Do some research on the ski before going to look at it. NADA or Kelly Blue Book for resale values (these are just base values, and I use the avg. resale as top end values). If after market parts have been added to the ski, you made need to expect to pay a little more, depending on what they are. Find reviews of that ski, and see what people are saying about it.
There's lots of stuff to look at. Hull condition (scratches and gouges are signs of beaching, and possibly running the ski in less than 2ft of water). Look for blistering of the paint. This is a sign of being left in the water for extended periods of time (days). The paint gets saturated and substraight gets contaminated. Sometimes this will be extremely visible in the jet tunnel. Not a deal breaker, just know it's there, and will have to be repainted soon so the substraight doesn't start delaminating and develop mildew. (at that point, the bad material will need to be shaved out, and filled with fine hair bondo glass (I have used this with excellent results) or the equivalent (needs to be SMC compatible)). Ask about, and look for repairs to the hull. Do a compression check, and look at the plugs. Remove the fuel cap and smell. It should smell like fresh gas, and not gas that has been setting for 6 or 8 months. Again, not a deal breaker, just might require a entire fuel system cleaning.Start the ski for a seconds, and listen for anything that doesn't sound right (10 sec running max), ski should start right up if a 4 stroke, and a 2 stroke might take a few short cranking cycles to get it fired (nothing longer than 5 or 10 seconds max per cranking cycle (4 or 2 stroke)). I usually give 1-2 second cycles until the fuel system primes on a 2 stroke. These starters are not built like a automotive starter. Take a good flash light and look at the leading edge of the impeller for damage (you will have to look through the intake grate). Check the condition of the oil injection lines if it is a 2 stroke. Ask if the engine has been rebuilt, and if so, what all was done, who did it, how long ago, and why it was done. Shake the trailer wheels. Looking for excess play. Should be just a slight amount of play. To much, and you will probably be doing wheel bearing, but not a deal breaker. Costs about 30.00 in parts. On avg., a nice single trailer is worth about 600.00, and a double 1000.00.(as of 6/11/2016)
Use common sense. If the ski is nice, and you can comfortably live with the price, why not. Don't be afraid to barter the price some. The seller knows what it is worth.
If it is near water, by all means, ask if you can take it for a test ride. Do you buy a car without driving it first ? Try and round up someone you absolutely trust that knows a thing or two about ski's, but don't let them tell you, you are being to anal about things. It is your money, not theirs.
Last edited by rodsatheart; 06-11-2016 at 06:02 AM.