WARNING: to champion boat buyers WARNING: to champion boat buyers
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    WARNING: to champion boat buyers
from Gary Lowry (  
2/19/2001 9:54:00 AM


  Champion Boats cannot take ruff water without getting stress cracks or structural damage. Even a large boat wake can damage a Champion. With only two stringers and very little other structural support,these boats flex too much. I own a 1999 221 and have thousands of dollars worth of damage to my boat. I drive my boat like a old lady. Not only are these boat structurally inferior, when you have a problem with your boat you will not get any response from the manufacturer other then a letter telling you that you are responsible not the manufacturer. I'm not a Champion boat hater, I have owned Champions since 1986.Their new boats,(at least 1999 models) are nothing more than an egg shell with a motor attached. I never thought I would consider buying anything other than a Champion, but now I have no choice.This whole ordeal makes me sad how my favorite boat company dumped on me and won't even talk to me about it. So I'm letting you know so you don't waste your hard earned $35,000.00 on a inferior boat. If you plan on using your Champion pond fishing or on small lakes that don't produce waves over two feet,you shouldn't have any problems. Champion Boats are a fine riding boat and layed out to perfection. Everyone I know that fishes from a Champion on bigwater is having the same problem.

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   I had a little cracking problem...... from FishingCareer.com  2/19/2001 10:08:00 AM
 on a 95 181 and ChampioN bent over backwards to take care of it. They also found a couple minor cracks I had not noticed(looked like I hit a stump) and they fixed this as well.

Sorry to hear you are not getting the same response.

Brad Tharp is the owner of fishingcareer.com, leading the fishing industry as an Angler Marketing Agency. Brad designs and markets products for the fishing and boating industry and is himself a competitive tournament angler.

His sponsors include Champion Boats, Bag-em Products, Rolls Batteries, Shimano, and Spike-it Baits and Guest Chargers.
   Second the statement on poor quality Champion from humminbird (  2/19/2001 10:21:00 AM
 Now, this is not a bashing. You will not see any bashing associated with my name on BFHP. I speak the truth. I agree with Gary Lowery. Several years ago I was fishing a bass tournament in NC and this poor chap came in the weigh-in area with nothing but horror on his face. Many gather around him to see what was going on. His transom was coming off his boat. It was a new boat he said he purchased that year (sorry not sure of actual year). The only thing that kept the boat afloat was the separation was above the water line on both sides of the transom. I said I would never buy a Champion. I never had. If the truth hurt, then let the bass boat builders shape up.


   champ cracks from sd (  2/19/2001 10:25:00 AM
  Sorry to hear about your issues here.

Champs, historically, have had problems, on and off, with stress cracks.

There are many excellent, crack free Champion boats out there on the water today, and then there are many that have taken that on that 'cracked egg' appearance.

Stay on the mfr. with the help of your dealer. I'm sure they'll eventually come to the rescue.

Good luck!

   cracks from Jim (  2/19/2001 11:06:00 AM
 My 99 187 has spent 2 full seasons on lk Erie, its like iron, but its a replacement boat,had problems with 98 and Champion took care of and then some.

   champions (or any other boat brand) cracking from richard e. from texas (  2/19/2001 11:10:00 AM
 Brad Tharp -- since you are sponsored by Champion, it is no wonder they would take care of you. But they should also take care of any of their customers as well, without having to pull teeth to get it done. Beats me how a company that has earned such a good reputation would let it all go downhill.

   Guess i've been lucky from JohnM  2/19/2001 11:52:00 AM
 My 98 181SX has seen it's share of pounding still lokks brand new w/o one crack. The only problem I have had was on seat material and Rico Silvera worked with the factory to replace those. Sorry to hear your having a problem.

   Gary, There is more going on here than what you are telling us. from Don Neidig  2/19/2001 11:58:00 AM
 I have owned a 1999, 193 Champion for two full seasons and run my boat on the Potomas River. I have beaten and banged it up and down that river every weekend I can get out. THERE ARE NO CRACKS ANYWHERE ON MY BOAT !! You have done something to that boat that you are not telling us and are trying to scare others away from ChampioN because they know what you did.

   Hes telling the truth from Jim Reister (  2/19/2001 12:40:00 PM
 If you run in any kind of ruff stuff they flex and crack like crazy. I had a 191 that had more cracked spots than un cracked. The factory slipped under the fine print saying cracking is not covered. I do not beat my equipment but i do fish tournamnets that do see rough water,if this boat cant take it im getting one that will ! Im going to Ranger I think at least their factory support is alot better,my buddy runs a Ranger r91 and beats this thing daily and guess what,no cracks at all !! Champ used to be a good boat and good people to deal with what the hell happened ?????

