88 JS550 Start before rebuild?
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  1. #1
    PWCToday Newbie
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    88 JS550 Start before rebuild?

    Hey all, New here, and have a question. I have been given a 1988 JS 550 that is BONE STOCK and pretty Clean (Stock Decals/Matt/Carb etc..) It was put away running, in 1998! Haha. Anyway, so this will be a decent winter redo for my kids and I. I am planning New Seals, Top end, Connections Etc....What my question is, Knowing it needs minimally new seals, Am I OK getting it to start, before I do this work? I ask because even though it was free, I dont want to throw any $$ into it, only to find out it is a lost cause? I do know already, It turns over, and as far as the original owner remembers, never rebuilt.
    What do you think?
    TJ

  2. #2
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home Rushford_Ripper's Avatar
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    Re: 88 JS550 Start before rebuild?

    Throw some fogging oil down the plug holes, fresh gas in tank, a battery and see if she fires. Then after that, do a compression check.
    Last edited by Rushford_Ripper; 12-08-2017 at 01:07 PM.


  3. #3
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    Re: 88 JS550 Start before rebuild?

    Thanks! Thats what I was thinking...Just wanted to see if it would run before I start buying Gaskets/Seals/ETC....

  4. #4
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home BLRider's Avatar
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    Re: 88 JS550 Start before rebuild?

    id get it running before i tore it down - mostly as a challenge but also to prove that it fired.
    Never argue with an idiot, they will drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.

  5. #5
    I dream skis Bob Gruen's Avatar
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    Re: 88 JS550 Start before rebuild?

    Running it no-load won't prove a whole lot. Even weak spark or other wonky ignition problems may not be evident until you actually splash it.

    I'd actually suggest you open the bottom end without starting it. You do not need a gasket kit as you can just remove the bottom half of the crank case which will require case sealant to reassemble. That way you get to see the crank before running it, which will clean up the bearings a bit. I'd rather see them as stored. Buying carb and intake manifold gaskets and replacing them is a good idea, but I would leave the exhaust side alone.

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  6. #6
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    Re: 88 JS550 Start before rebuild?

    Yes your safe with getting it to run now. I'm with Bob on this one for running it no load. In the water and on the stand are two very different things. However, I don't think you should tear anything down before running proper diagnostics.

    I would do the following before taking anything apart:
    1 - Check compression
    2 - Leak down test on the lower unit to verify crank seals

    99% of the time it will need a carb cleaning/rebuild for it to run after sitting that long. If those 2 diagnostics check out, then don't do anything and ride it like it's stolen. If you actually end up riding it consistently for the next year or so something will break or require a tear down, and then at that time you can do all the work you stated.

    Unless of course you like to torture yourself with extra work...by all means replace the seals.
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  7. #7
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home BLRider's Avatar
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    Re: 88 JS550 Start before rebuild?

    It's an 88, there is a good chance that the seals won't pass a leakdown. I like to get something running, load or no load. This will at least conform the electrical system.

    Do what you want, either way 1988 seals need to be replaced
    Never argue with an idiot, they will drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.

  8. #8
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home seadoobutch787's Avatar
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    Re: 88 JS550 Start before rebuild?

    550/750 conversion is my vote and always will be, lol.
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  9. #9
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home Myself's Avatar
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    Re: 88 JS550 Start before rebuild?

    When a customer brings in something in unknown condition this is what i do.

    Visual inspection....leaks, missing parts, motor mounts, jerry rigging, etc.
    Pull plugs, do they look normal?, does the engine turn by hand?
    Squirt a bit of fogging oil in the cylinders, hook up a battery, do a compression check
    Put new plugs on the plug wires and check spark
    Squirt some more fogging oil in the cylinders,heavily, install plugs and fire it off
    If it sounded normal at that point i figure up an estimate for rehab and get it done.
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  10. #10
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    Re: 88 JS550 Start before rebuild?

    Thanks for all the advice! I am with you BL rider- 30 year old seals- they are coming out, but I am going to see if I can fire it up, let's me know at least it "works". I am in New England so i got plenty of time before we hit the water

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