JS440 / 550 Swap Ski Refresh
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  1. #1
    PWCToday Regular ZacFlyer's Avatar
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    JS440 / 550 Swap Ski Refresh

    So there I was in mid August of last year test riding the ski on my local lake. I had known that I wanted a stand up for sometime as the sit-downs were too typical on our lake. I have always been one to do things a little differently, I enjoy standing out. Therefore my decision to go ride the ski and check it out. Those of you that are familiar with Alabama know what Lake Martin is all about. And for you who do not, Lake Martin is the largest lake in Alabama on the East side of the state. Its home to mostly recreational boaters, with houses on the water. With that said the ski was on the other side of the lake an hour drive away from me. Listed without a trailer I knew that would be a problem.

    The ski is a 1982 440 with a 550 thrown in it at some point before I and the previous owner had the ski. Given that at the time it was 37 years old I expected it to be a little rough around the edges. I have been raised to take care of my stuff to the point that its annoying. I get picky about my things as most addicts in their hobby do. With that in mind the ski had scratches, paint chips, a fracture in front top nose, and an engine bay that looked like it had just come from a tar plant. Abused / heavily neglected would be a correct definition.

    The owner at the time had carb trouble so we threw a different one on it and ditched a finger throttle for a thumb throttle. (I didn't mind as long as it ran). So for my very first stand up ride I went out on my knees and immediately had a wave of emotions come over me. Excitement, fear of hitting docks, fear of waves, and complete curiosity of where this adventure could take me.

    Despite the cosmetics, and loud humming noise I agreed to purchase it. So a week later with cash in one hand and a trailer behind the car I arrived to take home my new toy.

    My first weekend with it was just as anyone would imagine, lots of falling and restarting. I used a garden cart to transport it from one of the ramps on my property to its garage. Weekends came and went and I continued to better my skills and let my friends have a shot at it. Which was rather hilarious, I would say thats one of the more fun things I have done on the water.

    Now we fast forward to January 2020. I am itching to have something to do and I know that the ski has problems with the bearing box (that humming sound also came with a pile of grease under it). I knew something was up, just couldn't quite pin point it at the time. Additionally it looks kinda rough like I mentioned. So I what any sane person would do, I bought a service manual and didn't emerge from my office until I had read it cover to cover and identified every hose clamp, screw, nut and bolt on it.

    The disassembly began with taking the engine out, got the intake manifold off and pulled the pipe, fuel lines, along with the plug wires. Out came the greasy, slippery, and oily 550. Next I slid under the rear to release the ride plate. Underneath was something I never could have imagined. I had only heard of it in story around campfires under hush breath. A completely unmolested 440 pump that had never seen the light of day since '82. Hose clamps that were white as snow, aluminum so fresh that I couldn't believe my eyes. And hoses that only had a mark from rubbing the plate. So what did I do? I took a picture of course! Out came the pump as the original silicone released, and revealed the menace, the grim reaper himself. The aluminum impeller stared at me with might and a smug grin as if challenging me to not break out the blow torch. After spending 30 minutes of beating, a bent Allen wrench, a bent steel rod, and 5 good whacks with a hammer I leaned on the wrench one last time and the impeller gave up. Out came the driveshaft with the bearing box to take back with me for replacement. With the time I had left before I needed to return to school I began cleaning the engine bay with mechanics hand goop. Grit became slime, grease became liquid, and even leaves were removed from the interior leaving the transformation of black to white.

    As it sits right now the tank, engine, pump, and drive shaft are all absent from the hull. Planned modifications are a new (used) Solas impeller (arriving today), exhaust system, fresh fuel and water lines, ride plate, bars and a bilge. The ski will receive a bath, and re-glassing the front section where it has a fracture.


