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  1. #1

    97 XP -- Cranks But No Start

    I have a 97 XP and it will not start. Iíve owned this ski since 1998. This time last year, I pulled it out of storage. The tank had a couple of gallons of the previous seasonís fuel. Filled it up with fresh fuel on the way to the ramp. Launched it and ran it for 20 minutes to bring it home to my dock. It hit 55 MPH on its speedo. A week later, I couldn't get it to start. I did some of the things below last summer and more of them in the last two weeks.

    I get two beeps when I attach the lanyard. (Usually get two beeps. But for years the beeper has been intermittent.) The VTS gauge works. (Gas gauge hasn't worked for years.) It cranks strongly and I can smell gas if I pump the throttle. After trying everything, if I remove the lanyard and push the start button, I get one long beep.

    Hereís what Iíve done:
    • Put in new plugs.
    • Removed the airbox and squirted fresh 50:1 mix in.
    • Took out the plugs and squirted 50:1 mix in the cylinders. Re-installed plugs and tried it again.
    • Siphoned a few gallons of fuel out of the tank. Shook it up to distribute and then poured some into a glass jar. No sign of water in the jar 24 hours later. At this point, can I rule out fuel issues?
    • Grounded each plug to the head and can see spark.
    • Checked compression. 155 PSI in each cylinder.
    • Thoroughly charged the battery. My meter showed 14.5 volts before I started cranking it. After a few minutes of cranking, the battery showed 12.9 volts. While cranking, it dropped down to 12.0 volts but rebounded back to 12.9 when I let up on the starter.
    • Opened the front electrical box and checked the 15 amp fuse. It was good. Didnít see any other fuses in there.
    • Checked all the fuses on the MPEM.
    • Saw some corrosion on the terminal on the coil where the four black wires connect. Took them off, cleaned them up, added dielectric grease and reattached.
    • Cleaned the terminal where the ground wire from the battery connects to the block.
    • Cleaned the RAVE valves. First time ever and they were really gunky.
    • Eventually replaced the coil (which came with new plug wires). Still using the original boots.

    So I have fuel, spark and air. What else could be keeping this thing from starting? It cranks strongly but will never ever, even for a moment, fire.


  2. #2
    flyin' the friendly skies airbornexp's Avatar
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    you may have spark but may not be enough. trim the plug wires back 1/4" and reinstall the boot. next I would look into replacing the fuel lines, pulling the carbs, cleaning the fuel screens and replacing the needle and seats.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by airbornexp View Post
    you may have spark but may not be enough. trim the plug wires back 1/4" and reinstall the boot. next I would look into replacing the fuel lines, pulling the carbs, cleaning the fuel screens and replacing the needle and seats.
    Thanks. I neglected to mention I did trim the original wires back and reinstalled boots with no success. I also pulled the other end of the wires off the coil and checked for corrosion in the recesses in the coil (didn't see any) and cleaned up that end of the wires and reinstalled the original coil. I never felt the way the wires attach to the coil is a reliable connection and that was one of the reasons I broke down and bought a new coil with factory installed wires.

    When I put my original boots on the new wires, should I have trimmed back any of the insulation on the wires? I just jammed the boots on the wires. I did see spark when I grounded to the head so I think that is not the problem.

    I replaced all gray fuel lines, pulled carbs and cleaned carb screens the winter before this problem surfaced. Had no problems starting it after that project. I did not clean or replace any carb needles or seats. But if it still doesn't fire after spraying fresh 50:1 mix directly into the carbs and cylinders, I don't see how fuel could be the issue.

  4. #4
    flyin' the friendly skies airbornexp's Avatar
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    if the needle and seats are froze open or closed it wont start

  5. #5
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
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    Captain Pete says:

    your rotary valve is screwed
    <da-da dahhhhh>

    if you are getting fuel in the engine and it is sparking you should get something..even a backfire if the ignition timing is way off. If you are getting any spit back thru the carbs pull off the intake and have a look at the rotary valve. Careful not to pull it off the shaft..timing requires a degree wheel and some patience if the engine isn't on the bench. More then often the engine will be coming out. I tore out some hair the first time I ran into one of those..it doesn't take much to screw up the rv gear btw..i'ts brass

    Of course the easier suspect is the flywheel key..but it will be easier to check the RV then the flywheel on an xp.

  6. #6
    flyin' the friendly skies airbornexp's Avatar
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    curious on why you think its the rotary valve if the cover hasnt been off?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by nmpeter View Post
    Captain Pete says:

    your rotary valve is screwed
    <da-da dahhhhh>

    if you are getting fuel in the engine and it is sparking you should get something..even a backfire if the ignition timing is way off. If you are getting any spit back thru the carbs pull off the intake and have a look at the rotary valve. Careful not to pull it off the shaft..timing requires a degree wheel and some patience if the engine isn't on the bench. More then often the engine will be coming out. I tore out some hair the first time I ran into one of those..it doesn't take much to screw up the rv gear btw..i'ts brass

    Of course the easier suspect is the flywheel key..but it will be easier to check the RV then the flywheel on an xp.
    +1. I bet the brass gear stripped.

  8. #8
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by airbornexp View Post
    curious on why you think its the rotary valve if the cover hasnt been off?
    seen it before..many times..sometimes a choke plate screw is the culprit..anything that gets in there bugs it up..and sometimes the cases get trashed ( depending on what it is). SBT does exchange covers at a bearable price, but the real pain comes from replacing the rv gear and maybe the crank if it is really really trashed ( like no oil for example).

    Shadetree guys that don't know specifics of seadoo pull this all the time. They switch to premix or somebody convinces them the oil pumps are unreliable and pull em off) and don't give a thought to where the rv get's it's oil from. It's the " should run but doesn't" syndrome. Everything "looks" right and what engine with a spark won't backfire if harassed enough.

    spitting back from the carb ( like a bad reed valve for example) is a dead giveaway

  9. #9
    flyin' the friendly skies airbornexp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmpeter View Post
    seen it before..many times..sometimes a choke plate screw is the culprit..anything that gets in there bugs it up..and sometimes the cases get trashed ( depending on what it is). SBT does exchange covers at a bearable price, but the real pain comes from replacing the rv gear and maybe the crank if it is really really trashed ( like no oil for example).

    Shadetree guys that don't know specifics of seadoo pull this all the time. They switch to premix or somebody convinces them the oil pumps are unreliable and pull em off) and don't give a thought to where the rv get's it's oil from. It's the " should run but doesn't" syndrome. Everything "looks" right and what engine with a spark won't backfire if harassed enough.

    spitting back from the carb ( like a bad reed valve for example) is a dead giveaway
    makes sense...learn something new everyday. thanks for the clarification!

  10. #10
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
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    we'll see what the post mortum is on this ob. The very first time I ran into one of these bad rv's I literally tore my hair out trying to figure what went wrong. The engines "sound" like they are cranking well.

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