The Boating Forum - What brands of jet skis are the best? Which ones to avoid

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Reel Boobs
09-10-2009, 07:24 PM
I am thinking about buying 2 jet skis between now and through the winter. I am looking at all brands, mostly from the late 1990's to early 2000's. What are the best, most reliable brands? What makes and models should I avoid?

I am partial to Yamahas, as our outboard is reliable and easy to work on, but I am open to any brand. I just need to know what units to avoid, to narrow my search.

:tht_rulez:


Menzies
09-10-2009, 07:38 PM
Yamaha.

Easier to work on from what I am told and read (and recently experienced!).

Plus, the patented flume is a great safety device.

Check out the forum at PWCToday.com.

Tarheel Brand
09-10-2009, 07:45 PM
Menzies isn't it about time to head to New York? Wish I could go. Oh sorry, Owned a Yamaha in the past. Loved it. 0 problems. If I were to buy a used one, yamaha for sure. New maybe look at that Kawasaki 260. I hear shes a beast.


HTV
09-10-2009, 07:52 PM
The bigger the better, so I can get a good bead.

Just kidden' but be courteous to others and stay off my wake.

Menzies
09-10-2009, 07:58 PM
Menzies isn't it about time to head to New York? Wish I could go. Oh sorry, Owned a Yamaha in the past. Loved it. 0 problems. If I were to buy a used one, yamaha for sure. New maybe look at that Kawasaki 260. I hear shes a beast.

1:55 flight tomorrow, be there around 4. Nothing like flying to New York on 9/11, but feck them!

As we say in Ireland - in yer face!

xtreme00
09-10-2009, 08:12 PM
I have 2- 2005 Yamaha FX Cruisers with double trailer and 2 floating docks for $13,500 for everything.

Flot
09-11-2009, 03:52 AM
In that range and for working on it yourself, I think the simplier Yamaha 1200s are probably your best bet. (ie the non-powervalve basic 2 stroke models, like the GP1200 but not the 1200r) Really solid engine and well put together.

Fishermanbb
09-11-2009, 04:17 AM
Honda....Bulletproof..

Reel Boobs
09-11-2009, 04:23 AM
I am a Yamaha fan, for sure. I definitely will look for Yamahas, but are there any brands or models to avoid? I am open to any brand for sale in my area, if they are priced right and in good condition.

I seem to see many Polaris skis for sale that state, "low hours and rebuilt engine". I, personally, do not like rebuilt 2 stroke engines, so I avoid these, but it seems that many Polaris skis needed to have them rebuilt. Seeing many rebuilt units tends to make me avoid them.

Are there any brands to avoid?

Cmann
09-11-2009, 04:27 AM
seadoo's are the elite.....closed system.....best made.....price reflects it.
yamaha is second.....and i have a SHO FX......3 person.....supercharged.....top speed close to 70mph. FUN< FUN, FUN!

BiloxiGuy
09-11-2009, 05:00 AM
Honda....Bulletproof..

My buddy smoked his Honda jetski motor under warranty. No, not bulletproof. Yes, Honda's are awesome, but it's still a jetski...

JKil1
09-11-2009, 05:38 AM
I've had SeaDoos and Yamaha...If your gonna stick w/ late 90's early 00's you def want to find a Yamaha. Preferably a 4 stroke...may be tough though. The 2 stroke GP12/1300R are alot of fun and fast.

sinjun
09-11-2009, 06:03 AM
yamaha for sure i had a waveraider 700, got it used and ran the hell out of it. only thing i ever had to do to it was plugs and a battery. i know to many people that have blown there seadoo engines, i don't know one person that has ever blown a yamaha.

Bob's Cay
09-11-2009, 06:24 AM
Danny - I have had both Sea Doo's and Yamaha's. Yamaha's have been much better than the Sea Doo. And the Yamahas I have have been through hell. They are the base model XL 700 and are 2001 models. I got them from a rental fleet in Haiti of all places. They had been run hard but maintained by the operator and probably had 500+ hours on them. I have had them since late in 2002. One "is" my sons and he has run the crap out it too. We did have to put a rebuilt engine in his a few years ago. The other one still runs good. Just change the plugs regularly.

The base model has worked out fine for me. It is not as fast as a 1200 so I don't mind as much letting my sons friends and others ride it. Do not have to worry about a reverse gate or sophisticated electronic engine systems. Just add 2 stroke oil and gas and go.

