View Full Version : 22 classic info for newbie please...

06-17-2011, 08:26 PM
Hello im new to the registry and this is my first post. Also im fairly new to donzi. I am looking into getting a used 22 classic and other than knowing they are great timeless boats im kind of lost. My budget would be in the 20 to 30k range on the high side. What would be considered the best motor drive combo for solid performance and reliability? ive only had expirence with outboards in the past so all these different drive, prop, tab, eng combos are a bit overwhelming. I have been doing some reading on here and everyone seems friendly and very knowledgable. Any time and advice you could give a newbie and hopeful donzi owner would be much appreciated. Thanks.... P.S ive been to the donzi webiste and other than pics they diidnt give much info im one of those research nuts that studies for months before i make a decision so trying to play catch up one the recent history of the 22 well the history in my price range .. please suggest any reading i may do.. thanks again sorry this was so long..

06-17-2011, 08:33 PM
You should be able to find a nice 22 with your budget. For $5k more George's 22 project would be incredible. His boat will be better than a new one in my humble opinion.

06-18-2011, 01:58 AM
Where are you located at? In that price range you can find a lot of boat for a 22C if you know where to loo. I know of 2 or 3 in the NW are that are all very clean and vert fast 22C's. When making a purchase like this, if you keep an open mind about how far you're willing to go for the boat you want, it will pay off in the long run. PM me if you want any info on the ones in my area.

06-18-2011, 06:31 AM
have you set your sights on hull and deck configuration? a location would be helpfull here in local_to_you searches for you

Greg Guimond
06-18-2011, 06:56 AM
Welcome to the board........:yes:

joseph m. hahnl
06-18-2011, 10:03 AM
Welcome: Big block 502 with a Bravo drive. Shoot for a fresh water boat . Do not buy a boat that does not have closed cooling.Also Hydraulic external steering is a plus. Later 1994 and up *Note at some point the stringer location had been moved and created some stress cracking. These boats needed to be reinforced in the motor compartment.The repair should have been completed by Donzi as a recall, but I believe they only did the boats that people came forth and complained.
This is not a problem to deter you from buying those years it just needs to be addressed for longevity.Carl C "A.K.A.: 3rd childhood" Has this set up and is extremely happy with his 22.

The ride in a Classic takes a little seat time ,to get the hang of the steep roll. Especially off plane in a turn. Avoid getting on plane with boat wakes as it can trip the boat, and will scare the living life out of you. All this comes in time, and remember the trim button is your friend.


Good luck with you purchase hope this enlightens you a little

06-18-2011, 10:31 AM
Guys im in the florida panhandle destin/ ft walton beach area.. i have only seen a 16 classic and really would like the larger 22.. im thinking about buying next season as summer is in full swing here.. and this will give me time for a good search.. the info about the recall is all good stuff to know what to look for on these boats and what is considered the best setup from the factory i know thats all relative to each person but just good general knowledge.... the boat will run primarily in salt water in our bays around here...

06-18-2011, 10:53 AM
additionaly does anyone know what year the stringer issue was resloved?

roadtrip se
06-18-2011, 11:47 AM
Welcome to the hunt.

A little feedback for you to consider:

The 1995-2001 454 and 502 American Marine Holdings boats are my favorites, and I am a little biased, because I own a 2001. They are well built, every year they got a little better in glass quality, and I like the stainless windshield frame for appearance reasons. They are all gel boats, which is more durable than the paint used in later iterations, and the the 454 and 502 engines have scores of upgrade options. One key "Like" for me, is that I have never had to use the tabs on this boat for any reason, so the handling is very neutral, even now with big power under the hatch and some extreme speeds.

The post 2001 boats had to have the stringers set further apart as an adjustment for the 496 and 496HO package. This is what is being referenced as "stringer" boats. There were voids under some of the stringers in these boats, and they cracked. Notice, I said "some" of these boats, not all. Some are very nice examples and have not had to be touched for this issue. I have seen other quality issues with these boats, too, but it applies to some, not all. The 496 is not as easy to modify, period. And these boats all seem to require more tab to run. There are fine examples of these boats out there, but I would certainly take a harder look at one of these, especially in the bilge and the bottom under the engine.

