.0mpi, galvanized trailer. Almost impossible to find 5.0mpi and I will not own an under powered boat.
    2) Market value in my area has the boat at $5K more than I paid so for now still in green. Again i have the 5.0mpi so that increases marketability or ease of sale. I don't know if it adds much to sales price though.
    3) The boat is a rocket, pulls like a master craft, tons of power. It's a dream as far as throttle response. It easy to get a 5.0mpi in select but not in sport. Sad thing difference in price between 220hp V6 MPI and 5.0 MPI was $40!!!! when new less than a tank of gas and you get an extra 40 hp and who knows how much torque. They should have all had the 5.0 mph
    4) I know how to work on everything.

    Repairs that were a headache.
    1) Bimini frame was broke and I made career with repairing it. Should have just bought a new frame. I bought some solid aluminum round bar and had it turned down to fit into existing frame and spliced on new piece.
    2) Wasted a ton of time with junk POS Kenwood stereo's. POS WOULD NOT CONNECT TO BLUE TOOTH TIME AND TIME AGAIN. Finally got pioneer and works flawless and connects every single time. I love it.
    3) Shift cable. Holy hell i ran weedeater line through old sheathing as a guide for new cable. Fought like hell to get new in. I ordered Boroscope to inspect and found as soon as cable comes through haul it makes a 90 degree turn. Impossible to see with out boroscope. Next time I could do in 10 minutes with a coat hanger and boroscope.

    I forgot gas gauge wasn't reading correctly. POS sonar searay used was junk. I installed one with a rod and donut float. Works flawlessly and accurate as hell. Cost $52.00 all stainless except float. Again searay quality isn't that great.

    As far as oxygen sensors they are getting gone.

    One thing that give me the warm and fuzzy with this boat is the Rinda tool. It ensures i dont have to rely on a stealership if I need assistance. Bad thing is now bugs are gone boat appears extremely reliable so for the most part the Rinda sits at home on a shelf. It was pricey but I can't stand taking my stuff to people so that was the price of freedom, lol.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
    KevinC likes this.
  6. searay205

    searay205 Member

    Nov 27, 2016
    2011 Searay sport
    5.0MPI Catalyst
    Oh when i got boat interior was filthy. After numerous products that did nothing the solution was simple green with a magic eraser. OMG spray simple green on and just light drag magic eraser and it is like NEW. Oh also my grab handles were moldy. Let soak in some old house bleach overnight. Did nothing. Found out bleach looses it potency 14 days after open. I get new jug, soak handles for 5 minutes and they are like new and perfectly white. Handles should have been stainless, again searay quality not so good.
  7. Espos4

    Espos4 Active Member

    Jan 1, 2017
    Long Island NY
    2007 240 Sundeck
    350 MAG Bravo 3 W/DTS
    What model Rinda diagnostic tool did you purchase?
  8. searay205

    searay205 Member

    Nov 27, 2016
    2011 Searay sport
    5.0MPI Catalyst
    My Rinda is a techmate pro with CAN connector. It's fairly intuitive but you have to go through the screens a number of times to remember what each one has. It can diagnose a number of different engine manufacturer. The only thing that changes is the connection cable. It tells you everything the computer knows. It even tells you how many hours vs rpm's. It would be a heck of pre-purchase inspection.
    You got to remember when diagnosing a sensor may have a problem but a code not kicked. For example if your IAC is reading between 0-5 vdc then boat assumes it working even though it should read low voltage off idle since throttle body is open. That being said google the ranges for each sensor and you can correlate.
  9. NorCal Boater

    NorCal Boater Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jan 24, 2008
    Covington, LA
    Cobalt CM23
    GM SB 383" Stroker" Alpha Gen I
    It doesn't say anywhere in your posts that you had a professional survey done pre-purchase. If I missed it somewhere, please forgive me. I feel a survey would have disclosed many of the issues you've had with the boat. In my experience a boat with the interior as dirty and moldy as you described is not one that was well cared for and I would expect the same condition and issues of the mechanicals and hardware that you described.

    Unless you knew of these issues going in, got a smokin' hot deal on the boat and were planning to provide the sweat equity I'm not sure how you can blame the quality and construction of the manufacturer....regardless of who made the boat.

    I no longer own a Sea Ray for personal reasons other than the quality of the brand. I think most would agree that Sea Ray build quality is worse than some but better than most. It is also possible you got a "Lemon"....unlikely but possible.

