300/440/550 550sx Hull Modernization Build

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Oct 20, 2011
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#41
Alright, found a flow control valve for $40 shipped. It is the standard jet works model - preset to 4.5psi but able to be shimmed internally to any cracking pressure you'd like. I'll leave it as is probably.

I've looked for the OP steering nozzle but have not had any luck finding one.

One thing I've noticed that was sort of funny is a 3" heavy duty rubber pipe coupler (sold at the big box home stores) fits on the nozzle perfectly. I might try this to play around with nozzle length if it works - I could technically have any length I want with the turn of a hose clamp! Anyone ever try this?

I have the Mariner style waterbox - I need to modify the outlet with a 90deg aluminum fitting however as my engine bay ceiling in that area is getting lowered enough to make the current vertical outlet not work. The internal baffle system also broke loose - so I did a cut straight down the middle of it on the wall and halfed it - I'm going to have my buddy re-weld the baffel back in place and weld the waterbox back shut again.

Anyone have any opinion on head gaskets for these? I'm thinking of going copper with 1211 sealant, I'm getting the head milled by #Zero for higher compression and I'll need a new headgasket, I've heard both fiber and copper are a good choice - but that copper is slightly thinner, but more of a bitch to seal, and a coat of 1211 is needed to create a watertight seal.
 
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#42
MOAR progress...

Well I got done something tonight that was bothering me ever since I did the rocker mod - The nose!

As it sat, it was vertical after the rocker and I wasn't having nothing about the vertical nose, that to me would be like punching the water with a cupped hand every nose stab (or so I think lol)...

So I decided to go crazy and do something I've never tried before - work with foam to create free-form shapes...

So we begin with the tools and materials for the job:


  • Foam
  • a rasp thing (for taking alot of foam off in a sanding motion)
  • 3M styrofoam compatible spray adhesive ($10 at your local craft store, it doesn't melt the polystyrene like the normal stuff).
  • Japanese pull saw - great for taking large precise chunks off in a straight cut. No lip on the saw's rear side to limit your cut depth (and only 9.99 at harbor freight! I use this for door jambs and :):):):))
  • Coping saw - great for saving time sanding by cutting out large curved portions
  • Sandpaper (I mainly used 40 grit on the foam, then 80 grit for the bondo sanding)
  • and a jet ski.

I started with the curved nose piece to create a flat surface, then began filling up the rest of the nose...



Some sawing, sanding and I came up with this


I then thought... hmm good time to mind :):):):) people even more when they see the finish product and put a round nose on it!



This gave it a nice look I think


Then I applied some bondo-esque filler to smooth the joint and some of the foam surface that became rough.



All in all - I'm happy I spent the night doing nothing else but finishing the nose - it really completes the rocker fit and finish and will make it easier to mate a top deck nose piece to now.

I plan on covering this foam nose in about 4 layers of 1708, for those 6" nose stabs over the alligators in my local river.

I know it's not really kosher to elongate a hull for freestyle use - but I felt that since the nose on this will be above the water line, and it had already been shortened 2" in the rear and about 1" in the front from the rocker - this wouldn't be the end of the world! plus it looks a whole hell of a lot better!
 
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#45
Covered my nose...

Well I decided to approach the nose build up in a round-about way that will hopefully lead to a stronger hull.

Basically here's how I'm going to do it.


  1. First, I reinforced the inner hull walls, leaving the vertical portion of the nose un-reinfoced.
  2. Next, I build up a foam version of the nose
  3. Now I'm covering the nose in appx 2 layers of 1708 biax. Partially to smooth over whats left of the rocker slits, and partially to give the foam portion structure for when I remove the foam.
  4. Later tomarrow I'm going to cut the vertical portion of the inner hull's nose, I'll also remove the foam that is now sandwiched (using the lost foam technique with acetone!)
  5. Finally, after the inner hull walls are reprepped, I'm going to layer 2 or three smaller pieces of 1708 over the new nose portion to tie it in with the current hull - this way the nose will be part of the hull now, and not just an addition in front of it... This will also permit me to get a true 5 layers of 1708 on the nose, for strength in the surf - and in case my throttle sticks WFO and my ski decides to launch into a tree... :nana:

So there you have it - adding a portion onto the hull done in 5 simple steps, and there's no wasted material this way! It's all for strength.

Here's how the progress turned out tonight, basically I did a layer of 1708 pieces templeted out. Then I covered it with 1 big sheet of 18oz cloth, followed by select pieces around the edges to hold the nose shape in place after the foam is removed!


Templeting makes everything easier!




I'm starting to think I'm a reincarnated surf board maker cause I really enjoy working with these composites!

This run tonight may have a little extra resin in it compared to my others, I couldn't really squeegie this layup too well without pulling it around and forming air bubbles. So I decided moar resin was better than moar air trapped in the glass structure.

