05-14-2009, 12:53 PM #1
RXTX Tunnel Reinforcement Instructions and photos.
Below are pictures and a description of hull reinforcement for performance RXTX's.
For those of you who's tunnels have cracked, I totally relate and feel your pain. I have had two RXTX's crack and sink, and know of a third one personally. The first one sank when I was five miles offshore alone. I always have a wetsuit, gps's, communications, and signal devices, so my time in the water was minimal- & luckily it was a busy day with lots of help available on the Gulf of Mexico !
First let me point out a painful truth:
All PWC intake tunnels will crack, whether imploding or exploding, from flex caused by a "certain amount" of tunnel pressure. This "certain amount" varries from craft to craft. Usually, these failures happen only when the pressure is much greater than when the boat is in stock trim. The GPR guys discovered this a long while ago, as they modified their craft and attained higher speeds and started blowing out tunnels. They have been reinforcing their tunnels ever since. Incidently, this tunnel flex also adds to a sensation of the ski "putting the brakes on" when the pump loads and unloads- this is especially noticeable when going through light to moderate chop. Now, even though skis don't have brakes, as MOST of us know- this "braking sensation" is sometimes also described as "Pump Overstuff" - In its severest form "pumpoverstuff" can cause the ski to "hook" and pitch the rider over the bars. Reinforcing your tunnel reduces tunnel flex and thereby reduces the "pump overstuff / braking sensation"-- Less "overstuff" means less "hooking" and this means your ski is less likely to hook and pitch you at a high rate of speed.
From all the threads and posts about "RXTX Tunnel Problems / Cracking," it appears that the failure threshold of the intake tunnel on the RXTX is much lower than any of us would like it to be (including BRP)- and even lightly performance modified RXTX's can crack, fail and sink-- AND VERY IMPORTANTLY, AS REPORTED here on Hulk, even SOME BONE STOCK craft have expirienced tunnel cracking and sinking. !!!
So let me be the first to say "this sux" -
But let me also say I love riding, despise down time, and I spend a TON OF TIME WAY OFFHORE. Because of these factors, I can only rely on myself for rescue in an emergency. Therefore, I chose to deal with and fix my RXTX's tunnels myself, rather than get in long-winded, dubious arguments with dealers, BRP, and possibly even attorneys, as my ski sinks out from under me in open water.
I hate to be morbid, but unless someone is killed because of this, and that may VERY WELL HAPPEN -( I HOPE YOU ARE LISTENING BRP ATTORNIES ) --I feel that laws suits, class action or otherwise, are pointless on this- and trying to get a dealer to fix this is going to be a waste of ride time (Sea Doo dealers are not fiberglass repair shops- though they might be able to recommend a good one) --So the choice is yours, argue with BRP & your dealer, when you could be out using your ski on the water OR reinforece your ski, and get back on the water quickly.
So what can you do ?
Reinforce your ski, asap !
And Then-- Report and photograph your failure. Post it here. Write a letter to BRP stating your concerns that this problem may get someone killed. Send it certifed /registered. Send BRP photos when you send your complaint. Document your gripe with BRP and send a dealer a copy of it. Send all this registered mail.
And now the fix- as I get off my soapbox and down to business--
The reinforcement solution is the route I chose- and it can be accomplished in a single day- so for those of you who, like me, count "ride time" as Much More Valuable than anything else- here are some photos of the finished carbon fiber reinforcement that I chose to do, proactively, before this ski had any issue. It has 70 hours with no leaks. Also- I have forgotten to mention this before now- you should also install a small bilge pump. A 500gph (Gallons Per Hour) pump is like 30-40 bucks from West Marine. You can glue it in place with marine-tex or 3m heavy duty epoxy down by the tunnel as you are installing the reinforcement sheeting and resin. Wire a small water proof toggle switch into your glove box for the pump.
Engine removal on the RXTX is not neccesssary- though basically everything under the back seat has to come out.
Intercooler & lines, air intake and ducting, exhaust & water box, VTS, Nozzle, pump, shaft and impeller etc- to get to the tunnel on the inside of the hull to re-inforce it. ( Note- if you have no crack on the bottomside to repair, and are doing a topside reinforcement only- you do not need to remove the pump, impeller and drive shaft. )
Once you have everything out- If you do not want to do it yourself, take it to a good fiberglass repair guy who specializes in boat hulls. Some good auto boby guys might also be willing to do the repair for you.
