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I recently purchased a 2008 Sunesta with 80 hours on the Mercruiser 5.0 engine. The problem I am having is that it won't plane out if anyone is sitting in the back seat. I was thinking just changing the plugs, wires, filters, and oil might help but I'm not sure. If I put 4 adults up front and two in the captains chairs it will plane out okay but not great.

Shouldn't this take off with no trouble only carrying 6 adults (two up front, two in captain's chairs, and to in backseat) with 3 kids tubing?

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  • 9 months later...

Sorry no one replied to you. I have a 2005 sunesta 216 and had a similar issue. I did switch out the plugs, cleaned the fire arrester, changes out the cap and plugs. Boat runs much better now. What prop do you have?

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I also have a 2008 sunset 224 with the 260hp mercruiser engine. I have 24 pitch bravo 3 props. My boat runs good, but struggles to get on plane. It maxes out at 4000 rpm. Is this a common problem with the 2008 sunestas? I think I need a 20 pitch prop instead.

Any further ideas?

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2 things I'd do:

If you're only getting 4000 RPM, it sounds like you're down a cylinder. I'd start with a tune up.

8M0061335 - cap & rotor kit for your engine. Will need a Torx T20 for the distributor cap screws, and a T15 for the rotor screws. Please change only one 1 wire or spark plug at a time.

8 of NGK ITR4A-15 Laser Iridium spark plugs. Pre-gapped for you.

Lastly, for those running a Bravo 3 drive, put the drive in the Bravo 1 position to give you faster planing, with less bow rise. You won't get any weird bow steer; the boat is thankfully not a SR...I have never found a problem running a Bravo 3 in the Bravo 1 position on any Chaparral. Other boat brands/hulls can be a little squirrely with this set up, but I personally found no adverse handling quirks on any Chap from doing so.

Changing your Bravo 3 drive to the Bravo 1 position for faster planing, and less bow rise. Will need a pair of 5/8" wrenches, or a wrench plus ratchet and socket.


Once you change the position of the bushing on the rear anchor pin, you'll need to recalibrate the tachometer to get the trim gauge to read correctly. This is rather easy on the 2008 and newer Sunesta models with the square digital gauges, and can be simply done at the dash. Look in your owners manual for the 2nd page for instructions. (1st page looks like the picture below)


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