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How to Make a Jet Ski Faster [Video Guide]
Last Updated on
When it comes to purchasing a new jet ski, many buyers are looking for the fastest and most powerful models year after year.
But if you take a look at the top speed chart of the current models, you can see that the top speed of the high-performance models is all limited to 67 mph, thanks to the electronic speed limiters installed by the manufacturers.
Because of this, many speed-junkie owners ask: How can I make a jet ski faster?
The good news is that it’s not uncommon for owners to modify their jet skis for higher speed and better acceleration. This is where aftermarket jet ski performance parts and mods come in handy, which can make your jet ski faster!
Are you wondering what are the most popular units that can even be installed by yourself?
We, at JetDrift, have collected the most popular jet ski performance parts and modifications into this comprehensive post!
How to Make a Jet Ski Faster
Choose the Right Ski
First things first; if you want to own one of the most powerful jet skis in the neighborhood, the best you can do is to pick one of the most powerful jet skis available. This is the cheapest and most convenient way to create the perfect foundation for your future plans. It’s best if you stick to the supercharged models with 230-310 HP.
First, it makes no sense to buy a less powerful model and install several performance parts on it! And second, if you have one of the flagship, supercharged jet skis and are still not happy with its performance, let’s see how it can be improved!
Speed Control Override Module
Currently, all stock jet ski’s top speed is electronically limited to 67 mph, thanks to an agreement between the jet ski manufacturers and the U.S.Goast Guard.
If you want to make your jet ski faster, step zero is usually to install a special Speed Control Override Module. In this way, you can pull full performance from your jet ski engine! According to RivaRacing, with this modification you can expect around 75 mph top speed on the top performance jet skis:
This override module is available for several jet ski models, for a price of around $200.
Impeller and Wear Ring Upgrades
If owners install this speed control override module, in many cases, they replace the impeller as well for better performance. The jet ski impeller does the same job as the propeller on a boat. It simply forces the water backward in order to move the jet ski forward.
The aftermarket units are usually more durable and cause less cavitation compared to stock impellers. The design and the geometry of the new impeller can influence a jet ski’s top speed and acceleration. Some of them are designed for higher top speeds, while others are designed for better acceleration. You can choose the best one for you based on your needs, but sometimes it could be a challenge to match the perfect impeller to your jet ski, so it’s best if you leave it for professionals.
It’s also not uncommon to replace the wear ring at the same time the impeller is upgraded. The wear ring is the frame for the impeller and it’s made of plastic by default in most cases. If you are looking for something more heavy-duty, there are several durable stainless steel wear rings on the market to choose from.
Air Intake Systems
Just like cars or motorbikes, jet skis also have air intake systems with an air filter.
Installing a performance power filter kit is also a common way to make a jet ski faster. Unlike the factory-installed restrictive air boxes, they feed the engine with the right amount of cool air. What’s more, they make the engine sound sportier! It’s good to know that if you make any modifications on a jet ski for higher speed, you usually have to upgrade the air intake system as well, as the engine will need more air to deliver its maximum performance.
Jet Ski Exhaust Systems Mods
If more air comes in, it also has to go out somewhere, and this is where the aftermarket jet ski exhaust systems come in. The stock exhausts are usually restrictive, so with installing an aftermarket system, you can expect enhanced combustion and performance.
There are several different systems based on your needs and the model, but keep in mind that some of these modifications are not completely irreversible. For example, for installing a rear exhaust kit, you have to cut a remarkable hole into the hull:
Jet Ski Engine Modifications
The aforementioned jet ski modifications are still among the basic upgrades that can even be done by yourself if you have the proper tools (and skills). That’s why they’re also known as “bolt-on” performance parts.
But when it comes to upgrading the whole engine (cylinders, valves, camshaft, etc.) it’s another dimension. There are endless ways you can you upgrade a jet ski engine, but unless you’re a racer, it’s recommended you stick to the basic modifications. With just the bolt-on performance parts, you can reach an extra 50 HP, or even more:
Sponsons, Intake Grate, Ride Plate
When it comes to making a jet ski faster, never forget that you’ll have to handle this increased power on the water. Because of this, never overlook modifications that make your jet ski more stable and agile. One of the easiest ways to increase the stability is to replace the stock sponsons for aftermarket racing models. With the new sponsons, you can expect better stability during your turns and a better general handling experience.
