Sea-doos and other speedy watercraft vehicles are a great way to have fun on the water. However, sea-doos are also a ton of work and require constant maintenance to operate the way they should. One of your sea-doo’s most common and problematic components is the wear ring. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of when your wear ring needs to be replaced.
Slow acceleration, reduced speed, and visible deformities are all ways to tell if the wear ring is bad on your Sea-Doo. The wear ring is an essential component to protecting your impeller, which means that if the wear ring is compromised, your sea-doos performance will suffer.
Your wear ring is the thing on a sea-doo that you don’t always think about until it goes bad. Not paying attention to your wear ring is a mistake, and you may end up paying for it by being stranded in the middle of a body of water. This article will explain what a wear ring is, what it does, and why it’s so important.
What Does a Wear Ring do?
The purpose of a wear ring on your sea-doo is to protect the impeller and pump housing. It’s made of plastic but some makers use stainless steel, and it sits around the impeller like a ring or band. Your impeller allows you to accelerate and move along the water at top speed, which means that damage to the wear ring will hurt your sea-doos performance.
To explain why your wear ring is so important, let’s look at how a sea-doo operates.
- Your jet ski works by bringing water in from below the machine and cycling it through its jet pump.
- The part of the pump that water passes through is the impeller.
- The impeller is similar to a propeller on an airplane, but instead of whipping through the air, an impeller whips through the water.
- The wear ring is located around the impeller blades, and its job is to act as a seal.
- The goal is to let the impeller blades rotate through water and drive the machine forward without letting water reverse direction and flow back against the impeller.
- The more you use your sea-doo, the more wear and tear the impeller blades will put on the wear ring.
- Over time, the wear ring cannot seal around the impeller blades, which means that water can flow back against them.
- As a result, your sea-doo won’t go as fast, and you won’t have as much fun as you would at top speed.
Symptoms of a Bad Wear Ring
Wear rings break down slowly unless you get into an accident or accidentally suck something into the impeller. Because the wearing down process is gradual, you don’t always know when your wear ring is going bad. However, when the ring is worn down enough, here are the main symptoms you’ll notice.
One of the first things you’ll notice with a bad wear ring is that you won’t go as fast as you typically do. The average sea-doo can go anywhere from 50 to 70 mph, depending on your model. However, you should expect to go significantly slower if you have a bad wear ring.
The reason for a slower top speed is that your impeller cannot create enough propulsion to move the vehicle at fast speeds. As the wear ring breaks down, water travels around the impeller rather than through it, which means less propulsion.
You’ll probably recognize that you have less acceleration before you notice that your maximum sea-doo speed is lower. The ability for a sea-doo to quickly get up and go when needed is largely due to the wear ring. As the ring breaks down, water leaks between it and the impeller rather than forced through it. As a result, your top speed will be lower, but your acceleration will also decrease.
The acceleration will feel sluggish and and be just like you are in a car doing a burnout. Lots of power moving water, but not really going anywhere fast.
Physical Damage to the Ring
If either of the first two things happens, you should definitely check your wear ring. Wear rings should appear smooth and seamless on the inside even though they’re being pounded by the impeller. Over time, however, your wear ring will take enough of a beating that nicks and scratches develop, allowing water to slowly leak around it.
Minimal damage to a wear ring isn’t a big deal, but the more nicks and cuts it has, the more leakage will result. Additionally, if you notice a gap between the ring and impeller that’s more than .005 inches wide, you should replace your wear ring.
Bad Fuel Economy
Unless you pay close attention to how often you refill your sea-doo, you likely won’t notice that your gas mileage has gone down. Your sea-doo is forced to work harder than before, which means more wear and tear on the engine and burning through more fuel than usual. Knowing if your wear ring is going bad is one of many reasons to pay attention to your fuel economy.
Risks of Having a Bad Wear Ring
In addition to having less acceleration, less speed, less fuel economy, and less fun, you’re also putting your jet pump at risk by having a bad wear ring. While its main job is to prevent water from going around the impeller rather than through it, your wear ring also helps protect the jet pump. Having a bad wear ring means less protection for your jet pump and the likelihood of having to replace it.
What Damages a Sea-Doo Wear Ring?
The main way that your wear ring gets damaged is because of the beating it takes from the impeller blades. The blades themselves don’t make physical contact with the ring, but they rotate with enough force and pressure that they eventually wear away at the ring.
It’s also possible for debris or sand to get pounded against the interior of the ring and cause significant damage. This is why it’s very dangerous for your wear ring to drive your sea-doo in shallow waters or near sandbars, as these can immediately ruin your wear ring. Your worst-case scenario is getting a rock or hard object jammed between the wear ring and the impeller, as it will likely ruin both elements.
When beaching your jet ski always make sure to rinse it out in deeper water before starting. This can be done by putting pressure on the rear of the ski letting it bob up and down a few times shaking sand and rocks that may have accumulated out of the jet pump area.
How to Replace Your Wear Ring on Your Sea-Doo
Replacing your wear ring on your sea-doo is tricky but very doable if you have a hammer, a chisel, a 2×4, and some patience. Here’s how it works.
- Replacing the wear ring is easiest if you remove the entire pump assembly and set it at ground level.
- Once you have the pump removed, you’ll have to extract the worn wear ring.
- Set the assembly on a solid surface and use a utility knife or a hammer and chisel to cut away a small section of the wear ring.
- Once a small section is removed, you should be able to easily pull the wear ring free of the pump.
- To install the new wear ring, start by using water to lubricate the outside of the new wear ring and the inside of the impeller housing.
- Next, set the wear ring on top of the housing exactly as the old one was with the fine edge facing out.
- There’s a slight chance that you’ll be able to push the wear ring into place with your hands, but it’s doubtful.
- If you can’t push it, take a 2×4 and place it flatly on top of the wear ring.
- Use a hammer to gently tap the wear ring into place, using the 2×4 to shield the ring from the hammer blows.
- Continue tapping the ring into place until it’s all the way in.
If you don’t think you’re up to the challenge of removing the jet pump and replacing your wear ring, you should take it to a sea-doo mechanic, and they’ll have you back up and running in no time.