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Which Used Sea-Doo Should You Buy? [Model List]

Which Used Sea-Doo Should You Buy? [Model List]

When buying a used Sea-Doo, the general rule is that you should only buy a 2-stroke if you can service it yourself. The best vintage 2-stroke Sea-Doos are the carbed models as they are much easier to work on. If you prefer 4-strokes, it’s highly recommended that you invest in a non-supercharged ski no older than 6-7 years.

If you want to drill into the details, keep reading.

We at JetDrift have compiled the pros and cons of each used Sea-Doo family all under one roof!

Should You Buy a Used 2-Stroke Sea-Doo?

If you are considering buying a used Sea-Doo, you can choose from vintage 2-stroke or modern 4-stroke skis.

The manufacturer offered its 2-stroke models from 1988 through 2006, all of which were extremely popular.

Despite the length of time that has passed, you can still find many of them on the water and in the used marketplace.

In a nutshell, the key advantages of vintage 2-stroke Sea-Doos are as follows:

  • Unbeatable riding experience
  • Smaller and lighter hulls
  • Simpler engines and features
  • Much easier to fix and rebuild at home
  • Lower purchase prices and cheaper parts
On the other hand, these machines do have some major drawbacks, including:

  • Only recommended for solo rides
  • Limited capacities
  • Repair shops refuse to work on them
  • Parts are hard to find
  • Lower durability and reliability
  • More hassle and mess due to the 2-stroke oil
  • Require more attention and care
  • Create more pollution and noise
  • Banned from certain areas
Let’s face it, today’s large Sea-Doos look like boats rather than personal watercrafts. In contrast, the 2-strokes are small, nimble, and offer really fun rides.

Thanks to their lightweight hulls, they are much easier to throw around by hand. Also, you can even tow them with a small car.What’s more, they are far more affordable than the shiny new machines, which come with hefty price tags.Another key advantage of 2-stroke Sea-Doos is that they utilize simpler engines and systems than modern 4-strokes. Therefore, you can even fix them in your garage with some basic tools.

On the other hand, keep in mind that 2-stroke Sea-Doos are very small, so they have very limited capacities. Although they were marketed as two or three seaters, most can’t carry an adult passenger.

They also pollute more than 4-strokes and are banned from certain areas.

However, the biggest drawback of 2-stroke Sea-Doos is that they require much more care than 4-strokes.

They need frequent “carb work,” meaning that their carburetors must be adjusted, cleaned, and rebuilt periodically.Also, the oil lines on their oil injection system have to be replaced every one or two years.You also have to be prepared for a “top end refresh,” which includes replacing some engine internals, including the pistons, rings, head gasket. 2-strokes are prone to eating their pistons very fast, and a little malfunction in the oil injection system also results in a blown engine.

Therefore, you should only buy a used Sea-Doo with a 2-stroke engine if you can manage these fixes by yourself.

Unfortunately, the majority of dealers and repair shops refuse to work on 2-stroke skis, so you will likely have to fix the machine yourself.

Consequently, if you are not mechanically inclined, you should take a look at the 4-strokes!

Which 2-Stroke Sea-Doo Should You Buy?

If you want to stick to 2-stroke Sea-Doos, it’s highly recommended that you buy a carbureted model. Fuel-injected 2-stroke Sea-Doos with RFI and DI engines have more complex systems. These advanced power sources are much harder to diagnose and fix.

Fuel-injected 2-stroke Sea-Doos were manufactured from 1998 through 2004, and the models were as follows:

Again, these are the Sea-Doos you should avoid at all costs!

Instead, you should focus on the carbureted engines, which were as follows:

Enginecc
"Yellow" 587580
"White" 587580
657650
657x650
717718
787x RAVE786+
787 RAVE782
947 RAVE951
If you take a closer look at vintage Sea-Doos, you will find a plethora of models with these engines. But which one should you choose?

As a rule of thumb, you have to avoid the early models manufactured with a Yellow or White Rotax 587 engine. These twins only produced 56 HP, which is a pretty modest performance.

The best 2-stroke Sea-Doos arguably came with a 657, 717, or 787 RAVE engine. These engines offered reasonable power and were more reliable than the high-performance 947 RAVE.

