01-31-2007, 04:49 AM #1
1997 SLX Pro 785 Project PART THREE
This project is on its third message board!!
I guarantee, It will finish here on Green Hulk!!
For all who have missed out, or if your just looking for a good read, I now will attempt to recap the last 8 months of this boats life and give a solid starting point for the rest of the project.
Pictures at the end!!
June of 2006:
Passively scanning through the available Polaris Ski's on Ebay I notice a 1997 SLX Pro 785 for sale just an hour away from where I live. The Engine isn't turning over and it is need of some TLC, but the boat is in excellent condition cosmetically. I contact the owner and find out how much he wants. He says $1100, and I say "Okay, Ill be down tonight"
Price includes brand new cover and a trailer. The trailer is good enough to get it home. I later trade it in with my other single place to get a two place trailer. However, this would later create a problem as my New SXR arrived in mid August, so I ended up just buying another single place for the pro.
Initial condition of the ski:
When I picked up the ski, the owner told me the cylinders and pistons were fine and that the crank was simply seized due to some water ingestion and then sitting for awhile.
The cylinders and pistons were not fine. After posting some pictures on PWCyesterday the fine boys of the Polaris forum ordered up a red alert and demanded I rip her completely apart for a full diagnosis. So over the next 36 hours from getting her home, I ripped it into pieces and had the engine out by Sunday night.
The engine somehow had ingested water and sludge and all that good stuff. The pistons were shot, the crank was seized and the cylinders were in dire need of some help. The cylinder heads were pretty beat up too.
My initial thought when buying the ski was that it would not be that bad. Unfortunately that was not the case, and the engine was pretty beat up.
Actually though, I am very glad it turned out how it did. The experience and knowledge you gain by ripping one of these SOB's apart is priceless.
So, what was the plan for the project?
Once I started to see that the boat was a little more f*cked up than I thought, I decided this wasn't going to just be a "lets get it running" project. I figured if I was going to do this, I was going to completely turn this boat around:
In other words, I wasn't just going to rebuild the engine.
I decided that in addition to completely reconditioning the engine, I was going to make sure the hull was in tip top shape, and that I had one bad ass looking engine compartment.
So here was the initial list of things needed to complete the project:
A new or rebuilt crankshaft
I acquired a crankshaft that was trued and welded by Sharps marine from Polarisracer166. The crank had a total of five races on it.
The cylinders needed help badly
I sent the cylinders to Randy at Watcon. He smoothed out the tops of the cylinders and precision honed them about as much as you can. He said the cylinders have had a rough life but they should be fine. After checking the ring end gap, we are well within spec.
Wanting to avoid any issues with Wiseco pistons, I paid up and ordered a brand new set of pistons and all components from Polaris.
At this point I have not purchased a new head kit. Most likely I will go with the HSP 92 octane set.
I decided to razz up the engine compartment a bit by getting the pipes powder-coated. There were some shipping issues and I actually had to get the pipes repaired after they were painted, but they turned out fine and all three pipes have passed leak tests. They are painted a bright orange that matches the "SLX" decal on the side and they have a metallic gold flake that shines in the sun.
I had the head pipes powder-coated blue with the same gold metallic flake that is on the pipes. The idea for the two colors was basically based on some of the blues and oranges you see in the decals on the outside of the hull. I also have 25 feet of blue tubing for the cooling system that should look great with the pipes and the manifolds.
I didn't feel like messing with the stock electronic valves so I was able to get a set Randy's gas pressure valves from IRONHEAD. Slightly used.
Pump and drive system
The drive system was in okay shape. I will be replacing the drive shaft and adding a six vein SS stator that I happen to have laying around. Other than that, the impeller is in good shape and the wear ring is fine.
Other internal components
I made sure to get in and get all the grease and oil out of the bottom of the hull, and I put new split coil tubing over all the wiring. I also replaced the speedo tube and the siphon bilge with new tubing. The electronics are all fine, and will not be undergoing any major modifications. I will be replacing the bilge pump.
Hull and external parts
97 hull cracking issues
This ski did have the ever common cracks in the foot wells that a lot of 97's have. They were not that bad, but I did want to take care of them. I ripped off the old mats and repaired every crack in the foot wells using epoxy resin and fiberglass. I then sanded and finished the repairs as needed, although most would be concealed when I put on the new Hydro turf mats.
Reinforcement to prevent future cracking
After speaking on the phone with Randy in depth about the issue, I finally went ahead and reinforced the hull as to prevent any weakness issues in the future. We added two part expanding epoxy foam to the rear of the hull to fill in the hollow areas under the foot wells. We even added some additional support on the sides. All in all, I think we have a hull that is significantly stronger than the stock version, plus all the old cracks are repaired AND reinforced with resin and fiberglass.