Good luck with the search. And come run with us, when you get a boat in the shed!

06-18-2011, 11:50 AM
thanks great info

donzi 22
06-18-2011, 12:40 PM

06-18-2011, 01:08 PM
Welcome to the hunt.
The 1995-2001 454 and 502 American Marine Holdings boats are my favorites, and I am a little biased, because I own a 2001.
I own a 2004. If I could do it over again, these are the years I would look at. The 496 boats just don't seem to handle as well. Much more tab control needed.

If looking at 454 boat, personally I would make sure it is the 385hp Mag model. These engines are stronger and a better base if you decide you need more hp.

06-18-2011, 01:11 PM

Nice looking, clean boat!

06-19-2011, 01:32 PM
well seems like im norrowing it down 2001 502 sounds like what i need prob in the price range as well.... would anyone care to explain closed cooling .. im assuming it uses freash water not salt water in salt water out ....

06-19-2011, 02:16 PM
Closed Freshwater cooling use a Heat Exchanger & two pumps where an antifreeze mixture is circulated in the engine itself, just like your car; while the raw or saltwater only runs trough the heat exchanger's tubes.
This keeps the costly engine's water jacket corrosion & rust at bay.
Engines last much much longer with FWC closed systems.

There are two typs of Freshwater cooling systems.
1) Full systems cool both the engine & exhaust manifolds with antifreeze.
Only the exhaust elbow risers are subjected to raw or salt water.

2) 1/2 systems cool only the engine itself with antifreeze; while both exhaust manifolds & riser elbows are raw , or saltwater cooled.
The exhaust manifolds & exhaust elbow risers are thus considered expendable replacment items.

80% of the freshwater cooling closed heat exchanger antifreeze systems on fast speedboats are only 1/2 systems.

I do 95% of my boating in saltwater.
I would not own any inboard boat without a closed Freshwater Cooing System.

06-19-2011, 02:25 PM
Here's a good source for Monitor Prducts in both on engine and remote mount configuration.
I'm using one of the remote models for my TR project.


Here's a picture of my remote system;


06-19-2011, 04:57 PM
thank you..

06-19-2011, 04:59 PM
If you don't boat on salt much, FWC isn't as much of an issue. My boat isn't FWC, and it has spent plenty of time in salt with no issues. More then likely you'll be rebuilding the motor before you have any corrosion issues if you don't boat 100% in salt anyways.

FWC is nice to have, but I'm not putting it on my new motor. Boat sits in salt maybe a week straight a year, but most of the time is in the lake or on the river. Not worth the added cost IMO.

06-19-2011, 07:56 PM
it will be used in our bays here in the florida panhandle some call that brackish ive just always considered it salt water for all intensive purposes...

06-20-2011, 11:14 AM
Salt or brackish, fresh water cooling is a good idea.

Here are a couple pics of the elbows of a 454 I just replaced for a guy. The boat had spent part of its life in salt, part brackish, and part fresh. I have no idea how old the exhaust is (boat is an '89) but one engine was competely dead and disassembled when I got it and the other looked like this.

No, FWC wouldn't change the raw water coming through these elbows, but you can imagine what the rest of the motor looked like from these pics.

Fresh water cooling is a good thing.

06-20-2011, 11:44 AM
Almost everyone selling a used boat will tell you that it was almost Never used in Salt Water~

How can you really know for sure ?
Did another prior owner use it in salt water ?

Since you will be taking your time to shop for just the right boat~
Do yourself a big favor and buy one that aready has a heatexchanger Freshwater Closed Cooling system already on it.

As I said before~
I would NEVER own any inboard boat without a Freshwater Cooling System.
I sure would not buy any used boat or engine that did not have one already installed.

06-20-2011, 01:19 PM
Most of the problems with engines come from the manifolds leaking and running water back into the engine. Fresh water cooling does not fix this problem. If I had a boat that sat in the water full time, Fresh water cooling would be a must... trailer boat? not so much.

