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  1. #1
    meganosky's Avatar
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    2001 Virage Tx not cranking

    A little back story - Aquired ski from my Aunt last summer. Ran poorly and did some digging on the forums and was advised that the carbs needed to be rebuilt, fuel lines changed, etc. All done. We put the ski up for the winter after running some stabil through it. Fast-forward a few months and I went out to the garage to crank the ski and I got nothing. Charged the battery and tried again... Still nothing. The display is working and bilge pump is working, but the engine will not crank. We took it to a shop and they said it was electrical and wouldn't work on it because we'd be throwing parts at an unknown problem. Bad stator? CDI? Help!


  2. #2
    Resident electronics hacker UnityRacing's Avatar
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    Try to short both terminals of the starter solenoid together and see if it cranks. A good pair of needle nose pliers works well.

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    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnityRacing View Post
    Try to short both terminals of the starter solenoid together and see if it cranks. A good pair of needle nose pliers works well.
    +1

    The original black body start solenoids are known to corrode and fail internally. If your solenoid has a metal backing plate and is black body, replace it.

    Even if it is not the problem, the original can fail at any moment and can force the starter to crank continuously until the battery dies.

    Make sure you do not touch the pliers to any other metal surfaces while shorting the two heavy solenoid studs. There will be sparks so use a firm hand.

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  6. #4
    john zigler's Avatar
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    Diagnosing the start system on your Polaris is one of the EASIEST things to do....

    1st, PLEASE find another shop to take your PWC to next time, as this particular shop has no idea of what they are talking about.

    Many times, I see a machine that wont start, and is typically something simple. Just because you charged the battery, do not assume it is good. It take little to power your gauge, or bilge pump. It takes a lot of amps to crank the starter. SO, start with the battery, have it load tested. You can also check volts while sitting, and while pushing the start button. You should see 12.5 while sitting, and no less than 10.5 when hitting start button.

    Next, check all battery cables, ground, etc. Even if they "look" good, they can have internal corrosion, and be bad.

    Test your start switch. We see MANY problems with these with corrosion internally.

    Like stated above, you can jump the start relay, this will give 12 volts directly to the starter, and by pass the switch ect. IF it cranks now, you know your starter is good.

    Lastly, you may have a bad starter, or bendix drive.

    Start simple, and work through.

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  8. #5
    meganosky's Avatar
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    I actually changed the solenoid to see if that was the issue. Display was working before I changed it, stopped working after.


    Something I completely forgot to mention - used to, when the start button was pushed, the speedometer would move and the display would "come alive" so to speak. When pushing the start button now, nothing happened. (Of course this was before I changed that darn start solenoid)


    The issue has to be something simple. The ski itself has low hours and has been pretty babied its whole life so I'm sticking with that belief, for now. We are out of state visiting family and will be picking ol Red up on the way back home Saturday. I'm chomping at the bit to figure out what's wrong.
    Last edited by meganosky; 02-19-2015 at 10:42 AM. Reason: Added some info

  9. #6
    Resident electronics hacker UnityRacing's Avatar
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    Corrosion on the cables perhaps? Check the negative where it meets the block. Take the cable off and use some sandpaper to clean it up, reinstall and try again.

    Did you try the pliers trick I posted above?

  10. #7
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meganosky View Post
    I actually changed the solenoid to see if that was the issue. Display was working before I changed it, stopped working after.


    Something I completely forgot to mention - used to, when the start button was pushed, the speedometer would move and the display would "come alive" so to speak. When pushing the start button now, nothing happened. (Of course this was before I changed that darn start solenoid)


    The issue has to be something simple...
    This all points to either a weak battery (despite being charged) or to a wiring problem.

    As others have posted, remove and clean both ends of both battery cables.

    Pay particular attention to the engine ground end of the negative cable. You want clean metal to metal contact. Clean the bolt, the threads in the hole, the cable end.

    Also make sure you have the correct battery polarity. If battery polarity is swapped and you press the Start button even once, the solenoid will be damaged as it has an internal diode.

    Backwards battery connection can also damage the LR module.

  11. #8
    meganosky's Avatar
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    Haven't done the pliers trick yet, won't be home till Saturday. 😬We JUST bought a brand new AGM battery for it probably 8 months ago. Can they go bad that quickly? Definitely have the correct polarity... I always double check that if I have to pull the battery out for whatever reason. Ha! Is it a myth that charging the battery WHILE it's hooked up is bad for the computer? I was in a rush and didn't realize it until after the trickle charger was already connected that I might've screwed up. My husband wants to part the ski out, but I'm a very mechanically minded person and am determined to fix that damn thing just so I can say I did it. The ski is in too good of condition to just wash my hands of it.

  12. #9

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    i had a similar issue with my other brand ski (screen acting weird). needless to say i forgot to connect 1 of the 6/7 small ground cables inside the CDI box. That fixed the display issue (or lack of display should i say).

    First, load test the battery (not voltmeter).

    Second, take voltmeter and check voltage at the two solenoid posts (should be 12v or so when button isnt pressed, and 0v when pressed). If you have 12v at the solenoid both ways (pressed or not), then solenoid is bad. You could test this theory by shorting out the solenoid (as others posted above).

    If the solenoid is good then I'd verify the starter actually works (bump test out of ski if you can get it out, on a different power source). If the starter works outside of ski then it would be a wiring issue between load (outbound/starer) side of the solenoid and the starter. If the starter doesn't work when pulled, i'd suspect a bad starter. If it is indeed a bad starter, replace it. If it doesn't work once you put it back in, check bendix.

    EDIT: I dont know about parasitic draw on this ski, but it is a good habit to get into to disconnect your battery when you arent going to use it (i pop my wires off when i get done cleaning it post ride and only reconnect to test prior to getting to water). AGM batteries shouldn't lose their charge over 8 months if sitting disconnected.

  13. #10
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meganosky View Post
    Haven't done the pliers trick yet, won't be home till Saturday. We JUST bought a brand new AGM battery for it probably 8 months ago. Can they go bad that quickly?

    Definitely have the correct polarity... I always double check that if I have to pull the battery out for whatever reason. Ha! Is it a myth that charging the battery WHILE it's hooked up is bad for the computer?

    I was in a rush and didn't realize it until after the trickle charger was already connected that I might've screwed up...
    A new AGM battery will not 'go bad' from just sitting, as long as it was charged at least half-way beforehand. The battery drain on a properly operating Polaris is so small that the AGM battery can sit for a year and still start the engine.

    What can kill any battery, even AGM, is if something runs the battery down and then the battery is left sitting like that, discharged. Even re-charging will not undo the internal degradation.

    If the battery charger was appropriate for watercraft batteries (not a car battery sized charger) then it should not hurt the electronics in the watercraft. The trouble comes when using a too powerful or too cheaply made charger which overwhelms the battery and forces too much charge for too long, effectively cooking the life out of the battery.

    We can walk you through the diagnostics once you are hands on with the machine.

    While you are waiting, read up on how to bypass the LR-505 Start/Stop module. That module does affect engine cranking.

    Also read up on bypassing the security feature in the MFI display.

    Both bypasses are easy enough to do, and removes all the electronics from the Start system. All that then remains for cranking the engine is the Start switch, the solenoid, the starter motor, and the heavy wiring.

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