Kawasaki ULTRA Page

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CLICK HERE FOR Kawasaki's site for the ULTRA

 Scroll down a bit for the review and test ride of the new 2014 Kawasaki ULTRA 310X


THE KAWASAKI ULTRA JET SKI

Mark Gerner of PWCOFFSHORE.COM Rides & Reviews
The New 2014 Kawasaki ULTRA 310X 
"First Impressions"

Kawasaki introduces their newest Jet Ski flagship for their forty-year anniversary of Jet Ski production, the 2014 Kawasaki ULTRA 310X.  The 310X produces an additional ten horsepower from the previous year’s ULTRA 300X model and owns the coveted king of the hill spot for Jet Ski horsepower.  The craft sports the same inline four-cylinder, four-stroke 1498 cc displacement engine and is supercharged, intercooled, DOHC, with four valves per cylinder.  The craft comes in four model options:  The ULTRA 310X, 310X SE, 310LX and the ULTRA 310R.  The craft range in price from 15,299.00 (US) for the 310X to 17,999.00 for the 310LX that incorporates a new and innovative “JetSound” audio system that enables the recreational rider the opportunity to enjoy their music with their Jet Ski riding experience.    

I had the opportunity to spend a half hour with legendary Jet Ski racer, Kawasaki’s R&D, technician and all-knowing Jet Ski guru Minoru Kanamori to review the new craft at Kawasaki’s US Headquarters in Southern California, USA. Clearly Kawasaki has polished off many of the rough edges from previous ULTRA models for what should be an even quicker, faster and more reliable Kawasaki ULTRA platform. Compared to the other new ULTRA 310X models, the new ULTRA 310R sports a new Kawasaki legacy black and green color scheme making it the most visually appealing Jet Ski Kawasaki has ever produced; it’s a head turner that the “Kawasaki-Green” racing community will gravitate to. The 310R incorporates different and much needed fortified handlebars.  The handlebars on the 310R are not adjustable; the owner will have to add risers if they want to adjust them higher.  The 310R also has different and more aggressive set of HYDRO-TURF mats and a leaner, thinner seat with motocross heritage seat covers designed for the more performance oriented rider and racer.  There was speculation that the sponsons would be different on the 310R; they are not and remain unchanged from previous year’s ULTRA models.   The look of the 310R is truly stunning when you first see it.  I’ve looked at many Skis over the past seventeen years and this craft definitely popped.  It is even more compelling when you see it live.  I speculate many will purchase the ULTRA 310R at its premium price just for the appearance of this sleek and aggressive looking Ski. 

The 310LX sports the first ever “JetSound” audio system, complete with integrated speakers and a control system mounted on the handlebars, the upgraded "two-up" seat and seat covers.  The speakers appear to be bolted to the hull.  Plug in your IPOD and enjoy your favorite tunes while you’re on the water.  The differences between the 310X and 310X SE are just the upgraded seat covers and seat on the SE that has the two ridges that better enable the sitting rider and passenger to maintain their riding position in the seat (same structure seat that is on the LX). 
   
People regularly ask me if I have heard anything regarding a future displacement increase for the ULTRA.  No, I have not.  Yes I know all my fellow gearheads in the racing community were hoping for an 1800 cc or 2000 cc engine in the 2014 model, I get it.  I was hoping for the same but only Kawasaki can determine what makes the best financial sense for their buying market.  Regardless, with 310 horsepower the 310X has the most horsepower of any Jet Ski in the world and is a step up and overall better craft with many improvements from the 300X.  Bottom line, it’s the most powerful Jet Ski watercraft ever built. 

So what are the primary differences between the 300X and the 310X? The focus of the upgrades appears to have been on cooling and lubrication.  Here is my takeaway regarding the primary changes: 
a) There are two water-boxes in the 310X vs. one in the 300X
b) The exhaust exit point is now on the port side (left side, underneath the cleaning ports) of the craft vs. the right side on previous year's models
c) The intake manifold is all new for more power.  The exhaust manifold has not changed. 
d) Cooling routing has been modified / the water jackets in the engine are larger / thicker and utilize a check-valve that opens when the engine is running but close when it is stopped to keep the engine cooler, but not too cool. 
d) Larger oil passages in the crankcase for better lubrication on the cylinder walls.  The oil jet system that sprays the underside of the piston has been modified to include two jets per piston - this should result in better cooling of the pistons and cylinders.  
e) Additional baffles in the oil pan have been incorporated to prevent oil from accumulating on one side of the pan during turns, fast hole-shots or sudden stops.  
f) New Crankcase oil return holes are enlarged for quicker oil return to the oil pan.
g) New fuel pump.    
h) Pistons have an additional ring land V-grooves for better oil retention
i) Some of the cooling lines have been upgraded
j) New ECU
k) Knock sensor
l) New prop
m) Drive shaft has a longer spline for more engagement.  The impeller spline is also longer to match the length of the driveshaft spline.   
n) The plastic rear seat housing has been redesigned and brought in approximately one half to three quarters of inch on each side and is thinner reducing the likelihood of the lower leg scrapes that were a result of the old design. This is a major ergonomic improvement.
o) Same exhaust filter element with pin that is on the mid-year 2013.5 Kawasaki 300X models (the pin helps avoid the possibility of the filter dropping into the box should the element fail).  Has 1" hole in the center for freer exhaust flow and longer life (2x).   
p) Same change as the 2013 300X moving the trim control unit from the left side to the right side of the inner bow for what I can only assume involves better weight balancing of the craft.  The trim line is now significantly longer as it goes forward and then aft along the port side of the craft.     
q) Minor changes to the digital display unit, a new fuel consumption function that displays gallons per hour or gallons per minute.  Also has a new boost meter scale.  
r) 2013 ULTRA 300X curb weight is 1040.8 pds.  The ULTRA 310X curb weight is 1051.8 pds.
s) 2013 ULTRA 300X thrust is 1769 lbs.  The ULTRA 310X thrust is 1890 lbs (increase of 121 lbs in the 310X)   
t) Mirrors are slightly different, provide a wider rear view angle.
u) I am told that the 310R's steering base unit has been updated with a new design - will confirm this one and get back with you. 

The ride:  Thanks to Kawasaki and Aaron Cress of Dana Point Jet Ski, I had the opportunity to test ride Kawasaki’s new 2014 Kawasaki ULTRA 310LX. As we anticipated, the new ULTRA is quicker out of the hole, has better midrange and seems to scream right up to its governed speed that tops out at approximately 67.5 mph. With the governor doing its job, it feels like the brakes are coming on pretty hard at around 67 mph. The craft appears to be slightly more stable than the 300X; the difference in the ride is very subtle compared to the 300X.  There has been a great deal of discussion regarding what this can be attributed to, many believe that the new 2014 craft just has a better distribution of its weight and therefore is more balanced resulting in a slightly more stable ride.  I rode the 310LX in three foot seas resulting in a few big airs - I noticed that the craft tracked better while in flight than the 300X does, clearly a sign that something is tweaked and improved in the 310X.  The aggressive turning on the 310LX felt identical to previous year’s models.  The two water-boxes in the 2014 ULTRA result in an even quieter ride than the 300X.  The Kawasaki representative that I was riding with had his music going on his 310LX, quite a rush to hear music blaring from a watercraft out in the ocean!  Interestingly enough, when the LX is approaching you head on and all you see is the nose of the craft, the LX looks more rounded and muscular due to the speakers filling in what used to be dead space on the craft.  To sum it up, the craft appears to have a better hole-shot, better midrange and is slightly more stable.  All of this should result in better average speed for the rider and racer.  For the rider that has never ridden an ULTRA or its predecessors, they will be amazed at how hard this craft pulls.               

The transition from the 2013 ULTRA platform to the 2014 ULTRA reminds me in many ways of the transition from the ULTRA 250X to the ULTRA 260X back in 2009, but with many more upgrades this time.  There are many refined elements on this craft, Kawasaki appears to have gained additional power through greater efficiency and with the knock sensor and other upgrades, it is likely the 310X will be an even more reliable craft than its older brothers.  Bottom line, I like it.  With that magnificent deep V hull and tons of ULTRA power, I anticipate the Kawasaki ULTRA 310X will remain the dominant craft for offshore endurance riding and racing.  Go check it out!

Many close up PICTURES CLICK HERE 

Ride hard, ride safe
www.pwcoffshore.com    email:  pwc@pwcoffshore.com

 

 

Below - Mark Gerner at 2013 LB2CAT - 2nd Overall



Kawasaki ULTRA 300X Review: 

When you thought it couldn't get any better, Kawasaki releases the Ultra 300X and writes a new book in high performance watercraft.  The Ultra Kawasaki 300X is everything you dreamed of in a race ski but in a show room stock package.  Hands down the Ultra 300X is the best handling, most powerful watercraft ever produced.  Kawasaki has raised the standard of performance watercraft to a level previously only accessible to Pro Open class racers. Right out of the box, the Ultra 300X feels like a thorough bred race craft.   


The above picture was taken the week the craft was purchased new (February of 2011):
Disclaimer:  The following information is opinion and editorials based on our exposure to riding the ULTRA offshore and feedback received from other riders.  Any "recommendations" should be implemented at your own risk.  We are not mechanics.  Feedback does not necessarily represent the opionis of PWCOFFSHORE.com suppliers and owners.  These are strictly observations, opinions and feedback from offshore enthusiasts and could be incorrect in terms of specific accuracy.  We are not mechanics.  Any testing done was not done in a scientific manner.  Please do not take anthing you read on this site or page as guidance from a professional.  We are not PWC mechanics.   Modifications made to your craft could result in the loss of your manufacturer's warranty.   

The intent of this page is to offer the reader an objective view of the new 2011 Kawasaki ULTRA 300X over the first year of ownership of the craft.  We will not address the specific detailed technical information offered on the Kawasaki website; this will be about riding characteristics, performance, issues and observations.   We encourage you to go to the Kawasaki site for the specific technical information about the craft, you need to know the information on their site.  I was one of the first owners of the 2007 Kawasaki ULTRA 250X and have spent in excess of 380 hours on the ULTRA platform (I’ve owned two ULTRA 250's and a 300X) and understand the craft exceptionally well.  My feedback will be based on my observations and opinions expressed subsequent to riding this craft aggressively offshore.  
Nothing will be done “scientifically” and you may take and act on our opinions and observations at your own risk.     

Many pictures of the ULTRA 300X and test rides, CLICK HERE

2012 *Conclusions and Findings After 12 Months On the 300X*:

After riding and working with the 300X for the past twelve months, we have drawn the following conclusions for ocean endurance riding and racing (these observations are for riders / racers who ride hard and that do not race for their living. These observations could change as we go forward). I hope it offers insight and assistance. In no particular order of precedence:

1. If you race or ride very hard (very hard) on a regular basis, change the supercharger oil with the Eaton GM S/C Oil at every 25 to 30 hours (use the correct oil, no substitute / scroll down for a picture of the bottle of oil and the part number). Adding the proper amount of S/C oil during its oil change is very critical. Not enough oil can cause a lack of lubrication issues and too much oil can blow the seals out and the oil to leak out. If you see a puddle of black oil under the S/C area and if it doesn't feel like engine oil, then you have a S/C with a blown seal.

2. The catch can is under designed; there are a few good designs out there. Research your options and change it out (the double catch can design we tested is not recommended).  Update - see below for part numbers regarding Kawasaki's new OEM catch can.  We like this new catch can and recommend you upgrade to it. 


