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18MA - Give me your best ideas


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Well my new-to-me 2000 18MA made it to my house late yesterday afternoon.  I've already got my list, but Im sure some of you have some additional or better ideas.  Love to hear them.  These are not in any particular order of budget or importance to me.

1) Wet sand scratches then compound out the oxidation

2) Steering cylinder leak - going to need a new seal on one side.  Think last time I used a local cylinder repair shop and cost me around $100 maybe was cheaper don't recall? When I have done OEM seal kits in past from my local shop the labor plus part from them was pretty expensive.

3) Need new trim tab actuator - Are they all the Lenco 101? Easy to replace?

4) New main cushion- think I will go with the 60" x 14" X 3+" thicker one

5) Backrest - Bridsall looks really nice.  Only oddity is to do 60" and center the back rest support, the right one (facing aft) will be secured into the top of the release well I think.  My seat compartment is offset to the starboard side of the boat. I suppose to make the release well larger.  Thoughts?

6) Stereo - My TM batts are in the console along with the charger so not much room in there.  Thinking I may go with a small amp, BT adapter and a volume knob on the dash.  Seems simplest. Thoughts or recommendations? I'll probably stream music from Pandora or just off my phone library most of the time.

7) Speakers - how did you guys run the wires up to the area under the front compartment, so the speakers mount there facing rear?

8) Ipilot 80lb - Ulterra or not......????

9) Push Pole holder - you guys like the rope or the hard clip in style?  Where you get those?

10) Rod holders in deck - anyone added rod holders in the rear gunnel? Want to make sure they can drain.  Use them from time to time when bait fishing tarpon or just to set a rod down. Better than having them go overboard while dealing with unhooking a fish, taking pics, etc.  Already have 2 on the platform which look like they will work great.

11) Need a new cover sometime soon.  Boatcoversdirect.com is made near me and offers some discounts. Couple choices from $300-600 depending on material. Got one you like?

12) Graph - Have become a Garmin fan after having a 7610xsv on my last boat.  Thinking 9" on this one.  Maybe EchoMap 94sv.  Had touch screen on last one and its great when sitting still but hard to use will running I found.  Appears they make a comparably priced touch screen, 942xs but it does not have side scan which I use some. Thoughts?

13) Seadeck under gunnel storage - where do you get that stuff, especially precut with logo? Only have 1 side as I have locker on the other.

14) Prop- VMAX 150 OX66.  What prop you guys running?  This ones has a 19M.  Also have a spare Avenger 141/8x20.  I want great hole shot, mid range and economy.  Top speed not my concern so long as its reach the right rpm range at WOT which I am guessing to be around 5500?

15) Courtesy light - has a switch but I don't see any lights.  Since I have a RL on one side, thinking in the console facing out on each side would be better than under the one gunnel.  And easy to install.  Anyone?


Obviously unless someone wants to bank this project, 0% for 30 years, this will be bitten off bite by bite over time.  Should be fun! Look forward to your suggestions.  And other improvements you have done to yours that I did not list, please share!







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That's a great boat..proven time after time from hundreds of fisherman. You can buy the Lenco actuators direct from Lenco, easy replacement item...the SeaDek is another direct from factory purchase, pre cut with different colors and styles available. Also Aqua Traction and Ocean Grip make the same type mats as well. That OX66 will turn 6000 rpm with the right prop. Depends if you are going for stern lift, hole shot, higher mph, etc. everybody has their own options on that. The seat cushion redo is an easy one as well, depends on where you live..tap into locals for nearby shops....that's a simple cushion to do. The main thing is go fishing, fishing, fishing. All that other stuff you do on bad weather days, windy or raining. 


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If there's no current speakers or radio meaning no holes, I would seriously consider just getting a BT speaker and using a suction cup mount. I just bought some 8" pioneer speakers for $83 off Amazon along with a small BT kenwood amp that was around $138 or so, no head unit, works awesome for the money


the seal repair is easy if you have the $50 tool or whatever it is. I used a shop to flush my system afterwards and bleed it.

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I installed 2 JLs mx770 in the front deck facing aft with a Fusion RA70.  They sound good but i think they need a amp. I know the machine guns have claimed most of my hearing but I feel they could be better.  I'll probably end up with 2 more JLs in the console and an amp this summer.


I did learn something interesting about my head unit. It's Bluetooth and FM radio. If I just stream downloaded music it tends to drop connection. When I stream XM through my phone the connection is great. I would definitely recommend getting XM internet radio. ($4-5 a month) 



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Get the 60" birdsall backrest. I mounted my base plates into the corners of the livewell. I drilled the screws through the deck, then into two small blocks of teak wood to act as washers to keep it from pulling through the thin fiberglass. I figure if it leaks any water at least it will go into the live well. Backrest is perfect for passengers but a little too far back to use while driving. Most of my buddies say it was the best addition I added to the boat. 

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The cylinder leak is easy to DIY. The seastar kit has the wrench and cap. All that is leaking would be the seal in the end cap. 

Trim tab could be just the switch. You may have but if not I'd rule that out first.

Rather than the cutting in the gunnel rod holders I opted to add some to the poling platform. Couple welded and add couple of clamp ons seasonally for near shore trolling.

