Recommendations for first boat?

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#1
I'm considering a boat purchase (new boat owner) and am looking at the Sea-Doo Challenger. Are there any particular years or models to stay away from or lean towards? Looking for an 18' or 21'. What type of annual maintenance do the boats need and how long do the engines last? Appreciate any info you could pass along to a newbie!
 


JPass

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Orlando, FL
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2012 Challenger 210 SE
#2
Having been in both the 180 and 210, I like the extra room in the 210, but if you need to store in your garage the 210 may be too big. Towing limits may be an issue as well. I believe our 210 with the trailer and gear comes in at around 4000lbs.

The maintenance should be the same for each (double if you have twin engines). Oil, spark plug changes are roughly $75 per motor if you do it yourself. Supercharged motors need to have the chargers rebuilt every 2 years or 100 hours (some people push this a little further). If you remove and install yourself it costs $450 to send them off to be rebuilt.

Typical trailer maintenance will be to lube up the hubs every season at about $10 per axle, maybe redo the bunks which is cheap as well <$100

We have 210 hours on our 2012 210 SE and she runs like a champ. One benefit of the twin engine boats is that you have a spare engine to get you home should you have an issue with one of them. The downside, is the maintenance costs double and fuel burn is a bit worse.

Hope this helps.
 

gb387

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#3
We have a 210 Challenger and wouldn't give it up! Great boat and fun. On a little different note, jet boats do have more of a learning curve vs. a stern drive. If this is your first boat ever that's something definitely to keep in mind. It drives just like a pwc but until you get the hang of it it's a little more challenging to the size and can get frustrating until you're used to it. That being said we would never change to a stern drive after having a jet boat.
 
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#4
Thanks for the info on the maintenance, etc! Yes I have driven an '06 Challenger 180 and remember it being fun, but tricky to maneuver at low speeds. It seems like the 210 will be the way to go as the extra room will be nice to have. We will probably be okay with the single motor as well for our basic boating needs. Any recommendations on where to search for these boats for sale?
 

gb387

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#5
Good luck on your search, we found ours on Boat trader we ended up driving about 6 hours away to pick it up... We still search from time to time and there are plenty out there. You can still find lots of low hour ones as well.
 

timeman

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phoenix, az
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2006 seadoo challenger, owned just about every kind of boat there is...
#6
In boats, like many things in life...SIZE matters ;-) Go BIG or ...(well you know)
 

scottbruns

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Phoenix, Arizona, United States
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2010 Challenger 210 SE 430
#7
We really like our 210. We looked at a 230 but it was too big to fit in our parking spot and would have required an even bigger tow vehicle. The 210 is rated for 10 people, which really means 8, which really means 6 comfortably. We usually have 4 or 5 people on board and that really works great for us since here in AZ everyone can fit under the bimini so everyone gets some shade.
 
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#8
Thanks for the info! Prices on the 180's are attractive, but I think we would outgrow the size relatively quickly. If anyone knows of a 210 for sale in the Midwest please let me know :)
 

gb387

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#9
There is a 2010 210 with 65 hours in Ohio, not sure what part of the Midwest your in but the price is reasonable and says offers encouraged. Looks really clean... It's on boat trader and pop yachts. Looks like it's twin 155s so much cheaper to maintain an better on fuel.
 
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#10
That's a nice boat! Are the twin 155's supercharged? What engine options do the Challengers come with? I'm in Minnesota so that boat is a bit far ... hoping to find a blue or black exterior.
 

gb387

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#11
The 155s are not super charged... The 210's had some options, single or twin engine, 3 engine sizes 155, 215, 255. The twin 255 are the hardest to come by and twin 155 and 215 seem the most common.

We were initially looking for a different color then the one we purchased but had a hard time finding the right combination so settled on the 'salt' color. In the end we like the color because it does not show scratches, scuffs and water spots nearly as much as the darker colors.
 

JPass

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2012 Challenger 210 SE
#13
I'd stay away from the black gel colored boats. Black shows every scratch and fades quickly. Ours looks pristine, but that's only because I am anal about keeping my stuff looking like new. Lesson learned with this boat. No more black boats ever again.
 

Nosnibor

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Hampton Roads, Virginia
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2011 Seadoo Challenger 180 SE
#14
My first and still only boat is the 180. I have a 255hp version. The 180 seats 7 but 4-5 comfortably. I have seen some 210s out and they barely look any bigger than mine, maybe a bit on the front and I think they have seats on the transom. If price isn't that big of a difference get the 210. I don't think it really matters until you hit the 230 which my friend has and feels huge!

I get my boat winterized every year at the local shop and they do all required season maintenance for me for about $300. Not horrible because I know I'd probably break it myself.

This forum will tell you over and over if you get SC to rebuild it every 2 years or 100 hours. That's ~$600 every two years. I guess it's safe to do it. I have not yet and I bet some of the guys heads are spinning. I have 6 friends all with SC motors and not one has had it done yet. I typically fall on the side of caution so I will probably do it soon.

Specific year to stay away from is ~2007 (2005-2009 to be safe IMO) if it's SC. Apparently they used these ceramic washers that are basically ticking time bombs. Be wary of any shop that says they fixed it because the only issue I've heard from any of my friends is this. Buddy bought a speedster that apparently had the washers broke. The dealer replaced the SC and didn't know what the issue really was. Washers were still in the motor and after taking it out a few times the pieces worked their way through some delicate parts. He had to have a rebuild.

I saw you mention about dual 155's. That IMO is probably best case scenario. You get ~300hp, no SC issues, back up motor if one fails. Only issues is more gas consumption and double the maintenance. FYI my single 255 does 52 mph on GPS and that's fun!

Let me know if you have any questions!
 
