Newbie needs advice before pulling the trigger

Tooner2

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I'm considering the purchase of a new Bennington 21 SLXDL and tandem axle Yacht Club trailer, but because I'm a newbie when it comes to pontoons I have several questions about options and pricing.  I have not yet signed the purchase agreement with the dealer (in MN where I live) for the boat (which would be delivered in July as a 2018 model).  Here is a partial list of the build specs and features that I don't think are necessarily standard on the SLX, followed by my questions: 


50 hp high thrust 4 stroke Yamaha


25" toons


Garmin Striker 4 fish finder


full height panels


woven vinyl flooring


docking lights


(new) radius bow furniture


Maple matte trapezoid table upgrade


curved boarding ladder


2 portable cupholders


G series reclining captain's chair


Tilt steering


Privacy curtain


Price for boat $23,990 (exluding taxes, license and $75.00 document prep fee).


The trailer is a tandem axle Yacht Club rated at 4,500 load capacity for $3,300--surge brakes on one axle.  Aside from the price, my concern is that the tires mounted on the trailer are Carlisle 145R 12C 93/95L.  Because I will be trailering this boat 2,000 miles to AZ in the fall, the quality of the tires are an important consideration for me, but I can find very little information on line about these tires, except that all of the older discussions about Carlisle tires are extremely negative.


Questions: 


1. Is that a reasonable price for the boat?  The sales rep doesn't seem inclined to deal on the price, hence the question of whether that particular price is reasonable.


2.  Are there other options or features I should consider, given that this boat will be used for slow cruising, mostly on the Colorado River and occasionally on Lake Havasu, typically with no more than 6 people on board total.


4.  Are there other options or features I should consider with respect to the trailer?  Once the boat is launched on the river, it will seldom be transported except for the occasional 35 mile run to Lake Havasu.  We plan to store the boat and trailer in AZ, so it won't be making the 2,000 mile trek on a regular or frequent basis.


5. Finally, the purchase agreement has a hand-written provision which states "all rebates to dealer".  At this point I haven't been able to determine whether or to what extent there are rebates which would otherwise go to the benefit of the buyer. I am wondering if this is a common provision when buying from Bennington dealers--or maybe all dealers. 


Any insight or recommendations I can get from more experienced Bennington owners will be much appreciated.  As may be obvious from my questions, I'm pretty much flying blind at this point when it comes to purchasing a pontoon.  About the only thing I know for sure is that I want one--and Bennington tops the list of choices.  Thanks in advance.
 

ILLINOIS AVE

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Welcome ! My only thought would be. Why not purchase the Bennington in AZ and store out there? Maybe contact dealer with your options and get price in AZ. You have come to the right place for answers to your questions. Some of the more experienced members will now take over on your options. Good luck ! Enjoy!
 

Havasu

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I think I'd consider doing the same thing.  Buy the boat out here.  There's a Bennington dealer right here in Lake Havasu City.  Sun protection is a must so an adequate bimini is suggested.  And, the water out here is extremely hard so Sharkhide is also recommended.
 
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Tooner2

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Thanks.  I tried that approach but after several telephone conversations and a few emails, the sales rep in Havasu said he would speak to his manager and get back to me.  Nada.  I decided that if the dealer wasn't sufficiently interested in getting back to me about a potential sale, customer service was unlikely to be a priority for that shop and I would be better served by dealing in person with a MN shop.  As an aside, I spoke to another Bennington dealer here in MN.  Once he knew I had previously met with another Bennington dealer, he ended the discussion.  Maybe B dealers just have a policy of not competing with each other.
 

cwag911

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Can't help you with the trailer tires but, If I were going on the Colorado river and Lake Havasu, I would want a much larger motor,
 

tcpip95

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Some thoughts...


