Home 2003 Seadoo Sportster Rehab

2003 Seadoo Sportster Rehab

I recently acquired a 2003 Sea-Doo Sportster 4-tec and discovered that the oil has a milky, chocolate milk-like appearance. Initially, we suspected that lake water might have mixed with the oil. However, upon further investigation, we found out that it’s actually radiator fluid causing the discoloration.

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June 23 - Tachometer Inspection

Update: I’ve made some progress. The gauge was simple to remove, no tools needed. I found minor corrosion on a few contacts, but it wasn’t a major issue. After cleaning and spraying the electrical connections, I tested each for continuity with a meter and they all checked out fine. The light bulb was faulty, so I’ve ordered a new one from Amazon for $4. However, despite these steps, the tachometer still isn’t working after I powered up the system.

Can anyone suggest where I might find a reasonably priced replacement tachometer? I’ve seen one for $250 on a website, but I can’t justify spending that much.

Sea-doo Sportster tachometer fron
This was before I polished it, it looks much better

Sea-doo Sportster tachometer back
Sea-doo Sportster tachometer settings
Sea-doo Sportster tachometer connector green
I’m not excited to see the green, but electrically all the connections are fine

Replacement tachometer bulb

Good stuff for cleaning electrical contacts

June 11 - Gas strut broke yesterday

Part number: spd-gs-8908-50#

Extended Lg29 7/8
Compressed Lg17 3/4
Stroke lg13

Replacement gas strut

I’d go with Amazon for this. I can report that the installation was easy, it is the right size and has the right amount of force.

McMaster-Carr calls this: Corrosion-Resistant Gas Springs

Part 9517T6, force 35 lbs, $289.31 each, Qty 2, $578.72 Shipping and tax extra McMaster-Carr

June 4 - First Water Test

We took it out for a test run yesterday. It started up, and ran rough at first but smoothed out somewhat over time. There was a little white smoke at first but that stopped after the first couple of minutes.

After about 20 minutes the check engine light came on, not sure why. I stopped, waited a minute, started again and the warning went away.

We were going about 35 mph at about half throttle. It does not get on a plane very fast, 5-6 seconds? The wear-ring was replaced I am told. The oil is no longer milky! And the coolant level was good, not leaking.

Now I am thinking:

  1. Inspect spark plugs
  2. Put dry gas/sea foam in the tank

After that:

  1. Compression test?
  2. Test injectors?

Hopefully, this will do the trick. Other suggestions?

This is no longer about milky-oil, perhaps I should start a new thread. Thanks

June 3, Almost Ready

Recap of tasks:

  1. Replaced the oil-cooler
  2. Put Prestone Max Cleaner in the radiator system
  3. Did 4 oil changes, plus an oil filter
  4. Replaced the hatch hinges
  5. Replaced the main storage gas piston
  6. Replaced the bilge pump
  7. Checked all the fuses, replaced the blown bilge fan fuse
  8. Upgraded the navigation red/green lights to LED
  9. Title and registration

May 23, Day 1

2003 Sea-Doo Sportster 2003 SSea-Doo Sportster

Sea-Doo Forum: Milky Oil

This is my first post the SeadooForum.com This 2003 Seadoo Sportster 4-tec came to us in excellent shape, with a trailer in excellent shape, however it also had milky oil. I’m hearing that means there is water in the oil. I don’t know the history of this boat.

I found milky oil on the dipstick

This is what I have done so far. I first changed the oil and filter, let it run for about 2 minutes (turn water on after engine start, turn water off before engine stop), and the oil color seemed a little better. So I did two more oil changes, now a total of three, and each time it has improved the oil color over the last. Now it looks like skim milk in hot tea, although thick like oil.

Should I keep going with more oil changes? Oil floats on top of water, would there be a pocket of water in the bottom of the engine? Each oil change is about 2.3 quarts and I am reading that the oil capacity is closer to 3 quarts. I am using the dipstick straw to remove oil.

It sounds pretty good when running, but perhaps a little rattling going on. I am new to this motor and don’t know what is normal. I can probably post a video and/or a picture of the dipstick someplace.

Problem 1: Cloudy oil, water in oil Problem 2: 4-beeps when not running Problem 3: Tach not working

Thanks in advance for your ideas on this.

SeaDooForum: Coolant or Water

From MacSeaDoo: If you have a milkshake, it is one of 2 things. Coolant or water.

From you video it looks like the coolant reservoir is empty, so I would hazard a guess that is the milk to your milkshake.

The engine cooling is closed loop, the only place oil and coolant pass is the head gasket and the oil cooler. The oil cooler is on the right had side and is pretty easy to pull and pressure test. I hope that is it, because the other spot is a head gasket., which will be far more involved. If you do fill the coolant reservoir with coolant, you can buy a tool that detects hydrocarbons in the coolant.

SeaDooForum: Oil Cooler or Head Gasket

From MacSeaDoo: Now you just need to figure out if it is the oil cooler or a head gasket.

I would not run the machine considering how much coolant is being lost in such a short period.

