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  1. #1

    88 waverunner what happened???

    i have an 88 waverunner i was experiecing battery issues with, i changed the battery and now it will not start, i check and i do have spark on both plugs but it is very weak, blue, but weak.

    i have ordered a new ignition coil on a knee jerk, but i sort of suspect my CDI to be the issue. I am looking into the gy6 cdi as a cheaper alternative,

    to clarify the only change from working to not working was the battery swap, tried again with the original battery still weak spark but no start.


    any suggestions or insights??


  2. #2
    check and make sure you have a good ground going into your battery and from the other end of that ground wire. Does the starter crank the engine strong?

  3. #3
    i checked (cleaned) all the grounds the other evening and retried, still no start, my starter cranks vigorously,

    i did a spark plug test against the engine and i had a very weak blue spark jumping between the electrodes. i then did an ohm test on my ignition coil and got between 0.6-0.7ohms for my primary winding resistance. and my secondary winding is not changing my multi meter at all (checked with positive multimeter lead in positive of ignition coil and negative lead of multimeter at end of plugs, this is correct right?) on either plug lead, just maintains the 1 no mater what ohm setting on the meter i go to. Am i right to go on the assumption that my ignition coil is bad or did i test poorly along the way?
    Last edited by nicklong; 08-04-2015 at 03:58 PM. Reason: adding content

  4. #4
    Ok so I guess that rules out a bad ground. I have to look at a manual for your ski to see if that's how to check the coil. I forgot how to do it since I haven't done it for so long. But having said that, I'm pretty sure the coil should have two values,one on the primary and then another one on the secondary. Specs would be on the manual for your ski. I would say that it could only be the coils or if that checks out then your cdi, BUT seeing that you're still getting spark then that kinda tells me that your cdi is still working. In my experience when cdi's fail you then get no spark at the end of the wire.

    What ski do you have?

  5. #5
    It's a 88 waverunner with the 500 g engine

    The primary winding is supposed to be 0.15ohms +/-20%, I am getting 0.6ohms, this is testing the orange and black wires off of the coil , no power connected to vehicle,

    My secondary winding is what I had trouble figuring out, but I'm assuming with my primary so far off it doesn't so much matter, new coil is coming in the mail will post results, thanks for the help

  6. #6
    ok so it's definitely out of spec then. Kinda makes sense for your weak spark issue - there's more resistance than the spec. Yeah post the results when you get the new coil in and installed. Interested in hearing if it fixed your issue with the ski.

  7. #7
    thanks for the help! i am fairly sure its the ign coil. i only doubted it cause i talk to a "car" guy and he said any spark no matter how weak should turn an engine.

    but as i noticed in my spark plug test the spark didn't jump off of the plug but rather very faintly between the electrodes. and in my reading i see that just cause u spark outside of the engine doesn't mean you will inside once compression and what not factor in. i really hope this is the fix as i have had this ski about 3 months now torn the entire thing apart multiple times and maybe had 5 solid minutes of ridding

    hoping once this issue is sorted i can at least enjoy my ski before it snows....

  8. #8
    Yeah, seems like you're on the right track. And you're right about having spark outside doesn't mean anything once inside the combustion chamber. Specially if it's a weak spark. Yeah hope you get it working right. I have 2 - 92' wr500 myself. They're not fast but they can definitely be fun. Specially with the flat bottom hull on them. Actually looking around and waiting for a good deal on a 650 engine to swap into one of mine just because I'd like to get some more power and possibly speed out of those flat hulls. I like it when it's borderline dangerous. That's my definition of fun lol.

    While on the subject, have you done a compression test on it? If you have not then now should be a good time to do it if you are able to since you're still fixing it up and sparkplugs are probably not screwed down tight. That will give you some idea about the health of the engine.
    Last edited by bford; 08-09-2015 at 12:28 AM.

  9. #9
    i have not yet done a compression test no. definitely seems like a good time for sure. i dont off hand know how to do it but have nothing but time on my hands to find out thanks for the advice.

    its funny you mention how fun they are, as the few minutes i had it running in the water it was fantastic, except the day my throttle go stuck on WOT that was terrifying.

    this whole fixing things stuff is pretty new to me as i am basically not mechanically inclined at all and tend to pay people to do automotive work for me, but its amazing how hard it is to find anyone who will touch these old beasts.

    yours advice is much appreciated

  10. #10
    Compression test is probably one of the easiest tests you can do. Basically you use a tool called a compression tester - dont know if you have one - but basically you remove one spark plug and screw in the right adapter for the tool and you just crank the engine a few times and look at the gauge if when it levels off thats the compression on that cylinder - you do that on all the cylinders you have. since the wr500 has 2 - you gotta do that 2 times. Be sure to leave the sparkplug screwed on to the one that you are not testing. Also make sure that you don't connect the sparkplug wires to the plugs when you're doing this test as it could result in the engine starting up.

    If you don't have the tool in hand, you can buy it or you can go to an autoparts store and borrow it.

    How'd your throttle get stuck? lol. We'll I don't think it's that scary cuz you can always pull the lanyard and kill the ski instantly.

    Yeah you'll learn so much with fixing this ski. And I think that this ski is actually a good way to learn mechanics in. Its not too complicated like the newer ski's. These old wr500's are easy to maintain and to work on. And they are actually pretty bulletproof engines. Any ETA on your ignition coil replacement?

    Also even though it's hard to find people that could work(or want) to work on these older ski's, theres always forums like this that you can go to and find somebody that could help you out.

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