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  1. #1

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    2004 Sportster 4-tec - start and die then no start

    All,
    New to the group and new to Sea-doo ownership.
    I just acquired a 2004 Sportster 4-tec. Previous owner had it running but it stopped cranking on him. It would crank for about 2-3 seconds then stop. After that it would only crank for about a second. If he disconnected the battery and reconnected, it would crank the first time for 2-3 seconds.
    When I got it, the first thing I did was replace the 675 CCA Marine battery he had in it with the 400CCA battery called for in the specs.
    I had the same results. I pulled the neutral switch and hard wired it just to be sure that was not the issue. It was not the issue.
    I pulled the spark plugs and did what compression testing I could with 1 sec cranks. 120psi..I figure that is passable since I could only get it to crank for about a second.
    I jumped the Solenoid and got it to crank normally. So the engine can crank but something is stopping it.
    I pulled the ground and tested it. It was ok, but not great so I cleaned the ground wire and the block to ensure I have good ground.
    Now when I crank it the first time, it fires right up, runs for a bout 2-3 seconds and dies. Then it will only try to crank for about a second unless you turn the battery switch off, disconnect the DESS key, turn the battery on install the DESS key and crank it. It will immediately fire up for about 3 seconds.

    Any ideas?


  2. #2
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
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    welcome aboard. good post with good diagnostic info

    is the check engine lamp on the console lit?

    Initial guess would be the ecu(part # 420664133) , this is based on the characteristics of the electrical issues requiring you to kill the battery power) which is an expensive initial guess, as a replacement ecu will also require you to code a new key, and that could mean pulling the boat down to a shop of some sort, or buying a code scanner, unless you find one with a coded key

    couple of used ones on ebay for $700

    if you got the boat for a song, buy a candoo code scanner for $400 use that to get as much history as you can as far as problems/error codes ( as an example a high voltage recorded of 17v would point to zapping the ecu by way of repeated jump start attempts and so on) good diagnostic tool and you can also use it to make keys and more> seadoo ecu's retain important info such as min/max engine temps and voltage high/low

    I'd go over the electrics and check out the harness connectors at the ecu ( on the engine block itself, kill the battery before looking at this) sometimes removing the connector giving it a spray of contact cleaner and reinstalling will do the trick

    the boat not having an easy way to read engine condition codes makes it a black box with expensive guess, which is why the code scanner is suggested

    I would also check that the fuel pressure is good, but that wouldn't explain the need to disconnect the battery, but on something that old it would be a good thing to have confidence in. To avoid buying the special adapter get some replacement fuel line clamps, remove the line from the fuel rail then splice in your fuel pressure gauge adapater

    by the way, if the ecu is actually in distress, when you hook up the candoo it might simply say "ecu not found", which is the clear tell you need a new one.

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  4. #3

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    Pete,
    Thank you for the very in-depth reply. I thought I replied earlier but it did not post for some reason.
    You gave me a lot to look into. Originally, I was going to have the ECU tested and have the fuel pressure tested. I found a decent buy on Ebay for a used ECU with the DESS key. I am currently waiting for the ECU. I will swap them out and if it starts/runs, issue resolved. If not, I will have the old ECU tested, and test fuel pressure, and sell a working ECU on Ebay. I will keep you posted as I progress. Again, thank you for your reply as I was a little lost and your response helped keep me moving forward in getting this boat running again.

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  6. #4
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
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    You're more then welcome. These sorts of issue can create male pattern baldness in a week. Especially if you're not keen on wasting money

    with some luck the replacement ecu will do the trick, you can get the old key coded at some point or just sell it on ebay for $25, assuming the boat runs solid with the replacement.

    I keep a couple of old ecu's in the shop for this very purpose, this way I can have full confidence in my diagnostic. There isn't an easy way to test in ECU, outside of seeing if it communicates with a scanner.

    I hope the ebay ecu was from a seller with a 100 feedback, lots of guys sell thier non working junk there.

    don't forget to disconnect the battery before beginning work

    and of course

    good luck!

  7. #5

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    Pete, you have been invaluable. I have not lost my hair yet. The ECU came in today. I swapped them out and tested. No more short cranking. It now cranks as long as I want to hold the button. Which tells me the old ECU was bad. I would like to test it and see the history on it as well as the "new" one. It is my theory that the previous owner fried the ECU by running the boat with the full sized marine engine it. (Just my theory)
    Now I am on to the next issue. I believe it is a fuel issue. It will now crank but will only start if I give it a shot of starter fluid. Then it starts and runs for a few seconds. At least I know I have spark. The previous owner replaced the fuel pump. He showed me the old one when I bought it, so I am guessing it is either a fuel filter or fuel regulator. I think a pressure test will help determine which.

  8. #6
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
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    Good news so far on your ecu replacement.

