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Considering a Rinker 280EC

MeltomMeltom Posts: 18Member
Greetings all,

Not an owner yet but hoping to be one by the spring. I've gotten through 9 pages of 61  after typing in the "280" in the search window. Dig the passion around here for boating and your Rinkers. 

There are two boats I'm looking at: boat "A" is an 08 with a 6.2 Merc listed at 350hp ( I thought this engine was 320hp?). It's got low hours, somewhere in the 200's and a generator. The other one, "B", is listed with an 8.1 Volvo with no gen and 500 + hours. It's actually 8k more on the asking price than boat "A". Most of the multi day cruising would only have 2-4 adults. At first blush, the Merc seems enough. What do you guys think ?

One sticking point about vessel "A" is that it doesn't have a radar arch. Rinker doesn't make them anymore either. Great Lakes Skipper looks like they have the last 2 in stock and I have a used one I can source for a decent price. Based on what I've gleaned from this forum, the camper top on boat "A" will not be compatible if I add the arch. Is that right ?

A general question: what do you guys love and dislike about this model ?  I started looking at bigger models like the 320,312,342 etc and have decided that since this our first foray into cruiser world, I don't want to bight off too much at first. I expect we'll love it but if we are swamped with a too high an upkeep bill, it could be a turn off. 

Thanks in advance. Looking forward to the expert opinion.
Tom
Post edited by Meltom on
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Comments

  • Dream_InnDream_Inn Annapolis, MDPosts: 4,956Member, Moderator mod

    Welcome to the forum!  You first need to think about how you want to use the boat.  If you are planning on overnighting on the hook, a built-in generator would be top on my list.  (yes, you can do a portable, but since you are looking around and not already purchased, it's a suggestion).  Only thing, it is a lot of boat to push with one engine.  So, that's a tough decision, no genny and larger motor, or genny and smaller motor.  I'd continue looking for a bit if possible.  Have you looked at the 270s and 290s?  (I'm a huge fan of the 310/312/320 older models) 

    Any way you look at it, you came to the right place to ask about Rinkers.  They are truly a great boat! I have good boating friend that had the 280 (can't remember engine size offhand, even thought I worked on it), but he loved the boat and it ran very well.  He now has the 350.  You are smart looking at maintenance and cost and not biting off too much at once. 

    Dream 'Inn III -- 2008 400 Express

  • Cableguy GregCableguy Greg Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 3,766Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2018
    I have a 2008 280EC with the 6.2 MPI/B3. I have a family of 3 and the boat is a good size. Performance wise, I can get her up to 40MPH WOT with 1/2 tank of fuel, clean bottom and 3 of us on board. The Merc 6.2MPI is 320HP. I do not have a generator on my boat. I carry a portable one on hot days to run the air. If there is one thing that I wish I had, it’s a generator. With the genny, you will notice some lag due to the extra weight. The lack of an arch will offset some of that weight.

    You are correct that the camper top isn't compatable, but... On the 2007 model year, the camper top went under the arch. That is probably what would happen if you added the arch. If you want the top to attach to the arch, like the 2008+ models, you will need an entire new camper top that attaches to the arch. You could get by for a few years under the arch until you wanted to make that investment.

    My wife's biggest complaint about our 280EC is the walkway from the stern to the helm. It is a little narrow, and it never fails that when we have multiple adults on board and we are at anchor, everyone seems to want to stand in that walkway. If it was a little wider, then there wouldn't be an issue. Overall, we are happy with her. I love that I have 2 fridges. The cockpit fridge is the adult beverage fridge and the salon fridge is for food and water. We have made a few trips on her and are happy with the overall performance of the boat.

