Just For Fun: 1996 Yamaha Wave Blaster

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Getting a vehicle from forgotten to running again is often interesting and sometimes funny. This story is not so much about the Jet Ski as it is about bringing neglected vehicles back to life. Our museum receives no public funds and one of our sources of money is selling donated and consignment vehicles. When I was asked to check out “a jet ski out there on a trailer” I wasn’t very hopeful. I know nothing about them or watercraft in general except that they are supposed to float. The story on this jet ski is that the lady that donated it had it for her kids and that it was serviced about 5 years ago and then never used again. It’s on the museum web page. Please forgive my description because, as I said, “I know nothing”.  I searched the internet and found a picture of one just like it so I could find the specifications. With a polish and wax, it could look very nice.


I figured out how to open the lid and here’s a new looking 2 stroke engine. The controls all appeared to work. Everything in there looks new. I didn’t see any cracks or damage in the “hull”. The next step was to find someone who knew about these things. I asked around without success. I even texted my son who is on a road trip with a couple of college friends. It seems the father of one kid is not only a docent at the museum, but is a boat guy and willing to play!

in the water

We added fresh gas, (no, not in that plastic jug!) drug it down to the sailing club and tossed it in. It floats! Next, came my new friend’s turn to balance on the thing while I hung off the dock and held the jumper cables to it. There was no sign of life until I noticed the fuel valve. It came to life, and there being no neutral gear or clutch, it tugged at the rope. No one fell in yet.

In the water

It ran, but it’s not as stable as later machines. There was a lot of falling off until he got the hang of it. It was a good day not to bring a bathing suit!

running copy

It does run and looks like great fun. It’s a 2 stroke, though, and will not be allowed on many lakes. I’m hoping the museum will be able to sell it and the trailer for about $1,500. The museum needs the money and someone will have a lot of fun with it.

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  1. Cristian

    That looks like a lot of fun… would like to own one of these one day.

    Like 0
    • Harold Wood

      I bought 150 of them about 8 or 10 years ago. They were a combination of dealer trade in’s, Wrecked one form insurance settlement, and abandoned at the repair shop by people who couldn’t pay their repair bills. I began buying and selling these things in the Late 80’s when the sit down types came on the market. I even bought a lot of brand new ones that didn’t sell by the end of the season from dealers who didn’t want to hold over their inventory and sell the year before new ones when the next year models came out. Bought then still in their shipping crates, and put them together during the winter and sold them at the begining of the next season. I found that there was a better market for parts and repairing them than selling the ready to run. I have made a ton of money off them and selling the parts installed. Shipped parts to countries all over the world. The cost to import and taxes other countries charged for the parts to be brought in to their countries was often more than the cost of the parts. The demand was so great I had trouble keeping up with pulling parts and packaging them to be shipped. The parts demand was so great you could actually by new PWC and break them down for Parts. I learned to repair just about every brand sold and had people bring them as much as a thousand miles to drop them off for repairs. I finally lost interest in doing it cause it interfeared too much with my PLAY TIME. I still have about 80 or so Pwc with still a lot of useable parts.I fixed up all my Grand kids with their own Jet ski and kept them all running through out the summers. I often helped people to repair their own jet ski’s by walking them through the repairs over the phone or through chat on one of the messengers. They would describe their problems and I would walk them through all the test steps then tell them what parts to replace and how to adjust and Torue everything.

      Like 0
      • joe penland jr

        Hi I have two of the 94 blasters and for some reason when they are sitting in the water they take on water. I dont see any cracks, they are in great shape but we have been running them hard recently. Whats you suggestion where to looks ? Also one of them has stopped flowing water out the side , is there a pump I need to replace?

        Like 0
  2. HoA Howard AMember

    Limited interest on the PWC. What lakes outlawed 2 strokes? Sounds like a California thing. These are a blast to drive. And you can stay dry, unlike the older ones. Looks like a good deal. New ones aren’t cheap.

    Like 0
  3. RandyS

    In the fall CL is littered with $200-300 PWCs that the owners cannot get to run right any more. The CDIs and stators fail frequently and carbs get corroded from the alcohol fuel. If you can wrench on it then they are fun for a few weekends until it breaks again. For a 10 year old ski expect to wrench on it 5 hours for every 2 hours of riding. I own 2 so BTDT.

    Like 0
    • Harold Wood

      I have good success with the old one lasting pretty much all summer once I clean the carbs and adjust everything at the begining of the season, but I have been working on them since they first came out in the late 1980’s. If you start with good compression and a clean fuel system and all ways
      use fresh clean fuel they do pretty good. Biggest problem is with people forgeting to drain them and put the hull plug back in so they don’t ingest water or get water in the electrical system.

      Like 0
  4. gear head engineer

    Blasters have a cult following. EBay is the way to go. And these Yamaha twins are very reliable if left stock, which this one appears to be. I’m not surprised it started up. That engine compartment looks like new.

    I’ve owned a ’95 Yamaha Waveraider with the 701 twin for what seems like forever and I’ve never had any problems with it. Hard use in both salt and fresh water. I also have a ’96 Wave venture with the 1100 triple. Also very reliable. The key to longevity on these is to make sure the oil lines are in good shape and securely hooked up. Or switch to premix but I prefer the oil injection.

    I started with Kawasaki 550s and those were finicky. Downright troublesome when heavily modified. I always made sure mine would start in the driveway before I drove to the water. And carried a spare battery.

    No two stroke restrictions here in CT.

    – John

    Like 0

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