Find a nice, well maintained, clean boat and just run it. When you pull it out do a good flush with Saltaway. You will find that 95% of the 22's you will look at will be raw water cooled. You'll also find boats with thousands of hours of salt use that are raw water cooled... So, IMO, don't over concern yourself with the Fresh water cooling issue.

06-20-2011, 08:56 PM
since so many boats do not come with fwc seems like it would be easy to find the boat i want and add that on... i think it would be worth for it me in the long run...i looked at the monitor products suggested and they seemed like good systems ... i really like the idea of reash water when you grow around salt water you really know what kind of damage it does to everything... but not moving anytime soon and still want that donzi!!

06-21-2011, 08:13 AM
since so many boats do not come with fwc seems like it would be easy to find the boat i want and add that on... i think it would be worth for it me in the long run...i looked at the monitor products suggested and they seemed like good systems ... i really like the idea of reash water when you grow around salt water you really know what kind of damage it does to everything... but not moving anytime soon and still want that donzi!!

My brother and I boat almost exclusively in salt, as do hundreds of thousands of boaters across the world, and have always had raw water cooling on boats that get pulled out of the water (with one exception that I can think of). On our boats that have lived in the water... always FWC because you can't flush them so the heat exchanger is simply a maintenance item.

Regarding adding a system to an existing boat... It is a whole other debate if that is a good idea or not. Many think it is a bad idea.

If you run in salt I highly suggest flushing the boat with water for 5 minutes then finishing it off with Saltaway. (the saltaway kit has the hose kit to do this). Even if you go to fresh water cooling you'll have to do the same flush routine... All FWC does is move any potential problems to the heat exchanger, and In my experience you'll have a higher rate of problems with the heat exchanger corroding/failing than an engine block.

I have found that when using saltaway, I do not get rust in the engine. If I use straight water to flush I do get rust so I have stuck with it. It also makes cleaning the boat about 100 times easier.

06-21-2011, 08:57 AM
I've not seen many problems w/heat exchangers. They're made w/a very specific copper alloy (which is pretty similar to bronze) designed just for the elimination of corrosion.
Another factor involved is whether there're any aluminum parts in the engine like heads, manifolds, etc that come in contact w/coolant. That may be why the 496, and Merc 525's come w/ closed cooling.
The typical tube bundle type of heat exchanger is very easy to clean by removing the end caps and running a cleaning brush through the tubes, and of course, cleaning the small reservoirs in the ends of the exchanger.
I ran the closed system on the Minx for several years, and once pulled the caps to clean it. There was absolutely nothing in it to clean. I was really surprized.

Now plate exchangers may be a different issue. I know a bit about them but have no experience w/them.

Carl C
06-21-2011, 09:34 AM
George, I had to replace the heat exchanger on my old 496. I think this thread has put too much emphasis on closed cooling. I'd look for a '90s 502 boat. The 496 boats will run 73-75 which isn't bad but it's not a real popular engine and is no longer offered. Some of the 2003ish & up boats have developed cracks, some have not. You can do a search here on "hull cracks" & "hull failure" to learn what to look for. The older 454 boats are probably OK but are 65 MPH boats at best (stock). How fast do you want to go? My 496 was shipped to Germany, My hull significantly strengthened and a 502 based 525 dropped in. That led to drive failure so on went the XR/Imco shorty. Then the steering, sea strainer, SS water pump.................

06-21-2011, 10:16 AM
I've had to replace a few heat exchangers on various engines as well, but not all that often.

As for shopping for a boat, I think you're onto a good idea. And not just because I happen to have a 2001 502 boat myself. :pimp:

I wouldn't try to hold out for a FWC boat or you'll be extremely limited in available offerings. Maybe - MAYBE - 1 in 10 already has a FWC system installed. As for a boat that was used in fresh/brackish/salt water, again, I wouldn't let that stop me from shopping a particular boat, but do go in with your eyes open knowing salt likely caused it's own set of problems.

