Welcome to my Jet Ski build page! This should be fun…
Recently, I happened to notice a buddy of mine post a for sale notice for his used Jet Ski on Facebook one evening. It said, “make offer.” Typically, when you see those types of posts without any aforementioned price tag, there is usually room for negotiation as the primary purpose is to get rid of the item, not make a killer profit. So, we started chatting about the ski, and long story short, I got the ski + trailer, AS-IS, for $300 bucks! Can’t beat that, thanks again Tyler!
Upon initial inspection of the ski, here is what I know so far. It may or may not crank up and run as it has been sitting for the better part of two years, dormant. I was told it was kept inside a shed/garage with a heat lamp during winters to avoid freezing, but time will tell if the engine is solid. Speaking of the engine, although this ski is a 2000 model, it had an engine swap sometime around 2014’ish, so the motor is not that old with very little hours on it, so my fingers are crossed on the status. Before I get too excited, i’m taking it to a local mechanic to do an initial inspection to see what it would take to get it seaworthy again. My initial guess is the carbs will need a tune-up, plugs, fluid changes, all the basic maintenance items; however, i’m really hoping nothing major is needed. I have a number in mind that I am willing to drop to get it running again; however, if I get a surprise and it needs major work, the plan will be to simply sell the setup to recoop my very minimal investment (likely even make a profit).
If the engine checks out though, which i’m about 80% sure it will, I plan on restoring it myself, which i’m excited about! First, the paint is wrecked.. It’s very clear that for most of its life, it has sat out in the sun instead of covered and/or inside a garage. You can tell this by the black paint is basically a dull light gray that won’t buff out. I’ve already tried the typical oxidation removal techniques, but those efforts proved futile as the paint is beyond repair. So, if the mechanical items check out, I plan on stripping it down, removing the graphics, taping it off and putting a fresh coat of paint on it to bring it back to life. I have also found where I can order the OEM set of decals for it, along with any random parts I might need, such as the grip pads that run along the floor where your feet go (those will need to be replaced as well, and will be removed during the paint process).
I have debated back and forth on trying to change up the color scheme from the OEM black/yellow design to perhaps a black/red design (i’m a sucker for red); however, I think I have decided against that as most of the parts i’m finding come in the original color scheme, so it would be much easier to just bring the ski back to life the way it came, which I also dig (the black and yellow really pop when the paint is nice & glossy).
As far as the trailer, it’s in MINT condition! It’s galvanized, no rust, no dents, and I replaced all bearings with fresh grease before I left Tuscaloosa, so the hubs are in mint condition as well! Additionally, one of the items I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I had to replace before I even considered towing it 3+ hours home were the tires. Anytime a tire sits for 2 years in the elements it’s likely to have dry rot, which these did, and would have likely blown out on the trip home. Instead of going down to Wal-Mart or Bass Pro and picking up a set of typical white trailer wheel/tire combo’s, which alone are still $70-$100 bucks per wheel/tire, I decided to do something a little nicer with a long-term vision of how I wanted this finished product to look. I hopped on eBay, found a nice set of trailer wheels in that tiny 12″ size, then got on Amazon and ordered a set of tires to match. A quick trip down to Mountain Motorsports in Marietta to mount them and I was golden. All in all, going this route added a little extra to the bottom line; however, I think really took the trailer to the next level, appearance wise. My plan is to paint this trailer a gloss black with gray carpeting on the runners, do a new LED light kit and replace the winch. Once this is done, the trailer alone will easily be worth my initial investment and then some, never mind the ski 🙂 So, in other words, i’m still WAY in the positive on equity regarding this project IMO.
Stay tuned as I work through the steps of restoration as I plan on documenting this with how-to videos and before & after shots. With any luck, i’ll have a working ski that will be ready for the occasional lake/beach trip later this summer!
…and after a good degreaser bath & some fresh wheels/tires…