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  1. #1

    Melted the ground wires after installing a new stator and CDI

    16 months ago I finally got my '97 SL700 DLX running on the water and had a blast... for about 4 hours run time before it died in the middle of the river 20 miles from home. I got it towed home and out of the water before I had to return to real life via delta, and didn't have much time to diagnose what went wrong on the river. I left without leaving clear long term storage instructions to my progeny, and thus it was more or less stuck in a garage as it was on that day. I have no returned to correct that day's events and quickly found that besides a new battery and fresh gas, the ground wire between the electrical box the stator, and the battery melted, then corroded and broke. I don't know when this happened, either on the river after 25-30 minutes of hard riding, or at some point during the summer the heat and a battery eating itself kicked in. Luckily the wiring leading into the CDI appears to be intact, but as the pictures linked below show, I need to recreate a wiring harness into the stator, and several shorter connections inside the electrical box.

    http://imgur.com/a/LhUG1

    My questions are:

    1) should I stick with 18 gauge wire to let it melt if need be and protect my irreplaceable components or use something bigger to prevent this work in the future?

    2) The CDI I purchased came with a new stator and appeared to be a pair, should I stay the course with this setup, reinstall the old stator (which might require some interesting wiring fabrication), or keep the current hardware, but add or remove some electrical load (sound system or perhaps underglow?) to balance out the stator production?


    I believe that's it for now, but I'll be happy to answer any questions or provide any more pictures as needed. Thanks in advance for the help.


  2. #2
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    The most common cause of melted stator ground wire is the plastic battery cover not being present or not in position. If the battery posts touch the metal shell of the electrical box then the stator ground wire will suffer.

    You need to check all the Black wires inside the electrical box for possible damage.

    There is no need to change the wire gauge when you replace the damaged wiring. Not that you should also check the wiring inside the stator housing. Confirm correct ohms for each stator coil before reinstalling the stator.

    Is the installed stator and CDI of the factory original type or the Ignition Update Kit version?


  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by K447 View Post
    The most common cause of melted stator ground wire is the plastic battery cover not being present or not in position. If the battery posts touch the metal shell of the electrical box then the stator ground wire will suffer.
    well that's aggravating, that means it was my fault and completely avoidable... time to start over with taking the whole thing apart then...

    Quote Originally Posted by K447 View Post
    You need to check all the Black wires inside the electrical box for possible damage.

    There is no need to change the wire gauge when you replace the damaged wiring. Not that you should also check the wiring inside the stator housing. Confirm correct ohms for each stator coil before reinstalling the stator.
    I have checked and replaced the wires inside the box, but during the inspection between the box and the stator I found the ground had damaged many of the other wires throughout the 5 feet length of that 8 wire bundle. I have not yet removed the stator case to inspect that, but I feel it is likely that the ground is melted all the way into the epoxy on the stator. How repairable is that situation? I am confident I can find a generic 18 gauge 8 bundle wire to replace what is damaged, but once it goes into the epoxy, I'm concerned about destroying the stator before I can find something to solder back together.

    Quote Originally Posted by K447 View Post
    Is the installed stator and CDI of the factory original type or the Ignition Update Kit version?
    I replaced it with the ebay auction below. I'm not 100% sure what the model of the stator currently installed is, but the old one is a 55201-54.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/700-ignition-system-2873022-2873355-update-/281097188851?pt=Personal_Watercraft_Parts&hash=ite m4172b2b5f3&vxp=mtr

  4. #4
    OzarkYamMonster's Avatar
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    I had a great running and very fast Polaris, until the Stator CDI arc out against the battery .... frying the entire wiring system. I have always felt this was a very poor engineering design on the part of Polaris. I hope those of you that still have the Polaris skis, you have came up with an aftermarket system that would remove this terrible flaw in design.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by OzarkYamMonster View Post
    I had a great running and very fast Polaris, until the Stator CDI arc out against the battery .... frying the entire wiring system. I have always felt this was a very poor engineering design on the part of Polaris. I hope those of you that still have the Polaris skis, you have came up with an aftermarket system that would remove this terrible flaw in design.

    Yes......its called always make sure you use the plastic battery cover. The later models had a plastic electric box and it wasn't mounted on the battery.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by BryanP View Post
    Yes......its called always make sure you use the plastic battery cover. The later models had a plastic electric box and it wasn't mounted on the battery.
    well sure, for those blessed with common sense that's a fine solution, but the rest of us need to idiot-proof everything, especially from our future selves... ;P

    My "incident" was long enough ago that my memory is not to be trusted, but I have the battery cover now and can't imagine it not being in place when I took off from the dock. Could water have splashed up and worked its way into that area enough to cause the short?

  7. #7
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    It wouldnt be water. The other thing that can cause that wire to melt is a loose main black ground wire. When you did the update, did you remove the thin black wire from the battery to the electric box?

  8. #8

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    Not trying to step on anyone's toes or pass judgement on anyone but... It has been my experience that manufacturers rarely put a part on vehicle that doesn't have some very good reason to be there. Occasionally, it's critical. The plastic cover that goes over the Polaris PWC battery is critical. It is not a design flaw. Optimal? Maybe not, but if you take that cover, wing it over your shoulder because you don't think its important, then it is the owner with the design flaw, not the vehicle. Semi-rant over.


    Quote Originally Posted by OzarkYamMonster View Post
    I had a great running and very fast Polaris, until the Stator CDI arc out against the battery .... frying the entire wiring system. I have always felt this was a very poor engineering design on the part of Polaris. I hope those of you that still have the Polaris skis, you have came up with an aftermarket system that would remove this terrible flaw in design.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by BryanP View Post
    When you did the update, did you remove the thin black wire from the battery to the electric box?
    That wire is intact, I just rebuilt it. Is that a mistake?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by holdmybeerwatchthis View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by BryanP View Post
    When you did the update, did you remove the thin black wire from the battery to the electric box?
    That wire is intact, I just rebuilt it. Is that a mistake?
    That wire needs to be eliminated. The box is grounded through the black stator wire.

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