Gallery: Introducing The 2016 Yamaha WaveRunner Lineup


The 2016 model year marks three consecutive years where the Yamaha Motor Corporation has dramatically raised the bar. In 2014, Yamaha’s Super High Output (SHO) engine was heavily reworked with improved boost volumes, increased oiling capacity and superior internal components giving us the Super Vortex High Output (SVHO). Last year, 2015 introduced us to Yamaha’s innovative RiDE dual throttle system. Other technological advances included the introduction of NanoXcel2, an even lighter, yet equally durable hull and deck material effectively shaving upwards to 40-pounds from Yamaha’s top-of-the-line runabouts, and over 30-pounds from its sportier FZ series’ craft.

For 2016, the Yamaha Motor Corporation is doubling-down on its mantra of “power-to-weight ratio is key” by not only shaving more weight from its incredibly popular VX and V1 series craft, but increasing horsepower to boot. How? Gone is the old MR-1 4-cylinder, 4-stroke 1100 motor, replaced by an all-new lighter and more powerful plant.


After a decade-plus of faithful service, the 1.1-liter is being replaced with the TR-1. The dual-overhead-camshaft, four-valve-per-three-cylinder, 4-stroke is 40-percent smaller, 20-percent lighter, and 13-percent more powerful than the outgoing engine.

And what does that mean in practical numbers? Try 125-horsepower from a 1-liter (1049cc) naturally-aspirated 3-cylinder, weighing 160-pounds when fully loaded and ready to run (exhaust, wiring, air intake baffling, etc.). The TR-1 promises to be a serious feather in Yamaha’s cap, as throttle response is immediate, acceleration is harder, top speeds are increased, and fuel economy improved for all as-equipped VX models using the new engine. We’ve ridden it, and the claims are true.


Above left: The TR-1 is the rightful younger sibling of the current Super Vortex High Output (SVHO), delivering immediate throttle response that one might expect from its larger displacement bigger brother. During our testing, we were pleased to find  a strong torque curve (without lulls or “flat spots”) that carried upward in a linear band. Above right: Don’t be fooled by it’s demure 1 liter package, the TR1 packs all the punch of the outgoing 4-cylinder and more. Nearly 20-percent more, to be exact. Weighing nearly 40-pounds less and producing an unofficial 125-horsepower, this new 3-cylinder power plant not only improves the overall performance of the so-equipped VX models, but rightly cements Yamaha’s place as an engine manufacturer first, and a boat builder a close second.


Now, before you standup riders start frothing at the mouth, it is important to note that until a baffling system can be devised to keep water from being ingested into the 4-stroke’s sensitive internals (ie. hydrolocking), we can’t expect to see a TR-1 equipped SuperJet. But that doesn’t mean the 2016 SJ has been forgotten. For the first time in years, the SuperJet ($8,499) has changed deck colors and comes with an option of two graphic packages.

Those models equipped with the new TR-1 receive quite a bit of added excitement, including Yamaha’s Spark-fighting V1 and V1 Sport ($7,899 and $8,699, respectively), which still rides on the brand’s previous VX platform. The new VX models – VX ($9,499), Deluxe ($10,199) and Cruiser ($10,499) – also welcome two new models to the lineup: the VX Limited and VX Cruiser HO, bumping Yamaha’s total lineup to a staggering 17 models.


Similar to the National Championship-winning VXR ($11,899) and VXS ($11,599) both fitted with the larger 1.8L High Output engine, the VX Cruiser HO ($11,099) answers the request for a “more luxurious VXR/S” with Cruise Assist and No Wake Mode, not to mention the VX Cruiser’s scalloped seating. The other addition – the VX Limited – is truly something to be excited about, as it is what we at The Watercraft Journal dubbed, “The Family Summer Starter Package.”

Not only does the new VX Limited ($10,899) come in retina-scorching fire engine red metallic with black and white highlights, equipped with Cruise Assist and No Wake Mode, and Yamaha’s RiDE system, but comes with a color-matched inflatable towable (tube) and rope, it’s own tube inflator and holder, a rope bag that attaches to the back of the Limited’s deck, a reinforced ski tow eye, dry bag, chrome 3D Yamaha emblems, and four pull-up cleats. Oh yeah, and a custom ski cover with a trickle-charging solar panel. Yeah, seriously.


But there’s one more – and frankly our personal favorite – feature that we expect (and what consumers should demand) for all future PWC: a 12-volt plug in the glove box. Not only does this allow riders to inflate the raft while on the water (with its included pump), but allows for recharging a cell phone, GPS or a live bait tank’s re-circulation pump for those PWC fishing. It’s a brilliant touch of usefulness that we can see on all watercraft regardless of brand.

