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Kawi 550 Resto

Dennis-19

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I have had a few different stand ups but lately I have wanted to build one to my liking to race in the vintage class. Mjc hooked me up with this '82 550 that he bought new. 1982 was the first year of the 550 and they came yellow. Since they are so rare, I am considering painting it the factory yellow, but I haven't decided yet.

It came with a disassembled stock piston port 550. A cooling line got clogged and the motor got hot. I need to go through and see if I can salvage the case and head.

If anyone has cool 550 engine parts they want to sell, please drop me a PM.


Step 1 is complete (get it off the ground).

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Next step is to start disassembly and put together a parts list.
 

Dennis-19

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Been doing a lot of reading, searching for answers and etc. That PWCtoday.com forum is very annoying... a lot of half ass tech threads. LOL

I am going to take the cylinder block and head to Group K in Fort Mohave AZ next week. They have been around forever and seem very knowledgeable. I'm told that the head should be pretty straight forward but the if the block is too bad, I should replace it to ensure a good seal on the head. The clearance between the cylinder and stud is already very narrow. Group K has some laying around incase mine is junk so I will wait and see. As soon as I figure that out, I'll choose a piston size and order a gasket and seal kit. I'm not looking to go super high compression and problematic, just want to wake it up. I can not believe how heavy the stock flywheel is. I may have Group K lighten it or look for a billet piece to get more throttle response.

Group K also referred me to Competitive Crankshaft in Idaho. I read and heard a lot of bad things about SBT so I will avoid that shop if I can. I will be sending the crank up to Idaho this week for a full rebuild. Turn around time is 4-5 weeks.

Looks like I found a Westcoast intake and Exhaust kit! I might just run a resonator instead of water box, depends on what I can find. The ski will be converted to rear exit exhaust.
 

Dennis-19

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Engine torn down. I'll find out from Group K next week if the head and cylinder block are salvageable. I am going to talk to Group K about lightening the flywheel. The aftermarket ones are baller if you can find them


Everything came apart pretty well, but there's always that one...


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Crank is headed to Idaho. It's pretty torqued.




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Dennis-19

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Exterior trim part of fire extinguisher compartment was broke so I decided to pull the entire tube out. This area will be sealed up and covered up. ASWA says I don't need a fire extinguisher to race and where I launch, no one checks and even if they do, I just have to show one to them. :)



Also started removing factory rear sponsons and factory hull extensions.

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Dennis-19

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Too windy at the river this week to do anything but sit inside drink and play pool so I came home early to make progress on this.

While up there I dropped off the engine parts at group K. Turns out the cylinder block was already bored out, I don’t want to go any bigger to prevent sealing issues so they are going to sell me a new block with a fresh bore. Head and case is good though.

Got the entire ski stripped down bagged and labeled all the parts. All hardware will be replaced though.

Pulling the pump out was a little bit of a B, glad I ordered a service manual. Pump will be rebuilt. Found a Solas prop so that’s cool.

New parts are starting to arrive. That’s always exciting!!


Now time to start sanding.


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Dennis-19

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Scraping silicone of parts and removing an old repair from the hull that needs redone. Sanding and rear exhaust is next.

Sometimes I look at this and think what the heck did I get myself into LOL, but this is a fun project so far. It will be rewarding to save this 550.

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Dennis-19

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The bilge and underside of hood will be coated in this. I’ve never tried this brand. I’ve used BilgeKote and really liked it but this stuff was $10 less so I figured I’d give it a try.


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These are the hull extensions from Pro Watercraft. They come with a hole for the factory exhaust so I know where to drill my hole.

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Parts are all sorted and cleaned ready for powdercoat. Need to get the block and head back, make a couple things then I’ll take everything to Embee. Here’s the West coast exhaust pipe an OCJS manifold I found ready for powdercoat.

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I decided on a color scheme. The parts will be these colors and the ski will be painted pearl white.

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Dennis-19

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Wax Racing Nose Brace I found online. Cleaned it up and prepped.

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The ride plate looks like a keeper. The ski came with a factory loader grate. I am going to run the factory loader and try a pump stuffer from pro watercraft.

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Pretty sure I’m going to have one of the only 550s with a powder coated jet pump LOL
 

C08H18

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Been doing a lot of reading, searching for answers and etc. That PWCtoday.com forum is very annoying... a lot of half ass tech threads. LOL

I am going to take the cylinder block and head to Group K in Fort Mohave AZ next week. They have been around forever and seem very knowledgeable. I'm told that the head should be pretty straight forward but the if the block is too bad, I should replace it to ensure a good seal on the head. The clearance between the cylinder and stud is already very narrow. Group K has some laying around incase mine is junk so I will wait and see. As soon as I figure that out, I'll choose a piston size and order a gasket and seal kit. I'm not looking to go super high compression and problematic, just want to wake it up. I can not believe how heavy the stock flywheel is. I may have Group K lighten it or look for a billet piece to get more throttle response.

