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  1. #1

    1986 Kawasaki JS 550 low compression

    I don't really know much about stand ups at all but figured they looked fun and they weren't to unreasonable so I went and bought a 86 JS 550 (I think that is what it is, I know its a 550) I took it to the lake and it fired right up but would never run long enough to get enough power to really go. We were able to get up on it but it would only run WOT for about 3 seconds then just die out. So since I was like 400 miles from home on vacation I tried to just adjust the jet settings and I got it to the point where it wouldn't fire at all, dumb I know but I didnt have much to loose as it didnt run. So I took it into the shop and they told me that I had low compression on one of the cylinders and maybe a bad pickup from the tank but since he knew for sure it was low compression he didnt even test anything else. So here is where I dont know what to do. The shop wants way more than I paid for it to fix it so that's out. I can just sell it or try to fix it. I'd rather try to fix it as a project but I want a pretty good guide as I dont know much about them. I've worked on 2 stroke dirt bikes and stuff so I know some but not enough to just go rip it apart and start trying to do it. What do you guys suggest and does anyone have a good resource for rebuilding one? ANY help is greatly appreciated! Thanks for everything.

  2. #2
    20 feet Boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Bend OR
    You can nickel and dime your self to death on a ski like that. I had friends a long time ago that spent alot of money on them. I seen alot of electrical problem with them too. Making it hard to find out whats wrong with them. I would take the head off and look at the damage. It might just need to be re ring and maybe fuel lines and rebuild carbs. But if it a electrical it might be a nightmare. I dont known enough about 440-550 to help. I mostly just rode them back them. Good luck Sorry I dint help.

  3. #3
    I dont *think* its electrical and I had the carb apart and cleaned it all out before I ran it with some carb cleaner since I was told it had sat for a year. I'm going to pull the top end off and see how it looks. Thanks for the reply!

  4. #4
    Do a compression check for yourself anything less than like 90 psi is a bad cylinder. I know everything bout these so im the man to tlk to

  5. #5
    I did one on it and both front and rear came back 110psi. I got it to run using the stock settings on the carb I found on SBT and it ran although it smoked pretty bad and wouldn't really rev up at all.
    It's got 3 adjustments on the carb. The gas is new gas i mixed at whatever it says on the front of the ski. Any idea where I should go from here?

  6. #6
    alright bottom out your low speed screw and your high speed. then unscrew "both" 2-2.5 times. and then see how it runs. engine has great compression

  7. #7
    Alright I am about 4 hours from getting off work and I'll go try it out and report back my findings. Thanks for your help!

  8. #8
    yeah PM me or give me a jingle on the cell if you want to talk one on one 630-359-1145. Zach

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2011
    I have a 1991 js 440 i need help too....

    Quote Originally Posted by BADSL900 View Post
    yeah PM me or give me a jingle on the cell if you want to talk one on one 630-359-1145. Zach

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