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Dave Lehnert
05-04-2012, 4:27 PM
Tell me what you know about a personal watercraft. Good/ bad brands. What is a good size for casual use. Stay away from????? Just some info to get me going in the right direction. At this point I only know two brands, Wave runner and Sea Doo.

curtis rosche
05-04-2012, 4:54 PM
can-am makes some i think. look up what some of the rental places use. they have to put up with super heavy use since everyone runs them full our for the hour they rent them

David Lawhorn
05-04-2012, 5:19 PM
I am certainly no expert, but I do have PWCs.

Are you looking for new PWC, or old/used?
Are you looking to put them in fresh water, salt water, or both?
I don't know where you are located, but my suggestion would be to find a local repair shop that works on them and ask them how frequently the various brands need tune-ups, oil changes, etc. You can also find out which brands they repair most frequently (this may or may not match that brand's popularity) and how much these repairs usually cost.

I know this approach helped me determine which brand(s) I was and was not interested in (years ago). I also was fortunate to have friends who owned PWC so I could (and did) check out other brands and models.

Lastly, when we were looking, it was not unusual for some of the larger dealerships which sold multiple brands to have "DEMO days" where you could go to a marina and test drive/ride the PWC that you might be interested in. If you can test ride it may let you identify features/deficiencies that some models/brands may have.

Whatever you may decide, they can be a LOT of fun.

Enjoy.

Rich Engelhardt
05-04-2012, 5:46 PM
Somebody here @ SMC once posted this real gem of wisdom:
"If it floats, flys or fools around - rent it".

Truer words were never spoken...

Dave Lehnert
05-04-2012, 7:12 PM
I am in Ohio, Fresh water only.

Seems the economy has hit the personal watercraft bizz hard. All Sea Doo dealers around here has folded or stopped selling them.

Tim Boger
05-04-2012, 8:06 PM
Tell me what you know about a personal watercraft. Good/ bad brands. What is a good size for casual use. Stay away from????? Just some info to get me going in the right direction. At this point I only know two brands, Wave runner and Sea Doo.

Dave ... I work at a Power Sports dealership. I would look at the Yamaha water crafts and Kawasaki. Seadoo is very popular because they always seem to be on the leading edge of technology but that also leads to new and unresolved issues. Plenty of technical updates, service bulletins and recalls. I would avoid super charged machines as well, reliability is a concern and super charged units run on the edge of their capacity.

If you choose to consider a used unit, run from anything that has been in or near salt water.

Hope this helps.
Tim

Dave Lehnert
05-04-2012, 9:26 PM
Dave ... I work at a Power Sports dealership. I would look at the Yamaha water crafts and Kawasaki. Seadoo is very popular because they always seem to be on the leading edge of technology but that also leads to new and unresolved issues. Plenty of technical updates, service bulletins and recalls. I would avoid super charged machines as well, reliability is a concern and super charged units run on the edge of their capacity.

If you choose to consider a used unit, run from anything that has been in or near salt water.

Hope this helps.
Tim

Thanks,
I am open to used, but not knowing much about one, have no idea what to look for. I see some good prices on Craigslist but kinda get the feeling it's like a lawn mower. No one gets rid of one unless they are at the point of spending some $$$$ on fixing it.

Rich Engelhardt
05-05-2012, 9:12 AM
Dave ... I work at a Power Sports dealership
Tim,
I'm curious - do they have some way of recording how long they've been run, such as an hour meter?
I know my Merc. 25 HP outboard didn't.
I tend to view things like that the same way I view my Coleman oiless compressor.
My compressor is over 25 years old and I've run the daylights out of it.
To look at it though, you'd swear it was next to brand new.
I know it's just a matter of time until I plug it in and - nada...

Tim Boger
05-05-2012, 9:23 AM
Hey Rick,

Most, if not all the newer water craft have an hour meter built into the gauge cluster, I can't say for sure about Honda as we don't sell those.

As a guideline, if buying used I would look for a unit with less than 100 hours, better still would be less that 50hrs. Always take a look at the impeller from under the unit and from the stern, if there is even minor damage to the leading edges to the impeller than there is a very good chance of damage to the pump .... that = $$$.

Usually if the used water craft was enjoyed locally the servicing dealer can produce a record of the service/repairs it has had.

Be happy to help anyway I can.
Tim

Jim Matthews
05-05-2012, 12:49 PM
+1 on the rental.

Rule number one from "Simplify your life"

"Sell the boat."

Dave Lehnert
05-05-2012, 6:37 PM
Hey Rick,

Most, if not all the newer water craft have an hour meter built into the gauge cluster, I can't say for sure about Honda as we don't sell those.

As a guideline, if buying used I would look for a unit with less than 100 hours, better still would be less that 50hrs. Always take a look at the impeller from under the unit and from the stern, if there is even minor damage to the leading edges to the impeller than there is a very good chance of damage to the pump .... that = $$$.

Usually if the used water craft was enjoyed locally the servicing dealer can produce a record of the service/repairs it has had.

Be happy to help anyway I can.
Tim

Thanks, Just the kind of info I was looking for.

Know this is kinda a general question and may be hard to answer. But if I would run across a used unit in need of work cheap. Ballpark figure, What would a new or engine rebuild cost, New pump or any other major parts?

Dave Lehnert
05-05-2012, 7:04 PM
+1 on the rental.

Rule number one from "Simplify your life"

"Sell the boat."

Don't disagree with you at all but it's hard enough to find a dealer in Cincinnati that has not stopped selling them let alone anyone renting them. I stopped by a Sea Doo/ motorcycle dealer and not one PCW in the place. Owner said he gave up trying to sell them the last couple years. And he is located not far form a 2,160-acre lake and 15 min from the Ohio River. business must be WAY down.

Tim Boger
05-05-2012, 8:44 PM
Thanks, Just the kind of info I was looking for.

Know this is kinda a general question and may be hard to answer. But if I would run across a used unit in need of work cheap. Ballpark figure, What would a new or engine rebuild cost, New pump or any other major parts?

Hi Rick,

I would strongly encourage you to stay away from something that is selling cheap because of needed repairs, chances are that once you have the repairs completed other gremlins will begin to appear as the unit has probably been neglected while being abused.

However, to answer your questions .... Seadoo is the only one I know that sells short blocks, I'm thinking between $2000 to $2500 plus labor $1000 to $1500 to swap Keep in mind that that typically doesn't include any of the perifriaels like the fuel injection, starter, fuel pump or most of the electronics. Some shops do deal with an outfit in Florida called SBT Engines / or Marine. They will sell rebuilt engines that carry at least a 1 year guarantee .... if it blows up they'll replace it, parts only. No shipping or labor if I recall correctly.

Pump work .... worst case scenario, pump housing, new impeller and labor probably $1500 - $2000 depending if any other components of the drive train are damaged.

In my opinion, it's a smarter move to spend your money on a newer unit with lower hours and take good care of it as compared to getting a bargain that may need more repairs than your aware of or the seller chose not to disclose.

Couple of tips .... get a battery tender and use it. Avoid shallow water, particularly when going in reverse as the rocks and bottom debris gets kicked up and invarably sucked through the pump .... oops, that will be $3-400 dollars. Don't buy a carbureted unit, chose fuel injection (almost everything less that 10 years old is) that is much more forgiving with respect to today's crappy fuel. Or when fuel gets old while the unit is not getting used regularly.

Don't forget to put the drain plugs in, lots of fun hanging at the ramp watching folks new to boating sink their new toys on the ramp while they park the truck.

Tim