3. Upgrade all of the cooling lines in your craft to cooling lines with higher pressure thresholds (250 to 300 PSI cooling lines).

4. Install an after-market bilge pump (We like the one with the manual switch / personal preference).

5. Change the engine oil and oil filter frequently, every 10 hours (use synthetic / not motorcycle oil).  It is critical that you keep the oil clean.

6. Use synthetic engine oil after the craft has been broken in. This craft runs hot, this will help (do not use motorcycle oil).

7. Monitor the engine oil aggressively and ensure you never “run it a little low.”

8. The best way to get an engine oil reading is to run the craft for approximately five or more minutes then let it sit for a few minutes, then check the oil level (Yes, we have also received all of the false readings when checked cold and this is the best way we’ve found to get a reading).

9. Check your intercooler for oil and do so frequently. If you see oil residue in the intercooler, clean it.

10. Change the handlebars out / upgrade them.  They are one of the weakest links of the craft. 

11. If you do the speedo mod / override modification / SCOM, consider only using the override for racing or for when you want to get a “go-fast” training day in. If you race and train for races at WOT, consider removing the speedo modification while training, it will put less stress on engine internals and could prolong the life of your craft.  Consider higher octane fuel if you run the SCOM, race fuel may increase reliability.

12. Leave this craft as close to stock as possible. Be careful with higher compression pistons or augmenting boost (do not block off your blow off valve - you will get a little more performance but if can have an impact on reliability), do not increase timing etc. (might consider higher quality pistons/forged pistons and rings).  Mid-year 2013 models have upgraded the rings.  We like forged pistons, just be careful with the higher compression (reliability).    

13. To assist in maintaining reliability of the craft, do not increase timing in any way.  If you do, run high quality race gas. 

14. Try to get the craft breathing better but do so without increasing the likelihood of water intrusion / into the intake.

15. Engine Cooling: You don't want to overheat the engine but you don't want to over-cool it either. An overheated engine can over-stress internal components such as valves, pistons, etc. An over-cooled engine can result in GIO (Gas in Oil) that dilutes the crankcase engine oil with excessive amounts of fuel. A few experiments show that the 300X engine performs the best when the crankcase oil temperature is around 205-210 F range. You may have to reroute some cooling lines or modify the cooling system to achieve the result (205-210 F). Install an oil temp gauge on the dash so that you can monitor temp levels.

16. You will get a lot more life out of the 300X belt compared to the 250/260 belt (nice self tensioning wheel Kawasaki, well done).

17. Inspect and clean the tensioner assembly every 30 hours. Check the tensioner bearing and pivot point every 30 hours.

18. My personal preferred pump setup is a wet-pump with a pump oil change every 10 hours. If you maintain the stock pump setup and you ride aggressively, I recommend you replace the jet pump bearings, new seals with new grease every 20 hours. For casual recreational riders, it may expand to 100 hours.  Unless you are aggressive about maintaining a wet pump, don't change, stay stock.  If you are primarily a recreational rider, don't change the pump - stay stock and maintain it.

19. Exhaust Filter Element: Keep it installed all the time.  If you choose to remove it, suggest you remove it for just race day only. Keeping the filter in will not only help prevent the "hard-starting" issue on the water, it will also help prevent rusting/corrosion of vital internal engine parts such as valves, valve train, etc. Inspect/replace every 25 hours. If you want to be safe, just change it out every 25 hours.

20. If the exhaust filter element is out, do not let the craft run at less than 2000 rpms and ensure you burp the throttle just prior to shutting the engine down.

21. Inspect and clean your sparkplugs every 25 hours and apply anti-seize liberally prior to reinstalling.  Torque to the appropriate specifications per the owners manual.

22. Impeller Installation: Whenever you remove & reinstall it, make sure you first thoroughly clean both the impeller and the shaft threads and apply medium-strength (blue) loctite on them to prevent it from loosening. When removing loctited impeller, always apply some heat to melt the hardened loctite for easier loosening.

23. Cylinder Compression Check: Perform this every 10 hours or every oil change. This is like a routine physical exam for your engine. Maintain records of this and carefully monitor and document. If the number falls below the spec, have your technician check in to it.

24. Ride plates, props and intake grates: Are like debating religion; there are various trains of thought and much of the “correct” configuration depends on sea state conditions, your riding style, rider ability, and personal preference. Here are some guidelines: Although you might gain some top speed with the R&D Intake Grate while the craft is engaged / hooked up, you will rob the craft of some of its rough water hookup. If you change out the stock intake grate to most of the grates currently on the market other than the stock grate, you will probably lose a little hookup (no input on TBM intake grate / not tested). The R&D Ride-plate will offer greater rough water stability and tracking. If you get flat water (in the ocean that means VERY flat water and this is rare), the R&D Intake and the R&D Ride-plate might be a good option for you for top speed and an easier ride (lake-like water up to very small chop). If you hit the lake and see flat water, consider the R&D intake and R&D ride plate combination. The R&D Ride-plate decreases the likelihood of the aft end of the craft flying to the left while in the air and the craft will also fly straighter in big seas in the ocean. The R&D intake will make the craft easier to ride in all kinds of water including rough water and could lead to higher top speeds while the craft is hooked up but you will probably be trading it out for the overall hookup of the craft in the rough which could have an adverse impact on average speed. I am finding that most aggressive offshore racers stay stock with the ride plate and intake grate and learn to ride the more aggressive stock intake grate in the ocean to maintain the beauty of the 300X - maximum and amazing hookup. The stock grate gives you more of a workout while riding, makes the craft more difficult to ride in the rough primarily due to the aggressive angle of the top loader / intake resulting in a greater recovery time and “snap back” reengagement, however it could lend to a greater average speed. If you struggle with the stock grate and it impacts your confidence in holding the craft open in the big seas or you lack the riding ability in big seas, you might consider the R&D intake. Test out the various options and go with what you find most comfortable and appropriate for your riding style.  The 58 boat is running the stock grate. 

25. If you are a straight line offshore endurance racer, stay stock with your sponsons.

26.  We suggest you install a deep fuel pickup from R&D to assist in accessing that last remaining fuel in your tank.

27. ****Scroll down for some of the "fortification mods (defined as our attempt to assist the boat with a little more speed without impacting reliability / and helping the overall survivability & reliability of the craft)"  we did for the 2012 Mark Hahn Race - a perspective on what we did well and could have done better ie mods that we did that we now don't necessarily recommend.
   
   

28.  Fog frequently via the fogging port forward on the left.    

28.  Recommend using 100+ octane un-oxygenated - fuel if using the Speedo override for racing

29.  If removing the exhaust filter element (Diffuser), consider changing the water box and exhaust outlet to a full flow style to reduce the residual water level.  This will likely assist with water intrusion back into the engine and assist with restart issues.
     

REVIEW - General Feedback & Ongoing Observations:
7/22/2013:  We usually test and retest modifications prior to race day, but not for this year's LB2CAT.  Just before the LB2CAT race R&D presented the option of a re-flashed ECU for a stock craft.  I was not aware of their ECU re-flashing service until just before the race so I scrambled to get a second ECU and made it happen.  I had only eight (8) minutes of test time on the ECU but decided to trust in R&D and proceed with the R&D ECU for the race.  I noted better low and mid range with this ECU; seems to polish off the stock ECU and ultimately felt like better recovery time.  Removed after the race and went back to the stock ECU which allows for standard pump gas.   Note:  The  ECU re-flash we used did not eliminate the need for the R&D SCOM.
  
7/2013:  The  tensioner assembly went out at 77 hours.  Consider replacing at 70 to 75 hours if you ride hard offshore.      

6/2013:  Question received via email:  What does the term recovery time mean?
Answer:  Recovery time is the ability of the craft to reengage after coming unhooked (pump losing its connection with the water and therefore losing its ability to propel itself forward, hence lost speed) and then reengaging and getting the craft back to speed.  The TIME it takes to RECOVER and get the craft back to speed.  I created this term after riding the  300X for the first time, I was amazed at the craft's hookup and ability to recover itself and get back to speed very quickly and called it "Recovery time"

Thanks for the emails - for those that saw the tech section of the 2012 LB2CAT Race DVD, here you go.  Here is a close-up of the custom one-off nozzle we had made.  
 
2013:  I receive multiple emails regarding what oil we are running in the 300X for race applications.  Here you go (for now at least....).  Royal Purple Full Synthetic HPS.  We purchase five gallons at a time.    
We received the question "WHY" do we use this oil?  Answer:  This is very high quality synthetic oil.  It is our belief that most high 
quality synthetic oils that are changed on a regular interval (read - kept clean, this is key) will suffice.  We don't believe this oil contains rust inhibiting additives so if you do not change the oil on a regular basis, consider a full synthetic oil that is NMMA approved (has rust inhibitors).  Make sure it is synthetic, the ULTRA 300X runs very hot (to combat the previous GIO issues).  It runs hotter than the 250X and the 260X  - we highly recommend you run full synthetic oil in the 300X, and keep the oil clean.   



6/2013:  Update on the new catch can.  We ran a test comparing the old catch can to the new one.  We ran an external filter that would allow us to monitor how much oil would be blown out of the filter with both catch cans.  The new catch can with additional capacity had significantly less oil blowing from the filter.  The new catch can appears to do a better job.  No significant performance / speed etc. difference noticed.  We like it and recommend you upgrade to it.     
2013:  New 2013 Catch Can Part Number is 52001-0008 (Approx. $140.00 US).  If you intend to use this new part on the 250X / 260X 300X (that has the old part), you will need to get a rubber damper that bolts on to the intercooler, designed to prevent the the two parts from coming together and damaging either of the parts.  




2/2013:  We blew a seal in our wet-pump at the 2013 Mark Hahn 300 Mile Race, took us out of the race.  Reminder, if you're running the custom wet-pump setup, change the pump oil every 10 hours and rebuild it every 20 hours.   

8/2012:  Received a question about the amount of oil required for a Supercharger oil change.  The new craft comes with a SC with 150cc of SC oil in it.  Needless to say you will be unable to remove all of the oil for the change so our technicians are replacing between 120cc and 125cc back into the SC.      

R&D Ride Plate with the stock intake grate scrubbed speed on the 58 craft  

Update on the Solas 14/21:  Very good recovery time on this prop, good low and mid range prop, good rough water prop, appears to scrub a very little top end speed.  Worth a try to determine if it fits your riding style, I speculate that average speed on this prop in the rough water might be better than stock.  Flatter water stock might be a little faster.       

Question:  What is the status of your Solas Prop testing? 
Answer:  My current / latest test configuration is stock sponsons, R&D Ride Plate, extended nozzle, 14/21 Solas and stock intake grate.  The next test will involve changing out the stock intake grate to the R&D Intake Grate and go back to a stock nozzle, keep all else constant and see how she hooks up in four footers.   
Question: Why do you dislike flat water so much?
A
nswer:  Because it is more about the boat than the racer.  In rough water it is primarily about the racer and then the craft (assuming he or she is on a fairly competitive craft).  I am of the belief that most racers can hold a fast craft open in flat water.  Rough water presents a very unique set of challenges to racers that involve physical fitness and true skill to effectively and successfully negotiate the rough water.