For example, my boat came from the upper Chesapeake area. I'm not particularly familiar with that area, but it's safe to assume the boat was run in a variety of fresh/brackish/salt water. There was noticeable rust on the exterior of the engine and manifolds, but the boat itself was in fine condition. I ran it for a year or two in only fresh water then replaced the old '01 manifolds with Stainless Marine parts. Not because I had a failure, but because the old stuff looked a little rough and I wanted to lay the foundation for future upgrades. Another year goes by, and I pulled the motor apart. Again, not due to a salt failure, but for upgrades to help my need for speed. There was noticeable rust and scale in all the water jackets, but nothing that would have kept that motor from putting in hundreds more hours of useful life.

So basically I'd say shop everything, just check it out closely. And then consider adding a FWC system since you're going to be a salt boater. If for some reason you build an engine, going FWC from the start is ideal.

06-21-2011, 10:58 AM
Don, i got my boat from the same area, North East Maryland, at Jackson marine, same place??? i just added the FWC kit to mine everything in the exhaust looked real clean, I just really wanted the engine cooled with something other than Narragansett Bay, the water in the upper bay is sooo nasty at times.

06-21-2011, 12:39 PM
Yup - Jackson Marine. Bought it sight-unseen since I'm in California but I did have it surveyed and prior to that had a couple of board members put eyes on it who gave it a thumb's up. Seemed to be decent people, though I never met any of them face to face.

06-21-2011, 02:23 PM
Why would adding a fwc system be a bad idea? what are the negatives?

06-21-2011, 03:22 PM
Why would adding a fwc system be a bad idea? what are the negatives?

Only negatives I can think of are:

upfront cost
space in the motorbox.
(All of which I think are far outweighed by the positives.)

Curious what other negatives anyone can come up with.

06-21-2011, 04:16 PM
I have heard people argue that once the engine has been run in salt as a raw water cooled set-up changing to FWC is somewhat pointless.

I'd argue that. Sure, if you've got 500 hrs of salt use it's probably a little late, but if you've got 50 hrs I see no reason not to convert.

Of the valid arguments, space in the engine room is my #1 concern. George's remote-mounted exchanger helps with that, but small boats like our 22s don't have a lot of extra room in the engine compartment to start with. Sure it will fit, but it just makes access that much more difficult.

06-21-2011, 04:24 PM
Don's post above raises a question about switching after a motor has been broken in (or more). I am under the understanding that raw water cooled motors run quite a bit cooler than closed cooling motors. Like, maybe 30 degrees or more cooler. Like, cooler than they probably should.

If this is true, then if you break in a motor/run it for a few years as a raw-water motor, and then switch to closed cooling, do you risk losing compression (or other issues) related to raising the operating temp after it has worn in at a lower temp?

06-21-2011, 04:38 PM
a raw water cooled engine has a thermostat in it to control the engine temp so i dont see where the 30 degree temp difference would come from, i can see the sea water being cooler entering the system as the t-stat opens, but the thermostat is there for a reason, maintain engine temp

06-21-2011, 05:11 PM
My argument is like this;
These boats aren't cheap. We tend to spend a considerable amount above the typical cost of boat parts. Some here even brag about what they pay for bits and pieces. If these were work boats, or yachts w/engines that cost as much our boats, no one would even consider not running closed cooling, you'd just do it. It's cheap insurance. No one here would consider buying a new car or tow trucks and draining out the antifreeze and filling it with tap water, it's the same thing, right?
On newer injected engines and high performance carbed engines, closed cooling w/its very close control temp control can enable additional performance. If a person runs a bit rich and is running closed cooling, you'd be less likely to dilute your oil w/gas, or wash the oil out of your cylinders. If you have aluminum heads w/raw water cooling, they won't last long, will they?
There's lots of other reasons, but I can't think of a single reason to ever delay making the change.
Of course some folks will always have raw water cooling.
They couldn't be persuaded to make the change no matter what.

This rant is mine alone. I have no ability to make anyone else think any different than they do.