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Old 03-08-2015, 07:29 AM   #1
ABHooligan OP
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What should I know about PWCs, Jet-ski's etc?

Last summer I rode a friend's waverunner a few times. I've always loved the water, but stuck primarily to canoes. But, every time on in his PWC I kept thinking, "This is a water motorcycle!" And I was kinda hooked.

The river gorge is ten minutes from my house, and the woe-man thinks this is a hobby we could enjoy together (she's usually scared on the bike, and I'm a slow rider), so we're gonna buy a pair soon. A pair, so we can both drive, or go pillion if someone else wants to go with. I don't need saltwater boats, as I most likely will never drag them to the ocean (6+ hrs away).

However, this is all I know about them: some are 2-stroke, some are 4-stroke. Some are supercharged or turbo'd. Some are saltwater-ready, some aren't (I don't need a saltwater boat). I assume I would get a better deal buying used vs. new. My question for you guys is what should I look for? How many hours is too many? Are rebuilt engines OK? Is one brand better than others? How maintenance-intensive are they?

As always, thanks for the help!
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Old 03-08-2015, 07:44 AM   #2
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The impeller is $500 plus labor.
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Old 03-08-2015, 08:05 AM   #3
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A few things I've learned about PWCs from watching friends and family get in and out of them for the last 20 years:
  1. They are perpetually broken or in need of work, even "good" ones that are taken care of reasonably well.
  2. Almost nobody uses their PWCs as often as they think they do when they buy them.
  3. Transportation and storage is a headache.
  4. Their functionality is zero. Can't fish or party or ski with them, and you can't really go all that far, either.
  5. Almost anyplace where you would want to run a PWC, somebody will have them available for rent at reasonable rates.

Based on all of the above, I think they only really make sense for people who live on the water and can walk out the back door and go ride one.

Try renting a few more times and see if you continue to find it as much fun as you did the first time out. At the very least, don't buy two until you have had one for a while and are sure that you're going to use it often enough to be worthwhile.

I don't mean to discourage you, but many many many people have bought into the PWC thing only to find out that the machines just sit and break once the novelty wears off after the first few months of routine use.
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Old 03-08-2015, 08:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmiguy View Post
Their functionality is zero.
Quote:
Can't fish


Quote:
or party


Quote:
or ski with them


Maybe it's just a left coast thing, but we use ski's for all kinds of purposes

Quote:
and you can't really go all that far, either.
The few ski's I've been on we comfortably got a day out of a full tank. The only ones i've ever had any kind of issue with were rentals. I personally like them. A boat is just too damn big to be fun when everybody wants to go out and do their own thing

BUT, that being said, like anything that floats on water, it's going to be pricey to maintain. I would agree with trying out some rentals first before considering buying one.
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Old 03-08-2015, 08:43 AM   #5
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1. I have rode all the brands, and owned a few my experience has been Seadoo is the best brand

2. 4 stroke is the way to go, they are less maintenance and more fuel efficient. If you can find some with less then 100 hours you are golden.

3. You will get debris stuck in the impeller and its expensive to fix
- Also you want to shut them off before getting into shallow water so you dont suck up sand and other debris into the jet system it will causes it to perform really bad

4. Supercharged PWCs are more maintenance, also they had a bearing issue ( I think from 2007- 2010) where they needed to be upgraded to ceramic bearings or else the supercharger would grenade

The GTX 155 does about 48 at 6200 ft elevation with one person on it, I would gander it does around 55-60 at lower elevations


5. If you are a cash buyer I would buy a used set of Seadoos GTX, RXP or wake 155s, 215s, or 255s, 2007 or newer from a private party

Now is the time to buy since its off season also there is a seadoo forum with a lot of great info on it
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Old 03-08-2015, 08:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmiguy View Post
A few things I've learned about PWCs from watching friends and family get in and out of them for the last 20 years:
  1. They are perpetually broken or in need of work, even "good" ones that are taken care of reasonably well.
  2. Almost nobody uses their PWCs as often as they think they do when they buy them.
  3. Transportation and storage is a headache.
  4. Their functionality is zero. Can't fish or party or ski with them, and you can't really go all that far, either.
  5. Almost anyplace where you would want to run a PWC, somebody will have them available for rent at reasonable rates.

Based on all of the above, I think they only really make sense for people who live on the water and can walk out the back door and go ride one.

Try renting a few more times and see if you continue to find it as much fun as you did the first time out. At the very least, don't buy two until you have had one for a while and are sure that you're going to use it often enough to be worthwhile.

I don't mean to discourage you, but many many many people have bought into the PWC thing only to find out that the machines just sit and break once the novelty wears off after the first few months of routine use.

