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  1. #1
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    WaveRunner XL1200 1998 rebuild

    Bought my first ski this summer, a Sea-Doo SP 1995 with the single carb Rotax 587 engine in it, had to do a carb rebuild on it as it had starting issues, other than that it has been a fun ride!

    The hunger for more woke up and when I stumbled upon a WaveRunner with a bad engine I could not resist on getting it.



    The ski is a WaveRunner XL1200 from 1998, as I have understood it the only year that model was made. The hull is in pretty good condition considering its age, small scratches here and there but nothing major, the hood has some scratch that has been badly repainted by some earlier owner. Seats are all intact and in very good shape.

    Went to look at the ski, the previous owner said that it made some wierd noises from the engine and that he suspected that there might be some issues in bottom-end causing this. Well, I brought my compression tester with me and pulled the plugs. 130 PSI in the first and last cylinders, 0 in the middle one, listening to the bottom-end while cranking it sounded intact. So I am hoping that it is only about a bad cylinder / piston and that the crank is fine.

    So here my rebuild project starts, sorry already now, might be picture intense. The project is aimed to be ready by latest before next season starts here in Finland, which gives me roughly 6 months to complete it. The project will mostly focus on the engine and the rebuild of that, I am also thinking of getting the top of the ski wrapped in some nice color to get rid of the boring red one which is quite pale from the sunlight, other than that, lets see what time brings

    Nice and tidy in the engine compartment


    Pulled the cover for the flame arrestor, carbs looks real good (on the outside at least).


    Next up was to remove the head, not a beatiful sight, but the cylinder looks to be quite ok, difficult to say while still attached to the engine.



    Looking at the above damage my suspicions are that the middle carb has got some issues with either the check valve or diaphragm, oil lines looked okay. The 2 outer cylinders seem to be in very good condition, as already the compression test showed, will have them looked over anyway.

    Next up is to remove the engine from the hull and dissambling it. Will have a repairshop look at the cylinder and head to get a verdict if needs to be bored or if honing is enough...
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  2. #2
    Myself's Avatar
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    Nice project, I just fixed and sold a '98 XL1200.

  3. #3
    tom_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myself View Post
    Nice project, I just fixed and sold a '98 XL1200.


    Thank you! Plan was atleast to keep it for until the end of next season, but remains to be seen what happens.


    I have now done some more work on the ski. First I moved it from my parents place to my own garage and built a stand / dolly for it to be able to move it around.



    Forgot to upload the head in last post, it looks quite ok, some signs of knocking but nothing that canīt be buffed away.




    Next up was to remove the exhaust to be able to pull out the engine




    Once I had the exhaust out I had a quick look on what is left in the enginebay and could not hold my fingers away from the 6 bolt holding the cylinder in place. Enough thinking, bolts out and off with the cylinder. Not a beautiful sight I must say... Both sides of the piston skirts was totally ripped off, it looked like it had been in a tough fight and had to throw in the white flag, or should we say throw out some parts through the bottom.




    The difference between the last 2 pictures is that on the last one I pointed the flash light to the bottom of the hull under the engine, if all would be ok one should not see the light shining in from the flashlight.


    Here is where I stopped for the night, did not even look at the cylinder bores to see what shape they were in. Not sure anymore what to do with this if it is worth rebuilding the engine or if I should try to find something else for it to drop in, but will have to pull the rest of the engine out and look at the what all has been damaged and what can be rescued.
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    Last edited by tom_; 08-16-2020 at 03:12 AM.

  4. #4
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    More done on the ski, managed to get the engine out and have a look from the underside of the engine. Quite big hole I must say #sadface. Engine compartment itself looks to be in good condition, bit of cleaning and a everything should be good to go there.


    Luckily I have a lot of small helpers in these tight spaces

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  5. #5
    Myself's Avatar
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    Blowing holes through the bottom of a case is quite common. I usually clean everything and cut 1/8" aluminum plate to fit in like a puzzle piece. Then drop off at a competant welding shop.

    My wife's old GP1200 had VERY similar damage.....http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=355413

  6. #6
    tom_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myself View Post
    Blowing holes through the bottom of a case is quite common. I usually clean everything and cut 1/8" aluminum plate to fit in like a puzzle piece. Then drop off at a competant welding shop.

    My wife's old GP1200 had VERY similar damage.....http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=355413
    It has crossed my mind to weld it yes, but looking at the total damage, it makes me think if it is worth fixing or if I should part the engine (whats left of it) and do a conversion project of this instead.

    Opened up the engine to look at the total damage.

    Hole in the lower crank case, not large enough for a fist to fit through but goes all the way to the bearings, no cracks other than the hole.


    Lots of aluminium on different places in the engine


    The wrist pin of the seized piston did not come out easy so it had to be forced out. Cylinder sleeve also broken on mid cylinder.


    Due to restrictions of the forum, post continued in next post.
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  7. #7
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    Continuation of previous post.

    As my suspicions on where the issue had got its start I opened up the carburetors to check for any issues in there. And as suspected, one of the check valves in the mid carburetor had a crease in it which has made the cylinder go lean / hot causing the mayhem in the cylinder and as a chain reaction pushed the piston skirts out the bottom of the crank case. The 2 other carbs looks good but of course would need to be rebuilt aswell to ensure reliability.



    I also checked the crank itself if it could be re-used but the mid cylinder bearings are more or less shot so they would need to be replaced aswell.

    So to sumup the damage found so far
    - 1x piston
    - 1x cylinder sleeve
    - 1x crank case
    - 1x crank bearings
    - 1x carburetor check valve

    Quite a few things broken, leading up to even more stuff that needs to be replaced to get a reliable engine back.

    Have to do some calculations now and see if this turns from a rebuild project into conversion project instead. To be continued.
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