Question:  How do you track results and test modifications.
Answer:  Nothing different than most here.  We make one modification at a time and document results after rides.  Switch a part, ride, test and document.  We try to find consistent sea state when testing a part on part but the ocean doesn’t always cooperate.  I also ask the same question to as many people as I can regarding a modification and act like I don’t know the answer and engage in naïve listening.  I look for consistencies and trends in feedback regarding aftermarket parts or ride characteristics in the feedback I receive.  I consolidate all the feedback in my head and keep an open mind.      

Question:  Do you like to new Solas Prop?
Answer:  I don't know yet 

Above is a 14/21 Solas on the right - testing it 

3-11-2012:  We did the following over the last week:

  1. Complete inspection of the craft including leak down and compression check.  Compression numbers were in acceptable range
  2. Removed 4.5 quarts of oil on a cold engine without removing oil filter (Given the difficulty checking oil at the Hahn race due to the slope of the beach, we were adding 1/3rd of a quart every other pit.  We speculate we overfilled the crankcase with oil resulting in oil in the intercooler causing the craft’s performance anomalies during the race.  Time will tell). 
  3. Removed and cleaned the intercooler. 
  4. Changed plugs and oil (1040 Full Synthetic back in).  
  5. Replaced a blown fuse on the blower system
  6.  Dana Point Offshore Ride on 3/11/2012: Craft ran well.  Had the opportunity to encounter both flat and rough water throughout the 52 mile ride. 
  7. Experimenting with bending props, nozzle changes combined with intake, sponson and ride plate configurations.  The extended nozzle has opened up a new realm of possibilities that will be tested.        
2-28-2012:   Woke up to glassy flat water for the February 25, 2012 Mark Hahn 300 Mile Race in Lake Havasu City, Az. This kind of flat water is completely out of my element and is begrudgingly referred to by many as “wimp water.” (Nothing against those of you that like flat water, no disrespect intended).  Many were asking me about what ride plates and intakes to run in the flat water conditions.  A friendly reminder to all, my knowledge is focused and directed at offshore.  I ride flat water one time a year and that is at the Mark Hahn Race (assuming its flat).  Therefore I am by no means as knowledgeable on flat water lake setups as I am with offshore setups.  As you know, the ocean is never completely flat as lakes can be. 

For the record, if you do encounter this flat lake like conditions, we can now recommend the R&D intake grate with the R&D ride plate (critical that you run them both together).  This setup appeared to produce the greatest results during the race. 

We went with the R&D intake grate with the stock ride plate.  I noticed a few less RPM's running the R&D intake grate.  We chose the R&D as it has less bite than the stock grate and we understand that the stock grate might scrub a little speed in such flat conditions.  It was a flat water dyno run so our strategy was to manage throttle (expecting substantially more breakdowns than what transpired) with a move at the end of the race based on where we stood.  The 58 craft ran with the exception of an anomaly that produced a loss of RPM and vibration when pushing the craft to full throttle.  This happened throughout the last half of the race. We believe it could have been heat soak, overfill of oil or oil in the intercooler.  More to follow on this.  We ran full synthetic 1040 oil.  

The 58 craft had the 9th fastest lap time in the PRO class, happened when we started to push this craft at the end of the race: 


FASTEST LAP (PRO-AM 4-STROKE) Top 10 Lap Times 
final in class ski # Name lap time 
3 7 Craig Warner 7:41.925 
13 217 Booker/Rius/Hickey 7:42.847 
1 815 Bruno/Sylvain 7:54.309 
10 30 MacClugage/Ryabko 7:56.474 
14 8 Lee Phan 7:57.733 
12 99 Pham/Roque 8:00.134 
5 909 Mendez/Brown 8:02.422 
11 19 Aero Aswar 8:07.464 
4 58 Mark Gerner 8:12.736 
2 2 Heidler/Cruz 8:15.065 

The 58 craft completed the race piloted by Iron Man (single) racer Mark Gerner in 7th place overall and 4th in the PRO class.  Not a good day.           

We were surprised at how well the Kawasaki ULTRA 300X did in flat water.  We recognize the ULTRA’s rough water prowess but winning a flat water throttle run?  Many of us were perplexed.  One would expect Seadoos or a Turbo Yamaha to perform in such flat water but they did not.  Kawasaki continues to differentiate itself in a positive way.         

Modifications done for the 2012 Mark Hahn 300 Mile Race (A review of the good and the not so good):

1.    Oil Temp Gauge

2.    Routed cool water to the oil cooler vs. standard hotter water recycled through the engine.  (Results inconclusive)

3.    Exited blow offs to keep the hot air out of the engine compartment.

4.    Blowers (2).  One in rear and one in front with a cool air tube running from aft forward to a location close to air intake.  Objective of the tube running from aft forward was to provide somewhat of a barrier to bypass the hot engine and go directly to (close to) the air intake.  (Results - blowers not recommended at this time for many reasons, save your money).

5.    1 inch extension on nozzle for better rough water stability / less nose play and flies well i.e. flies better and comes down more effectively at plain (results good).  Note that the angle of the nozzle we placed on the craft resulted in a little additional bow rise out of the water (very subtle).  Does this result in possible loss of pump / hookup from time to time?  Inconclusive but possibly.  The extension also makes the reverse bucket(when used) significantly more sensitive (I learned this the hard way).    

6.    New 1500.00 Quick Fill (our quick fill had issue during the race resulting in very poor fill times for a quick fill).

7.     Double catch can, both of which drained back into the crankcase (Results - not recommended at this time, possibly produces too much pressure).

Picture of Quick fill below:

 

***Recommendation:  If you are not racing, consider removing the override / the speedo mod.  Doing so It will place less stress on engine internals during practice.  Yes, you will be back to operating with a "governor."      
 

2-1-2012:  We assume the last supercharger was overfilled with oil and blew out a seal.  Replaced supercharger.

1-22-2012:  Supercharger update.  Looked inside the supercharger through the fill hole (the second sc, the one that we just had problems with), it had no oil in it (none......) and was rusty on the inside.  This probably means that the supercharger was over-filled and probably blew out a seal letting oil out and probably water in rusting the internals.  Reminder, when changing the sc oil or putting new oil in a new sc, poor all the oil out and replace it with 120cc to 125cc (new craft come with 150cc in them, can get all of the oil out so replace with the less amount of appproximately 120cc of the Eaton sc oil only.  This also explains the sound we were hearing, no oil in the sc caused a rather unique sound.  Make sure you have the correct amount of sc oil in your sc.    


1-16-2012:  Diagnoses complete – bad supercharger.  This supercharger is only about 5 or 6 hours old, we speculate it was either just a bad part or overfilled with oil.  We don’t know.  It is all speculation at this point.  Remember, the first supercharger failure on this craft was the first 300X Supercharger failure in the world.  And, this was the first SC repair so there are many things that could have gone wrong with the part or oil refill or ??  Working on getting my hands on another SC.    Note, this supercharger has had it relatively easy as the water conditions have been very gentle / flat (for the ocean) over the past few months.  The SC was not abused in any way.  I believe this is just a one-off anomaly.       


1-14-2012:  Back on the water to test the new pump oil to see if that resolved the “noise anomaly” issue.  Craft ran well for about the first 25 miles then started to slowly and subtly slow down.  It was a flat day and therefore all about the craft – good for testing.  On the return leg, KC Heidler (who has the identical craft) was able to easily catch and pass this craft and slowly pulled from this craft for 20 miles, beating it by at least half a mile.  The other stock 300X in the group also pulled on the craft in the last five miles of the 47 mile run.   RPM’s were down subtly.  Back to the dock, yes we have a problem.  The noise was louder at idle.  Off to tech, there is an issue.

1-2012: Craft ran well for approximately 30 miles then slowly lagged, nothing dramatic but another stock 300X was able to pull on this craft at the very end of the run.  Back at the dock I noticed a “loose” sound coming from an unknown location in the craft.  I thought it might be a pump bearing letting lose in the pump so we removed the wet pump and inspected the bearings and replaced the oil in the pump.  Bearings looked fine and the oil, although clearly used was still fairly blue (approx 18 hours on that pump oil).  We needed to change the pump oil anyway.  Did a compression check and complete inspection.  Everything looked fine.

12-24-11:  Question and Answer from the 12-24-11 Review:  
Question:  just analyzing your setup, guessing you have the OEM catch can as per normal? Do you then run the breather hose of the first can to the side inlet of the second can, then the breather for the second can still to the intake of the ski? or have you hooked another breather from the rocker cover to the second can, that seems like a lot of oil you are collecting if it’s hooked up similar to oem..
 

Answer:  Yes that's the setup, it runs in a normal configuration to OEM. First can runs breather. To intake of second, breather of second runs to air box, drain of first can to oil pan, second drain blocked off (we will change that per below) head cover overflow to inlet of first.

12-24-11: Training and Test Ride: 


12-24-2011:  Craft now has 40 hours on it.  We removed the tubes connecting the intercooler / blow off to the air box and placed the R&D breather filters on and blocked off the air box with the covers provided by R&D.  We did this to augment breathing and hopefully decrease the amount of oil that was constantly being recycled through the engine and getting into places that we did not want it.  With the filters, we found that the blow off on this specific craft was blowing a little oil into the hull potentially around the belt so (as a short term fix as we worked on another mod) we replaced / installed the large long tubes back into the craft but tested placing the exit point of the tubes in the aft of the hull by the bilge (vs. the air box).  The intent there was to blow any residual oil into the back of the craft vs. potentially onto the supercharger belt (and potentially causing slippage and loss of power, not to mention ware on the supercharger belt).  That turned out to be a mistake.  Turns out one of our dual catch cans (one drains back into the case, the other is tapped off and collects oil) became full very quickly, here is the amount of oil we removed from the tapped off catch can after the first test: (about 2 or 3 hours of riding from previous rides also):

12-24-11 Ride review continues below, keep scrolling  

Although we thought the excess fluid going through the tubes would be minimal, the amount of blow off oil blowing back into the aft end of the hull through the tubes was excessive, it got on hot components of the engine causing smoke in the engine compartment resulting in a lack of air choking the engine and therefore stalling while at WOT. This happened twice, one time almost throwing me on to the hood of the craft.  We turned back to the dock and a visit with technician Aaron Cress.  We reconnected the hose lines, drained the catch can, replenished the oil (2/3rd’s of quart) and put the craft back on the water. 

Back on the water and took the craft WOT from Dana Point to just short of Oceanside (round trip about 35 miles for this test).  The craft ran well although I noticed a unique sound and a small loss of power at the very end of the run.  Another stock 300X was able to barely pull on this craft at the end of the run.  Upon return, we did a compression check and checked the plugs and all looked to be within spec.  We drained the following amount of oil from the catch can, this is a lot for only 35 miles at WOT: (scroll down, report continued)  

12-24-11 Ride review continues below, keep scrolling

We will be modifying the second catch can so that they both drain back into the crank case vs. only one draining back in.  I foresee changing the oil even more frequently with this craft.  We will be inspecting the pump to determine if we have issues (the unknown sound we heard, stay tuned). 

Below, Aaron Cress makes quick repairs on 12-24-2011 (12-24-11 Ride review continues below, keep scrolling)  


12-24-11, below picture from test-day on the water:


12-18-2011:  Testing of a tweak to a fortification mod; not a lot of time on the water today.  Craft ran well in rough water.  Appreciated the aggressive 2011 stock intake grate in that water (fairly big water).     

Below, 2012 Kawasaki ULTRA 300X (pic taken on 12-18-11)

Below, 2012 Intake Grate for the 2012 300X (the only change to the craft that I am aware of, 2011 to 2012 other than color / graphic change - that said, I don't see any change in the grate?)