Leaving the VX lineup, the National Championship-dominating FZ series WaveRunners – FZR and FZS (both $14,799) – get what Yamaha boasts “some of the best looking colors and graphics […] produced in years.” White was a surprise hit in recent years, so Yamaha slathered most of their 17 units in the blank stuff, with both FZ units wearing white decks.


Only the R-models get the eye-catching red hull treatment, while the S-models sport a choice of iridescent green hoods, graphics and fairings, or a fetching all-blue livery. And no, there is no RiDE-equipped FZS, as many had hoped or rumored to be imminent.

Stepping up to the flagship FX series, color options ranging from both mature and jubilant depend on preference. Again, while Yamaha excels at offering color options when others don’t, white is almost dominating the entire FX line, with brightly hued graphics being the highlighting feature, from the top-of-the-line FX SVHO Cruiser ($15,899) to the entry FX HO ($13,099).


The FX SVHO ($15,199) is a noteworthy standalone as color options offer either a Kawasaki-challenging green-and-black livery, or a stunning blue-and-gold package. A noted absence from Yamaha’s lineup is the SHO-equipped FX, leaving the FX Cruiser the lone SHO-powered runabout choice ($14,999).

Yamaha explained that with the SVHO and the popular HO models, the lone SHO-equipped WaveRunner exists only to meet certain production requirements so that the full-sized boats can use the SHO plant. Were it not for the boats, the engine would be eventually phased out.


It’s difficult to imagine what Yamaha could wow us with next year, as we’re getting a little too accustomed to seeing year-after-year of technological innovations, improved performance, economy and power. Yet, as new unit sales continue to climb, and more and more people are returning to the water, there’s no reason why the brand with the tuning forks in their logo should ever let off the throttle. Alas, 2016 promises to be a great year and we’re excited to see what the future holds!

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Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.


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  1. Bob 23 August, 2015 at 08:43 Reply

    So the discussion regarding the TR1 motor in the SuperJet took place (potentially). Did Yamaha state a baffle would need to be designed before it would be safe to marry the TR1 with the SuperJet hull safely? If so, what was the tone of that conversation? Was this comment a positive comment like it was very possible or was the tone of the conversation more like it would be extremely difficult and probably not going to happen?

    I would say if it was positive, then this could happen in the next 1-2 years…IMO; between the waterbox and exhaust routing, you can make it hard for water to make it back to the engine. A filter like the Kawi Ultra would help as well.

    Anyway…at least Yamaha is actually trying to be innovative and give their customers options compared to Kawasaki who portray that they do not care about their watercraft products. Kawi’s focus seems to only be in making more HP and making small improvements on 1 model that are not exactly innovative. Not everyone just wants more and more HP…I hope Yamaha keeps pushing their competitors to make better, comparable and innovative products….If Yamaha can beat Kawi to to the market with a 4-Stroke Superjet, then that will blow the door open on the PWC market…and I think that would take some steam out of Kawi’s claim to producing the original standup watercraft…They will always have that, but since we have been basically so removed from seeing brand new standup watercraft for several years now (yes the SJ has been available, but is extremely hard to find new units in every state), people will slowly forget who started the industry, but will remember when a company took a chance to make that original design better, cleaner, and perform better than the last one they remember…

    • Kevin Shaw 23 August, 2015 at 10:16 Reply

      Bob, thanks for the comments. You make several points that we’ll address individually:

      1. We’ve talked with Yamaha extensively about the SuperJet, and the manufacturer is VERY pleased with the increased sales and overall appeal of the SJ and is committed to seeing the unit continue for many years forward. At the presentation, no official (or unofficial, for that matter) implication was made that the TR-1 would be paired with the SJ any time soon, and that is 100% understandable. Yamaha plays their cards very close to their vest (and smartly so), and is wise not to disclose too much to media outlets looking to “out scoop” the other – particularly as leaking such news at this time could potentially hurt current sales.

      Yamaha is very aware of a public (although limited in terms of wide appeal) demand for a 4-stroke standup. They know (as we do) of the many aftermarket standup hull builders wanting to apply a modern 4-stroke into their skis, and all parties are concerned with the potential for water ingestion, particularly for freeride and freestyle skis that see repeated submersion. Obviously, a 4-stroke standup would permit for sales in states where 2-strokes have been either limited or outright outlawed. This too is known by all parties. The question, ultimately boils down to whether there’s enough demand to warrant the tooling, manufacture, marketing and servicing costs.

