When riding, you might feel your Jet Ski vibrating and wonder why it’s happening. Vibration can be caused by many things, and figuring this out will help you fix the problem.
Your Jet Ski vibrates when accelerating due to cavitation, blocked fuel injectors, and bad plugs. These are the most common problems that can cause Jet Skis to vibrate. Some vibration is considered normal, but too much vibration can indicate a problem.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the common causes of vibration on Jet Skis so that you can quickly troubleshoot problems and make repairs when necessary.
Why Your Jet Ski Is Vibrating
It is inevitable that your Jet Ski will experience some vibration. Due to the nature of how these watercraft are designed, they will vibrate and shake quite regularly as you ride them. This may be even more common in older Jet Skis, so if your model is a few years old then it might be more prone to vibration.
This vibration shouldn’t be too much of an issue as long as your Jet Ski is appropriately maintained and you wear the proper protective equipment while operating it. However, sometimes your Jet Ski will produce an abnormal amount of vibration when accelerating. This can be due to several factors:
Clogged Impeller or Wear Ring
The most common reason why a jet ski will vibrate is due to a clogged impeller or worn-out wear ring. Both components are responsible for pushing water into your jet pump so that you can move forward with ease.
The wear ring (made of hard rubber) is located inside your impeller and, in effect, rubs against it. As time goes on, water and sand will get stuck between them, causing too much friction, which results in vibration. It’s essential to clean these parts regularly to avoid excess rubbing that could lead to failure.
Jet Ski Engine Vibration
Engine vibration is one of the most common causes of Jet Ski vibration. While different engines may vibrate in different ways, you’ll typically notice engine vibration in two ways:
- The throttle and handlebars vibrate.
- Your Jet Ski vibrates while accelerating.
When a Jet Ski engine has excessive engine vibrations, it can cause shaking in other parts of your watercraft like its suspension and body panels, ultimately causing your entire watercraft to shake. This can be very uncomfortable when you’re on the water, especially since it makes the watercraft much more unstable.
There are several reasons why a Jet Ski’s engine could be suffering from excessive vibrations. Here is a list of common causes:
- A bent or worn out crankshaft (engine shaft)
- A damaged or missing transmission mount
- A damaged propeller
- Improperly balanced blades on your watercraft’s impeller (the fan-like device that pulls water into your Jet Ski’s motor)
- Loose bolts on any part of your engine that moves
If you experience any of these problems with your engine, contact an authorized service center for help fixing them. In some cases, replacing a faulty part will solve all vibration issues; in others, more extensive repairs will be needed. Either way, it’s vital to have an expert look at any vibrations you experience as soon as possible so they can get to work correcting them before further damage occurs.
Jet Ski Cavitation
Cavitation is a phenomenon where water pressure surrounding an object exceeds its structural strength due to over-speeding and/or a sharp reduction in speed. Cavitation can cause your Jet Ski to vibrate if it occurs when turning or slowing down.
This can occur for one of two reasons:
- Your Jet Ski has a hull design vulnerable to cavitation.
- You’re going too fast for your engine to counterbalance.
If your jet ski is experiencing vibration while turning, consider increasing your motor size or switching out parts of your boat until you achieve an optimal balance between speed and maneuverability.
Bad Plug or Coil
The cause of vibration might simply be a bad plug or coil. Both plugs and coils can lose internal tension over time, causing your engine to shake and vibrate. One quick test you can perform is called a Tightness Test. This is where you remove each spark plug wire individually and see if there is an impact on vibration levels when certain wires are removed.
If there isn’t any impact on vibration levels after removing certain spark plug wires, chances are it isn’t a coil or plug problem but something else in your engine that needs attention.
Blocked Fuel Injectors
Many Jet Skis, especially those that have been running for a long time, can develop clogged fuel injectors. When a fuel injector becomes clogged, it will restrict gas flow and may even create an air-lock inside of your engine.
Your engine will not receive enough power to continue running smoothly without proper fuel delivery. This is where most engine vibration issues can be found. Blocked or restricted injectors are often caused by debris or corrosion inside them. However, it’s possible to fix them simply by draining and cleaning out your tank.
Worn or Broken Engine Mount
A worn or broken engine mount can cause a Jet Ski to vibrate. This is because the engine mount is designed to dampen vibrations from the engine. If this mount is worn or broken, it will not be able to do its job, and vibrations will be transferred directly into the Jet Ski’s hull.
The vibration can cause discomfort for riders and may even damage other components on the jet ski. It can also lead to a performance loss in terms of speed and acceleration.
8 Fixes for Vibrating Jet Ski
1. Clean Fuel Pump
A clogged fuel pump will cause a Jet Ski to vibrate. This can be caused by water entering a Jet Ski’s gas tank and collecting in your fuel pump. It can also be caused by dust or other impurities in your gas tank being sucked into your fuel pump.
