RESTO Gray Ghost

DanSquires

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Location
Blue Springs, MO
Water Crafts
More skis than brains.
#1
After waiting for the right deal to come along, one finally did. Chris McBride (Quickjets) had posted the 97.5 for sale on facebook, So I had to swoop in. We'd struck up a semi-solid deal a few weeks ago for the ski and trailer, and Saturday on a whim the wife and I jumped in the crapwagon and made the 220 mile drive from Kansas City to Langley, OK.
Of course when I got there, the plans went out the window and I ended up bringing home two skis and a mint ADA head with 50cc domes and new O ring kit in hand, and no trailer.

The Gray Ghost will be a complete restoration. It currently doesn't run, but is not blown. I'll pull it all apart anyways, rebuild everything, and drool over it every once in a while. It's never been opened up, there's just one small gouge in the gel coat on the bottom and needs polished up pretty badly.. but I think it'll come out.

The 98 has a milled head, Coffman pipe, ECWI, unknown at this time impeller, R&D intake, and unknown reeds.. but I got a feeling there's some more there as well. It was parked about 4 years ago unwinterized but running. I pulled the plugs, and they were pretty rusty. The engine will turn about a quarter of a turn before you can hear the cylinders just scraping rust.. so it'll come apart as well. I'm thinking the aftermarket goodies will go on the RXX lite, we'll see.
Now, a few pics.
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Matt Braley

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Niceville, Fl
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I can't keep up with it anymore. I've got some really cool skis!!
#3
I just built myself one(Grey Ghost). Everything was wrong with it but I really like the model. The engine sounded good so I didn't tear it down, lasted about 2 hours lol! When I noticed my son was not behind me I went back to get him and he said it sounded like a box of metal chunks bouncing down the stairs.

I've got UMI for those and tons of other stuff (mag pumps, turf, seat covers, etc.).
 

DanSquires

Active Member
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Location
Blue Springs, MO
Water Crafts
More skis than brains.
#4
I just built myself one(Grey Ghost). Everything was wrong with it but I really like the model. The engine sounded good so I didn't tear it down, lasted about 2 hours lol! When I noticed my son was not behind me I went back to get him and he said it sounded like a box of metal chunks bouncing down the stairs.

I've got UMI for those and tons of other stuff (mag pumps, turf, seat covers, etc.).
I've always really liked the 97.5, and this thing hasn't had a single bolt touched which makes me pretty excited for a full on resto. The only thing I will be changing out on this one is the seat cover, mats, Pro-K's, and update the carbs to 98+ without the vent and turned around. I'll more than likely even keep the small hub pump as well, just.. because.
Edit 2/16/2019 - stock plans out the window.

Within the next few weeks I hope to tear this thing apart and start scrubbing, and get the cylinders sent off to Fullbore. Then time to rebuild the crank and CB
 
Last edited:

soccerdad

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Jamestown, NC
Water Crafts
'96 GSX- Lemonade
'96 GTX- Shamu
2006 Bayliner 185, 3.0L
#5
I haven't been building much lately, but I would love to find a grey ghost to rebuild. I look forward to seeing your progress. Good luck!
 

DanSquires

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Location
Blue Springs, MO
Water Crafts
More skis than brains.
#6
I haven't been building much lately, but I would love to find a grey ghost to rebuild. I look forward to seeing your progress. Good luck!
I know there was one for sale on facebook in Atlanta (Evan I believe is his name) for $500 bucks for quite some time, it may still be around? Wouldn't be too far of a commute..

As far as the ghost is concerned thus far, it's sitting in storage. I've got 9 repairs left yet to complete before I can dig into my personal winter projects, and hopefully those will all be done in the next two weeks or so. Then take my month long hiatus (basically spend a month doing nothing but getting sh*t back in order/cleaned up from the busy season) and I can tear this ski apart.
 

emspjay

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Harrison Township, MI
Water Crafts
1996 Seadoo XP, 1996 Seadoo GTX, 1996 Seadoo GSX, 1996 Sea Ray 300 Sundancer, 1995 Seadoo XP 800
#8
Subscribing to this build! I love my 1996 GSX and every other Seadoo I have has the 787. Was trying to keep everything 787 so I just have the same engine parts to buy. But the 951 in a GSX has me rethinking that idea. Is there a noticeable difference in power from the 787 to 951 in the GSX hull??
 

DanSquires

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Location
Blue Springs, MO
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More skis than brains.
#10
Is there a noticeable difference in power from the 787 to 951 in the GSX hull??
The GSXL is nothing less than a rocket. It's a night and day difference. And the 97.5 is supposed to be the fastest of all of them out of the factory, with the white pipe and different port heights.
 