    I'll tell you what went on here, I've seen it all too many times. nothing to do with battery size

    it's called "crank and pray", starring a big automotive floor charger with a "start mode" ( 200 amp 1/4 wave a/c). The constant jumping cranking, charging , jumping spiked the ecu into oblivion

    Next steps:

    1-ditch the starter fluid, nothing good ever comes from using that and the bad shit potential is literally off the chart. Starter fluid has 3 places:

    a-bulldozers, and other things of the CAT persuasion
    b-snowplows
    c-when your jenny won't start and you are about to lose $400 wroth of food


    2-pull the fuel injector rail ( two bolts, careful not to drop them)
    3-put a large baggie around each injectors secure with rubber bands or zip ties
    4-a couple of short cranks ( 5 seconds max, with a 10 second rest between cycles
    5-that will likely show the injectors are not spraying, if they are dribbling disconnect the fuel rail, dump the gas out of it and put some injector cleaner in there, let it sit for a while, reconnect the fuel line and hit it again
    6-if it still is just dribbling or not delivering fuel at all check the fuel pressure, you'll need some good quality worm clamps to put your injector adapter in place. You can often rent these at a autozone for the cheap
    7-fuel pumps are inexpensive, but you have to get a decent one, if you sniff around the forum you'll find some possible model #s's to use

    here's one I came up with using a fast and dirty search of the vendor, https://www.amazon.com/Seadoo-Afterm.../dp/B00HN9VGE0. There are some specific references ont he forum to the "right" ones. I've used the brand, but it's been a while and my shop is closed right now so I can't pull a box to see the model #, you'll find it.

    they are not difficult to swap, just be meticulous with the wiring, as they run in fuel! Use some care removing the pump cartridge, the fuel sender needs some finessing to get it our of the tank and watch the gasket, it's going to be brittle, a new one isn't a bad idea

    if you want to prime the engine use a small quirt can with a long hose to go direct to the throttle body, but you're done with that part of the program

    you'll be tempted to throw the old ecu back in to test it or read its data after you make the engine run. Avoid the temptation. Nothing good comes of screwing wit the ecu connectors when an engine is in a running condition.

    you're close now that you've seen the smoke, shouldn't take more then a couple of more hours to swap the pump clean it up and fire it up

  9. #7

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    Again Pete, you have been of an immeasurable help!
    I have stopped with the starter fluid!
    I did not trust the work of the previous owner and I thought/hoped it might be a fuel regulator issue as I read they have filters and periodically need replaced. I found a new fuel pump assembly from Herko (https://herko.com/Retail/bosch-fuel-...204560259.html).
    It only took about 10 minutes to swap them out (plus 30 minutes it took to run to Lowes to get a couple of missing nuts the previous owner did not think it necessary to use on the top of the housing)(The gasket was not brittle and looked new) (Did this before I read your last reply)
    Still no joy though.

    I threw in the towel and called a shop for help, but when I went through all that I have already done, he felt it is an electrical issue and the fuel pump is not getting power. He did not want to work on an electrical issue and said the person he used to recommend wound up not being reputable and did have anyone to recommend.

    Looks like I am on my own.
    I am going to pull the rail and use the baggies to test for fuel per your directions. If I see no fuel, I am going to start testing power to the fuel pump. (I may do that before pulling the rail since it makes sense if the fuel pump is not getting power, then I will not be getting fuel.)
    It would really help to get a service manual so I can trace the wiring.
    Again, thank you for your guidance.

    Also, thank you for the advice on the ECU. You must have been reading my mind. I had laid the old ECU to the side specifically with the intention of throwing it back in the boat once it was running to read it. That plan has now been scrapped! I will agree with your scenario that the previous owner jumped it with a regular battery charger trying to get it to start after running the battery down.

    I will keep you posted as I progress!

  10. #8
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
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    good price on the complete pump assembly! You should hear the fuel pump spin up then stop when the dess key is put on the post.

    Finding missing nuts on the fuel pump assembly is in a word, plain ass sloppy work, so you gotta start wondering what else was "shortcut"

    for the purpose of testing you can feed the fuel pump power directly, but you should go over the entire fuse block carefully first

    testing the fuel rail output is just a couple of bolts and far easier, albeit a little bit of a fire hazard if you get careless

    don't use a worm clamp on the fuel lines, you waant top use the correct otiker clamp and the specialty pliers. Some folks dull down a cheap set of dykes to crimp them in, but it's not suggested. The proper tool is around $30. use a small flat bladed screwdriver to lift the end of the clamp where the tiny tabs are seen, it will pop off without too much trouble, this is assuming you'll need to clean the injectors depending on what you find.

    videos always helpful to everybody

    good luck

  11. #9

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    Hi Pete,
    The boss had me finish a bathroom remodel before I could move forward with the boat project. Now that we can shower again, I have had time to look at the boat again.

    I downloaded the service manual and reviewed the wiring diagram for the fuel pump. I looked at/inspected the fuse block. The only issue I noticed is there were 50 amp fuses instead of 10 amp fuses. I replaced all the fuses with the correct amperage and tested for continuity/voltage finding no issues.
    Also, I connected the DESS and listened for the fuel pump to spin up. I did not hear anything.
    I disconnected the fuel pump plug and hard wired a PWC battery to it. I heard it spin up for a second and stop. When I hit the start button, the engine fired up without hesitation.
    However, I am confused. When I test the fuel pump wires on the plug with a volt meter they read 12v. so why does it act like it is not getting power from the plug?
    Also, I am now getting a check engine light when I plug in the DESS key. I guess I need to invest in a Candoo diagnostic tool.

  12. #10
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    50a fuses where 10a should be..........oh jeez, the previous "mechanic" needs a good kick in the nuts!

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