1.  If the boat is going to stay in AZ, BUY IT IN AZ.  From a service, dealer relationship, etc. standpoint, that guy in MN is gonna get the sale and he'll never see the boat again.  Do the deal with the guy in AZ, and you'll have much more leverage.  That saves you a lot of headaches about that trailer, which if you are towing it 2,000 miles - even one time - I believe it is not going to do the job.  Also, you haven't said anything about what your towing vehicle is.  But it in AZ and now you're only towing 35 miles, so you won't need as beefy a trailer (although I'd still beef up from what you spec'ed out).


2.  The experience I've been having the last week regarding pricing is that you should be able to get about 15 - 20% off MSRP.  What I've learned is "what price will you be happy with?"  Dealers need to make money too, so you figure out what your price is, and see how far off you are.  


3.  What are your "Must Haves"?  Then, what are your "Nice To Haves"?  What are going to be doing with the boat?  I'm not familiar with the Colorado River or Lake Havasu, so I can't speak to currents, chop, etc.  I'll say this:  if you're dealing with any kind of currents with six people aboard, if you get in trouble that 50 HP is going to be woefully inadequate - possibly even dangerous.  You only have control of a boat when you have enough power to overcome the external factors like winds, currents, etc.  I know you said "slow cruising" but if you get in trouble, you might need more power than "slow cruising speed".  You'll appreciate that additional power the first time you need it.  I know I'm spending your money (after all, it's what we do here  :D ) but I would strongly re-think that 50 HP.


4.  I've learned that the docking lights are pretty worthless.  If/when I buy another boat, I won't have any.  Your other options seem good (didn't bother with the privacy curtain, 'cause there ain't a person in the world that wants to see my big butt nekked).  We bought way too many cup holders for what we need.


Welcome aboard!
 

tcpip95

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I think I'd consider doing the same thing.  Buy the boat out here.  There's a Bennington dealer right here in Lake Havasu City.  Sun protection is a must so an adequate bimini is suggested.  And, the water out here is extremely hard so Sharkhide is also recommended.

Great point about the Sharkhide!
 

Havasu

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Great point about the Sharkhide!

When I ordered the boat and enquired about Sharkhide, the dealer talked me out of it.  Shortly after delivery and using the boat, I ordered several cans of Sharkhide and applied it myself.  I'm very glad I did.  My tubes still look great and water spots aren't an issue.  I have a couple of friends with pontoons out here and their tubes are black.  After seeing my boat and the benefits of the SH, they had their boats detailed and SH applied.  At least out here it does make a difference.
 

Spoonman

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I agree with others. If possible by out in Arizona where the boat will be serviced.


Relative to the trailer tires you will find that is a lacking area for any trailer tire. I would go with the best radial tire you can get for a trip that long.
 

Tooner2

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I agree with others. If possible by out in Arizona where the boat will be serviced.


Relative to the trailer tires you will find that is a lacking area for any trailer tire. I would go with the best radial tire you can get for a trip that long.

My thought about the tires has been the same as yours.  Do you have any brand recommendations for that size tire?  I've tried to research tires on line to that end, but haven't been able to find other brands with those size specs (Carlisle seems to have a somewhat different code for rating their tires.  While I can determine the wheel size and load rating, the "95/93L" part of the code isn't clear to me).
 

Havasu

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ILLINOIS AVE

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I also  agree pop that 50 H.P. up to a 90 if not a 115. For sure go with a Sharkhide on the toons makes a hell of a difference, if not applied from factory order some on like Amazon and apply yourself. Very easy to do. I can't really help you out with trailer options.
 

