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Thread: Winterizing

  1. #1

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    Wink Winterizing

    I just bought a 2003 MSX140 this summer and was wondering if I had to winterize it. I live in Texas where it rarely freezes and the ski is stored in a garage. This is my first ski so I'm not sure exactly what I should do. I have read about the winterizing process and I am hoping to not have to do all of that since I am female and my mechanical skills are let's just say "limited". Thanks in advance for any advice I can get.


  2. #2
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Arrow Why should I winterize my engine if it is not going to freeze?

    Welcome

    What aspects of the winterizing process did you find would be 'difficult'?

    Winterizing is not just about protection from freeze damage. In fact, freezing is a minor issue, since many Polaris models (but not your MSX) are self draining of water from the engine.

    The main issue is protecting the engine from internal corrosion (rust) while it sits. When not used for short periods of time (days to weeks), the normal 2-stroke oil that gets pumped through the engine as it runs, is enough to keep the steel bearings and such inside the engine from rusting.

    When it sits for longer than that, the normal 2-stroke oil film inside the engine is not enough to protect the engine from potential rust damage.

    There is a special type of oil called fogging oil. It is designed to stick to metal surfaces, and continue protecting them from rust for a long time. Spraying this fogging oil into the engine air intakes, while the engine is idling, allows this sticky oil to spread around inside the engine.

    Often, while you are doing the fogging, the exhaust becomes smokey, since the oil doesn't burn cleanly.

    I just winterized my own MSX 140. The actual engine fogging took maybe five minutes.


    - First, pour the recommended amount of Sta-Bil gasoline stabilizer into the fuel tank - enough to treat a full tank (which is about 18 gallons). This prevents the gasoline from chemically degrading while it sits.


    - Fill the fuel tank with premium grade gasoline. If you can, use gasoline that does not have ethanol blended in. The less air space inside the tank, the less water condensation can occur inside the tank. Don't fill it to the absolute brim - there needs to be a little air space available to allow for fuel expansion on warm days.


    - Since you have a Ficht engine, you need to tilt the trailer front up high, to ensure all the small cooling hoses get drained.

    On my own trailer, I loosen the bow strap, and wiggle the hull back on the trailer until the nose of the trailer is very light, like a see-saw. Then I snug up the winch strap to prevent the hull from sliding back any further.

    I can now easily lift the front of the trailer up. On my own trailer, the back of the trailer will rest on the ground, without the ski itself touching the ground.

    I found the position on my own trailer where the ski will actually stay tilted up by itself, yet I can tilt it back down, and it will stay down too.

    Check that the back of your ski doesn't strike the ground. You may need to slide a piece of wood under the back of the trailer to keep the rear of the ski off the ground.


    - While it is tilted up, if you run the engine for a few seconds, and rev it firmly but very briefly two or three times, that will blow most of the remaining water out of the water box. Shut the engine off, and lower the front of the trailer back down.


    - Now you unscrew the three black plastic caps in the top of the flame arrestor cover (see photo). Those holes are where the fogging oil gets sprayed, straight down into the engine.

    Just aim the plastic spray tube straight down through the hole, while standing on the left side of the ski (where the Start button is).

    Start the engine again, and spray the fogging oil into all three holes, one after another. This should take less than 30 seconds, all told.

    If you find it is taking longer, shut the engine down, and let it cool for a couple of minutes, then do it again.

    The engine will not stop running while you are fogging it. It might even speed up while you are spraying the fogging oil into the engine. That is normal on a Ficht fuel injected engine.

    Shut the engine down as soon as you have managed to spray sufficient fogging oil into all three cylinders.

    At this point, then engine is now protected from rusting internally. Put the plastic caps back in place.


    - Some owners go a little farther, and remove all three spark plugs. This will require a few tools. You may need to remove the flame arrestor top cover to make room to undo the spark plugs.

    Spray some fogging oil (maybe 3 seconds spray time) into each spark plug hole (engine not running), then touch the start button once or twice to smear the oil around inside.

    Put the spark plugs back in, and hand tighten. Leave the plug wires off, to remind you that the engine was fogged.


    - Next spring, take the plugs back out, crank the engine over a few times to ensure there is no liquid oil. Then put the plugs back in, tighten to spec. Reconnect the plug wires. Start the engine. It may run roughly and smoke for the first few minutes of riding, until the fogging oil is burned off.


    - What remains is just good housekeeping. Clean the hull, allow the interior to air dry. Lubricate the various joints and such.
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  3. #3
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Oh yes, since you have an MSX 140, you should know about the info on the linked web page. Much of it is technical, but still worth reviewing.

