True scoop - Ranger 518VX Owners - Long Post True scoop - Ranger 518VX Owners - Long Post
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    True scoop - Ranger 518VX Owners - Long Post
from Jack (  
9/6/2001 12:35:00 AM


 I'm in my 60's and I need a new boat. I've found a 1999 518DVX with a Merc 200 Opti in absolute mint condition. Motor has less than 30 hrs. and boat is just like it came from factory. Pristine +++.

I know this is a popular boat but I'm still scared to make the plunge and plunk down my hard earned bucks. Sooooo... I'm asking you owners to be truthful with me.

I'm not asking for for anything but the truth. Would you do it again? Is this boat hyped too much or is it as good as I've heard. I've crawled all over, under. and every which way, and I can't find anything but quality.

This will be a boat that I will probably keep for many years (probably my last). My old Pantera II is a '92 model and I hate to part with it.

I fish very few tournaments. I mainly want something that my wife and I can take out and be comfortable with. I want a nice ride and decent performance. Comfort and ride is primary. If the waves get very high, I'll be long gone.

No bashing please. I don't need any "lead sleds, overpriced, etc" Just constructive comments, please.

Thanks for your indulgence I appreciate your comments.

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   Just what I would do ... from Thunder Runner  9/6/2001 12:55:00 AM
 I would be concerned with the OptiMax with the 2-Stage Direct Fuel Injection. I don't have one but this is not exactly a proven performer. I own a Merc (not an OptiMax), but if it was going to be my "last boat" I would hold out for the 200-225 hp four stroke.

I would also wonder why there is only 30 hours on a 1999. Is this on an hour gauge? It maybe 30 hours on a rebuild, I'm sure you have asked.

Good luck Jack on what ever you buy.

John M Richied

   Ranger 518 from Matt from MO (  9/6/2001 1:49:00 AM
 I ran one for 5 days straight at the Federation Championship last April and rode in two more last June. All had a 200 Merc. I got a good feel for the boat and I am not a Ranger lover although I just bought a '96 361 through a sponsorship deal. Ranger's resale value around Springfield is great but for you that is not the question. The 518 was the best boat that I have ever fished out of, great finish, layout and it did run faster than I had expected. The only drawback is the ride in rough water, rather poor but I was told that was the tradeoff for speed. If you really want a Ranger, go with the 520 for a better ride and a little more storage. If you were a heavy tournament fisherman I would suggest the 518. As for the motor, who knows. I was told a 2 cycle could always blow at the next turn of the key, no matter the age and I believe it. Good luck.

   I'd do it again. from Scott (  9/6/2001 1:56:00 AM
  Jack I own the very same boat your considering mine is a 1999-518VX 200-Optimax, I'm the second owner and have had my new boat for about 3-months I fish alot of "T"'s and love this boat and the ride, I really like the width and stability of the boat while fishing and it set's level in the water sure helps casting when skipping lure's.As far as the Opti. I really like it too, sure saves at the gas pump,but would be to early for me to give you sound advice on the Merc. my other Ranger had a Johnson and this is my first Merc. I haven't had any problems with my motor and I got an extended warranty unti Nov. 2004 so I figured I could pressure test it between now and then. There is alot of good boats out their but I have stuck with Ranger and can honestly say I have been well pleased. This is a sweet boat with plenty of performance all the way around. As far as motor If you can get a warranty it would be better, if not I still would'nt be too afraid of it seems the 200 is a good motor from reports I have gotten off this board and other owners I personally know.I'm happy with mine and would do it again.Good luck with your new boat whatever you decide to buy.

   Opinion from Sms (  9/6/2001 7:59:00 AM
 My fishing partner has a 518 and I'll tell you what my opinion is. The rod box on the right side is 7' long, but to get a 7' rod in there, you have to bend the rod to get it past the opening (didn't like that). The floor room in the cockpit is terrible. With a bag containing five Plano 3700's under the passenger console, you have to straddle the bag because there is absolutely no room for your feet. The boat does not fish like a 19 footer, more like a 17 1/2 footer due to that extruded transom. Measure the usable length from the end of the rear deck to the trolling motor panel and you'll see what I mean. If comfort is your aim, the 518 will fall short in ride. It will run the upper 60's (partner's runs 67-68 on GPS. But at that speed you HAVE to drive it, it doesn't just loap down the lake at that speed. The boat has tremendous bow lift and WILL get a little squirrly. Seats are low in the back and very uncomfortable on long runs. It's more of a sports car and that doesn't sound like what your looking for. It fishes well, like all Rangers, great livewell system, don't like the step down cooler (you'll bust your butt when you step backwards and drop off the deck). Seems like a lot of negatives for a boat that costs that much. I'd look at a bigger boat myself.

   I believe that the R91 is a better boat.... from Jeff Southern (  9/6/2001 8:27:00 AM
 The R91 is bigger, has more storage, is cheaper and rides better than the 518vx. You will have to live with the black plastic dash vs. the wood grain plastic dash and the seats in the r91 don't look as good, but they are as comfortable.

I would look for a used R91 and get a better boat for less....

