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  1. #1

    96 780 SL Starter issues

    I just purchased this jetski. It ran beautiful on its maiden voyage. On the last half of the day, it acted like the starter wouldn't engage it would just spin. I played with a few times starting it and it it started. It did this twice and then the starter would just spin but the engine would not turn over.

    I did all the basics of battery, cables, etc. I pulled the started and it spins fine. Long story short, if I remove all three spark plug, the engine will spin like the dickens. If I just install one plug, the starter spins but the engine will spin hit miss. Mostly miss. I have this all apart including the flywheel cover. I found sludge and a small pen like spring about 4 inches long at the bottom of the flywheel pan. The bendix seems to be engaging by hand.

    Does the starter have a clutch that can go bad? or is the bendix shot? If the bendix is shot, do I have to pull the flywheel to replace it?


  2. #2
    She likes the bike. But the ski gets her wet!!!! xlint89's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Hulk.

    To remove the bendix, the flywheel does need to come off.

    The sludge and spring concerns me. You may want to remove the bendix because of that alone. If it gets rusted up, there's a spring that will fail. That is what returns the bendix to it's normal state after engaging the flywheel.

    The starter may be bad, but sounds more like a bendix to me.

    Either way, I have a starter and bendix if you want one or both.

  3. #3
    The spring reminds me of days old when they use to put a "pen like" spring inside the fuel lines to keep them from collapsing. I bought a new battery yesterday and did some measurments last night after posting. From starter to positive on the battery, I get .07 volts when cranking so I figure my cable and solenoid is good. I get 11.4 volts cranking with the spark plugs out and when I put one plug in, it drops to like 9.8. That seems very low to me. I would expect the battery to hold about 11 to 12 volts. I charged the battery overnight and got the same results

    I have read several threads on the net about this and they go through all the trouble of replacing the bendix and starter and it turns out to be something stupid with a cable. I haven't check the neutral connection to the engine. I'm going to do that tonight.

    How hard is it to pull the flywheel? How do you hold the crankshaft to get the nut off. I guess I'm going to have to stand on my head in the bow to do all this. Oh what fun!

  4. #4
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaveChaser View Post
    ...I get 11.4 volts cranking with the spark plugs out and when I put one plug in, it drops to like 9.8

    That seems very low to me. I would expect the battery to hold about 11 to 12 volts.

    I charged the battery overnight and got the same results...
    Battery is toast.

    Replace it with a good quality new battery.

  5. #5
    Battery is band new. I bought it yesterday. It is an Everlast PWC battery 16L something.

    Can I remove the clip on the front of the bendix while still in the jetski and remove the internal parts for inspection and cleaning? I see there is just one spring clip that hold it all together on. I could inspect and clean it before I pull the flywheel.

  6. #6
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaveChaser View Post
    Battery is band new. I bought it yesterday.

    It is an Everlast PWC battery 16L something...
    If the battery cannot deliver full voltage while cranking, either the battery is no good (even if it is new), or the starter is drawing a huge amount of electrical current.

    That is the real test of a battery - the ability to hold the voltage up while delivering heavy Amps to the starter.

    If the voltage sags drastically while cranking, then there is a problem, and it is usually the battery.

    Even 'new' batteries can be defective.

    Where are you measuring the battery voltage?
    Right on the battery posts (not the bolts or wire ends)?

  7. #7
    Yes, the battery posts. I charged the battery for 3 hours @ 15amps and it holds 12 ish volts while cranking but still just spins the starter but not the engine.

    I have it all apart and going to pull the flywheel tomorrow when I get an impact wrench. The bolt on the flywheel, is it normal or reverse threads. I don't want to damage anything with the impact wrench if the threads are backwards. So turn the nut counter clockwise to get it off? I have a new bendix coming in the next day or so. I have it all apart and I'm going to replace it so I don't have to take this thing apart again for this.

  8. #8
    She likes the bike. But the ski gets her wet!!!! xlint89's Avatar
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    It's a normal thread. Left loosey....

    You'll want to put some rope (or a bungee cord) down the MAG plug hole to hold the crank from spinning. Make sure the piston is up enough the the rope doesn't go into the ports. It will side load it and put alot of stress on the piston.

  9. #9
    Thanks. BTW, Autozone has a harmonic balancer puller #27019 for $15 and if you return it, they treat it like a rental and you get your money back. It comes with an assortment of accessories and fits nicely. I had to do a lot of running around to find one.

    Tonight, I am going to post a pic of that spring I found at the bottom under the flywheel. Maybe somebody will know where it came from. My guess is the bendix.

  10. #10
    SUCCESS! Finally after I removed the flywheel, I found that spring is from the bendix. I replaced the bendix last night and my engine is turning over again. I just have to put the rest back together. I think I can fix that bendix by just replacing that spring. Seems to be the only thing wrong with it.

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