      2. As we stated in the article, Yamaha is making bold and very aggressive moves, as evidenced by three consecutive years of introducing new and innovative products. This is not a normal occurrence by any means, and should be understood that Yamaha is wholly committed to a long and fruitful future in the personal watercraft market. We are very excited for this latest crop of 2016 products (all 17 of ’em!), particularly the VX Limited. We were very lucky to be invited to ride this machine and are certain this will (and rightfully should) be Yamaha’s biggest hit come next Spring/Summer. The vehicle is stellar, and the package of amenities is incomparable to anything on the market today.

      3. Unfortunately, it is looking like Kawasaki will be maintaining the same product offerings for 2016 as for 2015. Although production numbers are a fraction of those from Yamaha or Sea-Doo, Kawasaki does sell most of their products rather quickly. And Kawasaki does retain a very loyal following and does produce a strong product. It bears noting that the 10-horsepower gain you mention for 2014, was not the goal, but a byproduct of heavily improving the existing 300HP Ultra 1.5L engine (via improved combustion, fuel delivery, engine oiling, cooling, and internal engine temperature regulation). By improving engine efficiency, Kawasaki freed up another 10HP and extended engine life. Not too shabby.

      It is also our understanding that Kawasaki is not pursuing a return of the SX-R in the form of a 4-stroke standup anytime soon. There have been some internal changes within the company in recent years, and are making moves to reaffirm their positions in specific markets (sport bike, UTV, etc.) before revisiting PWC (these are all mainly external observations, with a little bit of inside knowledge). Although we have high hopes for a redesigned STX-15F to compete with Yamaha’s VX series, we are left waiting to see what comes down the pike. The Ultra units are strong contenders and the STX’s continue to move. But what we might see as stagnancy might be regarded as solidarity within Kawasaki’s walls.

      • Bob 24 August, 2015 at 12:27 Reply

        Kevin, Thanks for your time to respond in detail to my questions and comments. I didn’t want to come across as a Kawi hater because I am not. I own 2 of them (SXR & 15F). I just want them to get better and compete in the market. My one comment about their improvements with the Ultra being “just increasing HP”etc etc…In the last few years, they have really only focused on the super charged skis and left the other 2 (ultra LX and 15F) alone…The 310’s have some technology that would improve the LX and 15F drastically. Not everyone wants a super charged ski. I don’t anymore. I am planning to buy another ski, but I won’t buy another STX (even though the one I have is pretty good from a handling and performance standpoint) and I don’t want the under powered Ultra LX tank. I really like the new Yamaha’s and at this point, would by one of those over the Kawi…

        I am also glad to hear that Yamaha “hears their customers” from the 4 stroke standup perspective. I know there are many challenges when it comes to getting a project/product like that approved from the people who make those decisions. I do feel, if they pull that trigger, it will be huge…In comparison, when Dodge built and released the Hellcat twins, those 2 products did not make sense from a financial standpoint, but they took a chance and look what happen. They more than doubled their sales and had to cancel customer orders and move them…I feel the 4 stroke standup is the same game changer for the PWC market. Kawasaki won’t do it (unless they are being really hush hush about it), but Yamaha is one step closer. Even if Yamaha produces the bare minimum to break even or make a little bit of money, those units will sell. Look at the former Hydrospace skis when they first hit the market. Even at $13K each, people were buying 2 and 3 units at a time…

  2. Peter 23 August, 2015 at 10:00 Reply

    Also chiming in here to say I’m surprised Yamaha hasn’t gotten the memo that everyone under the sun wants a small, lightweight. flickable, spark-like, model from them. It’s so so obvious… but, perhaps they just need more time to get it engineered. Note that I didn’t say inexpensive. Make it nice.

    • Kevin Shaw 23 August, 2015 at 10:36 Reply

      Fletcher, thanks for the comment. Oh you can can believe that Yamaha “got the memo,” and has put plenty of time on Sea-Doo’s Spark to evaluate whether or not to follow BRP’s lead. Needless to say, the TR-1 motor opens up a lot of potential avenues for Yamaha. Currently, Yamaha’s stance is that the majority of Spark buyers (and sales prove this, by the way), want a small, lightweight 3-seater that is peppy, fun and functional. They submit that the V1 and V1 Sport are exactly that, and now with less weight and more HP, are even more so. Both V1s are priced competitively with equally-equipped Sparks (save for a lack of RiDE), and offer equal value. Is the V1 a “new ‘Blaster?” No, of course not. And I believe that’s exactly your point.

  3. Faxon 23 August, 2015 at 11:24 Reply

    They now have 15+ models that are all over 600lbs-700lbs+ and 1 (Superjet) that is not….it is time for another playful ski period! Hoping for 2017.