    Your 2003 MSX 140 had several important technical bulletins issued, as 2003 was the first model year for the MSX.

    You can confirm whether the updates were done, by calling any Polaris PWC dealer. Give them the HIN number found on the rear deck (PLExxxxxyyyy), and the dealer can check whether there any outstanding items.

    Polaris Ficht Fuel Injected Engines

  4. #4

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    Thank you soooo much for your help!! I thought I was going to have to take the battery and it was going to be a pain. I do have one more quick question. The ski runs great once I start it but, it does not like to idle, it stalls when I do not have the throttle pushed. Is there a way to adust the idle? Thanks for the recall info I will check with a dealer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Splendidchef View Post
    Thank you soooo much for your help!!

    I thought I was going to have to take the battery and it was going to be a pain.

    ...The ski runs great once I start it but, it does not like to idle, it stalls when I do not have the throttle pushed.

    Is there a way to adjust the idle?...
    Batteries - um, yeah.

    Regular batteries don't like to be left sitting for months.

    If you have a high quality AGM type battery, like an Odyssey PC625, then it will be just fine sitting for a few months.

    If the battery that is in there is a regular old lead-acid battery, it probably won't be happy just sitting. These old-school batteries need to be recharged every couple of months, or connected to a battery maintainer.

    If you current battery doesn't survive the storage, then consider replacing it with a top quality battery.

    In the meantime, you can buy and connect a battery maintainer, not a battery charger. Battery Tender is one well known brand, and there are others.

    No need to remove, or even disconnect the battery, since your climate is fairly mild. Just clip the maintainer cables to the battery posts, plug it into the wall, and leave it until spring.


    Regarding the poor idle, that isn't such an easy question.

    Is this engine running properly otherwise?
    What is the maximum sustained engine RPM on the water (as shown on the display)?

    How long have you owned this MSX 140?
    Any known problems or recent repairs?

    The idle is controlled by the engine computer (EMM), and is not adjustable. Normally the engine should idle at a steady 1150RPM, in or out of the water.

    If it does not, then something is wrong.

    Make sure the correct spark plugs are installed. The correct plug is NGK PZFR6H, no substitutes.
    I buy mine from Sparkplugs.com

  6. #6

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    I'll have to mess with the idle next year I guess, I probably won't get the ski out again, but you never know. The idle doesn't really bother me though, I can cruise at very slow speeds in no wake zones fine. Do you think it really matters if I get it fixed? Otherwise the ski runs great and I don't have any complaints. I just bought it in May and have had a blast on it this summer. This is my first ski so I do not have a whole lot to compare it to. Thanks again for all of your help, I will get a battery maintainer this week!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Splendidchef View Post
    I'll have to mess with the idle next year I guess, I probably won't get the ski out again, but you never know.

    The idle doesn't really bother me though, I can cruise at very slow speeds in no wake zones fine.

    Do you think it really matters if I get it fixed?

    Otherwise the ski runs great and I don't have any complaints. I just bought it in May and have had a blast on it this summer.

    This is my first ski so I do not have a whole lot to compare it to.

    Thanks again for all of your help, I will get a battery maintainer this week!
    Well, do remember to check back in with this same thread next spring then, and we can carry on.

    Click on the Thread Tools link above, and subscribe to this thread. Then you will be able to find it again later on, from your Profile

    The poor/no idle problem is of some concern, since it implies something is not right with the engine control system.

    It could as simple as needing a new TPS (Throttle Position Sensor, about $100), or it could be something else.

    Buying a new TPS over the winter, is probably not a bad idea. It is good to have a spare TPS on hand anyways. They tend to fail over time from engine vibration.

    There is also a safety aspect to the idle problem - if the engine dies out on the water unexpectedly at the wrong moment, you could be at risk.

    You also have the option of sending the engine control module (Ficht EMM) out to be checked. If there is nothing wrong, the cost should be minimal.

    If you ride in salt water, or the previous owner did, then corrosion can be a concern. Salt water operation involves more maintenance, more frequently.

    Salt water can sometimes cause problems with the electrical system.

    Polaris PWC Parts Sources

    Ficht TPS versions, sources

    Polaris PWC Repair Services

    TPS electrical connector can cause problems, check, clean and tighten the metal pin sockets

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Splendidchef View Post
    ...Thanks for the recall info

    I will check with a dealer.
    They are not Recalls - they are Service Bulletins.

    Different things

    Recalls involve a much stronger legal obligation than Service Bulletins.

    If there are any outstanding Service Bulletins for your HIN, ask what the actual Bulletin codes are, and what they involved.

    Sometimes you can do the check or fix yourself, other times the dealer must do the work.

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