I also prepped the skegs tonight by sanding away paint about 1.5" from the peaks and flattening the peaks a little. My plan for them is to build a troft and poor some cab-o-sil mix into them. I'll then hand shape it later and apply some glass - not sure if I should risk using 1708 on the sharp bend, or do 1 or 2 layers of 18oz cloth. Any opinions? Should I use a different method all together?
 
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Joined
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#47
Nose is.... DONE!

Well except for the bond rail portion, the front nose is all laid up now. Here's how it all went down.

We left off last time with this:


As you can see I started cutting out the old nose section in preparation for the backing reinforcement from inside the hull.

Here's something I've been wanting to try for a while - "lost foam" removal. I'm going to use this for the hood baffles. Since polystyrene and acetone aren't buddies, but poly and epoxy are - it works perfectly!



And after it was all cleaned up:

Just a shell of the foam creation. for only one layer of 1708 and another of 18oz cloth it's pretty damn rigid.

So now I get to reinforce it. How many layers do you think is adequate? ok well add 1 or 2 more. Thats right - 4 layers of 1708! I figured since this is "new structure" I might as well reinforce it to be as strong as the old structure that has been reinforced!


Can you tell I hate wasting material? Careful nesting of shapes creates minimal waste.


Templates make this :):):):) bearable.

And 4 layers later:


We have a new nose! Doesn't quite look like a 440/550 anymore eh?


My stubby pump cone came in today as well! It's a little bit shorter.


#Zero also came through big time - He was able to taper bore my nozzle out to nearly 70mm! That's a nice improvement from the stock diameter of 65mm! I was already on a bored nozzle and didn't know it though - mine was 66.5mm. He also milled my head a little so my compression should be bumped up rounding out this ski build nicely!

This damn build is taking a long ass time! I have this weekend to catch up though. My goal is to be test riding this on the weekend of Jun 8th - and possibly taking it down to St Petersburg FL with me around June 18th or so... no pressure right?
 
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Mark Gomez

is where the surf is
Joined
Dec 5, 2006
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Location
Fullerton, CA
#48
Really impressed, you are one crazy mofo, and I thought i went over the top on a 550. Keep it up im definitely keeping me eye on this one. Good stuff.
 
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#49
Really impressed, you are one crazy mofo, and I thought i went over the top on a 550. Keep it up im definitely keeping me eye on this one. Good stuff.
Haha thanks man! Your build is what pretty much inspired me to do this.

I'm going to be reinforcing the inside walls against the bulkhead as well as the outside ones around it based on the repair work you had to do after yours tried to pop out! Have any other areas you'd reccomend reinforcing that aren't well known?
 
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#50
Well I got a good amount done with my one free day this weekend!

Started by building up a bond rail for my new nose section



Basically its this sheet plastic I found, which has the awesome ability to not adhere to epoxy. I reinforced it with some plywood for the bondrail to stay true.
I decided to just have the bondrail go tangent to the curvature of the new rocker nose - simple enough.

Then I started laying it up, basically 3 layers of 1708, with another 3 split between the bondrail and the current nose to tie the two together.



Then I clamped the :):):):) outta it in an attempt to keep it flat and get rid of some air pockets.


I did a bunch of other small stuff today too:

Filled the hole in the steering nozzle, because a nozzle should only have one hole in my books.


Patched all the holes in the bulkhead so I can back fill them later after the tray is refoamed


Reinforced the bulkhead section outside walls with 2X 1708


Reinforced the bulkhead inner section with 2X 1708 at a 90deg angle to bridge the bulkhead to the walls
Front:

Rear:


I also made a little dam and poured in some cab-o-sill so that I can later thread in some 3/8" inserts to hold a short bolt to act as a drain plug for the tray area (I did both sides)


I ran a piece of 18oz cloth over the shortened rear hull - since the part of the hull that I shortened up to is actually part of the main hull structurally, I didn't deem it necessary to put much there as I didn't damage it.


And finally - I started on remaking the hood! Can anyone guess where my inspiration came from? lol





I also reinstalled the dual cooling lines properly this time, sealing the tray wall sides with cab-o-sil and I'll do the bilge and exterior walls with 5200.
 
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#51
Glass in da hood yo... and foam in da tray.

Well I finished up my hood mold and layed in some glass finally. Pretty much copied the rickter FS1 hood straight up as best I could.

Finalized mold with angle added to front and rear of recess in tray.


Fiberglassing: (18oz cloth, then 1708 templated strips, then 18oz patches)



The front bond rail from yesterday came out very well! I'm going to add a little more reinforcement to the nose where the U-bolt will go for towing/tie in to the trailer.


