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  1. #1
    Old Atari Nut's Avatar
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    Ok, got a multimeter, would you guys help me check some NO spark issues now??

    Hey guys, sorry its been a little bit but im ready to trouble shoot the NO spark issue now if you guys would help me out a little. I got digital mutimeter and im ready to test battery, stator, cdi wires and things to see if its just a loose wire or bad connection.
    If you remember from my last few posts about my issues with this boat--it went from running great to no spark 2 years ago and has been worked on by like 6 different people, replacing the stator, cdi, checking fuel, compression, fire, ext... everything chcked out fine--just no spark. Finally the last guys that had it thought it was a bad electrical connection so they checked every connection, cleaned, and put back on, "THEN" they cleaned the stop start switch last and then tryed starting it and it started right up!! They said it was a dirty start stop switch, the boat ran perfect for a month---then suddenly NO SPARK again. Tryed cleaning the start stop swith again, Nothing, so bought a brand new one had it installed--No spark!!
    So now im thinking that one of the wires they took off and put back on is bad, or from all the electrical work on it--the stator or cdi has failed again. So thats where i am right now, i am about to winterize the 2nd working boat, and pull them into the garage to start checking things out. Do i need to do any winterizing of the boat i will be working on at all?? Please understand this will be the FIRST time ive ever checked anything out on these skis myself, i would normally ALLWAYS rather just take it and drop it off to someone to fix without touching it myself, but i have no money to do that right now plus we have taken them to EVERYONE around that works on PWC and no one can help us, but i have faith in you guys and myself, we can do it--RIGHT??
    So where should we start--remember its my first time but i can follow directions well, pictures, tuturials ext... Thanks in advanced for your help and patience with a newb


  2. #2
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    That's the spirit!

    You have two identical 1997 SLTX 1050 - correct?

    One is working just fine, and the other has had the entire electrical gone over, eventually repairing the start/stop switch got it going, and it ran well for a month. And no you have no spark again. Have I got this right?

    FIRST thing with no spark is ALWAYS to check the battery. Set your multi-meter to DC volts (20Volt range if it has ranges). Connect it to the battery posts (one meter probe to each battery post, red to battery positive, black to negative).

    Be careful to not short the positive battery post to any other metal, just hold the probe against the battery post. Meter should read about 12.5 volts.

    While watching the meter, press the start button and crank the engine. What voltage does the meter show while the engine is cranking?

    If it is less than 11 volts while cranking, your battery is weak, or needs charging. If it is less than 10.6 volts, that will cause a no spark condition. Battery voltage during cranking MUST be at least 10.6 volts.

    Do this test, and let us know what you find.

  3. #3
    Old Atari Nut's Avatar
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    Yes 2 1997 sltx.
    Yes on the next ? as well, sorta, just when they went through the electrical system the last step they did before starting was cleaning the start stop switch, then they tryed it and it started---so 1 of them was like "i think cleaning the s/s sw is what did it, the other one said they should have tryed starting it after the electrical was all tested and before the s/s sw was cleaned, so it could have been any # of wires "OR" the s/s sw, they just thought it was the s/s sw, after it went out again, thats why we bought a new one and had it replaced, but it didnt help at all, thats why i think it was one of the stator/ cdi/ext... wires they checked. Did that make since??
    I have the batery charging right now just to make sure its full when i start checking it!! I will get back as soon as i check the battery, THANKS!!!!

  4. #4
    Old Atari Nut's Avatar
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    Allright--
    12.5v
    11.3v while cranking

  5. #5
    Old Atari Nut's Avatar
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    Hey guys, just keep in mind im a little nervous about breaking into the electrical box and doing this just because of the newb syndrome, but im ready to do it with some of your help if any of you can help walk me through the testing? A few questions, do i need to be careful touching certain things to certain things, ground something, disconnect battery, ext... What tools might i need besides the multimeter? does the electrical box just open up where it is or does it unbolt and lift up a little out of where it is for easier access?? I told you i was a total newb at this, please dont laugh I got the 1992-1998 polaris service manual and i will read through the electrical sections today to get familier with the termonology and get an idea what we will be doing!! So i will be ready as soon as any of you might have a little time to help direct me through this. I know everyone is buzy and has lives, jobs, families and stuff so i dont just expect you guys to just drop everything to help me with this, but i know you guys love to help newbs with stuff like this, you have allready been very helpful to me and so many other people, its awesome to see how you guys are willing to give of your time to keep up with this site and help people fix all sorts of issues, problems ext.. what a cool community!! So i got all sappy and said all that to say a BIG THANKS for what youve done what your doing and being there to help us tomorrow!!
    OK im ready lets do this!!

