I spent most of the day on this stuff. The ski would start and only run for about 3 to four seconds. I try to do things systematically to diagnose problems but that wasn't the case today. I keep extra parts around from ebay for days like this.

Ignition cutting out: I would always get a beep beep everytime I installed the key but it would crank slow sometimes, it would fire up and run for about 3-4 seconds then die. Like someone pulled the landyard off. I pulled apart the rear box. Changed the starter solenoid and coil. It cranked good now but still would only run for a short period of time. Moved to the front box. I knew I could change out everything but the MPEM because I just had all my keys coded two years ago and the MPEM changed. Bought the entire box out of Florida. So I started swapping out parts like the black box on the opposite side of the MPEM and then started the engine. Same thing, die after three seconds. Changed out the relay and bang the thing came to life and shot a gush of black oily goo out of the exhaust. Hmm never seen that before. Well hooked up the hose and let it run for about 5 minutes tapping the throttle a few times. It ran good! Must have fixed it.

No trim: Well took the cover off and no water in there. Good. Took out the VTS motor and tested it with a battery charger. It worked. Hmmm. Found a site on the net "how to test your VTS system. It in the opening paragraph if it still clicked when you hit the VTS buttom it would be the fuse. Pulled apart the rear box again. Pulled the fuse 7.5 amp one. It looked good. But looks are deceiving. Tested it with a OHM meter. Nothing. Bad fuse reinstalled the VTS motor and closed it up.

Dropped her in the lake. Started up fine. I took off and then it seemed like it would run on One cylinder. Limped it to shore. Pulled the plugs. One was dry. The other was burning fine too but there was a drop of water on it. Hmmm. thas weird. Changed out the plugs and did a few more test rides. Still wanted to miss alitttle. Pulled the plugs and checked for spark. Both have spark. HMMM. but one had that little drop of water on it again. Took the seat off. Went for another boot. At idle or low RMP it ram fine. Then as I went faster I noticed water seaping out of the exhaust pipe. The upper gasket between the exhaust manifold and pipe. Made a few more runs just to double check and sure enough bad gasket. Well these are wet pipes so I am guessing that this gasket is leaking into the exhaust ports wetting the pistons. Probably more the back one more than the front one. But then I thought back. Remember that big hunk of black oily goo that shot out of the the exhaust pipe when I changed the relay. Aha! BAD Exhaust gasket all along causing many issues.

A final note: Yup; a fuse, a relay and a gasket. $80 in parts probably. But I don't have a dealer nearby (1.5 hours away.) So I gotta take things on like this myself. When I had my MPEM changed out, and keys coded (I supplied the parts) the bill was $485.00 for labour. I wonder what this day would have cost me at the dealer. I still have to changed out the gasket but I am way farther ahead than when I as this morning and saved probably about a $1000.00 in labour.