Restoring Your Used Pontoon Boat.
Remember you can always purchase an older pontoon boat and refurbish it for much less than the cost of a used pontoon boat. As long as you don’t over pay for a used pontoon boat which has a good frame, pontoons and railing (say more than $3,000, preferable less if the entire things needs to be rehabbed) In all honesty you can get a great rebuild pontoon boat for around $1,500 if you take a little time looking. There are nearly 1 million pontoon boats in existence and there are at least 400,000 pontoons that are lurking around somewhere in disrepair waiting to be snatched up and refurbished. PontoonStuff.com stocks all the needed pontoon supplies; pontoon boat seats, furniture, pontoon ladders, accessories and seating. Below you’ll find some detailed information on what to look for when thinking about refurbishing a pontoon boat and how to go about buying one:
How to check out a used pontoon boats condition:
Buying a used pontoon can be frustrating and often disappointing. Knowing what to look for will help to ease the anxiety. The basic appearance is not the best way to choose the best pontoon boat for immediate use or a project pontoon to fix up.
The most important items are the pontoon logs (sponsons or tubes). The best option is a pontoon boat with aluminum tubes. While fiberglass pontoons are unique and appear a bit sportier they can have problems that are not seen by the casual observer even if they look very closely and you don’t want to worry about costly repairs. Metal pontoons can have rust problems that have been hidden by a patch and paint plus these old pontoon boats have smaller tubes and tend to best used as scrap. Aluminum pontoons can look shiny or dull. This does not effect their durability. Anodized aluminum logs often look dull or cloudy. Check each log for any possible punctures not only on the exterior but also under the pontoons deck, if the pontoon tubes have valve stems in them you can pressurize them and spray a soapy solution around the welds to check for leaks. Check the strength of the fins on the front of the tubes. These fins often take abuse when docking and trailing. Holes and fins on aluminum tubes can be repaired by any welding shop but you want to make sure the cost and extra hassle is covered by a lower price for the pontoon boat.
The next important items are the pontoon fencing and aluminum trim pieces. These can be replaced if necessary; however, the cost is usually very high. The color of the panels can be changed if they are not desirable by simply painting over them and using new decals. The condition of the square tubing is of highest concern as it is impossible to get a matching piece of fencing and finding new railing in general is a tremendous task. Check the trim around the edge of the deck and the corner caps and note if any are missing, the corner caps can be replaced easily and we stock them at www.PontoonStuff.com. Matching the exact same trim can be nearly impossible but you can have new trim made by an aluminum fabricator or purchase some extruded aluminum from a local aluminum extrusion distributor. Remember that the custom aluminum pieces, like the tubes, railing and side trim are the hardest things to replace and it is usually better to look for another pontoon boat if any of those things are in such bad shape that they cannot be repaired easily, if you need to replace a tube or any of the railing look for another pontoon boat.
It is important to get on the deck of the pontoon and look around. Even a nice looking carpet can hide a rotting deck. The deck will likely have rot closest to the fence where it mounts directly to the deck. Water tends to gather there and through the years the water breaks down the wood fibers. Most of the weight on a pontoon is in the back because of the motor. This causes the deck to be higher in the front when it is in the water. The deck will be more likely to have problems in the back half of the pontoon because of this. If there is pontoon furniture on the pontoon open it up and look inside of each piece. Walk up and down the center of the deck. If the deck seems spongy it may need to be replaced or will need to be replaced soon so take this into consideration. Remember, for between $1500 to $2500 the deck, furniture and carpeting can all be replaced with quality pontoon seating, marine plywood and new marine carpet.
Sit in the captain’s seat and look over the steering console. When sitting in a pedestal seat check to verify that it swivels with little difficulty. Turn the wheel (make sure the motor is clear of other objects first) to determine its condition. If the wheel takes a lot of effort to turn the steering may need to be replaced. The steering system can be a little more stiff when the pontoon is not in the water or has not been used for a while. Pull the switches to see if they are operational even if there is no battery hooked up. If there is a battery hooked up check the lights, horn, and accessories. Note any gauges that may be mounted and ask if they still work.
If the pontoon is being sold with a motor check with the service man that will be taking care of the motor to verify its reparability. Older motors can be hard to find parts for and costly to maintain so it is important that they are in good working condition. Remember that most pontoon boats are not used year round and are stored for half the year so most used pontoon motors will be in fine shape.
If the pontoon comes with a trailer look over its general condition. Check the tires for cracking on the side walls and near the wheels rim. Note the condition of the lights and the winch. Often pontoon trailers don’t look like much. The concern is usability not general appearance.
How much a used pontoon should cost is not easy to determine. Even a hot summer will make its value greater. Much of its value is based on the items that may need to be replaced. Add up the cost of the items that need to be replaced and decide if the entire package is still worth the total cost – remember as long as the tubes and railing are in good shape all the rest can be easily and economically replaced and updated.
The pontoon is the most popular boat for the family. Refurbishing an older pontoon can be a great experience the whole family can enjoy. The end result offers satisfaction and endless hours of pleasure without the expense of monthly payments year round for a new pontoon boat.