    As far as maintenance goes, it is very easy to work on. After being on this forum, I have learned to change all of my fluids and use higher performance items. For example, I use Merc synthetic blend oil and Hi-Effenciency oil filters when I do my oil changes. I use the Merc hi performance gear lube on my drive. These items might cost an extra few dollars, but it may save me major dollars in the end. BTW, I am a believer in Merc products. One thing that I love about my engine is that I can add VesselView to it. I have the VesselView Mobile device and it has given me a wealth of information on my engine. It tracks my maintenance for me and shows me computer codes.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to ask! Welcome to the forum and I hope you find a Rinker that you enjoy!
    Post edited by Cableguy Greg on
    2008 280 Express Cruiser, 6.2MPI, B3, Pittsburgh, PA
    Go Steelers!!!
  • MeltomMeltom Posts: 18Member
    Dream_Inn said:

    Welcome to the forum!  You first need to think about how you want to use the boat.  If you are planning on overnighting on the hook, a built-in generator would be top on my list.  (yes, you can do a portable, but since you are looking around and not already purchased, it's a suggestion).  Only thing, it is a lot of boat to push with one engine.  So, that's a tough decision, no genny and larger motor, or genny and smaller motor.  I'd continue looking for a bit if possible.  Have you looked at the 270s and 290s?  (I'm a huge fan of the 310/312/320 older models) 

    Any way you look at it, you came to the right place to ask about Rinkers.  They are truly a great boat! I have good boating friend that had the 280 (can't remember engine size offhand, even thought I worked on it), but he loved the boat and it ran very well.  He now has the 350.  You are smart looking at maintenance and cost and not biting off too much at once. 

    Thanks for the info. Of course the inventory is rather thin this time of year on the Great Lakes so your point to hold out for more selection is valid. Boat A looks pristine and with low usage it's seems like a decent value
  • MeltomMeltom Posts: 18Member
    I have a 2008 280EC with the 6.2 MPI/B3. I have a family of 3 and the boat is a good size. Performance wise, I can get her up to 40MPH WOT with 1/2 tank of fuel, clean bottom and 3 of us on board. The Merc 6.2MPI is 320HP. I do not have a generator on my boat. I carry a portable one on hot days to run the air. If there is one thing that I wish I had, it’s a generator. With the genny, you will notice some lag due to the extra weight. The lack of an arch will offset some of that weight.

    You are correct that the camper top isn't compatable, but... On the 2007 model year, the camper top went under the arch. That is probably what would happen if you added the arch. If you want the top to attach to the arch, like the 2008+ models, you will need an entire new camper top that attaches to the arch. You could get by for a few years under the arch until you wanted to make that investment.

    My wife's biggest complaint about our 280EC is the walkway from the stern to the helm. It is a little narrow, and it never fails that when we have multiple adults on board and we are at anchor, everyone seems to want to stand in that walkway. If it was a little wider, then there wouldn't be an issue. Overall, we are happy with her. I love that I have 2 fridges. The cockpit fridge is the adult beverage fridge and the salon fridge is for food and water. We have made a few trips on her and are happy with the overall performance of the boat.

    As far as maintenance goes, it is very easy to work on. After being on this forum, I have learned to change all of my fluids and use higher performance items. For example, I use Merc synthetic blend oil and Hi-Effenciency oil filters when I do my oil changes. I use the Merc hi performance gear lube on my drive. These items might cost an extra few dollars, but it may save me major dollars in the end. BTW, I am a believer in Merc products. One thing that I love about my engine is that I can add VesselView to it. I have the VesselView Mobile device and it has given me a wealth of information on my engine. It tracks my maintenance for me and shows me computer codes.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to ask! Welcome to the forum and I hope you find a Rinker that you enjoy!

    Thanks Greg. Your point about the 2007 v 2008 + arches has already paid dividends. A google image search shows the difference easily and now I know what to look for. The used arch is definitely an 08 so it should have the integrated track but the 07's look fine with canvas underneath. The question I guess is when the current canvas wears out will the tent pole structure be compatible with the newly added arch or will that have to be tossed as well. 

    Had a laugh about the walkway. It's like having a house party and everyone crowds the kitchen. Point take though but the trade off is an otherwise great social layout and second fridge.

