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Thread: New JS440 owner

  1. #1
    PWCToday Newbie rhyno857's Avatar
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    New JS440 owner

    I wanted to introduce myself and let you guys all know what brought me to this forum. I recently got a Kawasaki JS440 on a trade (shotgun for jetski) and plan on working on it over the winter as a project ski. Seeing how this forum has TONS of information from knowledgeable members I decided to join to help my dream (since age 13) to ride a vintage stand up come ture. I plan on rebuilding the carb and engine over the winter as well and replace the bearings in the drive shaft assembly. The ski seems mostly stock but has Mariner intake grate and full mariner exhaust and waterbox. The previous owner says that it starts and idles but when given gas it bogs out, leads me to believe it a carb issue or crank seal issue.

    Few questions...
    -Should I keep it 440 or build it to 550?
    -If I go to 550 is there anything on the engine that should/needs be changed (besides 55 jug)?
    -Regarding bulkhead brace, is there a design that is better than others?
    -If it stays 440 what would you recommend for impeller? What about 550 impeller? (pretty sure impeller is stock aluminum, looks like its got some cavitation damage)

    js440.jpg

    I am a machinist/programmer by trade and have access to my works machine shop equipment so if I need to make anything I have the capability.

    I will start a build thread once I get into it but i just thought i would get a little pre build info so i can get a solid plan.

    Thanks for your help in advance.
    Last edited by rhyno857; 11-01-2017 at 08:31 AM.

  2. #2
    I dream skis Bionic racing's Avatar
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    Re: New JS440 owner

    What year is that ski ? With training wheels still on the back it shows by pic to be a 82-85 550 hull , sure it's a 440 engine and not a 550 ?

  3. #3
    PWCToday Newbie rhyno857's Avatar
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    Re: New JS440 owner

    From the HIN its an 82 hull (last numbers on the tag right?). Original owner said it was a 440; is there anyway to tell before tearing it down whether its a 440 or 550 engine?

  4. #4
    I dream skis Bionic racing's Avatar
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    Re: New JS440 owner

    Look at pump rear , through steer nozzel , do you see a grease fitting or a black taper plug and no grease fitting , plug will have an internal Allen wrench socket at the end for removal . On engine , look at id sticker on flywheel cover , it will say 440 or 550 if still there , but still may not mean a thing due to age of ski and parts swapping done by previous owner , check anyways
    Last edited by Bionic racing; 11-01-2017 at 02:28 PM.

  5. #5
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home Myself's Avatar
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    Re: New JS440 owner

    My thoughts......Do whatever is absolutely necessary to make it run properly and ride it for a season as is. Then if you love it and are used to it then upgrade it to 550/650/750.
    http://www.facebook.com/twinlakesjetskirepair

    '89 Kawi 650SX 42.4 GPS
    +3" stock pipe, ported ex. manifold, drilled waterbox, blueprinted pump, Ocean Pro ride plate

    '99 Yama GP1200 65U 61.8 GPS
    ported cylinders, matched cases, milled head, blueprinted pump, long ride plate

    '96 Seadoo HX 717 53.13 GPS
    light porting, massaged cases, lightened flywheel, port matched manifolds, Rossier pipe, stubby pump cone

  6. #6
    PWCToday Newbie rhyno857's Avatar
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    Re: New JS440 owner

    No ID tag on flywheel cover, must have been painted before. The cone on the pump has the internal hex. Does that mean it's a 550 pump?

  7. #7
    I dream skis Bionic racing's Avatar
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    Re: New JS440 owner

    Yes it does , now you need to figure out if it's a 550 engine , on early 550s 1985 is 550 cast on cylinders on intake side , if it's a 86-90 it will say 550a

  8. #8
    PWCToday Regular delta rat's Avatar
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    Re: New JS440 owner

    That's 530a not 550a
    '78 js 440 superstock PJS 2400 pipe, pjs extended tank, skat 16
    '87 650sx handling mods, skat 15.5
    '89 550-650 40mm keihin, pipe mod, supertrapp, skat 17
    '90 550-750 (project) 750 SP, Coffman's pipe, Factory waterbox, RHASS 750 pump kit, Hooker 9/15

  9. #9
    PWCToday Newbie rhyno857's Avatar
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    Re: New JS440 owner

    I couldn't find any cast markings on the intake side besides "made in Japan". Is that a strong indication that it is a 440 block? I assume a 440 with 550 pump wouldn't be moving that great in the water.

  10. #10
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home
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    Re: New JS440 owner

    The only way to make sure of the displacement is to measure the cylinder bores. As for the pump, if you keep that 440 pump definitely upgrade to a stainless steel impeller. A lot of racers like the 440 pump for its efficiency at high RPM, but for general freestyle the 550 pump is better (but you need at least a 550 engine to push water through that less efficient pump).
    Riding mostly Lake Austin

    1984 JS440 -- 1989 650sx -- 1991 X2 -- 1992 750sx -- 1995 900zxi (qty 2) -- 1995 X2

    Quote Originally Posted by cujo View Post
    God intended PWC to be two strokes, as well as dirt bikes, snowmobiles, and chain saws....

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