  4. Kirk 23 August, 2015 at 21:49 Reply

    I was so geared up for this weekends news on the 2016 Yamaha line up but, it felt like it came up short, especially in new features on the FX series. I”m grateful the industry is making strides towards new efficient ski’s and trying to attract more people to the PWC world. I would love to attend one of these events. What would totally interest me and I’m sure many others, is to hear some real chat. Do you get to sit and talk with the engineers and designers of the skis? Do this people even attend these events? I figure as a journalist of “The Watercraft Journal” or Jerry from “Greenhulk” do you get the opportunities with these engineers over a drink and get the real information that I would think most are waiting to hear about before making the big purchase. Is there ever an “on the record” or “off the record” conversations that you could share with us. I know there is no “recall” in the industry that I’m aware of, but damn wouldn’t it be great it you had some information on issues like the timing chains. Such as, “yes, we have switched suppliers or have beefed up the chain, we shouldn’t see this again in 2016. Or, same thing with the Superchargers. “Yes, we are embarrassed on this one, we have re-engineered the clutch and its coming from another supplier. Or the paint. “Yes, we have rectified that issue, we had a bad batch of paint and we are doing something different this year. I know when a corporation admits fault they open themselves up to class action law suits and sometimes we never really find out the truth but I wonder are these events totally tight lipped or does some of the real issues get discussed or maybe get overheard from lose lips?

    Great work by the way, I enjoy the reading.

    • Kevin Shaw 24 August, 2015 at 09:17 Reply

      Kirk, thanks for the comment. I’m sorry that the introduction of an all-new engine and two new models left you feeling that Yamaha “came up short.” I think we all might be getting a little spoiled rotten by all the new stuff coming out year after year, a point I make in the article itself.

      Yes, I do get quite a bit of “inside baseball” information that many aren’t privy to. It’s a perk of the job. But much of it is unsubstantiated and can’t be included in an article of this magnitude. In fact, we felt it necessary to preemptively address two major rumors in this story itself (TR-1 going in the SJ, and a future ‘Blaster), and those were sort of ramrodded in there.

      In regards to the timing chain and supercharger issues that some SVHO owners are encountering, that is a matter that Yamaha’s legal department is addressing rather quietly and would like anything but the media to get involved (particularly considering all the grief they’ve just weathered over the Rhino class action lawsuits).

      Trust me, Yamaha is fully aware of the issue and is speedily working to find a solution that will satisfy all parties. Whether a recall is issued at all, or Yamaha makes an announcement through media channels or through a letter issued through each owner’s respective dealerships remains to be seen.

      • joe 20 July, 2016 at 22:40 Reply

        Yes and my wife and I were injured by being pitched off at 65mph when our timing chain snapped while crossing a boat wake at high speed. The fact that Yamaha knows that 20-40% of chains are failing on the 2014-2015 and is as you say “quietly trying to address the issue”, seems pretty questionable to me…..its a safety issue, even if you do not get thrown, for those of use who use them on the ocean where shipping takes place or use in remote areas. I understand that these forums tend to magnify these types of issues when angry consumers like me vent…..but you are doing a serious diservice to the pwc enthusiasts when you as a journalist make claims about the timing chain issue being minor. Even if only 10% are failing, and I know thats too low….its still a serious issue not to be minimized.

        • Grant 6 August, 2016 at 08:29 Reply

          After reading Yamaha is the most reliable rental ski I was going to buy a used 2014 or 15 svho to take photographers down some rivers in Mexico. Jet ski is the only thing that will make it down the rivers in the tight shallow spots. I spent so much time looking at Yamaha’s, Seadoo’s, and Kaw’s, and deciding to go with Yamaha and then to hear this timing chain nightmare problem is a real shocker and deal breaker. And the only real fix is the 2016 kit which includes a fricken new crank shaft! I about fell over when I read the crank has to be replaced along with timing gears, chain, etc. That is huge huge major work and I think around 1500 bucks just for the parts. Saw the parts on Ebay. I can do the work being a mechanic but don’t have the time and won’t spend big dollars on a ski that needs a major engine upgrade and it’s major! That is a major change out of parts to say the least!! You are so right about safety and leaving someone stranded out in the middle of nowhere is very very dangerous. I had flat bottom loose a rod poking a small hole in the bottom of the hull and I and my wife almost died out in the middle of nowhere when a huge storm arrived. Luckily an old guy with small fishing boat saw us just as it was getting dark, and towed us in saving our lives. Boat was ready to sink when we reached shore. Bilge pumps quit running because batteries went dead running them. And there were gators in the water. Anyways, won’t be buying a Yamaha and so sad because love the rest of the ski. Thank you so much for posting this problem and saving me allot of money and possibly saving my life and others. Grant

  5. jonathan doe 23 August, 2015 at 23:32 Reply

    I’m all for innovation, but outside of the hull and TR-1 there doesn’t seem to be any left at Yamaha.

