1988-1993 Sea-Doo SP 587 Specs and Review [Video]
After its first unsuccessful attempt, Bombardier re-introduced the Sea-Doo PWC brand in 1988 by revealing the all-new Sea-Doo SP 587. This ski was built on a tiny V-shaped fiberglass hull and utilized a 2-stroke, 2-cylinder Rotax 587 “Yellow” engine rated at 56 HP.
If you want to find out more about the first modern Sea-Doo PWC, you’ve come to the right place.
We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know into this 1988 Sea-Doo SP review!
1988-1993 Sea-Doo SP Review
Bombardier entered the marine industry in 1968 by launching the world’s first mass-production personal watercraft.
Unfortunately, this early Sea-Doo didn’t become commercially successful, and the Canadian manufacturer abandoned its PWC division after the 1970 season.
But over the years, more and more powersport companies have emerged in the booming PWC market. The first big player on the field was Kawasaki (1972), followed by Yamaha in 1986.
What’s more, a few boutique manufacturers also tried their luck in this business, like the lesser-known Wet Jet.
Encouraged by the success of competitors, Bombardier returned to the game in 1988.
The 1988 Sea-Doo lineup was quite modest as it consisted of only one model, the Sea-Doo 5801. The ski was also known as Sea-Doo SP 587 or SP 5801. This ski made its debut in 1987 but eventually hit dealerships in 1988.
Unlike its weird, snowmobile-like predecessor, the tiny SP instantly become popular in the marketplace, and with good reason. This ski featured more advanced technologies and offered more power than competitor models.
The SP utilized an innovative platform that measured 96 inches in length, 41.5 inches in width, and 36.2 inches in height. This 20-degree, semi-V hull was made of hand-laid fiberglass.
The craft was powered by a 580cc, 2-stroke twin Rotax 587 engine featuring a CDI ignition, oil injection system, and a single Mikuni BN38-34 carb. This engine was specifically designed for the marine environment and directly connected to the pump with a sturdy driveshaft.
(Surprisingly, the pump of its predecessor was driven by a snowmobile-like belt!)
This “Yellow” 587 Rotax engine was the power source of all Sea-Doo models from 1988 through 1991.
Unlike 4-stroke Sea-Doos, the engine of this early model was cooled by an open-loop cooling system.
Thanks to this lively engine, the 1988 Sea-Doo SP offered 56 HP at 5,750 RPM. Compared to today’s jet skis, this seems like a moderate performance, but in the late ‘80s, it was amazing engine power!
In contrast, the competitors Yamaha WaveRunner 500 and WaveJammer only offered 32 HP, while the Kawasaki JS550 had 41 HP.
The ski was propelled by an advanced Bombardier Formula pump developed and manufactured in-house. This axial-flow, single-stage jet pump housed a tiny, 140 mm impeller.
This setup enabled the Sea-Doo SP to reach a top speed of 40 mph under ideal conditions. Its 7-gallon fuel tank offered about 2.5 hours of riding time at full throttle.
Although the SP was rated for two people and had a load limit of 352 pounds, riding it with an adult passenger was virtually impossible. Let’s face it; this machine was an extremely small vessel that only weighed 365 pounds.
Even with one bigger adult rider onboard, its lightweight and narrow hull become quite tipsy, especially at lower speeds. Therefore, it could only carry a small child as a passenger.
The SP had some similarities to the unsuccessful 1968 model, like its bow and the wide footwells. But on the other hand, it utilized many advanced features like padded handlebars, upgraded grips, and a comfortable roomy seat filled with Polyurethane foam.
A huge drawback of this model was that it came without grab handles, which made re-boarding from deep water impossible. Although the SP was known for its low reliability, these issues weren’t unsolvable.
Compared to its successors, the 1988 SP is now very rare, so it’s likely that not too many were sold. The model had undergone many changes over the years until it was discontinued in 1998.
1988 Sea-Doo SP Specs Chart
For your convenience, we’ve compiled the 1988 Sea-Doo SP specifications into these charts!
