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  1. #1
    Resident Coffee Addict Oshawapilot's Avatar
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    Help me make a yes/no decision on a '97 GP1200

    Well, this time last night I was finalizing what was supposed to be a checkout of a Polaris 780, but after a few email exchanges and a phone call this morning it all fell to pieces. In hindsight perhaps it was not meant to be.

    However, shortly thereafter a Yamaha 1200GP popped up on the local Buy/Sell website, so I promptly went over to check it out.

    1997 GP1200. Here's the pic:



    Yes, it does look as good in real life as the picture makes it appear. It's had a few owners, but clearly they have all taken good care of it, and it shows - the seat is perfect (short of a little black mildew which I'm sure a Magic Eraser will take right out), the handlebar pads are cherry, absolutely no fading, no broken handles...etc. A tiny bit of dock rash, but compared to some older machines I've looked at it's nothing. The trailer is also in A1 condition. Current owner is a mature guy and his kids are too young to drive it, so it's not exactly been "ridden hard and put away wet". Indications were that the previous owners were similar.

    So, here's what I know:

    1/ Has about 125 hours.
    2/ All stock
    3/ Fuel gauge inop - sending unit suspected. (Common issue?)
    4/ Dash display otherwise works A1
    5/ Has been fogged and properly winterized since new.
    6/ Shows (IIRC) about 120PSI on compression test, consistent across all 3 cylinders. (Could be wrong, but he did state a figure which I think was 120)
    7/ Everything appears to work, all cables free, trim mechanism free and works well, controls free and lubricated, etc.
    8/ Battery removed for winter, so presuming being tended and good for the summer.
    9/ Engine compartment was CLEAN. Shows lots of signs of regular maintenance.
    10/ Trailer is in 95% new condition - tires basically brand new, bearing buddies in place, etc.

    I didn't start it today, but didn't have concern about that for reasons I'll state in a bit.

    Biggest area of concern was that when I inspected the hull there is a small section where the fibreglass has been chipped down below the clearcoat. He was quite adamant that it wasn't leaking (And I've absolutely no reason to not believe as it was very minor) but is this a concern? The chip was in such a fashion that water would be getting driven *into* the crack (as it was angled forward) but I think that at high speed the area in question is not likely in direct waterflow anyways, only at lower speed or when wave jumping for example. Will a little epoxy smoothed into this be a valid repair to avoid any further issues? Other then that one area the rest of the hull looks quite good, no major signs of wear or tear really aside from what I'd consider normal (or probably even less than normal) for a 15 year old machine.

    So...not running it. The current owner was a little reluctant to start it since it was fully winterized including fogging as well as antifreeze....the latter being a "can't be too sure" type situation. The battery was also removed and the machine in general was in a really awkward position to get to in his shop. Normally buying without hearing it running (much less a test drive, but it IS winter here) would send me screaming in the other direction, except for the fact that the owner offered to accept a deposit now with the balance payable come the spring once I get a test drive and am happy - if I'm not happy, I walk away with my deposit back. Yes, it'll all be on paper.

    He'll even store it in his garage for the remainder of the winter until we close the transaction in the spring. (Probably easiest for both of us as it's really packed away in his garage - clearly he wasn't anticipating selling it in the middle of the winter.

    Clearly he has nothing to hide and I'm getting a good vibe overall, so being able to put a deposit down now with the terms that I'm happy overall come the in-water test in the spring makes me think that I'm not in a situation where the seller is trying to hide a single thing from me - to the contrary he's been extremely up-front and honest, right down to it's issues which he clearly mentioned right out of the gate...fuel gauge, for example.

    I'd be looking at $2600 for the machine and the trailer. Around here the trailers typically sell for $500-$750 (probably on the high end of that for the trailer I'd be getting considering the condition), so in my head that pegs the value of the machine in the $2K range. Keep in mind I'm in Canada, so although PWC's are plentiful around here, they may not be as plentiful for those living in the S. USA for example, so the prices tend to run a little higher - they aren't a "dime a dozen" like they may be in some areas.

    Thoughts?

    What are the most common issues with these years/models? I found "before and after you buy" information to be plentiful out there on the Polaris I was considering, but I haven't found the same sort of information yet on the 1200GP...or if it's out there, I'm missing it.

    Thanks in advance for any/all pointers and advice.

    I need to give this guy a go/no-go decision by noon tomorrow so I'm on the prowl for info fast - and GreenHulk and it's members has been great to me so far.

    Mark


  2. #2
    Moderator beerdart's Avatar
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    The GP1200 is a good machine looks like a much better deal then the 780.. If it all checks out you will like it.