    Below I will be attaching pictures from purchase to its current state (didn't go in order) thank you for reading, I will be updating and adding to this thread with my progress!
    IMG_1157.jpgIMG_9691.jpgIMG_9161.jpgIMG_9158.jpgIMG_9150.jpgIMG_9073.jpgIMG_9072.jpgIMG_9070.jpgIMG_9069.jpgIMG_1230.jpgIMG_1187.jpgIMG_1174.jpgIMG_1162.jpgIMG_1158.jpgIMG_9803.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by ZacFlyer; 01-15-2020 at 01:07 PM.
    80 SurfJet 9ft White Build Here: http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=492092&p=4550438#post4550438
    82 JS440 / 550 Swap Build Here:
    http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=491239&p=4543624#post4543624
    '92 750sx Barn Find Build Here:
    http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=493981&p=4561610#post4561610
    '95 Yamaha Wave Raider 700
    '97 Yamaha SuperJet Build Here: http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=494510&p=4564967#post4564967
    '16 Yamaha VXR


  2. #2
    PWCToday Regular ZacFlyer's Avatar
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    Re: JS440 / 550 Swap Ski Refresh

    At this time I am sourcing parts for the ski. Yesterday the WestCoast pipe arrived in the mail from Cali. The seller even included a WestCoast manifold!

    25FEDF8A-95FF-4E70-BE9C-41AAD4D58B0E.jpeg

    Additionally the Solas KCSC-B (14/19) arrived two weeks ago. It will be a large improvement over the stock impeller.

    721F82B9-A486-4186-88DF-1F1C15C0175B.jpeg

    A brand new bearing box kit should arrive today. This lets me get to the true reason for tearing this apart.

    I bought the parts for new cooling lines and to make a flush kit for running on the trailer or stand.

    742F35DE-A62B-4639-8971-14B03C129721.jpeg

    And finally I picked up a brake bleeder to let me do a leak down test on the engine. I suspect it will need to be pulled apart for crank seals, but the test will be the true sign.


    More updates soon, Zac
    Last edited by ZacFlyer; 01-24-2020 at 02:29 PM.
    80 SurfJet 9ft White Build Here: http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=492092&p=4550438#post4550438
    82 JS440 / 550 Swap Build Here:
    http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=491239&p=4543624#post4543624
    '92 750sx Barn Find Build Here:
    http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=493981&p=4561610#post4561610
    '95 Yamaha Wave Raider 700
    '97 Yamaha SuperJet Build Here: http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=494510&p=4564967#post4564967
    '16 Yamaha VXR


  3. #3
    PWCToday Regular ZacFlyer's Avatar
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    Alabama
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    Re: JS440 / 550 Swap Ski Refresh

    Continuing the build I picked up the engine last week and brought it with me to school where I could work on it as I pleased. I was suspicious of when the engine was last rebuilt. It had lots of chipping paint, it was covered in oil and grease, and the hoses were showing their age. I bought a brake bleeder to determine if the engine needed some help. It was a cheaper bleeder but it would at least give me an idea of the condition of the crankcase. As I suspected it failed miserably. The pressure took 3 minutes to disappear from 10psi. Far less than ideal. So I set out to replace the crank seals.

    IMG_1475.jpg
    IMG_1477.jpg
    Very crispy and crunchy on the exterior.
    IMG_1481.jpg
    Broken springs and torn rubber.
    IMG_1483.jpg
    IMG_1471.jpg
    A very disgusting stator that I think is from the seals leaking for such a long time.

    I cleaned out the channels where the seals sit in both parts of the crankcase, followed by an inspection and cleaning of the entire crankcase. All bearing, channels, things were in order so using Threebond 1211 I re-sealed the case. After sitting for 24 hours it passed the pressure test!

    IMG_1513.jpg
    Nice crispy white Threebond and grease surrounding the seal.

    See next posts story for the teardown of the bearing box! As you know the bearing box was the main reason for digging into this ski.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    80 SurfJet 9ft White Build Here: http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=492092&p=4550438#post4550438
    82 JS440 / 550 Swap Build Here:
    http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=491239&p=4543624#post4543624
    '92 750sx Barn Find Build Here:
    http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=493981&p=4561610#post4561610
    '95 Yamaha Wave Raider 700
    '97 Yamaha SuperJet Build Here: http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=494510&p=4564967#post4564967
    '16 Yamaha VXR


  4. #4
    PWCToday Regular ZacFlyer's Avatar
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    Alabama
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    Re: JS440 / 550 Swap Ski Refresh

    Before I continue writing on this thread I have to advise that I am not able to update this the very day that I complete these repairs and modifications. With that in mind, this post actually occurred prior to getting the crank seals replaced. So here we go!

