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  1. #1

    1997 900zxi dies on plane

    I have a 1997 900zxi with supposedly a new motor. I've put about 10 hours on it. The gas gauge doesn't work. I was riding last night, hit a decent wave, and a few seconds later it sputtered and died. I thought it was out of fuel, so I put in reserve and rode back to the dock. It rode fine on the way back. Today I put in 5 gallons. Went for a ride, and it sputters and dies on plane. It starts fine, idles fine, and runs fine until it gets on plane. Help? TIA


  2. #2
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
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    pull the fuel pickup and the fuel sender. a non working gas gauge is a warning sign that there is sludge in the tank

    wear gloves, it could be a huge surprise mess

    welcome aboard GH!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by nmpeter View Post
    pull the fuel pickup and the fuel sender. a non working gas gauge is a warning sign that there is sludge in the tank

    wear gloves, it could be a huge surprise mess

    welcome aboard GH!
    Thanks, I will pull the pickup and sender. Would the sludge possibly be causing my problem. I don't really care if the fuel gauge works or not. The ski was running great, and now all of a sudden it's not. How often do the carbs need to be rebuilt on this motor?

  4. #4
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chatty900zxi View Post
    Thanks, I will pull the pickup and sender. Would the sludge possibly be causing my problem. I don't really care if the fuel gauge works or not. The ski was running great, and now all of a sudden it's not. How often do the carbs need to be rebuilt on this motor?



    let us know what you find when you pull the pickup and fuel sender. The fuel sender floats break down in ethanol gas and cause huge problems

    pics help

    the ski is 22 years old. it's hoped whoever put in the alleged new motor ( what do you have on hand that indicates that?) rebuilt the carbs at that time

    anybody who replaces a blown engine without identifying and correcting the problem that caused the failure in less then delicate words, is an idiot.

    if there is indeed sludge on the fuel pickups, you'll be rebuilding the carbs real soon, if not the engine too.

    the engine failing to run on plane says there is a serious fuel system restriction.

    btw, that sort of thing breaks engines rather quickly

    remove any paper filters anybody added to the system, the oem kawasaki filter is plastic mesh style, for a good reason

    lets also see some pics of the engine bay

  5. #5
    I don't use ethanol fuel in my engines. I don't have any proof of it's a new motor. The guy I bought it from got it on trade for something. It looked super clean when I bought it.
    The pic hosting site I am used to using has changed and doesn't allow mobile browser uploads any more. I downloaded their app, but now I don't see how to get the image links from them. All I can do for now is post a link. Getting the fuel pickup out looks like a pain! Any videos or instructions for that?
    1997 900zxi engine bay https://imgur.com/gallery/xffBjZx

  6. #6
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
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    typically you remove the glove box assembly to gain access to the fuel pickup.

    get rid of the paper fuel filter. I'd suspect that being the real issue at the moment, and the easiest thing to test for. I'd suspect that filter is severely restricted

    you can pick up a nylon mesh filter on the cheap, plenty of them on amazon

    I'd be careful working around the engine, that's alot of zip ties and the cut ends can be as sharp as a razor blade

    pretty nice aftermarket head, never seen a combustion chamber like that. I'd be inclined to think the engine was rebuilt if somebody put that head on it

    it's an ocean pro brand single piece head, I'd suspect it has high compression pistons too

    Check the engine compression

    I'd suggest using premium grade gas for the moment

    looks pretty good to me!


  7. #7
    What should my compression tolerance be? 10%? If I find sludge on the pickup, what do I do? Thanks so much for your help so far.

  8. #8
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
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    A 10% difference is acceptable but not ideal

    If you find sludge in the tank you will find some in the carbs for sure

    When you pull the filter wipe down one end and blow into it. If it feels restricted thatís your problem

    Paper filters arenít good as soon as any water gets in there the paper swells up and restricts fuel flow

    Itís akin to breathing thru a straw just enough to move but if you run you fall down

    Letís hope the tank is relatively clean and the problem is the paper filter restricting flow

    Iíll assuming that head required some carb work too so thereís a good chance they will be clean

    One step at a time....

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  10. #9
    I decided to change the fuel filter before doing anything else. Every hose and clamp in the engine bay look brand new. I can't imagine someone going through the trouble to do this motor work and not make sure the fuel tank was clean.
    Anyway, I changed the fuel filter, and it runs fine now. I had been using 89 octane ethanol free fuel (because that's what I use in my boat), but I saw the head is stamped "92 octane minimum." I guess I get to buy 93 from now on.

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  12. #10
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
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    Thanks for confirming the paper based fuel filter was the problem

    The head obviously is high compression so feeding it pump 93 fuel is a good idea

    Iíd suggest a premium grade injector oil also since the engine is tweaked and deserves max protection

    It would be interesting to know what the engine compression is compared to a stock motor

    Again, thanks for the follow ups others will certainly benefit

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