   Richard E., my sponsorship...... from FishingCareer.com  2/19/2001 12:40:00 PM
 was via my dealer who had gone broke when the cracks appeared so I had to deal with ChampioN just like any other customer would.

Will admit that my next boat is going to be a Pro Craft. Sponsorship with them is company direct and wont have to worry about putting in so many hours for a dealer that will be gone tomorrow.

Brad Tharp is the owner of fishingcareer.com, leading the fishing industry as an Angler Marketing Agency. Brad designs and markets products for the fishing and boating industry and is himself a competitive tournament angler.

His sponsors include Champion Boats, Bag-em Products, Rolls Batteries, Shimano, and Spike-it Baits and Guest Chargers.
   Not bashing??? from Ben H (  2/19/2001 1:42:00 PM
 You guys may say its not bashing but the facts are that it is bashing. How do we know you are being truthful? Maybe this is a dealer who just got canned by CHAMP and wants to extract his pound of flesh? You may justify your bashing by saying "this happened to me." Consider this, for every bad comment your hear about Champion, there are about 3,996 boats that went out each year where the customer is very satisified with his product. There are problems that can occur with any brand of bass boat. Bad resin can be shipped unknowingly to the mfg, bad gel coat, an employee who just forgot to do one simple task and it gets covered up, styrene can puddle and cause blisters. But guys these are the exceptions to the rule, not the norm. No reputable boat company will build and sell a boat that they know has been built below standards, it is beggin for expensive warranty repair and comments. No one wants that, let alone the mfg. I would love to see the standards raised for all bass boat construction, but that is my personal crusade, not that of the industry. Give these guys a break and quit the bashing. Talk to them personally and civily, give the mfg a chance to fix the supposed faults. Degrading them on a public forum buys nothing but ill will toward you. And I can guarantee you this one thing for all you pro staff guys, if you make a lot of negative comments about the brand you now run, don't expect much of a favorable reponse when you go looking in the next camp. If you don't believe that reps and marketing people from competing brands don't get together and talk, you are sadly mistaken. NO one wants a whiner on the staff, and another thing, they could care less how many tournaments you have won. They want to know how many boats you can add to their bottom line. If you get a reputation as a whiner......well you get the idea.

   Bashing from PropR (  2/19/2001 4:06:00 PM
 I always like to hear when there are problems with any particular boat or motor. I was in the market for a Johnson/Evinrude motor a couple of years ago and I read about all the problems the Fichts were having and thank you board posters for giving the Fichts the bad press or I would have paid $2,000 more for one instead of getting the carbureted model. I would suggest that if you have your heart set on a Champion, look at the dealers trade in Champions and any Champions that you see at the boat ramp and see if it is the truth. You might just tell the owner of the boat that you are just admiring his boat and ask if he is happy with it? I suspect you are going to hear more truth than lies.

   Whatta ya mean dont BASH from Roadking  2/19/2001 4:37:00 PM
 Hey Ben H what the heck are you talking about.BASH BASH BASH when you pay that kind of money and dont get help.That part of the boat dealers and magf not covering cracks is a bunch of crap.You built the boat-I bought the boat-your boat cracked-you fix boat-No brain surgery here.Just fix it,you dont want to fix it--FINE- its BASH time.Ya right BEN just keep on letting corporate america get over on us.And by the way,say there are 1000000 happy boat customers out there-Fine,then it should'nt be that big of a deal to fix the few that broke.

   bad warranty from scott (  2/19/2001 4:49:00 PM
 Any boat manufacture that will not take care of cracks or other problems should be exposed on this or any other board. May be then they will start doing the right thing or will go broke..

   You guys are getting me a little nervous. from h2os (  2/19/2001 5:45:00 PM
 I just bought a 1992 champion 184 DCX. The boat was gone over with a fine tooth comb and everything looked great. Are the problems described above more common on the newer Champs? Am I going to have trouble with this hull running on Champlain where we can get quite rough. I thought I had done my homework before buying this boat. Did not hear anything like this while researching. They have a good reputation up here. Where on the hull should I be watching for trouble and if there is not a problem now, do I still have the chance of developing one? The previous owner ran on the Potomac and I don't think that is considered calm. I thought Champs were known for handling rough h2o!

