Sun Tracker Boats make some of the most popular pontoons on the market. They’re not exactly premium boats but are considered good value for money.
The most common problems with Sun Tracker pontoons include:
- Weak welds
- Water in the pontoons
- Bad wiring
- Inconsistent build quality.
We’ve researched most of the issues reported and take a closer look at them in this article.
Let’s get started!
1. Weak welds
We haven’t found many cases of this problem. However weak welds are a very serious issue, so we’re mentioning it first.
For example, there is a report, with photos, of a Sun Tracker Sportfish 22DLX with a weak weld between two sections of a pontoon log:
“On a 2020 sport fish 22DLX the weld between two sections of pontoon log were not done properly and separated almost causing us to lose the boat (sink).”
In the case above, the weld failed completely and the boat almost sank.
2. Water getting into the pontoons
It turns out that bulkheads are not seal welded, which makes pontoon logs fill with water.
3. Corrosion and leaks
Any damage to the aluminum pontoon is dangerous, as it can let water in and make the boat sink.
Unfortunately, on some boats the aluminum corroded badly despite good maintenance (regular rinsing and antifouling).
The corrosion is most likely to happen in salt water environment. If that’s where you use your pontoon, make sure you take extra steps to protect your pontoon from damage.
4. Rot in wooden rails
Some owners of a Sun Tracker fishing pontoon complained about excessive rot in wooder parts after just a few years.
“Ive had my 20 ft suntracker fishing pontoon for 5 years. I have less than 50 hours on the mercury motor. Ive taken good care of the boat. This past spring after my annual launching (I have a dock) the rails on my trailer split into pieces.”
In this case the wood was completely rotten. Marine-grade wood should last much longer.
5. Base models underpowered
Many of the pontoons come with a 20-hp outboard engine. This is way too little, offers not enough performance for the size of the boat.
It also makes you run the engine very hard, which decreases its lifespan.
For a 22 foot pontoon a much bigger, 75-hp outboard is recommended as a minimum, which is an expensive upgrade.
6. Outboard and steering problems
Some owners complained that steering on their pontoon gets too stiff too often. The issue is usually the steering cable, which could have kinks in it, and needs to be replaced.
Also, it seems some of the outboards were not properly installed before being delivered to a customer. For example, they wouldn’t go forward but just stay in neutral.
This is frustrating when happens on a new boat.
7. Water in the fuel
The issue concerns especially the 20′ Fishing Barge and is caused by the bad design of the fuel tank location.
What happens is that underway the entire fuel tank becomes submerged and it’s very difficult to prevent getting water into the fuel system.
One way to fix the problem is to get a fuel/water separator, but it could have been easily avoided by raising the fuel tank a few inches.
8. Inconsistent quality
We found many complaints about issues found on some boats, but not others, which suggests inconsistent manufacturing and assembly processes.
The problems included:
- Flimsy furniture with weak hinges
- Low-quality carpet
- Incorrect decal, for example “24” on one side, “22” on the other side
- Poorly aligned side rails and panel
- Rail paint not covering everything
- Seat padding too thin, with deep creases
- Missing nuts for captain chair
9. Bad wiring
On some Sun Tracker boats, the original wiring loom under the pontoon was left completely exposed to water.
This could be one of the reasons why people experience problems with their outboards. For example, trim and engine indicators, such as tachometers, may stop working.
To fix the problem, it will be best to replace the old wiring and make new connections. Make sure you will solder rather than just twist the wires, and use silicon shrink wrap to waterproof them.
Warranty & service
Sun Tracker Boats provides a very good warranty service overall.Although many pontoons had different issues, they were mostly very helpful and fixed them.
The biggest complaint here is the owners waiting for spare parts too long. Having to wait and not being able to go out fishing can be very frustrating.
Sun Tracker Customer Service contact details:
Sun Tracker Pontoon Owners group
This Facebook group is a great place to exchange ideas and look for ways to solve problems with your pontoon.
It is a private group, but once you join you can ask questions, get advice and share your experiences.
Sun Tracker is a good pontoon boat manufacturer. However, there are some issues that you should be aware of before buying one of their boats.
Make sure to check the boat thoroughly for any manufacturing defects, and test all the systems to make sure they are working properly.
If you do encounter any problems, Sun Tracker has good customer service and should be able to help you fix the issue.
If you had a different problem with your boat than already mentioned, please get it touch!
Where are Sun Tracker pontoon boats made?
Sun Tracker pontoons are manufactured in Bolivar, Missouri. (USA)
Can Sun Tracker Pontoons Be Used in Saltwater?
Yes, they can, although there will be a higher risk of corrosion. Make sure you rinse your boat after every use to minimize the risk.