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  1. #1

    Superjet Project on a budget

    Thought there might be some interest in my superjet overhaul. Its been a long and slow project buts its at the stage that I've been riding it again.

    I bought the superjet like this, as a 1999 model which was a summer toy which had been standing. As I understood the rings had failed and the owner did an engine rebuild so he could sell so it came with a fresh motor in a tired hull. I rode it like this for a while but then attempted a winter overhaul. I don't have a lot of pictures of the process so my photo time line isn't very complete but I'll do the best I can.

    Let me say first, I picked the ski up very cheaply, in my mind it owed me nothing so I wasn't terribly worried about screwing things up. First up was cleaning up the front a little, I chopped off the join on the front overhanging join between the bottom and top half of the hulls and filled the spaces with two part expanding foam. There was a lot of foam shaping through the project.

    The nose looked like this after the shaping with a layer of glass fiber over the foam. This finally got some carbon fibre vacuumed over it for strength though I did some sponson work before the carbon went on.

    Next went on the sponsons. Perhaps some further background that should have come in the beginning, I'm in Cape Town, South Africa so parts aren't readily available. That coupled with a small budget made ordering in after market sponsons not a big option. Instead I got a basic shape in mind and used two part foam again to get the shape I wanted. I have a small sticker cutter so was used this to cut the outline of the sponson so I could get the foam into place. From there I pretty much went on whatever picture I could find, I knew I could screw things up but part of the project was the experiment. Must say I was really chuffed with the shape and having seen what sponsons are supposed to look like in the flesh since completing them, I must say I hit it pretty well on.

    From here the pictures are hazy, I wrapped both sides in some glass and then carbon fibre. The hull was very well cleaned up with all those nasty stickers removed before vacuuming some carbon fibre on there. I wrapped the nose and sponsons in carbon as well as the flat strip down the bottom of the ski, all the way to the intake grate because that surface was looking very ratty.

    Another addition which I'll get back to later was rear foot holds. I couldn't get rear holds so I cut holes into the deck and placed some expanding foam, enough to be able to shape some rear foot holds which got wrapped in glass. I also wanted a front hold so I used some heat shapable plastic which, coupled with some improv jigs and a heat gun I made into the right shape to be a mould. After this I laid some glass and then glassed that hold into the front of the deck. This might not be clear but there are pictures later when I get the mat on.

    So, skip a few steps forward and I was ready for paint. I started by doing the bottom of the hull.

    The bulk of the bottom end up black but it all started plain white with parts wrapped in carbon. The final exposed carbon was masked, including the strip above the white strip on the sponson and the one large tuning fork running down the middle of the hull. this got sprayed a pearl white and masked where the white would finally be exposed. This included white strip on the sponson, the large yamaha logo on the bottom and the yamaha superjet text at the back. Then came a lick of black before the masking was removed to reveal whats pictured. As you can see, on a budget, I had to spray in the garden when the weather was right. After the picture the bottom got a liberal clear coat that was strong enough to stand up to the punishment the bottom of the hull is likely to receive. I don't think its going to last forever down there but it should be ok for a while.

    Next the hull was flipped and the bottom was masked. Before this picture the whole lot got a coat of pearl white undercoat before the white was masked. Next came a blue coat, more masking and finally a black coat. The masking here was partly machine cut, partly hand laid up pin striping.

    Skip forward again and the masking was removed to reveal this. The logo on the nose is exposed carbon in the background with the white tuning forks in the front. After this came much clear coat, sanding and polishing to get an acceptable finish.

    The handle pole got a similar restoration. Pictured is a complete pole with epoxy drying, sticking the two ends on.

    Ok, now everything was taking shape. Sorry about the quality of this picture but its the only shot I have showing the moulded footholds. There you can see front hold running the width of the deck as well as one of the hand moulded grip. This was mid sticking of a blue camouflage hydroturf deck.

    Next budget hack job was a mod on the stock turn plate. I wanted one of those billet items but couldn't afford it so for the same effect I chopped most of the stock plate off the back. Here you can see my old carbon fibre mountain bike bar with a modified mountain bike bracket which I chopped down before drilling and tapping the plate. You can see the front half of the brackets where the stock handle mounts so I got a fair amount further forward with my mod job. The throttle lever has been replaced with a two finger mountain bike cable brake lever which works reasonably well for now though I think I will do some further adjustment before I will be completely happy. The bars got a pair of downhill style bolt on grips which look great in gold and white.

    This is a final look at the deck after covering was complete.

    Aaand a final shot of the completed product. The 56 is my bike racing number so that has no significance other then being the race number I've become attached to, no intentions of racing. To ride I've put my lengthened ride plate and stoke intake grate back on. The handle hinge cover has has been modified to pull a mould to lower it a bit. I modified the hinge mount to lower that as much as possible with again, not spending money on a nice billet item. I will run that in carbon fiber when I get that far. I've also taken a mould of the ride plate and will be running a combination carbon and other composite plate with a couple mods I would like to play with. The intake grate is one thing I won't be able to make a plan with so I guess thats the stock one or I'll have to splash out on something better. There's a second hand Riva grate going close to me but its still a little on the expensive side. Finally I'm working on a unique turn plate cover, its coming along but the plug isn't quite finished.

    So far I've ridding the almost finished product a few times. As with any full rebuilt I had a couple electrical gremlins creep in but those are all sorted. As far as the ride, I can not believe how much better it feels. Hook up on turn in is amazing now, far better then I expected, I'm almost hanging a knee on the water while turning and I haven't ridden in a very long time so I'm very rusty. Can't say I was a good rider before the build either. Very stoked with the results.

  2. #2
    john zigler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    looks great! you did a nice job...

    Oh, and welcome to the hulk.

  3. #3
    WATER WOODY's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Minden, Nevada, United States
    Welcome to the forum. Very cool project!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    LI, NY
    Nice job on acool looking SJ.

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