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  1. #1

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    Possible future 15F owner

    Hello, future first time PWC owner here. I have some property on a small lake and have wanted a PWC for a few years, and I narrowed it down to the Seadoo Spark and STX-15F, with the 15F coming ahead and will probably be my next ski. The spark I rode was fun, but for similar or less money, I think the Kawi is better for me. Since I do my own wrenching, I think the Kawi is better in that regard as well.

    Anyway, my questions are:

    1. 2008 - 2009 shows a significant weight increase (about 100lbs) what was the reason of the dramatic increase?... I know that everyone says the 15F has remained mostly unchanged but 100lb increase seems to be quite a bit more than updated electronics or a different seat.

    2. Are there any used years to avoid or ones to look for? I know PWC have a reputation for unreliability that has been less of a problem in recent years, and I know a N/A ski is the way to go if you don't want to be a vacation mechanic, but were there features or improvements one year, or reliability issues another year?...

    3. I have heard that dealers tend to discount these quite a bit, I have one near me that has a couple 2018 models leftover... what is a decent OTD price for a new one?... I assumed I would buy used, but if I got a good deal on a warrantied ski, I don't think i could pass on it.

    4. Are there any similar models, or anything else I should cross shop with STX-15F?


  2. #2
    steve45's Avatar
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    Interesting. I have been looking through the parts diagrams and have no idea why the 2009+ models weigh 100 pounds more.

    These things are very reliable. I would prefer a later model with the 'Immobilizer' ignition key. Earlier models use the display to put the 'Ski into Slow mode for beginners. Problems with the display can lock you into slow more permanently. Replacement displays are $1000+. The later models have two different keys. Do NOT lose the keys! They are matched to the ECM. You can get a replacement key IF you have either key. Lose both and you buy a new ECM + the key.

    I think the biggest problem with these is corrosion in the exhaust system. Periodic flushing after use will help.

    I have a couple of Ultra LXs. This is the same 160 HP engine in the larger Ultra 310 hull. Lots of storage, smooth stable ride for cruising, MUCH easier engine access for maintenance, 20 gallon gas tank, 10+ MPH slower than the STX-15F and it really needs a larger trailer.

  3. #3
    100 MILES OF HEAVEN AND I AM SMACK IN THE MIDDLE KEYZBUM's Avatar
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    As a Spark Owner.
    They are the most fun ski to ride and wrench on(top off is great).
    But Please Buy The Kawi.
    Seadoo Is Too Slow, Too Fra-gee-lay (Thats Italian).
    Kawi is Decently Quick, D
    ecently Fast. Very Stable, Very Reliable

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by KEYZBUM View Post
    As a Spark Owner.
    They are the most fun ski to ride and wrench on(top off is great).
    But Please Buy The Kawi.
    Seadoo Is Too Slow, Too Fra-gee-lay (Thats Italian).
    Kawi is Decently Quick, D
    ecently Fast. Very Stable, Very Reliable
    Honestly, I would be the perfect spark candidate. We have property on a 200 acre lake that has little traffic and is usually calm, with "35 mph" limits...

    But, honestly, the 15F is close to the same length, bigger seat, and would handle tubing and general riding I think... Plus it would allow me to take it on larger lakes (15 min from Lake Michigan) and not need a chiropractic adjustment... I also like how long the machine has been made and since I do all my own work, I assume parts and service would be easier and cheaper.

    Edit: Are those the only reasons (as a spark owner) why I should stick with a 15F?.. I did ride a Spark last year and that got me going on buying a PWC, (I honestly had a blast on it, I AM a noobie though) but it was pretty easy to top out even on my small lake.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve45 View Post
    I think the biggest problem with these is corrosion in the exhaust system. Periodic flushing after use will help.
    Is this an issue with exclusive fresh water riding? My ski would never see saltwater.

  6. #6
    steve45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danthaman68 View Post
    Is this an issue with exclusive fresh water riding? My ski would never see saltwater.
    Probably not, but even fresh water can be corrosive. You can search this site to see what a couple of members have experienced.

    If top speed isn't a factor, and you want to be able to ride in rougher water, and you want to do your own wrenching; at least take a look at the Ultra LX.

    No doubt that the Spark is fun and easy to work on!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve45 View Post
    If top speed isn't a factor, and you want to be able to ride in rougher water, and you want to do your own wrenching; at least take a look at the Ultra LX.
    Thanks, I will consider that. Do they typically go for more Money than the 15F's?... With a small lake I will not be riding in rougher water anywhere near the majority of the time, my concern is that some of the "Ultra"/"Luxury"/"Limited" models is they become tiny boats with features i don't need, that come with the cost of a heavier, sluggish PWC. I have property on a lake, so if i need a break its as simple as pulling up to the shore and walking in the house... The several mile long trips on a PWC will more than likely not be happening, but the ability to stretch the machine's legs and capability to handle some larger lakes would be nice.

  8. #8
    steve45's Avatar
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    The Ultra LX is about $1500 more. I'm not saying that it's better than the STX, but different. I would certainly recommend that you look at both, especially if you plan to work on it yourself (and you probably won't have to do much).

  9. #9
    RLACEMAN's Avatar
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    The listed weight differences were with & without fluids, the 2009 & up models are a few pounds lighter due to a single muffler system. If you are stuck on a lake with a 35mph limit & wouldn't go with the 15F, its difficult to keep it at that slow of a speed unless you are always pulling something or staring at the speedo. The 15F is good on fuel & only needs regular 87, but a Spark is going to use less. If you are going to a larger lake without a speed limit then you will want the 15F, you will outgrow the power of a Spark quickly. A 15F will be more stable with a spotter when towing. Its best to drive both before you decide.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by RLACEMAN View Post
    If you are stuck on a lake with a 35mph limit & wouldn't go with the 15F, its difficult to keep it at that slow of a speed unless you are always pulling something or staring at the speedo.
    I did have a spark up to 50 MPH on my lake. The larger lakes around me have 50 MPH limits, with the exception being 1 mile off shore on Lake Michigan. Is what you're telling me is that the only way to have fun with the 15F is to be an outlaw?

    You basically hit my fear with the spark, this would be a first PWC and I worry I will outgrow it fast. I want something fun and playful, but I can only handle so many slow wheelies and porpoising like the SD marketing shows before I'll get bored. I thought I would favor something that handles well, can tow and has a little more low end, over a 500lb ski that "bounces"... Am I missing something?

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