Partially true even here in Florida. I use my boat way more than the ski. Mainly because the wife hasnt been motivated to join me and I dont know anyone else with skis. Zooming up and down the river is ok but the boat is more fun. Around here, there are a bunch of places where you can't go fast too because of manatees, that makes for a boring ride.


But, people fish and party on them a bunch down here. And even run them from Florida - Bahamas and do adventure touring on them.

What to look for? If they sit, the fuel dies and they corrode into a ball of powderey aluminum. I bought mine for $350 (it looked like a wreck) and have 1k into it so if I don't use it im not as irritated. But, it takes up the space of 3 bikes in the garage. Always having to move it to get to the bikes it blocks.

Plan on a carb rebuild, new battery, complete fuel cleanout. I missed a step and the 3/4mi swim was "educational". Impellers aren't replaced regularly unless you're running it in 1' of water wide open. (don't) Watch the rope, they will eat rope at an astonishing rate.

Still fun to rip around on it once in a while.
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Old 03-08-2015, 09:32 AM   #7
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I also know they consume a LOT of fuel. 15 gal / day easy.

They got boring really fast for me. Selling them was a great relief.
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Old 03-08-2015, 03:59 PM   #8
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I really liked the standup ones I had - they take some skill and are a challenge to master. The next most fun was a Sea-Doo HX - still a challenge to stay on and could turn on a dime
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Old 03-08-2015, 05:31 PM   #9
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Old 03-08-2015, 07:28 PM   #10
gmiguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XpressCS View Post
Maybe it's just a left coast thing, but we use ski's for all kinds of purposes
I realize that people can use them for all sorts of things, but the general usability of a PWC is undeniably less than that of a boat.

I suppose you can have adventures on a PWC, but not if you're on a landlocked inland lake.

Ripping back and forth on the lake is a blast the first few days, but it does get old fast.

Once it does, a boat gives you the option of getting a handful of friends and/or bikini girls and a few coolers and having a more comprehensive day on the water complete with activities that are difficult on a PWC such as talking, eating, drinking, sunbathing, and walking around.
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Old 03-08-2015, 07:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by gmiguy View Post
Once it does, a boat gives you the option of getting a handful of friends and/or bikini girls and a few coolers and having a more comprehensive day on the water complete with activities that are difficult on a PWC such as talking, eating, drinking, sunbathing, and walking around.
Yes, but the bikini girls love going out for rides on the ski, especially when jumping wakes, doing spinouts, or just plain dumping them off the back.
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Old 03-08-2015, 08:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmiguy View Post
bikini girls
Boat it is
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Old 03-08-2015, 08:16 PM   #13
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Rent them when yer compelled to use one, let sum other feller carry the costs..
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Old 03-08-2015, 08:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABHooligan View Post
Last summer I rode a friend's waverunner a few times. I've always loved the water, but stuck primarily to canoes. But, every time on in his PWC I kept thinking, "This is a water motorcycle!" And I was kinda hooked.

The river gorge is ten minutes from my house, and the woe-man thinks this is a hobby we could enjoy together (she's usually scared on the bike, and I'm a slow rider), so we're gonna buy a pair soon. A pair, so we can both drive, or go pillion if someone else wants to go with. I don't need saltwater boats, as I most likely will never drag them to the ocean (6+ hrs away).

However, this is all I know about them: some are 2-stroke, some are 4-stroke. Some are supercharged or turbo'd. Some are saltwater-ready, some aren't (I don't need a saltwater boat). I assume I would get a better deal buying used vs. new. My question for you guys is what should I look for? How many hours is too many? Are rebuilt engines OK? Is one brand better than others? How maintenance-intensive are they?

As always, thanks for the help!
If you buy 2 PWCs you will be spending as much, or more, than you would for a decent 17-20-ft boat. Sure, a PWC is like a motorcycle on water, but you can get a boat for that kind of money that will run pretty fast, and use less fuel and cost less to maintain than running two PWCs.

The advantages of a boat are that they are roomier; more comfortable; can carry more people and gear; can provide more weather protection; the boating season is longer as the weather protection keeps you drier and out of the breeze when the temps get colder.

A bigger craft is also more comfortable to run when it gets choppy on open water. I also think their engines have been better refined and more robust, than the ones in PWCs where keeping everything light means the motors must be too.

The few things that PWCs can do better than boats seem to be out-weighted by the several advantages boats have over PWCs....

Gary
:) :)
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Old 03-08-2015, 11:43 PM   #15
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Sit down PWC's get boring pretty fast IMHO, but the older stand up models are a lot of fun and a challenge to get good at.
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