   Its not about the boat-Its the sevice from Roadking  2/19/2001 6:06:00 PM
 I would not worry about the boat.Champs are great boats.its all about the service,if the mgf will stand behind there product.Some do,i have a boat that I will not mention the brand,so you wont think Iam partial.But I took the boat back to the mfg this winter for some minor repairs.They were great.They fixed everything without ?.Plus gave me any of the 2001 upgrades.Fixed every little scratch and reconditioned the whole boat.thats the only diff in new boats ---the service from the mfg,and if they will stand behind there product with no questions ask.So h20,I hope if you do have any problems ChampioN will stand behind there product,It dont sound like they do to me.according to the post above.

   Good Luck Gary from Copperhead Road (  2/19/2001 6:57:00 PM
 Hope you get the boat fixed, no one wants to be out that kinda money. By the way watch out what you say, BEN eh I mean big brother is watching. Man I was going to buy a Gambler at a recent show but all I could think of was someone associating me with BEN so I backed out of course.

   I also have a 1999, 221 Champion with a 225, no problems from Riche (  2/19/2001 7:17:00 PM
 I also have a 1999, 221 Champion with a 225 Ficht. This is my 3rd Champion. I think any make of boat can have problems. The question is what quality goes into the design and manufacture of a boat. I would have expected Champion to step up to the plate on any problem that one of their boat owners would have, in warranty or out of warranty. We expect the best that is why we buy the best. I fish tournaments on big water also, Lake Ontario, Thousand Islands, Potomac River and Lake Champlain. I haven't seen any cracks but maybe I'm not looking in the right place. Gary, can you E-mail me with the details. Thanks, Rich

   Gary, I dropped you an..... from FishingCareer.com  2/19/2001 7:24:00 PM
 email and will help in any way I can.

Brad Tharp is the owner of fishingcareer.com, leading the fishing industry as an Angler Marketing Agency. Brad designs and markets products for the fishing and boating industry and is himself a competitive tournament angler.

His sponsors include Champion Boats, Bag-em Products, Rolls Batteries, Shimano, and Spike-it Baits and Guest Chargers.
   Champion customer service from Bruce (  2/19/2001 9:13:00 PM
  I'm sorry to hear about your experience,but is this the whole story? I find it hard to beleive a company built on its' 25 year old reputation for quality and customer service to deny a 2 year old boat warranty claim.There has to be a reason. I have had nothing but great experiences with my Champ.I'm not saying the boat was perfect(NOTHING man made is). The few problems I have had have been taken care of beyond my expectations.They have a first class product and back it up!

My next boat will be a 203 because I fish ponds like Lake George.And no,I am not sponsored by, or work for,Champion.

If this is legit,I hope it gets resolved.

If not, was I a top-water bite? Fish On!

   Boat Repair shop - Authorized Champion Repairs;not covered under warranty from MuskyMan (  2/19/2001 9:48:00 PM
 I had a boat that I had made myself fiberglassed at this boat shop near my house.I knew this guy would be good because of all the bass boats in front of his shop being repaired.When I got to talking to him I noticed some of his work was stress cracks.He pointed out to me the makes of the boats; 90% were champion! Now I don't own a BASS boat,but rather an ugly multi-specie boat with somewhat of a configuration of a bass boat.He told me the main reason for the stress cracks were these boats (Champions) were not meant to go 60+ mph.I corrected him and showed him with a 200hp engine the boat was able to handle it.He pointed out to me that sure the boat can go that fast but it will wind up back in his shop guaranteed.I then asked him about rangers and how many wind up in his hands.He showed me one out back where a car rear ended the boat while being trailered - that's the only time a ranger gets in here.I do have to say he did an awesome job finishing up my livewell.It looks just like a bass boats livewell.

   Champion from fishbait (  2/19/2001 10:10:00 PM
 I am sorry to hear that you spent that kind of money for your champion and this is what it comes too, I also have an 87 champion and have been happy with it on big water like Travis here in Tx, but have noticed it is seperating from the hull next to the passenger seat. I have always heard good news about Champions, all of course are the older models, since most out here can't afford the newer boats! I wish they were wider at the beam than they are, but I have been happy with mine. Point is that I believe in and feel that you should let us as consumers know your experiences...more power to us to make either an educated or uneducated decision about any purchase made. Customer service is lacking in most companies, and I will make a guarded decision in buying another Champion, based upon your post and others that have let me know their problems. Point is that all boats have problems but what we, and that is everyone, (I think) in this string would like to see is that ALL problems are handled judiciously by the mfg'r. All of us spend lots of money on our boats and I feel that we have a right to seek out compensation for defects or problems in the merchandise we purchase. It does not pay in today's market to even have one dissatisfied customer, ie, power of the internet....Good Luck!

