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Buying a used MAKO

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  • Buying a used MAKO

    Hi to all,great site,i need some help with purchasing a used Mako 80's era 20-22ft.What are the problem areas of these boats and how can i get a good idea of what condition it is in (transom stringers decks etc)what to look for and so on.Thanks in advance,Hank

  • #2
    Well transom, stringers and soft floor's.

    If you really want to know and have some buying power leverage. Get it survayed. It's going to cost about $300.00.

    Now with that said there is the watermelon test, but the owner is not going to let you do it.

    The Watermelon test is."How many seeds are in a Watermelon?"

    The answer is you don't know until you open it up.

    The same goes for rot in a boat.

    Lift on the motor. Does the transom flex? Is there cracks in the gellcoat around the motor cutout? All sign's of a weak transom.

    Yes you could put a "bandaid plate" on it. That's not how we do things around here.

    We tear it apart and fix it one time right!

    Hope this helps you.


    • #3
      Hi LI, If youve ever had a chance to wath a survayer they tap the transom with a nylon hammer. This is a method that works well and if the seller is honest he should not have a problem.You are listening for a crisp sound from your hammer. If you hear a thud or a hollow sound the odds are pretty god you have a soft transom. The same goes for the stringers if you can get to them.


      • #4
        Thanks guys thats a good start for me,looked at a 84 29ft had a metal plate on the transom figured it was a bandaide to a bigger problem.What year did mako have the problem with the waterlogged foam fill or is it any with cracks or compromised hulls or seams ,bear with me im just getting back to boats after a 20 yr hyatis (work-low funds)and always loved a mako


        • #5
          sorry for the typo should read 20ft


          • #6
            These guys are right on. As usual.

            Fundamentally tho...Eddie had me looking for the model boats with the 25 inch transoms and the most deadrise at the stern. The height helps keep waves out of the stern and the deadrise gives you a smoother ride. You will see projects here where guys are raising their 20 inch transoms to 25 inches.

            If your boat will be used on the flats and creeks, the smaller deadrise may be fine, but if you are going in the big water the more deadrise the better.

            Go to and check out the specifications on the different years and models. It really helped me decide which boat I wanted. Also check out all the different boats on the project boats pages from the home page here.

            I started out looking at 22 footers because they were so inexpensive, but when I saw that the deadrise was 12 or 13 degrees and the transom was only 20 inches, I decided on a 224 with 19 degrees deadrise and 25" transom.
            1983 Mako 224[br]Onancock, Va.


            • #7
              Its not really a metter of "Bad Years" for Mako boats in the 1980's and early 1990's. Its more a matter of how well the boat was rigged and taken care of. If holes were drilled into the transom for transducers, kicker motor brackets, or swim platforms and they weren't properly sealed and bolted... Well then your gonna have problems in the transom.

              If the problems in the transom are left to cook long enough, then your gonna see stringer problems. The time factor is what really ruins stringers and transoms.

              Foam saturation is a problem that comes from maintenance and storage. if the boat was properly stored under a cover with the bow lifted so rain water can drain and exit the bilge drain hole, then the foam shouldn't be saturated. But if the boat was kept in the water or in the rain with the tongue down, then water can accumulate around the foam and soak into the foam.

              Floors, it all dependes on what holes were drilled into the floor and where and how they were sealed. Sometimes there is freak delamination in floors, but I imagine it can be attibuted to whats beneath it.

              The Makos of that era were good boats, it depends on the owners of those boats as to what your gonna find. Get a good surveyor, its the cheapest insurance you can buy! Trust me, I've been there and done that.
              Slidell, LA 1993 Mako 261B - Temperance


              • #8
                Thank you guys for all the help ,i will keep you posted on my finds and hope to be in the water by april or may the latest with a true fishing machine,the transom info is good to know since i will be running the fire island and jones inlets for bass,it does tend to get a bit snotty real quick in these inlets with large bars on both of them but great shoals and breaking water for the bass.Last fall (nov )my uncle and i used his 21 Robalo in jones inlet with 6 foot swells to pound the bass at daybreak for 2 weeks strait victory at sea but what a blast.Thanks again HANK


                • #9
                  Between my brother and myself we have seen a few Makos come and go. Everything everyone has said is right on. Be careful, do your home work. For every mistreated Mako out there there are half a dozen that are solid. Do look past the dirt, by htat I mean some folks just don't clean their boats[xx(].....the may be solid, just dirty.

