Adding a Variable Trim System

Well, the adjustable trim nozzle that I added to the ski didn't work out. It had been poorly repaired by someone using JB Weld and epoxy, and it eventually failed. I went back to eBay to find another, but instead I found a complete Variable Trim System kit. This kit had not only the nozzle I needed, but everything necessary to add a knob up by the handlebars so I could adjust the trim while driving the ski. I was able to buy the whole kit for $56, which was less than I had paid for the last nozzle off eBay. Here's the picture from ebay:

And here's how it looked in my carport, ready to go on the ski: (I couldn't decide which photo I liked better)

When I opened the box I found a price tag on it for $193.95. This box must have sat on a dealer's shelf, or possibly a whole succession of shelves, since 1991. It was finally going to get a chance to go into a ski. The catalog number on the box was 295 500 091. I wonder if Bombardier still sells the kit? The kit was very complete, with the nozzle assembly, an adjusting knob and control, and a cable to run between the control and the nozzle. Plus all necessary stainless steel hardware was supplied, including two rod ends. In addition, there were a couple pieces to modify the steering. The instructions didn't really say why these were necessary, and I have an aftermarket steering setup anyway, so I left the steering pieces off.

The instructions were very well written, and came in both English and French. The first step was to remove the jet pump. I had to use a 2x4 and a couple of bolts as a puller, but the pump came right out. In this photo you can see the broken adjustment mechanism on the old nozzle. It's the broken ear on the upper right corner of the pump.

The next step was to remove the steering cable, and screw in a threaded plug into it to close it up. A later step was to drill a hole close by, using a template, for a new location for the steering cable. The new hole location was very close to the old one, almost overlapping, and the old location looked like it would work fine, so I skipped these steps also.

Next was to install the control. First I had to remove the registration sticker, which was right where the control was supposed to go. I used a heat gun to loosen and soften it, then peeled it off and put it on the other side. Using the template provided, I drilled a series of holes in the jet ski body, then connected them to form a hole. I cleaned up the edges with a flat file, and smoothed the corners with a rat tail file.

Then I attached the control cable to the back of the control, and inserted it into the hole. I also installed the gasket to seal the control to the body, and the decal to show which way to turn the knob. The control attaches to the body with eight stainless steel pop rivets and washers, which are provided. After I put in the rivets I put the knob on the control and fastened it with the supplied screw. Finally I put on a little plastic cap to cover the screw.

Now it was time to route the trim adjustment cable through the transom. Using a second template, I drilled a 7/16" hole above the jet pump, then used a 3/4" countersink to enlarge the hole. I ran the cable through the hole, and used black silicone seal and two lock nuts and washers to secure it. The hull on the inside of the hull was not flat, so I added extra silicone in hopes of avoiding a leak. As I mentioned earlier, I opted not to drill a second hole to reposition the steering cable.

Now I simply had to reinstall the jet pump, and connect the cables to the steering and trim arms. Everything went together smoothly, and I was able to run the trim up and down while sitting on the seat making engine noises.

At that point I was done for the day, so I hitched up the ski and towed it back to Allen's house, where it usually stays. I didn't have time to test it, but I am looking forward to doing that. I am hoping I can pick up a couple mph on the GPS by tuning the trim while driving the ski. I will let you know if I can break the magic 37 mph barrier.

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