Mobile On-Call Mechanic Wichita's Original Mobile Mechanic

Kawasaki Jet Ski Restoration

Post Created October 2014.

1988 Jet Ski 550 Kawasaki Restoration Before, Mobile OnCall Mechanic, Wichita KSHi, this is my first personal water craft, a 1988 Kawasaki Jet Ski.  Picked it up for $25.  I plan a total restoration with everything tended to.  I quickly learned that working on PWC’s is NOTHING like boats!  You need lots of special tools and lots of patience.  You would think that such a small craft would be easy but think again!  For example, 3 things right off:  First, the hull is Sheet Molded Compound “SMC”, not fiberglass, so you must use epoxy resin not polyester.  Second, the motor is about the same size as a typical powerhead on a boat more, but that’s where the similarities end!  Forget about rebuilding the crankshaft yourself.  Third, the jet drive requires lots of knowledge and special tools.  I will call this a “learning experience” and it has already been at least partially rewarding in that I successfully completely disassembled the motor.  In the end I will hopefully gain knowledge to help other Jet Ski owners.

The crankshaft is bad, you can’t even turn the front main bearing.  I will shift focus back to the body while I hunt for a new crank (or a suitable rebuilder) this winter.  Note to self: Approach with caution, the motor can explode with an improperly aligned crankshaft, because of runout.

Take a good look at this photo, you will not believe your eyes when I’m finished!