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I'm thinking about buying one of these, I'd like to know what the differences are between this and the later models. I'd also like to know how many hours to expect typically before major repairs are needed. Other than a sea trial and a compression check, what else should I be looking out for on this model?

I'd be happy to hear any and all advice and opinions.
 

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The 04-07 FX HOs are pretty similar. Yamaha just made some minor improvements to internal parts over that time period. The 08 model had the most upgrades including a new hull material and design. The 09 and later have a completely different engine (1800cc), and are basically a completely different machine even though Yamaha still uses the same designation.

The 04 did have a recall for how the wiring harness was mounted that was corrected on later models, and would have probably already been corrected on the one you are looking at. There was also a problem with the motor mounts cracking and breaking on the earlier models, so I'd try to get a look at them or see if they have been replaced (not a big expense if you do it yourself, but labor intensive). Much more common if the ski was used for wave/wake jumping.

Hours are much less important than how the ski was cared for and whether it was used in salt water or not. I've seen 04 skis with less than 50 hours with totaled engines, because they were left for long periods without proper care, and other ones with over 500 hours running great. IMO salt water use causes significant deteriation, unless very thorough post ride care is taken.

Most 04s regardless of the hours are going to be prone to parts failure just like any other 6+ year old ski.

That ski should do around 58-60 mph at around 10,000 rpm. If it runs good in the water, you should be OK.
 

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You can see them, but it helps to have a mirror on a stick. I got one someplace for around $5 with a telescoping handle. That and a flashlight are great tools for inspecting skis, boats, cars, etc. The mounts are sort of at an angle in the bottom of the ski at the corners of the engine block. Look for cracks in the rubber.

Sometimes you can see a problem, but not always. However, there would be more than normal vibration with a motor mount broken when you run the ski.........don't forget the test drive. Also look for signs of water sitting under the ski (that makes the rubber mounts rot faster). A little water behind the engine near the bilge pump is normal.

If the ski has been used in fresh water only, I would think it very unlikely there would be a problem with the mounts. Problem comes from the rear end of the ski crashing down off a big wave that you usually only find in salt water.
 

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How do I check it out if it is now out of season and I am not near or on the water???
See my PM. You would want to look it over very carefully, run it on the hose, and at least do a compression check. If you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, I'd take it to a dealership and let them check the ski out...........probably cost you $100-150, but well worth it.
 
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