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A few years ago I came across an interesting CL ad in Illinois offering a Jet Ski for $20. The ad said nothing about it's condition or what it was, but shoot, $20! I went and picked it up, it's an old kawasaki.





I cleaned the resident mice and vacuumed the 3" of water out of the hull and spent a few hours scrubbing and de scuzzing. I even went as far as to take the spark plugs out and let some WD-40 sit in there overnight. I freed the crank by hand and got the starter working. I put the plugs in and turned it over and the engine fired a little on WD40! I cleaned the carb out and put some fresh gas in the tank and got it running...sort of... It filled the whole neighborhood with white smoke, but ran. After the second try the starter blew up. I bought a used one off ebay for $30 and when I put it on, the engine didn't seem to want to crank over as fast, I haven't fooled with it since.

Due to the shoddy maintenance & jury rigs I have come across in this ski, I assume if by some miracle I do get this engine running smoothly, it will explode the farthest from shore possible, so I may be in the market for a serviceable engine.

I just wanted to introduce myself and my $50 worth of jet ski. I'll probably be fooling around with it over the next few weeks and may need some assistance and used parts. Thanks in advance!
 

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sweet deal. I got my 550 out of some guys basement for $125 and thought that was a steal.

your ebay starter probably just has tarnished brushes, pretty common problem for a starter thats been sitting for a while.
Might want to try just running it for 20 seconds or so at a time sitting on the workbench where it can spin up real fast. Sometimes they will kinda polish themselves like that.
 

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20 bucks what a steal..I got my 2 for $100 each and my third for free from my cousin. The wiring in your pictures look really thin and frayed. I had the same problem on 1 of mine. First thing i would do is change the main wires to a heavier gauge so they dont heat up, and allow more power to the starter. dont forget to have a good ground from the engine block to the electrical box. good luck.
 

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those look like the stock battery leads to me, youre not trying to crank a truck. Make sure that all the contacts are clean and not tarnished. and like moonracer said, a good ground can make a huge difference.
 
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