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Reliability - Naturally Aspirated vs. Supercharged

shinysideup

New Member
Messages
6
Location
Calgary, AB
Water Crafts
None. Yet.
Hello. I am hoping to buy my first ever Sea-Doo in March. I’m Looking at 2020 models. The GTR 230 is my top pick(I want an all-rounder), but I want my machine to last a long time. Maybe a GTI 170 or GTX 170 (I’m aware of the hull differences, etc.) would be better long term? It’ll be run in freshwater lakes. Why do people consider the supercharged models less reliable? What can I do as an owner to make my supercharged machine more reliable? Any information is appreciated! Thanks for helping me make my decision.
 

mikidymac

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Messages
12,715
Location
California
Water Crafts
2003 GTI
2001 XP
1996 XP
1996 HX
1991 Superjet
2001 Superjet
The issue is the supercharger itself. They have to be rebuilt at specific intervals and if they are not they grenade and send metal through the engine. So really it is lack of maintenance that has given the supercharged models a bad name.
I am not sure what the interval is on the new models.

So for less maintenance cost and less trouble the non-supercharged ones have a better reputation and get better fuel range.
 

shinysideup

New Member
Messages
6
Location
Calgary, AB
Water Crafts
None. Yet.
I’ve read the new 2020 GTR 230 manual front to back and there is no mention about the supercharger in the maintenance section. I wonder if they simply forgot about it since this manual is a blanket manual for the GTI 170 and Wake 170 models, as well. The oil level checking and exhaust cooling procedures when it is out of the water did have a specific section for the supercharged models. I remember seeing the 2019 GTR 230 manual showed that the supercharger needed to be “inspected” at 200 hours (didn’t mention a rebuild at all). If this is still the case, I think I will go the supercharged route and just make sure I pay attention to the supercharger as it ages and expect a rebuild or a new one in a couple hundred hours! I appreciate your reply.
 

mikidymac

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
12,715
Location
California
Water Crafts
2003 GTI
2001 XP
1996 XP
1996 HX
1991 Superjet
2001 Superjet
This is hard to say since I am a seadoo fan through and through but seadoo has had some pretty bad reliability issues and fit and finish issues over the last few years. I would not rule out Yamaha in your search either.
 

shinysideup

New Member
Messages
6
Location
Calgary, AB
Water Crafts
None. Yet.
Thanks for adding that. I talked to a dealership yesterday to get their (obviously biased) opinion on a few things and they mentioned the intercooler for winterization, as well. As far as Sea-Doo reliability, I have a tough time thinking about buying another brand, too. As, even though I've never owned one myself, I've had access to them with my family for many years and am a huge fan, too. I did check out some Yamahas, too, though. To make sure I at least had an idea of how they compared.
 

mikidymac

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
12,715
Location
California
Water Crafts
2003 GTI
2001 XP
1996 XP
1996 HX
1991 Superjet
2001 Superjet
The seadoo’s have always had the bling and performance in my opinion. And Yamaha has always been a little boring but absolutely reliable. I’m not saying one is better but if I only cared about reliability I would be swayed towards Yamaha. Also having a dealer you like and trust can make the decision easier on a new ski regardless of the brand.
 

sktn77a

Member
Messages
98
Location
Smith Mountain Lake
Water Crafts
2004 Chaparral 204SSi
2008 Sea-Doo GTX215 LTD
I think most of these jet ski makes have similar reliability if they're looked after. Sea-Doo may be slightly lower but I think they may be driven harder and there ain't no free lunch.

If you get a normally aspirated 'Doo and look after it, it should last pretty much forever. If you get a supercharged/intercooled 'Doo then you need to pay careful attention to the servicing and winterizing needs or it will crap out on you!
 

benjilafouine

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,616
Location
Lac-Simon, Quebec, Canada
Water Crafts
Sea-Doo GTI LE 2003, GTI 90 2018
I think the dealer’s reputation is a major factor. Bought a new unit in 2018 and there were several manufacturing issues and the dealer fixed everything. Came back like new.

A guy around here bought a brand new Yamaha last year and I wasn’t impressed at all by the looks. Looked like a 10 year old model. Sea-Doo pops!

Unless you crave for crazy accelerations and to be the fastest guy on the lake, don’t buy a supercharged unit. Waste of money IMO.
 

benjilafouine

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,616
Location
Lac-Simon, Quebec, Canada
Water Crafts
Sea-Doo GTI LE 2003, GTI 90 2018
They are now maintenance free but as Scotty was saying in Star Trek « The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain. »

A friend of mine had a 2015 supercharged unit for a year and it worked with no issues.
 

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