If the head gasket is bad, sometimes even in short periods the plugs can have signs that there is a problem with a specific cylinder.

How to get all the oil from an engine

From SeaDooForum: I found this post about how to get ALL of the oil from an engine.

Help. Oil Change has left me puzzled. The following instructions are from the Sea Doo shop manual section 04 (4-Tec engine lubrication system page 04-07-5.

  1. Run engine for 10 seconds @ 4000 rpm and shut it off at this rpm. This will move oil from pto housing to oil tank to allow maximum oil draining.
  2. Remove oil filler cap & dipstick
  3. Using an oil vac, siphon oil through dipstick hole.
  4. Caution: Never crank or start engine when siphon tube is in dipstick hole.
  5. So the siphon tube is located at the proper height to remove oil, put electrical tape on siphon tube at 18.7” from it’s end. Then insert siphon tube until you reach the tape. Make sure the siphon tube is in all the way into the pan up to the electrical tape.
  6. Siphon oil until it stops flowing.
  7. Remove siphon tube, crank engine for 10 seconds without starting. Reinsert siphon tube again & siphon oil again. Repeat crank-siphon cycle 2-3 times until no oil is coming out. Remember not to crank engine while siphon tube is in dipstick tube.
  8. You should be able to extract 4.8 qts of oil following this procedure.
  9. Replace filter after crankcase is emptied.
  10. Refill oil with approx 4.8 qts XPS 5W30 4-Tec oil.
  11. Check oil level according to manufacturers directions.
  12. FYI, you can purchase thru Amazon 1 gallon Sea Doo oil, filter with o rings and 3 NGK spark plugs all for $73.95. Much less than dealer prices. If you like call me at 716-535-0618 for further instructions if you get stuck. Good luck, John Pfennig 2004 Sea Doo Sportster 4-Tec

When the neighborhood wakes up I’ll give this a try and report back.

Oil-Cooler: One Side Plugged

My response to the SeaDooForum: Got the oil cooler out and it’s probably not good news. The input radiator fluid line (see photo) was clogged, with thick milkshake oil. The input rubber hose had the same thick stuff. The output line had oily fluid but not so thick. Not only is there radiator fluid in the oil system but there is oil in the radiator system.

After cleaning it up a bit I hit the radiator side with a little compressed air. After a few seconds, the plug released and the system cleared. Next, I put mild pressure on the radiator side, and it holds air. I could not hear or detect any leakage from the radiator side to the oil side of the cooler.

I’m thinking the oil cooler is not the problem. If it clogged on the radiator fluid side, and the fluid was under pressure, the fluid would find the next weakest point to escape and perhaps through a gasket into the engine? Head gasket? Why would it clog in the first place?

Options? a) I could clean everything, put it together, add oil and radiator fluid and try it. b) Remove the head, inspect the engine, and replace the head gasket.

Option a, I can do, but I would probably find a shop to help with option b.

Thoughts appreciated

The oil radiator (oil cooler) was entirely plugged on the input side

Rule-Mate 500 Bilge Pump Failure

The bilge pump was probably original, although soldered wire under electrical tape does not seem to to be a factory installation. This pump has 3 wires. Pumps with 2 wires only support manual operation.

BrownManual on/off
Brown/WhiteAutomatic on/off

The pump was dead and did not respond to 12 volts. Nice looking bilge water eh? It’s not really as bad as it looks, you are seeing the reflection of the wite ceiling. Rule-Mate 500 gph bilge pump This Rule-Mate 500 bilge pump had failed

Labels On The Boat

Emmission control information

Rotax engine sticker, Made In Germany!

Initial Photos

Bilge exaust fan

Engine fuse box

Engine from port side, cover off

Engine from port side, cover on, all the room!

Engine from starbord side

Engine gas tank

Rotax YouTube

How to detected a leak in a Seadoo 4-tec oil cooler

Seadoo 4-tec oil system

Seadoo 4-tec cooling system

Tools and Supplies I Used

This is the replacement Seadoo bilge pump. It has the same 500 gph, but better technology for detecting the water level. This pump uses an electronic field to detect the water level, with no moving float to get suck or fail.

There is an added benefit that the pump’s electric field can detect dense engine oil. The pump will not empty a bilge filled with oil into the environment.

These oil filters for the Seadoo are inexpensive and high quality. No reason not to change the oil filter often.

You will need one of these E10 sockes to change oil on a Seadoo.

This is the pump that I used to change the oil in the Seadoo. It has a thin tube that you extract the oil through the dipstick straw.

I also replaced a couple of hatch cover hinges for our Seadoo Sportster. These work fine but the old hinges were attached with rivets. I had to drill new holes, no big deal.

One of the Seadoo Sportster navigation lights was a bit dim. I cleaned the bulb socket then installed these LED replacement bulbs. They are nice and bright.

The boat is 20 years old, and things just wear out. These gas shocks are a perfect replacement for the Seadoo Sportster gas shocks.

I ended up going with Ebay but in hindsight, this Seadoo oil-cooler/ oil-radiator would have worked great.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.