Sunday, April 14, 2013

If you want to try it before you buy it?

I am a pretty firm believer in trying something before you buy something usually.  I did buy my first and last Hydrodyne boat without trying it.  Reputation and experience with their products which my friends owned and I skied behind is how I made my decision.  There was no internet!   I actually had my younger brother stop and order my boat since I was very busy with work and play.  It turned out well and I still have the boat although almost every mechanical thing has been updated and/or replaced over the years.  No fiberglass work has been done though. So I have the original 1987 hull, carpet and windshield.  Trailer, most of the rigging and the engine has been replaced. The engines several times. But that is another posting so back to the real subject.

When it comes to used products and products without a warranty it is buyer beware. 

I would not buy a used boat or motor without a test ride, drive and ski.  I'd also pay an independent mechanic to check an expensive used product before I bought it.  Boat motors on a pallet could be a nothing more than a boat anchor.  Boats that you have not tried could perform lousy or have a rough ride and big wake.  It "ran well last time I used it" is not a guarantee of anything but trouble most likely.  Just like "I don't have time to finish the project" or "the repairs should be cheap and easy".  Yeah right then have them done and call me back!

Since we pretty much sell Dyna-Ski boats directly you either need to know some one that has one or go some where and try one out.  Unless you roll the dice and just "go for it".  Seems like many people have rolled the dice somewhat, went for it and we have not failed anyone yet.  The owners of the boats in Russia and the Cayman Islands did not come here to try before they bought.  With the internet you can find a wealth of information about products and what customers think about the products.  However remember that it is nearly impossible to please all the people all the time.  I think we have done a pretty good job.

If you want to try a Dyna-Ski I'm making this offer. 

Come to Wisconsin and try one this summer.  I'll pay up to $500 towards your reasonable expenses if you buy a Dyna-Ski within one year of trying a Dyna-Ski with me or my Dyna-Ski friends when you take delivery of the new Dyna-Ski boat.  There are a couple other places we may be able to make something work but it will take even more planning and the summer is short.  For specific details and to set something up please call or better yet email and ask.  I'm a busy person just like you and everyone else but we will do our best to make something fit your schedule.  Don't wait to long as this offer may be withdrawn at any time.

Call: 715-854-7501 and expect to leave a message.

So what are you waiting for?

How long does it take to build a boat?

This is a question I often get from people shopping for a Dyna-Ski Boat.  The answer is simple sort of.  It takes a week or two to actually build the boat.   

However there are many factors that influence how long it actually takes to get a finished water ready Dyna-Ski boat. 

Almost all of them are out of the hands of the boat building crew and me. So if we have everything on hand we can knock out a boat in a week or two.

All Dyna-Ski Boats are custom built to order. The only exception being the demo boats I have. We build them when things are slow and equip them like many Dyna-Ski boats are sold. Once in a while we will try something new but not real often.

Now for some of the factors that effect the boat building process.
First of all there is the customer.  The longer it takes the buyer to decide what they want often delays the start of the their boat.  If they are not sure of the color very little if anything can be done.   We don't believe in building boats and letting them sit outside waiting for a buyer like many companies do.  Many dealers and not just boat dealers do this with everything they sell.  Thousands of vehicles, boats, ATV's snowmobiles, lawn mowers, etc. sit outside for long periods of time waiting for a buyer's garage. I am old enough to remember when mom and dad went to the new car dealers to order a car and then they waited hoping that the new car was delivered as ordered.  No one bought a new car off the dealer lot!

A Dyna-Ski boat can be delayed by the down payment being sent slowly.  We build all our boats based on when the money is received.  When we get the down payment your place in line is established.  The only ways your place in line slips is if you give us a certain day you want the boat or if a supplier fails to come thru with something needed to build your boat. The suppliers are the biggest issue by a wide margin.

