How to Install a Tow Valve on a Jet Ski [Video Guide]
If you want to tow your jet ski with a boat (or another jet ski) the towing speed is limited in many jet ski models. In fact, these models can be towed at a maximum of 5 mph on the water!
If this speed seems too slow, you probably want to learn how you can tow your jet ski faster.The solution is to install a tow valve on your jet ski or boat, or if your boat is large enough, you can even store the jet ski on the swim platform.
We, at JetDrift, have collected the most important information about the tow valve (known as shut-off valve), and a step-bystep guide on how to install one!
Why You Need a Tow Valve
You may wonder why the jet ski towing speed is limited to 5 mph.
That’s because if you ignore this limit and tow the jet ski at higher speeds, you risk damaging your jet ski’s engine!
While towing, the water is forced through the exhaust system and can flood the jet ski’s engine. It’s the same reason you need to start the jet ski engine before you attach the garden hose for flushing!
Are you wondering how you can save your jet ski’s engine from damage if you want to tow it at higher speeds? The answer is a small and simple unit: the tow valve!
By installing a tow valve on the jet ski, you can prevent these issues completely. Beyond jet skis, this shut-off valve is needed on any jet boats as well if you want to tow them at higher speeds.
It’s may surprise you, that despite its importance, none of the manufacturers install tow valves on their jet ski or jet boat models for unknown reasons.
If you need a tow valve installed on your jet ski, you have to address this issue by yourself!
How to Install a Tow Valve on a Jet Ski
If you don’t have any experience servicing and modifying your jet ski, the best practice is to request this installation from your dealership. To save time and money, you can request this when your jet ski is already in the dealership for annual maintenance.
But if you have some mechanical skills and the necessary tools, you can install a tow valve in your jet ski easily by yourself.
When you select the valve, pay attention to the material. If you choose a metal valve, make sure that you secure it in the hull. Without securing, it can bounce around in the hull, bending the hoses or damaging other parts.
The plastic valves are more common when it comes to installing a jet ski tow valve. They’re really lightweight and not prone to rust. Drawbacks?
The plastic valves are not as durable as the metals as they are usually manufactured cheaply. You’ll do well to replace it every few years!
You also have to pay attention to the size, as the valve has to fit into the hose perfectly.
Once you’ve selected the valve, you can begin the installation. First, be sure to select the intake hose, as cutting the wrong hose could be a hassle. Once you get it, cut in between and install the valve into it properly. You can affix the hoses with stainless stamps.
You can see the whole process in this step-by-step tutorial video:
CAUTION: Never forget to reopen the valve before you start your jet ski in the water! The closed tap means that your jet ski will remain uncooled. The best practice is to tie the safety lanyard to the tow valve. This way, you won’t forget to open it!
Tow Valve Alternatives
If you don’t want to tow your jet ski routinely, you can consider keeping a clamp or a pair of vice grips in your jet ski to clamp off the hose if it’s needed. Although this isn’t the most elegant solution, these devices do the job in emergency situations! Additionally, if you want to tow your jet ski regularly, it’s highly recommended you install a tow valve in your jet ski. It’s a much safer method than the clamps.
Beyond installing the tow valve, you can also consider using towing devices like Towdster or Magic Marine Tow instead of regular ropes for a smoother jet ski towing experience.
These units can make your towing much easier and safer at the same time, as they’re designed to keep the jet ski from your boat, at a safe distance.
As you can see, a tow valve (shut-off valve) is a must-have accessory on any jet ski. It can save the engine from damage when the jet ski is towed at higher speeds.
Some owners simply overlook the tow valve. They think they’re fine; just tow their jet ski at idle speed. But this only works as long as you don’t have to hurry due to a sudden storm or an injury!
You never know when you’ll need to be towed!
Unfortunately, all of the current jet ski models are manufactured without tow valves. This means if you’d like one, you probably have to install it by yourself, or have it done by your dealer.
The whole process can be done in about 15 minutes and it’s definitely worth the effort, especially if you tow your jet ski regularly.
If you don’t, it’s still wise to store a clamp or a pair of vice grips in the jet ski. These can do the same job as the tow valve, and you can use them anytime, if needed. However, they are less secure than valves.
Once you need a tow, don’t forget to close the valve before towing – and reopen it before your next ride! The best practice is if you tie your safety lanyard around the valve. In this way, you’ll be sure that you don’t leave your jet ski uncooled!
Even though installing a tow valve seems like a hassle at first glance, it’s highly recommended you get one. It’s like insurance; you never know when you’ll need it. Damaging your engine can be really costly so it’s not worth the risk. Be sure to install one today!
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