DanSquires

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Location
Blue Springs, MO
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More skis than brains.
#11
Did a little work to this on Christmas eve, nothing too exciting but I did get to turn a wrench or two, and got the engine out.
First was to hook up a battery and see what's happening, but did not attempt to turn over the engine.
Ski has 94.8 hours, and all systems seem to work (VTS both up and down, gauge cycles through all modes)
Gauge needs a new polarizing film, no big deal.. in great shape otherwise.

Engine was locked up tighter than a drum, figured it was a top end/crank job.. so I pulled the engine, no drama there. Filthy pit of despair.
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Set the engine on the bench and got ready to do some tearing into.

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Pulled the head and, oof... she's a bit lean. But in one piece. But, huh.. why is it locked up? Shoot, crank must have ate it.
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Tore off the cylinders, crank looks like any other well taken care of crank with 95 hours. But still frozen solid.. until I start taking off the pistons. All of a sudden, I can turn it with buttery smoothness, but can feel a slight catch every few rotations.. so something is up. Discard the pistons, and open up the cases.
That CB bearing has seen much better days.
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And the surface for the inner seal took some major abuse, but fortunately it never vented the cases.
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Inspecting the crank, the bearings are all completely noise free, and zero play. Absolutely zero runout. And rod tolerance is dead on. However, the CB cavity was dry. So, I don't hold much hope that the seals are any good, but i will half assed reassemble the cases and do both a pressure and vacuum test to confirm. If not, yay, another crank to rebuild.
I'm also looking at my options for the case damage, have to figure that one out.
 

Matt Braley

Premium Member
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Niceville, Fl
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I can't keep up with it anymore. I've got some really cool skis!!
#12
I have clean cases if you need them. Everything else as well.

The 97.5 was built on the edge of seizure in order to get the new engine model past the EPA. You NEED to update the carb orientation, the 1.8 needle and seats, the tight piston to cylinder tolerances, and the carb jetting to have a more reliable ski. I'm sure you've read up on this stuff but just making sure.
 

DanSquires

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Location
Blue Springs, MO
Water Crafts
More skis than brains.
#13
They'll definitely get the 98+ carb treatment, along with 98gsxl cables to fit correctly. I'll be using prok's/outerwears and 85 lows/167 mains/2.3 N&S setup. Already have a few sets of carbs set up and ready to bolt on.

Top end will be Wossner, I'll let Fullbore handle all that business. Let professionals do professional things.
I really need to clean up the cases and see where to go from there, there's several options open to dealing with that..
 

Matt Braley

Premium Member
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Location
Niceville, Fl
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I can't keep up with it anymore. I've got some really cool skis!!
#14
The 98 GSXL has no TPS and the 97.5 does. I just swapped the MPEM and throttle cable over from a 98GSX to my Ghost today so it's fresh on my mind. There is a "amplifier" that's not used now that the Ghost has on the underside between the front of the seat and the fuel valve. I have not run this setup yet but I looked over both of the wiring diagrams and I think it will be fine.
 

DanSquires

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Location
Blue Springs, MO
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More skis than brains.
#15
The 98 GSXL has no TPS and the 97.5 does. I just swapped the MPEM and throttle cable over from a 98GSX to my Ghost today so it's fresh on my mind. There is a "amplifier" that's not used now that the Ghost has on the underside between the front of the seat and the fuel valve. I have not run this setup yet but I looked over both of the wiring diagrams and I think it will be fine.
That's right, 98 had no tps but 99 does.. I'll use a 99 that I've got sitting around. Too much "one year only" crap to keep up with sometimes. Like, the only year they ran reverse cooling on a 951..
 

Paul Bretz

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New Baden IL
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many 96 xp's
97 gsx
hx 800
#22
Gotcha. I was thinkin bout doing same but the stock prop pitch is so much different than other 951 boats. I havent decided yet
 

DanSquires

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Location
Blue Springs, MO
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More skis than brains.
#23
Gotcha. I was thinkin bout doing same but the stock prop pitch is so much different than other 951 boats. I havent decided yet
yea, but it's also the small hub 155 pump, only model it came on..
There's endless (and less expensive) options on the used market for the standard big hub 155
 

Paul Bretz

Active Member
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Location
New Baden IL
Water Crafts
many 96 xp's
97 gsx
hx 800
#24
I havent really looked for options. Just seeing that the stock prop pitch for this compared to other 951’s is way different
 

Matt Braley

Premium Member
Premium Member
Messages
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Location
Niceville, Fl
Water Crafts
I can't keep up with it anymore. I've got some really cool skis!!
#25
The small hub 155mm was desired by racers for a while back in the day. That weird looking impeller they had in there was made by Nu-Jet. It was(is) very fast but there were cavitation complaints off idle on some old forums. I have not run mine yet to compare personally.

The 98GSXL/GTXL MPEM is not a clean swap into the Ghost. It starts and runs good but does a long beep randomly and my VTS gauge is pegged straight up. I think I'm going to have to use the wiring from the 98GSX before I fry something. I lost a rear coil in the RXX the other day plugging a single coil MPEM into it (oops)
 

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