FYI - the rental operator had used Sea Doos before and switch for two reasons. reliability (especially when you are in Haiti) and ease of riding. The Yamaha has more of a boat ride whereas the Sea Doo slips and slide a bit in turns. Our Sea Doo did the same but once you get used to it, you have a fun ride.

Something to note however, the last time I talked to the operator he was having a problem with cracked hulls on the newer 4 stroke Yamahas. Yamaha was actually sending a tech to inspect. I never heard the outcome.

v70cat
09-11-2009, 06:28 AM
If you are buying used you might want to avoid turbo charged models.

tunedportcj5
09-11-2009, 06:29 AM
There is no doubt - Yamaha is the best for reliability and maintenance. Just look at every PWC rental company and see what they use!

I'd recommend a '00-02 GP1200R

aristocraft
09-11-2009, 06:30 AM
I am in atlanta and I think its the best one for sale :)
http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/boa/1356370388.html
If you are interested let me know.

jrolin1
09-11-2009, 06:52 AM
Yamaha. Maintenance (and reliability) is easier/better on a Yamaha at least that is my experience. I had a sea doo, it was fun but had issues and winterization was more complicated. Three seaters are more stable, have more storage and ride better. I have two 3 seater Yamahas (XL700) that were previously rental units that I have owned 4 and 5 years respectively. I have replaced batteries once and a starter solenoid on one of the waverunners in that time. They run great and are reliable. Most rental skis are Yamahas. Hondas are not always bulletproof. The ones with turbo can have issues if you ride it hard and cut it off quickly often(from falling off). At least that is my understanding from an aquatrax owner.

gj2794
09-11-2009, 07:08 AM
Any STOCK Yamaha is your best bet avoid anything modified. I ran a jet ski rental for a while and the yamahas were the most reliable. Always having a fresh battery is a must for any ski.

Jet skis are great, they make a cool crunching sound when they bounce off the bow of my boat.:nono:

skidmo
09-11-2009, 07:31 AM
Always have had good luck w/ seadoo avoid at all cost Polaris

cWICKBERG
09-11-2009, 11:12 AM
Our family yachts have had Yamahas and they were very reliable.

Knotup
09-11-2009, 11:47 AM
i have 2 04 honda turbos have had no trouble out of them changed the spark plugs this year but thats it imo the most reliable ones out there the 2 strokes always have trouble

daveinthewave
09-11-2009, 11:48 AM
In my younger days I was into jetskis bigtime. I had seadoo, kawasaki, and yamaha. Some of my friends had polaris. I know one person with a honda. If I were going to buy one today it would be Yamaha and only Yamaha.

jrolin1
09-11-2009, 04:04 PM
I vote for the Yamaha. I have owned 4 pwcs. 3 Yamahas (2 I still own) and 1 seadoo. The 3 Yamahas have needed batteries and a starter solenoid on one. Otherwise no issues. The seadoo had to have the engine rebuilt, batteries, and bearings replaced in the drive shaft. I owned the seadoo for about 3 years and the waverunners about 5 years each and counting on two of them. I have probably put at least 3 to 5 times the hours on each of the waverunners than I did on the seadoo. Plus the 2 waverunners I still have were rentals so they have a lot of hard hours on them. Regular maintenance is easier on the waverunners than the seadoo that I had. The maintenance I do on them is grease the fittings and replace spark plugs. Good luck.

m4i2k2e2
09-11-2009, 05:09 PM
i just bought one for my lake, its a 95' yamaha waverrunner 700cc. it goes alone ok. its fun. i personally watch other people on jet skis like a hawk. most people do whatever and where ever when there on one. i have one but i keep my distance and i be curtious to others. mine is only for my pond, i wouldnt take this one in the ocean though. im sure it would be fine i just wouldnt feel comfortable. but, it always starts. it was owned but a person with a yacht. it was painted to the color of the yacht and hardly ridden. i paid 600 bucks and i looked that thing up and down. the only thing wrong is the oil guage doesnt work. its fun as hell.

-mike.

robalo2320
09-11-2009, 05:14 PM
I sold both my Yamaha 1200 XLT's last year. 2001 models. VERY dependable machines. I'd buy them again! Oh, and they fly, too.

