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Reasons Why Your Jet Ski Won’t Start

It’s time to update this post after answering hundreds of comments from readers and helping them with their jet ski starting problems.

I’ve added more things to try when your jet ski is refusing to start, along with many new tips. It can be frustrating when your jet ski won’t start, but with this new updated guide, it will help you figure out why.

Why Your Jet Ski Won’t Start

A jet ski not starting is most often a dead or weak battery. A bad starter relay can also be another reason for a jet ski not starting.

Usually, when you hear multiple clicks from your jet ski, it’s a bad battery and if it’s one click it’s a bad starter relay.

A bad battery and starter relay are the most common reasons for a jet ski to not start, but here is a list of other things that can cause starting problems that we’ll go over in this post.

  1. Bad or weak battery.
  2. Bad starter relay.
  3. Bad spark plugs.
  4. Bad or wrong key or Locked.
  5. Sucked something up.
  6. Bad starter button.
  7. Bad fuel injectors.
  8. Blown fuses.
  9. Bad ground connections.
  10. Bad gas.
  11. Bad fuel lines if it’s a 2-stroke.
  12. Bad starter motor.
  13. Bad fuel pump.
  14. Hydrolocked.
  15. Broken safety lanyard or not attached.
  16. Fuel selector is not on, 2-strokes only.
  17. TOPS switch is bad.
  18. ECU or ECM is bad.
  19. Overheating/cooling issues.
  20. Throttle position sensor bad.
  21. Blown engine.
  22. Damaged gauge.

1. Bad Or Weak Battery Can Keep A Jet Ski From Starting

The most common reason for a jet ski to not start is a bad or weak battery.

You can tell it’s a bad battery if you press the start button and all you get is multiple clicks coming from the engine compartment. That multiple clicks are the starter relay clicking because the battery doesn’t have enough power to turn the engine over.

If you put the key on and the gauges do not come on, it is another clue that the battery is dead. A completely dead jet ski battery won’t have enough power to turn on the display or make any noises.

Even if the battery seems fine or is brand new, it still can be a bad battery.

The only way to test if a battery is good is to use a load tester. Testing the voltage doesn’t mean anything, you need to test the amps, and only a load tester can do that. You can take the battery to any autoparts store and have them load test it, or buy a load tester (Amazon Link Ad) to keep in your home.

The best jet ski battery and the correct size to get can be found in our “The Best Jet Ski Battery + What Size You Need” post.

A battery being bad at the start of the season is quite common. Batteries go flat if they’re not used for months, so it’s important you keep a battery charger on your jet ski battery in the off-season. The best battery charger and other questions relating to your jet ski batteries is covered in this post.

2. A Bad Starter Relay

The next most common reason why a jet ski won’t start is that the starter relay(solenoid) is bad.

You can tell the starter relay is bad if you only get one click or thud from the engine compartment when you press the start button. The gauges will come on when you try to start, but all you get from the jet ski is one click, that is a sign of a bad starter relay.

The starter relay is a component that takes the lower power coming from the start button and has it control a high-power wire coming from the battery. The high-power side goes directly to the starter motor to turn the engine over.

It’s not uncommon that you need to replace your starter relay for your jet ski at least 2 to 3 times within its lifetime. You can’t predict when your jet ski’s starter solenoid will fail, it’s random, but it will always give a solid thud when it does fail.

Starter relays are not hard to replace for most jet skis, it’s often two mounting bolts, plus two terminal nuts and disconnecting the low power side wires. It can be dangerous replacing the starter relay, so be sure to disconnect the battery fully before doing anything.

3. Bad Spark Plugs

If the jet ski engine turns over but refuses to fire up or sputters a bit, then that is often a sign of bad spark plugs.

The jet ski may even fire up, but won’t stay running or runs very rough.

Ideally, you should change the spark plugs in your jet ski every year, at the start of the season is the best time. Here is a list of maintenance items you need to do for your jet ski.

4. Bad key, wrong key or Locked

Customers putting on the wrong key is more common than people realize.

It’s not uncommon for a jet ski owner to get two jet skis and the keys not be programmed alike. The keys look the same, but if you have a Sea-Doo and put the wrong key on the jet ski it won’t start as each key is programmed to each machine. If you own multiple Sea-Doo’s ask your dealership about getting all your keys programmed alike to keep this from happening.

