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  1. #1

    Newbie bought a '97 Kawasaki 900 STX, rebuilding it

    Hello all. I'm new to PWC(s) but am mechanically inclined. I bought a '97 Kawasaki 900 STX off of Craigslist with a "bad starter" knowing fully what I was likely getting myself into. I got it home and quickly determined that the engine was locked up so I pulled it from the ski. From there I also determined that the jet pump is locked up.

    Since I bought it for essentially free and I like working on things I've decided to fix it up. I'm really looking for advice as to what I should make sure I pay attention to so that it will be reliable in the future.

    I've ordered:

    - SBT Refurb Engine
    - Jet pump rebuild kit
    - Refurb SBT impeller
    - Carb rebuild kits
    - All the gaskets
    - Premix conversion kit

    I've already pulled the engine and jetpump from the ski and all my new parts will be here on Monday. I'm planning on removing the fuel tank and cleaning it good, replacing the fuel filter, replacing all the fuel lines, rebuilding the carbs, overhauling the jet pump, converting to premix, and putting the refurb engine in.

    Anything else I should pay close attention to? Any good information as to how I do the alignment of the motor and jetpump? I'm trying to do this job right so that I can trust that this ski will be reliable into the future.


  2. #2
    steve45's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard, Jesse!

    Wish you had come here sooner. 'SBT' and 'reliable' usually aren't used in the same sentence. But who knows, you might get lucky.

    Shims are used under the engine mount to align it to the driveshaft. If there were any when you took the old engine out, put them in the same place with the new one and it should be close. You may have to fine-tune it.

    You might change the fuel filter, or backflush it. Inspect the hoses and replace any that are brittle and/or cracked.

    The 900 engines were a pain to tune the carbs on. Make sure you start with the mixture adjustments slightly rich so you don't burn it up. Also, during break-in, your pre-mix ratio should be about 25:1.

    Don't forget, if you run it on the flush hose, NEVER allow the water to run when the engine is off. Start the engine, THEN turn on the water. Turn off the water, THEN turn off the engine.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by steve45 View Post
    Welcome aboard, Jesse!

    Wish you had come here sooner. 'SBT' and 'reliable' usually aren't used in the same sentence. But who knows, you might get lucky.
    Ouch..hope I don't run into an issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by steve45
    Shims are used under the engine mount to align it to the driveshaft. If there were any when you took the old engine out, put them in the same place with the new one and it should be close. You may have to fine-tune it.
    This is where I wish I would have known more about jetskis before I pulled the motor. I do recall after removing it seeing a washer on the bottom and thinking "That's odd, I wonder where that came from". I suspect it might have been used as a shim but have no idea which mount it was on. I'm going to be starting from zero with the jetpump and motor as far as alignment goes. Any suggestions as to how I go about it?

    Quote Originally Posted by steve45
    Don't forget, if you run it on the flush hose, NEVER allow the water to run when the engine is off. Start the engine, THEN turn on the water. Turn off the water, THEN turn off the engine.
    I don't even see a place for me to hook a hose up to this thing. Do I need to buy some kind of kit? If so, which hose does it end up feeding into?

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    steve45's Avatar
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    When you bolt up the engine, look at how the two halves of the couplers line up. If they aren't quite straight, put some shims under the engine to adjust it up.

    The factory flush port is a brass fitting with a rubber cap on it. There should be a hose clamp holding the cap on. Loosen the clamp, slide off the cap, slide on a 5/8" garden hose, and tighten the clamp. A lot of people remove this setup and replace it with an adaptor that accepts a threaded hose fitting.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by steve45 View Post
    When you bolt up the engine, look at how the two halves of the couplers line up. If they aren't quite straight, put some shims under the engine to adjust it up.

    The factory flush port is a brass fitting with a rubber cap on it. There should be a hose clamp holding the cap on. Loosen the clamp, slide off the cap, slide on a 5/8" garden hose, and tighten the clamp. A lot of people remove this setup and replace it with an adaptor that accepts a threaded hose fitting.
    Will do. How should I go about aligning the jet pump?

  6. #6
    steve45's Avatar
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    Put the pump on first, then align the engine to it.

    The best way to do it is remove the driveshaft bearing holder and clean off any sealant. Bolt up the pump and engine, put sealant on the bearing holder, then put the screws in the holder and snug it down. Rotate the crank a few times with the starter during the process and watch the drive coupling.

    What are you flying in your avatar?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by steve45 View Post
    Put the pump on first, then align the engine to it.

    The best way to do it is remove the driveshaft bearing holder and clean off any sealant. Bolt up the pump and engine, put sealant on the bearing holder, then put the screws in the holder and snug it down. Rotate the crank a few times with the starter during the process and watch the drive coupling.

    What are you flying in your avatar?
    That's how I'll do it, thanks.

    The picture is me flying my Experimental Flybaby. Single seater home built wood and fabric airplane with a Contiental A75 engine.

  8. #8
    steve45's Avatar
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    Going to Oshkosh?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by steve45 View Post
    Going to Oshkosh?
    Planning on it. Camping in the war bird camping area. Assuming nothing breaks on the flybaby before then I will fly it there. If not will probably fly something else there.

  10. #10
    steve45's Avatar
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    Everyone should go at least once!

    I've been 11 times, but it's been a long time. I think '92 was the last time we went.

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