Lake
09-11-2009, 06:48 PM
I'll go way against the grain here. I had a Polaris SLT 750, have ridden Yamahas, SeaDoos, and Kawasakis. My Polaris was by far the most fun to ride. It was fast out of the hole, slid great, and jumped better than all. I didn't even enjoy riding the others. My Polaris ran flawlessly for 9 years. Before the 2004 storms in FL my wife told me to put it away in our rental storage unit. I said that they blow down and chained it to a tree that blew down on it. I gave it to a guy that fixed up the fiberglass damage and is still running it. His comment on first using it was how fast it was. My next one will definitely be a Polaris.

One4Water
09-11-2009, 07:23 PM
Yamaha will run forever as long as you take care of it.

I replaced a lot of Sea Doo motors so stay away

Kawasaki good but not as good a Yamaha.

polaris were fast but did not handle too well and had many issues from minor to major

Just my humble opinion for owning and repairing PWC's for over 15 years. My first Yamaha out lasted all the others and still runs great in the hands of it new owner. Went through 2 motors in one Sea Poop over only 5 years and more than enough computers. All were perfectly maintained but some just do better than others.

JRS@OBX
09-11-2009, 09:11 PM
I had a polaris for a little while. I bought it from a rental company. Polaris skis had some cylinder issues but they usually showed up pretty quickly. If it's been ridden more than a few hours, it should be good. I personally wouldn't buy another one because Polaris has pulled out of the PWC business.

I would go for honda or yamaha. Stay away from off brands like tigershark or wetjet. Also, I would take a rental machine that has high hours and cosmetic issues before I'd take a garage queen. If it's 4 years old and only has 20 hours you don't want it. They need to run. If you only ran your boat motor 5 hours a year over the past few years, do you really trust it to go 30 miles offshore? Rental companies always have some for sale at the end of the year. You can get a 2 or 3 year old base model for 2-3k. It may have some scratches and a small hull repair but it's been maintained and run regularly.

Deep Run
09-12-2009, 05:29 AM
I have 2 Sea-Doo's for sale, 1 2003 red RXDI with 80 hrs, 1 2003 Yellow GTX-4tec Supercharged with 115 hrs with dual trailer for $8500.00

GypsyJon
09-13-2009, 04:27 PM
I have 4 Stroke SeaDoos...GTX. They are 155 hp, no supercharger, which is a good thing. They have held up well. They are 05 models. I was going to go with Honda until I learned that SeaDoos are the only ones with closed cooling systems on them i.e no salt water in the heads! If you are going to use them in salt, definitely get SeaDoos.

C BISHOP
09-13-2009, 04:48 PM
dont walk away from sea-doos... RUN AWAY FROM SEA-DOOS

One4Water
09-13-2009, 07:34 PM
dont walk away from sea-doos... Run away from sea-doos


x12

demjjm
09-14-2009, 01:06 PM
i have 2 04 honda turbos have had no trouble out of them changed the spark plugs this year but thats it imo the most reliable ones out there the 2 strokes always have trouble

Interesting ... we have had 3 Honda Turbo's, and while they are awesome when they are running, we have had a lot of problems, so much that our local dealer actually swapped us out of one at no cost (he is a personal family friend). FI alerts, stuck wastegate valves, limp mode, bad sensors and ECU's ;? We even put a deck plate in the side of the one to allow better access to lubricate the wastegate on the turbo. Even the non-turbo has had sensor and ECU issues.

We recently added the Kawasaki a Kawi to the family, to see if we have better luck with supercharged over the turbo ;? It performs well, but it came with a bad impeller :trout: that the dealer is fighting with Kawi to replace. ;?

I personally prefer the simplicity of the 2 strokes, however the maintenance requirements are definitely more (but cheaper ;cool; ) . With any 2 stroke PWC I would never depend on the oil injection, and would move to premix. This however can be a hassle for some people. We have 2 stroke MX bikes, and quads so premixing is second nature to us.

The GP1200 is bullet proof although a handful in the rough and not the greatest for towing tubes and multiple riders. It is a fun wave jumping PWC when the FL winters create ocean swells. The GPR 1200+ are are also decent, and handle the rough stuff better, but the early 1300 had pump and bottom hull issues.

For Yamaha, in the years that the OP is asking about I would go with the XLT1200 and a GPR 1200 in a mild state of tune. They both offer decent performance, fairly decent fuel economy, and are easy to work on....

demjjm
09-14-2009, 01:10 PM
I have 4 Stroke SeaDoos...GTX. They are 155 hp, no supercharger, which is a good thing. They have held up well. They are 05 models. I was going to go with Honda until I learned that SeaDoos are the only ones with closed cooling systems on them i.e no salt water in the heads! If you are going to use them in salt, definitely get SeaDoos.