    • Kevin Shaw 24 August, 2015 at 09:08 Reply

      We’re not exactly sure what you’re saying here, Jonathan. You mean what is there left for Yamaha to do in the future? Or is the introduction of two new skis and an all-new engine “all” that Yamaha has for 2016? Um, those are some pretty big things, particularly considering all of the innovation Yamaha has been dishing out for 3 years straight.

  6. Barcino 24 August, 2015 at 02:42 Reply

    Dear Kevin,

    great posts in this site, congratulations, what can u say about consumption of this TR-1 lighter engine ¿?

  7. KingArt 24 August, 2015 at 04:28 Reply

    Thanks for the post (and blog) Kevin!

    The Spark is UGLY IMHO. I had a 2009 Seadoo RXT-255iS and now the 2012 Kawasaki 300X. Looking to get a replacement. Kawasaki is not offering anything new this year. Seadoo fail alot at our jetski marina (open sea). But I guess I should wait till I see what they have to offer for 2016.

    • Kevin Shaw 24 August, 2015 at 09:06 Reply

      Beauty is always subjective, Art. The Spark caught our eye, particularly for being what it is. We’re pretty excited for the 2016 reveal and you can expect all the pics and details you’d come to expect from The Watercraft Journal.

  8. Hawleywood 24 August, 2015 at 12:14 Reply

    I have to agree with Faxon here. I have been considering purchasing a Spark but wanted to see if Yamaha would come out with a competitor first. The almost 700 lb dry weight V1 with a new motor is not at all appealing to me. Sea-doo has brought back the early days nostalgia of PWC’s when they were small, nimble and inexpensive. Talking to all the local dealers they are selling 2-3 sparks for every other model they sell. It would seem obvious to me that sea doo is on to something. Does Yamaha disagree or do they really think that V1 is a viable competitor to the spark market? It’s great that Yamaha is coming out with new models but for me they are not the models that I would be interested in. If I wanted an 11.5′ long 900lb watercraft I would buy a boat.

  9. Jean Gros-louis 26 August, 2015 at 00:03 Reply

    I was looking the new line up of yamaha fz serie and I like them I owe presently a vxs 2013 that I really like and I was looking to buy this FZS 2016 but I just read that they have issue with the supercharger and timing chain .I shoukd probably keep my vxs what do you think.

    • Kevin Shaw 26 August, 2015 at 07:56 Reply

      We had quite a few people inquire about the timing chain issue. First of all, the number of timing chain failures has been greatly exaggerated according to our external sources (not Yamaha). Nevertheless, it was confirmed to’s Jerry Gaddis that the timing chain has been updated and shouldn’t be a cause of concern.

  10. John 26 August, 2015 at 00:06 Reply

    I used to be a Yamaha guy before I bought my sea doo spark. All this stuff doesn’t really seem innovative in anyway. So they made a 3 cyl engine, but do you really think they would be making these changes just because? Also not to mention the same recycled desighns we see every year that have really gotten bland overall. Say what you will but the spark was a breath of fresh air, not only is the H.O model faster than all of the VX’s out there, it’s more maneuverable, it’s much lighter, more fuel efficient, better looking, cheaper, I could go on and on. Also The way BRP has treated me (with the countless Yamahas I’ve had) I am beyond done with Yamaha. I don’t have to pay for labor on my oil changes, they gave me 3 extra wear rings and an extra impeller after I sucked a rock up and damaged my wear ring and impeller, and I have had countless other benefits. Unfortunately I don’t think Yamaha will ever change, they are too stuck to their beliefs, unwilling to move on.
    And for those that keep talking about cracked hulls, own one and you will understand. I have a few scratches but no cracks, the scratches I have would have costed $$$ to fix if it were fiberglass. Also 8′ jumps are fun, but you wouldn’t know 😉

  11. Delo 28 August, 2015 at 18:43 Reply

    I’m glad they’ve addressed the timing chain issues on the new svho. I’ve held off from buying a current model as a result of those issues. Would it be best to buy a 2016 fzr or snap up a 2015 now because of the substantial discounts being offerred?

