js550 doesnt circle - PWC Forum: The best hang-out for Personal WaterCraft enthusiasts
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-21-2010, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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Angry js550 doesnt circle

I have a 1981 js440 with a 550 engine that i built over the winter, I took it out for the first time this weekend, im just learning to ride so obviously i fell off, and my jet ski kept going straight, luckily it died and only went about 100 feet. The steering cable seems free enough but im not sure, my service manual doesnt say much about it.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-31-2011, 08:31 PM
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I think I would just go with a kill switch to be safe. They are about $35.00 or so on Ebay. Then its just like any jetski, you fall off, it dies.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-25-2011, 06:44 PM
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Idle speed adjustment

Raise idle speed by turning in idle screw.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-29-2011, 09:36 AM
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Could be that your cable is stiff. Remove the cable from the steering pate and move back and forth. It should move easily without much resistance. Another thing to check is to make sure that you have not tightened down your steering sub plate (where the handle bars attach) too much. This should also move back and forth with very little effort.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-25-2012, 08:15 PM
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I have an old1976 js400 jet Ski. the throttle and steering cable and steering plate are good beginning points. my steering plate is a little loose and needs to be tightened. My circling works OK. The throttle cable/steering cables and steering plate I lubricated, don't know if this helps. Kill switches can run up to 70 bucks on fleabay. A proper fitting one into start/stop switch box w/ good lanyard is cheap insurance compared to replacing an entire hull.

if you persistant on repairing circling, go to area where friend can meet ski at shore before ski crashes into shore. this will work as long as ski does not partially circle and the go straight. Several friends to catch ski would be best. I want my idle set JUST fast enough for ski to move and not die in water. A ski this speed may still get away from you, but shouldn't be overly fast.

The original Jet ski video, "A Jet Ski Story" on You Tube-- I believe is a good refence point for circling speed, slow and easy. Remember, the user is supposed to be fallen off, waiting for the ski to return like a faithful puppy. The speed slow helps user to swim and catch up w/ ski and remount easier too. My idle is still turned down a little too low and ski dies in water when off, a self kill switch. I still want to adjust idle for self circling. a ski going the minimum speed(1 to 3 MPH ) without dying at idle in water, can this cause serious damge to hull? It would be hard to believe so other than minor cosmetic.

just thinking of it, get some pool spagetti, or other large foam items to "bumper ski" to avoid hitting rocks or shore--directly in front of ski when tuning for self circling mode. I will do this for mine when adusting idle.

please posts updates what fixed your circling, this seems to be a common problem w/ older jet skis and could help a lot of people

Last edited by 1976js400; 11-25-2012 at 08:42 PM.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-09-2012, 12:01 AM
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did some pm today

Did some pm today on my js400. The steering plate got loose the last time took it out. The circling feature almost was delayed once and I got a little worried. Was able to temporarily tighten enough to keep riding that day.
Thesteering plate was too loose still.

Kawasaki recommends checking and tightening steering after so many hours of riding. The first nut I did no problem, the second same nut use to lock both in place was a trick to tighten down without making the steering plate overly stiff to move. My tech checked steering before putting ski on water and said steering is good and loose. CHECK this adjustment. There appears to be two washers that look semi porous, lightly oiled the steering and these washers , to overcome any inital friction to help ensure self circling starts quickly when off.

Make sure your steering cable moves freely, was it ever oiled w/ light lubricant?. Make sure your handle bar grips are not too large at end , bumping into hydroturf on hull--turn steering both ways w/ pontoon all the way down--simulating ski running w/ rider off. Your steering should turn freely, grips and hydroturf pad should not interfere w/ steering in pontoon down position. Do you have aftermarket parts that interfere w/ steering?

Any Kawasaki techs or engineers that can chime in would be great too.
I'll post reply with my first spring ride on self circling status. I use this feature since where I ski isn't crowded and circling is convenient.

I still not advanced enough to say I don't need this!!!

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-19-2012, 06:56 PM
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We just back the idle adjusting screw out (not mixture screw) so when you're not on the throttle it dies. I only let it idle on its own for carb tuning. No need to buy a switch or pray it circles. If you ride in waves it won't circle anyway

..Cape Cod Jet Sports..

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