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It's been a while since anyone posted to this thread, but after looking at the questions and responses it seems that no one has said the obvious, which is: Don't buy a Tigershark, Polaris, or Honda PWC unless it is really, really cheap, beacuse they don't make them anymore. It's hard to find mechanics that will touch them if they are older and especially if they are fuel injected. It gets harder and harder to find anything but used parts. Buying those brands can make the PWC hobby more frustrating than fun.

If you are handy with a wrench, and have access to the Internet and used parts, you may want to invest a few hundred dollars in one of the brands mentioned above, but do not do so if you are a novice at PWC repair.

As to what's left, we have Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Sea Doo, which are listed in my order of preference. When talking with PWC mechanics I have been told that Yamahas and Kawasakis mainly come into the garage for routine maintenance, while Sea Doos mainly come in for repairs.

I have owned a 1996 Tigershark, which bogged down after it warmed up; a 2002 Polaris, which quit running after the fuel pressure regulator and computer chip went out; and a 2006 Sea Doo four-stroke whose engine totally puked when the timing chain broke and all the valves and rods were bent after only 47 hours of use. Now I have 2 Yamaha XLT 1200 Waverunners. I prefer two-stroke, because they are easier to work on (and easier to find someone to work on them) and the engine usually does not cost as much to repair if something goes wrong, and Yamaha because of the reliability. The XLTs are the most comfortable and stable PWCs that I have owned. If your lower back hurts after riding on the PWC for half an hour it takes a lot of the fun out of riding.

Of course, an individual needs to think of his/her particular needs when deciding on a specific brand and model, but at least try to stick with a brand that is still being made.
You have to decide about new with warranty over used without warranty, and if you go with a used PWC you need to decide two-stroke or four-stroke, then what size of PWC/how many passengers. I have found typical three seaters to be good, all-around PWCs that will haul people and tubes with ease. The ultimate in PWC ownership is to purchase a brand-new PWC, with the extended warranty, and then sell it the day before the extended warranty expires and buy a new PWC, with extended warranty, and then sell .... I think you get what I mean. But I don't have as much invested in the two XLTs that I have as a new PWC would cost.

Hope my .02 has helped. I wish I had looked at a thread like this before I purchased the Tigershark and Polaris (which I purchased together used). I would not have purchased them.

Also, I have found Flo's insurance to be the most reasonably priced. It was a lot less than adding the PWCs to my homeowner's policy or gettin insurance through the other leading boat insurance co.

Happy Boating

Zardoz


former sea doo owner, will never own one again
 

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Middle aged? What's that? When you're on a PWC you're young again!

Why buy one ski, and make the wife ride (or worse yet, you ride while she drives)? For about $6,000 or less you can have two 2-stroke Yamaha XLT's (2001 - 2004 models) and a tandem trailer. That way you can both ride at the same time.

I know, Ernest T, 2-strokes are a thing of the past, outdated technology, dinosaurs, etc. But two strokes still work fine, have lots of power, are easier to work on, and are still allowed on Lake Erie. And they're cheaper and less prone to major catastrophic engine failure. The Yamaha XLT's are extremely stable and confortable. When you get "middle aged" riding a PWC can get you in the lower back after a while, and the XLT's don't do this. Comfort and stability all the way. And they can still go 50 mph +. When you're "middle aged" that's fast enough.

You also feel a lot more secure when you have another PWC and rider with you. Breaking down on Lake Erie when you are by yourself is not a lot of fun. I've been there. Stranded while riding on a sea doo, of course.

The pros and cons of the Yamaha XLT's are well known, and with a little low cost "troubleproofing" they are great PWCs. Read this thread through, if you haven't already, and you will get a much better idea as to what to buy and what to avoid. As always, stay away from Tigershark, Polaris and Honda, because these are not being made anymore. Stay away from sea doo because they're crap.

Hope you see you on Lake Erie the last week of June - 1st week of July. That's when my kids and I will be on Kelleys Island. We're the silver 2001 and purple 2002 Yamaha XLT's. My oldest turns 16 the first week of May. This will be the first year he will be able to pilot a PWC by himself. A great bonding opportunity for father and son. But if you're going to be on Lake Erie this summer, beware!

Zardoz


former sea doo owner, will never own one again
 

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For what you are looking for I would recommend a 2001 - 2004 Yamaha XLT 1200. Very stable, very dependable, and lots of fun. No problem with power, no problem carrying your weight, and all potential problems are pretty much known and preventable.

XLT w/ trailer should run you $2,500 - $3,500 if working properly. If not working properly, then $500 -$1,500, and it's a two stroke so it fairly easily repaired. Not so unforgiving as a four stroke.

And, of course, stay away from sea doo.

Zardoz

former sea doo owner, will never own one again
 

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Well, since you asked ....

Former owner of 2006 sea doo GTI. Here is my 2 cents:

1. Only PWC that ever threw me & my kid off when I didn't expect to be thrown off. = $250 for lost glasses,

2. Bought it with 17 hours, timing chain broke at 30 hours, entire engine puked. = $2,500 down the tube.

sea doo is known for bad timing chains.

Price that you are giving is a good price, but you're getting sea doo.

Go Yamaha.

Zardoz
 

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Warning! Warning Will Robinson!!

Do not buy unless you can take the machine out on the water and run it for at least a half an hour. Some problems will not occur when the machine is on the hose (cavitation for example), and some problems will not occur until a half hour of riding and the machine is good and warmed up (bogging down).

My (bad) example: in spring 2012 I bought a 2001 Yama Waverunner from a guy on Craigslist. Guaranteed in writing to run perfect. It was in March so I, the trusting fool, did not run it, nor did I check the compression. (I have learned a lot since then) When I took it out for the first run on Memorial Day weekend, I had it out for 10 min. Wouldn't go over 10 mph. Eventually found out one cylinder was fried. Found mechanic that would state in writing that the machine had to be toast before I bought it because the amount of damage it exhibited would not have occurred in my 10 min of use. (still use this mechanic, great guy) Cost me $2,000 + to rebuild engine. Sued seller in small claims court and won a $3,000 judgment. Seller went bankrupt. After the Waverunner was fixed, found out it suffered from cavitation and had to buy new intake grate and pump seal kit.

I would have found all of this out if I hadn't been in such a hurry to buy and such a trusting fool. Trust, but verify.

It would have been a lot better if I had listened to my own advice. Do as I say, not as I do.

Good Luck!

Zardoz
 

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My claim was unsecured. When the guy went BK all of his debts were discharged. I was left out in the cold. Couldn't even get court costs.

Go BK today! It's the American way!

Used to be when one went bankrupt they were a pariah, shunned by normal creditworthy bill-paying people. Now it's many people's eight year plan.

Oh well, I still have my health, and two decent Yamaha machines.

Zardoz
 
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