    If the boat was in much worse condition than you expected and you are just venting that is understood. With all due respect you sound pretty knowledgeable but I am bringing this up so that people looking for their first boat understand they should seek a professional survey because as illustrated, even an experienced boater can't catch everything.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  10. mjoplin

    mjoplin Member

    Oct 10, 2016
    Houston, TX
    2005 Sundancer 280
    Twin 4.3 Mercruiser
    I may try your simple green and magic eraser tip for the upholstery! Sounded pretty easy and effective. What part of Houston are you boating in? There are a number of us down south in the Kemah/Clear Lake area.

  11. SloBurn

    SloBurn Member

    May 30, 2013
    Greenwood Lake, NY
    1994 270 Sundancer. 7.4L Merc. Tow with a 2006 Dodge RAM Hemi
    340 HP Merc 454 c.i.
    I use Magic Erasers for everything! Now I have to try with Simple Green....
  12. LawyerMan

    LawyerMan Member

    Jul 12, 2012
    Texas Gulf Coast
    270 SLX w/ Sport Arch
    496 Mag DTS, Bravo III, Corsa
    Outdrives don't belong on a SeaRay bowider of that size. Yes, I'm a purist. Yes, I said it. I've owned SeaRay bowriders for 30 years.

    You clearly bought a cheap-build sport line boat that wasn't taken care of, and you cannot that on the SeaRay brand.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  13. Bridog

    Bridog Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Oct 4, 2006
    Gulf Shores AL / Brick NJ
    2016 19SPX OB
    Mercury 150 4S OB
    Thats interesting. Having owed sterndrives myself for 30 years I would think a 20 foot bow rider would be a perfect fit for an outboard.
  14. Jeff h

    Jeff h Member

    Sep 17, 2017
    2017 Sea Ray SPX 210
    4.5 merc, Alpha drive
    Wow, that boat was only 6 years old and in that bad of shape? The previous owner must have abused the heck out of it. Best of luck to you. Sounds like you have all the mechanical aptitude needed to keep it in tip top condition now that you own it.
  15. Stingrayaxe

    Stingrayaxe Member

    Oct 29, 2015
    Crystal Lake
    2009 SeaRay 205 Sport
    2008 GMC Envoy
    5.0 Merc Alpha 1
    I've had both outboards and I/O's. Yes outboards are cheaper to maintain. Better weight to HP ratio. Easier to deal with in saltwater. That said I really like the way an I/O looks. Clean lines on the stern. Nothing sounds quite like a V8 spooling up. In fresh water inland lakes its my choice.
    Sounds like the PO(s) of your boat were pretty careless. Most of the items on your list were either fixing poor maintence or upgrades. Few could be attributed to build quality. Either way it sounds like you're all over it. Congratulations on your new boat.
  16. searay205

    searay205 Member

    Nov 27, 2016
    2011 Searay sport
    5.0MPI Catalyst
    Mike, I am in Clear lake!! If you ever want to try out my Rinda let me know. I am out on that lake 20 plus times a year between April and September than I rotate to dirtbikes and 4wheelers for the "winter". I have the only 1987 StarCraft Medallist 1601 with 3.0 liter Mercruiser on the lake for the last 20 years lol!!!! Still runs like a champ and does 48mph. I gone through 3 galvanized trailers. Oh its first oil change was in 1992, my buddy owned it. I was at the ramp in spring and when started it ticked, I noticed oil in the bilge, oil filter had rusted out. I put on new filter topped of oil. No boat has been abused like it, oh still original engine, alternator, carburetor, outdrive with over 2000 hours. Interior perfect, no rot, only outside when used, always salt water but flushed.

    To respond to some statements as far as Searay Build Quality:
    1) Searay used #8 metal screws to hold Bimini top fasteners to windshield frame which is only 1/8" thick aluminium. That is a poor design. When going across the lake at 55 mph the top acts as a parachute. Amazing it didn't rip off sooner. Oh but wait I used rivet nuts which will last forever, never strip, never loosen. I think the cost was 63 cents per rivet nut. So why wouldn't have Searay used that during original construction??
    2) Grab handles are plastic? Pretty cheap! Even Bayliners have stainless steel. Even my old Starcraft...
    3) Fuel sending unit could not have been abused be previous owner, lol. Why does my $55 work perfect? When looking for repair I found many issues with the sonar style. My 30 year old starcraft works.
    4) Carbon steel trim pump bracket??? Aftermarket stainless steel for $55 and they made money on the bracket. Should be stainless from factory.
    5) Horrible design with engine vents on back of boat!!!! If you stop quickly water rushed up over swim deck into your engine ventilation grills and onto your carbons steel trim bracket, LOL!!! Engine vents should have been on the side of hull like my StarCraft Medallist 1601.

