02-05-2012, 12:35 AM #1
Going to look at a barely used 97 SLT780 tomorrow - where to start?
Hey everyone, new here, but all my Google searches all evening have been leading me here repeatedly, so I took it as a sign.
I'm going to take a look at an older (97) SLT780 tomorrow. The ad indicates that it was owned by an older couple since new and was only used a few times per summer to putter the grand kids around the lake. Apparently it has always been stored inside, and wintered in a heated garage. The pics make it look like it just rolled off the line so I have no reason (yet) to doubt of any of the story.
Now, all that sounds really great, but I'm almost paranoid that *lack* of use could somehow be detrimental here. I've read all I could find about the engines this evening, and based on what I've read the 97 models already have the triple-output fuel pump from the factory (is this correct?) but the fuel lines were still problematic. Aside from the fuel line replacement necessity (assuming I find the original greys still in place) what else should I be looking at for a machine that potentially has less than 50 hours on it despite being nearly 15 years old?
Am I correct in understanding that the 97 model years *might* have the newer red engine vs the earlier blue Fuji's, or did I read bad info with that? Various locations mention the 1997 model year as being the transition between the blue Fuji and the red domestic.
Steer me straight here, guys - I'm hoping that this turns out to be a hidden gem. I've been a long time Polaris guy (back to the 80's/90's Polaris triple Indy snowmobile days) and that classic Polaris 3-cylinder cackle has always gave me a big goofy grin, so hearing the videos of the 780 on YouTube brings back a lot of good memories.
It seems like as long as the common areas of concern (fuel supply) are dealt with and maintained that these engines are otherwise fairly reliable? What about carb teardown and rebuilding? Chances are with low hours and light use the carb on this thing is gummed up to kingdom-come, so that will probably be high on my list. Are parts still commonly available? Is it a DIY project or should I plan on taking it to the shop for the rebuild and setup after the fact?
As for the initial startup tomorrow morning, what should I be listening for? What sort of idle RPM's should I expect, and is there anything I can tell from the startup/running/shutdown process that might give me any audible cues as to the overall health of the machine in general?
Thanks in advance, everyone.
02-05-2012, 01:07 AM #2
If it is a 780, it's a Fuji. Carb rebuild is pretty pain-free. John Ziegler at rock county jet ski has a rebuild kit for us Polaris guys that minimizes cost - he's a great guy too. SLT is a nice hull. Good stability/ride. I would definitely compression test it Nd make sure the pump is in good shape. If you buy it, rebuild carbs and fuel pump and upgrade fuel lines etc......and you'll be in good shape visit:
02-05-2012, 01:19 AM #3
Thanks - after posting this I stumbled into this thread which answered a few questions right off the bat. Why is you always find answers to your questions *after* you've asked them?
As for the pump, what's the best way to go about checking it's health? It's on my radar for sure, but I'm not sure how willing the current owner will be for me to get too down and dirty with things, AKA, bringing tools and starting to disassemble it.
He did post in the ad that compression figures are all good, so I'm presuming it's been recently checked. I will be seeking details on such to see if this is actually the case.
I have a good vibe about this one based solely on the pictures and the fact that appears to be a fairly old (and original) owner, but I want to make sure I go in with my eyes open and make sure it's not a "Oh yeah, everything is A-OK! Look how shiny it is!" machine that turns out to be a turd the first time I get it on the water.
As for the carb rebuild, my days with the Polaris triple sleds (I still have an 86 600 Limited in my garage) taught me that triple carb maintenance could often be a huge PITA. Removal, cleaning, and rebuilding is one thing, but keeping them all in sync often involved a few trips to the dealer every season to have it hooked to a fancy vacuum-calibrated machine doohickey that allowed perfect sync to be achieved. Without it the engines would have a tendency to bog like crazy under sudden power demand from low RPM.
Is syncing the at home something that can be done while achieving a safe (no risk of leaning) and performance-acceptable setup across all 3?
02-05-2012, 02:13 AM #4
- Join Date
- Oct 2006
- Cleveland OH
Welcome to the Hulk.
Nice ski for sure. They had pretty much all the bugs figured out by 1997 on the 780.
A visual inspection of the pump, and being able to spin the driveshaft by hand is about all you can do without disassembly of the pump. Then you can use a feeler gauge to check clearance between the impeller and wear ring (which you want REALLY tight. Like .002-.006 optimum and .020 is the wear limit) once disassembled. Looking for dents or dings in the impeller blades, and pieces missing from the stator (pump) vanes.
Remove the spark plugs and engine coupler cover. (plastic cover on very back of engine held in place with a SS hose clamp) You can then spin the crank by hand feeling for any "gritty" feeling in the pump bearings and/or engine. Hopefully the engine has been properly "fogged" prior to sitting in order to prevent rust inside the engine.
Compression test the engine yourself. NEVER take the previous owners word on anything.
If you can, ALWAYS ride the ski prior to buying it.
Carb removal is kinda a PITA until you get familiar with it, rebuilding is quite simple, and "syncing" isn't difficult at all. Once adjusted you shouldn't need to have to mess with it anymore.
02-05-2012, 03:30 AM #5
dont trust the owner saying compression is good. You can get a cheap compression tester at harbor freight and do the test yourself quickly
02-05-2012, 07:49 AM #6
02-05-2012, 08:06 AM #7
02-05-2012, 10:54 AM #8
I'm in Canada, so test-riding isn't really possible right now, despite a fairly mild winter.
The guy emailed me back this morning and it turns out that the machine isn't actually just around the corner from me as was suggested, but actually about 2 hours north. Grrrr. Accordingly, I'm not sure I'll be able to get up there as planned this weekend - might end up being a project for later in the week, and I'll have to go prepared to buy it or leave it on the spot - mulling things over and/or sleeping on it isn't really doable when it's a 2 hour drive in each direction to get to it.
I will get a compression tester and check it out - we don't have the Autozone chain in Canada, but we do have a few similar style chains with tool-loaner programs that should be able to hook me up - if not, I have a friend who may be interested in coming along for the drive and I know he has one.
02-05-2012, 10:55 AM #9
I drove a good 4 hours to pickup a ski from a member on here. and another 4 hours back. if the Ski is in good condition and the right price. I say go for it. if it comes with a trailer, even better!
02-05-2012, 10:56 AM #10
Yes, it does come with the trailer...which sweetens the pot a little.
What would everybody here consider a fair price for this, trailer included, as described, assuming only 50-100 hours of run time?
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