Many fiberglass materials have a shelf life.  If the product gets old it should be thrown out. Using out of date materials is not a good idea.  I'd be willing to bet that some manufacturers use outdated materials.  We do not.  Not to long ago fiberglass products that were ordered on Monday, got delivered on Thursday or Friday and the bill would come around the end of the month with 30 days to pay.  Not any more!  Now we have to order the product we need, pay for it and then wait.  Sometimes as long as three months.  It does get real ugly.  There are plant shut downs, vacations, holidays and all sorts of things that come into play.  I should also mention that fiberglass product prices go up and down (usually just up) all the time kind of like gasoline.  This makes it hard to know exactly how much the boat hull and deck are going to cost only 30 days from when a customer asks for a price. Many other prices also continue to slowly go up.  Every time we reorder the prices are higher and waits are longer.  It has taken almost a year to get windshields since they were ordered.  YIKES!

There are as many as 500 parts in a water ready boat. 

We have a limited amount of space and money for inventory.  Space is the biggest problem.  It is an uphill battle to keep as many things as possible on hand to build boats.  I feel we are pretty good at anticipating what we need and ordering with plenty of time to have everything on hand when your boat is scheduled to be built.  Sadly it does not always work out that way. 

The suppliers of the bigger items needed like the trailers and steering just to name two obvious items can be eight weeks out as we come into the time when customers typically want to start taking delivery of their new Dyna-Ski. The normal lead time is three weeks for them both.  We keep some things on hand but the more big items in stock the more it costs to build a boat.  I don't like to keep new trailers or boats outside period.  The motor manufacturers have been pretty good but from time to time even shortages have occurred from them.  We get as many of the motor specific rigging parts and pieces from the motor manufacturers as we can.  I like Evinrude, Mercury and Yamaha specific rigging used with each specific brand of engine.  So if you have a problem with any part of the power train chain in years to come your local dealer can service the problem easily.  If we mixed and matched rigging parts and pieces the local dealer could blame the problem on the generic stuff that some manufacturers use to save a little money.   For instance if an Evinrude tachometer fails the local Evinrude dealer can easily replace it.  Not so if we used a generic tachometer.  If in 10 years you want a newer and more technically advanced outboard engine you can just trade the old engine in at the local dealer and have him install the new engine.  This may not be possible with generic rigging of a boat and motor.  It is really that easy as long as you stay with the same brand normally.  Try this with an inboard water ski boat.

There are many little things that are used to build a water ready Dyna-Ski Boat that you don't give much thought to until one cannot finish a boat because of the back ordered item so the water ready boat can be delivered or picked up by a new customer.  A customer that is anxious to get their new Dyna-Ski boat on the water.  A new fishing boat is in the shop waiting on some grab handles that have been on back order since before Christmas!  The boat shop builds Recon fishing boats and a line of skiffs as well as Dyna-Ski Boats.  So if you wanted a Dyna-Ski "Ski & Fish" we could likely build you one during the slow part of the year.   The boat shop also does repairs, rebuilding and replacement interiors for all types of boats.  This work helps to pay the bills and keep the costs of new boats down as well.  We also learn from fixing other builders boats and have learned from fixing old Hydrodyne boats. 

Boat building is the #1 thing we do so everything else fills in the dead time, keeps the crew working and getting paid.

The internet means lots of people can now find, check out and shop Dyna-Ski Boats.  Many more people are checking out Dyna-Ski Boats.  More people are buying Dyna-Ski boats. With more sales comes longer waits.

My best advice is to order any boat well before you want to use it. 

The interest rates that banks are paying and charging are pretty low so the cost of money is low.  Your money in a saving account of any type isn't making much.  Waiting even a few days can result in a long delay getting your new custom built for you Dyna-Ski Boat.  Some things can be decided after you order your Dyna-Ski Boat, some cannot.  It would be awful to be watching every one else on the lake because you waited a few extra days to order or send the money.  I'd hate to have to start guessing how people want Dyna-Ski Boats built and build boats to sit outside.   A boat is a luxury and they do cost a lot of money.  I think that you would hate to have to settle for an in stock packaged boat of any kind to save time.  Taking your time to decide exactly what you want is a good idea.  Keep in mind that paying more money won't speed up the process.  We have had people ask, even ski teams!

