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  1. #1

    Help, 97 SPX Battery ground cable?

    Today at the lake, the connector piece on my battery ground cable snapped in half (the actual copper piece that is crimped onto the ground wire and then attached to the crank casing via a bolt, the actual copper piece broke in half.

    So, I assume I have to buy a whole new cable and there's no way to just buy the connector piece- in the parts catalog it seems to be a whole cable and I had an end connector laying around from a car job I did awhile ago and it's not the same size unfortunately (too big).

    Anyway when I looked up the battery ground cable in the parts catalog it's VERY short - way too short to reach from the ground on the battery to the crank case where it is currently attached. Does that mean the cable that is used right now isn't the right one? The cable currently just goes straight from the ground on the battery to the crank case, and there is a separate small cable coming off the ground on the battery that then connects to something else within the electric system (almost like it was put there as an afterthought.

    Just trying to figure out what to do here. If I order something like this:

    It will definitely not reach the same length the current one is, also it looks different from my current cable ( the current cable is a simple cable with 2 end connectors and nothing in the middle like that one has). Seems like my current setup is different from stock (which might make sense since it had an engine replacement a year or so before I bought it).

    Any advice anyone can offer would be appreciated, thanks!

  2. #2
    steach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Rock Tavern, NY
    a good ground can be done in many ways.
    -be sure to ground the small(14 gauge'ish) lead from the coil (black box) to your battery - . Your ski will not run w/out this ground.

  3. #3
    lextoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Brigantine, NJ
    ok trick to redo the ground.
    do NOT run it to its original location. use a similar gauge wire,
    look in the ski, near the battery is the engine block, there is the manifold pretty close to the battery, with several unused threaded holes in the engine block. chase one of the holes with a thread chaser to remove the paint/powdercoat in the hole.
    find a bolt that is correct thread that will screw into that hole.
    this is your new ground point on the block. make or buy a ground cable to go from battery to this new point, leave a few inches slack as the engine vibrates a bit.
    i did this on my 97 spx works great. read about it at common problem on the 787, terrible location on the oem ground cable, gets wet all the time and rots the cable until it falls off!! i'll look to see if theres info online at from when i did it, maybe someone here knows the correct thread bolt you need for one of those holes i'm talkin about. get a SS hex head bolt.

  4. #4
    Thanks lextoy and steach - I'll check out autozone today to see if they carry cheap ground cables that will 'fit'. The biggest issue for me is the ground end connectors they carry are too big to fit on the jet ski (the hole is too large for the screws on the battery etc). Anyway I'll check into that either way and see what they have.

    Separate related question - would having 'less' ground connection actually provide less power to the starter? We jury rigged the ground cable at the lake when it fell off and basically used the tiny bit of flat surface of the copper connector that was left and shoved it under another screw on the engine block, tightened it down, and then wrapped wiring around the two to 'hold them together'. But the actual surface connection of the ground cable was probably 25% max what it was in the old spot. The real issue was after 4 hours or so of this working fine, the jet ski failed to start where the starter would go 'chunk...chunk...chunk' and it did that slower and slower until pushing the start button didn't do anything.

    I got home and the battery voltage was still at 12.67 which is normally way more than enough to start the ski so I'm wondering if the voltage provided to the starter would be lowered due to the crappy ground or if something else on the ski is wrong. Any ideas?

  5. #5
    Update: I actually had a battery end connector (new) laying around in my garage that the existing bolt fit through and I was able to crimp it on my battery ground cable and reattach it perfectly, so that's good. I checked the voltage of the battery and it's 12.63 but the starter wont turn over (well, it did once, 'chunk') when I hit the starter it just beeps loudly. I'm assuming that means 'not enough power'? How high does the battery voltage need to be to run the starter? I would think 12.63 is enough considering the battery maxes out at 13.65 or so - I'm charging it now. Any ideas on whether having the 'bad ground' connection would have prevented the battery from charging while the ski was in use? (and for that matter how DOES the battery charge while the ski is running? There isn't an alternator is there?)

  6. #6
    surferd15's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Save yourself a headache and replace the ground wire, get one at advance or autozone $9 bux and be done with it. They corrode internally so your end might look good but its not. The bad end is prob the end on the starter, and if the end by your battery broke then your wire is def corroded. Either run it to the starter, or do what lextoy suggested. The motor uses a stator magnets and coiled wire to produce voltage.

  7. #7
    Actually it was the starter side that broke (or at least the side that connects to the engine block or whatever its connecting to on the forward-side of the engine. The copper piece that was crimped to the end of the cable basically snapped.

    I pulled the whole cable out and the wiring itself underneath the end-connector was fine, and the connector and wiring on the battery side is fine too. I recrimped a new connector on the end that broke (after cutting off 1/2" of wire along with the connector that was still there) and everything seems OK from the cable standpoint, unless you're saying the center of the cable could corrode or something but I find that unlikely, it's super thick, braided, and has a very thick shield on it, and the end wiring (the part that is actually crimped) was in pretty good shape.

    That being said, I should probably clean off the engine area that the ground is connected to to make sure there isn't a 'grease shield' between the connector and the block.

  8. #8
    flyin' the friendly skies airbornexp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Mahomet, Il. USA
    it doesnt have to be seadoo to make it work. go to your local auto parts store and make your own. get the connectors and solder them with the new wire....see your other thread to see where to put it.

  9. #9
    lextoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Brigantine, NJ
    i bet your battery connections are not good.
    replace the neg cable.
    clean both ends where it attaches for a good connection.
    also check the pos cable and clean the connections.

    you can also go into the black box and check/clean the connections in there.

    quick test would be to use a jumper cable in place of the neg battery cable, ground it to anything bare metal on the block.
    i have even used a mini jumper and grounded to the hex part of the spark plug.

    see if it cranks good and starts. then you know its the neg cable still.
    25% coonection would not have been bad if it ws a good connection, i bet it wasnt so good, amybe fried your rectifer, check to see the ski is still charging when its running

  10. #10
    Well the ski cranks good and starts now that the battery is charged again, though I'm having other issues with the battery - it stops charging at 13.05 and used to charge to 13.65 or so IIRC.

    The cable really seems good and solid with the new connector on it - I completely replaced the connector on the block side and the connector on the battery side looks perfectly fine, the cable is tight all the way along the length with no give anywhere. I'm trying to avoid paying for something it seems like I really don't need. Even when the battery is off the ski it still only charges to 13.05. I'm waiting for the battery on my other ski to finish charging to see what the difference is between the two batteries at 'full charge', wondering if maybe the battery is just 'going bad'.

    I'll check at the actual auto parts store tomorrow and see what I can find for a ground wire though just in case.

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