    As far as the boat condition the following would have never been found on a pre-inspection survey:
    1) Trim cylinder end cap condition. They weren't leaking. It was only upon rebuilding I found the end caps corroded. I rebuilt because the trim cylinders starting squeaking a couple months after I purchased. Truth be told they probably would have worked a couple more years. Welcome to saltwater.
    2) Shift cable. Boat shifted perfect for first 20 hours after purchase. Damage to sheathing was not visible and would never been found if not looking for it with a boroscope.
    3) Boat was filthy but they are 100% fiberglass so rot was not a concern. It cleaned up well. He drove it over from Florida and it rained on the way. Guess road dirt. The haul is flawless without a mark. Previous owner stored in fork truck place so there wasn't dock rash etc. I believe the mold came from the flipper (had it a month) keeping it under a boat cover instead of enclosed.
    4) Stereo was shot along with speakers. Searay used the cheapest Clarion radio made, in fact like kind new was $43.00 speakers were $17.00. I upgraded to Pioneer and Alpine speakers. Sounds Fantastic.
    5) Starter dragging was there and would have been found. Its just a chirp when starting. I was initially fooled into thinking it was the belt. This is very minor and for the most part doesn't happen anymore.
    6) You have to grease your steering cable at times this is considered maintenance. It was easy when I bought it but after dragging kids around for 4-6 hours on tubes I would tire. Now that is greased they wear out before me!!

    As far as the trailer it is a brand new 2017 Shorelander, tandem axle, led lights. My only issue with it is the bearing buddies are a joke, never worked, never will, bad design from beginning. I discussed with Shorelander that it is impossible for the bearing buddies to force grease to back bearing or impose a positive pressure on them. I instructed them to drill their spindles so that you can pump grease from the back bearing forward (like McClain trailer do). That works. Shorelander 100% agreed with me. They agreed their hub design is dated. I have to admit the trailer tows like an absolute dream with no tugging or bouncing. I love it!!! Boat weighs 4500 lbs with trailer and it tows better than my 2200lb starcraft rig. I asked the flipper how he got the trailer. He told me a lot of folks in Florida don't get trailers as they store them by the water. He said when a customer orders a boat the customers select trailer delete. The dealer deducts $500 but the trailer still shows up with the boat. The dealers sells the trailer by itself for $3500. He requested the dealer supply a trailer if he won the auction.

    As far as previous owner they spent money and got screwed. He was a pharmacist. He spent $2400 before I purchased it for what I don't know. I know they attempted to fix bilge pump but the idiots didn't understand how to connect wires correctly on the dash switch. If you operated the float it would go directly to ground. Blow fuse. Previous shop replaced dash toggle switch with some cheap POS. Why didn't they just get OEM Searay? it was $7.25. Wow hoped they saved money. When doing the shift cable the outdrive came off super easy and alignment was perfect maybe they serviced it. Previous owners were not mechanics, engineers, they were professionals who thought a boat was like a car.

    If you are buying a boat and do not know how to work on them, trouble shoot them I suggest you rent one or join a boat club. Looking at my list I would guess a repair shop would have charged me in excess of $3K for what I did. The problem is they don't know how to fix them, they have no equity in your time, they don't own them, they don't care!! Most of the time they just create more problems.

    At this point I would put my modified (due to my improvements) Searay 205 with 5.0 mpi up against any boat as far as reliability is concerned. Mercruiser has a proven design. Again sterndrives are dead. I see 30 foot plus bowriders with outboards. Thank the EPA for that... Truth be told I love Sterndrives, the sound, the torque, the uninterrupted swim deck. But times are a changing. I imagine I will have this boat for 10-20 years so its irrelevant.

    As far as price, I would challenge anyone to find a better deal than I got, if you do I will buy it off you and flip for a handsome profit!!!
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
  17. searay205

    searay205 Member

    Nov 27, 2016
    2011 Searay sport
    5.0MPI Catalyst
    My buddy had the same Sundancer as you with the 4.3's. He was loosing coolant in one engine. Couldn't find out where. I figured it out. His had plastic intake manifolds. Inside the manifold is a stove pipe behind the throttle body surrounded by a coolant jacket. Overtime the stove pipe burned the plastic and allowed a coolant leak into the intake manifold at a slow leak. Just a heads up if you ever loosing coolant. Easy to check just pull throttle body and look inside manifold for dampness.

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