In our eagerness eager to ready our Sea-Doo watercraft for the summer, we often forget that the best preparation happens months before during the winterizing process. A little TLC at this time can add years of life to your Sea-Doo PWC. Do it yourself winterizing is easy if you’re so inclined, but for many riders like me, your Sea-Doo dealer is the best bet. Whoever does it, here are some of the basics, remembering that details may vary with model, so check your Sea-Doo Operator’s Guide before starting…
Clean It: Removing the summer’s dirt and grunge includes cleaning the jet pump inlet and outlet, the engine compartment (bilge cleaner or hot water with mild detergent) and the body and hull (XPS Wash & Wax), especially if your PWC has been used in saltwater. This is also a good time to remove anything you may have carried on board and store it separately for the winter. And don’t forget to remove, clean and store the battery. Tip: preserve battery life by putting it on a trickle charger.
Dry It: Moisture or condensation left anywhere inside can cause problems, so be sure to thoroughly drain and dry the watercraft inside and out, including the engine compartment. The exhaust system and the intercooler on external intercooler models (255/260) must be also drained by running the engine with the intake hose disconnected. Tip: A dealer or someone with good mechanical ability should do this.
Check It: Do a visual inspection for cracks, dings, chips, loose or missing parts, broken hoses or loose/missing clamps. Make a list of what needs to be fixed before you ride it again next summer.
Stabilize It: Store your PWC with a full tank of gas to minimize condensation, but be sure to add XPS Fuel Stabilizer to prevent fuel deterioration and system gumming. I carry stabilizer with me on my last ride, adding it about five minutes from the end so it has a chance to work through the entire fuel system. Tip: Another option is to add stabilizer when the engine’s running while flushing the exhaust system (see Dry It, above).
Lube It: Protect as many surfaces as possible with XPS Lube, especially inside the engine (spray into each cylinder), on the exterior surfaces of the jet pump and all metallic components in the engine compartment.
Do It Yourself: For those so inclined, most Sea-Doo dealers offer a ‘winterizing kit’. Follow the instructions in your Sea-Doo operator’s guide carefully, and be sure to…
1-Change engine oil & filter.
2-Check engine coolant / replace every 200 hours or two years. In cold regions, make sure your antifreeze is good during outdoors storage to prevent freezing damage.
So now your baby is ready for storage. Be very careful choosing a place. I’ve seen carefully winterized units coated in bird droppings by spring. Last year, I witnessed two PWC’s that had been stored in an old barn. By spring, rat gnawing had made both units total write-offs! Tip: Consider blocking any possible entry points to your PWC to keep pests out. If possible, put your watercraft in a secure, climate-controlled space such a heated garage or utility shed. Second best, place it in a secure, unheated, indoor facility. Third choice, park it outside, but never in direct sunlight. Whichever you choose, always use your Sea-Doo cover and an opaque trap for protection – yes, cover it even under a roof. Tip: whatever you do, never store it in the water!
If you store your Sea-Doo watercraft in an unattended, insecure or remote facility, or don’t check it frequently, my recommendation is to lock it to its storage bunk or trailer, and affix both hitch and wheel locks to the trailer. Tip: if stored outside, remember to park your trailer wheels on boards, not directly on ground, and wrap them in plastic to protect against the elements. All this may seem like a bunch of rigmarole, but if it leads to hassle-free riding next summer, plus helps maintain the resale value of your PWC, then why not? Talk to you next time!
Craig Nicholson, The Intrepid Cottager