Hey guys, a guy I know may be putting up his 14' Avon Adventurer for sale. I think I finally talked my family into getting our first raft, so I may consider this. He is not sure what he wants to ask for it yet, so I don't really want to discuss what type of deal it will be. I also understand that it is an older boat and I will be taking a chance on how much longer it will last. I am just wondering if there is anything I need to know about 1988 Avons? Were they well made boats during that period? Any changes that were going on at that time? Any info you can bring to the table will be helpful.
The biggest thing I'd keep an eye out for are the rubber valve boots that seat the valves. If they are cracking or showing signs of dry rot then it can be a chunk of change to have them all replaced or patched to modern c-7 valves or allot of work if you have the skills yourself. Beyond that, same old soap test for pinholes that show the condition of the hypalon,seams and valves. 25 year old hypalon can be like new or total shit. It just depends on how it was maintained and level of use, sun exposure, ect.
I have a very well used 1986 16.5' Avon bucket boat and I used it a lot last year. Ran the Main in it in the fall and lots of fishing trips with her. She has a few patches but no leaks and I have to carry two different spare valves because some are original and some have been changed. I am still considering taking this boat on the Grand next spring. Avon are tough very well built boats. At least they used to be.
Buy it!! you will not regret the purchase. Mine is a 1984 first year of self bailers. It was used commercially until 2003. I used it hard until 2010 when I bought a 15' expedition, but I still use the adventure as a second boat for friends and family. My daughter thinks its hers.
I have several old Avons, just a tad newer. I would blown up the floor and check and see if any of the I beams are blown or starting to tear. They will leave a bubble in the floor and are easily seen. I run my floors semi soft just for that reason. I also feel they track and slide off rocks better if they are not pumped tight. The valve boots are another trouble spot as upshitcreek mentions. I haven't had any problems myself, but I keep mine inside and so did the commercial companies I bought them from.
If the boat is not full of patches, I'd buy it, but wouldn't pay more than around $1800. If it is patched or has big patches and you can tell it was ran commercially, I wouldn't go over $1200. If the thing is patch free and always been a private boat, I might pay upwards of $2400.
Update: He said it has some patches and was a outfitter raft. He bought it after one of the guides put a rip in it, but he use to own a raft repair shop and was able to rebuild that area. He has put a lot of work in the boat and has taken good care of it. He is going to send me detailed pictures of it later.
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