The 787 RAVE is equipped with the Sea-Doo-exclusive RAVE exhaust valves, requiring yearly maintenance but offering more engine power.

The 657 and 717 engines lack these valves and come with a smaller displacement. Therefore, they are more reliable and durable than 787 and 947 engines.

You should also steer clear of the racing “X” 2-stroke Sea-Doo engines like the 787x and 657x. Why?

First, these engines feature Mikuni BN-38I carburetors, while the base engines have BN-38 carbs. And parts for the Mikuni BN-38I carbs are more expensive and harder to find.

The 787x engine was also overbored by the factory, meaning that you can’t bore it any further.

You will find the 787x engine in the 1995 Sea-Doo Limited 800, the 657x in the 1994 Sea-Doo XP 657x, and the 1995 GTX 657x.Due to their special race-intended engines, these Sea-Doos are definitely not recommended!

It’s also good to know that pre-1997 models came with a much simpler MPEM module, which made them easier to troubleshoot and fix.

Long story short, if you want to buy a used 2-stroke Sea-Doo, you should consider one of these models:

Sea-Doo SPX 650, 720, 8001993 Sea-Doo XP 6501994 Sea-Doo GTX 6501995 Sea-Doo XP 7201995 Sea-Doo HX 7201995 Sea-Doo GTX 650 1996 Sea-Doo XP 8001996 Sea-Doo HX 7201996 Sea-Doo GSX 8001996 Sea-Doo GTX 8001997 Sea-Doo XP 8001997 Sea-Doo SP 7201997 Sea-Doo GS 7201997 Sea-Doo GTI 7201997 Sea-Doo GSI 720

1997 Sea-Doo GSX 8001997 Sea-Doo GTS 7201997 Sea-Doo GTX 8001998 Sea-Doo GTI 7201998 Sea-Doo GS 7201998 Sea-Doo GTS 7201999 Sea-Doo GTI 7201999 Sea-Doo GTS 7201999 Sea-Doo GS 7202000 Sea-Doo GTI 7202000 Sea-Doo GS 7202000 Sea-Doo GTS 7202001 Sea-Doo GTI 7202001 Sea-Doo GTS 720If you are happy with the lower performance of the 587 engine, you can also consider one of those entry-level models. Sea-Doos used this power source from 1988 through 2007.

You can discover which 2-stroke Sea-Doos had 587 engines here.In contrast, if you are looking for something really powerful (and don’t mind it being less reliable with worse fuel economy), you may want to invest in a high-end 2-stroke Sea-Doo with the dual-carb 951 engine.

These models were marketed as the “Limited” models from 1998-2000.

After the Millennium, these skis remained part of the fleet for another two years but without the “Limited” badge.

2-stroke Sea-Doos with the carbed Rotax 951 engine are as follows:

1998 Sea-Doo GSX 951 LTD1998 Sea-Doo XP 951 LTD1998 Sea-Doo GTX LTD

1998 Sea-Doo GSX LTD1999 Sea-Doo XP 951 LTD1999 Sea-Doo GSX LTD1999 Sea-Doo GTX LTD

2000 Sea-Doo XP 9512000 Sea-Doo GTX

2001 Sea-Doo XP 9512001 Sea-Doo GTX

2001 Sea-Doo LRV2002 Sea-Doo RX 9512002 Sea-Doo GTX

Let’s move on, and take a closer look at used 4-stroke Sea-Doo models!

Should You Buy a Used 4-Stroke Sea-Doo?

If you are not mechanically inclined and need to have your ski serviced by a dealer or a service shop, a 4-stroke Sea-Doo is your only choice.

In a nutshell, the key advantages of 4-stroke Sea-Doos are as follows:

  • More stable hulls
  • Comfortably dry rides
  • Reliable and durable engines
  • Cleaner and quieter operation
  • Avoids the hassle of 2-stroke oil
  • More fuel-efficiency
  • Parts are available
On the other hand, these machines have some major drawbacks, including:

  • Large, boat-like hulls
  • Heavy weight
  • Less of a crisp throttle response
  • Higher price tags
  • Much harder to work on
  • More complex systems and features

Which Used 4-Stroke Sea-Doo Should You Buy?