If it’s the right key, there is a chance the key or post could be bad. While rare, I’ve seen a few number of Sea-Doo keys go bad and the only fix is to get a new key. The post where the key plugs into can go bad too, one way to test that is to put a strong magnet up to it and if the Sea-Doo doesn’t beep the wrong key sound then the post is mostly likely bad.

Yamaha waverunners have some models that have key fobs, and you can lock the jet ski like you do your car. If your Yamaha has the key fob or a PIN code access, make sure it’s unlocked before trying to start it.

Yamaha Waverunner Key Fob To Lock and Unlock Jet Ski

Kawasaki has keys similar to Sea-Doo that go in the glove box, so make sure they’re inserted before attempting to start.

Kawasaki Keys In Glove Box

5. Sucked Something Up Into Jet Ski Pump

It’s a good idea to check your jet pump for anything inside it like ropes, rocks, sticks or any large item that’s not supposed to be there.

Jet skis are direct drive, this means the jet pump is connected to the engine, there is no transmission. So when you go to start the jet ski, the jet pump will also spin and if something is stuck in the pump, it will keep the engine from starting.

One of the first things you should check when you get the jet ski out of the water for a non-starting problem is the pump. Look from the rear and also safely crawl under the jet ski to look into the pump to make sure nothing is blocking the pump blades from moving.

If you need to remove something from the pump, I have a post here to show you how.

6. Bad Starter Button

A bad starter button can keep a jet ski from starting and was a common problem for 2-stroke jet skis.

The rubber of the start button can wear out and cause it to not work. The plastic start buttons didn’t give much trouble, but the rubber ones do wear out quicker.

If the button is torn, you have to press really hard with your nail, or the button is super faded, then replacing the start button is a good idea.

Do note, the start button of a jet ski is not the same as your car. You must hold the start button down on your jet ski until it’s fully started. Pressing the start button once on a jet ski will not start it, it needs to be held down until the engine gets going.

7. Bad Gas

If the jet ski turns over but won’t fire up or runs rough, and you replaced the spark plugs, then it’s most likely bad gas.

Gas goes bad when you let it sit without adding fuel stabilizer to it. It’s getting even worse with more ethanol is added to gas.

If your jet ski has been sitting for a while, then it’s a good chance the gas is bad and keeping your jet ski from firing up. Safely remove the old gas and add fresh premium gas to your jet ski.

This is why I like to store my jet ski near empty (1 or 2 bars of gas) in the off-season and when the season starts I fill it up with fresh 93 octane gas. Along with new spark plugs, you’ll be starting the season off right.

8. Blown Fuses And Relays

If you get nothing out of your jet ski when you put the key on or press the start button once, then it could be fuses or relays located in the fuse boxes that have gone bad.

Locate the fuse box, often near the battery, and check every fuse. If a fuse is blown you need to replace it.

Don’t forget to check the fuses that may not be in the fuse box, there are often fuses inline coming out the fuse box or near the battery wrapped in a rubber sleeve.

It’s not uncommon for me to see a jet ski blow a fuse because someone hooked the battery up backwards. Other times fuses blow just because, there is no good reason except the fuse was not good. If a fuse keeps blowing, you need to figure out what is blowing it.

There are also small relays, look like a small black box with multiple terminals, that go into the fuse box area. These smaller relays are used to power on the low-power items and get the jet ski into turning on mode. There is no good way to test these relays unless you have an ohm meter, but if you’ve gotten to the point of testing them, it’s just easier to replace them. These little relays are less likely to fail than the main starter relay, but they can fail.

Sea-Doo Fuse Box – OMRON black box is the small relays I’m talking about

9. Bad Ground Connections

If a jet ski is older, corroded ground connections are quite a common problem for starting issues and many other problems.

If you have corrosion around the battery terminal cables, then it’s mostly likely your problem. Corroding battery cables also mean the ground wires that connect to the engine block are corroding too.

You will need to clean all the ground connections, including where they connect to the engine block.

10. Bad Starter Motor

A starter motor going bad is more likely on 2-stroke jet skis than 4-stroke, but it can happen to both.

One way to tell it’s the starter motor that is bad is if all this below is true.

  1. Battery is good.
  2. Starter relay is good.
  3. Nothing is in the pump.
  4. Engine is not hydrolocked.

If the above is true, then it’s most likely a bad starter motor.

If you have a 12-volt test light probe (Amazon Link Ad), you can see if the starter motor is getting power to it. Clamp the negative to the battery or ground and put the probe light on the positive connection of the starter and press the start button. If the probe light turns on when you press start, then you’re getting power to the starter, and the next thing you need to do is remove the starter and bench test it. If you get no light from the probe, then the problem is before the starter.

