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  1. #1

    Which Polaris Three Seater Model Is The Most Reliable?

    I know I'm gonna get a lot of differing views on this question. But, I'm curious what all of you Die-Hard Polaris guys have to say about this.

    I'm currently rebuilding my 95 750 SLT. So far the rebuild has been expensive But, I'm really enjoying working on this project. I'm learning so much from this forum. I wouldn't be even be attempting this without all of the help here on GH.

    Looking toward the future I'm going to be adding another ski at some point and I would like to hear what all of you have to say about which model you feel is the most rock solid built to last and easiest to repair. Not sure if it's even possible to get all of those qualifications outta one ski.

    BTW, I'm not looking to race. Just ride and enjoy.

    So, lets hear it! What should I look for next?
    Last edited by K447; 09-10-2013 at 09:20 AM. Reason: Three


  2. #2
    Miglater's Avatar
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    The slt 750's are pretty damn good all around, I see a lot of em around still. I find mostly it depends on the maintainence and owners willingness/skill of maintaining/servicing the ski. A well tuned and maintained engine can last along time.

    I am however, partial to the domestic engine skis, 700/900/1050/1200

  3. #3
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Without any statistical data to back me up, my feeling is that it is not really dependant on the model. Aside from the Weber engined MSX 110 and MSX 150, all these machine use some variation of the Fuji engine or the domestic engine. And the domestic engine was developed out of the experience Polaris had with the Fuji engines.

    The hulls and upper decks are also related across the generations, of course. If you line them up (as we do at some of the gatherings) you can see the progression over the years as Polaris designed each generation and iteration. Across the the miscellaneous hardware, from steering/handlebar to reverse lever to storage hoods to mirrors, Polaris was trying to improve the designs. Not every detail change was a direct step forward, but overall the direction was there.

    I am also partial to the domestic engines. Generally good fuel economy despite the strong power, especially the two cylinder engines. Plenty of room in the hull to work on a two cylinder engine!
    Last edited by K447; 09-06-2013 at 08:58 AM.

  4. #4
    BlueFishCrisis's Avatar
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    The three seater hulls started emerging with some of the nice improvements around 1996 1997. Handlebar mounted start/stop/choke/bilge, oval MFDs, exhaust out of the pump tunnel, ebox mounted on a bulk head not the battery, larger fuel tank, better hull design, extended pumps, etc. I am still on the lookout for a 97 SLT hull to swap my gear into. I still like the Fuji motors, probably because I've worked mostly on them, I have plenty of spare parts, and the ignition components are not a problem to find and replace. The domestic motors do have some better features like increased power, efficiency, and O rings in the heads to replace the head gaskets. I'll be a Fuji guy for a while yet.....

  5. #5
    SPEED KILLS, BUT YOU GET THERE QUICKER Keddano's Avatar
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    Without going to a fuel injected model. I think one of the best hull motor combo is the virage 2 cylinders. They are a very stable ride. Good on fuel. And can pull tubes or wakeboards with ease.. personally I love my MSX HULL. But staying away from the Weber (MSX 150), Which would get you into a FI ski then. The MSX 140.
    Last edited by Keddano; 09-10-2013 at 12:25 PM.

  6. #6
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keddano View Post
    Without going to a fuel injected model. I think one of the best hull motor combo is the virage 2and cylinders. They are a very stable ride. Good in fuel. And can pull tubes or wakeboards with ease.. personally I love my MSX HULL. But staying away from the Weber gets you into a FI ski then.
    Methinks you need some coffee Danno

    My personal preference (obviously) is the Ficht Direct Injection domestic engines 2000-2004. There are some well known issues that can be addressed up front. The EMM can be an expensive repair. But once those things are done, the result is generally reliable.

    If 'reliability' includes minimal time spent doing carb rebuilds, checking piston wash and tuning carb settings, then the DI engines have advantages.

    If 'reliability' includes easy, instant starting hot or cold, no choke, no fuel shutoff valve, no adjustments with air temperature or altitude changes, DI is ahead.

    Reliability means different things to different people. For someone who wants to modify and increase power, RPM and speed, reliability might simply mean the likelihood of the engine actually holding together despite the increased stresses!

    If it means accumulating hundreds of running hours over many years without significant failure or downtime, that is a different thing.

    If it means the machine keeps on working despite minimal or no proper maintenance, it is hard to say. There are always stories of machines that just keep on trucking despite a general lack of mechanical love. And others of the same model that do not.

  7. #7
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    I am with Keith on the DI machines. One everything is sorted out, they are gas and go. No worries. However, if you are someone that can't or won't do their own wrenching, stay away from them. Nobody will work on them, and those who do generally just throw parts at them causing a lot of extra unnecessary expense for the owner.

