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Buying help for 78 Mako 23

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  • Buying help for 78 Mako 23

    A friend of a friend has what he claims is a 1978 Mako 23 hes looking to sell, just doesnt use it enough anymore. I havent been able to get much more out of him, but before I go see it, Im looking for any tips to look for when appraising it.

    Im fairly comfortable with what to look for in the newer outboard, but Im curious if any of you have experience with things that can go wrong with a Hull such as that one. He claims its sound, no soft spots, and the few pics Ive seen show mostly cosmetic issues. The hull has been recently repainted, not sure if that would hide anything? Its been mostly on a trailer in south Florida between sporadic uses.

    Any advice on what hatch to inspect or what tires to kick would be aprreciated. With any luck itll be mine soon.

  • #2
    biggest concern of a boat that old will be the condition of the fuel system. The tank may be compromised and the fuel lines are not alcohol rated and ethanol will deteriorate the inside of the hoses which will end up in the carbs. With a boat living on a trailer, the transom and stringers are less likely to be saturated.
    Chris Miller[br]Mystic Islands, NJ[br]1974 17 Classic[br]1988 211 Classic (sold)[br]1990 Grady White 230 Gulfstream (sold)[br][img][br]


    • #3
      first- I can think of no faster or more permanent way to lose a friend.

      Unless you can document- I mean prove without a doubt fuel tanks have been replaced and sometime within last decade- they WILL have to be replaced. Search that subject here.

      Quite doable- very labor intensive and tanks are expensive.

      I have this T-shirt - '79 235

      All wiring either has been or will need replacing also.

      Lot of bad transoms too.

      Unless you pay big bucks for one somebody else already restored- understand you got some work to do.

      The 235 is a great hull for my purposes. It is fairly light and still has enough chest up front to handle pretty big water. These hulls are narrow with a wide console, tight getting by on sides.

      Don't overlook trailer- if ya can't get it to water- it's worthless.


      • #4
        Well, that was enough to almost scare me away, but then I spent some time in the project forum. Short of taking it to an expert, it seems that I can judge the transom by looking for soft spots and bouncing the motor to test for deflection. Lack thereof should mean it's solid, right?

        I've already budgeted for new hubs/rims/tires on the trailer. I've had too much bad trailer luck in my life to ever not replace those things again.

        As for the fuel tank/lines, I'm going to assume it was replaced with the current motor circa 1997. I am planning to repower regardless of motor condition in 2-3 years, at which point I'd include a new tank anyway. Barring an aroma of gasoline coming from the deck, is there any way to know if the tank needs immediate attention? Or is that a warning to budget for replacement in the next couple years?

        Same with wiring, if all the switches work, there's no immediate rush to rewire, right? I'd like to save that project for 2-3 years when repowering unless things stop working sooner. My goal is to find something that will get me through this summer, and take next winter to start projects. Also willing to walk away if things aren't to my liking. He's not that good a friend of a friend...


        • #5
          To check tanks - pull the pie plate in the floor right behind the cosole-

          New tanks will like be either black with tar coating or plastic- if un-coated aluminum... they are likely old.

          Does it have the removable deck section that runs under console - if so I can send you photos of tank replacement precess.

          On the transom - I think like tanks, most fail- mine has been replaced, not by me. On previous hull and this one I run re-enforcements from transom (using upper engine mount bolts as anchor) to far side of splash well. This stops any flexing. Again I can send photos.

          Any old boat has all these same issues- I would much rather deal with this on a Classic Mako -[]


          • #6
            So I gathered some more information and pictures based on this advice, and I'm not sure how red this flag is, but I'm back to being scared. This owner has had the boat for 4 years or so, has been running fine according to him. The previous owner said that the boat has 2 gas tanks, but only uses the aft tank. Current owner estimates the aft tank to be about 30 gallons, which seems absurdly small for a 250hp 2-stroke Yamaha. The question is, why would someone make one tank into two, how are they connected to each other, where did he place the tanks relative to the original, how big is the forward tank, why isn't the forward tank being used? I've seen some project posts where a smaller tank is used as the replacement, but not that much smaller. Best I can tell the factory original on a '78 235 was about 86 gallons.

            I have not yet put my own eyes on this one, but it's a couple hours away and I'm trying not to waste a trip by asking questions now. I've attached a couple pics of what I would think are the fuel tank panels. Other than the leaning post (or tank panel) not being centered, any input would be appreciated. First time posting pics, apologies if they're gigantic or don't load properly.




            • #7
              Cant tell much from those pics.

              Original setup was an 86 gallon aft, 36 gallon fwd tank.

              Leaning post is offcenter, not tank hatch.
              ROGUE I[br]1978 235 CC[br]Newburyport, MA[br]ROGUE II[br]1987 17\' Montauk[br]Camden, ME[br]


              • #8
                So these were built with a reserve tank? Would they be in the same coffin (the one running under the center console)? I'd think there would be two pie plate access points, but I only see the one aft of the console unless the other would be under the console or a forward hatch? Or is it probably one tank, partitioned off? Dumb question, but is there any picture angle that would show you something valuable?


                • #9
                  Same coffin, 1 aft, one forward. Fuel pickups should be next to each other toward front of console -- rear tank pickup is at front of its tank, front tank pickup at aft.
                  ROGUE I[br]1978 235 CC[br]Newburyport, MA[br]ROGUE II[br]1987 17\' Montauk[br]Camden, ME[br]


                  • #10
                    looks like a winter project to me. You going to find a hundred little things to fix. If you wanting to use this summer - you better get busy.

                    I suggect engine and fuel system first- at least you can use it that way. The little stuff adds up $ - I spent $1000 on little stuff-

                    Figure on batteries (2 plus a switch and new cables)

                    How "cheap" is it?

                    If you are just trying to get out on water- then concentrate on engine, fuel and trailer. It would be akward- but you could use portable tanks and or fuel bladder for this summer.

                    Hey - it is only an afternoon drive go look- learn.


                    • #11
                      Ok, went to visit, learned much, mostly that this one is not for me. Too much work to be done (soft spots on deck, more than superficial gouges to hull, and a plethora of engine/controls red flags). Would seem to make a fine project boat, but I would not take this one out to open water without repowering at least.

                      Big questions back to the experts here going forward mostly revolve around fuel tanks, because I'm either a nerd or a masochist. On this particular 1978 model, there were indeed two fuel fill access points forward on the port gunwale, and a tank selector (forward/aft) on the console near where your left shin would be while under way. There was one pie plate I could find, just aft of the console. It revealed a mostly black tank with what appeared to be tar covering it, but upon touching it it was damp but not sticky as I would expect tar to be. No aroma of fuel, but very wet. I could only guess that this was due to water seeping in from a hole cut in the coffin lid under/inside the console, attempted to be shown here:



                      Again, still trying to figure out adding photos, so apologies for poor format.

                      I've seen another '79 Mako 23 with a similar cutout for what looks like fuel lines under the console. This one had one fuel input on the forward port gunwale, and other on the forward starboard side of the center console, but no fuel selector switch. This appeared to have an aluminum fuel tank.

                      I have no idea on when/if either fuel tank(s) have been replaced, and with the amount of posts to the Projects forum, it's hard to tell what's factory and what's personalization.

                      I'm pretty sure that I can just assume I need to replace the fuel tank in the very near future unless it is sporting a 2012 or newer motor. But are these setups typical, or are there just too many personal iterations over the years to make a general claim?

                      Again, any and all input and time is appreciated. Pretty sure I'm learning from the best.