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  1. #1
    PWCToday Regular
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    Help 550 not starting

    I have 550 pp breadbox exhaust, compression 110 each hole, good spark, just rebuilt 38 bn pop off 15-18 forgot exactly, rev limiter removed. Engine turns over great but wont ignite fuel. thought might be flooding so rebuilt carb- no dribble now. if i let it sit for days it will start but then back to not at all.
    I have not done a engine leak down test, the 38 bn has restrictor built in so I have no restrictor in return line. I do have a 44 bn i can install. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
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    Re: Help 550 not starting

    Update- performed leak down test. Engine hold 10psi for 15 plus minutes. Took exhaust elbow off to pace leak down testing plug the exhaust have dark grey oily sludge in it the exhaust a lot of it. I’ve never seen this before I’m assuming source of my issue. What this sludge?

  3. #3
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home wmazz's Avatar
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    Re: Help 550 not starting

    Which top end are you using(what year 82'-85' or 86'-90'), and which
    bottom end (440 or 550 82'-85' or 86'-90') do you have?

    Is there a fuel primer?

    Quote Originally Posted by SWFL SJ Rider View Post
    Update- performed leak down test. Engine hold 10psi for 15 plus minutes.
    Most 440 and 550's have horrible vacuum and sometimes bad
    pressure leaks (when the spring fall off the front main seal).

    I doubt it was a valid test. Pressure leaks are bad, but huge
    vacuum leaks are more common. Both cause the same starting
    problems.

    So the better test is a pressure/vacuum test using the intake or
    spark plug holes, with the front cover's inspection plug removed.

    OR, a pressure/vacuum test on the front main seal with the engine
    running.

    Quote Originally Posted by SWFL SJ Rider View Post
    rev limiter removed.
    the 38 bn has restrictor built in so I have no restrictor in return line.
    Only 440 38bn's have a restrictor. The 550 38bn looks nearly
    identical and has no restrictor.

    Quote Originally Posted by SWFL SJ Rider View Post
    thought might be flooding so rebuilt carb- no dribble now.

    if i let it sit for days it will start but then back to not at all.

    Took exhaust elbow off to pace leak down testing plug the exhaust have dark grey oily
    sludge in it the exhaust a lot of it. I’ve never seen this before
    If it was dribbling, it was flooding. The sludge and sitting
    for a few days are both signs of flooding.

    86 to 90 Kawasaki pistons and rings also contribute to
    flooding.


    Bill M.
    Last edited by wmazz; 07-15-2022 at 01:37 AM.
    Horsepower == Speed, RPM != Speed



  4. #4
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    Re: Help 550 not starting

    Not sure on year of tip or bottom end, its a complete motor i bought. Cylinder has 530A stamped on it. the 38BN has a bolt in return fitting that is hollow and has perpendicular hole below the head- never had one of these before so i thought that was the banjo bolt restrictor people refer to. Primer will not suck fuel through, it did before but i have fuel in supply and return lines. looking in intake manifold i gas see gas sitting. What's best way to clear this excess gas and sludge from engine? I thought of tipping over toward exhaust side or upside down and crank motor to blow it out. I did this once before when i thought it was flooded and was able to get it to fire after.

  5. #5
    Top Dog 440Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Help 550 not starting

    Bill,

    The better test is a pressure/vacuum test using the intake or Spark plug holes, with the front cover's inspection plug removed."

    What do you mean in this instance specifically? Pumping up the cylinder through the plug holes or intake manifold?

    OR, a pressure/vacuum test on the front main seal with the engine
    running.

    "How is this conducted?"
    1990 JS440 (Original Owner) PJS Ski (Peek at photo album)
    1989 JS550 "Haulin' Harry G's" Westcoast Ski (Peek at photo album)
    1986 JS550 (Oldest daughter's Ski)

    1976 JS440 (Youngest daughter's ski)

    2011 GREAT LAKES WATERCROSS TOUR - Vintage 550 1st Overall
    2013 GREAT LAKES WATERCROSS TOUR - Novice Ski Lites 3rd Overall (KAW SXR #147)
    Thanks to SPONSOR S.Hyke Performace Racing Products

  6. #6
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home wmazz's Avatar
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    Re: Help 550 not starting

    The test I prefer is just the front main seal while the
    engine is running. I have tested 1000's of 440/550's
    with that test. Reversing the 1-way check valve allows
    you to test for vacuum and pressure leaks in a few
    minutes.

