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View Full Version : Sea Ray build quality -- is newer better?



EricW
08-23-2010, 04:01 PM
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?

beernutz
08-23-2010, 04:06 PM
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.

Any thoughts/opinions?
Up until recently I thought that about Toyota too.

fwebster
08-23-2010, 04:21 PM
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.

katricol
08-23-2010, 05:09 PM
I don't agree that newer is better. I just do not see it at all , trying my hardest to be objective.

skolbe
08-23-2010, 05:24 PM
I think it varies by model. Once the economy slowed down - the quality slipped for a while.

Larry&Leisa
08-23-2010, 05:28 PM
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.

billnpat
08-23-2010, 05:35 PM
I don't agree that newer is better. I just do not see it at all , trying my hardest to be objective.

Not from what i've been reading in boating mags
I AGREE...:thumbsup:

DaNinja
08-23-2010, 06:06 PM
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.

Dave S
08-23-2010, 06:09 PM
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.

Dave

EricW
08-23-2010, 06:26 PM
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.

Iprof
08-23-2010, 06:40 PM
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.

Ken

jollymonsrv
08-23-2010, 08:58 PM
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 ec.2002..225.ec.260sd 2004...New model look like s.it 2 me.....no quality/pride .GONE BAYLINER .IMHO B4 2008 is best 2 buy...PLEASE PROVE ME WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Groucho
08-23-2010, 09:17 PM
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 ec.2002..225.ec.260sd 2004...New model look like s.it 2 me.....no quality/pride .GONE BAYLINER .IMHO B4 2008 is best 2 buy...PLEASE PROVE ME WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



:huh:HUH???:lol:

fc3
08-23-2010, 09:44 PM
Prove you wrong? Your third grade english teacher is crying tonight after trying to read that post.

sfergson727
08-23-2010, 09:56 PM
Crying? Probably killed herself.

I get the general meaning of what he is saying though. The recent offerings of SR have sucked, so much that the brand is resembling bayliner. I don't know if I would sink all the way to bayliner, but maybe maxum.

offduty
08-23-2010, 10:01 PM
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.

fwebster
08-23-2010, 10:26 PM
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

MonacoMike
08-23-2010, 10:29 PM
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.

MM


http://www.newboats.com/article/-/Pure-Gold-Sea-Ray-350-Sundancer

mawyatt
08-24-2010, 12:21 PM
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.

hack4alivin
08-24-2010, 12:44 PM
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?

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
08-24-2010, 01:10 PM
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.

Ken

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.

sfergson727
08-24-2010, 01:37 PM
I have to apologize, but that strikes me as funny. Practically break ice? Maybe true, but very subjective. Sure, an ice cube maybe. I'm quite certain that my boat could practically break ice here on Lake Michigan too, as it would make a slight depression before the hull shattered and the boat sank like a ton of bricks. (hhhmmmm, may be on to something here, but I need to have my insurance season extended a bit......)

But back on what I find funny, all boat salesman/factory workers/CEO's etc. have one thing in common with politicians. You can tell when they are lying, whenever their lips are moving.

sbw1
08-24-2010, 01:39 PM
Each was a new boat. 1979 26' weekender. Good looking in its day. Bones were not good although we put lots of hours on it. Not all of the stringers were tabbed to the hull. Nothing broke but pretty shoody build. 1986 30' weekender. Maybe the best looking build quality. Everything was glassed together, but we still had loose screws that pulled out of the mounts that secured lockers, seats and what not. Next owner redid stringers which rotted after 8 years. 1993 37 express. Most frustrating to own. Leaks, doors came off as screws separated from their mounts, TV would not stay in its place when running. We picked up newly discovered screws after cruising. Not a good Lake Michigan boat and the last straw for us. 2004Tiara. In it's 6th year of cruising. Still looks brand new and is structurally rock solid. Nothing breaks, most comfortable boat we've owned and far an away the best in rough water. We also had a '67 30' Chris Craft that was essentially junk. A 1973 23' Formula that was very nice with twin volvo penta drives, and a 1984 13' Boston Whaler for the kids. I enjoyed that boat as well. It was very well built and nothing broke on it after years of hard use.

keokie
08-24-2010, 02:03 PM
On average the older boats were neither thicker nor heavier than the newer ones. My '02 is a far better built boat than my '83.

Don't get me wrong... I love '80's Sea Ray's and would own another.

Some examples: '83 very rough/inconsistent fiberglass work especially evident in the bilge and under the gas tank. Only exterior glass is gel coated, the rest like the bilge and storage compartments are painted. Significant use of a chop gun where hand laid cloth should have been used. Tons of hardware installed in cored areas with only silicone (often poorly applied) to stave off water intrusion. 1.5 inch wood screws used to attach almost everything. Very little is through-bolted. Lots of print-through on gelcoated surfaces.

My '02 has beautiful fiberglass work that is finished with gel coat on all surfaces. No chop gun. The coring is backed away around rail fittings/cleats, etc. Very little goes through the core. Extensive use of through bolting. Oh and far,far better rigging and wiring on the '02.

Again, I would own another '80's or '90's Sea Ray. They are great boats. But the build quality definitely improved, at least as far as the early 2000's. I am not as familiar with the last several model years, so I don't know which way it is currently trending.

AKBASSKING
08-24-2010, 03:17 PM
I have to apologize, but that strikes me as funny. Practically break ice? Maybe true, but very subjective. Sure, an ice cube maybe. I'm quite certain that my boat could practically break ice here on Lake Michigan too, as it would make a slight depression before the hull shattered and the boat sank like a ton of bricks. (hhhmmmm, may be on to something here, but I need to have my insurance season extended a bit......)

