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  1. #1

    New to pwc, don't want to screw anything up

    I just purchased a 1996 sl700, guy said battery just needed recharged and it should be good to go. Few questions,

    -To remove battery, just unbolt the black electrical box off the top and disconnect negative then positive correct? After that the battery should come out?

    -What is the reset button for on the electrical box?

    -I don't see a dipstick or anything to check the oil?

    Probably easy noob questions, but any help is appreciated!


  2. #2
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Hulk!

    First thing, download the 1992-1998 Service Manual.

    Next, plan to spend a good amount of time reading and searching on here. There is LOTS of solid information, but it will take you some time to come up to speed.

    Your Polaris SL700 is a two cylinder, red painted domestic 2-stroke engine. The Polaris twin is considered to be a reliable, fairly fuel efficient (for a PWC) engine.

    The oil is special 2-stroke oil, and is injected into the engine along with the fuel from the carburetors, where both the fuel and the oil are burned.

    There is no oil reservoir inside the engine, but there is an oil tank, which you need to keep supplied with special 2-stroke oil. Oil meant for car engines is not compatible with these 2-stroke engines.

    Take the time to understand what your Polaris needs in terms of care and checks, BEFORE you go running it around the lake.

    The most expensive way to learn about your PWC is to run it until something fails (which can happen in the first ten minutes of riding), then spend many dollars and hours putting it right. Often a few simple checks up front, and perhaps some cleaning of the carburetors and fuel system, can save a lot of future grief.
    Last edited by K447; 06-30-2008 at 01:34 PM.

  3. #3
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awd98tsi View Post
    I just purchased a 1996 sl700, guy said battery just needed recharged and it should be good to go...
    Unless the battery is very young, you might be better off buying a new, AGM type battery, rather than recharging the current battery.
    Having a good, healthy battery can be a life saver on the water. Batteries that are allowed to fully discharge often have short lifespans remaining.


    -To remove the battery, just unbolt the black electrical box off the top and disconnect negative then positive correct? After that the battery should come out?
    Refer to the manual.
    On many models, there are rubber straps that hold it all down. Remove the straps, and you should be able to get at the battery.


    -What is the reset button for on the electrical box?
    That would be the main electric circuit breaker.
    Unless you have a short in the wiring, it will probably never activate, or need reseting.
    As I posted above, you should probably take the time to really check it over before you go play with it.
    If you can, checking the cylinder compression will give you an idea of the engine's internal condition.
    New spark plugs are always a good idea.
    Last edited by K447; 06-30-2008 at 03:22 PM.

  4. #4
    Wow thanks for the quick response, very helpful! Are the compression numbers mentioned in the manual? I'm at work right now, if they aren't what numbers should I be looking at for a good motor?

  5. #5
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awd98tsi View Post
    ...Are the compression numbers mentioned in the manual?
    Should be.
    I'm at work right now, if they aren't what numbers should I be looking at for a good motor?
    Absolute pressure numbers are typically circa 120PSI or higher.

    What is more important is the pressure differences between cylinders. The closer they are matched, the better. 10% or more PSI difference indicates things might be going downhill.

    Test with throttle held wide open, spark plug wires grounded. Some people test with all spark plugs out, some test with them in. Just be consistent.

    Test each cylinder, record the numbers, then do it again. Should have consistent results.

    Battery MUST be healthy and fully charged.

  6. #6
    Thanks a bunch!

    One last thing. I tried a search but maybe I didn't type in the right words because it's still a little fuzzy to me. Oil pump, now I see a lot of people are removing theirs and running 40:1 mixture. Is there a write up or description with pics showing how to do this? Does everyone do this and will it hurt anything if I hold off doing it till the winter? How often do you need to add the oil in the pump? I assume it's just a safer route, incase you run out of oil in the pump correct?

    Ok that should be all my questions, sorry for so many of them. I really appreciate it though!

    EDIT!

    What is this fill plug for? Anything?



    Sorry I am in the middle of printing out the manual and running back and forth cleaning, I will read it over till my brain hurts!
    Last edited by awd98tsi; 06-30-2008 at 10:00 PM.

  7. #7
    Moderator RX951's Avatar
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    welcome to the forum !

  8. #8
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awd98tsi View Post
    ...it's still a little fuzzy to me. Oil pump, now I see a lot of people are removing theirs and running 40:1 mixture.
    Is there a write up or description with pics showing how to do this? Does everyone do this and will it hurt anything if I hold off doing it till the winter?
    How often do you need to add the oil in the pump?
    I assume it's just a safer route, in case you run out of oil in the pump correct?

    What is this fill plug for? Anything?
    Slow down a little!

    There is NO OIL stored inside your engine, front, back, top, or bottom.

    The oil is in the oil tank, right next to the gasoline tank. The oil pump pumps the oil from the tank, through the oil lines (hoses) directly into the engine air intake, where it mixes with the air and fuel, and gets burned in the cylinders.