   

Below, 2012 Intake Grate for the 2012 300X (the only change to the craft that I was told would be made of, 2011 to 2012 - but I don't see much if any change).  Call it the same...


12-10-2011:  38 hours - Reinstalled exhaust filter element.  We are experimenting with what I will call “fortification modifications.”  Modifications that could (could) result in greater reliability of the craft but not necessarily faster performance.  We are still testing so I do not want to share this information yet.  Craft ran well today and appears to be back to standard operating performance.  Oil temp is around 230 degrees.  Another 300X craft in my ride group dropped his exhaust filter element into his water-box causing a shutdown and was towed in (50 hours on that craft).  Another 300X blew a cooling line that was recently upgraded.  We suggest running the exhaust filter element, just inspect and replace it regularly.                   

11-26-2011:  36 hours - Final repairs were a new Supercharger, new water-box (gutted stock), and the belt tensioner and the belt tensioner wheel were not damaged. Upgraded all of the lines to higher end / higher pressure lines.  Installed an oil temperature gauge.  Craft is running at about 230 degrees.  Hot, very hot but I suspect designed this way to reduce fuel in oil.  Craft ran fine; it appears to be back to normal operation as I do not notice any power lag.  The craft is hard starting.  I will replace the exhaust filter element.  I suggest you run the exhaust filter element.  Just replace it every 25-30 hours of so based on inspection.         

Suggestion:  Should you ride very aggressively, you might consider changing the supercharger oil every 30 hours.  This is not in the service manual, just a suggestion.  You should expect to replace approximately 4.2 oz or 125 cc back into the Supercharger.  Make sure you only use the GM Eaton Supercharger oil, no replacement.     

As of 10/24/2011 here is the status of the repair.  Also note that we are upgrading all of the lines to high pressure lines (not shown but will).  We are also replacing the RIVA water box with a stock gutted water box.  Why spend the big money on the aftermarket box when you can gut the stock box for 120.00 and a good welder?: 


10/24/2011 Status Pic Continued: 


10/24/11 Status Pic Continued: 


10/16/11 break update:  Seized Supercharger, damaged belt tensioner, damaged pulley wheel, damage to the RIVA Water Box (Riva box is a tight fit in there).  This is the first supercharger that I am aware of to ever break on the 300X.  Still attempting to determine why oil was blown from the filters.  Stay tuned.  Again, 36 hours on the craft.

Questions and Answers from the 10/16/11 test ride:

Question:  Why do you still have the belt cover on? 

Answer:   I removed the cover from the red race craft, I was told by multiple people to keep it on to assist in keeping bilge oil off the belt to avoid slippage and to keep it dry.  Yes, it does make it more difficult to inspect.  There are multiple trains of thought here.  You should also know that I placed the belt cover  back on the red ULTRA race craft.        

Question:  The breather filters you put on that are blowing oil should not be installed due to Kawi's a poor catch can design, correct?

Answer:  Catch can design, I can't answer that one.  Regarding the filter, there are multiple 300X that I am aware of that have these breathers installed that are not blowing oil from them.  At this point it is my opinion that this is a symptom of a larger issue.   We are investigating.     

Question:  How hard do you ride this craft? 

Answer: I had to have a little laugh with this one (smiles).  Click HERE for a video 

Question: What does your catch can mod look like:

Answer: See picture (one drains back into the engine, one does not)

 

Question: Why are you wearing a different style helmet? 

Answer:  I am testing this helmet due to its lower profile and possibly (possibly...) less bucketing effect. 

10/16/11:  36 hours on craft.  Installed the R&D Cool Air Breather Kit and the R&D Override ‘Go Fast” Module in place of washer mod.  Did compression check and all came in within acceptable range per the factory.  A little oil in intercooler but not cleaned.  Oil level was about 1/3rd above the low level cold mark at cold. The engine was very clean with a light coat of fogging oil on the engine on all of the correct places.  We did not find a specific issue that was / is causing the performance issue on the last ride.  Tested craft today from Dana Point to Oceanside, a 25 mile leg each way. Conditions were moderate chop.  The craft had the feel of old initially with higher rpms and what felt like higher speeds but then quickly seemed to get sluggish once again. 

stopped and asked my riding partner for the day on an equal 300X if the craft looked as slow as it felt, he said no, that the craft looked similar to his craft.  As the ride progressed, my ULTRA 300X continued to feel “off” that was noticed by the ride partner.  We arrived at the Oceanside buoy; on the return leg the craft felt good for a few WOT runs (I had it at 9/10s throttle most of the time today) then cut out and died about four miles North of Oceanside, Ca with major smoke (from oil) spewing from the engine compartment.  Not good, this one looked like a problem.  I thank John Feeney of Offshore Robot Racing for towing me to Oceanside for a truck to drive down South and pick the Ski (and me) up. During my two hour wait for the PWCOFFSHORE.COM truck to drive down to Oceanside from Dana Point by Dana Point Jet Ski’s Aaron Cress, I took a few pictures of the engine compartment (below).  Lots of oil spewed from the breathers.  Initial reports from the technician is a bad belt tensioner wheel, bad tensioner, damaged belt, possibly a damaged Riva Water box (a tight fit in the engine compartment),  we have yet to determine what is driving all of the oil that was sprayed from the intercooler breather filters.  The craft will start but does not want to stay running; the belt tensioner wheel gets very hot very quickly when the craft starts.  I am not sure what the fuzzy material is below, I suspect it is part of the belt.  Stay tuned for the official report.       

Below, note the "fuzzy" material by the catch can, and elsewhere.

 Below, note the oil by the bilge - 10/16/11 ride.           



Above, note the spray pattern of oil from the filters - from 10/16/11 ride 


Above, Mark Gerner - just dropped off via tow in Oceanside - lots of "waiting for tow downtime" in Oceanside, Ca. USA from the 10/16/11 ride.

This just in on 10/11/2011: Picture of the new color scheme for the 2012 ULTRA 300X


9/28/2011:  A few items showed up from R&D today.  I will be testing all of this for a flat water setup for the Mark Hahn 300 Mile Race (should there be flat water):

R&D Ride Plate for 300X:  


R&D Speed-Up Module below:


Deep Fuel Pickup / no need to test, will install: 


R&D Cool Air:


9/28/2011:  I received a number of questions on the last post; I thought it might be beneficial to answer for all:

Question:  Were you running the deep fuel pickup at the 9/24/11 race you discuss below?  

Answer:  No

Question:  Does 100% throttle opening (while engine is off) result in a no start situation when you attempt to start (press green start button) while the throttle is full?
Answer:  Yes, that is correct; it puts the craft into a clearing engine mode.  And, it was my error on the 9/24/2011’ Lemans Start. You are correct, and it was racer (my) error. Lesson learned, ensure to focus on starting then quickly throttle to full.

Question:  Does your craft hard start?
Answer:  My craft does hard start if not aggressively burped prior to shut down (Riva Box, and no exhaust filter element)

Question:  Based on the 9/24/11 post, will you be able to do five laps at the Mark Hahn 300?
Answer:  Fuel consumption for five laps assuming a 10 mile course at the Hahn will require TIGHT navigation and a completely full stock tank with no margin for error, the craft was sputtering in turns on 9/24/11 and the entire last lap of this course (and as you read, completely cut out twice, once in a turn and once coming out of a turn).

Question:  I'd like to see an analysis of your oil after 10 hours, does it smell like gas? Also, can you define your procedure for "aggressive burping"?
Answer:  My oil has fuel smell - but, most boosted engines have some blow by and many debate that a fuel smell (depending on potency) can be normal. This was debated years ago re the 250X... lots of positions on this one. I suggest aggressive riders changing the oil on this craft at no more than 10 hours (racers - frequently).   "Aggressive burping" is when you tap the throttle aggressively to clear as much water as possible out of the box / system prior to immediately shutting the craft down - this is to avoid water / vapor to creep forward back to plugs causing hard start (and in some cases possible corrosion). Kawasaki placed the exhaust filter element in the system to avoid hard starts (new part to/for the 300X). Some (me...) have removed the exhaust filter element with the RIVA box (not formally required with the RIVA box that I am aware of, but I did it...)... we have found that aggressive burping is recommended to avoid the above.  Also, while at idle without the filter element and with the RIVA box on the 250x 260x, the craft allowed water / vapor back up into the system after only a few seconds at idle (on my ULTRA 260, not saying all craft, it happened on my craft), so if you don't have the filter element in, consider keeping her above 2000 rpms as much as possible and ensure to aggressively burp the throttle. We did this test on a heavily modified 260X.

Question:  I see you advise changing the oil every 10 hrs on the 300 if you ride it aggressively.  Is it because of gas mixing with the oil, or is it because of oil consumption? 

Answer:  I am not burning oil anymore (If I am, it is very minor as I am not noticing it.  The craft is now completely broken in).  Aggressive riding denotes VERY aggressive riding i.e. WOT in the ocean / chop conditions for extended periods of time / hour at a time.  Yes, I suggest you do the oil changes at 10 hours due to possible blow by due to boost.  Blow by that is standard to heavily boosted engines.  

Question:  How many hours do you have on your craft so far?
Answer:  34 Hours (as of 9/24/2011)

Question:  The plugs really look like you are running very lean.  Are you checking AFR?
Answer:  No, the craft is stock and I do not check the AFR

Question:  How many hours since the last time you had to clean out the intercooler? 
Answer:  Approximately 8 hours ago.  Note we see that there is oil in the intercooler, how much is yet to be determined, have not ripped it apart yet, only scoped it.

Question:  What role did heat play in robbing performance on 9/24/11?
Answer:  Significant heat and humidity inhibits intake charge of oxygen/density.  What other issues the craft was experiencing on that day inhibiting performance is unknown right now.  Stay tuned.    

