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  1. #1

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    To rebuild or not to rebuild.... 97 1050 SL

    Ok, so I have lurked on here for some time, and have gained a ton of info, so first of thanks to everyone here, this is a great community.

    I am new to the world of PWC's and purchased an older pair of Polaris skis a couple months back. Got a smokin deal (bought used double trailer and got two skis free) as both needed some minor work, pretty much all of which I have since accomplished. But now I think I managed to break some bad stuff.

    The ski in question is a 97 1050 SL with approx 75 hrs on it. I say approximately because the MFD was replaced shortly before I bought it, and I was told that it had nearly identical hours as the other ski (96 780SLT) before MFD replacement. I believe the seller as he had nothing to lose by telling me this.

    Initially the 1050 would not start easily, and this was remedied by carb cleaning and rebuilt x 3 and new plugs. She then ran fine, but with some misses as low speed. Mag cylinder and piston had previously been replaced due to "burning a hole in it" per previous owner, and at time of replacement several years ago, center cylinder had some scoring noted on inspection. Compression at time of purchase was 118, 94, 117 (Mag/Mid/PTO) by my compression guage.

    It ran fine but not perfect, and my kids had a good time tearing up the lake with it.

    It then sprung a leak at the top exhaust manifold gasket (a couple bolts were a bit loose) one day and managed to fill a significant amount of water into the hull since apparently the bilge was not functioning well. I immediately, while on the lake, pumped all of the water out of the hull using the bilge from our boat, the ski continued to run fine and I thought it best to run it to the shore (about a mile) to evaporate out any small amount of water that may have gotten inside the crankcase. This went fine and it performed fine on the way to the dock. Ski then trailered home and fully drained, fogged and, left open to dry under fan x 24 hrs, and there was no evidence of any residual internal water or suffering performance.
    I ordered replacement gaskets from SBT, tore everything down, replaced all exhaust side gaskets, and took her out for a spin. She ran great!!! Even better than before, hitting 63mph on the "dream-o-meter" MFD. Absolutely wasted my friend on the 780SLT. Perfect, no leaks, easy start, great idle, then.........


    It died. Like someone pulled the lanyard. Just completely shut off and would not turn the starter.

    I pulled the seat, no water inside. No unusual warmth from any cylinder, case, exhaust, etc... No unusual smell. Looked normal in the hull. Tried and tried, but starter would not turn. I assumed that I may have had water enter the stator assembly or something at last hull-flooding trip, and assumed that battery was dead and no recharge had been happening during the 30 minute or so ride. So towed back in dismay, we get home and switch batteries. Still no turn of the starter, just a click. Now I'm worried.

    Pulled driveshaft shroud and placed crescent wrench on coupler. Locked. This is bad. With some force and a few starter assisted "clicks" I manage to break free the crank and get things rotating. Great!! Hit the starter and a little choke on the trailer and she starts up!!! Shut down in 5 seconds, and rotate crank by hand, and there is a particular grinding feeling to the rotation in a few areas with some "tinking" noises. Again, this is bad, I think...

    So I then made the decision to pull everything back apart, exhaust, etc... and decided to pull the cylinders, since I knew that #2 had issues anyway. Heads off --> Mag piston wash looks a bit lean, but piston intact. PTO wash looks perfect, Middle looks a little lean, but intact. No holes, no chunks missing. Cylinders off --> Mag and PTO look fine. Normal wear. Middle piston = severly scored, cylinder = severy scored. I assumed this based on previous owner's statements and compression test, so no surprises here.
    All Wrist pin bearings with smooth movement and no apparent damage, rod bearings = smooth, no up and down play minimal side to side (normal looking/feeling) and crank rotation still with grinding feeling close to PTO piston. Also, in the space at the bottom of the PTO pistonwell, there are some peculiar metal fragments ( PTO piston, rings, bearings, and cylinder all appear normal).

    I think I partially threw a crank bearing near the PTO piston, but have not confirmed this as I have not pulled the block out of the hull and split the case, but all evidence points to this.

    Sorry of the long winded story, but I am interested in your opinions. Should I fix or junk / part out?

    Keep in mind that I have limited income, a family of 4, soon to be 5. I assume that at the least, I am in this for a gasket set, a new/used #2 piston/cylinder, and a rebuilt or new crank assembly, versus a rebuilt short block. Either way the bucks will be significant on an old ski. I like it, but not sure how much it's worth to me.

    If fix is the consensus, can I get away with replacing #2 with a used piston / cylinder and getting a used crank from somewhere? Anybody have good parts in the pile for cheap? I am not looking to have max performance or anything, just some fun with the kids on the lake. I am also a capable mechanic with significant expereince in mostly German / Asian automobiles and 2-stroke outboards and other small engines, so I can fix just about anything, but do not currently have machine shop facilities at my personal disposal.