To bench test a starter motor, you have to remove it from the engine and put it in a bench vice clamp and hook it directly to a battery. Starter motors are very jumpy, so you need to make sure it’s secured tight in the vice clamp before connecting it to a battery.

11. Carburetor Issues Or Bad Fuel Lines (2-Strokes Only)

If you have a 2-stroke jet ski that has a carburetor, then a super common starting problem is a clogged carburetor or old fuel lines.

If you have a 4-stroke jet ski, then this section is not for you, as all 4-stroke jet skis are fuel injected. You’ll know you’ll have a carbureted jet ski engine if you have a choke cable.

With the rise of ethanol in gas, it’s been doing a number on 2-strokes carburetors and fuel lines.

The solution is to clean the carburetors and replace the fuel lines, and then avoid ethanol gas as much as you can.

12. Bad Fuel Injectors

Not super common, but bad fuel injectors can keep a jet ski from starting.

Bad fuel injectors can also cause “ghost” problems when it comes to starting. If the jet ski will start but not start again after sitting or is rough to get going, it could be the fuel injectors.

I’ve had a jet ski that would start but if you let it sit for a bit it would refuse to start back up. One of the fuel injectors was leaking and dumping gas in, causing the engine to be flooded and refuse to get running.

Messing with fuel injectors is a dangerous repair and should only be done at the dealership.

13. Hydrolocked Jet Ski Engine

A jet ski that is hydrolocked means there is water in the engine, which is not a good thing.

You can get water in the jet ski engine from it sinking, drain plugs left in and flooded by rain water, broken cooling components and more.

A hydrolocked jet ski engine will refuse to start, and trying to start a hydrolocked jet ski can bend piston rods and do further damage. If you flipped your jet ski, follow these steps.

An easy way to test if there is water in your engine is to take the dipstick out and see the color and consistency of the oil. If the oil is runny and looks like chocolate milk, then that is bad. You want the oil to look amber or black and should not be runny.

Another way to see if water is in the engine is to remove the spark plugs and turn the engine over. If you get a geyser of water shooting out the spark plug holes, then there is water in the engine.

Hydrolocked engine is best fixed at the dealership or repair shop, especially if it’s a 4-stroke jet ski. You’re going to need several oil changes and the intake taken off to get all the water out.

14. Bad Fuel Pump

A fuel pump that is bad can keep a jet ski from starting, but fuel pumps going bad are not common and more of a fluke failure.

If the jet ski turns over, you’re getting spark, but the jet ski does not prime or no gas is coming out the fuel injectors it’s mostly a bad fuel pump.

Another way to tell it’s a bad fuel pump is if the gas gauge is not working, as that is a part of the fuel pump.

The fuel pump is located in the gas tank and is a dangerous repair and should only be done at the dealership.

15. Broken Safety Lanyard Or Not Attached

All jet skis have a kill switch called a safety lanyard that attaches to you and the jet ski. So if you fall off the jet ski, the engine will shut off.

Sea-Doo’s safety lanyard is the key, while Yamaha and Kawasaki have dedicated lanyards on the handlebars that wrap around your wrist.

You need to make sure the lanyard is attached to you and connected to the switch on your jet ski, or else it won’t start.

The switches for the safety lanyard can fail, especially if water gets near the contacts.

It’s recommended you let the dealership repair these lanyard switches, as it’s meant to save lives and needs to be done properly. Make sure your waverunner doesn’t have a recall on the kill switches either.

Tip: If your safety lanyard cable is stretched, damage, or broke, you have to replace it. They do not sell the cable/string separately, so you must replace the whole thing, which means for Sea-Doo you need to get a new key.

16. Fuel Selector Is Not On Or Broken (2-Strokes Only)

If you have a 2-stroke with a carburetor, you’ll most likely have a fuel selector.

The fuel selector can be moved to off, which shuts off all gas to the engine and can keep it from starting.

Make sure the fuel selector is in the “ON” or “Reserve” position when trying to start your jet ski.

An interesting way to know if your fuel lines are going bad is if the jet ski runs fine in reserve but not while in the “ON” position. People don’t use the reserve much, so the lines don’t wear out as quickly.

17. T.O.P.S Switch Triggered

The T.O.P.S Switch (Tip Over Protection Switch) is a switch that is used to determine if your jet ski is upside down. If the switch thinks you’re upside down it shuts the engine off.

