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Old 09-07-2019, 08:20 AM   #1
thinkxingu
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Default Jet Ski Advice

Mornin', lake friends!

I've been avoiding buying a jet ski because I'll have to trailer it in and out for each use, but a friend got me on his the other day and now I'm thinking of picking one up.

His is a Yamaha 2-stroke around 2005 or something and I might be able to pick it up cheap.

I have 3 questions, if you would:

1. The machine seems to smoke a bit and needs a fair amount of throttle before hitting a power band. Is that the nature of those machines or will some tune-up steps remedy that?

2. Do the new(er) machines add features that would be worth investing in a later model?

3. If yes on #2, what might I look for and what should I be expecting to pay?

It would be either for me and my wife together or alone, or with my 7 & 9 year-olds, though I'm not sure if we'd be more likely to use it independently or by following/towing our boat out and tooling around while anchored out.

Thanks!

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Old 09-07-2019, 11:25 AM   #2
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Default 2 stroke vs. 4 stroke

We've all said it: "I had so much fun, I bought one for the family."
You add oil to the gas in a 2-stroke, right? By definition, it will burn oil. Does anybody still make/sell a 2 stroke? Riding a chain saw without earplugs is not the same level of fun for me as something a little quieter. Newer is definitely quieter and 4 stroke will have better resale or trade value when the kids want their own.
I like the idea of anchoring out and using that as a base for a day of riding, but I bet you'll tow it once and the wife will suggest that "You take the 'toon and I'll bring the PWC myself to save you the trouble." LOL
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Old 09-07-2019, 01:43 PM   #3
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Default Please let us know

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkxingu View Post
Mornin', lake friends!

I've been avoiding buying a jet ski because I'll have to trailer it in and out for each use, but a friend got me on his the other day and now I'm thinking of picking one up.

His is a Yamaha 2-stroke around 2005 or something and I might be able to pick it up cheap.

I have 3 questions, if you would:

1. The machine seems to smoke a bit and needs a fair amount of throttle before hitting a power band. Is that the nature of those machines or will some tune-up steps remedy that?

2. Do the new(er) machines add features that would be worth investing in a later model?

3. If yes on #2, what might I look for and what should I be expecting to pay?

It would be either for me and my wife together or alone, or with my 7 & 9 year-olds, though I'm not sure if we'd be more likely to use it independently or by following/towing our boat out and tooling around while anchored out.

Thanks!

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Let us know what you decide. I'm hoping to rent one before the end of the season, and if I'm right I'm going to want to buy something used.
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Old 09-07-2019, 02:19 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by GodSmile View Post
Let us know what you decide. I'm hoping to rent one before the end of the season, and if I'm right I'm going to want to buy something used.
I'm probably not doing anything before next summer, but I'll be certain to share what I find.

I went to DaSilva's today and discovered a few things: I probably want something within the last half decade and 4-stroke. I'm thinking I'll need a swim bar/step to get my suburban dad bod out of the water and that a decent size rear platform would provide a nice place to play off. And it looks like there's almost two levels, technically advanced and basic--both of which have various levels of horsepower.

Finally, though I'm partial to Yamaha--I've read that most rental places use them, so I'm guessing they're very reliable--Seadoo may be more cost effective.

More thoughts wanted!

