650/X-2 Kawasaki 650sx Restoration Project


CEO of Rickter money on a 650
London ON
Hello All. In May of 2022, I got tired of staring at photos on my dad's garage wall of him and his boys riding their Superjets, Fx1s and 650s way back in the 90s, way before I was born. After a couple of months of restless searching and nagging from my dad that I shouldn't settle for a Kawasaki because they are unreliable, boring etc... I bought a 1990 650sx for $2700 Canadian ($1966 American). A low enough price on what looked like a solid engine was enough to get my dad to cave in.

Riding the jetski was tough the first couple of times until I finally started to get the hang of it. A couple of nose dives and tail stands from my 200+ lbs dad told my 135lbs self at the time I had a long way to go. However, the Ski was running like a stocker, which confused me. It came with a Westcoast exhaust and manifold. A round Mikuni 44 and intake with ocean pro flame arrestor to match. I would later find out that what looked to be an aftermarket impeller was a 10/18 Skat. The most I got out of my Ski was 53km/h for most of the summer. That was enough to keep me excited to run a standup with my dad, who admits his old body taps out on a Seadoo Spark Trixx (couch) these days. Still, I knew more to come from these 650s, so I wanted to mod the crap out of it to get the 80km speeds that one could only dream about getting out of a 650 motor.

Watching videos like these didn't help: 92 World Jetski Finals

Once I lost my nose trim and gas cap during a submarine gone wrong In July, and I was prompted to look into more of the Ski. I had almost sunk It after only riding around for two months. We found the ignition coils had a bad connection to the boots, and on the summer's last ride, I was nearly doing barrel rolls and Rickter inverts on the Ski. In 5ft chop, I got the old girl up to 70km/h. Now that was what I was talking about!!

The Ski is sitting completely torn apart in my garage for the winter, and I will rebuild the machine, mainly to keep me from going crazy. After talking with many other 650 guys, reading an endless amount of forums and watching about every video on youtube I can find, I decided to Write down everything I'm doing to the machine so that maybe it could be helpful to anyone who stumbles across it.

All the Best!!

Hotshot Howie.


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CEO of Rickter money on a 650
London ON
So It all starts with the poopty part; Taking everything apart to see what I'm Dealing with. The Ski was painted in White and black Plasti dip. I knew from the start that wasn't going to last because Plasti dip gets destroyed in the waves. I put some stripes on the machine in two previous pictures, which were also Plasti. Once I got it in the garage, It took just a heat gun and some patience to peel the Plasti dip off. They came up in large pieces because the rubber base held them together for the most part. for all decals in general and Plasti dip, in my case, you NEED to resist the urge to sand it off. The layers between the sticker and the hull will sand simultaneously, creating lots of humps on the hull that you can see from a mile away when you do your paint.

after peeling the Plasti dip off, I tackled, taking out the trim pieces I had on the ski. the trim around the tray came off with no problem because it was screwed into the SMC directly. Given that I'm laying hydro turf down, I just used an impact drill to get them out with the plan that I will fill the holes with fibreglass putty once I get to. bodywork. the trim pads on the hood were A.P.I.M.A. The best way I could describe to get them off is to lift the side frontmost with a pry bar and hammer it backwards until it breaks loose. I've heard that Kawasaki used the same glue that holds the two sides together to glue these pads down, along with a hook holding it In. I'm Going to peel the upholstery off the plastic pads and reinstall them with hydro turf. If not, I'll settle for selling them on eBay or elsewhere. The bumpers were the next ones to come off. I believe they were 10mm sockets, but some nuts were 11s because I bought the back bumper separately and just screwed on what would fit for the summer. some bolts had broken the glue holding them tight inside the bumper, so I had to pry those out with the plan to glue them back in.

I used two 23-mill wrenches to separate the bolt and nut holding the handle pole to the bracket bolted to the hull. Everything I took photos of and separated in ziplock bags.
there were two rubber bumpers that were pretty beat and held together by painter's tape. I will glue the rips together because they are still good parts and not worth the hassle. to separate the pole from the rest of the ski, I removed the start-stop switch from the electrical box after numerous photos. the throttle and steering cables came out easily after the start-stop was removed. the handle pole slid right off, and I stored the throttle cable and start-stop while keeping the steering cable in the hull because I had no ambition of pulling it through the bottom of the stern.

After unbolting the exhaust from the engine (West coast exhaust is only split in half, not the top to bottom that the stock exhaust is), both came out with little headache. I stuffed rags down the carb and exhaust to stop debris from falling into the engine. all the electrical parts and the engine and exhaust were set on a rack for storage until I decided if I wanted to do anything to the motor.

the fuel tank lifted right after I drilled out the rivets on the filler neck hole. as you can see in the photos, It was pretty beat, and I plan on filling the hole over and drilling a new one out so I know that it's solid as can be. the driveshaft also slid right out as it wasn't pinned against the motor anymore.

the forums convinced me I needed the might of Zeus and several nuclear bombs to drop the pump out from under the tray. in reality, all it took was PB blaster and 5 minutes of soak time. I broke one of the nozzle's bolts before discovering this dark magic in my dad's spray cabinet but other than that, it came out with no problem.

That's about all I can think of. If anyone has any questions, I'm sure I forgot something.
Photos for teardown will come after I can lower the resolution on them.

See You when I'm done sanding and Bodywork!

Hotshot Howie.


CEO of Rickter money on a 650
London ON
As Promised here are all the photos from teardown. I have some more but they make more sense to be added during the bodywork and sandung section.


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