   1994 Champion from Don Conroy (  2/19/2001 11:06:00 PM
 I have a 94 Champion 190. The finish is flawless. I drive hard and fast and there are no stress cracks whatsoever. I had an 88 Ranger 360V before this boat and it was full of stress cracks. I loved that boat too. It had the usual ones near the transom...one day after 20 miles in 4-6 waves the cracks were all over it. I blamed the rough water not the boat. I'd take a Champ over a Ranger for the ride but I'll gladly take either. I fish a lot of amateur pro ams so I get to ride in all of em. I haven't been lucky enough to draw a Gambler or a Bullet yet. Of all the rest, I think Champs ride the best and Rangers fish the best cause they're so low to the water. I hope they back their claims.

   Champion Boats from Grumpy Bass (  2/19/2001 11:38:00 PM
 I run a 96 202 w/Merc 200 on the Potomac River, not quite as rough as Erie, but worse than most. I Run the river hard, submarine’ed 4'ers twice (you would have thought I should have learned better!) jumped the "accidental" big boat wakes and my boat shows no signs of cracks.

If you believe that I have a "good-one", I urge anyone who actually could be biased by posts like this look around at boats in the 2-5+ year old range. Look at ALL of them, you will find that Champion's hull and overall quality stands true to their reputation. I did this prior to purchasing mine, in fact it was THE reason I purchased the boat.

I feel bad that Gary is having problems, I believe that if the evidence shows that the manufacturer is responsible, they will take care of it.


   stress cracks are a fact of life from eriedude (  2/20/2001 7:07:00 AM
 i dont care what brand of boat you own if you fish on lake erie it has stress cracks. period.especially a boat as old as yours. first of all stress cracks are NOT a strucural defect. it is a characturistic of any fiberglass work. most boats have stress cracks in them when they pop them out of the mold at the factory but they dont show up right away.look at any glass boat warranty and youll find that stress cracks arent covered under warrenty,but alot of manufacturers will fix them because they want happy customers.i run a procraft on lake erie and it was pretty much crack free for the first 2 years but now they are showing up. no big deal, im not gonna sink, the glass isint going to rot away and ya cant see them at more than 3 feet away..........da dude

   Champ Stress Cracks from terry (  2/20/2001 7:51:00 AM
 I had the same experience with my '94 184 DC. I got rid of it and won't ever buy another Champ. Champion was little or no help when the cracks kept coming back, year after year.

   Ben H from Triton5limit (  2/20/2001 7:23:00 PM
 Ben you think any comment about a boat brand is bashing. On this post there is at least five comments from past champ owners who have had the same type of problem. Also he said Champ would not help him. He has given them a chance to make it right. They won't stand behind a two year old boat? That is something I would want to know about. Just like the other day when your panties got twisted about Gambler's customer service. I don't care if you work for them or what you are to Gambler. You are more than just a loyal customer. Just in case you are asleep I will let you in on the secret. There are problems with boats and the manufacturers. How many people might have fallen into the OMC trap had people not exposed the problem. Where they all bashing too. When 1/4 of these replies say they have had the same problem or heard of it then there is probably some truth to it. I would be just as pissed if the people that took my thirty g's wouldn't even talk to me. Your word is not the gospel and bad products need to be exposed. That is part of what this board is for. It's not only to tell about your new boat and chit chat. It is for getting help with your problems and to help others. Not to be called a troll or say your a dealer who just got canned. And so what if it might have been caused by bad resin. Is that Gary's fault? It's funny how you don't ever hear about this from Ranger and Triton owners. That's because they stand behind there product. Working for a boat caompany I would think you could help some guys out. Maybe give advice on the proper way to pursue warrnaty work. All you can do is BOO-HOO and say quit picking on these poor multi-million dollar companies that screw people. And most of the guys on this board are not pro staffers. So they couldn't give a s#$t about covering a companies ass that doesn't help people out. You need to get on the same page as 95% of the people who read these boards. Think about helping out your fellow fishermen instead of trying to protect your companies bottom line. I said it before and I'll say it again your a joke!

   Tanks for the info... from Fishbait (  2/20/2001 8:45:00 PM
 I won't be buying that Champion this year after all...I concur with the posts. I work too hard for my money and have bad luck to begin with, maybe I should look at a Cobra or Ranger or maybe Triton..not sure which handles big water better?



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