We don't normally sell our demo Dyna-Ski boats until fall so when people want to try a Dyna-Ski Boat in the summer they can.  Selling a demo Dyna-Ski in the spring or summer can be dicey as we are often building boats for customer orders so we cannot build a replacement demo.  Some people like to try a boat before they buy a boat.  If we sell a demo and get some late orders I don't have a Dyna-Ski Boat that people can try or time to build a replacement.

We do our best and try as hard as we can but some things and many suppliers cannot be rushed.

Now that you have read this information maybe you now know how long it takes to build a Dyna-Ski Boat?  What I really hope is that you understand that the answer changes daily it seems.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ethanol Fuel bad for your boat and other off road engines?

Since gasoline with ethanol added came onto the scene I have tried to avoid using it.  I check my vehicles miles per gallon (MPG) every time I fuel up.  I noticed about a 10% drop off in my 1999 Chevy Pickup and 2000 Suburban MPG when I could no longer easily avoid gas with up to 10% ethanol at the pump.  Both vehicles had the 5.3 liter V-8 engine, automatic transmissions and 3.42 gears.  Pickup is a two wheel drive and the sub is four wheel drive. When I'm towing the loss in MPG is even greater with the ethanol added fuels.  The heavier the load the worse the MPG.  Much worse than with no ethanol added gasoline.

A few years ago I replaced the 1999 pickup with a 2004.  The 2004 has the 5.3 liter V-8 engine, automatic transmissions and 3.73 limited slip gears.  The 3.73 geared pickup seems to be much better for towing than the 3.42 geared pickup was with no running empty MPG penalty vs the 1999 pickup.  Actually now that I think about it the 2004 is much better than the 1999 pickup was overall on fuel and comfort wise.

I read articles in various places including Consumers Reports, some online magazines and other sources about the effects of ethanol in gasoline.  What I read is not good.  My marine mechanic friends tell me a lot money is made by marinas and small engine service places because of gasoline with ethanol in it.  Ethanol attracts moisture concentrating its corrosive effects. Ethanol also tends to settle out of gasoline which is even worse. It is very hard on the older fuel systems.  It tends to be worse on engines with carburetors.  Not to mention all the engines that are just ruined.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bans gasoline with 15% ethanol from lawn mowers and other power equipment.  Seems the 15% mixture causes the engines to run hotter and causes engine failures.  According to the EPA even the 10% ethanol can help destroy engines.  So the higher the ethanol content the harder it is on the engines.

Ethanol attracts moisture which really means water.  The effects of mixing water and gasoline was bad in the past and still is.  Moisture in the gas line is what helps to cause gas line freeze in the winter.  Remember that old problem?  It is the reason we added products called "heat" to our vehicles in the winter when it was real cold outside.

So now that I've told you how bad that ethanol is in gasoline you are wondering what you can do to help prevent problems in your boat and other engines perhaps?  So I will tell you what I do and a few other related things.  I wish I could use the non ethanol gasoline in my vehicles but that is not practical and cost effective so far.

I avoid ethanol gasoline for all my small engines, boats, snowmobiles, my 400 cubic inch V-8 hot rod and 1970 plow truck.  I have spent time searching out sources for non ethanol fuel.  It is posted right on the gas pumps and has to be according to the law.  Around here some gas stations sell premium without ethanol in it.  It is more expensive but I feel it is worth it.  All gasoline without ethanol is going to cost you more money it seems.  You will save money though when you don't spend time or money fixing things later.  I have also found that Fleet Farm sells non ethanol mid grade and premium at their gas stations.  There are a couple gas stations that sell regular no lead without ethanol but they are few and far between.  I have noticed some gas stations near race tracks sell better grades of gasoline.  One of my friends uses aviation fuel.  He works at an airport.  Some retailers even sell non ethanol fuel by the quart which is really pricey.  The companies selling gasoline to the farmers for bulk delivery offer gasoline without ethanol to their customers.  So in many cases, the farmers are not even using the stuff they make money on indirectly themselves.  Seems it messes up the older engines found on farms!  I have considered a bulk gasoline tank but there does not seem to be any savings for purchasing in bulk.  There is also the hassle of where to legally put a bulk gasoline tank because of zoning not to mention insurance concerns and a bulk gasoline tank being a theft target, shelf life, etc.