Rub rails and splash guard
I don't know if it was at the factory, or if the past owner did this, but for some reason the rub rails on this poor boat had tons of misplaced holes on each rail. It was a complete eye soar. So I ripped the damn things off and bought a brand new set of rub rails from Polaris. As a bonus I bought an HSP splash guard that will look much better than the stock one.
There are some blemishes on the hood that need to be taken care off. I have not yet decided how I want to approach this. The decals are probably out of print, but the hood definitely needs to be repainted. Open to suggestions on this one. I want to preserve the original look of the ski as Polaris intended.
So where are you at now?
The engine and components are completely disassembled and the ski is ready to be rebuilt. The only piece of the engine that still needs to be purchased is a head kit. We will be rebuilding the engine in the basement between now and spring, the harsh Wisconsin winter has forced us to build a make shift shop in the basement. As soon as that is done, we will rebuild the engine. The engine will be completed before May 1st.
Some additional things we need to do:
Test the starter motor
Test the stator
Leak test the engine once rebuilt
Rebuild the carbs (why not?? they have been sitting for a while)
Other parts needed yet to complete project:
Engine to driveshaft alignment tool
Flame arrestors (they make your engine compartment look 90% cooler)
A jetworks valve
Fine can we have some pictures???
sure, here you are, plus I will make more posts to highlight other areas of the project that have taken place. These pictures are all from the first four days of the project back in June.
Last edited by absentx; 01-31-2007 at 04:52 AM.
01-31-2007, 05:05 AM #2
Here are some pics of the initial engine condition:
The fourth picture is one of six auxiliary exhaust port legs that somehow broke off the exhaust valves.
Yes that's right, all six Aux port legs were gone. The last picture is the only remnants of them. It had to be extricated from the MAG cylinder by use of brute force....I cant quite remember the wording CrazyA used to describe the chances of all six of them being lost, but it was quite humorous..
The picture of the crankcase shows what was laying in the bottom once I got the crank out. Sludge, water, sand...uggg..
Last edited by absentx; 01-31-2007 at 05:10 AM.
01-31-2007, 05:17 AM #3
Fancy head pipes and Exhaust pipes
Here are the headers and the pipes nicely painted:
01-31-2007, 05:33 AM #4
Here are some pics of the cracks:
The first two pics are the cracks as they were.
The second two pics are the cracks after they had a meeting with Mr. Dremel.
01-31-2007, 05:46 AM #5
Hull reinforcement and crack repair
The pics below show some of the hull repair and reinforcement.
Pics one and two show the boat positioned so that we can pour the expanding foam into the port side of the hull. We will repeat the process to hit the starboard side.
Pic three gives you a good view of the cracks in the foot wells repaired. They will be concealed by new Hydro turf mats.
Pic four shows some fiberglass reinforcement inside the hull directly under where a big crack in the foot well was. Needless to say, that crack shouldn't be coming back anytime soon.
Note in pictures one and two, the rub rails are removed as well.
01-31-2007, 04:10 PM #6
Absolutely awesome post!!! I feel like I was in the garage with you during the process. LOL
01-31-2007, 06:13 PM #7
01-31-2007, 06:15 PM #8
I believe I said something like this...
I don't even know what to say!!! I've never seen anything like it. You got yourself an amputee Hexapod, an invisible Sextet if you will.
Dude ... all six pieces are missing. Those are triple exhaust port cylinders with nothing to regulate the auxiliary ports. Speechless!!!
Man, I'd sure love to pick the brain of the previous owner.
Did one or two break (which wasn't that uncommon) so they decided to get rid of the rest???
Is this some "double secret probation" mod???
Is this some type of sick aversion to the number 6???
Someone call Ripley's!!!
All kidding aside, you can clearly see where the legs belong. All 6 are missing. The only reason they're dirty is because they've been missing for a while. That's my guess. How about some shots of the cylinders from inside and out where the valves slide in, THEY MIGHT STILL BE IN THERE!!!
01-31-2007, 06:34 PM #9
That write up was great!!! I would like to get more info on where and what you used to renforced the hull. I am thinking I my do this as a preventive measure, no cracks yet, but with what I am doing to the engine I sure I will have some by the end of the summer.
02-01-2007, 01:00 AM #10
- Join Date
- Oct 2006
- Cleveland OH
Hot Seat sells a reinforcement kit (3 SS brakets) for the pump. It's $70 though, OUCH! I like it for piece of mind.
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