The T.O.P.S Switch is used to protect your engine if you flip it and to protect you from the spinning impeller blades.

The old T.O.P.S Switches were simple mercury switches, and they could get confused about what’s up and wants down. The newer T.O.P.S Switches are more reliable, but can still fail.

If you feel like you’ve tried everything else, this is a good one to try. The only good way to tell if a T.O.P.S Switch is bad is to hook it up to the diagnostic computer, as it will throw a fault code.

A bad T.O.P.S Switch will keep a jet ski from starting, and it’s one of those things you’ll try last because it’s not common for it to fail, especially for newer jet skis.

18. ECU or ECM Is Bad

A bad or damaged ECU or ECM can keep a jet ski from starting.

The ECU (Engine Control Unit) and ECM (Engine Control Module) are the “brains” of your jet ski.

If you tried everything else and the jet ski won’t start or won’t run right, then the last thing to check is the ECU or ECM.

Unless you got the proper testing equipment from the manufacturer, it’s hard to know if the ECU or ECM are bad. Most dealerships don’t even get the testers out and just replace it with a known good computer to see if they’re bad or not.

ECU and ECM’s each cost about $1,000 to replace and will require a dealership to program them to your jet ski.

19. Overheating And Cooling Problems

If a jet ski overheats for too long, the computer will kill the engine to protect itself.

An overheated engine can refuse to start until it’s cooled back down.

If the jet ski is refusing to start back up after riding, you may have overheating problems. If you do have overheating problems, alarms should be going off to warn you.

Make sure you don’t run your jet ski out of the water for no more than 15 seconds.

20. Throttle Position Sensor Is Bad

Not super common, but a bad throttle position sensor can keep your jet ski from starting.

Fuel injected jet skis, which all 4-stroke are, will have a sensor to determine the throttle positions. If the jet ski throttle is in too much, the jet ski will refuse to start as it’s in drown mode.

Sea-Doo mostly, if you hold the throttle all the way in it goes in a drown mode which kills the fuel injectors. This mode is for testing things like compression and to make sure the engine spins without firing it up.

If the throttle sensor is not set right or confused, this could be why your jet ski won’t start. To reset this, you’ll need to hook the jet ski up to the diagnostics computer to reset the TPS.

Also, make sure you’re not touching the throttle when trying to start your jet ski. I know a few dirt bike and motorcycle guys that are in the habit to give a little gas to start them, but this is not something you do for a jet ski.

21. Blown Engine

A blown jet ski engine can refuse to start or not run well.

You can tell if a jet ski engine is blown by checking its compression with a compression gauge. You want the PSI to be over 100PSI and each cylinder to be within 15% of each other.

An engine that was hydrolocked and not taken care of properly can also blow the engine.

Running improper fuel and air mixture can lead the engine to blow too.

Running the engine to where it overheats and damages it can also blow the engine.

There are many things that cause a jet ski engine to blow, but it’s usually something major that happened to lead to such events. While a jet ski engine blowing can cause it to not start or run right, it’s not always the case and is one of the more rare reasons.

22. Damaged Gauges

A damage gauge could keep the jet ski from starting or confuse you into thinking the battery is bad. A damage gauge could keep from lighting up and ringing the buzzers too.

The main communications you have with your jet ski is the gauge and the buzzer, so if both don’t come on, it could keep you from getting your jet ski started or knowing what’s wrong.

221 thoughts on “Reasons Why Your Jet Ski Won’t Start”

  1. Howdy!
    I’m vacationing in the Florida Keys with our twin 2020 GTX Limited. We have been using them without issue but left them in the water well secured this week. No bouncing around or hitting anything, but did have heavy wind. We went to use them today and both are not starting. Key registers, dash comes on, but continuously turns over. Any ideas how we can troubleshoot? We already had the batteries replaced about 6 months ago, and both are well charged.

    Reply
    • This doesn’t sound like a battery or starter relay issue as it turns over. It sounds like a spark plug or ignition problem. It could also be a bad gas problem too.

      Reply
  2. HI Steven, our 2001 Sea Doo GTI stopped running last week. First time we had it out this year. My son thought it was a Low Oil Pressure Shutoff to protect the engine. Cannot find anything listed saying this is a feature. I did fill the oil & the engine turns over great, but will not fire. If the Starter relay was bad, would the engine turn over? Any other helpful hints to check?