And I finally started refoaming, but not after finishing the tray drains (dual 1/4NPT holes, using flush pipe plugs for sealing)


I decided to go with a horizontal method for the sides for refoaming. I had seen plenty of great vertical refoaming jobs that take advantage of being able to jam more pieces in that way, but I'm pretty crafty - and I took my time and got every peice to fit perfectly.

The first piece shows how the water can drain in the tray - I did this so I didn't have to make fancy french drains like I saw in another build

And in place:


After a few more pieces:


I made the recessed floor blocks by cutting out a 6"X14" chunk of 2" foam, then making a set of miter guides for it with sheet metal, and sawing it in half at an angle with my japanese pull saw.


I'll have a 14" long side tray that drops 1.5" along the length - this is to accommodate for the travel of the foothold design I've come up with (a lot more on that later - think of the infinite adjustability of the RRP, but with the fit and finish of a BOB holds - I haven't seen the design out there yet, but it combines the best of both!)

And another plug for #Zero - the guy does really awesome work and he's not out to steal your wallet, just do a great fricken job!
 

Mark Gomez

is where the surf is
Joined
Dec 5, 2006
Likes
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Location
Fullerton, CA
#52
Haha thanks man! Your build is what pretty much inspired me to do this.

I'm going to be reinforcing the inside walls against the bulkhead as well as the outside ones around it based on the repair work you had to do after yours tried to pop out! Have any other areas you'd reccomend reinforcing that aren't well known?
Not really buddy, your nailing most of what I plan to do again in the near future.. minus all of the rocker and crazy stuff. This is still really cool keep it up. Make sure you get a bond rail back on that ski. if your going to keep going crazy make sure to make it strong and wide like Scott S. Did on his Matrix style superjet. That alone makes a huge difference. Just keep it up man, where is this bad boy located?
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
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SE MI
#53
Where did you get the stubby pump cone from? I bought a Wetwolf and it is much bigger than the one that you have in the pic (but still waaaay smaller than the stocker)

 
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#54
Mark Gomez - That's the bondrail method (Scott S.) I was inspired from actually! I'm going to kind of blend some of the features I like about the matrix front and mid bondrail with the superfreak rear integrated sponsons. I'm also going to keep a small front bondrail just to act as a splash guard.

caseville9036 - I got it off eBay actually - it was a JRE model and fits pretty well when I dry fit tested it. It's a great deal shorter than stock that's for sure - hopefully not too small?
 
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#55
I want to get one like it. I am tunning a 20/23 impeller with OP nozzles and a PJS 700 motor and I am looking for any advantage I can get (without doing a pump swap)

Thanks.
 
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#56
Hood came out nicely!

Well I'm pretty happy with how the hood popped out of the mold! That silver foil tape is the :):):):)! And the hard sheet plastic gave an unbelievably smooth finish. I really wanted the outside to come out well so I could just reinforce the inside and do minimal touch up outside - and I just about achieved that!




Also made some more progress on the re-foaming, which is taking a little longer than I thought! I should have it done by tomorrow night, and hopefully start laying up some glass! Here's just 1 example of all the issues I'm facing - I needed to cut little .25" spacer strips to level out the foothold floor area - which drops relatively precisely 1.5" over 14" run. I wanted to make sure they were symmetrical about the drive line, so I needed to make sure everything was shimmed correctly. Can't wait to just lay the floor and be done with this!

 
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#57
I wouldn't wish that on anyone...

Well refoaming... what a total PITA lol...

I'm happy with the results though!

Just to give you an idea of the level of detail I was trying to keep:


And the results:



Good night! (3am here)

[BTW for anyone that's been wondering - those lines on top of the pump housing - that's the range of motion I'm designing into my footholds - and they line up with the green strip on the heel of my riding shoes. The hashed black line is where I rode normally before (measured before I tore it apart by looking for the heel imprints in the previous turf)]

Edit2 - Input from the audience?

Here's a picture of the ski in it's current shape and form. Most people will notice there is no nose. I'm trying to think of the best way to blend the rather tall rocker nose into the rather low hood now - and I want to make it look nice. If anyone want's to do some MS Paint sketches on it, or photoshop - feel free, I'm looking for the coolest/slickest lines I can get! I'm going to do a foam mold for it after this floor is done!!
 
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Joined
Mar 18, 2012
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Location
Australia
#59
Nice build. Take a photo with the pole in the position you would like it. It may help.

Edit- Also, where do you plan on putting your gas cap? or will you have that under the hood.
 
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Oct 20, 2011
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#60
fastgtfairlane - that was my concern about the high nose/low hood combo! I've come this far though so giving in and not making it look right surely isn't the answer!

db2540 - I don't really have a finished pole for it yet - the length of the pole I'm making depends on the mounting point and the hood layout. And yes - going internal fill with the gas lol... that and the "parascope" were 2 of the things I really originally wanted to get rid of.
 
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