I add a product called Sta-Bil to all my portable gas tanks when I fill them following the directions on the label.  I add extra directly to the fuel tank when it may be a longer term storage situation.  So towards the end of the various seasons I add extra to the particular fuel tank when I put fuel in it which is in addition to the regular amount I add every time I fill the portable gasoline tank.  There are several different products including a marine version, ethanol version, etc.  I read the labels on these products before I buy and use them.  I have tried several brands but I use the plain red Sta-Bil and it seems to work fine.  It is sold in gallons and quarts. I buy it in gallons and I reuse the plastic quart dispenser that they sell it in as it makes measuring and adding it at the pump or gas tank fairly easy.  A small funnel makes it easy to pour from the gallon into the quart dispenser.  I add the stabilizer product to the portable tank before I fill it with fuel usually.

Marine Formula which is higher priced but requires less per gallon

Gallon of the improved formula that is red in color
Improved means ethanol compatible it seems
One gallon is good for 320 gallons of gasoline it says

Quart container that Sta-Bil is also sold in that makes a great dispenser
The tube on the left has markings for the amount in the tube.
You can transfer the fluid by squeezing the bottle 
to get the amount you need in the dispensing tube
Hint: Take off both caps to start  
It actually works quite well just think which way to pour the contents of the tube 
before you dump it into the gas can so the bottom contents don't spill 
or run down your hand

Gasoline with ethanol in it has a shelf life.  It seems like 45 days is the number I hear most often.  I make it a point to off season store most of the toys with around 1/2 tank of gas in them.  Then I fill the gas tank when I'm going to use the motor again.  This seems to help to minimize the effects of storage on the gasoline.  It seems that products like Sta-Bil and others help to lengthen the shelf life of gasoline.  Some things like small lawn mowers, weed eaters and chain saws it may be worth while to run the gas tank empty before you put them away for the off season or an extended period of time.  Decide this for yourself.

Some outboard engines like the Evinrude E-Tec now come with an in line fuel filter.  I'm not sure when they started this practice.  For awhile we were putting a large in line fuel filter on Dyna-Ski boats.  I added one to my old 1987 Hydrodyne many years ago.  It has been trouble free and there have been several engines on that boat.  These products are still in the various marine catalogs if you want to add one to something you own like an older boat and motor perhaps.

There is nothing worse than having trouble with a recreational product when you are going to have some fun and relax.  This would be a bad way to start a vacation.  Then when you have spent a bunch of time and/or money and the problem turns out to be gasoline related you may want to change your ways.  I learned this early and so far I have avoided major problems, knock on wood.  I do my best to point my friends and Dyna-Ski owners in the right direction from the start.  The gasoline I put in all the water ready Dyna-Ski Boats is the mid grade non ethanol gasoline from Fleet Farm as I drive by one going between the home office and the boat shop. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

The right prop for your boat

The right prop on your boat is very important.  Different boats, motor sizes and uses should be reflected in the prop on your boat.  Dealers sometimes sell you what they have on the shelf and not what is best for your package and specific use.  On Dyna-Ski Boats we are not interested in top speed as much as we are about steady speed holding and hole shot for getting skiers out of the water. Fishing boat owners and go fast boat owners want top speed.  Pontoon owners want a prop that provides the power to move their loads and is economical too.

Different brands of engines and even different sizes of engines within a manufacturers line of products often use different prop hubs and different prop sizes.  So not all of the many props available can be used on all the engines.  When you buy a new or used prop make sure it fits your motor brand, size and year as there are differences.  Some dealers will have demo props that you can try.

There are many factors that go into prop selection including specific use, engine size (horsepower, number of cylinders and displacement) as well as gear ratio.