                  I just sold a 1978 22B w/ 1987 Evinrude 225 to the first looker, 10 K $. No haggle, no questions, a look, a sea trial and it was gone.[]

                  A clean solid Mako 21-22 80s with a late model motor and good trailer will fetch 10 - 15 K$. But it has to be clean and solid (pretty to look at).[]


                  • #10
                    LI - I watched the market for used makos for about a year and then spent 6 months actively looking at boats. Be careful. The cleanest Mako that I looked at was nice and shiny, had a repainted engine and was sitting on a new aluminum trailer. After questioning the patches on the bottom of the hull around the keel, the guy came clean and said someone had stolen his boat and when they were going down the highway it came lose and went crashing down the road with the trailer getting ripped off the boat. I can only imagine the problems hidden under the new bilge paint and shiny gel coat.

                    I can also tell you that there are a lot of crazy buyers out there. I was talking with one guy about his boat when he informed me that someone bought it over the phone and paid his asking price which was very steep. Once you find a good boat, it won't last long but there are some nice ones around. I found one that was an orginial owner, always trailered and very well kept and I ended up getting it for a lot less than what other boats were going for in worse shape. Take your time and learn everything you can and don't settle for a boat just because you want to get on the water. Remember, sellers will ask a premium in Spring and Summer and you can usually get your best deals in Fall and Winter.
                    1978 Mako 25 - Blind Hog
                    1985 Mako 20c - sold
                    Fort Walton Beach, FL


                    • #11
                      Some good info here, I'll add this to it:

                      LI, seems good Mako's go for a premium in the tri-state area. So, take your time and dont be afraid to travel. When my father and I decided to go for a 261 (I dont like/wont have these newer eurotransom crap) we looked at about a dozen or so hulls from Fairfield Ct down to Delaware. Happened to see one for sale down in nowheresville on the DelMarva, and being we were headed to Hatteras for some giants figured we'd check it out. Sure enough, it was the boat we were looking for. You'll know it when you see it! The above about being able to look through the dirt is very true...ours was an exceptionally clean boat...if you got past the leaves and grime that had collected in it over the winter. Anyhow, moral of the story, we picked this rig up for about $4-6K less than it would have gone for anywere in NJ. Literally could have made money by just dragging it up here. So dont be afraid to take the time and just may be very well worth it.
                      1990 261 T/2001 200 HPDIs[br]Basking Ridge/Mantoloking NJ[br]


                      • #12
                        All of this is great info. But what I found was most important was to react fast and with cash. In So. Fla. there are so many people into buying stuff and selling for a profit that if you wait for the boat trader or the classifieds you are already almost too late. A good mako goes fast and you have to be the first to get to her. I got the best deal in the world because...

                        1) My friend knew a guy who was selling.

                        2) I responded immediately.

                        3) "Can you look at it on Sunday?" "No, right NOW!!"

                        4) Show up with cash, bill of sale, tow vehicle. whatever

                        Not everyone is like us guys on this forum. There are a lot of people who want out from under their Makos, Boston whalers, Grady Whites...) Find them. There is nothing better than getting a great deal and both parties leave happy.


                        • #13
                          Great info i say thanks to you all for the help i will look carefully and be ready to act when the time is right the direction you guys have sent me is of great help and will be used to my advantage.This site is the best source of information i have ever seen,the project boats are outstanding keep it up i'm hooked.Thanks again HANK


                          • #14
                            Li Mako-

                            Bought my first Mako (1991 Mako 201) in Corpus Christi, Texas in 2000 for 11K. Trailered it home to Boston, used it for two years, buffed the hull, restored the teak, had engine overhauled and replaced crossmember on trailer. Wound up selling it in 2002 to family outside of Boston for $17,000.

                            Four months later, I found my present bought (1991 Mako 231) in Palm Beach Gardens. Flew down there after having it surveyed, and towed her back to Boston. Although I can't imagine selling this boat, because I love it dearly, I could easily make a ton of money if I did.

                            Dont want you to think that hauling boats up north is a 100% surefire way to make some cash, but if you do your homework and know what you are looking wont loose money.

                            Good luck.



                            • #15
                              I saw my 25 on a trailer behind a warehouse in Philly.I stopped and asked the guy how much he wanted for it he said 10000.00,I said no thanks but if you want 7000.00 give me a call,3 weeks later he called.I sold the pair of 150 Johnsons for 3000.00.I am in the process of rebiuling the interior (totaly gutted).My first project and I'm having fun except for all the itching.