    On some OTHER brands of PWC, the old oil pumps tended to fail, causing lots of engine damage. The Fuji and Polaris domestic oil pumps do not have this problem. These oil pumps tend to be quite reliable.

    Some owners still feel more comfortable removing the oil pump, and remembering to pre-mix the oil into the gasoline every time they fill the tank. If you (or someone you let ride it) forgets even once, and fills up with straight gasoline without the oil in a pre-mix engine, the engine will die.

    Many other Polaris owners are quite happily running their oil pump equiped engines, year after year. ALL the Polaris Ficht fuel injected engines MUST retain the oil pumps, due to the way the fuel injection system works. I have three like this, and I am not worried about the oiling system failing.

    Another advantage is that the oil pump varies the ratio of oil sent to the engine. At low engine speeds, the engine needs very little oil to be happy. The oil pump increases oil flow as the throttle is opened up. The result is that the overall oil consumption is much lower using the oil pump system than it is using pre-mix.

    Less 2-stroke oil cost, and less smoke at low speeds and initial acceleration.

    You DO need to check that all the oil hoses and clamps are in good shape, and that the little in-line oil filter is clean (or replaced). Also check that the cable to the oil pump is not frayed. However, the oil pump is designed such that if the oil cable breaks, the spring loaded arm falls back, and the pump goes to 100% oil flow, thereby protecting the engine (and using oil at the same rate as pre-mixing would).

    That plug on top of the flywheel housing is probably (without me looking it up) an inspection or access cover. It certainly is not an oil fill cap.
    Last edited by K447; 06-30-2008 at 10:50 PM.

  9. #9
    I can't thank you enough for the info! I'm taking a break reading over the manual now, as well as searching the forums some more. I was just in a hurry to get this thing in the water by this holiday weekend. With having to replace the trailer tires, rewire the lights and register/title the ski, along with maintenance, my mind is running wild! I'm going to replace the plugs, check the inline filter and get a new battery tomorrow.
    If the polaris pumps seem to be reliable like you say, I'll just keep it as is for now.
    All the hoses look to be in great shape for the year of the ski, guy said it should be good to go (after new battery) but I wanted to take the extra precautions just incase.

    Thanks again

  10. #10
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    As I said before, don't let your rush to get onto the water over ride the need to make sure everything is right.

    Look through all the maintenance stuff Polaris lists, and don't assume any of it has been done, or was done properly. It may have been done correctly, or it might have been ignored for years.

    If you have a fuel/water separator, make sure there is NO water in it. Any water means there may be more water in the fuel tank, which is a bad thing.

    Then do some more reading on here, about when other new (or even experienced) owners have had bad things happen to their Polaris. See what the root causes were, and make sure you are not in the same position.

    When I bought my Polaris, it took weeks to check them over completely, clean up what needed cleaning, and figure out how things were supposed to be, rather than they way they were when I got them.

    Some hoses were routed poorly or kinked, wires hanging down that needed to be securely strapped, small fittings twisted & bent out of position on the steering and reverse nozzles. Small oil leaks in two different places that kept dripping into the bottom of the hull, making a mess. Clogged thermostat housing. All three batteries were near death, or marginal, but still started the engine. You get the idea.

    You have a 12 year old PWC. The only thing that makes it reliable is the attention you give to it.

    Also think about safety gear, and preparation before riding.

    Not just the legal minimums, but what is prudent and sensible. Murphy's Law applies when you are on the water, big time.

    Plan for breaking down, out on the water.
    Tow rope? Good.
    Do you know where to clamp the water inlet hose before towing, so the engine doesn't get drowned during the tow? Do you have a clamp?

    Will you have a buddy riding with you, who can tow you back?
    Assume you will fall off, AND the PWC will capsize, AND you will get some water inside the hull. Do you know how you would handle that?

    Is the righting label still in place on the rear, showing you which way you must turn the PWC to right it without damaging the engine?

    Would all your stuff inside the storage bin still be OK?
    Cell phone in a padded, waterproof container?
    Car keys have a remote fob? Don't take it on the water, unless it is waterproof. Just take the basic key with you.

    If you fall off at speed and crack a few ribs (did that last year myself), having someone around to help you if you cannot get back on by yourself would be good.

    Your PFD - is it still good, approved, and a good fit? Torn or damaged PFD are not legal in most places - it must be in good condition.
    Attach your ID to the PFD securely (I use a little plastic zippered wallet with a split ring), stick some money in there too.

    Know the waters where you will be riding. If you are new to boating in that area, buy the marine chart, and learn it. Know where the dangerous places are, whether there are restricted waters, and what the speed and safety regulations are.

    Nothing ruins your day like going over the handlebars while the rock below the water punches a hole into your hull.

    Consider a boating safety course, or joining a local PWC or boating group. If you can find some good marine knowledgeable people to ride with, you will learn a lot, and have fun.

    PWC are a lot of fun, especially if you can go back the next day, and are still good to go riding!

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