A word of caution.  Props are metal and have sharp edges.  They are heavy also. I almost cut a finger off changing a prop while testing props one day and I have changed thousands of props.  The engine was not running either.  SO BE VERY CAREFUL!  Wearing heavy gloves is a good idea also.

Props can also be rebuilt (fixed) and some prop repair shops can change the pitch of the prop slightly.  Prop shops are not all the same and some are better than others. Generally speaking you get what you pay for so cheaper is often times not as good as new or perhaps as good as another prop shop produces.  Ask to see a couple props they have fixed and decide for yourself before you spend your money.  A prop can only be fixed a couple times.

There are also places that can modify or fine tune a prop for a specific application. It is not cheap and not an exact science. Many things can be done to fine tune a prop including changing the pitch slightly, making the blades smaller, adding holes to create some slip, plugging holes to reduce slip, balancing the prop, etc.  Generally speaking this is not something for a do it your selfer.

There is usually a part number somewhere on the prop.  Many times it is in the center of the mounting hub but sometimes it is on the side of the prop. The first number is the diameter in inches and the second is the pitch in inches.  The pitch is how far forward in theory that the prop will move the boat forward for one turn of the prop.

The first one below has the part number 389925 and size 15" X 16".
This prop has a fixed hub and can only be used on a specific brand of engine.
It is hanging on a wood dowel on my wooden prop rack.

The second one has the size 14 1/2" X 15".  
It is a removable center hub so it can be used on different engines with the proper mounting hub.

On Dyna-Ski 17.6 Models with a 150 Evinrude E-Tec we have found the four blade 14 1/2" by 15" stainless steel prop to be the best for the application currently readily available.  Dyna-Ski 20' Open Bow Models with a 200 HO or larger engine we tend to put a four blade 14 1/2" by 17" stainless steel prop on them unless the user wants additional pulling power then we suggest the four blade 14 1/2" by 15" stainless steel prop.  With the four blade 14 1/2" by 15" stainless steel prop the engine will hit the motor rev limiter more easily with light loads.  This does not occur as easily with the four blade 14 1/2" by 17" stainless steel prop on the 200 HO to 300 motors.

I wish that the motor companies had a better selection of stock "water ski" props for some of their engine models. What I mean by this is a selection of props that increases the pitch one inch at a time. We used to suggest 3 bladed props but these props have been changed over the years so now we suggest mainly four bladed props. A good "water ski" prop needs some slip to help acceleration or boost torque somewhat.

 I found several interesting videos on You Tube which will give you more information.  I'm sure there are many more than these couple.  A boat manufacturer and motor manufacturer should be able to guide you in the right direction for your specific application.  Enjoy the videos.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Boat Wheelies

Dyna-Ski Water Ski Boats are designed to keep the bow of the boat down while taking off and pulling water skiers.  However drivers of our twin and triple motored boats discovered a long time ago that the twin and triple motored boats could be stood up or do a wheelie on the water and even driven along with the nose of the boat high in the air.  

Dyna-Ski boats does not suggest anyone try this and it can result in damage to the engine or engines.  Damage that is not normally covered by any warranties.

There is a lot of video on the web.  Just search "boat wheelies" and enjoy it.

Below are a couple still pictures you may find interesting or not. 
The boats have to be tough to stand up to this "special" use.
I just got this new picture from a friend.
Min-Aqua Bats setting the bar pretty high.

The most famous is the red Dyna-Ski of the Min-Aqua Bats
This was their first Dyna-Ski and had twin 150 Evinrude E-Tec motors. 
They are the kings of standing the Dyna-Ski up no doubt.

Min-Aqua Bats second and current 20' Dyna-Ski still with twin 150 Evinrude E-Tec Motors.

The Must Skis have a twin Evinrude 250 HO's powered Dyna-Ski 
and a driver that likes to give a little show once in awhile.

This is a triple Dyna-Ski powered with four stroke150 Mercury Verado Engines.

Again please don't try this at home . . . . . . .