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Are you supercharged?

Do you know what that really means?


But most importantly:

What is a supercharger?
Simply put it's an air compressor for your engine.
By compressing the air going into the engine you can get more
of it where it belongs and that translates into more power

A Normally Aspirated (Na) engine relies on suction to pull air into the cylinder.
A Supercharged (Sc) Seadoo relies on air pressure to fill the cylinder
A (Na)  Seadoo 4-tec can make from 135-150hp
A (Sc) Seadoo can make from 185-255hp from the same basic engine

So how does this affect your ride?
When you want power, it's there..lots of it. Speed also.
A Sc Seadoo has no problem pulling a larger person up on a wakeboard or skis
and it does it faster


However, like everything else there are downsides.

Fuel consumption can be surprising.

You may want to plan on having a set of fuel cans to hold a full tank (around 15 gallons)
Because you can burn thru that much fuel in under two hours of riding
A Sc Seadoo can gulp up to 16 gallon an hour when it's at full throttle!

Plan on making some gas runs.

(strapping them onto your trunk is not suggested either)
Take your trailer with the gas can rack, even if it's a pain.

Extra Expense

Superchargers spin over 50,000 rpms They have bearings and a clutch, which wear out.
If you ignore the basic needs of the Sc, it will cost you BIG
Big as in 3-4 THOUSAND dollars.

The outlet of the Sc goes directly into the engine. Imagine what happens when the Sc has a bearing or clutch failure.
Right. You just dropped a handful of screws into your engine.
Some models have a service reminder for Supercharger maintenance that pops up around 100 hours.

You have to be proactive on maintenance. Or Else
For Skis produced before 2013 Seadoo calls for a supercharger rebuild at 100 hours.
later model skis and skis that have already had a rebuild with the new kit can go for 200 hours

A Sc rebuild will cost you $800. That's $8 a running hour or $4 after your first rebuild.

That's on top of the costs for gas, oil and insurance.
A Sc ski has a high per hour running cost.
It's a good idea to start a JetSki piggy bank to cover the large costs
you can experience if you use your ski every weekend.

Just drop $20 in there every time you put the ski in the water
and you'll make a good dent in any service costs that come along.

There are some things you can do to lessen the chance of a premature failure.
Have the Sc clutch inspected for slippage at 50 hours
It's not difficult to perform a self inspection.
You need a quality torque wrench and some basic hand tools

The 100 hour rebuild warning is serious, don't let anybody tell you to ignore it.
So many engines were damaged by early design clutches, that there was a class
action Suit against Seadoo for the repair costs.
Seadoo lost, but only in California would owners receive reimbursements.


Have a look at this supercharger that had a failure at 127 hours of use:

A bearing failure destroyed this charger. It's a total loss.
The engine will need to be examined for damage as well.

Fuel is an important consideration for a Sc Seadoo.
Simply put, you should be using premium and preferably Ethanol Free Premium
Butte General Store at the lake carries No-ethanol premium as of the March 2015.
Check the pumps you are buying from. DO NOT USE E15 or E85

How to extend the life of your supercharger clutch.

The supercharger has a clutch that allows the charger and engine to spin at different speeds.
Typically the supercharger wheel is not slipping..BUT....

When your ski comes up out of the water, the flow of water into the pump is interrupted.
This is known as "unhooking". Suddenly the engine has no load, it can rev up quickly
if you do not release the throttle, the supercharger can do that too.
When your ski comes back down into the water, the pump will start
working hard again, slowing the engine dramatically.
This is where the supercharger clutch comes into play.
The clutch slips, allowing the supercharger to slowly match the engine speed.

The gear that drives the supercharger is about a half inch wide. The impeller driveshaft is about three times that size,
the driveshaft can typically handle the jolts that come from unhooking without undue wear and tear.
Some model skis have a large rubber damper built into the driveline to ease the shock load.

Jumping wakes is dangerous and puts extreme wear and tear on your skis driveline, including the supercharger drive.
Use due caution. Come too close to a boat to try to jump its wake is
almost a sure summons for dangerous operation when you are seen.
If you simply must jump, find an isolated area to play in.
Stay out of the main channels.

In order for the SC clutch to operate, it has to have the correct lubrication.

The only exception I am aware of is Amsoil synthetic.
They claim this oil does not have the additives know to damage friction clutches (the type used in the Seadoo SC)
All of Captain Pete's services use Castrol 10/40 GTX motor oil.
Using a synthetic oil does not mean you can skip oil changes.
Don't skimp on oil changes. Supercharged engines are operating under higher then typical loads.
If you're car had a supercharged seadoo V8 in it, how does 640 HP sound?
The meanest Seadoo @ 255HP make over 80HP/cylinder!

It's all about pressure

Air pressure at Sea Level is 14.7 PSI
A Seadoo Supercharger can increase the pressure of the air going into the intake tract to 20+ psi
That's nearly a 50% boost in air volume. The fuel injectors on a supercharged
engine are tied into the current "boosted pressure" by the engines control unit (ecu).
 The correct amount of fuel is always injected, even at our altitude of 4400 feet.

The more pressure you can build in the intake, the more air that will rush in
when the engine needs it and the more fuel that will be injected.
More Power. It's simple.
Super chargers and their cousin the turbo charger have been around a long time.

Back when piston aircraft engines were the norm, many were supercharged to allow flight at high altitudes where
there is barely enough air for a human, not considering the oxygen needs of a 12 cylinder aircraft engine.

You'll find turbochargers in many diesel powered vehicles. They are not a jet ski exclusive.

Kawasaki Superchargers

Kawasaki took a different approach to their supercharger system.

They opted to use the familiar toothed rubber belt. No doubt you've seen that on the drag racing cars.
Failures of the drive belt does not cause catastrophic engine damage.
There are some issues running a rubber belt in the bilge of a jetski, but the system has proven reliable enough.

The Kawasaki also uses a different type of supercharger compressor, but that's for another day.
The rubber belt used to drive the Kawasaki Supercharger also requires regular replacement.

If it fails, it won't ruin your day too badly.


Yamaha Superchargers

Yamaha took their own approach to supercharging.

They use a one way clutch, which can fail,  but not spray debris into your engine.

When a Yamaha clutch fails, the charger will simply freewheel and you'll notice a significant decrease in power.


Keeping your cool-The Intercooler.

Anybody who has had to pump up a tire with an old hand style pump knows that as you compress the air, it gets warmer.
The same thing happens with a commercial air compressor.

And of course...The same happens when your supercharger compresses the air for the engine.
Adding heat to the intake air is not desirable. It can lead to detonation or what most of us call "knock"
It happens when the air in the cylinder is so hot that the fuel mixture ignites without a spark milliseconds before the
ignition fires and when the two fireballs contained in the cylinder collide, you have the "knock" effect.

It's more like taking a hammer to the inside of your engine
Do a quick google on "engine detonation" to see the carnage it can cause

The Intercooler is an important part of a supercharger system
It is essentially a radiator that operates in reverse of typical radiator function
It cools the intake tract air down by using lake water.

While Seadoo skis have closed cooling systems complete with antifreeze, the intercooler is using lake water
and everything that comes along with it, like weeds, trash, sand and so on.
It's important to flush your ski with a garden hose to get this material out of your
intercooler before it builds up and reduces the effectiveness of this vital bit.
Part of a winterize service is to drain the intercooler of water and flush RV antifreeze thru it.
If excessive sand is found in the flush water and engine date review shows reduced boost pressures the
Intercooler would have to be removed, completely cleaned and perhaps replaced.
This can be avoided by regular flushing, or better yet, stay out of mucky shallow areas.


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Last modified: May 07, 2015
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