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Dominick, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 1009
Experience:  25 Years Experience as Mechanic, 20 Yrs Boat Yard Owner/Mechanic, Factory Certified
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Having a spark issue with a 1998 Yamaha XL 1200 Waverunner

Customer Question

Having a spark issue with a 1998 Yamaha XL 1200 Waverunner
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Boat
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your inquiry.I am curious as to why you think it is losing spark. That particular model has had a known hard starting issue, but it is all carb related. Are you using an inductive timing light to see it is not sparking when trying to start? If not, we need to do that before we move in either the electrical diag or carb/fuel diag.ThanksRSRBOB
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I know there is no spark when it never fires when starting because I pull a spark plug out and ground it and turn it over. When it starts fine, there is a good spark in the gap. When it is not starting, there is no spark in the spark plug gap at all. We had also replaced all the spark plug ends on the wires as well previously.
This ski has a primer not a choke, I can pull the intake cover and see gas squirting into the carbs, it is getting plenty of gas. Again.... when it IS getting spark to the plugs, it starts right off after priming. Occasionally it will crank forever and never fire even once, when that happens if we pull a plug there is never any spark in the gap. I've replaced basically every last thing in the electrical system (entire cdi/box, stator coil, pulsor coil) and this still persists (occasionally). When it runs, it runs perfectly, and never dies or cuts out. It is only once you shut it off that it "may or may not" have spark to the plugs the next time you try to start it. And I can VERIFY that by pulling plugs and cranking it with them grounding and seeing whether or not there is a spark in the spark plug gap. It can be EASILY seen when it does not have a problem, when it won't start there is ABSOLUTELY NO spark in the spark plug gap. Again.... since I've replaced every last thing in the electrical system, is there any chance that the only thing left (the display) could have anything to do with this? I doubt it has anything to do with the kill switch as when the kill switch key is not inserted it is totally dead, once the key is inserted it then can crank over........ any ideas?
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 2 years ago.
Two things.First, un-plug the 2 wire connector that has a black and a white wire in it, and test for spark. You do not want to try this when the ski is firing, only when it is in fail mode. I would also like to know if it is all 3 or not. It sounds like you are only pulling one.The next thing is, check the connectors on your meter. On a previous model you could by pass the meter by disconnecting the two harness leads going into the meter and plug them into each other. This bypasses the meter and eliminates that variable. Again, you have to do this when the ski is in failure. It wont tell you anything if it is running.RSRBOB
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We've pulled all plugs before, or different ones, when it is not firing, none of the plugs are getting spark.
When you say the 2-wire connector with black and white, are you referring to wires going into the meter/display up front?
Also, when you say "On a previous model" - what does that mean? Does that mean it is possible to do that on THIS model
or not? I'm really not concerned with what you can do on previous or later models, only this model. If it is possible on this
model, which 2 harness leads specifically do you mean? There are several leads that go into the display. I assume any 2 that
have a similar connector that can plug into each other?
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 2 years ago.
Sorry for the confusion.The 2 wire connector with one black wire and one white wire, which there is only one of under the cowl, comes from the harness and goes up through the steering stem to the left handlebar switch.The point of referencing a previous model means look at the 2 connectors that go into your multi function meter. If they are the same configuration as far as the same # ***** wires in each and one is male and one is female on the harness side, disconnect both from the meter and plug them into each other. The actual color of the plastic is likely to be different, for the purpose of easily identifying which went where. For the sake of example and explanation, one was connector was red and the other connector was white. When plugged into the meter, the red connector from the harness went to the red connector on the meter. In the test configuration, the red connector on the harness plugged into the white connector in the harness. This completes all circuitry to allow the ski to run but takes the multi function meter out of the system so if it does have a problem, it will no longer affect the start/running of the ski. This is a TEST to see if there is a problem or failure within the multi function meter. I am not telling you this is my solution to the problem. We are still at the stage of diagnosing and narrowing down all the possibilities.ThanksRSRBOB
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** try that - the next time it doesn't have any spark. Might be a few days before I can test that out..... or I might just bypass the meter and see if it runs ok all day. Usually we can't get thru the day without it losing spark after we shut it off..... will let you know.
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 2 years ago.
Super. Just post back if you need more help. I get notification on the list and an e mail both when you add a post to this thread.RSRBOB"IF" you catch it in the fail mode, put your test spark plugs in and try unplugging that black and white 2 wire connector too and checking for spark. Remember you do not want to operate the ski with that disconnected because you will have no way to shut the engine off electrically. Running with the meter disconnected, as long as you don't plug up the cooling system and cause an overheat or run it out of oil, will not create any safety hazards.