Both issues can be solved by:
- Taking apart your fuel pump
- Cleaning it with carburetor cleaner, and/or
- Replacing it altogether
Consult a jet ski owner’s manual for more information on fixing a clogged fuel pump. In addition, don’t forget to clean out any accumulated water from inside your boat.
2. Replace Impeller and Wear Ring
The impeller is responsible for pushing water from one side of your motor to another. Your engine has two impellers on a Jet Ski—one on each side. If your Jet Ski is vibrating, it’s possible that you need to replace one or both of these components.
A professional mechanic can perform a simple test to determine if it’s time for replacement and explain how easy (or difficult) it will be to complete these repairs. However, wearing rings are less common and aren’t usually found in specific Jet Ski models. The good news is that wear rings also rarely fail and have a relatively low cost of repair and replacement (less than $100).
3. Unclog Your Jet Pump/Cavitation
Inspect your impeller and make sure that it is in good shape. If it is worn out, replace it. If you have not had any mechanical work done on your watercraft recently, check for hairline cracks in plastic parts of your watercraft.
These may be affecting impeller performance as well. Remove any hairline cracks by sanding them down with an emery board. Remove all debris from your impeller housing and surrounding areas. Thoroughly clean your jet pump with a hose to remove dirt and grime.
Once clean, dry off your jet pump entirely before reinstalling it back into its place on your watercraft. Check that all bolts/screws are tight and secure when reinstalling components back onto your watercraft.
4. Replace Faulty Plugs and Coil
Spark plugs, create a spark to ignite fuel in your engine. Coils produce electrical pulses that activate your ignition and make it possible for an electric current to flow through each plug.
If either of these components is faulty, they can cause wear on vital moving parts and reduce your engine’s overall performance. Replace these components as soon as you start experiencing vibration issues—and always use high-quality replacements!
5. Clean Fuel Injectors
The most common problem with vibration and poor performance are dirty fuel injectors. Cleaning these can be time-consuming but, in some cases, may actually be cheaper than buying new ones. Consult a technician to find out if cleaning is your best option. It is always recommended that you clean fuel injectors on any older vehicle as they tend to get clogged up over time.
6. Replace Engine Mount
Abnormal vibration may be due to a bad engine mount, which can be fixed relatively easily. The engine mount attaches the engine to the Jet Ski and helps to absorb vibrations. If it’s bad, the engine will start to shake and vibrate the entire Jet Ski.
The first step in fixing a vibrating jet ski is to replace the engine mount. This can be done easily by following these steps:
- Shut down the engine and remove the key.
- Locate the engine mount. It is a large metal bracket that is bolted to the engine and the frame of the Jet Ski.
- Use a socket wrench to remove the bolts that secure the engine mount to the engine and the frame.
- Lift the engine mount off of the engine and set it aside.
- Install the new engine mount by reversing the steps you took to remove the old one.
- Startup the engine and test the Jet Ski for vibration.
7. Diagnose and Replace Fuel Lines
If fuel lines aren’t properly fitted, they can cause drag and vibration. Here’s how to check if your fuel lines need replacing:
- Remove or loosen all connections between your fuel tank and engine.
- Check if there is any excess fuel in your lines by placing a finger over one end of a line while turning on your engine. If it vibrates while you’re doing so, that’s an indication that something isn’t right.
- Replace any worn hoses with new ones designed explicitly for jet skis.
- Make sure to use only high-quality fuel like E10 or E85 to avoid damaging your engine.
8. Diagnose and Replace Jet Pump
If you have pinpointed vibration in your jet pump, it is time to get your tools out and look at it. You will need to:
- Remove all six bolts holding down your jet pump with a 13mm (0.5 in) socket wrench and place them in a safe location.
- Carefully lift up the top of your jet pump and pull forward until you have removed it from its mounting brackets. Upon inspection of your damaged jet pump, you will most likely see missing or bent fan blades or debris caught inside.
- Remove these pieces if possible and replace them with new parts of quality pumps for better durability.
- Always test after replacement for proper operation to avoid future vibrations that could break more important parts further down the line.
Jet Ski Maintenance Tips
If you’re looking to improve your watercraft performance, inspect and replace any missing or damaged propeller balance weights. Balance weights can become loose over time due to impacts with objects in the water. Install a new set of balance weights to ensure optimal performance and handling of your jet ski.
You should also inspect engine mounts and perform repair or replacement if necessary. Mounts that are cracked, loose, or causing irregular vibrations should be replaced immediately.
If you are not too confident in your repair skills, always consult with a professional. Doing so reduces the chances of problems in the future, and you’ll be less likely to further damage your Jet Ski.
A certain amount of vibration is fairly common in Jet Skis, but If your Jet Ski is vibrating excessively when idling or accelerating, it can be a sign of a problem with the engine or the drive system.
In this guide, we have walked you through the most common causes of why your Jet Ski vibrates and provided you with some tips on how to fix them.