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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:38 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:19 pm
Posts: 1
Hi everyone. Im almost new to the four winns family and would like some advice before i pull the plug. Its a very clean 2001 horizon 180. it has 225 hrs and original owner. Ive seen pictures and I'm about to go check it out over the weekend. Id like some advice on what to ask the owner and what to look for. i stumbled onto this site with the research i was trying to find and i figured why not ask you guys the experts since you own one. Im from the bay area CA and i really like the style of four wins for my family. https://monterey.craigslist.org/boa/6019916283.html I just want to know things to look for and questions i should ask. Thanks

) How many hours to the motor(s) have on them?
2) How often do you have them serviced? (Annually by Cert. Mechanic is Ideal)
3) Has the boat been stored in the water or on a trailer?


PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:14 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:44 am
Posts: 733
Location: Las Vegas, NV
I'll pre-welcome you to the four winns family.

1) the hour meter in the pic says 224 hours.

I see rust on the trailer, so I'd ask if the boat was used in salt water.

I've never owned a horizon, so I'll ask the group; "Is that ladder mounted correctly? Looks like a strange place for the ladder."

Good Luck!


Chris and Alicia
Las Vegas, NV
1996 Four Winns 238 Vista Dlx 5.8Fi

Last edited by LVChris on Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:10 am 
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Joined: Thu May 18, 2006 6:01 pm
Posts: 216
Location: Ohio
Looking at the catalog for that year, that is how the ladder is mounted. The swim platform must not be big enough for it to be recessed into it.

Here is where you can find the catalog and performance info: http://www.fourwinns.com/us/catalogs-and-product-information

Here is where to find a parts catalog http://parts.fwdealer.com/

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:25 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:10 pm
Posts: 2032
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
Welcome to the forum.

These engines often last 2000+ hours, or ~25-30 years (whichever comes first), so 224 hours is Very Low hours. Too low hours is sometimes a concern because it was not used often enough to keep moisture out of the engine internals + keep bearings and seals lubricated, etc. However, if this boat was really garage stored always (as the ad claims), then that should more than make up for it.

This boat also has Snap-in carpeting, Not Glued-in. I'm not sure about 2001, but in the late '90s, it was optional. Snap-in is far superior to glued-in because it means you have a fiberglass floor. This keeps water from going into the wood below, as long as all the screw holes were sealed.

The "Garage Stored" is the biggest feature here. Keeping the boat dry and protected from the Sun 99% of the time greatly extends the life of the Vinyl Interior, Electronics/wiring, Hull structure, Gelcoat, carpet, etc. In fact, it probably extends the life of some of these items by 3 to 4 times.

Looking at the pictures, the exhaust manifolds look like the originals (probably time to replace). The thermostat housing looks new or repainted. The Alternator looks like new (might have been replaced, and if they did it looks like they used a factory replacement which is a good sign for their maintenance attitude). The yellow bracket above the fuel pump does is not rusty like my 2000 is...which is a sign that it might not have been in a salty environment (and was kept dry as mentioned above).

The rust on the trailer does not look bad at all to me, because it is only where the paint gets scraped away at the folding tongue? These steel trailers rust from the inside out because they are not painted on the inside of the tubing. There are some drain holes in the bottom where you can stick a finger and feel the inside. Some rust inside will be normal, but you do not want to find large chunks of loose rust inside. If you use this trailer in salt water, you will probably only get another 1 or 2 years out of it as I did. If you only use it in fresh water it might have a lot of life left.


