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  1. #1

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    2004 VirageI Engine Failure? ~100 Hours

    I figured I'd post about the failure of my dad's VirageI to document what is going on and ask a few questions while I'm at it...

    A couple of weeks ago my dad's VirageI started running poorly. It was difficult to start and had trouble idling. We had these issues about 2 years ago and after changing the plugs (which looked good that time) it ran fine until recently. While we were in a shallow area, I looked over the engine and found that the ignition coil's mount had come loose. I tightened this when we returned and assumed it had not caused the poor running since there is a ground wire for the coil. I am not sure what the resistance is supposed to be for the coil, but both coils (there are 2 in one body) had the same primary-ground and secondary-ground resistances. Then, I checked the plugs. The rear plug was a bit dark but looked OK overall. However, the front plug had about 1/8 - 3/16" of carbon built up on the side of the insulator facing the injector. I was hoping that the loose coil was the cause of the problem so I installed two new plugs and after a bit of cranking it started and idled better than it had for a while. We took it out and after a rough start it was running better than it had in a while, though a bit slow on the top end. Near the end of our ride (thankfully close to the ramp) the ski died when slowing for a no-wake zone and could not be restarted. It cranked quite slow. I tried unplugging the TPS sensor to see if it would start and idle back, but no go. I towed it in and started looking it over again. This time, the rear plug was a bit dark again, but the front plug had the ground electrode pushed against the center electrode, and had about 1/16" of carbon built up on the side of the insulator facing the injector. I thought that maybe there was enough carbon built up on the piston to hit the plug. I found that the engine cranked normally with the front plug removed (and the coil's primary disconnected), and would even run and idle on only the rear cylinder. As soon as the front plug was installed (independent of whether the primary to the front coil was connected) the engine would crank slowly and not start. I sprayed a lot of Quicksiler decarboning spray into both cylinders and let it sit overnight. The next morning, I took both plugs out (they had been installed loosely to prevent evaporation of the decarboning spray), placed rags over the plug holes, and cranked the engine to expel the decarboning spray. The gunk from the rear cylinder was as expected, black liquid. However, the liquid from the front cylinder looked like black metalflake paint! After expelling the liquid, I reinstalled the plugs and the engine ran for a few minutes but would not idle. Yes, a ton of black gunk was expelled from the exhaust along with the cooling water. Unfortunately, I lent out our compression gague a while ago and it has been MIA ever since. I wanted the decarboning spray out since the ski has an extended warranty (Pinnacle) and I did not want anyone to blame the spray for the engine problems, even though they were preexisting. The ski is at the dealer now and they told us to call at the end of this week to see if they have had a chance to look at it yet; they told us ~2 weeks to look at it and 2-3 weeks after that to repair before we brought it in.

    Does anyone have any ideas what happened in that front cylinder? The injector seems to be firing and the spark looks as strong as the rear. Could low compression cause the carbon buildup? Do you think the engine had been wearing for a while and the metal particles were stuck in the building carbon and released by the decarboning spray? Is there anything in the computer or injector that would cause the excessive carbon buildup? I was under the assumption that a failing computer or injector resulted in a lean condition, not a rich condition?

    Yes, I have been charging the battery between the crankings.

    Any guesses to the availiability of parts to fix at least the engine? I assume that the fuel injection parts, if needed, will take a while to procure.

    I will update this as information becomes available, maybe in the future someone can benefit from our experience.


  2. #2
    ph2ocraft's Avatar
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    I'm curious as to what happened but a compression reading would have surely helped.
    My total guess in the dark is it lost a cylinder due to a lean running condition because of a bad crank seal and or crankshaft.
    If compression is good then my guess would be a stator.

    Oh and WELCOME to the Green Hulk Forums!!!

  3. #3
    Bernie's Avatar
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    Sounds like piston hitting spark plug or bits of piton sitting on top of the piston.Check and see If you have 140 + compression. If so I (doubt it from the shiny black stuff in there )would say that you have a piston issue .Would suggest you pull the top off the cylinder and look for damage on top of piston .Have had the coil pack bolt come loose when engine is rattling real bad due to bearing failure .Check and see if the cable to the oil pump is lifting the lever up ok ..If all seems ok on pump then I would be pulling the front barrel off the engine .Side burnt out of piston maybe .Would also be checking fuel pressure as the regulators fall out of these ski's and they lean out and burn pistons



    Cheers

    Bernie

  4. #4

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    Got an update from the dealer today. Compression was 140 in the rear cylinder and 30 in the front. They said that the bottom end let go in the front cylinder and 2-3 weeks to be completed. They said they expect the warranty to cover it.

