The intake on an Outboard Jet engine can be subjected to a great deal of abuse. The intake has gathered many alternative names over the years. Some refer to it as a boot, some as a foot or the shoe. No matter the name, the stock cast aluminum intake is very tough and can handle significant thumps. But if you are operating in boney water then you are going to smack an underwater obstacle from time to time. If you’re looking for that extra level of protection to get you back to the ramp then you should highly consider one of the replacement intake options available that are constructed of more durable materials. In the outboard jet drive community these intakes are collectively referred to as a poly intake.
First off if you are not regularly making bottom contact with your boat and do not plan on running boney water then you don’t need a poly intake. There is a performance loss suffered with the replacement intake: some greater than others. The benefit is that with the poly intake, it can take much more abuse and still keep you fishing.
Some of the poly intakes offer built-in fins on the intake. These fins are a great option for those that need them on their boat. The grate material used on some of the intakes has been improved over the years with the latest being constructed of hardened steel to even further resist impacts. Check out our other post on how to straighten intake grates if you do end up bending them.
As far as I know, Rockproof Boats paved the way with the poly intake for the jet drive outboard market. However, as of this writing, they do not offer their UHMW intake for sale anymore. You can still find them on used boats. Their intake was injection molded using UHMW plastic and considered by many as virtually indestructible.
Wooldridge Boats offers a Urethane intake for Outboard Jets. Wooldridge has been in the Outboard Jet industry since the beginning and is known for their high-quality boats. Wooldridge has put an enormous amount of design into their poly intake. Their urethane intakes come with built-in fins. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing since more than likely these will be used on tunnel hull boats but a hot knife could quickly sever them if you were so inclined. Wooldridge boats designed heavy-duty cast aluminum external brackets to hold the intake onto the pump. This attachment method prevents an issue observed with other poly shoes where an impact will rip them off of the pump. The Wooldridge intake is also lighter than the stock intake by about 2 lbs. In my opinion, the Wooldridge intake is the cream of the crop and is what I choose to run on my boat.
Top Notch CNC
The Top Notch CNC intake is constructed out of UHMW material which can take an absolute beating. Top Notch offers models with or without built-in intake fins. These guys offer the only UHMW intake on the market for Outboard Jets now. These intakes are made in the USA.
The Russian group at jet-wolf.ru manufacture a polyurethane intake for Outboard Jets. These guys are a very innovative group. They’ve even designed and built an entirely new jet kit for outboards. Unfortunately, due to current events, it seems impossible to order any equipment from them. These intakes can TAKE THE ABUSE. The grate bars are Hardox 450 steel, which is used for making steel targets used by the military and law enforcement for receiving high-powered rifle rounds.
River Ridge Ventures
A new intake on the market offered for jet drive outboards are the polyurethane Monster Intakes by River Ridge Ventures out of South Carolina. These intakes are constructed out of a durable polyurethane material and are molded very similarly to the Jet-Wolf design intake. These intakes have a metal ring embedded into the mounting surface to keep the mounting hardware from embedding into the intake. These intakes are very noticeable with their red color and also have very unique gold intake grates. The performance difference with this intake is not as significant as with others.
A few points to note on these poly intakes is that they require the mounting stud kit. If you have a newer Outboard Jet engine with the drop-in liners then you already have studs. You may need to replace the studs with longer studs.
If you don’t have the stud kit then order it from Outboard Jets (Part number 1319). You can also get parts from https://jetdoctor.com which are quick to ship. You will need to convert your intake from the older style bolt-in liner to the newer style drop in liner. You can see the difference at this link: https://www.outboardjets.com/download/large_series/Water%20Intakes.pdf
As a word of warning, do not make the mistake of mounting a poly intake without using washers. Washers are essential to keep the intake mates to the pump. A swift impact on the intake causes a downward force and will essentially rip the intake off the pump.