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Improved Sport Jet Reverse Bucket.....

tjm

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It is no secret that the reverse is poor on the sport jet powered boats. I have never used any of the aftermarket upgrades so I can't comment on how much they improve the reverse.

The aftermarket options to date include:

- Weld-on bucket extensions
- Replacement bucket with extensions
- Scott Waterjet reverse bucket
- Mercury improved reverse bucket

I'm sure there are more but that's all I've heard of...

Wooldridge Equipment has designed the latest offering to help improve the poor reverse. This is an easy Bolt-On replacement bucket that fits exactly as the stock one does. Swapping the bucket should take 15 min or less. I've been doing a bit of testing with it recently and my initial reaction is that it is pretty good.

It is pretty obvious why the stock bucket falls a bit short in performance. Keep in mind that most of the sport jets have a pretty flat bottom so that doesn't lend itself to having a strong reverse, but take a look at the design of the stock bucket. There is nothing in there to guide the water and push it under the boat. The water just crashes into the back of the bucket and goes everywhere. Very little actually makes it under the boat. Here's a couple pics...

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Now compare that to the new bucket, notice how the water will be split and routed smoothly back under the boat...

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I'll need to do a bit more testing before I give a full review but here are my first impressions...

Improved reverse thrust (Duh?):
I immediately noticed the increased thrust in reverse when I was able to actually back off of the trailer. I put the boat in just deep enough to start the motor and it actually backed off. Usually I have to slide the boat back manually and darn near get it floating before it will ease itself off the trailer.

Reverse speed increased:
As expected, the speed that I can go backwards is quite noticeable. It's not going to set anyone forward in their seat, but it is certainly quicker.

Handling in reverse:
This is perhaps the greatest benefit. Again, the bucket isn't going to turn your boat into a backwards moving rocket by any means, but when you turn the wheel when in reverse the bow of the boat swings around much more quickly.

Brakes:
I believe that the braking power of the stock bucket is pretty good. I've never felt I needed more stopping power. The new bucket does stop much more aggressively though. If I'm not careful I can bury the bow so hard that I cover the windshield and any passengers with water. It actually spooked me just a bit the first time I hit it hard while on step.

MUCH improved bushings:
Anyone who's put many hours on their sport jet has probably had to deal with the plastic bushings in the bucket. They are wimpy and don't hold up worth a darn in the silty water. The new bucket has nice thick bronze bushings. I'd bet these things will last a long long time. Another thing is if they do ever wear out, they can be purchased from a hardware store like Home Depot for a couple bucks. I've grown tired of the standard bushings and having to change them a couple times per season. I suspect that I won't be swapping bushings anytime soon with the new bucket.

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I still need to do some more testing. I'd like to film some boats with the stock bucket and new bucket to really try and dial in the benefits. It would be nice to find a couple guys with other sport jet boats that would like to assist. I'd like to meet up at Finger Lake and spend a couple hours testing the bucket. I'd like to swap the bucket and test it on a couple other boats too. Swapping the bucket is a quick job so we could easily do it in the parking lot. Let me know if you're interested.

I'll post a video report as soon as Finger Lake open up just a tad bit more. Judging by what it looked like today, it should only be a few more days until it is open enough to test a few boats without having to deal with any ice...
 

tjm

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A few more pictures...

Size comparison ....

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On the boat...

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ry%3D400
 

emartens123

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In Prince George BC also has a redesigned reverse bucket that is supposed to work really well.
I can't give a positive or a negative as I have'nt bought mine yet, but soon, as it seems every SJ out there needs help in the backup department
 

Bob the fisher

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Ya buddy...I agree with that....mine goes forward very well but doesn't backup worth a sh*t...I may be looking into getting one of those....Anybody know what it does to the engine warrantee?
 

skybust

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I get one when the bushing wear out on the one I have now
 

OzAK

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I modified my bucket before my boat ever hit the water with good bronze bushings drilled for a grease needle. Grease it every couple of trips and it already had the extensions, I'm OK with the performance. The extensions really make it what it is. Havn't seen a need to stop much faster but would be fun to try. Would be an interesting comparison to see how much better the boat comes off the trailer. Stock bucket is useless. BTW, I've got 3 seasons on those bushings and have yet to need to do anything with them except grease them. It's worth the time to do that mod too. Can't argue with the fact that the newest version looks skookum and quite effective. I'd still drill those bushings so you could get some good waterproof grease to them. FWIW-the stock Merc bucket attach stainless steel pins are relatively soft and the tolerances are pretty loose. The bronze helps this as you can tighten up the tolerances a bit without binding.
 

Madboater

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We just received our test model from Glen here at the Boatshop and installed it on Danny's XS last night. It was simple bolt on item. No mods necessary.
Backed the boat in the Chena and the first impression was good. The boat backed off the trailer easily. Danny then pulled up on the shore until his consoles were even with the shore. One person could not push it off but the boat backed off without a problem.
He then drove up on the shore till 1/2 the boat was out of the water. Had to wiggle it a little but it backed off under its own power.
It can even back upstream now. All in all a huge improvement. The Wooldridge reverse bucket should take care of the reverse issue.
Come by and take a look or test it yourself.
 

tjm

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Danny then pulled up on the shore until his consoles were even with the shore. One person could not push it off but the boat backed off without a problem.
He then drove up on the shore till 1/2 the boat was out of the water. Had to wiggle it a little but it backed off under its own power.

Does Danny have any UHMW on the bottom of his boat? You want to be very careful to not mislead anyone. There is no bucket for any jet that will backup a boat that is halfway out of the water unless there is something slippery on the bottom :)

To put the bucket in prespecitve, there is a substantial difference when compared to the stock bucket, but the thrust is less than a Hamilton 212...
 

Madboater

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You are correct T , Danny does have a center strip of UMHW on his boat and that does help.
Still with the stock bucket it would have taken reverse and 2 guys to push his boat back in the water.
Its still not a 212 with a 375 hp 6 liter.
But if on a scale of 1-10 if a 212 is a 10 it would rate a solid 6 and a good outboard a 3.
 

Armed_alaskan

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TJM, once I have my new boat (end of May time frame) I'll be a test subject; I'm new to boating, and would like to learn more than what I'm reading. I have to say what you have posted helped me decide what I wanted while I looked for the best avalible boat out there and the XL inboard was the best. You sold me on your postings, thx
 

f0zzy2

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You are correct T , Danny does have a center strip of UMHW on his boat and that does help.
Still with the stock bucket it would have taken reverse and 2 guys to push his boat back in the water.
Its still not a 212 with a 375 hp 6 liter.
But if on a scale of 1-10 if a 212 is a 10 it would rate a solid 6 and a good outboard a 3.

Did Danny's boat have on a stock mercury reverse bucket or did it have the extentions? Now i'm gonna have to go down to the boat shop and check it out. Dam you salesman....lol
 

Madboater

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Danny's boat had a stock bucket. We just had it out again this morning shooting some footage. Will post acouple of clips later today
or tommorrow. Seeing is believing.
 

easthillsfbx

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Not to be the village idiot here, but do sport jets really have a hard time backing up the chena???? Never been in one, so go easy.
 

Madboater

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With the stock reverse gate it will barely move upsteam against a current. The new one is considerably better.
Sorry for the delay but we should have a video on youtube later tonight.
 

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