For aftermarket models, you can also consider replacing the ride plate and intake grate which can help you to maintain your high speed even on choppy water. Some owners remove the intake grate completely for higher performance, but it’s not at all recommended. Jet skis are prone to suck up debris or ropes from the water, so don’t make this issue worse by removing the intake grate!
Complete Performance Kits to Make a Jet Ski Faster
As you can see, if you start to make some modifications on your jet ski, you will probably want to add some new ones pretty soon! Installing the override speed control unit means higher performance, so you should upgrade the air intake system. The higher top speed requires new sponsons for better handling, and so on.
So it seems like you have to make more modifications at the same time! If you’re new in jet ski modifications, the variety of performance parts can be confusing. The good news is that aftermarket manufacturers pay attention to this, and offer complete jet ski performance kits (called jet ski racing kits as well), which contain more parts that are compatible.
At RivaRacing, the different kits are usually labeled with numbers, like Stage 1, 2, 3. The higher number means more parts and higher performance. In most cases, beyond the aftermarket parts, the necessary special tools are also included in these packages, which you will find useful if you want to manage these modifications by yourself. By installing these jet ski performance kits, you can even reach 80-90 mph top speeds on your jet ski.
The Drawbacks of Jet Ski Modifications
The higher performance means more fun and makes your jet ski faster, and this is not in question. But now let’s see the dark side; what are the disadvantages of these modifications:
- Price: If you take a short look at the price of these performance parts, you might be surprised that these items arrive with really hefty price tags. Even the smaller parts cost hundreds of dollars, while the complete performance kits cost thousands!
- Less reliability and durability: Let’s face it, higher performance and less reliability/durability go hand-in-hand. If you increase your jet ski’s performance dramatically, it may lead to more malfunctions and less durability in the long run.
- Irreversible modifications: Unfortunately, not all of these modifications are reversible, which can lead to problems if you want to remove these parts for some reason, or sell the ski on the second-hand market.
- Higher fuel consumption and costs: Also, don’t forget that the higher performance means higher fuel consumption, as well as more servicing and maintenance costs.
- Voided warranty: Tuning a jet ski may void your warranty, but not in every situation! In the end, it depends on your dealer and the manufacturer. The best practice is to ask your dealer for advice before you do any modifications on your jet ski.
- Louder engine/exhaust: Most of the modifications increase the noise of the engine and the exhaust system. It might be music to your ears, but it can be disturbing for others.
- Legal issues: Also, don’t forget to check the applicable laws before doing any modifications to stay legal! Modifications can increase the pollution of the jet ski, which can go against the law in some states.
- Higher risks: Because fo the higher speed and better acceleration, there is a higher risk for accidents or injuries.
If you’re not happy with the performance of the stock models, you probably want to know how to make a jet ski faster. The best practice is to choose one of the most powerful supercharged models, but if you still need more power, there are endless aftermarket jet ski performance parts to choose from.
As the high-performance jet ski’s top speed is limited electronically by the manufacturers, one of the most common modifications is installing a speed control override module. This unit can increase your top speed by a lot, so you can expect around 75-80 mph top speed.
Because of the higher performance, you’ll probably need an aftermarket air intake system, which not only means better engine performance, but your jet ski’s sound will be sporty.
Replacing the impeller and the wear ring are also a really common modification on jet skis. You can reach higher top speeds or achieve better acceleration depending on the new impeller’s geometry. Beyond the impeller, you can consider replacing the wear ring, the intake grate or even the ride plate. Since you have to handle more power on the water, you should also consider aftermarket sponsons.
As there are several parts and tools you’ll need, aftermarket manufacturers wrap these items for you into packages called jet ski performance kits (also known as jet ski racing kits).
If you go with one of these packages, you can be sure that you get everything you’ll need for the upgrades (even the necessary tools). Even though many of these modifications can be done easily, think twice before you modify your jet ski by yourself. If you don’t have any experience, it’s best if you take your jet ski to your dealer or a reputable service shop to get them done.
If you’ve decided to manage upgrading by yourself, it’s still wise to check your owner’s manual carefully as well as to consult your dealer.
Beyond the greater fun, keep in mind that these modifications have many drawbacks like higher fuel consumption, less reliability or even a voided warranty!
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