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  1. #1

    2013 Kawasaki STX-15F Ignition Timing - Pulling my hair out!

    New the the Kawasaki. Excited to see what it can do, but terribly frustrated at the moment.

    Machine was hydrolocked and threw a rod. I bought it in pieces, so I have very little history on it.

    I replaced the case, the rod, pistons, and had cylinder replated. Engine is all assembled and installed.

    I have meticulously timed the cams to the crank. I have checked it and rechecked it so many times it's starting to feel like groundhog day.

    The machine will not fire. At all. So I put a timing light on it. Turns out the spark is coming ~90 degrees after top dead center (as measured on the crank; ~45 degrees after top dead center as measured on the cam. What!?!

    In other words, something is screwy with the ignition timing. Both the cam sensor and the crank sensor show proper ohms (per service manual). Spark is strong, and disappears if either the cam sensor or the crank sensor is unplugged.

    What could be causing the ignition timing to be off like that!?

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    Last edited by callco; 06-02-2018 at 12:54 PM. Reason: clarified problem

  2. #2
    Rodsatheart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Arkansas SoCal transplant
    I would say that if the reluctor on the crank is correctly oriented (via pin), and the cam rotor is correctly oriented, and nothing is loose, than the crank and cam timing would have to be off.
    Might triple check using Seans instructions. Seems pretty straight forward.
    Maybe he'll chime in and give a little more insite.

  3. #3
    Rodsatheart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Arkansas SoCal transplant
    Here's some more good stuff for you.

  4. #4
    Thank you for the thoughts.

    I will go through the cam timing sequence once again. I keep thinking that must have something to do with it, but I reject the idea for a couple of reasons:
    1) Close inspection shows all timing marks to be aligned. If I had to move it a tooth, I have no idea which direction I would go. It's that close.
    2) I don't understand how one tooth on the cam could cause ignition timing to be off by 90 degrees.

    That said, I will follow the suggestion and see where it goes.

    Here isa pic of the crank rotor (on the pin). Cam rotor orientation is fixed as well. Both things are tight.

    All electrical wires are plugged in. However, since I didn't do the disassembly I had to do some guess work on the wiring. I believe it's correct since I don't see any plugs that could be mated any other way. Could I be missing something there?

    Thanks again
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  5. #5
    Went through the timing procedure this morning. I put the exhaust cam on the chain in several different links while the chain was loose, confirming #1 at TDC, and landed on a clear winner. Frankly, I think it ended up back in the exact same position, but since I didn't mark it before I took it apart, I'm not 100% sure.

    Reinstalled the intake cam with the intake mark 31 links from the exhaust mark of the exhaust cam.

    Picture is practically impossible to take with the engine in the ski, but the attempt is attached.

    Ignition timing is still 90 degrees off.

    I have to be missing something?
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    Last edited by callco; 06-02-2018 at 09:24 AM. Reason: added image

  6. #6
    Aloha, just did my 250x valve adjustment yesterday, timed the cams to the crank without a hitch. Your cam gears are not marked like mine are with clearly defined intake/exhaust hash marks. This may be typical to the 15f though. Are you sure the cams are timed correctly? You should be able to check clearance at cyl 1&3 intake and 1&2 exhaust when cyl 1 is tdc...

  7. #7
    Thanks for the comment.

    Yes - the cam markings are different on some years and models. Single dot is intake; double dot is exhaust.

    And yes, I can check valve clearance according to this diagram:

  8. #8
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Elephant Butte New Mexico
    did you drop an oz of gas in each jug?...that will tell you pretty quick if its a timing problem or not. I assume you've got the plugs and connections all correct.

    wear ear protection and do this OUTSIDE. do not stand near the open engine compartment. DO NOT use starting fluid.

    engine sitting so long in parts the injectors could be a little gummed up and the timing light could be a red herring.

    lets see a backfire or two before we go with " the timing is off"

    I had a 15f in here A few weeks ago that would not start after a long lay up in storage. The owner took it to a backyard guy who burt two batteries and a starter trying to get it to start.

    a couple of shot of ray gas, it sputtered and backfired but somehow it started running

    for $100

  9. #9
    steve45's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    I could see 180 off, but not 90. Weird.

  10. #10
    I know, right. 180 degrees would be easy to solve, too. Simply swap the leads between 1/4 and 2/3. Done.

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