  12. barcino 31 August, 2015 at 03:08 Reply

    Dear Kevin,

    great Yamaha solved in 2016 models the chain issue but how will solve this issue for the 2014-2015 models ¿?
    by the way, the 2016 vxs hull and the vx limited is it the same hull ¿? lenght, material, shape, where can i find info about hulls , which shape for which purpose ¿?

    best regards,

    • Kevin Shaw 31 August, 2015 at 09:54 Reply

      Thank you for the comment. The timing chain “issue” has been greatly overplayed according to our sources in the aftermarket and dealership network. While there have been instances of chains breaking, they’ve been rare and often found on built Yamahas, not stock ones (again, that’s not to say there aren’t cases on stock units, so don’t attack me).

      Yes, all VX series units share the same hull. Only the V1 and V1 Sport ride on the old VX hull from two years and previous. That means the VXR, VXS and VX Cruiser HO share the same hull design as the VX Cruiser, Limited and Sport.

      Yamaha currently maintains 4 hull designs:
      1. SuperJet (standup)
      2. V1 (entry level)
      3. VX (cruising, recreation, sport)
      4. FX (cruising, rough water, high speed)
      5. FZ (closed course, aggressive handling)

      • joe 20 July, 2016 at 23:09 Reply

        Kevin, most of the snapped chains are on completely stock svho. That is why most are being fixed free under warranty. If they were on modified Yamaha would be denying these claims left and right. Most failures are happening in the first 50 hours, and these skiis are so fast stock, I doubt many are modifying them much right out of the store. I Have a file on this issue that has to weigh nearly a pound or two by now….. I understand that you have relationships you need to protect as a journalist……that is perfectly reasonable. However, this is a safety issue that is being so lightly brushed aside.

  13. Hamad mubarak 11 September, 2015 at 19:25 Reply

    Thinking of buying a jet ski the fzr but not liking the 2015 color and the chain problem do you have the 2016 jetski pic / color and i hope it has no defects

  14. Joe Derkits 12 September, 2015 at 12:42 Reply

    I had a 2012 FXHO unmodified that the timing chain broke at 71 hours. Unfortunately, I did not buy the extended warranty. I was given minimal trade in value. I bought a 2015 same model as I have not lost faith in Yamaha products. And of course I bought the extended warranty this time. I called Yamaha corporate and have not received word back as if they are going to reimburse any monies toward the repair.

  15. Charlie 20 October, 2015 at 07:45 Reply

    Actuall kevin, the timing chain issue in a majorly UNDERplayed problem. Ive paid my 14k for my 2014 fzs, it made it 30 hours, threw a chain, due to a poor service dept (that yamaha actually braggs about) i waited 3 months to get my ski built. Then it made it another 30 MINUTES and threw a rod. Knocked the starter off the block as well. All 15 of the people that i have spoken to that work for yamaha have treated me like theres no issue, just like you suppirted in an earlier post august 31st. My ski threw a chain in may, it is now october 20th, still no ski. So before you post another lie, or try to persuade people that the timing chain “issue” is just an overplayed fluke, i dare you to go ride a new yamaha that has thrown a chain, then you can come post as to whether or not that is an “overplayed issue” or not. Because as many failures as i have seen, and no recall on the horizon, looks like yamaha doesnt mind screwing you out of you 14k, leaving you stranded in the middle of the lake, and acting like everythings okay. Ive got all the proof if anyone needs to be reassured, even have a piece of the block that i found in the bottom of my hull….all started with that timing chain

    • joe 20 July, 2016 at 22:33 Reply

      I agree Charlie. Just call up the Yamaha customer relations department yourself and broach the subject of the 2014 and 2015 svho timing chain failures. You will never in your life see someone so desperate to change the subject. The whole “the problem is being exageratted” play, is the industry standard initial response to an impending recall. I have researched this problem thoroughly and some people who are part of a club in which multiple members who own svho engines all suffered failures of timing chains in under 50 hours……these are the proof. Based on these clubs, I would estimate that at least 20-40% of svho owners will have their timing chain fail. Or is just a coincidence that these clubs are seeing failures at that rate? and I am being conservative with that estimate. Lastly, this is a safety issue. My wife and I were thrown from the ski at 65mph from the decelleration…….we were crossing a small wake which made things worse….and of course braking down in a shipping lane with massive ocean going contaner ships is no fun either. we were injured four months ago and still not healed….and had a small child been on the back, he might have been seriously hurt. what bothers me is that Yamaha dealers are sill passing off this old stock all over the country without any warning about a KNOWM ISSUE

  16. Charlie 20 October, 2015 at 08:03 Reply

    And btw, you are also seriously mis-informed about stock engines not throwing timing chains…. and for the record yamaha.. no engine, whether it be pwc, aircraft, small block or 454, should ever, EVER throw a timing chain EVER!!! TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. And to recap, to any of you thinking of purchasing a new yamaha, between the begening of may — end of october, yamaha still hasnt made it right. Thats 6MONTHS! still have no ski, and i missed all season. And yes, i have talked to every yama rep i can get ahold of. People need to know the truth..

