91 550 Charging System Issues

Joined
Jul 4, 2015
Likes
466
Location
Houston
#1
Just picked up a 1991 550 and took it out for the first time. Battery fired it up fine, seemed lethargic when riding, but could be that it is just slow overall haha.

Lanyard popped out after about 15 minutes of riding, went to start it and it would, barely turn over, then clicked. Dead battery. Later charged the battery and fired up strong. I'm guessing stator, are there other parts I should be looking at being an issue?

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Joined
May 1, 2014
Likes
95
Location
Dallas, GA
#3
Make sure the battery is not your issue first. Many people ride all day with total loss without starting issues. You can test the charging system as outlined in the repair manual as piece of mind but, I’d rule out the battery first. Keep it simple.


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Joined
Jul 4, 2015
Likes
466
Location
Houston
#4
Definitely not the battery. Put a fresh one in there and took out on the lake. Rode even worse, started cutting in and out and finally died and wouldn't restart.

Got it back in the garage, took off the stator inspection plug and it was pressurized. Bad front seal letting in crankcase pressure?
Also throwing water out the inspection hole. So obviously I have at least a few issues haha. What bothers me is there isn't that much water in the hull to get into the front stator cover, where the heck is it coming from? Starter seal, front stator cover seal?
 
Joined
May 1, 2014
Likes
95
Location
Dallas, GA
#5
The thing to remember with 550’s is that the newest one is from 1995. It’s going to need crank seals at minimum. They kind of snowball when you start tearing into them. The last two I’ve had have had stator/ CDI issues causing weak spark. Go through it step by step and see what you are working with. Your going to have to spend some time and money to have a reliable 550. It’s worth it though.


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Joined
Jul 4, 2015
Likes
466
Location
Houston
#6
It is kind of what I figured, I mean really what can you expect from a 27 year old ski. Not furious or surprised, a bit miffed it is going to take longer to start racing it. And I absolutely hate the diagnosis process. I honestly just want to replace everything, but that makes an expensive 550.
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2006
Likes
5,769
Location
Tuscaloosa, AL
#10
Ashley, first thing to check is the plug wires. Pull the caps off. (They unscrew). Take needle nose pliers and try and grab the wire strands and give a tug. See if any strands pull out, if they do, cut back the wires to the longest length then give a tug. if no wires pull out, go for a test ride. I had this happen with my old 91. I wish I had known about this trick. Learned about it after I had my SJ about 2 or 3 years when those wires started breaking down. Many times this happens and it will have you chasing down everyting under the sun. It is a quick 5 minutes check.
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2015
Likes
466
Location
Houston
#11
Thanks for all the suggestions. I know it is the charging system causing the main issue. TONS of water in the front cover, not good for electronics. Just haven't had time to take it off and test stuff n things.
 
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