    Reply
    • If the engine turns over the starter relay is fine. Since it’s a 2-stroke I would start by replacing the spark plugs first.

      Reply
  3. I have a 2007 and 2008 Seadoo GTI 155. Both have similar hours right around 70. So after storing them for winter this year we were going to take them out a few weeks ago. We had the batteries stored in our basement on a shelf. Put them in and went to fire them up. The 2008 fired right up and was ready to go. But the 2007 when putting the key on the DESS post the screen came on for a short period, but there were no beeps at all. Then I tried starting it thinking maybe the beeper wasn’t working. Nothing at all. So I switched the battery out of the one that was working thinking maybe it was just the battery. Again the same exact thing. So it wasn’t the battery. Did some research and wasn’t really a whole lot about the topic on that model year. I found some stuff that suggested that it was possibly the DESS post was bad and I would need a new one. So I wired up the new DESS post. Same exact thing. When the key is put on you can here like a pump is turned on or something and the screen comes on for like 5 seconds and then goes off. Nothing else comes of it. I put my key from the 2008 on it to see what it would do and it has the same result as what happens with the correct key.

    Any ideas would be much appreciated thanks!!

    Reply
      • So would the best bet be taking it to a dealership and seeing what computer system has gone bad? Because the computer systems are very expensive? or is there a way to diagnose it by my self.

        Reply
        • The best thing you can do is take it to the repair shop and let them hook it up to BUDs to see what is wrong. It could be something simple like a terminal is loose or as bad as the ECM is bad.

          Reply
  4. I have a 2001 xlt 1200 yamaha waverunner. When i hit the start button it makes a lound horn like sound and i can feel vibration under the black yamaha cover. Any idea what it could be, sounds like starter isn’t engaging but not sure. have a video of it on my phone

    Reply
    • That’s a new one, I never heard a jet ski make a horn-like sound. The thing that comes to mind is the starter motor jammed or something in the pump is jammed.

      Reply
  5. Hello Steve

    I have a 2008 Kawasaki 15F and my frustration is that when the ski is cold it starts right up, runs a little ruff until it warms up then runs great. When i come back in and try to restart the ski it will not start until it cools down? I have changed the battery, I also change the plugs every year. Last year i even change both coils because i thought maybe they went back. I would appreciate any advise.

    Reply
    • I would check the fuel injectors. I had a jet ski that did something very similar to this and it was because of the fuel injectors and bad gas.

      Reply
  6. Hi Steve, I’ve got a Yamaha vxr 2012. Battery had plenty of charge but when we tried to start it there was a faint electrical buzz but did not try to kick over at all. Tried pressing the start button multiple times but same thing happened. It eventually kicked and started. I switched it off after about 5 minutes out on the water for about 2min then tried starting it again and it wouldn’t start. Took the seat off and wiggles the cords and it eventually started again. It ran fine for another 2hrs then after we got it out of the water to clean it out with fresh water it wouldn’t start again. Checked the battery and it was still fine… is that likely the start relay or another electrical issue?

    Reply
  7. Hi Steven, we bought a 2005 seadoo Gtx 155 last summer. Had a blast at the lake all year. We got it winterized end of the season, and it’s been stored in the garage. We are taking it back to the lake next week. What do u recommend for maintenance each year? Should I go ahead and get the oil changed and new spark plugs each season before I take it out? And is winterizing at my dealer all I need to do at the end of each summer? Thanks!

    Reply
    • What I do is get my jet ski winterized with oil change every year, I only do this because things are cheaper in the winter and I don’t need it then. Then when the season starts I put some fresh gas in the tank and change the spark plugs. If you didn’t have the battery on charge during the winter I charge the battery or get a new one. If you didn’t change the oil in the winter I would go ahead and do it before you ride. An oil change once a year and new spark plugs every year is a must and if it gets below freezing where you live you need to winterize it every year too.

