Sea-Doo Supercharger Information
Due to the high operating speeds of the engine and supercharger drive system, in addition to constant RPM fluctuations, PWC supercharger systems must have a reliable way to release tension on the drive and do so quickly. This being the case, in combination with various laws of physics, the drive system for the Seadoo and Yamaha supercharger systems have experienced many failures; and thus have gone through many upgrades and stages of evolution into what they are today in efforts to limit these failures. An overview of the Seadoo supercharger, including the advantages, limitations, maintenance, varying characteristics, modifications, and more, can be found throughout this section of our website.
First things first, let this information serve as a notice and a cautionary warning. The Seadoo superchargers came with ceramic clutch washers from 2004 through 2007. If your Seadoo supercharged watercraft was produced during this time span of model years and your clutch washers have not been upgraded to the correct metal version, it is in your best interest to get the upgrade done right away. Please also note that Seadoo supercharged watercraft from model year 2008 came with a version of metal clutch washers, but a number of users have also experienced clutch failure from these washers exploding. Model years 2009 and newer are presumed to have the correct and reliable material and design for the clutch washers included from the original manufacturer, at last. The most simple and convenient way to have the supercharger clutch system upgrade done is to purchase a full Seadoo supercharger rebuild kit and have the service done by a certified technician. Other service shops and PWC owners that are highly mechanically inclined may be able to do the service, providing they have the several specialty tools that are required for the job. Depending on the hours of usage the supercharger has gone through it may suffice to replace the clutch washers only instead of the entire clutch assembly. The special clutch washers can be purchased separately from several reputable aftermarket establishments.
Disclaimer: Please note that the owner of the watercraft and parts thereof, along with any party that is performing any type of maintenance or service to said craft and/or parts will retain all liability involved with such maintenance or service. All information provided here is intended to serve solely as informational and should not be exclusively relied upon to make any decisions in any circumstance.
During operation, the ceramic washers would get hot from all the friction inside the supercharger drive and they would eventually weaken and explode. This type of supercharger failure has caused many people days, weeks, months of downtime, or worse, they could not afford to fix the damage. When the washers break apart and the engine keeps running the fragments go through the oil screens and into the engine, often causing engine failure. The distinct sign for knowing the supercharger clutch has let go is when engine RPMs are limited to around 6300 RPM. The optimal RPM for a 215 or 255 HP craft in good health is around 8100 RPM. Depending on climate variances, elevation, and several other variables, typical RPM might be as low as 7800 or lower depending on the environment. If peak engine RPMs start to drop by 100 or a few hundred over a short period of time it usually a sign that your supercharger clutch system is losing tension, requires maintenance, and could be approaching the point of failure.
Supercharger Clutch Washer Characteristics by Year
2003 The only supercharged models for 2003 were the GTX SC 185 and GTX SC LTD 185. The clutch system had no clutch washers. The gear wore against a spacer and lock washer on the shaft, and although the design did not typically break, it did not hold tension for very long.
2004-2007 Seadoo supercharger assemblies from years 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 all had ceramic clutch washers, which are liable to explode under even ordinary use. Seadoo noticed the design flaw within the first two years and responded by adding material to the previous version of ceramic washers. The washer failure issues continued through 2006 and Seadoo issued yet another ceramic washer design for 2007. Needless to say, the washer failure issues continued through 2007 as well.
2008 For 2008 Seadoo finally switched over to a metal clutch washer design, a solution which the aftermarket figured out the solution to years before. It was a step in the right direction for Seadoo and the clutch design for Seadoo supercharged watercraft. The one caveat that remained for the metal washers introduced by Seadoo in 2008 was the fact that the washers had a coating applied to the outside surface. During operation the friction in the supercharger clutch would generate large amounts of heat, the coating on the washers would subsequently heat, and the heat would cause the coating to liquify to a small degree. Softness on the outer surface of the washers, which resulted from the exterior coating heating up, caused the clutch to not be able to hold proper tension. The result was premature slipping from extreme accelerated wear to the actual clutch washers and other drive components. The end result in some cases was having the metal washers broke apart into pieces, similar to the catastrophe the previous versions of ceramic washers experienced.
2009 For 2009, Seadoo stayed with the metal washers, but dropped the outer coating idea. The standard supercharger washers from Seadoo from 2009 forward now have the proper material and proper strength metal washers. It is presumed that the current setup will remain unchanged into the future. Caution: Some 2009 models were produced in 2008 and could potentially have the version of metal clutch washers with the coating on the outer surface. The only way to be certain is to uninstall the supercharger and perform a visual inspection.