    Another happy Merc user...do Volvo guys love their engines as much ?....any takers on owners that have had both? Sometimes the haters of one brand misplace their angst on the manufacturer when they themselves have abused the engine. I know a guy like that. 
  • Cableguy GregCableguy Greg Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 3,766Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Meltom said:
    I have a 2008 280EC with the 6.2 MPI/B3. I have a family of 3 and the boat is a good size. Performance wise, I can get her up to 40MPH WOT with 1/2 tank of fuel, clean bottom and 3 of us on board. The Merc 6.2MPI is 320HP. I do not have a generator on my boat. I carry a portable one on hot days to run the air. If there is one thing that I wish I had, it’s a generator. With the genny, you will notice some lag due to the extra weight. The lack of an arch will offset some of that weight.

    You are correct that the camper top isn't compatable, but... On the 2007 model year, the camper top went under the arch. That is probably what would happen if you added the arch. If you want the top to attach to the arch, like the 2008+ models, you will need an entire new camper top that attaches to the arch. You could get by for a few years under the arch until you wanted to make that investment.

    My wife's biggest complaint about our 280EC is the walkway from the stern to the helm. It is a little narrow, and it never fails that when we have multiple adults on board and we are at anchor, everyone seems to want to stand in that walkway. If it was a little wider, then there wouldn't be an issue. Overall, we are happy with her. I love that I have 2 fridges. The cockpit fridge is the adult beverage fridge and the salon fridge is for food and water. We have made a few trips on her and are happy with the overall performance of the boat.

    As far as maintenance goes, it is very easy to work on. After being on this forum, I have learned to change all of my fluids and use higher performance items. For example, I use Merc synthetic blend oil and Hi-Effenciency oil filters when I do my oil changes. I use the Merc hi performance gear lube on my drive. These items might cost an extra few dollars, but it may save me major dollars in the end. BTW, I am a believer in Merc products. One thing that I love about my engine is that I can add VesselView to it. I have the VesselView Mobile device and it has given me a wealth of information on my engine. It tracks my maintenance for me and shows me computer codes.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to ask! Welcome to the forum and I hope you find a Rinker that you enjoy!

    Thanks Greg. Your point about the 2007 v 2008 + arches has already paid dividends. A google image search shows the difference easily and now I know what to look for. The used arch is definitely an 08 so it should have the integrated track but the 07's look fine with canvas underneath. The question I guess is when the current canvas wears out will the tent pole structure be compatible with the newly added arch or will that have to be tossed as well. 

    Had a laugh about the walkway. It's like having a house party and everyone crowds the kitchen. Point take though but the trade off is an otherwise great social layout and second fridge.

    Another happy Merc user...do Volvo guys love their engines as much ?....any takers on owners that have had both? Sometimes the haters of one brand misplace their angst on the manufacturer when they themselves have abused the engine. I know a guy like that. 
    If you were to change the canvas, you are going to have to change everything. There isn't anything that is compatible between the two systems. There is a fellow forum member, @boattech01 who sells OEM canvas at decent prices. He should be able to hook you up with the entire setup.

    Exactly, everyone crowds in the kitchen. We do like the decent sized counter space above the fridge, which makes for a great location for snacks. That goofy little storage space aft of the trash can is where I store all of our koozies and a few bottle openers. I am not sure what Rinker was thinking, but it has a use for me. The PO of my boat had a dish that fit in there perfectly, but he wasn't willing to give it up when we bought the boat.

    One reason that I am happy with Merc is there isn't a shortage of mechanics in my area that are willing to work on them. If there were more Volvo's around, then there would probably be more VP techs around. I have only owned Mercs because of the ease of getting them repaired and the parts are easier to come by in a pinch. A great friend of mine and dock mate has a 270EC and it has a Volvo in it. He got it new from a market that has more Volvo's than Mercs. He has never had any issues with it and he feels that they are easier to work on. Both of us are on the ups when it comes to maintenance on the engines and drives.
    2008 280 Express Cruiser, 6.2MPI, B3, Pittsburgh, PA
    Go Steelers!!!
  • StodgeStodge Lake St. ClairPosts: 2,177Member ✭✭✭✭
    Agree on Merc over Volvo for parts and mechanics.

    A generator is not a necessity, but it's a pricey add-on and will add to your resale value.  The downside to a generator is the additional maintenance, winterizing, and weight.

