The supercharger on a jet ski is an air compressor that forces extra air into the engine. Since it burns more gas, it leads to more power and a higher top speed. On the other hand, this increased power results in less durability and higher maintenance costs.
If you want to learn more about superchargers, you are in the right place.
We at PowerSportsGuide bring to light the truth about supercharged jet skis!
What is a Supercharger on a Jet Ski?
Jet skis are manufactured with naturally-aspirated as well as supercharged engines.
Naturally-aspirated power sources don’t feature a supercharger, which means that air is forced into them atmospheric pressure only. You can expect around 60-180 HP on these jet skis depending on the make and the model.
The main advantage of supercharged jet ski engines is a significantly higher performance, as they typically put out 250-310 HP. These power sources are prevalent in the Performance and Luxury jet ski categories.
What is a supercharger on a jet ski?
A jet ski supercharger is a small air compressor with a housing and an impeller. The impeller is driven by the crankshaft of the engine. This means that when the engine is on, the supercharger is working as well. The spinning impeller compresses the air and forces it directly into the cylinders. With more air, the engine can burn more gas, so it can produce more power.
It’s also good to know that the air heats up while it’s compressed, which is why supercharged jet skis feature an intercooler as well. This part cools down the air before it enters the engine.
It’s a lesser-known fact that the impellers in jet ski superchargers spin so fast that they can reach an incredible 50,000 RPM. (Really, no typo!)
Because of this, they need continuous attention and care. Let’s move on and see how to maintain a jet ski supercharger!
When Should You Rebuild Your Sea-Doo Supercharger?
As a rule of thumb, on many Sea-Doos the supercharger needs to be rebuilt every 2 years or every 100 engine hours (whichever comes first). However, the exact service intervals may vary from one model to the next. Because of this, if you have a supercharged Sea-Doo, it’s highly recommended that you check the manual or contact your dealer for further information.
It’s very important not to overlook this maintenance since supercharger bearing failures on Sea-Doos can cause major engine damage!
Regarding other brands, their superchargers are “maintenance-free,” meaning they don’t have scheduled maintenance intervals, but they also need to be rebuilt sooner or later.
If you want to learn more about Sea-Doo supercharger failures (and the aftermaths) don’t miss this informative video:
How do You Rebuild a Jet Ski Supercharger?
To rebuild a jet ski supercharger, it has to be removed from the hull. Then you have to disassemble it and replace the required parts including the bearing, washers, drive gear, and so on. However, keep in mind that rebuilding a jet ski supercharger is not like an oil change. It requires skill as well as special tools. Therefore, best practice is for you to leave it to the professionals.
Where can you get your supercharger rebuilt? You can get it done at any Sea-Doo dealership or reputable service shop.
How Much Does It Cost to Rebuild a Jet Ski Supercharger?
Jet ski supercharger rebuilds cost around $450-$500 if you get it done by a professional. This means you have to remove the supercharger from your engine and send it by post to one of these services. If you are considering rebuilding it yourself, the “rebuild kit” with the necessary parts may cost you about $300-$400.
How Often do Yamaha Superchargers Need to be Rebuilt?
Unlike with Sea-Doos, there is no scheduled rebuild interval for Yamaha superchargers. Thanks to Yamaha’s maintenance-free design, you can ride these jet skis without any worries as long as the supercharger works. However, this doesn’t mean that Yamaha superchargers last forever!
You can expect to have a supercharger bearing issue on a WaveRunner sooner or later. When this happens it typically results in a significant decrease in performance, or other malfunctions.
But the good news is that WaveRunner superchargers can’t damage the entire engine, even in the event of a failure.
How Fast Does a Supercharged Jet Ski Go?
Although there are many drawbacks of supercharged jet skis, these models are still quite popular due to their high performance. Are you wondering what the top speed is of a supercharged jet ski?
It’s safe to say that every supercharged jet ski can go as fast as 67 mph. It’s also good to know that their performance is electronically limited, because of an agreement between the U.S. Coast Guard and PWC manufacturers. Without the limiter, these machines could easily hit the 70+ mph range!
Besides their amazing top speeds, these machines can accelerate like high-end sports cars!
Should You Buy a Supercharged Jet Ski?
Even if they are amazing machines, if you are a beginner you shouldn’t buy a supercharged jet ski. They are generally considered too powerful for first-time riders, so they can be dangerous in many ways. Furthermore, these machines come with higher price tags, maintenance costs and require more attention in general.
Because of these factors, supercharged jet skis are not recommended for beginners!
Conclusion – The Truth About Supercharged Jet Skis
So finally, what is the truth about supercharged jet skis?
As you can see, they are definitely not for everyone. Although they offer unbeatable acceleration and top speed, their drawbacks are often overlooked.
The main cons of jet ski superchargers are as follows:
- Superchargers require periodic maintenance and attention.
- They put a lot of stress on the engine and the driveline (which results in lower reliability and durability).
- Higher risk of failures, which can leave you stranded on the water.
- Significantly higher fuel consumption and maintenance costs.
- Supercharged jet skis come with the highest price tags.
- Supercharged PWC engines are very loud, which can be disturbing for others around you.
- The high performance can be dangerous, especially for beginners.
This is our short jet ski supercharger review. We hope you find it useful!