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  1. #1

    Unhappy R-12X Sucked up rocks and sand / significantly reduced propulsion

    Hey Everyone, I've made a huge mistake... Yesterday a friend borrowed my Honda R-12X and unfortunately started it too close to shore, sucking up sand and rocks. I removed rocks from outside the intake grate. The ski was actually stuck in reverse as sand was physically preventing the reverse lever from being returned to the forward position. After clearing the sand from the rear of the ski I was able to restore the reverse lever back to the forward position and I pushed the craft to deeper water. I double-checked the intake grate one last time and then turned the ski on and let it idle. Everything initially appeared to be okay, but I quickly discovered that the ski, while not generating an error codes, would only average about 40mph as opposed to it's normal 60+ mph at full throttle. (The ski averaged about 5200 rpms when going 40 mph). I docked the ski for the day and only drove it to return to the ramp. Once out of the water I double checked the intake grate and the impeller and didn't see anything clogged, nor did I see any noticeable damage to the impeller. (I'm no expert on impeller damage though.) I flushed the ski on the hose for 10 minutes. When I was done I noticed there was some sand at the bottom of the jet pump steering nozzle, which I gently hosed away. I initially thought perhaps the problem was due to a damaged impeller, even though I can't see anything wrong with it, but now I'm not sure based on the following. I actually have two R-12Xs, and hooked both of them up to the hose again today to compare any discrepancies I can tell between the two. The damaged ski does not eject water out of the cooling water bypass outlet with as much force as the working ski. The distance the water is thrown from the bypass outlet is also noticeable less far than the good ski. It is probably ejected water a foot and a half less than the working ski when being run on the hose. Additionally, after shutting off the water and turning off the bad ski, a very significant amount of water pours out of the intake grate. On the working ski no water comes out of the intake grate. This tells me something is clogged, but what? If anyone has any advise on how to fix this, I would be extremely greatful. Thanks!


  2. #2
    You are going slower due to cavitation/air bubbles because the edges of the impeller are chipped, dented, not sharp anymore. If you are lucky that is all that is wrong. If not your pump is also scared and will need to be replaced as well. Take the prop out and check to make sure it still smooth insode. It's a good time to upgrade to a stainless steel prop.

    Lesson learned. NEVER loan a ski to a friend without teaching them proper starting procedure and going into the water with them the first several times or reminding them to always clear the pump. I was taught when I was 17 to ALWAYS clear the pump anytime the ski has been docked near shallow water by walking out to waist deep water and push/pull the back of the ski up and down several times. Over the last 30 years this has kept me from never having to replace a prop or pump. 1st ski was a 1976 Kaw 440. back in the day when you had to know how to ride to play. I may be 50 (almost) but I can still ride standing up, backwards and do headstands on a standup ski. lol

  3. #3
    JRINJAX's Avatar
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    You need a new Solas Impeller 17/29 from ParkerYamaha.com/Iboats.com/Macboost.com, whichever has the best price. There are several detailed posts here and on PWCTODAY.com Honda Forums about how to change it. Remember red Loctite and 105 Ft LBS of torque and be sure and buy the Solas changing tool also.

  4. #4
    Most certainly, I've learned my lesson on loaning the ski without going over how to start in shallow water. (This friend had borrowed the ski from deeper water without incident before, and I neglected to even consider they would be unfamiliar with how to start in shallow water.) That is certainly not a mistake I will repeat... The damaged impeller / pump makes sense, which would lead to slower speed due to cavitation / air bubbles, but visibly the impeller looks to be in good shape. (I have not yet removed the impeller though.) What concerns me most though is the fact that when the ski is running on the flush hose: 1.) the water pressure isn't what it should be coming out of the cooling water bypass outlet, and 2.) a ton of water flows out the intake grate once the hose and the ski are turned off. For the sake of argument lets even say the impeller / pump is damaged. That still wouldn't explain either of the problems above, correct? What would cause water to drain out of the intake grate as opposed to the cooling water bypass outlet? Surely this indicates something is blocked, right? (Again, I do not experience this behavior, or the reduced water pressure with what water does come out of the cooling water bypass outlet on my other ski.)

  5. #5
    Quinton Robbins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honda-R12Xs View Post
    Most certainly, I've learned my lesson on loaning the ski without going over how to start in shallow water. (This friend had borrowed the ski from deeper water without incident before, and I neglected to even consider they would be unfamiliar with how to start in shallow water.) That is certainly not a mistake I will repeat... The damaged impeller / pump makes sense, which would lead to slower speed due to cavitation / air bubbles, but visibly the impeller looks to be in good shape. (I have not yet removed the impeller though.) What concerns me most though is the fact that when the ski is running on the flush hose: 1.) the water pressure isn't what it should be coming out of the cooling water bypass outlet, and 2.) a ton of water flows out the intake grate once the hose and the ski are turned off. For the sake of argument lets even say the impeller / pump is damaged. That still wouldn't explain either of the problems above, correct? What would cause water to drain out of the intake grate as opposed to the cooling water bypass outlet? Surely this indicates something is blocked, right? (Again, I do not experience this behavior, or the reduced water pressure with what water does come out of the cooling water bypass outlet on my other ski.)
    Apparently you haven't actually learned the lesson. The real lesson here should be. NEVER LONE YOUR SKI!

  6. #6
    JRINJAX's Avatar
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    You need to pull out the three port valve [check valve] that sits in the very bottom of the hull right behind the engine and see if it is full of sand. You can also flush from there with the engine running.
    I have seen many Hondas with the cooling jackets in the block full of sand......

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by JRINJAX View Post
    You need to pull out the three port valve [check valve] that sits in the very bottom of the hull right behind the engine and see if it is full of sand. You can also flush from there with the engine running.
    I have seen many Hondas with the cooling jackets in the block full of sand......
    ^^^^ Sounds reasonable and you will be able to see everything once you get the pump and prop pulled. The edges of the prop are usually had to see until it's out and even a little ding can make a big difference.

  8. #8
    wotxxxsd's Avatar
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    95% of fubar mistakes are made when u lend ur ski out.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by JRINJAX View Post
    You need to pull out the three port valve [check valve] that sits in the very bottom of the hull right behind the engine and see if it is full of sand. You can also flush from there with the engine running.
    I have seen many Hondas with the cooling jackets in the block full of sand......
    Thank you very much, this was extremely helpful. I pulled the three port valve that sits at the very bottom of the hull, right behind the engine (pictured below). There wasn't any sand or any other debris in it, however, it was not operating as a check valve, but simply as a three port valve. After removing it I tested it with water. At no point does it operate as a check-valve should, blocking access to one of the valves. Water simply throws through both available exit points. I am assumiing whatever rocks / sand / debris was sucked into this damaged / removed the check valve functionality. This would explain why when I ran the ski in the flush hose water gushed down and out the intake grate, rather than being ejected from the cooling water bypass outlet exclusively and with more pressure. I will order a new one and go from there.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by lovbyts View Post
    ^^^^ Sounds reasonable and you will be able to see everything once you get the pump and prop pulled. The edges of the prop are usually had to see until it's out and even a little ding can make a big difference.
    I can see very minor nicks at the edge of the prop. I'm going to replace the defective check-valve and see if that alone does the trick, but if it doesn't I'll need to get a Solas prop.

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