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Old 09-07-2019, 07:28 PM   #5
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All 2 strokes smoke when first started. Smoke should go away when warmed up and in use for the most part. If it smokes a lot constantly, it is getting to much oil, which can be adjusted, or the top end of the motor may be junk. A compression test will tell you whats going on. All 2 strokes have automatic oil injection from the factory, no need to "mix" gas and oil yourself, unless someone has disconnected the injection system themselves and pre-mix the gas, which some people do for a host of reasons, but it's not very common, most people keep them in tact, and just add oil as needed. A 2 stroke has an oil reservoir for oil, and usually will have a dummy light, or a beeping sound for low oil warning should you forget to check it once in a while. I would top it off with every ride just for peace of mind, and keep a spare quart on board at all times. Make sure you either wrap the quart of oil in duct tape, or put it in a heavy duty leak proof plastic bag, (or both!!) because manufacturers have made the plastic bottles so thin and cheap, they break open pretty easy and make a big mess!! I have learned this the hard way!! You will become familiar with how much it goes through after just a few rides. A full reservoir will usually last around 3 to 5 full tanks of gas depending on how it's ridden. 2 strokes are a little bit louder than a 4 stroke, but in no way are they any where near as loud as a chainsaw these days, if ever!! Even ones 15, 20yrs old are not obnoxiously loud, you have to go back a long, long way to be able to compare them to a chainsaw, and if you do hear a loud one, it has been "customized" by the owner most likely, it didn't come that way out of the factory. I would NOT be afraid of a 2 stroke at all if you find the right deal on one. There are pros and cons to both. If you look at a 2 stroke to buy, I would highly recommend doing a compression test. It is simple, quick, and easy, and will give you a good idea on the condition of the top end of the motor, (pistons and rings). If you are not familiar with how to do a compression test, just look it up on youtube and you will find a thousand different videos on how to do it. IMHO, the "order" of quality goes like this: Honda, Yamaha, SeaDoo, Kawasaki, and the rest... Some may disagree, and that is ok with me, just my opinion. Good luck in your search. FWIW, I have a nice Snap On compression gauge set if you want to borrow, let me know. You don't want to use a cheap gauge because (and crazy to buy an expensive one to use it once), readings may be inaccurate, I saw it first hand one time when I was selling a snowmobile. A guy came with his own cheap gauge, and sled had low compression on his gauge. When we put my gauge on it, it was fine, and he bought it!! I KNEW the sled was fine, but he definitely wouldn't of bought it if I didn't have the nice gauge. He trusted mine over his... You don't have to have a "Snap On" gauge, but you definitely want a top brand name.

Last edited by Cal Coon; 09-08-2019 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal Coon View Post
All 2 strokes smoke when first started. Smoke should go away when warmed up and in use for the most part. If it smokes a lot constantly, it is getting to much oil, which can be adjusted, or the top end of the motor is junk. A compression test will tell you whats going on. All 2 strokes have automatic oil injection from the factory, no need to "mix" gas and oil yourself, unless someone has disconnected the injection system themselves and pre-mix the gas, which some people do for a host of reasons, but it's not very common, most people keep them in tact, and just add oil as needed. A 2 stroke has an oil reservoir for oil, and usually will have a dummy light, or a beeping sound for low oil warning should you forget to check it once in a while. I would top it off with every ride just for peace of mind, and keep a spare quart on board at all times. Make sure you either wrap the quart of oil in duct tape, or put it in a heavy duty leak proof plastic bag, (or both!!) because manufacturers have made the plastic bottles so thin and cheap, they break open pretty easy and make a big mess!! I have learned this the hard way!! You will become familiar with how much it goes through after just a few rides. A full reservoir will usually last around 3 to 5 full tanks of gas depending on how it's ridden. 2 strokes are a little bit louder than a 4 stroke, but in no way are they any where near as loud as a chainsaw these days, if ever!! Even ones 15, 20yrs old are not obnoxiously loud, you have to go back a long, long way to be able to compare them to a chainsaw, and if you do hear a loud one, it has been "customized" by the owner most likely, it didn't come that way out of the factory. I would NOT be afraid of a 2 stroke at all if you find the right deal on one. There are pros and cons to both. If you look at a 2 stroke to buy, I would highly recommend doing a compression test. It is simple, quick, and easy, and will give you a good idea on the condition of the top end of the motor, (pistons and rings). If you are not familiar with how to do a compression test, just look it up on youtube and you will find a thousand different videos on how to do it. IMHO, the "order" of quality goes like this: Honda, Yamaha, SeaDoo, Kawasaki, and the rest... Some may disagree, and that is ok with me, just my opinion. Good luck in your search. FWIW, I have a nice Snap On compression gauge set if you want to borrow, let me know. You don't want to use a cheap gauge because (and crazy to buy an expensive one to use it once), readings may be inaccurate, I saw it first hand one time when I was selling a snowmobile. A guy came with his own cheap gauge, and sled had low compression on his gauge. When we put my gauge on it, it was fine, and he bought it!! I KNEW the sled was fine, but he definitely wouldn't of bought it if I didn't have the nice gauge. He trusted mine over his... You don't have to have a "Snap On" gauge, but you definitely want a top brand name.
Thanks for the offer--if it gets to that point I'll be asking for advice.