  3. #3
    Resident Coffee Addict Oshawapilot's Avatar
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    One other concern from what he told me (and again, he was being up front) was it's atrocious fuel consumption figures. He said that if you run hard you can burn the whole tank of fuel (50'ish liters he said, or about 13 gallons) in about an hour.

    I know that you pay for displacement...but that seemed awfully high. Hoping someone else that owns one of these (or similar) can chime in there.

    Not that it would be a make it or break it decision for me (I'm willing to pay to play), but just want to make sure that those sorts of consumption numbers are in the realm of normal, or if the carbs are setup sloppy rich or something.

  4. #4
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    A 1200 will drink some gas but man are they fun!!!!!

  5. #5
    Resident Coffee Addict Oshawapilot's Avatar
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    Sorry for the self-replies, but I'm adding info as I'm coming across it - further Google-Fu in the last hour or so has turned up more reading.

    1/ I'm reading a lot about the "Powervalves". Some sites allude to the possibility that these are on the 1200GP engines, but others state that they're only on the GPR engines. What's the exact situation here?

    They sound like something I'd be glad to not have.

    2/ Intake grate, it seems like another "must do" if the stock one is still in place, but a lot of the links I'm finding in old threads and on old websites have links that are dead or to websites that no longer sell them. Is there a preferred vendor or anyone here who I can give my business to for this? The R&D model seems highly regarded in a few old threads and seems to be still available on their website.

    3/ Catalytic converter. Again, I'm finding mixed info on if the 1200GP has this or not? Sure seems like it's not equipped except on the newer GPR's, but again...mixed info, and I never dived into the engine compartment enough this eve.

    At this point, basically I'm looking for critical-mass issues that would be common with these machines- AKA, "bound to fail" parts, or "if they fail it'll screw up your machine big time". Can't seem to come across any at this point (aside from the "fling you off the machine" intake grate issue, which I will address), which is definitely a good thing.

  6. #6

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    I have owned several of these skis, They are hard to start if they sit a few days due to the fact the chokes have too big if hole in the choke cover plate, Yamaha up dated later year 1200 to correct this problem. I put a fuel primer on mine correct the poroblem. It does drink a lot of fuel but no more than most two cycle skis with this size motor and year model. Biggest problem is when these skis get some age on them the wire ties on the oil injection lines get hard and the oil injectin lines (3) from the pump to the carb tend to pop off causing a engine failer. Need to replace all wire tie locations on all oil lines with good quality wire ties ( I like a brand called T&B wire ties. Other than that good ski. Answer to your qiestion. No Powervalves or cat in this ski , One more thing this ski bunces ( pourpus) bad with two people on it or if you weigh over 200 lbs because it is so short. Tommy Jordan

  7. #7
    Resident Coffee Addict Oshawapilot's Avatar
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    Thank you! Just the sort of info I was hoping to get from someone who has owned one (much less several) of these.

    The oil injection system was also on my mind, and I see perhaps rightfully so....has it proven to be otherwise reliable into it's old age, or should I do as others have done - disconnect it and switch to premix? With the clips replaced should I feel comfortable continuing to use it?

    The primer bulb is an easy upgrade...coming from the old-school snowmobile days, hard starting (and the remedies for such) are not foreign to me.

  8. #8
    Resident Coffee Addict Oshawapilot's Avatar
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    A few more pics:






  9. #9

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    Glad to be of help. Oil inj. works good except for the oil line issue which if corrected m you should be ok there. Most skis like that bring 1500-1800 w/o trailer. Not very good for 2 up adult ridding . solo ok or 1 adult and 1 small child ok. Fuel sender floats bad, Replace complete sender the cure but expensive . Tommy Jordan

  10. #10
    Resident Coffee Addict Oshawapilot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fast4u View Post
    Replace complete sender the cure but expensive
    Ok, looking on eBay there appears to be a ton of them available but as usual the sellers have included a broad range of models in their descriptions so it's not really clear. Is there a range of model years from which a donor sending unit will work? Anyone have the actual part number? (A few listings do have the actual part numbers).

    Here's one that looks like the right model?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/YAMAHA-XL-GP...ht_1131wt_1180

    Lots of used ones as well - $100 or so for a sending unit isn't a big deal to me. I'd rather have a functional gauge than run out of fuel.

    Is there something in particular that goes wrong with these that make them a well known issue? Is it worth buying a new one versus a used-but-tested-good one, or are they both equally as likely to fail again in the future?

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