      Reply
      • Thank you. They winterized it, but did not change the oil, so I will do that now. Also we are going to get the solar charger you recommended because we did not put it on charge all winter. Hopefully it will not be dead for good. It was a new battery last year. The solar charger u recommend comes with a cigarette lighter plug… I assume u don’t use that? And just hook it up to the battery and hang the solar panel off? Also, heard conflicting things about getting it winterized. We filed the gas tank with new gas BEFORE winterizing it. When I too it to the dealer, he said I SHOULDNT have filled the tank, and instead left it pretty low.. your suggestion? Is my full tank going to need to be siphoned out now? 🙁

        Reply
        • You connect the 5-watt solar charger directly to the battery. These solar chargers often come with clips that you connect to the terminals of the battery. Leave the solar panel somewhere that the sun can get to it. If the battery is already dead the solar charger might not charge it up enough, it’s more to maintain the battery. You’ll need to get a 12-volt smart charger rated below 2 amps if the jet ski won’t start or the battery is weak. If the smart charger doesn’t charge the battery then you’ll need a new battery. I leave all my jet skis with 1/4 of gas for the winter, never fill it up and let it sit. Gas goes bad over time. Then when the season starts I fill the tank with fresh gas. If you stored the gas without STA-BIL in the tank the gas might not be good. The high-HP jet skis can get picky about their gas, if it’s slightly bad check engine lights go off. I would have the dealer check the gas and if it need be taken it out.

          Reply
          • Thanks for the quick replies! Ok, last questions.. if we store the seadoo in a garage all winter, it wouldn’t get any sun, so how often should we hook it up to the smart charger in the winter, and how long to leave it on each time? When they winterized it, they did put stabil in the gas, so perhaps it will be ok? Would stink to lose a whole tank of gas. And finally, is the starter relay an expensive fix? Ours may be going bad bc we have to push it a few times sometimes for the engine to fully turn over. We have noticed the DEES key has to be put on the post just right also.

          • In your case, I would take the batteries out of the jet ski and put them somewhere off the ground in your garage. Then a few days before you get you jet skis ready for the season charge the batteries with a smart charger. If you got STA-BIL in the gas when it was winterized you should be fine. Replacing the starter relay can easy on some models and hard on others. From what you describe it sounds like you need a new starter relay. Just make sure the battery is disconnected and out of the jet ski before you replace it. This is for safety and often it’s so much easier to replace the starter relay with the battery out of the way.

  8. Hi Steven, great article! So…. here’s my situation… 1997 Seadoo GTI. Bought it a few weeks ago, all service performed by local mechanic. Local mechanic gave advice to crank it up out of water and warm it up prior to placing it in the water after I called him and advised him it wouldn’t crank in the water. I took his advice and it ran for a while; however, it just completely shut off on me a few times while riding as if I detached the cap key from the Seadoo. I checked the key but it was still attached. I held the start/stop button down for a moment several times without it doing anything and it finally cranked back up and made it back to the dock. Later, I checked to see if the Seadoo would crank while on the trailer and now there is no beep when I place the key on, the gas gauge turns on and the red light turns on quickly and both go off. During that quick moment I am pressing the start/ stop button but there is no clicking or anything in the engine. I checked ALL fuses, I checked the battery voltage and am good on that. I placed a screwdriver across the starter relay solenoid bolts without the key on the Seadoo and it sparked and sounded like it was going to crank. Starter Solenoid relay ? If it is the Starter Solenoid Relay would that also have an affect on the beeper? Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    • I’ve seen the start buttons on those models go bad or the key or DESS post. It sounds more like the DESS or Key is bad but a 23-year-old jet ski is bound to have a handful of problems so fixing the start button would be worth it too.

      Reply
  9. Hi Steven, 
    I read your article it’s great. Thank you for all of your advice here. 
    I made a post yesterday here; however, I’m not able to see it. That is why I am writing this post for the second time. 
    I bought the Seadoo Spark 2014 last year around August with a bit broken(cracked) hull that I fixed without any problems. 
    When I bought the jet ski I tried to turn on the engine; however, I was not able to start the engine and I thought that probably the battery is weak or I need to replace the spark plugs. ( I heard the sound that engine is trying to start)
    Now when I have a bit more time I try to turn on the engine; however, I’m not able to and I don’t hear anything except one click. 
    I replaced the starter relay. 
    I replaced the starter solenoid 
    I’ve checked the battery and it is good( I’ve checked the battery for load in Auto Zone)
    I’ve checked the starter (It’s working great)
    I’ve also checked all of the cables from battery to starter solenoid and from the starter solenoid to the starter. 
    All of the fuses are good. 
    When I replaced the spark plugs I noticed that they are rusty, and that rust is on the top of the pistons. I wonder if it is possible that pistons got stuck?
    What is your opinion on what can cause that engine this problem?

    I didn’t winterize the engine because I have no idea that I should do this. I don’t know if this is important, but I live in a place where winter is warm and I parked Jet Ski in the garage all the time. 