   Ranger from whitecap (  9/6/2001 1:15:00 PM
 The Ranger boat would not be my concern, but the OptiMax engine would.

Many people are satisfied with them, but as many or more are definitely NOT.

At your age, the last thing you need are problems with a motor while out on the water. So why not keep things simple and find a boat with a 'traditional' EFI or carb'd engine.

Or, run that Opti till she blows and slap a new four stroker on the back. Those Ranger transoms might be one of only a few boats able to handle the weight.

Good luck, whatever you decide!

   518 comments from Ranger Chris (  9/6/2001 4:57:00 PM
 I tried to do my homework when I bought my R91 this spring. Everyone I talked to (dealers, pros, and guides) said the same thing. The R91 rides alot better than the 518. The cost is less and the storage is more. It is bigger and better if you can live without a few bells and whistles. My R91 contains everything that a 518 contains right down to the trailer and custom colors and it was $5000 cheaper and this is no joke. I fish lots of t's and it is an awesome boat.Try to find an R91 or go with the 205vs. Good luck and ride in both with your wife first.

   Sms ???????????????????????????????? from Darren Sigmon (  9/6/2001 6:29:00 PM
 In response to the post by SMS you may need to have your partner e-mail me. I have seen very few Ranger's that get "squirrly" on top end. All of which were overpowered. I can truthfully say that under any load conditions or speed, Including full throttle my 518VX will maintain a straight and very stable ride without even holding the steering wheel. No, this is not a safe practice just a fact. Maybe your partner has a problem with something on his rig.

Jack, after owning many Ranger boats for the past 21 years I feel this is the the best tournament boat Ranger has ever made and I am sure it would serve you well, but if you don't fish many tounaments and desire a boat that you and your wife will have plenty of room to move about in, I would not recommend this model. As stated by Sms the floor space is tiny, not a must for the tourney man, but a big plus in your case. Your wife would not appreciate the huge deck space this boat offers, she would much rather have a floor area for the grandchildren to stand and fish also. In my opinion not the best boat for your application.

Sms this is not an attack, I just want you to know a "squirrly" Ranger is very uncommon.

   Well... Here is my .02 from Chuck (  9/6/2001 7:05:00 PM
 I have owned 5 Rangers and my current one is an R91 with a 200 hp EFI. I too would NOT like the OPTI I have 2 guys in our club with OPTI's both have blown powerheads. They use less gas but MORE oil than the EFI this is straight from Merc in Fondulac.Also the oil is $25.00 a gallon and the motor seems not very reliable. As far as the 518 it rides fine but the R91 is bigger and does ride better in rough water this is a fact but the 518 rides fair. I think you would like an R91 or the dual console R93 better and it would cause less headaches with the EFI Merc other than the OPTI.The decks on the R91 are GREAT the rear deck is the same as the 520 with the cooler included. Find an R91 and get the EFI you will be very pleased:)

   My 2001 518 does all I ask and more from Art  9/6/2001 7:38:00 PM
 Great boat. The ride in rough water is directly related to the skill of the driver behind the wheel. I can make it pretty darn good or if my partner likes to whine and complain I can "shake him up" a little and blame it on that darn boat. The motor I chose was the 2001 200 3.3L FICHT. Awesome motor with no complaints. As far as high speed handling my boat rides like a caddy to about 68 the starts to chine any faster. If you drive the chine it will GPS to 71 and change. The boat is the perfect size to fish Rayburn in the spring. Gets through the flooded pines with no problems. No complaints about the boat motor or trailer.

   I Started This Thread - A Few Comments from Jack (  9/6/2001 10:12:00 PM
 I've appreciated all the comments so far. Let me clarify a few things. Another boat, motor, etc. is not an option. I'm looking at a specific rig that is available. A '99 518DVX with an Optimax 200. I'm not really boat shopping. I was basically just wanting comments from 518 owners on their experiences, likes, dislikes, etc.

My old PanteraII DC has served me well (and may serve a few more years). It's just getting old and I want something that I can trust. Hell, (G) the old Cat has never let me down either.

The Ranger deal came about because the owner, shortly after buyin the rig, experienced some health problems. It was used sparingly in 1999, almost none in 2000, and has been started once this year. It is basically a "new" 1999 rig.

I don't mean to be brusque or offend anyone, but another boat is not an option. That is the reason I specifically wanted owner experiences.

Again, thanks for all inputs. You people are the best... Jack

   Jack if its a good deal from Wayne1 (  9/7/2001 12:52:00 AM
 Last year I started out looking at Tritons, Bass Cats, and Rangers. I've owned 6 Rangers in the past. I'am like you I found a deal I couldn't pass up, on a brand new 99 518 DVS w/ 200 EFI 10 months ago. I'am happy with it,would like to have a 20' or 22' boat but no more than I fish I can take it a little slower in real rough water. The ride and speed are ok and so is the layout. I haven't had it GPS but from what I've seen posted on here it should be in the middle to high 60's and thats fine with me. I wasn't looking for a 518 when I found this one but like you said the deal was too good. If comfort and ride are your main concerns you will be ok. Wayne



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