9/24/2011: Craft now has 34 hours on it:  Raced the Salt Springs Reservoir “Enduro” / Super-course Race outside of Sacramento, Ca USA  consisting of two 50 mile races and a third two lap points race.  Flat, fresh water - something I don’t frequently engage in.  In this specific case it is about supporting our sport and supporting the promoter, Mr. Jim Lambert of DJSA  http://www.diablojsa.com/index.html  - a great guy and fantastic racer advocate.  BTW, I encourage all of you to support your local and not so local offshore and endurance promoters, there is something to be said for racer count on race day for a promoter and we need to help them stay healthy.  Support them….  This race was also good boat setup prep for the Mark Hahn 300 Mile race coming up in February.  Should you have read the last few reviews, you will note that I stated that the craft felt sluggish, it was again today even with new oil and brand new spark plugs.  The weather was hot today (just under 100 degrees) and there was a little elevation.  The craft ranged between 7400 and 7750 rpms, the vast majority of the time it fluctuated around 7500 to 7550 (this is significantly below acceptable thresholds).  Very flat water so I had the opportunity to just watch the rpms for extended periods of WOT during straight lines.  The rpms actually slowed down subtly as the race proceeded (even with fuel weight burn off).  The craft underperformed.  Craft appeared to slow down as the craft reached operating temperature, it felt like heat soak due to the hot weather.  I am also told that this reservoir has high algae content, not sure what impact that had. That said, to establish a baseline there was another stock ULTRA 300X there (almost brand new) with the only variable / difference between his craft and my craft being an R&D Intake Grate on the other craft (BTW, a good decision for flat lake water that stays flat). That craft was clearly faster than this craft, validating a performance issue.  Fuel Consumption - The course was 51.6 miles long and both ULTRA 300X’s cut out on the last lap, and sputtered in corners.  They both completely cut out (mine twice) but still finished.  Granted it was a WOT race for the entire 51.6 miles. I literally never backed off the throttle due to the very flat conditions.  That said, that (stock tank full at WOT for 51.6 miles) appears to be extremely aggressive fuel consumption.  We were all a little perplexed at the fuel situation.  It looks like five laps for each pit for the Mark Hahn 300 mile race, assuming tight navigation, there will be very little room for error with that fuel consumption.  Regarding the Lemans Starts i.e. you are behind the craft, the green flag presents, you jump on the craft, insert the lanyard, racer presses the green start button and throttle off.  The craft did not start two of the three races and this craft was the last one out of the hole in two of the three starts, it just sat there turning over. I had the throttle completely pegged prior to pressing the green start button; this may have been part of the issue but I have suspicions around the hard starting issue.  The craft is in fact hard starting without the exhaust filter element if I don’t aggressively burp the throttle every time prior to shutting her down.  And yes, this is with the RIVA Water Box.  This is my first time taking this craft in to a super course like course with multiple turns - this craft turns like it is on rails.  Once again, this appears to be the best all around craft on the market today; aggressive offshore craft but also turns on a dime.   After we arrived back in Orange County, I took the craft to Aaron Cress for a complete review, this will include compression check etc., and we found a small amount of oil in the intercooler (again).  Will keep you apprised                               

9/17/2011 Dana Point, Ca to Oceanside and back 50 mile offshore ride:  Sea state was flat with sections of small confused chop, nothing significant.  Once again the craft felt a bit sluggish. Returned to do maintenance with Aaron Cress of Dana Point Jet Ski.  Changed engine oil and filter, replaced with more 10W40 full synthetic oil.  We noted the different size of the two Kawasaki oil filters - we speculate that the new, shorter oil filter is for ease of changing for the tight space by the oil filter on the 300X.    


9/17/11 Continued: We removed and replaced the spark plugs.  Plugs came out very easily (I am not running the exhaust filter element with the RIVA Water Box).  Yes, we had anti-seize on the old plugs and on the new ones that went in.  The old plugs looked like they had been running lean.  


9/17/11 Continued:  We noticed that the reverse bucket line was rubbing on the bottom of the supercharger pulley belt, chipping the line resulting in small chips from the reverse bucket line housing in the bilge.  We used a tie-tie to connect the bucket line to the steering line - not tight, just enough to inhibit rubbing on the moving supercharger belt.  We also noticed a large bolt for the supercharger had almost completed backed out (see picture below).  We tightened it back up.  It is the bolt just forward of the belt tensioner area.  Check those bolts.

9/17/2011 Continued:  Net take away - it you ride hard (WOT almost all the time), change your oil frequently.  I suggest no more than 10 hours on synthetic oil for aggressive WOT 300X riders.  These are heavily boosted engines and there could and probably will be some blow by.  New oil can only help.    

9/3/2011: Dana Point to Huntington Beach and back ride.  Rough water, good training but I ran the craft rather gently (relatively speaking) to keep her in one piece.  The craft was coming unhooked frequently due to sea state so I backed off to preserve the belt and supercharger.  Trimmed all the way up in large following seas resulted in a better nose up ride to counter the following seas’ pushing the bow into the next wave.  I noticed a few hard starts.  Got back and noticed that one of the lines going to the blow off valve had broken.  See picture below.  I cut off the broken part of the line and reconnected it.  Small problem and easy fix.  Note that I noticed a fairly significant amount of brownish / oily film along the line.  I cleaned it and put it back together.        

8/27/2011:  Dana Point to Oceanside and back ride.  I had fogged the supercharger rather aggressively on the previous ride.  I felt the craft being sluggish for the first 25 miles; the craft woke up at about mile 26. I speculate I had too much fogging oil in the system.  The craft consumed more fuel than usual today.  Not completely sure why.  Overall the craft performed well today. 

The 300X is generating a great deal of discussion regarding its unique ride characteristics relative to the  250/260X Platforms. Specifically, that the 300X is more of a handful to ride  due to a playful / hunting nose.  I agree with this assessment.  Although the craft is significantly more stable than most craft, it is my opinion that the 300X is not “as easy” to ride as the 250/260X hull. We believe this is a result of the 300X’s massive pump, very aggressive top loader intake grate and huge torque that makes the craft follow the water (aggressively stay hooked up) more aggressively than the 250/260X. When the craft comes out of the water and reengages, the recovery time is so quick and aggressive that it could be perceived as the bow “snapping back” in line very quickly.  One person’s handful to ride is another’s love of the craft’s enormous hookup that is a more aggressive ride and greater average speed.  If you are a 250/260X rider and you buy the 300X, prepare for a very different and more aggressive ride with the 300X.          

7/16/2011 2011 Long Beach to Catalina and Back Offshore National Championship race (The big one). Craft ran fine on flat conditions until the very end of the 60 mile race with only a few miles to go.  The muffler body water outlet hose clamp came undone and sprayed water into the engine compartment resulting in a great deal of water on the super charger belt.  This resulted in the Supercharger pulley wheel spinning without belt traction and no more than 5 mph.  Resulted in a DNF in the race (towed in).    Video of / and the sound of the failure coming via my gopro.  Stay tuned  

Helicopter video of the craft just outside of the Queens Gate break-wall just before the craft went down and out of contention, CLICK HERE FOR THE HELICOPTER VIDEO  

Here is a picture of where the hose's clamp was rubbing on the bottom of the back storage compartment (this is a picture of the tray inverted), ultimately rubbing on the hose clamp knocking it loose and off.  Note that we thought we had the clamp at the correct angle(not facing up) and it may have shifted - we don't know.  Make sure your clamp is not rubbing on the bottom of the tray or you will lose the hose.    

As the picture shows the underside of the rear tray was getting rubbed and hit by the protruding worm gear section of the clamp.   Then after so much rubbing and hitting the clamp moved and came off.  We believe that if the clamp was positioned & tightened correctly, the failure would probably not have happened.  We are told that the in stock form, this clamp gets positioned in a way that the worm gear section is positioned downward to avoid such contact. 


Video from the start of the race from the back of the ski - exit the break wall into the Pacific at about minute 2 and 50 seconds:  http://vimeo.com/26584653

** Video of the boat failing here: http://vimeo.com/26660759   

Below Mark Gerner (this craft) at the July 17 2011 Long Beach to Catalina, at turn-boat off of Catalina Island - below

7/10/2011. Craft ran fine. Changed oil again at 24 hours

Trim issue we just about ripped the craft apart looking for what the issue was.   It turned out to be a loose plug in the back of the ECU - just needed to pushed in and hear the audible “click” to be reinserted.  Make sure that all of your connections are tight.   

7/2/2011:  Long Beach to Catalina and back training run. The trim broke.  I do not know if it was / is a loose plug on the ECU or the trim’s motor let go.  It will be inspected on Tuesday.  Craft’s engine performed well.  There is now 24 hours on the craft. 

6/26/2011:  Long Beach to Catalina and back training run with a test run of the R&D Intake Grate.  The grate makes the craft more predictable, the front end feels lighter and the craft is more forgiving than running the 300X with its aggressive top loader. My GPS was having issues but the craft felt a bit faster on flat water.  I did notice less hookup in the rougher sections of the course but more of a smoother potentially faster run on the flatter segments of the course (will confirm speed numbers later).  If you are running the 300X on lakes, this is definitely a grate to test.  More to follow here regarding the grate and its performance.  Overall the craft’s engine performed flawlessly today.  I like the Riva box, craft feels a little snappier on the low end. The Riva 300X Water-Box is definitely louder than the Riva box for the 250X and 260X.        

6/25/2011:  Mods implemented today with the intent to fortify the craft. Riva Water-Box installed. We removed (or, did not replace in our case) the exhaust filter element.  I am hearing (but can’t 100 percent confirm) that due to the Riva box’s fewer baffles, there is less back pressure which results in less risk associated with removing the exhaust filter element.  The filter element was implemented by Kawasaki to reduce the likelihood of hard starts due to water / moister / water vapor making its way back up through the system and causing hard starts and potentially corrosion or stuck plugs.  I am told not to remove the filter element if you are running the 300X stock water box - this feedback comes from techs and is speculation.  We shall see if there is an issue with hard starts etc.  Note that I am making an effort to not idle and keep the craft above 2300 rpms at all times.  I am also burping the throttle just prior to turning the craft off.  After maintenance flushing, I am doing all I can to clear the water box of as much water as possible.  I also installed a wet-pump kit with R&D cone to fortify the pump.   My tech and I inspected the pump prior to doing the mod and the stock pump looked great after 23 hours.  Kawasaki appears to have made significant progress with the stock pump.  We also installed an aftermarket bilge pump for safety. Installed the R&D Intake Grate for a test run tomorrow. 

6/15/2011:  UPDATE - appears that the Exhaust Filter let loose and caused a blockage creating heat that caused the hole.  Easy fix, this is good news.

6/12/2011:  Only adding an additional 3 gallons of fuel in the extra tank for Long Beach to Catalina and Back “LB2CAT” training runs. Today the craft malfunctioned at a total of 21 hours on the craft.  The hose connecting the water box to the metal exit exhaust point blew a hole in it filling the engine compartment with exhaust / fumes and choking the engine 11 miles offshore.  I was towed back to Long Beach Harbor.  Craft ran fine on the hose.  I don’t know if the hole in the hose is a result of systemic heat issue or just cheap hose.  Craft was only being run at 8/10ths to 9/10s throttle to preserve the engine.  Will let you know what we find out.   

6/5/11:  Training run from Long Beach to Catalina and Back. Craft performed beautifully. Getting better with managing trim and understanding the hunting nature of the bow.  Many say that the hunty bow is a result of the very aggressive stock top loader following the water resulting in the bow feeling nervous and twitchy, a result of enormous hookup.   Could be, we are still evaluating.  I burned approximately 21 gallons of fuel from Long Beach to Catalina and back at 9/10's throttle.

If you are running the speedo override modification, we are hearing that you can expect about approximately 72 mph (give or take) and fuel consumption of 2.7 miles per gallon at sustained WOT.   

R&D Intake grate just hit the street.  I picked one up and lent it to a friend to try.  He loved it.  After riding the craft in moderate chop, he stated that the R&D grate makes the craft “more predictable” and “more like my 260x in terms of handling.”  What we don’t know is how much (if any) this less aggressive top loader might steal hookup.  Testing to continue.  “I loved this grate” said the friend.  I have yet to ride it with the grate so we shall see.   

May 22, 2011 - Dana Point to Oceanside and Back Race: New plugs placed in the craft (2nd set).  Came in second overall behind Craig Warner.  Rough conditions, 3 - 5 footers with a few segments of wall water toward the end of the course...  Technical course.  Craft performed flawlessly.  Put an additional three gallons of fuel in the extra tank for a buffer - did not need it. I am trimming up one when I put extra fuel in the bow until the nose feels light then I go to level (zero) trim. Watch video, craft is really spinning some significant RMPs when it comes unhooked.  Causes me a little concern.  Watch the video of the start of the race.  Video click here:  http://vimeo.com/24145360


May 7, 2011 Training Run from Dana Point, 

Ca to Oceanside and Back - 54.8 miles round trip

I burned 20.5 gallons of fuel over 54.8 miles, I was

 at WOT approximately 85% of the time.  The craft performed well in moderate chop.  The oil dip stick popped off due to what I assume was crank case pressure (?) and blew approximately one quart of oil throughout the engine compartment.  Changed oil, transitioned to Full Synthetic Oil at 15 hours (Mobile1 Racing 4T).         