"Knot Easy" 2000 Horizon 240 Volvo 5.7GS /SX
tow: 2017 Honda PILOT EXL-AWD
prev. boats:
'87 Chaparral 198CXL 4.3 OMC Cobra
'69 Jetstar 16ft Ski Boat, 115hp Yamaha
'68 Aluminum Jon Boat, 3hp Sears
'64 Water Wings

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:10 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:57 am
Posts: 23
I purchased my 2003 170 a couple years ago, which is very similar to the 180, and aside from prior owners being lazy with maintenance items (and me launching the boat without a plug..doh!) the boat has been good so far. A few thoughts:

* Inspect anything that passes into/through the hull very closely, especially below the rub rail (i.e. ladder mounts, bow/stern eyes, garboard plug, bilge thru-hull, etc.). If the prior owner did not keep up with refreshing the sealants they may be about ready to let go at this age. The sealant for the ladder screws failed on mine the first season I had the boat (two years ago) which caused me to learn things about boat repair I didn't want to learn so quickly as a new boater. The sealant behind the bow eye was also failing on mine. I would take a screwdriver with a hard plastic handle or a small hammer and tap on the hull all over the transom and around any thru-hulls and listen to the tone and feel for any spots where the hammer makes a "thud" sound and doesn't bounce back very well - it should make a sharp "rap" sound and have some bounce if the hull is sound (don't hit the hull hard or you may get uninvited). No bounce means the hull has water in it and/or delamination may have started.

* Take a socket set and give a tug on the engine mount bolts - my boat takes a 3/4" socket if I remember correctly. The way my boat is designed (similar to the 2001 180), water from rain or swimming can drain from the deck across the stringers and come into contact with the engine mount bolts and cause rot beneath the engine mounts - the engine mount platform on the starboard side of my boat is rotting due to moisture wicking down the engine mount lags and I noticed last Fall that the lags can't get much 'bite' anymore - so some repair work is in the future. The port side is still great, so my boat may have had some water accumulation in the bilge at some point that exacerbated the issue. If the lags are tight then nothing to worry about.

* If the boat was used in salt water, inspect the outside surface of the exhaust manifolds and risers for corrosion which may indicate the risers/manifolds or the gasket needs to be replaced. If you see corrosion, I would want to pull the spark plugs and have a compression test performed before moving forward. Look all over the engine for any signs of water stains, corrosion, etc. and investigate if you see anything you don't think should be there.

* I would have a mechanic change the drive oil, perform a pressure test on the outdrive, and do a compression test (while checking the spark plugs during the process) on the engine to assess the engine health. The oil in my outdrive looked great but apparently it had just been changed before I bought the boat. I took the boat out once and then winterized it - only to find water in the outdrive oil when winterizing. I got lucky as it turned out to be just an o-ring on the drain plug that caused the leak. Had I bought the boat in the spring I could have ruined the outdrive before I caught this. Also, had I known this during the inspection process I probably would have walked away. The cost of a mechanical inspection could easily be recovered if it saves you from as little as one problem - just the nature of boats.

* Inspect the trim ring around the ski locker door. The trim ring holds the ski locker door and takes the weight of people walking on the locker door. The screws that hold the ring to the deck are all but stripped out on mine. Not a big deal, but something to look for that you could use as a bargaining point.

* If the owner will let you I would pull one of the back rests on the stern and inspect the plywood backing to see what condition it is in. For my boat a single screw on the underneath side of the back rest comes out and then the whole seat back comes up and out and you can see how it looks back there (you can also see some hard to reach places behind the seats that could tell a story if the boat has had problems in the past since most people would only clean up the easy to see spots). The plywood backing in mine is starting to show some signs of moisture damage.

* Aside from the above and the obvious stuff, you may want to check out the used boat buying checklist over on iboats forums. I found it very helpful when I was shopping for a boat.

* Make sure anything that was designed to move, you move it the full range of motion a couple of times and feel for anything that seems off.

* Of course, take the boat for a test drive if at all possible and put it through it's paces and watch/listen/feel for anything that seems off.

Aside from the first two points above, I would consider the rest of my advice typical regardless of brand or age of boat. I am not trying to scare you, just save you from some lessons I learned the hard way with my first boat even after I did all the due diligence I thought I could do. Four Winns is a good boat, but ANY boat can quickly have problems if not maintained well over time.

Good luck. Looks like it could be a very nice boat!

2003 FW 170 Freedom 4.3 GL/SX

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