    We went from an older 280 (1997) with twin 4.3L and no arch or genny to our 342.  But we like to overnight on the hook and travel the Great Lakes.

    The survey will tell you a lot about the boats.  Attend the survey if you can.

    Good luck with your purchase.

    2002 FV 342 on Lake St. Clair - Past Commodore SHC - Vessel Examiner USCGAUX

  • LaReaLaRea Alexandria VirginiaPosts: 3,131Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    A 280 would be a fantastic first boat.  Everybody says "buy your second boat first" so you don't outgrow it after one season, but I've seen people start too big.  Last year, a guy showed up on my dock with a 33 as a first boat.  Because he had no experience, every outing was a stress-filled nightmare for him, his wife and the entire dock.  As a result, the boat mostly just sat in the slip.  Poor choice.  

    For Merc vs. Volvo:  consider availability of not only mechanics and parts, but also advice from fellow owners.  Around here, Merc owners outnumber Volvo probably ten to one.  
  • MarkBMarkB OntarioPosts: 3,170Member ✭✭✭✭✭

    Let's get the easy question out of the way, and this is simply to confirm what others have already said. The camper top will need to be different when a radar arch is installed. The camper top actually zips to the radar arch at back and front (two pieces).

    As for the engines ... I'd want to see the service records first ... I don't really care about the WOT and time to get on plane, as much as I care about whether it's gonna breakdown every week, or burn oil like crazy.  An engine with 200 hours can be a dog if it hasn't been taken care of or broken in properly.  I'd like to see the lower hour engine with full service records ... then age/hours starts mattering.

    I think the Merc 6.2 is fine.  I had the smaller 260 EC with the 5.7 mercs, and could get on plane with 10 people on board (although it took a while).  The 8.1 is obviously better, but I don't think it's a matter of  it won't work with the 6.2's. It should be fine.

    The other thing I'd add is there seems to be a lot more Merc mechanics around in my area than Volvo ... so try and figure out if it's going to be a pain to service that Volvo ... or get parts.  Merc just seems to have a better footprint.

    Boat Name: King Kong

    "Boat + Water = Fun"

  • MeltomMeltom Posts: 18Member
    Thanks for the continued input guys. As an Update, I just got off the horn with the broker for boat A ( the low hour archless Merc). I was angling to be first in line to view the boat in the spring. The only way to do that is of course via a deposit (5K) refundable pending sea trial/survey. This doesn't seem unreasonable in that he would obviously be inclined to see the boat to first guy with the money in hand. The ask of 42500 USD equivalent including tri axle trailer seems pretty good based on NADA valuation. What do you guys think ?

    BTW. It is a 350hp engine. He supplied this link. As this is todays engine vs. the 2008 I'm not sure what the link proves but it's listed on the ad. On the off chance that it's inadvertently misrepresented, it's an "out" for the deal in the spring. https://www.mercurymarine.com/en/ca/engines/inboard-and-sterndrive/mercruiser/62l/
  • LaReaLaRea Alexandria VirginiaPosts: 3,131Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    What's the size difference between the 6.2 and the 8.1?  Don't forget to check for ease of access.  