But back on what I find funny, all boat salesman/factory workers/CEO's etc. have one thing in common with politicians. You can tell when they are lying, whenever their lips are moving.

Figuratively speaking. This guy told me that the 80s hulls were not mil spec like the newer one??

Grant you I have had my issues like Keokie has stated. I totally agree with the chop saw concept and screws on EVERYTHING!

I think he was making the point that the hulls were just mad differently with very little if any computer stuff. Now everything is by computer. Of course i don't understand all of it as I am not a boat maker.....


BTW I have gone through thin ice when the fresh water from rivers freezes on top of the salt water. An un-easy sound at night, along with the popping and thunder of glaciers at night!!:wow:

EricW
08-24-2010, 04:15 PM
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.

Excellent point, Bill. I agree that most of the improvements made over the years are probably due to technological advancement.

I still think it's kind of interesting to discuss whether craftsmanship and actual OR perceived quality has improved or declined over the years.

TheLucille
08-24-2010, 06:22 PM
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.

In the 80s and early 90s, raw materials and labor were cheaper and you could lay down a lot of glass versus having to use (relatively) exotic coring to make a structure which was "as strong" at a lower cost. There's NOTHING "wrong" with cored structures, they are just as strong as plain FRP except for puncture resistance. (They're also quieter and lighter, for some pros!)

There's not a lot of changes in the boating industry. The portlights on my 89 are still used to this day. The power inlet is still made by Marinco and sold everywhere. Hinges and cleats are mostly "standard" designs which have been around forever. Gelcoat/resin have not changed much, and there are old boats from the 80s which will shine up better than a brand new 45'.

Better built is also relative. The older boats were heavier in construction, but this also means less fuel economy, more noise/vibrations, etc. There were improvements to some issues, and new issues were created.

I think it's a horse a piece and you'll find a lot of different answers. Personally, I like the look of a new boat more and I know how much money you can stick into an old one to get it where you want it, so I'll be buying 2003+ on my next boat.

EricW
08-24-2010, 08:45 PM
The listed dry weights of Sea Rays have steadily increased over the years. Why?

Were the older numbers just underestimated? Do newer boats have heavier interiors with more amenities? Or, do the newer boats have heavier built hulls & decks?

A 2009 330DA has a listed weight of 15,400 lbs. A 1987 340DA has a listed weight of only 10,500 lbs. The old 340 is even a bigger boat! Almost 5000 lbs difference?

I'm thinking some of this weight difference has to be due to more hull/deck materials on the newer boats.

Iprof
08-24-2010, 09:24 PM
The listed dry weights of Sea Rays have steadily increased over the years. Why?

Were the older numbers just underestimated? Do newer boats have heavier interiors with more amenities? Or, do the newer boats have heavier built hulls & decks?

A 2009 330DA has a listed weight of 15,400 lbs. A 1987 340DA has a listed weight of only 10,500 lbs. The old 340 is even a bigger boat! Almost 5000 lbs difference?

I'm thinking some of this weight difference has to be due to more hull/deck materials on the newer boats.

I often wonder about the published weights of boats. My 300da is listed as 9500 dry. I know the wet weight is 13,500, that's what it shows on the lift and on the road weight scales. I do have a generator but that is less than 300 lbs.
I don't like the reverse radar arch, not on any model they make the boat look ugly.

Ken

jollymonsrv
08-24-2010, 10:50 PM
SORRY>>REALLY FRUSTRATED..Bought my srv180 from my English teacher1975 !LOL..Cant help wonderering why the bulls-it on new models length /size while rebadging older models to be longer/bigger and IMHOpretty ugly..and cheaper and MUCH MOREC$ ...only owned sea ray;s since 1975....so dont .shoot the messenger..goin 2 my English teachers wake.funeral @ low tide .gotta go..PAX

SeaRay
08-24-2010, 11:43 PM
I have been in the large equipment manufacturing field for almost 15 years. I have worked as a Design Engineer, a Quality Engineer and a Manufacturing Engineer. I believe over the years the competition for almost any manufactured product has gotten tougher and tougher.

Just to stay in business, or even competitive, some corners do get cut....

You have to remember, whatever you are buying it was built by parts from the lowest bidder....

hack4alivin
08-25-2010, 06:25 AM
SORRY>>REALLY FRUSTRATED..Bought my srv180 from my English teacher1975 !LOL..Cant help wonderering why the bulls-it on new models length /size while rebadging older models to be longer/bigger and IMHOpretty ugly..and cheaper and MUCH MOREC$ ...only owned sea ray;s since 1975....so dont .shoot the messenger..goin 2 my English teachers wake.funeral @ low tide .gotta go..PAX


Scott…… translation request. Is this texting dialect?

sbw1
08-25-2010, 09:27 AM
Scott…… translation request. Is this texting dialect?

Sounds like the English teacher got what he/she deserved.

sfergson727
08-25-2010, 09:33 AM
Oh man......I need to drink another pot or two of coffee before I try to decipher that one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RezHc7YRSlA

and maybe watch this several hundred times.

Jack F
08-25-2010, 09:45 AM
I think the Gov maybe looking for the wrong type of translators, never mind Ebonics, I think they need TXT translators.

My wife was trying to make plans with her sister over the weekend, she finally had to call her because she couldn’t understand any of her msg.