    • Kevin Shaw 20 October, 2015 at 08:44 Reply

      Charlie, thank you for your comments. I can completely appreciate your frustration, anger and disappointment in a brand that prides itself on its build quality and customer satisfaction. Only two weeks ago, I broached the question to Yamaha in person (at WF) and prodded as to the scale and expected response to the timing chain issue.

      Both representatives acknowledged the issue and commented on the company’s efforts to try to keep customers satisfied with their product. Clearly, you have had a terrible experience and is something that the company should rectify. It is unfortunate that the dealer tried to “brush you under the rug” as that only causes greater frustration and conversations like these.

      Both representatives (and several third party persons) all suggested to have you (any one else who has had a similar situation) call Yamaha’s Customer Relations (800) 962-7926 and submit a formal complaint to corporate. There, your situation will be entered a digital database, where persons far above your local dealer’s service department will make the necessary decisions to repair and/or replace your SVHO’s engine.

      Trust me, Yamaha takes problems like these VERY seriously. There’s much more at stake than losing some loyal customers, and they want to make sure that you’re able to enjoy your WaveRunner as much as possible.

      And I can assure you that the 2016 models have been upgraded with a far more robust timing chain and gears that has not only been thoroughly tested, but is also a retroactive upgrade for all SVHO models. Dave Bamdas admitted that RIVA Motorsports has already performed “their fair share” of replacements and has done so to all of their high performance testing units and dyno engines.

      Again, I’m sorry for your experience these past 6 months. I am confident that Yamaha’s Customer Relations Dept. will help get your SVHO back in your hands and running in top shape ASAP.

  17. Charlie 20 October, 2015 at 11:23 Reply

    Wow thanks for the fast and professional response kevin! Unfortunately, Ive already exhausted my time calling that phone number, going from person to person, then told to expect a call the following week…. no call. Ever. After 6 months of playing games, i still dont have a ski…. and yamaha knows that. Their Customer Relations Dept. has been completely ineffective in my experience. I went down that road over 3 months ago.

    • Kevin Shaw 20 October, 2015 at 11:26 Reply

      Hey man, that’s what I’m here for!

      I’m very sorry to hear that, Charlie. I’ll forward this along to my channels within Yamaha. It’s entirely the wrong route, but hopefully they can do something.

    • joe 20 July, 2016 at 23:10 Reply

      I will say that I’ve had good luck getting the yamaha customer service reps to return my calls…..but that is possibly because they know about the injuries i suffered.

  18. Phil Saruk 6 April, 2016 at 17:59 Reply

    It’s surprising that a company like Yamaha doesn’t put a $.50 warning decal where you flush the system after use, to warn you that if the sequence of starting the engine first before turning the water on is so critical, and that it can cost almost $10,000 in damages is beyond belief. In approximately 6 seconds the engine on my waverunner blew up because the water was turned on first and then the engine was started. There is no significant warning of the severity of the damage that can be done in the owners manual and absolutely no warnings on the waverunner either. This happened on my 2012 Yamaha FX Crusier with only 12 hours on it total time. Yamaha extended warranty wouldn’t cover the damages but Fortuneatly my insurance did. I can assure you I will never purchase anything that Yamaha Manufactures period! Unfortunately, one of my friends just purchased a 2016 Yamaha Waverunner before I could inform him of my experience. Oh and by the way there still is no warning label where the hose connection is made! I mean , what’s the big deal about putting a lousy decal and saving others from this horrible event?

    • joe 20 July, 2016 at 23:12 Reply

      Yes…..that’s an easy mistake to make Phil. i read about that too in the manual and it sounded like the main danger was just getting water in your engine….ie rust and lubrication issues. I had no idea that it could total an engine.

  19. ED 20 June, 2016 at 07:22 Reply

    Can someone please explain the nominal differences between the 2016 VX cruiser and the deluxe version?
    I can see a $400 price diff and seating ,weight diff. I can’t for the life of me figure out why Yamaha has done this?
    Is the backrest a deterrent for skiers? Meaning does it get in the way for the spotter?