    Are you a DIY type, or prefer to outsource that labor?
  • Cableguy GregCableguy Greg Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 3,766Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    I would ask the broker what the serial number is for the engine. The 6.2MPI that came in the boat is not the same as the new 6.2 that Merc is offering. The new one, a 2018 model, has been completely redesigned and is 350HP. The one for that year boat, is basically a stroked out 350MAG that is 320HP.
    2008 280 Express Cruiser, 6.2MPI, B3, Pittsburgh, PA
    Go Steelers!!!
  • MeltomMeltom Posts: 18Member
    @LaRea I won't be doing any of my own engine mtce. so that's not a factor. The other daily stuff I will tackle for sure.
    @Cableguy Greg That's what I figured and frankly a broker should know better, but like I said it's a potential built-in out clause if I don't like the boat beyond the sea trial. 
    Does the price seem fair to you guys ?
  • Cableguy GregCableguy Greg Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 3,766Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    The price of used boats has leveled off, and in some cases gone up over the past few years. IMO, the price of new boats is getting higher, which is making used boats hold their value. I paid $55k USD for my 2008 280EC in 2014 with a trailer. I have the same engine/drive that is in the boat that you are looking at. I also have the arch, but I do not have the genny. For a boat with an engine under 300 hours, I think that is a fair price. Just be prepared to do some maintenance because of the low hours. Along with a survey and sea trial, I would ask for an oil analysis from the drive and engine.
    2008 280 Express Cruiser, 6.2MPI, B3, Pittsburgh, PA
    Go Steelers!!!
  • MeltomMeltom Posts: 18Member
    @Cableguy Greggood advice on the analysis. Will do it for sure.
  • Dude_HimselfDude_Himself Charleston, SCPosts: 424Member ✭✭✭
    I love my 280. Worked on it today, well, from it. Ran my portable generator on the gravel next to the trailer, topped batteries off, all while sitting inside on my laptop earning my boss money. I sure do miss boating - it's been a **** 18 months with two injuries, one preventing me from doing much, and the poor boat we work so hard for is just sitting there on the trailer.

    Hopefully next year is better, but if @Meltom is interested in a cherry 2006 280EC with the 8.1L engine, genny, AC, and everything 100% working order: give me a ring.
  • MeltomMeltom Posts: 18Member
    @Dude_Himself that injury bug better pick on someone else, you're due for a break by the sound of things.   I'm up in the great frozen north and our respective heads of state are in a bun fight over trade right now so it's an additional 9.5% tariff on any inbound US boats. I gotta find a domestic one or buy lots of paddles for my boat trips. 
    I've decided hold off on the deposit until the ground thaws. I got a copy of the agreement and the "out" clause wasn't good enough. It needed to be iron-clad to make a sight unseen deposit. I will still pursue this, just going to wait. If the subject of my dreams is sold, I will find another LOL. In the meantime, I'm learning a ton from this forum.
  • WillhoundWillhound Lake Simcoe, Ontario, CanadaPosts: 1,566Member ✭✭✭✭
    @Meltom I think you're on the right track. Too many people get excited about a new boat and make rash decisions and regret them later. Lots of boats out there. 
    "Knot Quite Shore" - 2000 FV270
  • Dude_HimselfDude_Himself Charleston, SCPosts: 424Member ✭✭✭
    @Meltom it's been a saga starting right after I bought the boat. I broke my wrist (winch handle got loose), replaced the AC on the boat, had two hurricanes make landfall within 50 miles, then a 6" snowfall (in Charleston) which shut us down a week while I was supposed to be in Spain for work (airport closed), had to get a kid medical treatment 6x+ in a few weeks for an infection, hurt my back, had both our vehicles break down days apart, had two more hurricanes make landfall just miles away, and last Friday discovered my nearly-brand-new home is infested with termites thanks to a construction and pest control deficiency (they left slab penetrations sealed with nothing more than cheap Home Depot spray foam insulation).

    I need some good luck soon.

    Buying a boat is a huge decision - we got super lucky Josh was selling his and the Rinker community had seen how nice it was. I trusted that and bought it sight-unseen from 1k miles away. There were a few things I wish I knew about, but the river was flooded when we met to deliver the boat so buyer beware. It's still been a great boat and I'm off this week sewing a cover for it becuase I want it to look this great forever.

