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Old Nov 02, 2012, 07:19 PM
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Rio 51

Does anyone have this boat? I have a friend that is looking to buy one and wanted to know of the Pro's and Con's of this boat any help is appreciated. Thanks
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Old Nov 02, 2012, 11:30 PM
RC boat Rock Star
Kalamazoo, MI
Joined Apr 2004
2,880 Posts
Rio 51 or Rio 51Z? The Rio to put it politely is a piece of junk with the Fuji 28. The Z is improved with a Zenoah for power but it still has a bug, mostly with a weak flex cable setup. It breaks easily and there is nowhere else to get one that matches it. On the Rio, there was also a big issue with the header breaking off from the block partially due to alignment problems where it goes through the transom as the hole is offset.
A couple of years ago they were almost giving the things away as I could have bought them new in the box for $350.00.
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Old Nov 03, 2012, 08:45 AM
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The guy that is selling it has upgrade to the Zenoah he says the boat is five years old and he also put a Spectrum radio in it with Marine reciever. He says he will take 500 for it but I was thinking he shouldnt pay more then 400. It is the same guy that bought the King of Shaves that boat turned out to be a real pain in the ^^%%&%
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Old Nov 03, 2012, 11:30 PM
RC boat Rock Star
Kalamazoo, MI
Joined Apr 2004
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I can see that with the KOS. The same guy that's ran with us a few times is on here and has not only the Rio 51 Z but the KOS also.
My regualr running bud has a Spektrum system in his Aeromariner Sprint Cat and I've driven that boat a few times. No complaints on it as it worked very well in both control and signal strength.
Even with the Zen upgrade there is still the exhaust problem unless he fixed that issue also. Oh yeah, the drive problem also, a major headache but the only real upside is that when the cable breaks in the propshaft, (note that I didn't say "if") the prop won't be lost because of its setup.
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Old Nov 04, 2012, 08:39 AM
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I will have to go with him and check it out before he buys it as for the shaft breaking I will also have to let him know about that. Thanks for your help Ron
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Old Nov 04, 2012, 09:02 AM
RC boat Rock Star
Kalamazoo, MI
Joined Apr 2004
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Knowing the boat's faults if he decides to buy it will be his advantage to get the price down. If you ever watch American Pickers or Pawn Stars, they use the same tactics when making a buy.

I'd kind of like to have one for a weekend or more to figure out a better strut setup for the boat as there has to be a better way to do it inexpensively without having to change out the entire strut. It's not a bad looking boat but with most RTR's, they have their weak spots. Their problem is that they (AquaCraft) should have stuck with what has worked for years instead of trying to build another mousetrap.
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Old Nov 04, 2012, 12:18 PM
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I have a 51 and love it. It has its problems but I bought mine used because I love the hull of this boat. Handles great. And the guy I got it from had a $500 paint job done to it which I fell in love with. I figured I'd just run it until the Fuji took a dump then go with a Zenoah. Well the Fuji still runs fine. Get a prop saver anyway. My strut housing actually broke off taking everything with it. So instead of having to spend $20 I had to spend $100.
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Old Nov 04, 2012, 06:36 PM
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Thanks for the info I will let him know about the propr saver. Is that what it is called a prop saver is it an Aquacraft part?
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Old Nov 04, 2012, 06:57 PM
RC boat Rock Star
Kalamazoo, MI
Joined Apr 2004
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A prop saver isn't needed on this boat as it's built into the strut.
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Old Nov 07, 2012, 08:32 PM
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How much would you pay for this boat Ron newer Zenoah G260 pum and a spectrum MR3000 reciever and a DX3C transmitter? It also looks pretty clean no nicks or dings. The guy wants 500 just to keep in mind. Let me know thanks again for all the help. You should come up with a magazine or your own webpage.
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Old Nov 07, 2012, 10:32 PM
RC boat Rock Star
Kalamazoo, MI
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Well, he has done a lot of improvements on the boat, the Spektrum is a big upgrade from the stock Tactic (Futaba made) 2.4 system and dropping in the Zen and losing the Fuji are big improvements.
I don't know how much of an issue the parts like the flex cable is going to be seeing how the boat is now discontinued so parts are going to be hard to find. AquaCraft said years ago that they would carry parts for all of their boats for 5 years but finding them is a challenge as I didn't see them on Tower's site. A call to Tower might provide some answers.
Try seeing what his bottom dollar is going into the deal knowing these problems.

If you decide that you want to go with a prop saver in case something does happen like what did to AR then you can order some 1/4" collars from Zippkits. It's cheap to buy them 4 at a time then just one as he uses them for sponson boom collars on his outrigger kits.
Nah, it's too much work as I've kind of been there before. I worked for 4 years as a boating forums Mod on a competing site plus was offered to write for RCMB when they were still around. Working mostly 7 day weeks is hard enough plus trying to get in some boating time. Second shift sucks as it's hard to get out on the water during the week.
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Old Nov 08, 2012, 07:58 AM
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I looked at tower hobbies and they are selling the rio 51 z and a whole list of parts including the flex shaft for $25 is this boat being 4-5 years old completely different?
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Old Nov 08, 2012, 08:14 AM
RC boat Rock Star
Kalamazoo, MI
Joined Apr 2004
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Well, I'll be........! Yes, they still are selling it! The parts ahould be the same as far as the drive hardware goes. the main changes are the Zen with a cannister muffler to make it legal for Super-Sport class racing which also takes care of the tuned pipe problem.
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Old Nov 08, 2012, 08:32 AM
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I think we are going to go take a look at this thing I need someone to race with my Enforcer. Thanks again for the help Ron.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 02:38 PM
Fly, crash, rebuild.
United States, NY, Shelter Island
Joined May 2011
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RIO 51Z Brushless Conversion

My Brother-in-law scored an AquaCraft Rio 51Z hull sanse Zenoah and mounted up a brushless setup on 8S with a Leopard 5698 910KV motor 240A Swordfish ESC and added a custom GrimRacer twin rudder configuration. She can handle up to 12S. This is our first sea trial on 8S.
AquaCraft Rio 51 Z Brushless Twin Rudder Conversion (3 min 48 sec)


More to come...
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