The Birdsall back rest can be secured to the hatch and its more functional. You can turn the base bracket around and move the rest several inches closer thus making it functional while driving.

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Congrats, boat looks great. 


4/5) Might consider the Tempress seats. They came on my boat, don't know that I would've added them, I liked the backrest idea better. But now I can say, they are awesome and I love them. Prolly will never own a flats boat without them. Wife loves them too.

6) I just use a waterproof bluetooth speaker, but Im not a big stereo guy. Might not be enough depth in the forward bulkhead, unless you cut into the hatch or fab a spacer. 

6) TM batts, do you not have the battery storage compartment in the front hatch? If so move them up there.

10) Haven't figured out the right spot for rod holders in the back, and don't really have the balls to just go drillin!

12) I like Garmin for its simplicity, but they typical cost more. I watched a side by side video of the down scan feature, Garmin vs Lowrance. The Lowrance blew it out of the water. The video also said, Garmin doesn't really have a downscan element it stitches together side scan. It really missed a lot of detail. I have a Lowrance Elite 7 ti, and its perfect. 

14) I run an Powertech OFS 19 3 blade. Good all around prop, run about 52.

15) Should be one light under the right gunnel and one in the locker, bout 4" round assembly. I replace the under gunnel light with an LED strip. Don't care about the one in the locker. 



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Thanks guys.

I'll see if I can get the parts and tackle the cylinder and tab actuator myself.  

I am a music guy, don't need it to be the sandbar jukebox but do like to be able to hear it while running.  Still checking into the amp plus 2 nice two JLs

Ill consider the tempress seats,  but leaning toward the cushion and backrest. 

Ill check the courtesy lights, maybe they are there.

Yeah I want to get the rod holders right before I make that move.  Waiting on someone to chime in who has done it.  Have 2 on the platform but ideally would like to have another 2.

Will check out the Lawrence.  Used to be  Lawrence guy in the freshwater, great sonar but had some reliabilty issues.  


Anyone on the push pole holder when you are on the platform?

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"Anyone on the push pole holder when you are on the platform?"

Palmetto, here's the one I used. However I knocked it off because of "operator error" on a davit issue, no need to discuss. I then made my own just like it with PVC and starboard, however removable and about one foot tall, don't have to lean over as far. Anyway just Google "push pole holder platform" and there are many options.


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1 hour ago, wthree3 said:

Mine has rod holders in the rear gunnel. They were factory and I assume they have drain hoses running to the bilge if those areas are foamed.   Let me know if you want pictures of the location or measurements.

Can you post some good pics and measurements for the rod holders? I've been wanting to do, but just don't have it in me to drill a hole that big without good data. Any idea on the degree of angle for the rod holders?

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True, if you are staking out. However if you are on the poling platform and and want to QUICKLY secure your push pole and grab a baited rod to throw at a fish you don't have time to tie off with a rope. I never used this type holder to stake out. If you want to get a second chance at a fish your partner on the pointy end missed or didn't see you'll get it because holding a push pole between your legs with a hooked fish is not the best method.

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Flush mounted bow and stern rod holders.

stereo: either 2 JL 7.7s to a JL amp and fusion Bluetooth or two 8.8s. U can go crazy if u want m.. I had 4 7.7s and 2 10s haha. 

Troll batts: I moved them forward in the bow hidden compartment. Helps w weighed distribution plus clears up your console for a house batt (if u want one) and move the starting batt to console out of rear hatch.

Lenco: easy to replace 

Neither go w xi5

Boat cover, went w a bow rider boat cover from amazon, see pic... I think it was $130... u can go through years of these before u ever make up the cost of a custom cover etc

i used to have lowrance it really like my new garmin units on my new boat

Just my .02 cents





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Mitz - great ideas. Did you mount your rod holders? If so where do they drain?

Also like the grab rail around your windshield, people can hold on while running standing up.

See you went Tempress seats. The port side one base screwed in or you get access under to bolt it?

Great looking boat!

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I dont' know about that Nag - believe me, I love Mitz' color - my last MA was the same color and it's just easy on the eyes . . . but . . . 

- That blue green that Palmetto's boat has is absolute eye candy

- I'm a sucker for Hurricane's sea foam green

- My fighting lady yellow makes me grin every time I see it

Dang, I think I just like the stupid thing in any color as long as it has the rope rub rail and is well appointed.  

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Also guys - seller of mine said the battery compartment in the front hatch broke twice on him.  That why he moved those batts to console.  Inspecting it, that false floor is really light and flimsy.  Anyone else had that problem? He said he had it fixed and it did it again.  Can see the repairs.  Looked like problem was the battery weight and bow movement would crack either the compartment or the false floor which holds the compartment.

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2 hours ago, palmetto1 said:

Also guys - seller of mine said the battery compartment in the front hatch broke twice on him.  That why he moved those batts to console.  Inspecting it, that false floor is really light and flimsy.  Anyone else had that problem? He said he had it fixed and it did it again.  Can see the repairs.  Looked like problem was the battery weight and bow movement would crack either the compartment or the false floor which holds the compartment.

Haven't seen any issue with mine, wonder if they made some changes in the years. I would say fix it up, maybe a nice starboard floor and lid. Its a great place for the batts and it helps balance the weight. I will check on mine. 

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