1988 Sea-Doo SP Engine Specs
|Engine Specs||1988 Sea-Doo SP|
|Engine type||Rotax 587, 2-stroke|
|Induction type||Rotary valve|
|Cooling system||Water cooled|
|Exhaust system||Water cooled, water injected|
|Starting system||Electric start|
|Lubrication - type||Oil injection|
|Lubrication - oil type||Sea-Doo injection oil|
|Number of cylinders||2|
|Bore - Standard||76.0 mm (2.992 in)|
|Bore - First oversize||76.25 mm (3.002 in)|
|Bore - Second oversize||76.5 mm (3.022 in)|
|Stroke||64 mm (2.52 in)|
|Displacement||580.3 cm3 (35.4 cu.in.)|
|Compression ratio (uncorrected)||11.5 : 1|
|Compression ratio (corrected)||5.9 : 1|
|Engine maximum output||37 kW (50 hp) @ 5750 RPM|
|Engine Maximum Torque||76 Nm (49 lbf ft) @ 5500 RPM|
|Low speed mixture screw||1-1/2 -2 turn|
|High speed screw||N.A.|
|Idle speed||1200 RPM|
|Fuel Type||Regular unleaded|
|Fuel return line orifice||0.8mm (0.031 in)|
|Leak test (pop off pressure)||55-76 kPa (8-12 PSI)|
1988 Sea-Doo SP Drive System
|Propulsion||1988 Sea-Doo SP|
|Propulsion system||Bombardier Formula pump|
|Jet pump type||Axial flow, single stage|
|Coupling type||Crown splines|
|Oil type||Sea-Doo jet pump synthetic oil|
|Pivoting angle of direction (nozzle)||28°|
|Minimum required water level for jet pump||60 cm (24 in.)|
1988 Sea-Doo SP Dimensions and Capacities
|Dimensions and Capacities||1988 Sea-Doo SP|
|Number of passengers||2|
|Overall length||244 cm (96 in)|
|Overall width||105 cm (41.5 in)|
|Overall height||92 cm (36.2 in)|
|Weight||166 kg (365 lb)|
|Load limit (passengers + luggage)||160 kg (352 lb)|
|Fuel tank (including reserve)||35 L (9.2 U.S. gal)|
|Fuel tank reserve||Roughly 5 L (1.3 gal)|
|Impeller shaft reservoir - Capacity||100 mL (3.4 U.S. oz)|
|Impeller shaft reservoir - Oil level height||Up to plug|
|Oil injection reservoir||4 L (1.U.S. gal)|
|Fuel tank capacity||29.1 L (7.7 gal)|
|Impeller shaft reservoir||65 mL (2.2 US. oz)|
|Oil level height||To lower plug|
|Injection oil tank||2.8 L (95 U.S. fl oz)|
1988 Sea-Doo SP Electrical Features
|Electrical Specs||1988 Sea-Doo SP|
|Magneto generator output||160 W @ 5500 RPM|
|Ignition system type||CDI 4/5 p|
|Spark plug - Make and type||Champion RN4C|
|Spark plug - Gap||0.6 mm (.024 in)|
|Battery||12 V, 19 Ah|
|Ignition timing (BTDC) mm (in)||2.18 (.086 in)|
|Ignition timing (BTDC) - Degrees||19 ± 2 @ 6000 RPM|
|Starting system||Electric starter|
|Engine RPM limiter operation||6500 ± 200|
|Battery||12 V, 20 Ah|
|Starting system fuse||8 A|
|Charging system fuse||15 A|
1988 Sea-Doo SP Materials
|Materials||1988 Sea-Doo SP|
|Air intake silencer||Thermoplastic|
|Flame arrester||Aluminum foam|
|Injection oil tank||Polyethylene|
1988 Sea-Doo SP Performance
|Performance||1988 Sea-Doo SP|
|Pump static thrust||167 kg (367 lb)|
|Max. fuel consumption||14 L/h (3.7 GPH)|
|Cruising range at full throttle||2,5 h|
|Maximum speed||64 km/h (40 mph)|
These charts are for informational purposes only! For exact specifications, please refer to the factory manual.
Vintage Sea-Doo SP for Sale
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find a vintage Sea-Doo SP for sale. Since this ski was discontinued in 1998, most of them were scrapped or went to private collectors.
But with a bit of luck, you can find a used Sea-Doo SP for sale on Craigslist, eBay, PWC trader, and other jet ski ad websites. Also, you may want to visit some online Sea-Doo forums and Facebook fan groups.
As a takeaway, we’ve answered the most common questions about the 1988 Sea-Doo SP!
When was the Sea-Doo SP Introduced?
The Sea-Doo SP 587 was revealed in 1987 and was marketed from the 1988 model year. The SP family remained in production until the 1998 season.
Was the Sea-Doo SP a 2-Stroke?
Yes, the Sea-Doo SP 587 was powered by a 2-stroke engine.
How Much is a 1988 Sea-Doo SP Worth?
It’s hard to tell the exact price of an SP, as it depends on various factors like its year, condition, mods, and location. But as a rule of thumb, the prices of a 1988 Sea-Doo SP typically range from $500 to $2,000+.
What Size was a Sea-Doo SP?
The Sea-Doo SP was 96 inches long, 41.5 inches wide, and 36.2 inches high.
How Much Did a Sea-Doo SP Weigh?
The dry weight of the Sea-Doo SP was only 365 pounds. This means that it weighed less than half as much as the average jet ski these days!
What Kind of Engine Did the Sea-Doo SP Have?
The Sea-Doo SP was powered by a 2-stroke, 580cc twin “Yellow Rotax 587” engine featuring a Mikuni BN38-34 carb, CDI ignition, electric start, and open-loop water cooling system.
How Much Horsepower Did a Sea-Doo SP Have?
The engine of the Sea-Doo SP 587 provided ar 56 HP at 5,750 RPM and 49 lb-ft torque at 5,500 RPM.
How Fast Did a Sea-Doo SP Go?
The top speed of the Sea-Doo SP was 40 mph which translates to 64 kmh or 35 knots.
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