Group K also referred me to Competitive Crankshaft in Idaho. I read and heard a lot of bad things about SBT so I will avoid that shop if I can. I will be sending the crank up to Idaho this week for a full rebuild. Turn around time is 4-5 weeks.

Looks like I found a Westcoast intake and Exhaust kit! I might just run a resonator instead of water box, depends on what I can find. The ski will be converted to rear exit exhaust.
A few years ago I did a similar 550 restoration. New carb, manifold, reefs, seals, and resealed the block but It never ran right because I didn’t take the crank apart and replace the center bearing/seal. Good luck with your project


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Dennis-19

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Anyone have tips for getting the coupler off the pump shaft? I have searched but keep coming up with annoying useless videos or tech threads. The OEM shaft holder tool is nowhere to be found, so I made one but the entire recommended method seems like it can bend the shaft so I stopped. I don't understand why they would put the hole for a shaft holder on the opposite side of the coupler. It just wants to torque/twist the shaft. I have tried heat. I don't want to mar the shaft.
 

Dennis-19

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I can't put something back together with old nasty bolts.

Taking inventory, getting organized, trying to think ahead of what else I might need and putting in an order at Allens Fastners. Pretty sure I'll be running down to McFaddendale to grab a few bolts I forgot when I start assembly. I feel like I'm in the "accumulating crap stage" right now. Spend more time reading, researching, brainstorming and ordering parts than actual work.


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Dennis-19

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Little pizzazz for the hand pole mount. Will look cool after powdercoat


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Fabhouse

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Watching closely and enjoying your work- Once my boat is done I will be moving on to my 2 89 550's, and period correct Dico 2 ski trailer. Looking great so far!
 

Dennis-19

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Watching closely and enjoying your work- Once my boat is done I will be moving on to my 2 89 550's, and period correct Dico 2 ski trailer. Looking great so far!
Thanks! Awesome! Be sure to share progress! This place needs more do it yourself threads!

I used to have a Dico stand up trailer. I regret giving it away. Lol
 
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Dennis-19

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Back to the not so fun stuff...

Used wire wheel and brushes to get all the adhesive from hood seal and ride mats off. Also came in handy in the bilge for all the gunk that was in there. Gave that a quick clean before flipping over.


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Sanding will begin another day. I am calling it a day.

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Dennis-19

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I couldn’t find much info on how to take these off. The service manual tells you to use a certain tool that is no longer available and that method doesn’t seem like it would work very well anyways. I first tried to use a big prybar in between the coupler teeth but I’m glad I stopped because it for sure would’ve snapped one of the teeth off.

I tried making my own shaft holder tool but bent everything I put the the shaft hole.

Ended up holding The shaft in the vice so it wouldn’t move and used two big pipe wrenches after heating the coupler up until it started smoking. Made sure not to grab the shaft on a seal surface. Should be fine.

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ridebig

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Have you thought about widening the tray? I’m doing it on mine and will add about 3” . I post pics when I can.
 

Dennis-19

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Have you thought about widening the tray? I’m doing it on mine and will add about 3” . I post pics when I can.
I have but I think I have my work cut out for me already. Looking forward to your pics. It seems like quite the endeavor to do that. I have read that widening gives a better stand and more control over the ski.

I do plan on adding the Pro Watercraft Ext Nozzle, front and rear sponsons to improve handling.


 
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Dennis-19

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Cleaned up and ready for reassembly waiting for bearing and seals.


Learned that if you have a solas prop, you need the solas prop tool. Still had to grind it down to make it fit. The one on the top is the standard Kawi tool. Now I have both.

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ridebig

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I have but I think I have my work cut out for me already. Looking forward to your pics. It seems like quite the endeavor to do that. I have read that widening gives a better stand and more control over the ski.

I do plan on adding the Pro Watercraft Ext Nozzle, front and rear sponsons to improve handling.


I did the front sponsons on both of ny 550's and did the nozzle on the red ski. Also did Prowatercraft ride plates. I'm adding each of these to see what difference each make's. My 1990 SX is working well with just the ride plate and front sponson's . The SX model's have a different nozel than the JS model's. Not sure if I'll do the rear sponson's.
 

Dennis-19

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I did the front sponsons on both of ny 550's and did the nozzle on the red ski. Also did Prowatercraft ride plates. I'm adding each of these to see what difference each make's. My 1990 SX is working well with just the ride plate and front sponson's . The SX model's have a different nozel than the JS model's. Not sure if I'll do the rear sponson's.

Nice! I really like the hood Pro Watercraft makes but I would rather put the money elsewhere in the ski.