Dana Point to Oceanside and Back Training Ride: 4-30-2011 - 55 miles

There is now a total of 14 hours on the 

engine.  Conditions were flat until just before Oceanside and moderately rough for the duration to the Dana Point to Oceanside TCO turn point (approximately 3.5 miles south of the Oceanside Pier).  I consumed 20.6 gallons of fuel at WOT for 55 miles (round trip).  The craft consumed less than one quarter of a quart of oil throughout the day.  The rings appear to be seating as this amount of oil consumption is down.  Remember to check the oil prior to every ride and add oil as appropriate (this is critical).  Also, it is CRITICAL that you follow the correct breakin procedure for the 300X, the more I am learning the more critical this becomes.  I continue to educate myself on trim utilization - proper utilization of trim with this craft will be necessary to maximize its potential.  With regard to ride characteristics, I felt like one below level on the trim is the optimal setting for two to three foot chop.  The craft tends to have so much hookup that if follows the rolling swells i.e. does not skip across and lose lookup - I like this for the Ocean.  Lake / glass water riders might want to consider a less aggressive intake grates.  Overall, the craft performed flawlessly today.  I remain very impressed with this craft for offshore.  I ordered an aftermarket bilge pump for install and I will be purchasing an aftermarket exhaust.  As for now, my plan remains to do no modifications to the engine and keep it stock (minus exhaust of course).  Are you remembering to fog the supercharger after every ride?  Kawasaki has made it easy on the model; make sure you do so after every ride.            

April 17, 2011

Video from the ride from another rider in our group - first craft you see off to the left is this craft.  Suggest you mute if at work and or if you are less than 18 years of age - I noticed a few “bad” words in the song over the video:    http://vimeo.com/22564799

Ride from Dana Point, Ca to Oceanside, Ca and Back.  Relatively rough water - 4.5 feet at 6 seconds.  Craft ran great for this first 10 minutes but then lost RPM, it appeared to fowl a plug (?).  I backed off the throttle and idled for approximately two minutes.  Back on the throttle and the craft was running at standard RMP again.  Unaware of what the problem could have been.  Potentially a little water ingestion or potentially over fogged the supercharge on the last ride.  One of the riders 2007 250X went down so we turned back to escort the rider back to Dana Point.  Escorted back and then returned to the ride.  The rougher water broke the hood latch on the 300X.  Specifically the metal male piece that goes into the circular hole piece on the bottom of the hood came off.  We suspect the rough water loosened it up.  Bolts and screws went into the tray and by the seat.  Back to Dana Point, Aaron Cress fixed and also applied red lock tight to ensure it did not happen again.  The craft appears to chine walk more than the 250X / 260X hull in the rough (left to ride motion) but compensates with a huge pump / intake that lends to hookup. 

Riva just came out with the water box - check it out

March 27, 2011

(update - the ULTRA 300X burned 20.5 gallons of fuel at the below race)

If you would have told me after the first five miles of the 56 mile Dana Point to Avalon and back offshore race that I was going to come in second overall, I’d tell you not to bet your next paycheck on it.  Why?  Still not knowing the range of this craft at wide open throttle (WOT) but knowing it drinks fuel at WOT like a sailor on leave after six months at sea, one of our techs and I made a judgment call the night before the event to fill the extra 9.3 gallon fuel tank (approx 6 pounds per gallon) up to the rim so IF it was a flat WOT race day and a wide open throttle run for 56 miles, that I would have sufficient fuel with some good margin for error.  That means we had a total of 31.3 gallons of fuel on the craft.  With 55 pounds of fuel in the bow at the start of the race and (there is nowhere else to put the extra tank in that craft), my safety gear in the tray of the craft I felt like I was wrestling with a large angry animal that I was attempting to tame in the rough water (3-5 foot steep wall-swells and confused chop).  The nose wanted to hunt a little for an ULTRA, nose drop rather aggressively (almost violently due to sea state) and had less ability to skim across the top of the rough water underneath.  I also noticed that I was losing the pump more than usual; we speculate it is because the nose was so heavy it took that craft off its optimal / correct attitude of attack inhibiting the pump as it negotiated through the water.  All of this is speculation.  With the steep walls and less hookup than usual, I noticed the supercharger starting to scream each time the pump disengaged which was happening more than I had noticed on the previous ride with 7 gallons in the front tank.  Losing the pump?  Trim down right?  So, I then trimmed the nose down to one below level thinking that might assist and that only exacerbated the problem. That was an incorrect move.  Should have trimmed the nose up, counterintuitive in that sea state given I was losing the pump.  After burning off a lot of the fuel in the front tank, the craft started to behave in a more predictable manner in that sea state.  Bottom line, I think it was rider error and the craft can handle the weight more effectively if trimmed properly.  The lesson learned there was that even if the water is really big; trim up a little when you have the extra fuel tank full with over 9 gallons.  If it’s relatively flat water this whole trim extra full tank issue will be less of an issue.  We will be faced with a dilemma with the fuel consumption of the 300X on WOT runs.  There appears to be a big difference in fuel consumption at WOT vs. even 8/10ths throttle.  We will need the fuel for wide open throttle endurance runs for long distances (over 55 miles) but will need to manage trim effectively to offset the weight.  We had three bars remaining at the end of the race (not a total WOT race by any means, she’s thirsty). We will let you know how much fuel we replace when we do so.  We need the extra fuel but need to adjust for the weight, I am confident much of this can be done with correct trim, I suspect it will and ride time on this craft with the large tank in the nose will teach us a great deal.  We will also be able to better understand true mpg of this craft as seat time progresses.    The extra fuel tank stayed in place rock solid with the pounding of the rough water.  It worked and if there was a day to test its strength, that day would be it.  The TBM steering stayed rock solid with all of the lock tight from the previous day.  The craft performed well, there was no problem.  The only issue I had was the craft cutting out completely twice throughout the race – I am confident that this was due to me getting pounded around in the rough and inadvertently hitting the red off button.  I continue to receive questions regarding stock or no stock.  The entire engine, ECU, prop, sponsons, intake and ride plate remain 100% stock.     

March 26, 2011:

Extra tank and TBM Steering test ride.  The TBM steering came loose in the rough water after only 30 minutes of riding.   We returned to the dock and red lock tighted that upper piece that came loose.    That night we proactively disassembled the entire system and red lock tighted just about everything in the TBM steering in preparation for the following day’s offshore race.   Noticing the nose to be heavy with the 7 gallons of fuel in the 9.3 gallon tank.  Extra weight appears manageable.      

March 20, 2011: 

HYDRO-TURF non skid seat covers installed


March 19, 2011:

Implemented a steering upgrade from stock to the TBM Base and Long Bars, Star Bars with ODI Grips.  Same setup purchased for the 250/60X.  I see the steering as the weakest link on the 300X (although time will tell).  I suggest offshore racers and riders upgrade the steering on the 300X.  We installed a custom made aluminum gas tank in the bow / front storage compartment that will offer an additional nine gallons of fuel capacity.  DISCLAIMER:  There was no warranty on the tank and that we purchased and we do not know if this design is the "correct"  safe or safest design or if the placement of the tank is the safest or "correct" location - furthermore we are not making any recommendations regarding what fuel tank design will work nor are we recommending you follow through with purchasing a fuel tank for your craft.  We could be wrong and you should take and act on anything you read here at your own risk.  Speak with a qualified professional prior to designing, purchasing and or installing a fuel tank. Make sure to look at the pictures link. Please note that the front storage tray still fits in over the tank to avoid moisture.   The 300X consumes more fuel than the 250/260X, range may be an issue with this craft.  The additional tank could add a added safety component in the ocean to ensure it is less likely you run of of fuel in the ocean and also increase the range of the craft for endurance racing.  If you consider augmenting fuel capacity, ensure the tank is manufactured only by a professional and installed only by a professional.  Do not take short cuts on fuel tanks or you will never make it through race technical inspection and you could compromise your own safety.  They are expensive and if you decide to go that direction, they are worth the extra money for quality.  If you find one cheap then question it.  Safety is always the priority and is always first.  We Installed HYDRO-TURF lifter wedges, it is my opinion that they are a necessity for offshore riding and racing.  Note, I am receiving multiple emails and calls asking me what I have done to upgrade the engine on the 300X.  I have done nothing and don’t plan to for now.                

March 13, 2011 Ride:

56 miles total today, 27.4 miles out to sea and 27.5 back.  I am finding that the optimum trim level is at the default trim position in mild chop (level trim on the screen).  More trim tends to inhibit hookup.  Can feel the massive intake grate keeping the craft glued to the water.  This is a very aggressive intake grate.  Craft is burning a little oil during break-in – I have added a full quart (during 7 hours of break-in).  Check your oil frequently, especially during break-in.  This craft burns more fuel than the ULTRA 250X  / 260X (ECO Mode not used yet).   Changed oil and oil filter at 7 hours today.         

March 12, 2011 Ride

RPM’s range from 7700 to 7900 rpm.  68 degrees, location Dana Point Ca (Ocean).  Top speed was 67.5 (see picture of gps).  No wake mode:  Press and hold the blue set button and you will automatically go to the 5 mph no wake mode – press the button and listen for the beeps.  As soon as you touch the throttle it automatically turns off.  Worked well.  Still noticing a little chine in cross chop – nothing significant but noticeable.  Steering got so loose it felt broken – took the craft to my technician and he dismantled the steering and tightened it up.  It was not broken, just very loose.  The  steering should be upgraded if you run offshore in my opinion. 

Review from March 6, 2011 Ride

Ride from Dana Point, Ca to Oceanside and Back, approximately 47 miles.  The Kawasaki ULTRA 300X  was clearly the superior craft on the water today, I opened the craft up at the end of the leg and she left all other craft behind.  After today’s ride it is my opinion that the Kawasaki ULTRA 300X is the best performing offshore Personal Watercraft ever produced.  The raw power of this stock watercraft is extremely impressive.  I am very pleased with the trim system, I was able to manipulate the trim while underway to adjust to the varying sea state I was encountering.  Trimmed down, the nose stays glued to the water, I was very impressed.  When trimmed all the way up the nose gets a little lighter but not so much that it wants to float.  Trim response is fast and the instrument panel is large enough that I could see and adjust the trim setting while at full throttle.  I was able to adjust the trim on the fly while underway at full throttle - this is a competitive advantage relative to craft without trim.  I found the trim response to be fast.  Recovery time (reengagement of the pump and back to speed after coming off of a swell, getting air, losing the pump, coming back into the water and reengaging the pump) is extremely strong and very impressive supporting increased average speed times offshore.  You will notice from the pictures that this craft wants to stay level even when it comes out of the water i.e. the nose does not want to float, this is very good for offshore and plays a role in the aggressive recovery time.  This craft turns like a much smaller, lighter craft, the rider can feel the hull
change.  I detected what felt like a very slight chine walk during a cross chop segment of the course - not sure yet - will confirm in later rides.  
Tommy K took the craft for a quick spin, he said “you can feel the hull difference, the ride is different” referring to the easier left to right / right to left movement that appears to be a hull change implemented to allow this craft to turn more aggressively.  Iron-Mike took the 300X for a quick demo off the coast of the nuclear power plant, his immediate feedback was “the thrust and torque is amazing.”    

