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RSRBOB, Technician
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 1078
Experience:  Former Yamaha Factory Service Rep, Dlr Line Tech, Serv Mgr, G/M
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I have a 1988 standup Kawasaki jet ski. 1st just had a new

Customer Question

I have a 1988 standup Kawasaki jet ski. 1st just had a new starter put on it , It ran fine once around the lake. Then it started losing power , wouldn't get up to decent rpms, doggy. Then would not start at all just turn over and not fire. So now and several times through this process it just clicks and doesn't turn over at all(I just charged the battery)
1. what is causing the click
2. could it be the carburetor out of tune (Causing the doggy no power issue). how can I tune it?
3. Want to buy it?? Ha Ha
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Boat
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 2 years ago.

Hi and thank you for your question.

If it ran fine once around the lake, it is probably not a carb issue. This unfortunately sounds much more like a mechanical issue. I suggest you do a compression test on the engine first and foremost to see what the mechanical condition of the engine is. The losing power, not wanting to build RPMs then not wanting to start or turn over very much point directly to a mechanical issue.

Do you still have the oil injection on your ski or are you premixing? IF premixing, what ratio and what oil?



Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am premixing 50:1 ( bought new 100% 90 octane gasoline today , and using Penzoil Outdoor oil also rated for marine use) It has not fired with this new mix. Now it will only click. The click sounds like it is coming from the panel where the positive battery wire hooks . Is there a selinoid or relay switch in there?
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 2 years ago.

There is a starter relay, or solenoid as some people call them, inside the electrical box. I would suggest checking battery voltage first, then making sure all the connections for the cables are tight. Start with the battery connections, then check at the starter motor where the ground connects to one of the starter motor mounting bolts and of course the positive cable coming from the starter relay.

Can you grab the coupler by hand and turn the engine over when the spark plugs are out? If not, you don't have an electrical problem, you have a mechanical problem.


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
ok. After trying several different things I had the starter tested and it was not working. This is the 3rd starter in around 3 hours of using the ski. Any ideas of what would make them fail?
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 2 years ago.

Have you been replacing the starters or is that just the ski history? If it you that is replacing them, I would try a different brand of starter. If you have used different brands (aftermarket) you need to know WHY they are failing. First is it an electrical problem or mechanical problem inside the starter? Have the brushes failed? Etc........ Without know why they failed, we can't make a decision as to what to do differently to prevent another failure. Also, how does this tie into the loosing power once around the lake? The only thing I can think of is if the bendix has seized and as the engine runs, it is spinning the starter motor and causing it to come apart because it isn't designed to turn the RPM's the engine can spin it while running. Normally, the bendix allows the engine to run and over-ride the starter by slipping (internally). If it gets corroded due to gaskets or seals failing, it locks up and is no longer able to freewheel while the engine is running. Think about the bendix as a one way clutch, it transmits power from the starter to the crank when the starter is engaged, and disconnects the crank from the starter once the engine starts.


Customer: replied 2 years ago.
How can I tell if the starter is disengaging when the engine is running? How can I get it to disengage if it isn't?
Expert:  RSRBOB replied 2 years ago.

The best thing to do at this point is to remove the bendix and inspect it and check its operation. If it doesn't freewheel in either direction, IE locked up both ways, it has failed and needs to be replaced. You will have to pull the front engine cover off and the flywheel to get the bendix off the engine. You can check its operation without pulling the flywheel however.