I started sanding yesterday. Got the bottom almost done. I was going to flip it over today but it started raining and I'm not about to sand in doors.
 

ridebig

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Your project looks awesome!! This is the latest on mine. I will admit I’m having someone else do the work but wish I could do more myself.
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Dennis-19

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Picked up my parts from Group K. They did a great job. My cylinder block was already bored to the limit. I could have went a size over but finding pistons in that size is challenging and the head doesn’t seal very well between the head studs and bore if you do that.

They sourced a replacement block with stock bore for me and gave it a fresh bore 1 size over and supplied new WSM pistons.

I couldn’t believe all the carts full 440/550 stuff in their shop. They are doing a ton of that stuff now with everyone getting back into the vintage skis.
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Dennis-19

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Ski is sanded down and the exhaust has been ran.

I saw a lot of guys run PVC on the PWC forms and I think thats kinda ghetto, so I ran stainless pipe. Had to open up the hull extension a little to fit the bigger pipe. I cut through the factory bilge pump hose but no big deal because the factory bilge is going away and this thing is getting dual Rule pumps.

Finding the hole on the inside of the engine compartment was hard. I went over size and missed twice but no biggie it’s all going to be epoxied. Sprayed foam to fill in the voids.


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Also filled the fire extinguisher compartment as that is going bye-bye. Need to start forming the backside with glass to match the other side.

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Dennis-19

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Hood vent is all cracked. I didn’t want to deal with trying to repair such a weird area so it will get covered with a plate I made. It will get some ARP bolts and washers to finish it off and I’m going to put aluminum mesh behind it to add a little pizzazz.


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HNL2LHC

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Cool thread and great work that you are doing!!!!
 

Dennis-19

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Love this thread. Are you doing the paint to look original or?

Thank you. I thought about painting it the factory yellow, but I am going to have it painted white, maybe with some glitter in it to make it all pop. I still need to find a painter. All the powder coating is doing to be silver, hot pink and purple. I'm hoping to get that all dropped off this week or next.
 

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Very badass! Also late to the party but one of my very first watercraft builds was a stand up. I did a hopped up 650 swap into a JS hull. No sponsons or tabs, it was a wild ass ride! I've been meaning to get her going again... :(
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Dennis-19

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Cleaned the 38mm Mikuni and rebuilt it. Went ahead and replaced all the hardware too. Added a flame arrestor adapter and primer fitting. The butterfly holes were too small for the primer fittings I got so I had to drill them out.

I was going to step up to a 44mm but the guys at GroupK said not to because for my build the 38 would be plenty. I picked up a bigger manifold and spacers incase I decide to later down the line.

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All set up to reassemble the pump and bearing box. Going to leave the suction and bowl raw because they can’t be seen but will powdercoat the nozzle.
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New fuel tank with fill neck delete. My ski didn’t come with a pick up and they’re pretty hard to find in good condition so I bought 2.

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Backlash

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Thanks for the motivation!

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I got a layer of filler down on our old sled. I'll put another thin layer on tomorrow and get that blocked out too. Primer, then a quick coat of paint. 😉
 

Dennis-19

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Thanks for the motivation!

View attachment 976036

I got a layer of filler down on our old sled. I'll put another thin layer on tomorrow and get that blocked out too. Primer, then a quick coat of paint. 😉


Cool! I purchased a 2 part marine grade filler from Total Boat. Still need to sand the glass repairs down and get to that. It's hard because it's one of those jobs that I need a day to dedicate to it. My goal was to have it ready for paint next month, but like everyone else, I have a million other things going on so we'll see. LOL
 

Shlbyntro

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Cool! I purchased a 2 part marine grade filler from Total Boat. Still need to sand the glass repairs down and get to that. It's hard because it's one of those jobs that I need a day to dedicate to it. My goal was to have it ready for paint next month, but like everyone else, I have a million other things going on so we'll see. LOL
My goal was to have my cobra done before summer hit. Its not even sitting on its own suspension yet lol
 

Backlash

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Cool! I purchased a 2 part marine grade filler from Total Boat. Still need to sand the glass repairs down and get to that. It's hard because it's one of those jobs that I need a day to dedicate to it. My goal was to have it ready for paint next month, but like everyone else, I have a million other things going on so we'll see. LOL
That's what I'm using too, the two-part epoxy filler. It works pretty well and as advertised, isn't difficult to sand. I've used other poly and vinylester fillers that were just as hard to sand as this product is.
 

warpt71

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New fuel tank with fill neck delete. My ski didn’t come with a pick up and they’re pretty hard to find in good condition so I bought 2.

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I like that tank!

Side note, I just grabbed 2 hulls for free last week, one has a ton of parts in it, including the pick up tubes Im pretty sure. If you need other odd stuff, let me know. I have 3 complete skis and one complete project, then these 2 other hulls. I might have a problem lol
 
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