    Could you please give me any suggestions on what I can check before I will go to the dealer?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • A hole in the bottom of the jet ski and rust in the cylinders is not a good thing. It sounds like the Spark sunk and the engine took on water and made it hydrolocked. This is not a good sign, I suggest taking it to the nearest repair shop.

      Reply
      • The hull was broken outside the water. The engine is completely clean and looks like new and the hull inside looks like new is very clean. I don’t see any signs of water inside the hull, so I do believe that the damage was done outside the water. 

        Reply
        • Something is not right as spark plugs should not rust. The person who sold you it could have cleaned it up. Something is not right and will need a repair shop to tear apart the engine to see what is going on.

          Reply
  10. Hey – 2006 STX 15F owner – bought it used and it ran great for 3 hours
    3rd trip out it will crank hard but not start
    Smart trickle charged the battery and it was at 13v
    Check that fuel was geting to the rail
    Engine cranks hard but never fires

    ideas?

    Reply
  11. Ok, so my 91 Kawasaki TS has a very similar issue! When you go to start it and all it does it click, keep holding the start button. I did this for roughly 10 seconds and when i hit the starter button again, it actually turned the motor over. I know, weird….but try that and let me know how that goes.

    Reply
    • Sounds like you need either a new battery or a starter relay. If it’s multiple clicks you need a new battery, one single click then you need a new starter relay.

      Reply
  12. Hello Dear,

    I have Yamaha Ex model Jetski. It unable to start, so after charging it got dry start. But in water it unable to start again. It happens twice the same. So I changed battery to 12v 18 amh (as 19 amh not available in market). Now engine not starting, only there’s tick sounds. Voltage showing greater than 12. What could be the reason please. Is there anything serious.

    Reply
    • Sounds like you need a new battery, the one you have has gone bad. Even if the battery charger says it charges fine it still sounds like you need a new battery.

      Reply
  13. Hi Steven!

    I have a 2004 Seadoo GTX 155 4tec 160hour.
    When the engine is cold starts fine (on the trailer and also in the water).
    After riding when the engine is warm it takes a lot of cranking to get it started.
    Does my starter stop cranking (slow) after a few seconds (like it’s a feature to save the battery), then I have to press start again and go through this 3-4 times before it fires up. Once it starts it runs fine, and always starts right up when cold. Thank’s! Leslie

    Reply
    • This is a super odd one. It’s either fuel or a compression problem. This is one of the times I’ll say you need to take it in so someone can get their hands on it and figure it out. I’ve never run into this problem before.

      Reply
  14. Have a 2011 yamaha vxr. Started up once (no problem), let it ran for 15 seconds, started up twice (no problem), ran 15 seconds, then 3rd time it clicked and the green security light came on, it didn’t start. I let it rest for 30 minutes and it just the green security light came on.

    Reply
  15. Hi Steve, i have a 1991 Kawasaki 650TS and am having starting issues. I replaced the battery, starter solenoid and starter with no change!?!?!! When i hit the starter button it cranks super slow for a few seconds then all i hear is the solenoid clicking. I can start it with a battery charger on 10 amps and after its warm it will start back up almost every time!! Also getting over 12.4v when it runs, can you suggest anything else to try?

    Reply
    • If you can start it with the extra help of the battery charger then that tells me the battery is not good even if it’s new. The battery charger is supplying enough power to make up for the weak battery and that is why it’s starting. Also, if it’s only at 12.4 volts when running it tells me the rectifier or something in your charging system is not working. It should be hovering higher between 13.5 to 14.5 volts. Also, don’t forget to clean the connecting battery wires as they often develop corrosion over time. When you do get another battery make sure to charge it completely with a smart battery charger.

      Reply
  16. Hey steve,
    I’m 16 years old and my grandfather owns a 1999 Seadoo gtx he’s no longer physically able to A) ride and B) work on it. Me just getting my boating license have now decided to turn this into my little project to fix it up, so here’s my problem, I put the key on and only 50% of the time the dash board comes on, and when it does it and I go to start it, it gives a kick and dies out, we tried charging the battery and that didn’t seem help. When we do get it to start it dies when you don’t touch the throttle and you have to take the key out and try again. Do you think I need a new battery? Or could this be something else. Thx in advance

    Reply
  17. Hi Steve
    I njhave a 2005 GTX DI and it was running great. then my son took it out 15 minutes after I had just gone for a ride and it suddenly quit on him. We can start it but now it dies within 5 seconds in idle and quits immediately when moving the throttle. I replaced the spark plugs and checked all electrical connections but no luck. could it be a fuel pump or filter? looks like a monster job to get t out if it is

    Reply
    • Honestly, it could be many things with those DI’s. The DI’s from my experiences always get some type of phantom issue that makes it act odd. The fuel delivery system sounds like your issue and it could be the fuel pump or fuel rails. It’s hard to tell on DI’s but fuel seems to be your issue. It would be best to take it to a repair shop especially one that deals with 2-strokes. Those DI’s are cursed if you ask me.