    Any help or opinions would be great. I can try to post pics if anyone needs them to help with decisions or advice.
    Thanks in advace for any replies.


  2. #2
    PolarisNut's Avatar
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    Sounds like it could be part of the thrust washer on the PTO side. You sure the grinding noise isn't coming from the pump? I'd remove the driveshaft just to be sure. Anytime the engine locks, its bad. Even if the pump locked it up, it could cause severe damage the the motor (bearings, rods, crank phasing). It's also possible that you could have flooded the engine with water when you towed it, adding to the difficulty to break it free. Got any pics of the metal fragments? Thrust washers have a copper color to them. If it is indeed a thrust washer, the crank needs a rebuild. Personally, I'd pull the whole engine out, tear it down, pull the crank out, and inspect it. On a single piped, multi-cylinder engine, I've seen one bad cylinder contaminate good ones with metal fragments. If you're handy, you shouldn't have to spend too much. There are a few places that do good crank work for a fair price. They don't use OEM Polaris rods and bearings, but they seem to hold up.

  3. #3
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Hulk!

    Great introduction.

    The 1050 is a quick PWC, one of the faster models Polaris made. This being the Polaris forum, most of us will encourage you to find a way to get your machine back on the water

  4. #4

    Join Date
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    fragments

    Thanks for the replies.

    the fragments are aluminum colored, not copper colored. Not sure if they are ferromagnetic (will check tonight)

    Will try disconnecting the pump, but the noises are clearly coming from the PTO end of the interior of the bottom of the crankcase (listened with stethoscope)

    I think maybe I'll have to disassemble everything and take a few pics for analysis.

    Any other thoughts??

  5. #5

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    Yeah, i'd say just pull it and tear it down. At this point, you're not gonna be in any different stance if it's torn down or not.

    Get in there, see whats wrong and decide from there.

    Then just take the time ur time over the winter if you wanna do it cheap. You might be able to find good used parts and that would give you alot more time to do so.

  6. #6

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    6300 RPM + plugged bearing oil port = toast.

    I finally had the time to pull the engine and tear it totally down.

    My clinical diagnosis was confirmed at the time of surgery, and in fact the PTO end crank bearings are completely shredded. When I pulled the PTO end crank seal, out came a shower of miscellaneous metal bits. Pulled crank and both of the PTO end bearings are shot. End bearing cage came apart, and even some of the balls were shredded! The next bearing up is frozen / welded together.

    Best I can tell, the CEN piston lost a little metal and a piece ended up plugging the oil port for the PTO-end bearings ( in the bottom of the piston well). Also, at the PTO end, the circlip retainers for the crank seal were rusty, even the inner, so obviously there was some water intrusion at some point. All that was needed was a little WOT run to fry things.

    So, what the heck do I do now?

    Rebuilt SBT short block = 1000

    or

    Rebuilt Crank = 375
    Middle piston / cylinder / sleeve = 200+
    Gasket set = 75
    + shipping.

    It looks like everything else survived without problems.

    I need you guy's opinions on best course of action.

    Again, I like the ski, but wonder what would be the best investment. Or maybe I should part it out???

    Whaddaya all think?

  7. #7
    xplayer2885's Avatar
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    My honest opinion would be to rebuild the motor. Crank an the cylinder, id advise not going the SBT way. If it makes you feel any better iv dumped close to 3k into my 95 slt 750. Damm thing is reliable as my ULTRA 250!

  8. #8

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    why not SBT?

    No SBT?

    I take it there have been a few bad experiences out there?

    Runout tolerances off? Parts inferior? Customer service?

    I imagine that they have their share of totally wasted cores come in, and that there may be some tolerances off, but in general they seem like a decent operation. The short block is tempting. Less labor, but more dough.

    Will have to dwell on this over a few cold ones at the lake tomorrow (in the boat, not on the ski )

    Anyone else chime in about SBT?

  9. #9
    PolarisNut's Avatar
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    If you want to keep good reliability and the same performance as stock, don't go SBT. They are cheap for a reason. Send the crank to a good shop, then do the assembly yourself.

  10. #10
    xplayer2885's Avatar
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    Kanda: I move slow as hell working on my skis. Honestly you can have the short block assembled in an hour an a half to two hours if your slow like me. The rest of the work will take you around 5 hours to drop the motor in align it, hook the carbs, up get the pipe in ect. Just do it once an do it rite. Sure SBT comes with a warrenty, but do you really wanna yank the motor out again? Hell freakin no!

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