  6. #6
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Arrow How to open the electrical box.

    Well, here goes...

    For safety, disconnect the heavy battery cable from the negative post on the battery. That heavy wire runs from the battery directly to the engine block or engine bed plate. The battery itself will often have the negative terminal marked with a - symbol. The other post is the positive post, marked with a + symbol.

    With the battery negative post isolated, it is almost impossible to damage or short anything. Just keep the battery negative post covered, and don't drop any tools or objects onto the battery top.

    Now you can refer to the manual, and access the electrical box. It is held closed with a set of bolts around the perimeter. Undo the bolts, and you should be able to work the box open.

    Anytime you need to reconnect the battery, and do electrical checks 'live', or even run the engine with the electrical box open, take precautions to ensure the box does not touch or fall onto the battery, or get caught by the rotating drive shaft coupler.

  7. #7
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    This article by Jay will give you a pretty fair understanding of the PVL electrical system.

    Courtesy 4strokepolaris:
    PVL IGNITIONS EXPLAINED
    By Jason Lorenz(Jay)


    The ignition system in your Domestic powered Polaris is manufactured by PVL and made in Germany. It is one of the best performance ignitions made for power sports applications; it’s a true digital ignition system. Polaris has always been a performance oriented company striving to lead the industry in all it has produced. That being said, they contacted PVL to make a system for their watercraft. The first system was used in the 1996 production line up, the Hurricane, SL/SLT 700, SL 900 and SLTX 1050. These first few years would be tough and needed some revised parts. There are a few ways to identify the PVL ignition system in your machine.

    First is the CDI. This is the black box that is located in your electrical box. It tells the coils when to fire and how long to saturate the primary side of the ignition coil. It can be one of three boxes. The first being the red potted (color of epoxy where the wires exit the CDI) with a com port. This was found on very early boats and if you have one in your boat you should upgrade when you get the chance, it WILL fail. The second generation box is red potted with a com port next to where the wires exit the CDI. This is programmable and adjustable, better than the first generation but not the best. The third is the current black potted unit with a com port and is the best CDI ever produced by PVL for the Polaris watercraft. These rarely have any issues and are the toughest part of the ignition system. Over the years, I have had only 6 bad boxes which are black potted and most were something other than a non start spark problem (will not hold a steady timing degree, etc...).

    Stators are the weakest link in the PVL system and fail often. The latest version is the strongest and the life expectancy is far greater than that of the early units. The earlier stators did some crazy things such as limit boats to 3-4000RPM’s, no spark, jump timing, drain batteries etc. Early stators are easily identified by the plug ends and the white insulation around the trigger coils. If you have one of these, better get a new one, it will fail you soon. Stators currently have four versions. There is a twin with an 8 pin plug and one with multi-connectors. Same with the triples, one with an 8 pin plug and one with multi-connectors. You can use either twin stator or either triple stator, the difference is that plug. Now here is the nice part. If you have a stator with a multi plug you can get yourself an adapter that allows you to use the 8 pin plug.

    You plug the harness in at the electrical board and the connector stays outside the box. This leaves you with a nice, easy disconnect for engine removal and stator changes. Now you can only use this stator if you have upgraded your ignition system because the wiring is different. The nice thing is that you can just order a stator for a newer boat and not waste the money on the stuff you don't need. Below are the part numbers for the connectors.
    When you use these connectors you must order this stator, 4010170 triple, 4010172 twins. Connectors come with the rubber packing in them for the electrical box.


    Why does a stator go bad?
    Well, over the years, this is what I have found. BVS-battery voltage spike (charging the battery while in the craft at too high amperage, not having the battery isolated (disconnected), jump starting the craft with a running vehicle, incorrectly used jumper pack, battery connection arcing from loose connections (grounds and post connections), pour grounding of stator (i.e. corrosion/early stator poor design), over revving engine (spinning a modded engine over 7600 rpm [they lose the ability to ground or properly dissipate heat]). A lot of heat increases resistance and makes for a poor ground. The heat comes from the stator creating the amperage needed to power the electrical system. The stator cannot dissipate the heat fast enough through the aluminum stator plate and flywheel housing (this is why the fuel injected models with the big stators need to run water through the front housing). The additional water through the stator cover cools off the aluminum so that the stator does not burn up. This mod can be performed easily and for little expense, depending on your model of course. With these being the common items of failure you will still get the “normal” failure as well.

