Jet ski(s)

Fixing up two free jet skis from Craigslist

In March of 2020, correctly anticipating I would soon have a lot more free time, I found a free 1993 WaveRunner 500 on Craigslist. I was searching for a project that would let me get my hands dirty and give me something fun to do over the summer.

Original prototype

It turned out to be a relatively straightforward project. After the usual carburetor rebuild, electrical problems, and fuel system issues, I was able to get some time on the water. Of course, that wouldn’t last long. After getting stranded on the water, I discovered that the original engine control system (a CDI in this case) stopped working. These are not serviceable components and have not been made in at least 25 years! So after some research, I found that a cheap CDI for a generic Quad worked! As usual, this project allowed me to explore the interesting design and manufacturing considerations made by Yamaha, and I could enjoy a nice outing on the water.

While cute, the jetski’s face melting 35HP did not quite do it for me. I sold it to a very nice kid who was very excited, and I think will make an excellent first ski.

I had been periodically checking online listing sites for project jet skis, and came across this 1996 Yamaha WaveVenture:

After a hell of time getting it back home (involving bribing a tire shop at Sunday at 8PM to swap trailer tires and hubs), I had a free jet ski with some “minor” fuel system issues.

It actually proved to be in excellent shape, and someone had swapped in an 1100 engine. I pulled the engine and rebuilt the entire fuel system and replaced all control cables. The 1100 engines also have a common problem of spitting out the two rear crankcase seals which mine had done, so I split the engine and replaced those. With some help, I also replaced all the upholstery and traction mats.

It’s proven to be a fun and relatively reliable ski and I plan to have it for quite some time.