Can you use Starting Fluid on a Jet Ski? 7 Fixes For Hard Starts

Jet skis as well as wave runners can be very finicky when it comes to starting them. Sometimes they just don’t want to start when they have not been ran for a few days or few months. Starting fluid can help start your cold jet ski, but the items below can help you reduce your use of using starting fluid by finding the root cause for having to use it.

If you have to use starting fluid for every start, this article will be very helpful, if you use it when it has been sitting all winter, these tips will help you as well. Let’s get started. (no pun intended)

Can you use starting fluid on a jet ski?

Yes, you can use starting fluid in your jet ski as long as it is 2 stroke approved. 2 stroke approved starting fluid includes oil for lubrication for the cylinders. Normal starting fluid can be used in a pinch, but it can wash oil off of the oil cylinder and cause harm to your engine. The best option is to use is some mix fuel in a spray bottle.

What to do if your jet ski will only start with starting fluid?

If your jet ski will only start with the help of starting fluid, there are several items to look out for to remedy the situation. We have listed these from easiest and most probable to harder or least probable causes:

1. Check your Choke:

You will want to check your choke to see if it is working to its full potential. Remove your flame arrestors and visually check that your choke butterfly are closing all the way when you pull the knob. If they are not closing all of the way, then they are not working to their full potential.

To fix them so they close all the way, lubricate all of the moving parts including the choke cable and knob. If this does not help, you may have adjustment points on the cable or connection point.

If neither of these items work, then check to see if there is any points binding not allowing the choke to close all the way.

2. Check your Fuel Connections:

If there is any loose fuel connection, you may have an air gap in your fuel line and it may take extra time to get out and deliver fuel.

Make sure to check fuel lines at the fuel tank, fuel pump, carburetors, and all the lines to make surer that the connections are tight and there is no air sneaking in the lines to make starting your ski harder.

3. Make Sure Fuel Filter is Clean:

If you have a clogged fuel filter, it may not allow free flowing of fuel to your carburetors on your wave runner or jet ski. This extra resistance can make a cold start just that much harder, but when it is running, it may run normal.

You can do a visual check of your fuel filter, simply find its location by following the fuel lines from your fuel tank and it should be clear enough to see if there is particles in it.

If the filter is not clear, simply remove it from the fuel lines, and either clean it out with a q tip or just replace it as they are not very expensive.

This is a simple measure to take to make sure this is not what is causing your wave runner to have trouble starting.

4. Install a Primer:

The best way to ditch the starting fluid on a wave runner or jet ski is to install a primer. This will make starting much easier on your ski as well as your battery. When you use a choke, you use your starter to crank the ski to pump fuel in. With a primer, you can manually pump fuel into the carb to make starting much easier.

I have installed primers on my 2 stroke skis and it is very simple and very effective to reduce starting trouble. If you have a 2 cylinder ski such as a superjet, this primer kit works great. If you have a 3 cylinder wave runner such as a Kawasaki 1100, you need the 3 cylinder version.

To install a primer kit, first you remove the choke. Next you will tap into the fuel line and run the primer nozzles into the carb area where you removed the choke butterfly. Last you will install the primer bulb somewhere on your dash so you can use it conveniently.

5. Adjust your Carbs:

Sometimes, if all of these other items fail, your carbs may need some adjustment. By adjusting your low speed fuel mixture about 1/4 turn, you can ensure there is enough fuel mixture entering the carbs to provide a successful start.

6. Clean Flame Arrestor, Manifold, and Carburetor for Old Gas:

Some items that can gum up with old fuel or with gunk are the flame arrester, manifold, and carburetor. By giving these items a good cleaning, you can make sure that there is no items clogging up the fuel mixture from entering the carburetors.

Old gas that has sat over the winter can gum up other items as well. You may want to check all the fuel lines as well as other items that have contact with fuel that could be clogging the system.

7. Check for Leaking Needle:

A leaking needle may be causing the motor to flood. By cranking and cranking you could be flooding your engine thinking it is not getting fuel. If this is the problem, pull of a spark plug to see if your plug is wet. If it is, you may need to rebuild your carburators.

How to start a jet ski that has been sitting?

To start a jet ski that has not been started in a while, you will want to start with a fully charged battery.

If the jet ski has not been ran in some time, you may want to drain the fuel and refill with fresh fuel.

New spark plugs can be a big benefit as well if the ski has not ran in a few years.

With all of these items, use your choke or primer to get some fuel into the motor while cranking the engine. The engine should start up, if it doesn’t, spray some mix fuel into the carburetors and you should have a revving jet ski ready for the water.

Related Questions

Where do you spray starting fluid on a jet ski

Some jet skis have a hole with a plug in the flame arrestors in order to spray starting fuel without having to spend the time to remove many parts. Essentially, you want to spray starting fluid in the carburetor so when you crank the motor the carbs suck it in and it starts.

Can starting fluid hurt my jetski?

Yes, normal starting fluid can hurt your jet ski. Starting fluid typically does not contain lubrication so it will wash any lubrication off of the calendars and cause scoring or damage. If this is a one time think, it should not be an issue. If it is a normal occurrence, use mix fuel to prevent any damage.

Can you use WD-40 as strating fluid on your jet ski?

Recently, WD-40 has changed their mixture according to EPA guidelines and it is less flammable. Some users say it still works, but it is less flammable than using fogging oil or some mix fuel sprayed in the carburator.

What is an alternative to starting fluid for a jet ski?

If you don’t have 2 stroke safe starting fluid, it is best to use mix fuel in a spray bottle. This can be mixed according to your wave runner manual, or a 40:1 or 50:1 mixture should work fine. Fogging oil is also another alternative if you don’t have access to a spray bottle of mix fuel or 2 stroke safe starting fluid.