SEMPERFI8387

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Pittsburgh

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50 HP


Reconsider that 


6 American Adults ?


Take Weight Into Consideration and Load on Boat With Gear , Supplies and Cooler 


If you were on a small Lake with 2 or maybe 4 adults 50 is great 


I considered Yamaha 60HP 4Stroke High Thrust on My Private Lake 


But Where You Are Going and Who You Are Taking 


My Opinion 90 HP Minimum 


I Bought The 90 HP Yamaha and never regretted it :)


 
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SEMPERFI8387

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I really would hate to see you post up next year "I bought my toon in MN. and took it to AZ., now I have a problem and I'm pushed to the rear of the line as the AZ. dealer is taking care of his customers first" Even if you have to spend a little more $$, don't make that mistake. Call the dealer back and follow up.  Don't assume they don't care. Maybe they thought you were a tire kicker and not completely serious. We all get busy, but the squeaky wheel gets the grease.


As for rebates, spiffs, etc....., worry about what YOU are paying and if you are comfortable with it. The dealer may be passing on any "rebate" in the front side of the deal. It may also just be a disclaimer they have to have n the contracts to cover their butts. 
 

Link

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Good advice SemperFi
 

adkboater

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I bought my boat at the dealer where boat in Ny even though we live in SE Pa. anytime we have a question, concern or any issue they can't be any nicer! We happen to get in on a great deal and a great dealer.   :)  


as for the trailer tires..... just stick to radials and be diligent on tire pressure, maintain it at the recommended pressure on the side wall. Due to the distance I'd push for a set of 14" wheels on boat. It makes the trailer a little taller but it's a more common size that you can buy at midnight at any Walmart if you're in a jam traveling beside the extra height for rough roads. We trailer 320 miles each way quite often.


Boat build looks good, I'm a HP guy so I'd buy whatever the hull is rated for but that may not fit your budget. As the saying goes.... pulling back the throttle is always easy. Pushing harder against the stop hoping for more in a jam just sucks! 


Best of luck with your purchase!!
 
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Mike31406

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This forum saved me from almost sure regret.  I reluctantly (because it really stretched the budget) did as they suggested regarding engine size and sps.  Took delivery 4 days ago and am so glad we acted on their advice.  
 

Tooner2

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Guys,


First, I like the way you're willing to spend other people's money.  No, seriously, I like the WAY you're willing to spend OPM.  It's for that reason I'm beginning to question whether, given my budgetary constraints, I can afford a new B boat--at least one that I would like to have until I tip over, which, even though I only recently retired at 67, may happen sooner rather than later precisely because of what seems to be the growing uncertainties and conflict between my budget limitations and the cost of a boat that, based on your comments, will meet my needs/wants.  heh heh heh


Second, I took the "Buy it in Arizona" advice to heart and tried again to reach the sales rep in Havasu.  I emailed him and AGAIN STRESSED that I am a serious prospective buyer who is not just "tire kicking (he already knows that I live in MN and would prefer not to tow the boat all the way to AZ).  So far, it's a repeat performance:  No response.  Nada.  Zip.  I will try to call the sales manager on Monday and see if I can get his attention. I'll let you know the results.  If I can't get any cooperation from the Havasu dealer, then I might as well buy it in MN.  I could contact a dealer in Phoenix, but I winter in Parker, AZ and if I need warranty work done on the boat, I  would likely still take the boat to Havasu and go to the end of the line rather than trailer it to Phoenix. 


Third, I'm going to do some further research on the tire matter.  At the very least, I will negotiate a spare and carrier as part of the deal if I buy new. My preference would be to go with a common "you can buy one at Walmart" size.  I'll have to see if the trailer can accommodate a larger, more common size tire.


In the meantime, thank you for all of the insight you provided me.  The boat I buy will be a Bennington, but it seems more likely to be a used one--in which case, I will no doubt buy it in MN and tow it.  Based on my search in AZ last year, used boats in AZ are MUCH more expensive than comparable rigs in MN--enough to make it worth towing behind the old Winnebago.  FWIW, I'll keep you apprised of the final results--though it may be a while if I go the pre-owned route. 
 

adkboater

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Best of luck in your search for a boat!! The most important piece is to buy what you can afford and buy what you are happy with! When you ask here we'll all give you the honest truth and our past experiences but in the end you being content and satisfied is the best ending!!
 
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