Keep in mind that many dealers and repair shops refuse to work on machines that are more than ten years old. Because of this, best practice is to purchase a non-supercharged Sea-Doo that is no older than 6-7 years.

You will probably keep the ski for a couple of years, so you can be sure that you will always get support for it.

Low durability and high performance come hand-in-hand when it comes to jet skis.

This is why you should avoid used supercharged Sea-Doos.

The supercharger is intended to boost engine power, but it also wears the engine out much faster, which translates into reliability issues.

How do you identify a supercharged Sea-Doo?

Generally speaking, all Sea-Doo engines with 215 HP and higher performance use a supercharger. (Except for the first 185 HP supercharged Sea-Doo engine introduced in the 2003 GTX 4-TEC SC.)

If you purchase a used Sea-Doo that comes with less than 180 HP, you can be sure that it’s equipped with a non-supercharged engine.

If you want to own a supercharged Sea-Doo at all costs, you should purchase a brand new ski.

You will find supercharged engines in performance models like the RXP, RXT, and GTR line, as well as the GTX Limited and the Wake Pro.

Also, you may want to invest in a ski that comes with fewer bells and whistles. Sea-Doos are known for their luxury features, but as we all know, “anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”The fewer features a used Sea-Doo has, the lower the chances of failure.

You can find the simplest models in the Rec-Lite (Spark) and Recreation (GTI) families. These skis come with affordable price tags, and they tend to be much more reliable than their performance and luxury brothers.

One of the most notorious Sea-Doo features is the iDF (Intelligent Debris Free) system, which first appeared in 2021. In 2022, the majority of the lineup was released with iDF.

This system is a kind of reverse gear that adds a lot of complexity to the engine. So, it was no surprise when the first Sea-Doos with iDF produced a myriad of malfunctions.

Although the manufacturer claims that these bugs have since been worked out, you can’t go wrong with a non-iDF Sea-Doo.

Conclusion – Which Used Sea-Doo Should You Buy?

If you are in the market for a used Sea-Doo, you can choose from 2-stroke and 4-stroke models.

As a takeaway, we’ve compiled the pros and cons of both these technologies.

You should buy a used Sea-Doo with a 2-stroke engine if you are:

  • looking for an original taste of jet skiing
  • mechanically inclined and don’t mind regularly using a wrench on the ski
  • happy with a “base” ski without any bells and whistles
  • able to legally ride a 2-stroke machine in your area
  • planning to ride the ski alone
  • on a tight budget (2-stroke Sea-Doos are pretty cheap)
Remember that 2-stroke runabout Sea-Doos are closer to stand-ups, as they offer very wet rides!

These little skis are great for playing around close to the shore but not the best choice for longer tours or if you plan on carrying a passenger.

If you’ve fallen in love with a 2-stroke Sea-Doo, here are some tips to consider before you make your purchase:

  • Choose one with the base 657, 717, or 787 RAVE engine
  • Avoid fuel injected (RFI, DI) engines – they are very hard to troubleshoot and service
  • Avoid race-intended engines (657x, 787x) with BN-38I carbs
The most popular 2-stroke Sea-Doos are arguably the performance HX and XP series, but you can’t go wrong with a larger model, including:GTX 650, GS 720, GTI 720, GSI 720, GTS 720, GTS 800, GSX 800, GTX 800.

Just make sure that you buy a carbureted model with simpler BN-38 carburetors – if possible.

You should buy a used Sea-Doo with a 4-stroke engine if you want to:

  • own a reliable and durable machine
  • get the ski serviced in a shop or dealership
  • enjoy comfortable dry rides
  • carry passengers and gear with you
  • use the ski for touring or fishing
If you decide to buy a 4-stroke Sea-Doo, here are the most important aspects you need to pay attention to:

  • Avoid supercharged engines at all costs (215 HP and up)
  • Don’t buy a ski that is older than 6-7 years
  • Choose a simpler model with fewer features and power (e.g., Spark and GTI series)
  • Avoid iDF models if possible
This is our quick tips on how to select a used Sea-Doo. We hope you find it useful!