    Coils are tough units.
    As in all applications, PWC, ATV, Motorcycles & Cars, these rarely fail. There are a few times when they do, but, it’s not usually the case. The triples do not get an updated coil when getting an ignition upgrade kit. I think I have seen maybe 5 bad coils with the Polaris PVL ignitions for the triples. There is a newer version of the coils-red podded being older and black podded the newer version with sockets for the high tension leads (spark plug wires). Both are very good units. The 700 twins get new coils/wires with their kit. The newer version has sockets for the high tension leads and has wings to lie in the electrical box.

    OK, so know you are armed with the major components of this system. There are a few other items but we’ll cover them later!!!!!!

    You have no spark!

    Purchase a multi-meter (they are inexpensive, starting at about 30.00) and will help you with trouble shooting other items in the future.

    Do you have a good battery?
    It must be fully charged and have at least 10.6 VDC while cranking your unit (measured at battery). A bad or weak battery will drive even the best techs nuts. Charge and load check them when you have a no spark condition. Make sure the battery level is topped off. If the battery is weak, you will usually see a spark just as you let off the start button.
    The battery plays a large role because it is a digital ignition and needs a strong battery to fire the coil, run the diodes, capacitors, and micro-processors in the CDI box and stator.

    Once the battery passes the test.

    Please get a service manual before going any further. You must check the stator and other ignition components for good continuity. Some of the reading that you are going to get from the stator might not be exactly as mentioned in the service manual.
    Here are some of the tests that I have come up with. Keep in mind, this is just a guide and not a “how to” so you must understand all of the components in your system.
    Not mentioned is the LR module which fits the later boats and operates the start/stop and bilge.

    Check all your connections at battery and engine grounds through the box and check you terminal board in you electrical box and see if they are corroded. Also check the terminals on the board. Move them and see if any are loose. You also need to check the back of the board and make sure it is not all corroded or rusted , it should have dielectric grease on the back of the board. This helps the corrosion factor and keeps moisture out.

    Checking the connections and wires; This can be done with a meter on the ohms scale and or the VDC (volts d.c.) to measure voltage drop. you should not have any more than 1 ohm and no more than .5 VDC drop on any given wire/circuit. Be sure to check ground at engine block and to electrical box as well.

    While you are in the box disconnect the black/yellow wires at the terminal board (this is your shut off/kill circuit) and will take it out of the equation.
    If you still have no spark, re-attach the wire back to the terminal board so that when the engine fires, you’ll be able to shut it down.

    Disconnect the grey wire going to the CDI box (this is the limiter and sometime if you have a bad CDI will ground out and not cause any spark. You can leave this unplugged during the testing procedure.

    OK now check for 12 volts on your red purple wire going to the CDI box. If you do not have 12 volts start back tracking on the wire to find where the wire has lost it’s 12 volt source. The wires off the circuit breaker are known for corroding.
    Check for voltage drop across the circuit breaker as well as an ohms test. You are looking again for no more than .5 VDC drop and no more than 1.0 ohm of resistance. You should have battery voltage on the supply wire to the circuit breaker. If you have no power, trace and restore the 12 volt supply.
    Now unplug the brown wire at the CDI box. This is your feed to the stator that will supply voltage to the trigger coils. With your meter on volts dc put the black to engine ground and red to the brown wire coming out of the CDI box. Make sure that you are on the right wire here (you want the one coming out of the CDI box). Crank the engine over and you should see 7-9 VDC. If you have the 7-9 volts then your CDI is supplying voltage to the stator and chances are the stator is bad.

    If you have no voltage leaving the CDI, perform the following test;
    With that same brown wire disconnected at the CDI box do the following. Find the wire going to the stator (again make sure you have the right wire). Get yourself a 9 volt battery and put the negative side of the 9 volt battery to engine ground and the positive to the brown wire going to the stator. Crank engine over and see if you have spark. If you have spark, you have just verified the CDI box is bad as it does not supply power to the stator.
    If it doesn’t spark, you probably have a bad stator.

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