    The front main seal is the #1 problem on 440/550's
    and the test will tell you if there is a minor to moderate
    vacuum leak ~1 to 4in-hg, a moderate to bad leak ~5 to
    7 1/2 in-hg, a pressure leak (just reverse the one-
    way valve) any pressure leak is bad, or a major pressure
    leak 7 1/2psi when the spring falls off the main seal.


    Most 440/550's have moderate vacuum (5 - 7in-hg)
    leaks, many have pressure leaks, and a few continue
    to run with there main seal completely worn out.

    And despite major air leaks they continue to run day-
    in and day out without seizing, and only normal carb
    and tuning related problems. Many had primers to help
    them start.

    A moderate vacuum leak or any pressure leak the engine
    needs the main seals replaced with 91' JS550 reed main
    seals.

    I was able to test the engines with the updated main
    seals for a couple of years (until PJS failed) and they
    continued to pass the vacuum/pressure test without
    leaks


    Bill M.

    Plenty of 440/550's did seize, but not from only an
    air leak.

    Same goes for 2 stroke motocross, atv, and street bikes.
    Except they had the benefit of float bowl carbs, and were
    immune to most diaphragm carb problems.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by wmazz; 07-16-2022 at 03:35 AM.
    Horsepower == Speed, RPM != Speed



  7. #7
    Top Dog 440Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Help 550 not starting

    Acknowledged.

    92049-3006 recommended for ALL seals on ALL 440/550 REBUILDS.

    Bill, do you have to drill and tap the breather to conduct this pressure test? The breathers I have do not have a hole up top. I would assume yes, I would need to tap the breather plug.

    Please advise.

    Jason
    1990 JS440 (Original Owner) PJS Ski (Peek at photo album)
    1989 JS550 "Haulin' Harry G's" Westcoast Ski (Peek at photo album)
    1986 JS550 (Oldest daughter's Ski)

    1976 JS440 (Youngest daughter's ski)

    2011 GREAT LAKES WATERCROSS TOUR - Vintage 550 1st Overall
    2013 GREAT LAKES WATERCROSS TOUR - Novice Ski Lites 3rd Overall (KAW SXR #147)
    Thanks to SPONSOR S.Hyke Performace Racing Products

  8. #8
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home wmazz's Avatar
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    Re: Help 550 not starting

    This tester will work on any Kawasaki watercraft with
    the timing light inspection plug.


    You need to drill it out, and fit a piece of 1/4" tubing. My first
    one I used copper, and then carbon fiber. A short piece of 1/4"
    s/s (or any other material) tube will work. Drill it out slightly
    larger than the 1/4" tube (like 9/32"). The bakelite inspection
    plug is brittle and will crack if you press fit the 1/4" tube.
    Secure the tube with 5min JB-Weld.

    The 1/4" tube needs to be the full length of the plug, plus
    1" to 1 1/2" on the top for the hose. Look at the sides of the
    plug. There are 2 holes, the tubing must be lower than the
    2 holes. But plugging the holes with JB-Weld is a good precaution
    to prevent a leak that will affect the test.

    Turn it upside down and you will see the breather. Drill it
    out (upside down) slowly (because it is brittle) with a 1/16"
    or 1/8" drill and slowly increase to the final drill size.

    The hole does not need to be straight, and if you break it,
    just glue it back together.

    I used an automotive Vacuum and Pressure Tester similar
    to this one.
    I also used the 440/550 1-way valve for
    the fuel tank. The vacuum pressure gauge typically has a
    small diameter brass fitting. A short piece of clear tubing
    like a battery vent line tubing can be used as a spacer for
    the larger diameter Kawasaki fuel line.