      Reply
  18. Thanks. Based upon my experience with solenoids and the few PWC local technicians comments, I did not bypass the solenoid during the initial troubleshooting. No traditional clicking sounds, just the whirring noise noted in the earlier post. The whirring noise happens at the initial safety key is inserted on the dash for three or four seconds and then stops and then happens again when the start button is pushed. Just to be sure I decided nothing hurt through bypassing the solenoid and did so and the jet ski turned over fine – starter appears to be okay with that. Is the solenoid the most likely problem or is it possible that there is an issue with the MPEM? Can the MPEM cause the solenoid not to engage? I’m not getting a clicking sound when depressing the starter, only the whirring sound like a small electric or hydraulic motor spinning. It will do so as long as the starter button is depressed. I’m glad to replace the solenoid, cost is low, but I’m stumped by the whirring sound and wonder if there is a problem ahead of the solenoid. I have been unable to find this specific issue in talking with three technicians and looking at on-line postings. Many refer to the clicking of a solenoid as an indicator (which I don’t have happening) but no one has heard of a whirring sound happening under any condition. Any additional thoughts?

    Thanks again for the first response.

    Reply
    • That sound was common in some DI models and early 4-tec engines. It’s the fuel pump and other compoents “priming”. Every time you put the key on or press the start button you’ll hear this humming like sound. I would replace the starter solenoid and then go from there. Make sure the battery is not connected when you replace it.

      Reply
  19. Hi Steven,

    Thanks for your very useful comments on jetski starting. I hop you are able to provide possible direction or confirmation on the issue below.

    2000 Seadoo RXDI

    1. Won’t start. Battery depleted.
    2. New battery installed.
    3. With safety key inserted two short beeps occur. Electrical panel displays with status information.
    4. The first time inserting the safety key with the new battery the double beeps occurred and then there immediately follow a long beep. This happened twice. I couldn’t find a reason for the long beep of which several are listed (wrong lanyard, defective lanyard, safety lanyard in too long without starting or bad MPEM.
    5. An attempt was made a few minutes later and there was no long beep following the initial two short beeps.
    6. With the two beeps and no following long beep, the red start button was pushed and there was a humming sound similar to what a spinning electric motor or the sound a small hydraulic motor might make. Nothing else happened. No clicks or other sounds like I am familiar with on automotive units when a solenoid or battery is weak or bad.
    7. At the next attempt the humming sounded as soon as the double beep was heard with the insertion of the safety key, but without depressing the start button.
    8. The humming sound continued on its own for a few seconds and then stopped.
    9. The red start button was pushed and the humming sound initiated again until the red button was released. The start button checked to verify it was not stuck/sticking in a depressed position. It was not.
    10. Time was taken again to verify battery electrical connections were tight, which they were.
    11. The electrical box opened. What to me seemed a significant amount of water found inside. Water removed and the unit dried out, connections of all location checked and the attempt to start the unit again made with the same result as noted above, i.e. motor hum sounded as soon as the safety key was inserted, then stopped on its own and when the start button pushed the only sound was again the same hum as long as the red button is depressed.

    Despite being a 2000 model it has only 107 hours on it.

    Bad starter motor? Bendix not engaging? Other things I can check? I am told replacement of the starter motor is difficult and expensive due to time.

    Thanks for any thoughts or direction. We don’t have a local dealer or repair so I would appreciate as much direction as possible before traveling to a dealer.

    Jack H.

    Reply
    • I would start with the starter relay and then the starter motor. The starter motor won’t be easy but nothing is easy on any DI models. The honest truth is that any DI Sea-Doo I’ve run into always had some type of phantom electrical problem. You’ll fix one thing but another electrical problem will show up soon. Hopefully its something simple like the starter relay.

      Reply
  20. Hi Steven
    Have 1997 STX1100. When I hit the start button, I can here the starter turning but the engine does not turn over. Replaced battery with new one and a new solenoid. What could be the issue. Thanks Pat

    Reply

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