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  1. #1
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Post Polaris PWC model overview and caveats

    Lurking in these forums recently, I have been impressed with how helpful and courteous the members are to each other.

    I have been riding a friend's 1997 Polaris SL900 and '92 SL650, and am now thinking about buying two or three Polaris of my own.

    I have not been part of the watercraft scene in the past, so I have not accumulated the information over time. I know Polaris exited the PWC business circa 2003-2004, so support and parts can be a challenge, and that there are some independant companies covering a fair range of needs.

    I have been having trouble getting a decent mental picture of the various Polaris models produced over the years, how they relate to each other, and which models are seen as being overall better choices, vs. those that may be more troublesome, or just less well turned out.

    I have come across many snippets regarding certain Polaris models, in various model years, and how they might compare to the previous year, or another model from the same year.

    Is there a place where this is all laid out?
    How the Polaris model codes translate to rider capacity, performance, how the line-up evolved over time, what are the important model years for overall advancements (hull design, engine design, carburation vs. injection, etc).

    I appologise if this is already posted somewhere, but I have yet to find a concise mapping of all the models Polaris produced over the years, and more importantly, how they compare to each other.

    When surveying the used marketplace, I am trying to compare multiple models from multiple model years, at often wildly varying prices. Add condition and modifications, and it is hard to figure what is a good choice for me, and what is not, and what is a fair price for a given model/year.

    I think I am looking for a 3 seater, and a two seater, both for large lakes and some river and channel use. Pulling tubes and waterski would be the 3 seater, plus general cruising and playing about. 2 seater would also be cruising and playing.

    Max speed is not really important, about 55mph GPS or better would be sufficient. Exhaust should not be excessively loud, just to keep the lake neighbors happy.

    I am looking for reliable operation, stablility on the water (at both low and high speeds), ablity to handle medium chop, cruising range, and decent throttle control in the mid-range (not just on-off power). I like the servicability of the carbourated two strokes, but don't know if injected or four strokes are also reasonable to maintain.

    Thanks in advance.

    Keith


  2. #2
    Moderator beerdart's Avatar
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    Keith Welcome to the hulk.
    Some info here.
    http://www.greenhulk.net/forums/showthread.php?t=15562
    Browse the tech section there is a lot of info in there.

  3. #3
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Smile Thanks. I do appreciate the welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by beerdart View Post
    Keith Welcome to the hulk.
    Some info here.
    http://www.greenhulk.net/forums/showthread.php?t=15562
    Browse the tech section there is a lot of info in there.
    I have been reading through the material, and it is helpful. But it doesn't present the overall Polaris PWC picture, which is what I am trying to assemble for myself.

    For example, I don't know what the important differences are between an SLTX, an SLT 1050 and a Virage (Virage TX?), or how these models evolved from year to year.

    Some of the members here seem to know the entire Polaris product line, right from the early years up to the last, and many details on each model in the yearly lineup, and how they compare and differ. While I am not trying to replicate that in-depth knowledge, I would like to be able to know how the various models map out, their strong or weak points, and what years were good for a given model.

    I am looking to use the machines in roughly stock form, or at least in the configuration I get them in. Eventually I may get into improvements, but I would like to select models and years that are at least a solid basis to start from, rather than buy machines that must be changed before they will work well for me.

    So far, I have figured out that the Pro models are not what I am looking for. I also know I do want the MFD, some type of sponsons (factory or aftermarket?), and a fairly large fuel tank, which the early 1990's models seem to not have.

    SL = Sea Lion, and 'T' in the model code means 3 seater.
    'X' means a more powerful engine than the non-'X' model.
    Does 'H' mean a single seat model?
    Did Polaris maintain a consistent naming scheme, or did they jumble the model codes around as the years went by?

    Any info that would help me would be most appreciated.

  4. #4
    Moderator beerdart's Avatar
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    Moderator RX951's Avatar
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    welcome to the forum Keith

  6. #6
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Question Polaris Fuel Injection - Reliability? Caveats?

    What models and years did Polaris offer Fuel Injection?

    Is Polaris fuel injection considered reliable?
    Are there servicing or maintenance issues with Polaris fuel injection?

    How does fuel injection affect cruise range (aka fuel economy)?
    I would expect the range to improve, but by roughly how much compared to a carb model?

    I am located in Toronto, so the craft will be stored over winter, probably in a non-heated area.

    Thanks.

  7. #7
    Bernie's Avatar
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    Keith
    If you want reliability and ease of repair don't go near these Injected 2 stroke craft.However they are great on fuel .You either have to be caught with one or have been given one of these things to warrant keeping it .They are unreliable and there are many variables for the same symptoms.I personally would look at a different carbed model if you are hell bent on Polaris

    Cheers

    Bernie

  8. #8
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie View Post
    Keith
    If you want reliability and ease of repair don't go near these Injected 2 stroke craft....I personally would look at a different carbed model if you are hell bent on Polaris
    Cheers
    Bernie
    Hell bent on Polaris - not really. My friend likes his Polaris machines, and in general I would agree with him that they seem reasonably well made.

    I am thinking (perhaps wrongly) that the exit of Polaris Industries from PWC production has put strong downward pressure on resale pricing, and that a decent Polaris (of a given condition & age) will cost me less to purchase than a comparable alternative from SeaDoo, Yamaha, or Kawasaki, for example.

    I am still doing my research, so I do not yet know whether this is in fact the case.
    In general, is it true that a Polaris PWC will command less resale dollars than a comparable competitor?

    Are there certain Polaris models (or years) where this is more true?

    Thanks for the guidance regarding Polaris Fuel Injection.
    Would that caveat extend to other PWC brands with Fuel Injection?
    Last edited by K447; 08-22-2007 at 07:58 PM.

  9. #9

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    Opinions may vary, but for a basic trouble free 50+ mph stable, almost three place ride, with great fuel economy and dependability, the standard Virage (700 carburated engine) is hard to beat. I think they built it from 2000-til closing.

    The Freedom is the same except it''s the very basic model without the mirrors and gauges. etc.

    If you want a little more grin, the Virage TX 3 cylinder will go much faster, but really drinks more fuel.

    All the carburated (non-i models) are good. Once all the injected stuff (I models) came out, along with all their new challenges, you just get an engine light when there is a problem, and are supposed to take it back to your (now non-existant) dealer to let him hook it up to the computer and diagnose the trouble.

    If you are looking for real dealer support, group-hugging (except here), etc. Polaris may not be for you. I still think they are worth the extra trouble. Every weekend our local island is still full of 'em!

    If only Polaris would have stuck with the basics, I think they may still be in the PWC market today. But then there was this thing with upcomming emission standards.

  10. #10
    Hell Bent or Heaven Sent? Bent's Avatar
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    what were the SLT models in 96 - 97

    I've noticed an SLT (which I guess is a basic three seater, how many CC's
    also an SLTH (what does the "H" specify? - how many cc's ?)
    And, was there anything like an SLTX? (I'd guess long pump, etc...)

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