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#15
Great info everyone! Much appreciated! What type of upkeep does the exterior require to keep it clean and looking new? Maybe wax it each year before putting away for storage? What would be a fair price to pay for a 210, twin 215's with under 100 hours?
 

gb387

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#16
Great info everyone! Much appreciated! What type of upkeep does the exterior require to keep it clean and looking new? Maybe wax it each year before putting away for storage? What would be a fair price to pay for a 210, twin 215's with under 100 hours?
Prices, I have found a little tricky to find... Most seem over priced so 25k range +or- for a 2010 to 2012 (non wake version) seems reasonable to me!? Maybe others will chime in as well. We are in Iowa so if price does vary around the country we are close to you. If you're going to need a loan and of course insurance coverage its value is going to be around there.

We searched high and low we bought ours sight unseen from a consignment dealer that didn't know anything about boats 6 hours away. We found a Sea Doo pwc dealer close to the consignment dealer that looked it over before we drove to get it but other than yes hours are accurate, won't sink and motors start with fresh oil they were not a ton of help but it did give some credibility. Had 28 hours and had been sitting for a year or so just a couple minor scratches but dirty with twin 215's. We paid $21,500 2 years ago, when we got it home we were willing to spend another 1k in random this or that's to get it running reliability. Including:

-New battery (was told the one in it was brand new, last time I take someone's word I should have checked)
-New cover (we knew this prior to purchase)
-1 Oil pressure sensor (I replaced, turns out both engines were way over filled with oil)
-New trailer tires (this was know at time of purchase we limped along for one season)
-New stereo, because of moisture
-A few other odds and ends needed fixed and a good cleaning

In the end we were in it for right around 23k, we were very happy with the price but it did take us a good month to sort out some frustrating issues and all turned out to be related to the bad battery and over filled oil. Once we figured that out we had a perfect running boat all last summer other than the old ski rope in the impeller trick.
 
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JPass

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2012 Challenger 210 SE
#17
Sub 100 hour boat may be hard to find. Our 2012 has 210 hours on her and she runs like a top. She's always been properly maintained. So for a 6 year old boat, that's roughly 35 hours / year. Hardly a lot of hours. We sold our last boat with 1600+ hours on her. She was used regularly by her previous owner. Never had any issues either. I prefer boats that have been used and maintained regularly over low hour boats that have sat. In my experience the regularly used boats have had less issues than the ones that have sat for long periods of time.

We keep all maintenance records for our boats, that way when we sell them, the new owners can see how well it's been maintained.

Something to consider.
 
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#18
Very grateful that I found this forum! Thanks for the excellent info everyone. I'll keep you guys updated if we find and decide to get a Challenger.
 

scottbruns

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Phoenix, Arizona, United States
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2010 Challenger 210 SE 430
#19
Like JPass we also have a black hull. It does show every little scratch and water spots. I thought it would be hotter in the AZ sun but that has not been an issue for us. We don't see many black hull boats on our lakes so we are instantly recognizable. If black is your only choice I would not pass it up.
 

studiocat13

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Charlotte, NC
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Looking to buy a Sea Doo 210 Challenger
#20
I just bought a 2012 210 Challenger and couldn't be happier. It only had 47 hours on it and looks nearly new but I did a lot of looking and research before buying and now know I made the right choice. I think the 180 would have been too small and the 230 too large so this one seems to be perfect. I did seek out the single engine 255 due to less maintenance and fuel cost but this baby has plenty of power from what I have experienced so far. Hoping to do some wake boarding this summer so we will see how that goes but most use will be cruising and then finding a cool spot to throw anchor, swim and chill ! Good luck with your search !!
BTW, I bought mine from a dealer down in GA and paid $23, 500. 00 for it with Sea Doo trailer, alos in nearly new condition.
 

briancayko

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Montana
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2010 210 Challenger SE 310HP (twin 155's)
#21
I agree with the rest of the guys, i have a 2010 210 challenger, 310HP. Love the room on board and it still fits in my garage with the tongue folded in. Boats get small fast and sometimes its great just be on the water with your family but most of the time it is better with friends! Mine will do a bit over 40 and so far seems to have as much power as a guy would need and not having Superchargers is less maintenance for me which i am okay with the tradeoff there. The features on the boat really do add to the experience as well, the helm and electronic driving modes are really nice.
 
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#22
Does anyone know the differences between the 2010 and 2011 model years? There's a dealer in Michigan that has both for sale, and the 2010 is $1k less and has 50 less hours than the 2011. Unfortunately they won't budge on the price. Curious what you guys think of these:

All Inventory | Leaders RPM
 

gb387

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#23
I am fairly sure they are the same boat with no changes... 2012 they changed the look of the guages and added and option or two but nothing significant. If identically equiped I would go for the 2010 with less hours but that's me, other may have a different opinion.
 

gb387

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#24
I just looked at those boats both look really clean and basically identically equiped... The 2010's trailer does not have a folding tounge where the 2011 does. Looks as if the stereo in the 210 has been replaced as it's not the factory one. I think the bow door is a much better design in the 2011 vs the 2010 (ours never stayed latched when closed, but that's not a big deal I made it work as is). The 2010 seems to be missing the carpet over the ski locker. Look at them see what looks the best think about trailer tires, boat cover, seats, everything and see what's worth it for you.
 
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#25
Thanks for taking a look at them. I also noticed the radio in the 2010 doesn’t say “Jensen” (not sure if that’s good or bad) and doesn’t have the control unit on the transom which the 2011 has. Both of them have discoloration in the bimini tops so that must be somewhat common. Not sure what I think of the orange seat coloring on the 2010 either but prefer the lower hours and lower price of that boat.
 

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