    I set sails for home, coming from school I had the engine in the trunk of my car. Coming with me were all of my tools (limited) from school. I had many more tools at my disposal at home, all thanks to my father for letting me raid his toolbox whenever I needed to. I used that handy - dandy flywheel puller from Harbor Freight and started hitting the flywheel with an impact until.... pop! One of the puller bolts let go. So I ran to Lowe's and picked up some Grade 8 bolts to replace the snapped and bent ones from the kit. Now equipped with the strength of a mighty grade 8 the flywheel stood no chance and gave up after another few minutes.

    Pulling the flywheel off revealed the oily stator and some copper shavings loose behind the flywheel. Who knows maybe the oil just preserved everything. Nevertheless, I cleaned everything up on the inside, which from what I have read should yield a better spark. Then with some rope down a cylinder head and some serious muscles, we (Dad and I) set out to break the couplers off the engine and the bearing box. Some beating, swearing, and slipped crowbars later both were free giving me access to the crank seals for replacement (previous post).

    Now the piece de resistoooance! The bearing box bolts came off after a little cleaning up of the housing around it. front cover lifted off easily, and little metal chunks began falling to the workbench. So with some shaking, most of the first bearing fell out with the guide. Both the inner and exterior races were still in place making it difficult to access the rear bearing to remove the entire outer housing of the bearing box. So with some hammering ina wooden jig it finally all let go.

    Here are the images of the aftermath.

    IMG_1456.jpg
    IMG_1454.jpg
    IMG_1448.jpg
    IMG_1447.jpg
    IMG_1446.jpg

    I do not have a bearing press or any reasonable way to remove the bearings, but I do have a number of friends who can help me out with this. So I am waiting for the stars to align and schedules to line up so that I can have new bearings pushed on here and the last piece of this puzzle should be complete.

    On next week's episode: A Generous Seller!
    80 SurfJet 9ft White Build Here: http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=492092&p=4550438#post4550438
    82 JS440 / 550 Swap Build Here:
    http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=491239&p=4543624#post4543624
    '92 750sx Barn Find Build Here:
    http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=493981&p=4561610#post4561610
    '95 Yamaha Wave Raider 700
    '97 Yamaha SuperJet Build Here: http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=494510&p=4564967#post4564967
    '16 Yamaha VXR


  5. #5
    PWCToday Regular ZacFlyer's Avatar
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    Alabama
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    Re: JS440 / 550 Swap Ski Refresh

    So a few weeks ago I went to visit the seller of my ski. We had stayed in touch talking about our builds and life in general. I had not seen him in a while and he said there was a carb with my name on it. One drizzly Saturday morning I made the drive up to the lake to say hi. Once again in tow I had the engine in my trunk so that we could torque down the flywheel nut. So not only did we have a nice visit, but he donated an SBN 38, manifold, and spacer + a set of 4-degree bars. Super nice guy who is always happy to help any way possible. So with goodies in the trunk of my car I departed to Lowes for more hardware. I grabbed a red Scotch-Brite pad, and some red rattle can paint.

    IMG_1541.jpg
    New to me SBN 38! I need to grab a primer kit now.

    IMG_1573.jpg
    Before paint

    IMG_1574.jpg
    During paint

    IMG_1579.JPG
    Great match for pure guesswork

    IMG_1575.jpg
    After doing all that painting I decided that it was time for me to get this WestCoast manifold mounted up. I mean I have it so why not use it right. I compared the designs and decided that it would be beneficial to use. So I measure the differences of thickness and set off to the hardware store for more bolts to fit the manifold. I was almost right I only managed to get one wrong, so I will have to go back to that eventually. Inside it was kinda nasty, but I set off with a wire brush to at least improve what was in there. And it turned out decent. Then it was gasket time, someone before me used make a gasket far too many times on this engine and the exhaust manifold was no exception to that. So I scraped the engine clean and applied the new one.