    I used Kawasaki fuel line for the hose. I had about a 1 ft of
    hose in between the one-way valve and the inspection plug
    to prevent stressing the inspection plug, when you flip the
    one-way valve. Another 1 foot or so from the one-way valve
    to the gauge (don't use the picture as a guide for the hose
    length).

    To test pressure or vacuum just remove the one-way valve
    and flip it around. Rev up the engine a few times, or until
    the gauge stops increasing.


    Bill M.
    Last edited by wmazz; 07-17-2022 at 03:52 AM.
    Horsepower == Speed, RPM != Speed



  9. #9
    Top Dog 440Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Help 550 not starting

    Acknowledged.
    You need to drill it out, and fit a piece of 1/4" tubing.
    Secure the tube with 5min JB-Weld.

    The 1/4" tube needs to be the full length of the plug, plus 1" to 1 1/2" on the top for the hose.


    Bill,
    I don't fully understand:
    So the better test is a pressure/vacuum test using the intake or spark plug holes, with the front cover's inspection plug removed. How is this conducted? Isn't this just a leak down?
    1990 JS440 (Original Owner) PJS Ski (Peek at photo album)
    1989 JS550 "Haulin' Harry G's" Westcoast Ski (Peek at photo album)
    1986 JS550 (Oldest daughter's Ski)

    1976 JS440 (Youngest daughter's ski)

    2011 GREAT LAKES WATERCROSS TOUR - Vintage 550 1st Overall
    2013 GREAT LAKES WATERCROSS TOUR - Novice Ski Lites 3rd Overall (KAW SXR #147)
    Thanks to SPONSOR S.Hyke Performace Racing Products

  10. #10
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home wmazz's Avatar
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    Re: Help 550 not starting

    Quote Originally Posted by 440Splash View Post
    Acknowledged.
    You need to drill it out, and fit a piece of 1/4" tubing.
    Secure the tube with 5min JB-Weld.

    The 1/4" tube needs to be the full length of the plug, plus 1" to 1 1/2" on the top for the hose.
    Cut a 2" piece of 1/4" tube, with 1" sticking out of the inspection
    plug. Use 5 min JB-weld to secure the 1/4" tube and fill the 2 holes
    on the side of the inspection plug to prevent an unwanted leak.


    Quote Originally Posted by 440Splash View Post
    I don't fully understand:
    So the better test is a pressure/vacuum test using the intake or spark plug holes, with the front cover's
    inspection plug removed. How is this conducted? Isn't this just a leak down?
    A leak down test or percentage leak test is an effective 4 stroke
    engine test. A pressure test is a common 2 stroke engine test
    that simulates the engine ability to hold the average crankcase
    pressure, and average crankcase vacuum. Roughly ~7 psi and
    ~7 in-hg.

    Pressure and vacuum is important because there are 2 sides of a
    main seal. A pressure lip on the inside, and a vacuum lip on the
    outside.

    If the base gasket is blown out, the crankcase will have a pressure
    and vacuum leak. In this case a pressure (only) test is sufficient.

    If the vacuum side of a main seal is in poor condition, a pressure
    test will not discover the leak, because the pressure side of the
    main seal is the last to wear out. The pressure side of the main
    seal is continually lubricated, but the vacuum side is abused by
    heat, metal debris from the starter motor & ring gear, and often
    rust.

    The vacuum side is also important because as it wears it causes
    carb problems, and allows metal debris, rust, grease, water to get
    sucked through the main seal, past the pressure lip, and into the front
    main bearing.


    Bill M.

    @440Splash: I know this isn't what you asked for, but it is important
    to understand why a pressure/vacuum test is necessary, and that a
    vacuum leak on the main seals is more likely than a pressure leak.

    If you have any doubts, spend some time on a chain saw forum.

    I prefer the pressure/vacuum test with the engine running because it
    is simple, and covers the most likely location for a leak. The down side
    of the static pressure/vacuum test is finding a good vacuum source isn't
    always easy. But it is very important.

    I will answer your other question.
    Horsepower == Speed, RPM != Speed



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