RMP and top speeds coming on the next ride.               

March 5, 2011 Ride

First time taking the craft to wide open throttle periods of operation.  If you thought the ULTRA’s rough water prowess could not be improved upon, you were wrong.  The combination of trim control, the massive pump and aggressive intake grate combined with the raw power of the Kawasaki 300X makes this craft an animal for offshore riding and racing.  There is hookup and more hookup, the pump stays engaged better than any craft I have ever ridden.  Out of the hole and mid range the 300X pulls very aggressively.  Acceleration is smooth and the fly by wire throttle control is fluid and responsive.  This craft just plain pulls hard up to approximately 68 ish mph and instantly stops gaining speed.  This craft feels like it has substantial power that is not being utilized due to the governor.  It has a lot more in it.   The governor works and it almost feels like the craft reaches about 67 to 68 mph and then stops gaining speed giving you the sensation of your body’s momentum going forward with the craft feeling like its slowing down.  We encountered white caps on the return leg, I trimmed the ULTRA down and hammered through them almost effortlessly.  Again, this craft will differentiate itself with higher average speeds as a result of the incredible hookup and Dodge Viper like power.  The ride is different than the 250X and 260X, one can feel the different hull, it leans much more easily that the older ULTRAs, not a little easier, a lot easier…

Sean Conner of PWCOFFSHORE.COM Racing traveled from Reno Nevada to Orange County Ca (8 hours) to assist Mark Gerner with the break-in process and to get a feel for the 300x’s ride.  “This is simply awesome” he stated.  “It just keeps pulling hard, the thrust is amazing and it just hammers through the chop” Conner stated.   Picture of Sean Conner to the Right during one of first wide open throttle runs.                       

March 4, 2011 Evening ride on March 4 to start the break-in process of the craft             

 

1.  The craft sounds very different from the 250/260X

2.  Intent of ride is to start the break-in process (this is my process, not necessarily the correct process).

3.  Allowed craft to run at idle for ten minutes in the harbor under load in the water

4.  Shut the craft down, allowed to cool

5.  Run the craft at 2000 rpm for 10 minutes, then shut it down allow the craft to cool

6.  Take the craft to run at varied rpm not to exceed 4000 rpm for 10 minutes.  Shut it down allow to cool

7.  Take the craft out in the ocean and take to varying gentle speeds up to 2/3rd throttle, all done gently. Varying throttle up and down RPM not to exceed 2/3rds throttle.

8.  A little over one hour on the craft

9.  The craft had very sensitive throttle control, different than the older ULTRAs, sensitive and responsive.

10. TONS of torque on this craft

11. Turns and leans very differently than the previous version ULTRAs.  This is noted as a primary   difference very quickly; this craft wants to turn aggressively. 

12.  Can feel the aggressive top loader keeping the craft glued to the water

13.  Trim is fast i.e. moves up and down quickly, I like it

14.  Cruise control does not appear to be intuitive, didn’t work for me at low speeds although I did not read that part of the owner’s manual and I suspect it was user error.

15.  This thing wants to run, takes a great deal of discipline to not exceed 2/3rd throttle  

16.  Out of the water

17.  Like the new flushing ports, one for flushing the engine (with engine running) and one for flushing the IC (without engine running).  Great add by Kawasaki with the Intercooler flush – previous version, I created a separate manual flush for the IC.

18.  Love the port for lubing the Supercharger – previous version I had to place a nail hole in the large breather hose to accept the fogging oil red tube for lubricating the SC (with large hose clamp to cover it during rides to avoid water intrusion).   

The craft was picked up on February 27, 2011.  Green / Black

Initial Impression – February 27, 2011:  My initial impression of the craft was “nice fit and finish” like the green and black but do not like the bright green seat cover.  There are multiple differences between this craft and the 260X.  New sleek hood and dash panel catches your eye immediately.  My technician starts the craft, it sounds totally different than the 250/260X.   

Primary changes noted on the craft:

1.  Redesigned fiberglass reinforced hull is lighter, stronger and more maneuverable per Kawasaki

2.  300hp at 7750 rpm - HP measured in PS at the crankshaft “under controlled conditions actual performance may vary.”  Hp is up from 260 hp to 300 hp

3.  Fly by wire

4.  New Dash / Instrument panel is now larger with more functions; it is more legible and significantly better.  A huge improvement from the hard to see dash on the 250/260X. 
Handlebars are one (1) inch wider

5.  Different fuel rail

6.  Different plastic cover by the manifold

7.  Eaton Supercharge and up to 17 pounds of boost (the most significant change)  Eaton Twin Vortices Roots type supercharger with an air to water intercooler. 

Kawasaki states that the 4 lobe design will offer the rider significant performance increase over a standard roots-type unit.

“Force-feeds” the engine two liters of air with every revolution w/actable supply of high-pressure intake air at all rpm.  Planetary gearing is to increase supercharger speed by a factor  of 2 for a better response to the racer / rider. 
Delivers compressed air "continuously" vs in waves for a smoother power delivery. 

8.  Higher engine oil temperature control that appears to be designed to resolve the fuel in oil issue once and for all (GIO)

9.  More sophisticated automatic belt tensioned wheel that adjust automatically (belt issues plagued racers on the 250/260X, this should have a positive impact).

10.  Larger 160 mm pump (larger than the 260X).  Also appears to be redesigned to offer greater reliability.

11.  Aggressive Top loader Intake Grate

12.  “Eco Mode” to conserve fuel

13.  New trim control (first ever on the ULRA platform)

14.  Cruise control

15.  Weight of the craft has dropped and they are claiming a stronger reinforced hull 

16.  New reverse control lever

17.  Ride plate has a groove in it for straight line stability

18.  New flushing ports (2) on the back of the craft, one for the engine and one for the intercooler

19.   New hood that appears to have a more aggressive / stronger latch

20.  Port to allow for easy fogging / maintenance of the supercharger

 ===============================================================================

There are six ULTRA 250's and one 260X on our team and we have had exposure to and ride other ULTRA 250's. 
Yes, we ride in the ocean just about every weekend.  This appears to be the boat to own for offshore endurance racing.  We are very impressed with the craft's hull, torque and speed.  Kawi got a lot right with this craft!  

8/15/2007:  ULTRA250X Recall on fuel lineRecommendations regarding preventative maintenance on this craft:

One of our riders has over 200 hours on a stock craft in the ocean, we have learned a great deal about this craft. Here are some maitainance items to consider.
1. Suggest you replace the steering cable at 100 hours
2. We suggest you replace the pulley and the belt tensioner wheel at no more than 200 hours
3. Change the motor oil very often
4. Inspect the pump bearings every 20 hours, consider replacing the bearings and grease every 25 hours   

What's new for the ULTRA in 2008 compared o the 07?
1.  Crank case breather block offs to come stock, one water box only that is centered, different tune/ECU, exhaust exit point to be on the right vs. the left - smaller exit exhaust hole to assist in dealing with back pressure, ventilation system in front bucket to allow for water to go down into the hull vs. possibility of getting into intake. 

What is new for the ULTA260X?1. Higher compression pistons / additional ring on the piston
2.  More timing
3. Mod that increases oil temp to assist with potential of blow by issues 
4. Mods to the fuel / air ratio Speed

007 250X:
1. Top speed with our 200 pound rider: 66 (Ocean, 74 degrees/GPS)
2. Top speed of our 148 pound rider: 67.8 mph (Ocean, full tank, RPM consistently in mid 7800's)
3. Top speed varies but we are seeing 64 to 67.8, GPS not radar gun (Ocean)
5. RPM varies from 7600 to mid 7800's rpm6. 9/1/2007:  With two degree pump wedge, gained speed with 200 pd rider - now at 66 mph. 

10/4/2007:  200 Pound rider GPS at 68 mph (upgraded impellar and 2 degree wedge played major role in this) Handling 250 & 260X:
1. The hull is probably the best suited for chop and offshore riding of any craft in our group.
2. Stability is the best we've encountered for standing riders / the adjustable steering is a nice feature for offshore riding and taller riders. 
3. The craft is a little front heavy resulting in the craft cannonballing through chop (pitch combined with weight).   We do not know if a pump wedge is the answer yet - we may gain a little less than 1 mph with 1 degree but may be a less stable ride (we recommend for lake riding, but not for the ocean/offshore endurance riding). 

9/1/2007: 
1. The 2 degree pump wedge serves us well with flat water, not bad in chop. 
2 degree may be too much with rough water as it results in a lack of hook-up.  Also keep in mind that this feedback comes from our two riders that are 200 pounds.  If you are 175 or less, consider trying the 1 degree wedge first.   Note that we are not doing this test with a modified ride plate.      
3. Stock boat on stock boat (out of the box), we don't think this craft can be beaten in the ocean due to hull size, stability and horsepower. 
4. This craft leans like a motorcycle and turns well for a craft of its size.  You will be pleasantly surprised.  
5. Sponsons are remarkably stable and cut well for a craft of this size.

9/30/2007 - the 2 degree wedge is definitely giving us speed however we are losing hookup in larger chop.  We also have a 1 degree wedge ready for when the seas are up.

R&D Crankcase Ventilation System Installed (fuel oil seperation) on 1/23/2008:
1.  Not too difficult to install. 
2.  Installed two lines
3.  Will provide you with performance feedback once tested

Port and Polish:  1/10/2008
1.  Head ported and polished - 17 hours of labor
2.  Minor sound difference - deeper sound
3.  Engine feels much more efficient
4.  Possible 1/2 mile per hour gain - still testing
5.  Seeing more exhaust - likley due to more efficient exiting process. 

Sponsons 8/2/2007:
1.  Installed Worx sponons. 
2.  Most aggressive setting.  Aggressive, sticks in turns well.  Most aggressive setting is no good for higher speeds.  
3.  9/1/2007: Least aggressive settings in open ocean at WOT on a relatively smooth day, appears to assist in very small speed gain, appears to enable to bow to come up a little further off the water. If you ride exclusively offshore, stay stock with sponsons

Handlebars, 10/25/2007:
1.  Installed TBM Handlebars on one of our ULTRA250X on 10/25/2007 (Renthal Bars)
2.  Tested in the Ocean - our 6 ft. 2 in rider really likes this modification!  The TBM system is very high and conducive to stand up riders (most offshore riders are) and if you're over six (6) feet tall, this is a good modification for the stand up rider and recommended.
3.  Although tall, the TBM system is not awkward while sitting.
4.  Recommend wide handlebars for stability (we're using Renthal).
5.  Suggest you buy the full system, the forks can be rather tall that could stress the already potentially weak stock bushings - suggest you buy the base plate also.  Can get expensive, be prepared.  For our 6 ft 2 in rider, we thought it was well worth it.

Ride Plate:
1.  We are seeing performance gains from after market ride plate on the ULTRA - just shaving the plate down.   
2.  7/1/2007 - RIVA is marketing a plate (claiming 2 mph increase), R&D's plate forthcoming.  Have not tested either
3.  Hearing that the RIVA plate is good for straight line speed increase in flat water. 
4.  Hearing that the RIVA plate does a nice job of getting the bow our of the water / too much bow out not good in rough
5.  We do not have this mod however it appears to be a good mod for straight line speeds in the lake.  Recommend against putting the RIVA ride plate on with any degree wedge - too much bow out of the water.  