    Some good deals in the winter - if you can properly survey and sea trial it. Otherwise I'd wait until that's possible and hope to beat the spring price increases.
  • MeltomMeltom Posts: 18Member
    @Dude_Himself you're so due for an above average 2019. Maybe buy a few powerball tickets as a show of confidence ;)
    It feels like spring today so I'm chomping at the bit to become a boat owner. I will be back with more annoying questions as soon as I get another lead. 
  • jme097jme097 Algonac, MIPosts: 1,215Member ✭✭✭
    I have a 2007 280 with no genny and the 6.2. I have no real beefs about the boat. Sometimes I wish I would of looked for a 2008 with the canvas thats connected to the arch but then again I don't mess with my canvas all that much. It goes on in the spring and comes off in the fall. The on board generator is nice for convenience but then again its one more thing to take care of in the engine compartment that can be cramped. I have a Honda EU2000 and love it. It can run the whole boat on a gallon of gas for 6-8 hours which is fine for me. 
    Boat Name: Knot A Worry
    2007 280 Rinker Express 6.2L B3
  • boatmandanboatmandan Posts: 15Member ✭✭
    I have a 2009 280 express with a Merc 8.1 and no generator.  I can use a Honda 2000 portable if I am on the hook and it will power the A/C.  Saves on maintenance for the generator which is another engine that needs service especially if you are in salt water.  Volvo engines are more expensive for parts and labor than the Merc.  Recommend the Merc in the 8.1 size.  Cruise at 30mph and use 15 gals an hour.  Top speed is 45 mph
  • Dude_HimselfDude_Himself Charleston, SCPosts: 424Member ✭✭✭
    With the 280EC and the 8.1 Mercruiser I easily hit 42MPH yesterday (GPS) running against the wind/tide, with the wife, two kids, a full greywater, nearly full water, and full fuel. I had 4-500RPM available. I've towed skiers up too - there's plenty of power to get the boat on plane without dragging the skier through the water. This summer I may get a chance to play rescue boat for a paragliding clinic - that'll be way fun.
  • jme097jme097 Algonac, MIPosts: 1,215Member ✭✭✭
    The 280 came with a 5.7, 6.2 or the 8.1. Wish I would of been more patient in looking for the 8.1
    Boat Name: Knot A Worry
    2007 280 Rinker Express 6.2L B3
  • Michael TMichael T Posts: 6,547Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    @Dude_Himself. Yes - you are THE Dude because you were smart enough to select the best available power for that 280. I have been on a 280 with a 377 (6.2) mag and an 8.1 (496) the difference was UGE. 
  • Cableguy GregCableguy Greg Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 3,766Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Michael T said:
    @Dude_Himself. Yes - you are THE Dude because you were smart enough to select the best available power for that 280. I have been on a 280 with a 377 (6.2) mag and an 8.1 (496) the difference was UGE. 
    I do agree that the big block is the way to go in the 280, but I have no issues with the 6.2 in my 280. I can hit 41MPH at 4700 RPM in my boat. I am more than happy with it.
    2008 280 Express Cruiser, 6.2MPI, B3, Pittsburgh, PA
    Go Steelers!!!
  • jme097jme097 Algonac, MIPosts: 1,215Member ✭✭✭
    @Cableguy Greg agree 100%. The 6.2L is not a deal breaker. If I wanted to go faster I would of got a center console or open bow lol. I am in no hurry lol
    Boat Name: Knot A Worry
    2007 280 Rinker Express 6.2L B3
  • StodgeStodge Lake St. ClairPosts: 2,177Member ✭✭✭✭
    Shame they don't put twins in the 280 any more.  My 1997 280 had twin 4.3s and she'd cruise at 30 while getting around 1.5MPG.  

    2002 FV 342 on Lake St. Clair - Past Commodore SHC - Vessel Examiner USCGAUX

  • Cableguy GregCableguy Greg Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 3,766Member ✭✭✭✭✭
    Stodge said:
    Shame they don't put twins in the 280 any more.  My 1997 280 had twin 4.3s and she'd cruise at 30 while getting around 1.5MPG.  
    The new 280/290 isn't wide enough for twins. She only has a 9'1" beam. I believe the original 280FV had a 10'6" beam.
    2008 280 Express Cruiser, 6.2MPI, B3, Pittsburgh, PA
    Go Steelers!!!
  • StodgeStodge Lake St. ClairPosts: 2,177Member ✭✭✭✭
    I would have said 10 foot even.  

    2002 FV 342 on Lake St. Clair - Past Commodore SHC - Vessel Examiner USCGAUX

  • Dude_HimselfDude_Himself Charleston, SCPosts: 424Member ✭✭✭
    My 280 will cruise at 30 getting 1.99 MPG trimmed, or 1.6 MPG running dirty (for wind/swell).

    I wouldn't buy  a twin: two much work. :-D
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