First, some folks like to drill holes in the top and sides of the tunnel on the inside of the boat ( "inner hull"). If you do this, drill only though the INNER HULL- very shallow- and fill any space you can find in between the inner hull tunnel ("topside") and outer hull ("bottom side") with fiberglass or similar strong epoxy resin. Next, rough up the tunnel top and sides, the 90 degree bend where tunnel meets hull, and extend your " roughing" out several inches away from the 90 degree tunnel / hull union.
You are now ready to reinforce the entire inner hull tunnel throughly. From the inside of the boat lay fiber glass or carbon fiber sheeting and resin completely over the top and sides of the entire visible inner hull intake tunnel. Use several layers, and fill the 90 degree union at the bottom of the tunnel where it meets the inner hull generously- make this area extra thick. Ideally, you will spread continous sheets of carbonfiber and resin over intake tract, over the 90 degree junction, and several inches out along the bottom of the inner hull. Work in layers, using two or three layers for increased strength.
(and for those of you with cracks in the bottom hull, in the tunnel)
You may, or may not, depending on the location of the crack, have to remove the pump, impeller and drive shaft. If you remove the shaft, make sure you replace the shaft seal and re-install it correctly, as these are easily damaged and can lead to a huge leak/flood in your boat if they go bad or are installed incorrectly.
Now, fill the crack on the bottom, inserting resin into any spaces detected between the inner and outer hulls. Smooth resin out as much as possible while it is wet, to save you sanding time. Once the resin has set-up, sand it down smooth to return it to stock shape--try to leave no ripples or indentations- it needs to be smooth and shaped like it was when it was new. You can work in layers for the desired finish if you have low spots. If you have a gaping hole with material missing, you will need carbonfiber sheeting, and resin to fix a hole. Once bottom has dried completely, paint or re-gelcoat.
Check out my thread- "RXTX Nat'l Champs fast & reliable set-up" for more info on the reinforcement. There are several contacts on this thread with phone numbers for experts who can help you do this if you do not want to do it yourself.
The "Set-up" Thread:
I am also- for obvious reasons, adding this warning and disclaimer:
I cannot guarantee that this reinforcement will fix your problem. I cannot be responsible for any failure of your ski, whether you reinforce it or not. The truth is, my ski could crack and sink tommorrow- just like yours- even with a reinforced or repaired hull. I am providing this information as a "good samaritan", and at the request of several other members of the forum. I recieve no financial compensation from this, it is just a description of how I reinforced my ski and installed bilge pumps. The best advice I can give you is this: BE prepared to rescue yourself out there on the water- make sure you have food, water, 2 forms of communication ( phone and water proof radio), wetsuit, water shoes and gloves, 2 gps's, signal mirror/flag/flares and personal EPERB. Hypo-thermia sets in very quickly if you are in water that is below your body temp of 98.6 --So THIS MEANS even during summer in 80-90 degree water !!!!. Be prepared- don't be a victim !
And on a much lighter note- "Live It - Love It - LIFE !!!" One does not stop racing because one grows old- One grows old because one stops Racing "...so go fast and far, as strongly as you can !
If this information helped you, or you have thoughts or comments, please feel free to post here or message me. If you are up for an awesome offshore style ride on Florida's West Coast, contact me and lets rip ! If you want me to a do a celebrity appearence-- I am available for Bar-mitzvahs, Rodeos, Birthdays, Hooters Girls, bad celeberty impersonations, Bastille Day, The Swedish Bikini Team, Politcal Rallies, The Solstices, the Equinoxs, the Fourth of July, and any other damn good reason-- If you want me to do a celebrity- I think I would pick Angelina Jolie- thanks in advance for this Brett Willey-- LOL If you want to sponsor an Offshore Champion- cool- let's talk- I'm available !
Thanks for reading this thread - Hope this helps you,
#1v - 2008 Offshore V/M Class National Champion- LB2CAT & BACK.
Last edited by OffShore2; 06-19-2011 at 11:59 AM.
05-16-2009, 10:38 PM #2
05-17-2009, 08:32 AM #3
Thanks for you work.
05-17-2009, 11:07 AM #4
05-25-2009, 06:48 AM #5
Any pics of where to drill the holes??
05-27-2009, 05:34 PM #6
05-27-2009, 05:51 PM #7
05-27-2009, 07:32 PM #8
05-27-2009, 07:42 PM #9
05-27-2009, 11:03 PM #10
I went to look at my ski and saw this. now im not sure what this is! Is there some kind of a ...um how would I call it....ring around the shaft? looks like a piece chiped off!
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