  5. #5

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    Update--Polaris finally came back last friday. It seems to be running well now, maybe a little slow but my dad can't remember the WOT RPM before it blew, and we never GPS'd it before either

    Dealer's conclusion was crank failure; they said it was out of index and the front connecting rod bearing destructed.

    It ended up getting a new SBT Engine. Total bill for the tearing the old engine down to diagnose failure, SBT Engine, installation, and misc. materials for installation was over $3100. Warranty deductible $25. Finally the warranty paid off for someone!

    Yes, it really did take from the beginning of July until now to get it back from the dealer, but that's an issue that's not appropriate for discussing in a public forum at this time. Sorry.

    Hopefully it'll hold together for a couple more years!
    Last edited by grcmptrnrd; 09-24-2007 at 05:25 PM. Reason: changed wording a bit

  6. #6
    axgrider73's Avatar
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    Glad to hear that you got it going!!

    Any idea as to what caused the crank to lose its index? Did the motor ever injest water?

    It would be nice to know the root of the problem (if possible) so that it doesn't happen again.

  7. #7

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    Nope, never injested any water. We've owned it since new and it's never even been upside down. My dad says it always had a rattle since new and it's gone now, so there is a possiblity that the crank had defects since new.

  8. #8
    ph2ocraft's Avatar
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    I'm a little confused......
    If you had it since new, why would you not have had the engine noise corrected under warranty back in 04?
    If you had a bad crank since new, the odds of making it 100 hours is pretty darn slim, I don't care who built the crank.
    My guess is the front seal went bad, engine ran lean and seized the engine. When the front cylinder stuck, it took the crank out of index and finished off an already tired crank bearing. Just a guess of course as I din't see the piston, cylinder or domes.
    3100. dollars should have bought you much better than a 700-900 dollar SBT replacement. I just can't imagine what they did for 22-2400 dollars.
    The good news is it's running right now.

  9. #9

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    ph2ocraft,

    If it was my ski, I would have looked into it as soon as I heard the noise. I rode it once the first day my dad had it, then I was on my Ultra all the time. Same with the extended warranty and waiting nearly 3 months to get it fixed--I would have skipped buying the warranty in the first place and rebuilt it myself.

    I can see the front cylinder leaning out, grenading, and taking the crank with it except for the carbon that was caked up on the front plug when this all started. I would have expected a much cleaner plug if it was running lean, unless after the cylinder went out it burned really poorly due to low compression??? Not sure, I haven't dealt with many internal engine problems.

    Unfortunately we never got to see any of the disassembled engine or old parts; the service manager wouldn't even let us talk to the technician working on it when we stopped in to check on its progress. If it had been my ski in that shop, I would have pulled it out right then.

    I fogot to put in my 'fixed' post that they also replaced the flywheel and stator so that accounts for some of the cost. And they charged $1800 for the SBT premium engine...quite a markup but that cost was negotiated between the dealer and Pinnacle, not us, so I have no say in it.

    The one really weird thing about the new engine is that it is black with red heads and the head bolts are not painted over. I was under the impression that SBT painted the whole engine one color after it was assembled. I hope that the dealer didn't swap heads for some reason in case there are warranty problems in the future; I'd rather just box it up for SBT than go through a dealer again.

    As long as it holds on for the rest of this season I'll be happy. I'm not too fond of the Honda i'm riding (love the engine, hate the hull) but my dad loves it, so he may be on that next year and I'll have another new ski...just not sure what yet.

  10. #10
    axgrider73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grcmptrnrd View Post
    The one really weird thing about the new engine is that it is black with red heads and the head bolts are not painted over. I was under the impression that SBT painted the whole engine one color after it was assembled.
    I am pretty sure that SBT engines come with the dome covers painted red.

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