Two (2) Degree Pump Wedge:
1.  On order / using Kawi stock/ standard wedge for the KAWI LX version.  
2.  Saw another 200 pound rider gain approx 2 mph using the pump wedge.  Small loss of stability.  At this point, we don't recommend 2 full degrees for smaller/lighter riders.  Too much bow out of the water.  Test for yourself for comfort level. 
3.  9/1/2007:  Installed 2 degree wedge, 200 pound rider likes it for mild chop or smooth water.  Speed increase.  Have to walk forward in tray if you encounter rough.
4.  9/28/2007 - team did a fairly smooth (2 foot chop with occasional 3 to 4 footer) 70 mile ocean run today - 2 degree wedge did OK with speed gain with 200 pound rider.  Little loss of hookup.    
5.  10/4/2007 - chop encountered with 2 degree wedge resulted in a little too much air.  One (1) Degree Pump Wedge

1/12/2008: 
1.  Downgrading to 1 degree wedge 
2.  Getting too much air in rough water, downgraded to 1 degree

Intake Grate:
1.  Installed R&D intake on one of our ULTRA250's - still testing.
2.  8/5/2007 - R&D intake grate very good in chop (recommended for chop).   
3.  Fairly smooth water - stay stock. 

Fuel:
1.  The craft only takes 91 octane (there was some confusion around this).  91 only!! 
2.  We are noticing considerable fuel consumption. 
3.  Full throttle (WOT) from Long Beach to Catalina (28 miles takes 11.4 gallons / 91 octane at WOT).  250hp is not cheap, the ponies are thirsty! 
4.  The fuel warning alarm sounds at approximately 7 gallons remaining.  
5.  The bottom line is this craft is quick, fast and stable and at well over 900 pounds dry, drinks the fuel at WOT. 
6.  Note:  We appear to be burning more fuel in one hour at WOT than the owner's manual states (take our open ocean riding into consideration, however).       
7.  We believe you have access to approximately 20.6 gallons of fuel without the R&D fuel pickup valve
8.  We believe you have access to approximately 22 gallons of fuel with the R&D fuel pickup valve.
9.  HERE IS WHAT YOU ALL HAVE BEEN ASKING - THE ULTRA250X WILL CONSUME 21.48 GALLONS OF FUEL FROM LONG BEACH TO CATALINA AND BACK AT FULL THROTTLE the entire way.  R&D fuel intake used.  This means you must top off fuel at an angle on the ramp prior to making the trip.      

Fuel Smell In Oil with the 250X:
1.  Yes, we still smell fuel in the oil. We are wondering if the rings are taking longer to seal than most craft or if its just a byproduct of a supercharged engine.  Probably the latter but we will see.  Leak down test anyone? 
2.  As of July of 2007, we are still smelling fuel in the oil.
3.  We are still changing the oil frequently due to fuel in oil, approximately every 8 - 10 hours.
4.  We are now changing it every 5 hours, yes every five hours.  There is a fuel in oil issue we are encountering in two of our ULTRA's.
5.  As of 9/1/2007, our approach is to change the oil as soon as we smell fuel in the oil.  
6.  Multiple oil changes - we are changing as soon as we smell fuel in the oil.      

Engine Oil with 250X:
1.  We started our running Synthetic Blend 10/40 and are changing the oil about every 10 hours. 
2.  The oil has a fuel like smell to it.  Remember, we are running these craft at full or close to full throttle for 60 miles at a time.  We are transitioning to Amsoil full synthetic shortly.  Note that we are seeing the oil get black at about 7 hours, not entirely sure what is causing this high carbon removal so quickly into the oil's life.     
3.  May 15, 2007: Upgraded one of our ULTRA's to Amsoil Marine full synthetic 10W40 at 29 hours.  Will let you know if we see a performance increase. 
4.  July 2, 2007: Another oil change at 37 hours (that's five oil changes).  Amsoil full synthetic 10/40.
5.  We recommend full synthetic for the 250X.
6.  Another oil change at 8/5/2007
7.  Another oil change at 8/28/2007
8.  Another oil change at 9/3/2007 (all of these oil changes are on the same craft).
9.  Oil change on 9/8/2007
10.  Oil change on 9/18/2007
11.  Oil change on 9/30/2007  
12.  Oil change on 10/27/2007 (60 hours)I AM NO LONGER LISTING EVERY DATE - I CHANGE THE OIL AFTER ALMOST EVERY RIDE DUE TO BLOW-BY.Installed R&D Crankcase Ventilation System in Jan of 08 - will let you know impact.
13.  R&D Crankcase ventilation works well, less fuel in oil  Still smell fuel in oil after some hard rides.  Still change oil regularly but the system anables you to get more out of your oil, i.e. you don't have to change it as much.  Smell your oil dip stick, if you have the heavy smell of fuel - we suggest you change your oil. Better yet watch for rising oil levels. 

Oil Level with 250X:
1.  After changing your oil, you should extract 4 to 4.5 quarts out.  If you extract more, you are overfilling and robbing performance from your engine - this is a performance tip.   Note:  Remember to adjust the tongue so that your craft is oriented down when extracting oil.  When checking the oil, ensure the engine is level by using and small level placed on the valve covers and adjusting the trailer tongue until your engine is level.  
2.  The full level is in the middle between the 2 dots when hot and at the bottom dot when cold. 
3.  If you fill it to the top dot, you are a half quart high and impacting performance.  
4.  If overfilled, it is possible that oil can get into the inter cooler resulting in lost efficiency and less that 65 mph speeds. 
5.  We are hearing that to fix the problem, you must pull the inter cooler and dump the oil out of the SC and do your best to get it clean. 
6.  Kawasaki has purposely engineered the craft to allow a little oil to go from the catch can into the air box to lube the blower and coat the fins inside the inter cooler, ultimately slowing corrosion (this is a good thing for those of us who ride offshore). 
7.  Do not overfill.  When the oil is overfilled, oil can get into the air box and gets trapped in the inter cooler. This is caused by excess windage from the crank when overfilled. The excess windage can cause power loss.  
8.  Excess oil in the inter cooler reduces the efficiency of the IC resulting in a loss of power.
9.  We are being told that you can't place the little filter on the top of the oil catch can.  The top of the catch can must  return back to the intake side of the Supercharger.  
10: 5/6/2007:  Lower oil levels (per above) appears to be assisting performance. 
11.  Do not use after market oil filters on the ULTRA, only use Kawi stock oil filters!!
12.  8/5/2007:  We recommend filling to just on or just above the cool mark at cool (stock pistons)
13.  Friendly suggestion, when changing the oil we recommend you add three (3) quarts, then check (on level ground w/level) and add small quantities of oil until you get to the appropriate mark/oil level on your dip stick. 

Spark Plugs:
1.  One of our ULTRA's fowled out a plug at 29 hours. Replaced plug.  
2.  If your craft is coughing, consider changing your plugs.  
3.  For now, we recommend only using the stock Kawi plugs. 

After Market Exhaust:
1. One of our craft has the RIVA Exhaust on an ULTRA 250. 
2. The sound is magnificent (!) but we see very little if any performance increase. 
3. It requires removal of one of the water boxes.  The water box is so heavy that removal causes the craft to feel a little heavy on the opposite side of where the water box was.   The "con" is that we feel the weight difference when we get air.  The "pro" is the sound and significant decrease in weight via removal f the heavy water box, and it is very heavy.      
4.  Requires some cutting to install.

Supercharger Belt:
1. We have had a few come off, usually happens if you get the belt wet.   
2. Note that if you spray corrosive protective lube on your engine, be careful to avoid spraying lube on your supercharger belt.   The slippage caused by the belt will cause lost boost. 
3. We are backing off the throttle while airborne as the supercharge spins at an extremely high rev causing potential risk (?) of losing the belt. 
4. Regularly backing off the throttle while in the air take some getting used to.   

R&D Billet Hub Kit and Belt Tentioner Wheel:
1.  Installed on 9/25/2007
2.  Stronger than stock part - recommended. 
3.  Recommend you buy the two tools if you buy the part  
4.  It is critical that the belt tension is accurate!! Make sure that you spend time getting it right.

R&D BOV Block off 9/25/2007:
1.  Installed on one of our craft on 9/25/2007
2.  9/27/2007:  Minor performance gain however we are unsure
3.  Minor perfomance gain noted.
4.  We recommend this mod

Exhaust Line To Water Box Coming Loose:
1.  We have seen one craft that had its exhaust line connecting to the water box coming loose.
2.  Watch this line, inspect to ensure it is tight.  This appears to be found mostly on relatively new craft.
3.  If the exhaust line comes off, exhaust will fill the engine compartment, take away fresh air to the engine and the engine will stall.   
4.  Have seen this same issue on a few postings on the net.   

Modifications To Blow off Valve:
1.  We are hearing that there is a way to make manual modifications to the existing/stock part on the ULTRA's blow off valve. 
2.  We will post more when we know more.
3.  One of our craft made this change. 4/22 test represents an increase in RPM and a performance increase was noted.
4.  5/6/2007:  This modification appears to be giving one 250X additional RPM.  We like it.

Is Your Tailer Ready For The Weight Of The ULTRA 250?1.  Fully loaded with fuel and your gear you are pushing 1050 pounds.  
Check the rating of your trailer to ensure you're not exceeding your trailer's safe hauling weight. 

Battery Location In Bow:
1.  Check your battery connections frequently to ensure they are tight.  Make sure they are tight. 
2.  The pounding inflicted on the craft while offshore riding and the location of the battery in the bow can result in the connection coming loose.
3.  If your connection is loose and the cable comes loose and loses its connection for a split second, the craft's engine will completely stop - not a good thing.  Happened to us on 4/15. 

Maintenance Tip:
1.  After the salt water ride, open the front access hatch cover and remove the ECU bracket.
2.  Place the ECU and wiring harness in a safe place so you can rinse the fuel tank and air intake housing.
3.  Salt can also accumulate in this area via the steering cables and the fuel tank access hatch cover under the glove compartment where salt water can come into the craft. 
4.  Apply marine grease on the two bolts and the surrounding plate holding the air box bracket close to / near the fuel tank access hatch.  
5.  These two areas accumulate saltwater too easily so ensure you rinse this area well.  
6.  Use a dry-vac to get any additional water out of the hull.

Suggestions for the After market:
1.  A secure billet fuel bladder mounted in the front of the craft  / front storage area.

Melting T on the 2007 Models:
1. We have seen a craft that has a melted "T" link on the top of the head. This is where the two crankcase breather tubes come together with the "T" connector that connects to the air box tube then runs to the air box.
2. We see one melting and remain baffled regarding why. The craft we are having this issue with is not completely stock. We do not know if it is an issue caused by the modification or something else. We remain baffled and continue to attempt to find the origin of the problem. 

R&D Air Breather Kit:1. 
1.  R&D intercooler breather and engine compartment breather - we like it.     
2.  Note that this due to the breather/filter underneath the glove box, you run the risk of getting a little water in the engine compartment if you take hard bow-down turns or submarine. 

R&D Pulley System:
1.  We will likely purchase - have not done so yet.

Supercharger Oil:
1.  We changed it at 67 hours

Overview of Issues we've heard about with the 2007 250X:
1.  Exhaust hose clamps coming loose.
2.  Silicone sealing in pump shoe and grate excessive.
3   Possible oil overfill from the factory or at the dealer.  
4.  Supercharger clutch tensioner bearing fault or bolt coming loose with belt damage. 
5.  Spark Plug failures
6.  Fuel in oil require frequent oil changes.
7.  Melting T on some craft