At first glance, replacing the starter on your Kawasaki 900 STX jet ski appears complicated by a small engine bay. It's a process best accomplished in an area in which the air circulates, to prevent explosive vapors from the battery from accumulating. Removing and replacing the starter, however, requires only a moderate amount of care and juggling, and is fairly straightforward -- as long as you remember that the engine is installed backward, with the flywheel on the end of the engine nearest the front of the jet ski.
Removing a Starter
1. Pull the seat release below the rear lip of the seat. Lift the rear edge of the seat, and pull it upward and back. Remove the seat from the jet ski to expose the battery and engine compartments. Disconnect the negative cable from the battery, using a 7/16-inch socket. Remove the cable from the battery and bend the end of the cable so it can't accidentally come into contact with the battery post.
2. Locate the starter on the lower, port side of the engine. Pull the rubber connection cover on the red starter wire back, to expose the blade connector on the starter's end cap. Pull on the blade connector -- not the wire -- to disconnect it.
3. Locate the two 6 mm bolts on the forward end of the starter motor that connect the starter to the engine block. Remove the bottom bolt using a 6 mm socket. Hold the starter motor in place and level and remove the top bolt. Keep the starter level. Slide the starter toward the front of the jet ski, keeping it level, to disengage the starter from the engine. Lift the starter from the engine compartment.
Installing the Starter
1. Lower the starter into the engine bay. Slide the gear on the starter's forward end of the starter into the engine bell housing. If necessary, turn the starter's shaft to align the teeth on the gear with the flywheel's teeth. Hold the starter level and against the engine block.
2. Insert one of the starter bolts through the top hole in the starter mounting bracket and thread it in. Thread the bottom bolt in. Tighten both bolts to 25 foot-pounds with a torque wrench.
3. Spray the blade connector on the red starter wire, the inside of the rubber blade-connector cover and the blade connector on the starter with a moisture-excluding spray. Push the connector on and push the rubber cover over the connector. Connect the negative battery cable to the battery. Lower the seat onto the jet ski and push the seat forward and down, until it locks into place.
Items you will need
- 7/16-inch socket
- 6 mm socket
- Torque wrench
- Disconnect the negative cable of the boat’s battery before performing any maintenance work on the boat’s engine, using a 7/16-inch socket. Lift the cable from the battery, move it outside of the battery box and close the lid of the battery box, if possible. After the work is complete, connect the negative battery cable. Doing so prevents the engine from starting and prevents electrical shock injuries.
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images