  8. #8
    LaveyT's Avatar
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    If it means accumulating hundreds of running hours over many years without significant failure or downtime, that is a different thing.
    The above is what it means to me. I would love to tell you the 701 cc domestic is the most reliable... but I only have 60 hours or so on one. I have 6-7 years on Fujis with prudent upgrades. Basically Fuel line, rubber carb parts, fuel selector valve.

    I cannot ignore 6-7 years without removing a cylinder head from a Fuji. In 5 years or so I will let you know about the Domestic reliability.

    That being said I love my Virage.
    Last edited by K447; 09-06-2013 at 01:59 PM. Reason: Quote

  9. #9
    [QUOTE=LaveyT;2258747]
    If it means accumulating hundreds of running hours over many years without significant failure or downtime, that is a different thing.
    The above quote is what I'm really looking for. Recently I saw a post on here about a trip up the Colorado River to Hoover Dam. Now that kind of riding
    sounds perfect to me. I'm seriously thinking about the DI. Since I live in So Cal and this crazy Nanny State wants to control every part of our lives. I'm concerned that at some point they're going to make it near impossible to use 2 stroke PWC's(Except for the DI) anywhere. I'm pretty good with the wrenching but I need to learn a lot more about these machines. I agree that no matter what you have. You MUST maintain it. I almost bought a 98 SLT 700 for $125. It's not running and the guy said it has no spark. I was concerned about the fact that one guy controls the price on the updated stator and CDI($800!!!). And with there being no other options that I know of at this time. I didn't buy it. Reading what BryanP said. Why won't anyone work on them? Throwing parts at them? Are they difficult to diagnose? Are they that hard to get working right?

    There's a Virage 800 I for sale on CL locally. Here's the info below.

    "2002 Polaris Virage 800 I Everything in it is new Computer ,computer alone is worth $1200 bucks
    Stator,Fuel pump,Spark plugs,the compression is 150 good engine
    But I can't just get it to run right
    turns on key Tags are up to date My loss your gain../Trailer not included
    $1.500 O.B.O "

    Is that a good deal? Or a can of worms?

    Thanks for all the replies. A lot of info to consider when looking for another Polaris.

  10. #10
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtescher View Post
    ... Reading what BryanP said. Why won't anyone work on them? Throwing parts at them? Are they difficult to diagnose? Are they that hard to get working right?

    There's a Virage 800 I for sale on CL locally. Here's the info below.

    "2002 Polaris Virage 800 I Everything in it is new Computer ,computer alone is worth $1200 bucks
    Stator,Fuel pump,Spark plugs,the compression is 150 good engine
    But I can't just get it to run right
    turns on key Tags are up to date My loss your gain../Trailer not included
    $1.500 O.B.O "

    Is that a good deal? Or a can of worms?

    Thanks for all the replies. A lot of info to consider when looking for another Polaris.
    The Ficht system was never well documented in the public domain, in terms of diagnostics and actual internal functional and electronic details. Broad stroke info is around, but the number of people that actually have engineering info, schematics and source code for the insides of these EMM is very few.

    The Digital Wrench diagnostic software is not only tightly controlled, but in my opinion was never good enough. Polaris contracted out the actual development of Digital Wrench, and the EMM internal software was originally developed by other outside companies. Time ran out before it could all be brought together fully realized. Wrinkles remain.

    In addition there are annoying limitations which further hinder practical use of Digital Wrench in swapping parts and reconfiguring machines. The net is that practical diagnosis involves some judicious observation and jigging of components around the EMM.

    Even with access to Digital Wrench, most of the time it is not needed to effectively diagnose and repair a Ficht machine. What is needed is a few spare parts and the time to methodically proceed through the diagnostics.

    I recently outlined the diagnostic and repair steps taken with a Blue 2004 Polaris Virage i. In the end an EMM which was thought to be good was in fact bad. Once DFI actually repaired the EMM, it worked properly. Digital Wrench was not needed.

    DFI themselves, despite their rather good overall capabilities and real ability to fix many of these EMM, do not have the ability to diagnose 100% of the potential problem vectors. Some problem causes within the EMM are also not addressable with current tools.

    BUT, not every EMM needs to be repairable. Replacement units are currently available as other machines get parted out. Eventually, of course, the availability of used/repairable EMM and injectors will diminish. We are not there yet.

    The techs at many of the Polaris watercraft dealers that were originally trained on Ficht have now moved on to other things. Ficht diagnosis is not easy to get your head around in a hurry, especially given the inadequate software and less than complete diagnostic guides (at least the stuff I have seen).

    The net is that unless you happen to connect with a repair tech that really understands Ficht and has worked on them, they typically do not want to be fixing it.

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