Make It Snappy!
By: Jeff Ames


Is there anything more frustrating than having a watervehicle slower than how you can ride it.?

For me there isn't. Most everyone knows that when I test a PWC, there is always going to be a Yamaha WaveBlaster not too far away from me. I personally love riding the WaveBlaster; it brings back memories of my old motocross days, without having to worry about hitting the hard solid ground. If I crash now it tends not to hurt as bad as those earlier years.

I spend a lot of time in Lake Havasu testing and riding, and I find a buoy course almost irresistible. My dilemma has always been that the stock 701cc 'Blaster engine doesn't have quite that bottom-end punch I need coming out of turns. So I turned to the resident ace tuner and co-owner of R&D Performance, Bill Chapin, for a little advice on a quick-and-easy hop-up for the'Blaster.

He recommended we replace the head with an R&D Rec. head, bolt on the R&D Pipe and Manifold and add a rev limiter modification all to get the engine performing better. After that we would add an R&D rideplate and Aquavein scoop grate to give the'Blaster better handling. The following weekend I found myself back in Havasu, with a box of parts, my trusy Craftsman toolbox and the eagerness of wanting to get on the water ASAP with all my little bolt-on goodies.

It took me a little more than three hours to complete the project. Bill was around but had race boats to build, so I was primarily on my own. First, I did the easy stuff - bolting on the rideplate and scoop grate. Then came the dreaded under-the-hood stuff.

I quickly decided that finishing the removal of the pipe and then instaling the modified rev limiter would be my first plan of attack. Once the black box was tampered with and remounted to its original location, I began to install the pipe and head. There was nothing that overwhelmed me as far as needing help; it was kind of like a puzzle and all the pieces just fit together perfectly.

The only piece I didn't have was a nipple to fit over the small stock bypass line. Luckily Bill had one. You should be able to pick one up through your local dealer. Now I was ready for the true test as to my mechanical ability, a quick press on the starter switch and the engine roared to life. By the time my little project was ready to hit the water, it was getting dark; we decided to meet at the water at 6:30 a.m. to get some radar runs in.

The radar gun doesn't Iie and it can paint a good picture as to how the craft performs. On the first run the boat went fast but didn't seem to be running right; it seems that in my haste to get to the water I didn't connect the waterlines correctly. We had just made a run without any water passing through the pipe. After Bill reconnected the lines, we again tested the'Blaster. Not only did we pick up an extra 4.8-mph average, the 'Blaster got to speed a lot quicker.

The true test would be on the course later that day, as I would put the 'Blaster through its paces. Instantly I noticed a major gain on bottom end and midrange. I definitely had the power I wanted, with nothing holding me back. Added to the power increase was the handling, which was enhanced thanks to the rideplate, scoop grate combination.

Parts List

  • R&D Rec. Head
  • R&D Exhaust System
  • Aquavein Scoop Grate
  • R&D Rideplate
  • Rev Limiter
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