  20. joe 15 July, 2016 at 15:44 Reply

    I thought I would share my story here as I am now part of the Yamaha SVHO snapped timing chain failure club. Since my timing chain broke back on 04/01/2016, I have discovered that this defect is well known to Yamaha but they are going out of their way to do whatever it takes to admit fault and enact a recall. This is unacceptable as I have discovered first hand that this timing chain defect is not only an expensive problem, it is a potentially dangerous one as well as both myself and my wife were injured when our FZS waverunner suffered a catastrophic timing chain failure at high rpm while traveling in excess of 60mph. The chain snapped right as we were crossing a moderate sized boat wake and a 45 degree angle. The resultant decelleration caused both myself and my wife to be violently thrown from the waverunner. Our injuries weren’t life threatening, but months later they still have not fully healed. Now our circumstances were complicated by the boat wake, but I still feel this is serious enough that Yamaha should have sent all SVHO owners a written notification to be cautious due to possibility of timing chain snapping at high speed. What if I would have had a small child on the back? Furthermore, this breakdown was right in the pathway of the gigantic WA State Ferry. Luckily someone towed us out of the way of the ferry before they either hit us, or had to come to a complete stop, which would have been a ten thousand dollar fine (id rather be chewed up by a ferry prop than fork over that kind of money.)

    Right after I got home after this failed timing chain, I read on the internet about this same thing happening to dozens of other svho owners, one of them was also injured by the deceleration like myself. Some people who owned two or three svho powered jetskiis had multiple timing chain failures, and very few svho owners seem to have had their engines last past 150 hours before failure, with most failing like mine at less than 55 hours. My skii was pristine and serviced by the book. I could not have treated the machine any more carefully had it been made of solid gold. Yet it broke, sending both myself and my wife flying at 60mph. Here is a quote from Kevin Shaw from an article on the Watercraft Journal: In regards to the timing chain and supercharger issues that some SVHO owners are encountering, that is a matter that Yamaha’s legal department is addressing rather quietly and would like anything but the media to get involved (particularly considering all the grief they’ve just weathered over the Rhino class action lawsuits).Trust me, Yamaha is fully aware of the issue and is speedily working to find a solution that will satisfy all parties. Whether a recall is issued at all, or Yamaha makes an announcement through media channels or through a letter issued through each owner’s respective dealerships remains to be seen.”

    Now…what does one do when this timing chain fails, as most will? Well for starters, do not let them rebuilt your engine…if under warranty. If they just restore the SVHO engine to the 2014 or 2015 design, it will fail again, as many other Yamaha owners have experienced on this very forum. No, you need your engine updated to the 2016 model, where they completely redesigned the new timing chain assembly. There is another issue as well, and that is if your engine fails in saltwater as mine did. with a broken timing chain, you cannot properly flush the engine and the engine will likely be further damaged from the salt. Fortunately my engine was so far gone that the salt damage was a non issue. However, Yamaha did send the dealer engine components to rebuild my engine rather than an entire brand new engine ready to go. By doing so, they delayed the repair process to such a degree that my entire riding season was lost! Further this kit they send did not include head studs and you cannot reuse the old ones due to stretch. So with myriad minor issues not addressed by Yamaha, something that could have been repaired in weeks has taken an entire summer and spring. And thus this was the insult that was added to the actual physical injury.

    Now, I am finally nearing the end of the tunnel, but the recent light at the exit was eclipsed by yet another ridiculous and inexcusable delay…evidently this new engine needs some sort of specialized puller that is so hard to get ahold of one, my dealership says that it is going to delay things up to another month or even two. The tool is on backorder and there is none in the whole country available!!! Really? And this is on top of a long line of previous delays….like when they finally realized that they should probably change out the badly corroded parts (I couldn’t flush my engine due to broken chain) before slapping my engine back together…..they were initially just going to change broken parts and leave the corrosion.

    I have been dealing with the Yamaha Customer Care department directly this whole time. I can only imagine how much less progress I would have made if all of this was being done by the dealer without me constantly inputting energy to overcome the exasperating inertia and bureaucratic nonsense. I am just lucky I purchased the extended warranty as this repair would be costing in excess of 10,000 dollars had I not been covered. Yamaha should be treating this whole thing like the safety issue that it is. While my case of getting bucked at 60mph might be extreme, water is still pretty hard to impact at any significant speed. I hope this information helps someone as this process has been a long and painful learning experience.

  21. Lee 8 September, 2016 at 13:25 Reply

    WOW I dodged a major bullet guys, thanks. Nearly bought a 2015 FX SVHO the other day until I saw all the issues people have been having with the timing chains on these models. And of course when I mentioned it to the dealer here in Australia they either lied or played it down as never knew about it. I evened signed a contract to buy and that night I read about this problem, that was a sleepless night to say the least. I have since agreed to buy the 2016 model, here’s hoping they are reliable with the new timing chains.

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