As for the 2-stroke, the machine I drove seemed to smoke/smell not just at startup but throughout use a bit.

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Old 09-08-2019, 06:57 PM   #7
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I have had three 2 strokes and a few 4 strokes. If you ride a 4 stroke once, you will not want a two stroke. Quieter, smoother, run cleaner, and just a much more comfortable experience.

I have had Yamaha's for years and I wouldn't have anything else. They consistently run great and the problems are few, if any. I have said it before but there is a reason most rental companies have all Yamaha's in their fleet. That should tell you something.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:30 AM   #8
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I would avoid buying a 2 stroke. I have 2 Sea Doo's and I love them.
I have an 09 GTI 130se which is very reliable and will do 55mph.
I also have a 13 GTX 260 limited which is insanely fast and fun.
If you're a first timer I would stay away from the super charged models. They require more maintenance. If you buy used try to find something with under 100 hours.
The new GTI's are great machines! You can get them with a 130HP or 155HP. The 155 model will do 60mph which is plenty fast enough.
As far as trailering, they are much easier to get in and out of the water by yourself. Good luck with your search.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:03 PM   #9
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I will admit that 4 stroke technology has come a long way in the last few years. They are snappier, and faster than ever before. I still have a need for speed, and older 4 strokes are Dogs, (slow and boring), IMHO. I have always liked the power band of a two stroke, and it's instant throttle response. I also LOVE the smell of two stroke exhaust!! Can't get enough of it!! I guess it all depends on how much money you want to spend, and what type of rider you would be. One other thing to keep in mind is that although two strokes are a higher maintenance machine, they are easier, and cheaper to work on. Good luck in your search, and always remember: Different "STROKES" for different folks!!! lol
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:52 PM   #10
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Post My 2 cents

Hi all,

Simply, 4 stroke and 2 stroke jetskis are quite different.
  • Other than the Yamaha Superjet, there are no new 2 stroke models on the market. So, all the contemporary models are 4 stroke.
  • I have both a 2 stroke (1996 SeaDoo GTX) and a 4 stroke (2002 SeaDoo 4-Tec GTX). The riding characteristics of the two are quite different. The GTX is lighter and more maneuverable. The 4-Tec GTX is heavier and more of a flat out cruiser. The GTX will dance on the waves and the 4-Tec GTX tends to cut a bit more through the waves.
  • If you are planning to tow, the 4 stroke is a much better choice.
  • In general, 2 strokes require more maintenance and will likely be less reliable. Over time, I have replaced the engine, the gauges, the pump etc... In addition, the earlier jetskis did not anticipate E10 gasoline. The gas lines in my GTX decomposed based upon the E10 gasoline and I had to rebuild the carburetors and replace all the fuel lines. Additionally, the 2 stroke jetskis are all open loop cooled which means that if there is an obstruction in the water feed, you can blow the engine. The 4 strokes are closed loop cooled.
  • All this being said, I do like my 2 stroke and my 4 stroke...they are very different rides. Maintenance aside, the 2 stroke is more fun. Pragmatically, if I was going to replace either, I would ditch the 2 stroke for another 4 stroke.

I hope that this is helpful

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Old 09-10-2019, 07:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetskier View Post
Hi all,

Simply, 4 stroke and 2 stroke jetskis are quite different.
  • Other than the Yamaha Superjet, there are no new 2 stroke models on the market. So, all the contemporary models are 4 stroke.
  • I have both a 2 stroke (1996 SeaDoo GTX) and a 4 stroke (2002 SeaDoo 4-Tec GTX). The riding characteristics of the two are quite different. The GTX is lighter and more maneuverable. The 4-Tec GTX is heavier and more of a flat out cruiser. The GTX will dance on the waves and the 4-Tec GTX tends to cut a bit more through the waves.
  • If you are planning to tow, the 4 stroke is a much better choice.
  • In general, 2 strokes require more maintenance and will likely be less reliable. Over time, I have replaced the engine, the gauges, the pump etc... In addition, the earlier jetskis did not anticipate E10 gasoline. The gas lines in my GTX decomposed based upon the E10 gasoline and I had to rebuild the carburetors and replace all the fuel lines. Additionally, the 2 stroke jetskis are all open loop cooled which means that if there is an obstruction in the water feed, you can blow the engine. The 4 strokes are closed loop cooled.
  • All this being said, I do like my 2 stroke and my 4 stroke...they are very different rides. Maintenance aside, the 2 stroke is more fun. Pragmatically, if I was going to replace either, I would ditch the 2 stroke for another 4 stroke.