    IMG_1655.jpg
    Here I took apart the carb to get all of the measurements that came with it. I had a known pop-off setting of 38 but I did not know what the other settings were.
    So it has:
    Spring silver
    High 130
    Needle seat 1.2
    Low unknown
    Pop off 38
    These settings aren't ridiculous so I will be keeping them with the intention of tuning from here. IF you have settings that you want to share I would love them. As you scroll through this thread you can see what mods I have done. Carb, Pipe, Prop.

    IMG_1656.jpg
    The primer kit arrived and I siliconed in both the barb and block off with Threebond 1211. It's not fuel "safe" but there should not really be a ton of fuel sitting that high in the carb for long. They did not hammer fit in like most have done so this was the solution.

    IMG_1658.jpg
    Nice and clean fitment.

    And just like that, you're up to date. Nothing has been done since the time of these events occurring. This weekend it looks like I have the chance to go home so I have my finger crossed that I can get the bearings pushed off then back onto the driveshaft. Thanks for checking my work out and I will write soon!
    80 SurfJet 9ft White Build Here: http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=492092&p=4550438#post4550438
    82 JS440 / 550 Swap Build Here:
    http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=491239&p=4543624#post4543624
    '92 750sx Barn Find Build Here:
    http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=493981&p=4561610#post4561610
    '95 Yamaha Wave Raider 700
    '97 Yamaha SuperJet Build Here: http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=494510&p=4564967#post4564967
    '16 Yamaha VXR


  6. #6
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home WFO Speedracer's Avatar
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    Re: JS440 / 550 Swap Ski Refresh

    I am usually up at the lake on Saturdays if you need those bearings put on with the press.
    Y'all know me, still the same O.G. but I been low-key
    hated on by most these &^$$@s with no cheese, no deals and no G's, no wheels and no keys, no boats, no snowmobiles, and no skis, mad at me cause I can finally afford to provide my family with groceries

    WWSRD , What would Speed Racer do ?

  7. #7
    PWCToday Regular ZacFlyer's Avatar
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    Re: JS440 / 550 Swap Ski Refresh

    Quote Originally Posted by WFO Speedracer View Post
    I am usually up at the lake on Saturdays if you need those bearings put on with the press.
    Awesome. I am going to see if my guy at the airport can do it this weekend, if not I will be in touch. Thank you sir!
    80 SurfJet 9ft White Build Here: http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=492092&p=4550438#post4550438
    82 JS440 / 550 Swap Build Here:
    http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=491239&p=4543624#post4543624
    '92 750sx Barn Find Build Here:
    http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=493981&p=4561610#post4561610
    '95 Yamaha Wave Raider 700
    '97 Yamaha SuperJet Build Here: http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=494510&p=4564967#post4564967
    '16 Yamaha VXR


  8. #8
    PWCToday Regular CALJET's Avatar
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    Re: JS440 / 550 Swap Ski Refresh

    great project , keep up the good work and detailed posts.
    Last edited by CALJET; 02-24-2020 at 07:10 PM.

  9. #9
    PWCToday Regular ZacFlyer's Avatar
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    Re: JS440 / 550 Swap Ski Refresh

    Quote Originally Posted by CALJET View Post
    great project , keep up the good work and detailed posts.
    Thanks for checking it out! I will be sure continue
    80 SurfJet 9ft White Build Here: http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=492092&p=4550438#post4550438
    82 JS440 / 550 Swap Build Here:
    http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=491239&p=4543624#post4543624
    '92 750sx Barn Find Build Here:
    http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=493981&p=4561610#post4561610
    '95 Yamaha Wave Raider 700
    '97 Yamaha SuperJet Build Here: http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=494510&p=4564967#post4564967
    '16 Yamaha VXR


  10. #10
    PWCToday Regular Mokarran's Avatar
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    Re: JS440 / 550 Swap Ski Refresh

    Rebuilding the first pwc I have ever owned, it is fun to read builds like yours while mine is in progress too. Funny how mine starded with fuel tank issues and now it is completely pulled apart. Glad I am not the only one. Keep us posted. Question, how did the hand cleaner do on the non polished area's inside the engine bay? Would like to get mine cleaned up before reassembly.

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