We renamed "sea doo's" - "re doo's" As you mentioned the non super charged is not as bad, but the super charged are famous for water ingestion, which wipes out the super charger.

I owned an XP and GTX in the late 90's and it always seemed like something was breaking, never anything major but a lot of small problems, which made days on water miserable.

Goggleyed
09-14-2009, 02:57 PM
Interesting ... we have had 3 Honda Turbo's, and while they are awesome when they are running, we have had a lot of problems, so much that our local dealer actually swapped us out of one at no cost (he is a personal family friend). FI alerts, stuck wastegate valves, limp mode, bad sensors and ECU's ;? We even put a deck plate in the side of the one to allow better access to lubricate the wastegate on the turbo. Even the non-turbo has had sensor and ECU issues.

We recently added the Kawasaki a Kawi to the family, to see if we have better luck with supercharged over the turbo ;? It performs well, but it came with a bad impeller :trout: that the dealer is fighting with Kawi to replace. ;?

I personally prefer the simplicity of the 2 strokes, however the maintenance requirements are definitely more (but cheaper ;cool; ) . With any 2 stroke PWC I would never depend on the oil injection, and would move to premix. This however can be a hassle for some people. We have 2 stroke MX bikes, and quads so premixing is second nature to us.

The GP1200 is bullet proof although a handful in the rough and not the greatest for towing tubes and multiple riders. It is a fun wave jumping PWC when the FL winters create ocean swells. The GPR 1200+ are are also decent, and handle the rough stuff better, but the early 1300 had pump and bottom hull issues.

For Yamaha, in the years that the OP is asking about I would go with the XLT1200 and a GPR 1200 in a mild state of tune. They both offer decent performance, fairly decent fuel economy, and are easy to work on....

It's interesting that you had such good luck with the Yammie GP1200's. I popped the powerhead on mine twice under warranty and sold it.

GypsyJon
09-14-2009, 04:33 PM
We renamed "sea doo's" - "re doo's" As you mentioned the non super charged is not as bad, but the super charged are famous for water ingestion, which wipes out the super charger.

I owned an XP and GTX in the late 90's and it always seemed like something was breaking, never anything major but a lot of small problems, which made days on water miserable.

Maybe it is because I maintain them or what ever, but my pair of 2005 GTX's have over 125 hours on them with out a problem. Except that time I ran over an oyster bar....:trout:

PotomacSouth
09-14-2009, 04:36 PM
Honda only. Had mine 4 years, rode the living heck out of it, let people borrow it, one sank it, (left the plug out, it doesn't sink but it fills 1/4 with water) Sold it to my brother last year and it still hasn't had a single issue. Unbelievable machine. The reverse does seize up on a regular basis but it's not required.

demjjm
09-14-2009, 05:00 PM
It's interesting that you had such good luck with the Yammie GP1200's. I popped the powerhead on mine twice under warranty and sold it.

Yes is is interesting, just like above where someone had great luck with the Honda turbo's and yet they were and still are (as we have one turbo and one non turbo still in the family) troublesome for us. The handling and speed are nice, they are great in the rough stuff, they jump nice, tow well, get good gas mileage, etc etc etc so we just deal with it :mad:

I had a 97 GP1200 GPS'ed radared at 70 mph, and used for a magazine spread regarding fast "pump gas" ski's. Did you by chance depend on the stock oil injection ;?

straycatboat
09-16-2009, 12:05 PM
dont walk away from sea-doos... RUN AWAY FROM SEA-DOOS

:mad: I agree Seados are JUNK!!

#1Stunna
09-16-2009, 12:12 PM
I have owned both Yamaha and Sea Doo. Both are great. Yamaha seems to have a better reputation for dependabilty, but I had no major problems with either. I thought the Sea Doo was more fun to ride. I really like the 1996 Sea Doo XP. Best power to weight ratio ski ever made. It did beat you up in rough water.

demjjm
09-16-2009, 12:58 PM
I have owned both Yamaha and Sea Doo. Both are great. Yamaha seems to have a better reputation for dependabilty, but I had no major problems with either. I thought the Sea Doo was more fun to ride. I really like the 1996 Sea Doo XP. Best power to weight ratio ski ever made. It did beat you up in rough water.


I ad that ski before stepping over to the GP's :thumbsup:



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