I hope that this is helpful

Jetskier
There is a difference between the GTX and the GTI that I have also. The GTI seems to cut through the waves much better than the GTX and the GTX seems much heavier.
I'm not very big so I can maneuver the GTI around much easier than the GTX. But at 70mph in rough water the GTX is what I want to be on.
I personally don't like the smell and the noise of a 2 stroke so I would never buy one, JMO. I'm so glad everything is going 4 stroke. I don't even like being behind a 2 stoke in the water any more.
Which such a short season I don't want a machine I have to tinker with during the season. I just want to get on it and go.

Last edited by Biggd; 09-10-2019 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetskier View Post
Hi all,

Simply, 4 stroke and 2 stroke jetskis are quite different.
  • Other than the Yamaha Superjet, there are no new 2 stroke models on the market. So, all the contemporary models are 4 stroke.
  • I have both a 2 stroke (1996 SeaDoo GTX) and a 4 stroke (2002 SeaDoo 4-Tec GTX). The riding characteristics of the two are quite different. The GTX is lighter and more maneuverable. The 4-Tec GTX is heavier and more of a flat out cruiser. The GTX will dance on the waves and the 4-Tec GTX tends to cut a bit more through the waves.
  • If you are planning to tow, the 4 stroke is a much better choice.
  • In general, 2 strokes require more maintenance and will likely be less reliable. Over time, I have replaced the engine, the gauges, the pump etc... In addition, the earlier jetskis did not anticipate E10 gasoline. The gas lines in my GTX decomposed based upon the E10 gasoline and I had to rebuild the carburetors and replace all the fuel lines. Additionally, the 2 stroke jetskis are all open loop cooled which means that if there is an obstruction in the water feed, you can blow the engine. The 4 strokes are closed loop cooled.
  • All this being said, I do like my 2 stroke and my 4 stroke...they are very different rides. Maintenance aside, the 2 stroke is more fun. Pragmatically, if I was going to replace either, I would ditch the 2 stroke for another 4 stroke.

I hope that this is helpful

Jetskier
Start using Startron fuel system treatment, and you will NEVER have to worry about ethanol fuel ever again. Best stuff on the planet for treating fuel systems IMHO. I have been using it in everything I own, in both 2 and 4 stroke engines for 30 plus years, (except daily drivers of course), and have NEVER had to rebuild a carburetor yet. As a matter of fact, Startron "fixed" a gummed up carb I had on a snowblower one time. Snowblower was hard starting and would only run on "choke" at first, but eventually, after a couple hrs of running time with a heavy dose of Startron, it started running better and better, and is fine to this day. It is good for cleaning fuel injectors too, not just for motors with a carburetor. They also have Diesel treatment too. Amazing product.

Last edited by Cal Coon; 09-10-2019 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Cal Coon View Post
Start using Startron fuel system treatment, and you will NEVER have to worry about ethanol fuel ever again. Best stuff on the planet for treating fuel systems IMHO. I have been using it in everything I own, in both 2 and 4 stroke engines for 30 plus years, (except daily drivers of course), and have NEVER had to rebuild a carburetor yet. As a matter of fact, Startron "fixed" a gummed up carb I had on a snowblower one time. Snowblower was hard starting and would only run on "choke" at first, but eventually, after a couple hrs of running time with a heavy dose of Startron, it started running better and better, and is fine to this day. It is good for cleaning fuel injectors too, not just for motors with a carburetor. They also have Diesel treatment too. Amazing product.
I have had great luck with StarTron myself! Good stuff!
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:39 PM   #14
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Post Slightly off topin

E10 literally turned the gas lines into gel, but SeaDoo did not use A1 rated marine gas lines on the 1996 GTX. If you have an older model jetski and an additive can prevent this from happening, that is well worth it. I did all the work myself but it probably would have been north of $1,000 to have a shop do it.

Personally, I hate E10, it is just horrible. It is almost impossible to find fuel in Laconia without Ethanol. When we snowmobile in Canada, we fill the sleds there as there is no Ethanol added to their gas.

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