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Jet Ski ECU Reflash Explained [Video]

Jet Ski ECU Reflash Explained [Video]

ECU reflash on a jet ski is a performance modification to unlock the full potential of the engine, which is electronically restricted by the factory. Reflashing the ECU requires reprogramming the jet ski’s main computer, a.k.a. Electronic Control Unit (ECU) with a special device to override these factory limiters. The main purpose of this mod is to increase the top speed, acceleration, and throttle response.

If you want to learn about this process, you’ve come to the right place.

We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know under one roof!

What Does Reflashing the ECU Do on a Jet Ski?

Due to a gentlemen’s agreement between the US Coast Guard and PWC manufacturers, the performance of high-end jet skis is electronically restricted.

Keeping safety in mind, the top speed of these machines is limited to 67 mph, although they would be capable of doing more than that.

While this safety feature does a good job on recreation jet skis since it prevents many accidents, it’s not desirable on a racing machine. Let’s face it, no competitor wants to race his jet ski with a restricted engine!

This is where an ECU reflash comes into play.

This simple tuning technique is called many different names, like jet ski ECU tuning, ECU reprogramming, or ECU remapping.

Each of these terms refers to the same procedure in which the Engine Control Unit (ECU) of the jet ski is reprogrammed.

The main goal of an ECU reflash on a jet ski is to remove factory speed limits to unlock the full potential of the engine.

Here are some additional benefits of this modification:

  • Increased top speed
  • Faster acceleration
  • Higher RPM limit
  • Improved ignition maps
  • Improved throttle response
  • Removal of throttle restrictions
To take full advantage of the increase in engine power, tuners highly recommend additional performance mods at the same time as reflashing the ECU.

The most common ones include a less restrictive air intake and an aftermarket impeller with a different architecture.

These performance parts are often wrapped in different “stage kits” that are sold by PWC performance specialists like RIVA.

How to Reflash the ECU on a Jet Ski

Refashing a factory jet ski ECU means overriding its memory with a special device.

Simply put, you can do this modification in three different ways.

The cheapest solution is sending your ECU to a professional tuner service, but you can also do the job yourself if you invest in a Maptuner. A third lesser-known way is to replace the ECU with an aftermarket unit.

Let’s talk about each in detail!

PWC ECU Reflash Services

Jet ski tuner companies offer a wide variety of performance upgrades, and an ECU reflash one of them.

All you need to do is remove the ECU from your ski and ship it to one of these professionals.

Since reprogramming is a very quick process, they will more than likely send your upgraded ECU back in 1-2 days.

Be prepared to pay $500-$700 for this service.

PWC Maptuner

You can reflash the ECU of your jet ski in your own garage if you invest in a special device called a Maptuner.

This mini-computer is specifically designed to reprogram ECUs, but they can also be used for other purposes like live monitoring.

The key advantage of a Maptuner is that it can be used to switch between different performance tunes or even restoring the stock ECU settings.

It costs about $500, which typically doesn’t include the diagnostic cable and the tuning license. Sadly, the latter must be purchased separately for each engine.

Aftermarket ECU

You can also find aftermarket PWC ECUs in the marketplace that can replace their stock equivalents.

Designed with competition in mind, aftermarket ECUs offer much more tuning control and setting options. What’s more, this way you can keep the factory ECU as a backup.

Drawbacks?

Mainly their hefty price tags, which range from $1,000 to $2,500.

One of the most well-known aftermarket PWC ECU manufacturers is the Florida-based FuelTech.

Takeaways

There are many ways to increase the performance of a jet ski, but one of the easiest is arguably by reprogramming its ECU.

Jet skis come with certain factory performance restrictions, which can be overridden by reprogramming (a.k.a. reflashing) or even replacing its ECU.

This upgrade is often accompanied by other performance mods like an aftermarket impeller or air intake system. These are typically sold in complete performance kits by the largest PWC tuner companies.

Installing these parts and reflashing the ECU makes the jet ski faster and more aggressive, which is why these mods are commonly used by PWC racers.

Note: Since ECU reprogramming affects engine fuel consumption and emissions, this modification is intended for competition use only!