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  1. #1

    SLT 780 Starting problem! Help Please!

    1996 SLT 780 / 296 hours, never had a lick of trouble with ski. Last Summer display quit working and fixed that myself with the help of this forum.

    Resealed the elec box after fixing mfd fuse and have not ran ski through the winter except in driveway once a month.

    Took to water today and I just get a click or electric sounding tick (Best I can explain the sound). Battery is new showing 12.2 while attempting to start with multi-meter. Took box apart again to see If I could figure out problem myself w/ no manual or internet access while at the lake. Everything in the box, wires etc, looks to be connected well.

    Narrowed the electric sound or click to the start relay and if I place my finger on it can feel it thump, or try to turn etc (obviously I am not a mechanic).

    I am hoping this is the problem, if not please help me out if anyone can. Price of parts, who has them for sale, on forum or otherwise etc.

    Thanks again to everyone on this site and those responsible for it's creation and upkeep.


  2. #2
    Pain is fear leaving your body.... rlovebk's Avatar
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    Hi. When mine did this last year I was the conection to the battery. Try light sanding the lugs that you attach your cables to on the battery. If not, you may have a bad battery. Even if it shows 12.2, it may not have the cranking amps avail. that it needs. Try the contact prob. though. My slt did the exact same thing, and I was ready to order a new selenoid.

  3. #3
    She likes the bike. But the ski gets her wet!!!! xlint89's Avatar
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    Check your ground connection is clean and tight.

    Another option may be the starter bendix is stuck also.

    Try putting 12V to the starter directly and see if it engages. If it does, it's not the bendix.

    CAUTION: there WILL be sparks, so don't have gas vapors floating around when you try this!!!!!!!!

  4. #4
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    If you are measuring 12.x volts while the start button is pressed, and the start solenoid has activated, then either it is a bad contact in the heavy cables to starter motor or battery, or the start solenoid has failed.

    Remove, clean, and tighten each heavy cable connection, including the one on the engine and the starter motor. If that doesn't help, try by-passing the solenoid.

    Use pliers to short the two large terminals on the solenoid. Do this firmly to minimize sparking. If the starter promptly cranks the engine, then it is likely the solenoid has failed.

  5. #5
    Thinking about going ahead and replacing starter, solenoid, and start relay all just because age of the ski, and not knowing when they might decide to go out. All cables look good and I have not checked grounds to motor etc. and connections at starter.Where do I buy replacements, and how much is this goona cost, ball park estimate is fine.

    Then again ski was owned by a mechanic at a ski shop and was stored covered and all mainenance was kept up with. Ski still looks extremely clean on inside, maybe I just need to troubleshoot it.

    Looks like it's a little bit of work to get to starter. Can someone tell me what is the easiest way to replace starter, procedure wise. Looked like taking off exhaust parts might be the way, but need to know if I need to replace gaskets etc. when I do this? Figured while I had it all apart I might as well se what else is under there.

    I must not know which forums to search or am doing it wrong, because I only get about three hits when searching for starter replacement and none are saying anything about procedure or have links to diagrams. I searched a couple of different forums.

    I have the 92-98 Polaris watercraft factory manual fron Beerdart but did not locate diagram in their either.

    Any help or advice is appreciated.. Thanks for the replies so far. Figured before I started troubleshooting with the suggestions made so far, I would see about getting ski some new equipment to alleviate future problems, depending on cost of course.

  6. #6
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K447 View Post
    ...Use pliers to short the two large terminals on the solenoid. Do this firmly to minimize sparking. If the starter promptly cranks the engine, then it is likely the solenoid has failed.
    Quote Originally Posted by wjstewart View Post
    Thinking about going ahead and replacing starter, solenoid, and start relay all just because age of the ski, and not knowing when they might decide to go out. All cables look good and I have not checked grounds to motor etc. and connections at starter.
    Where do I buy replacements, and how much is this gonna cost, ball park estimate is fine.

    ...I just need to troubleshoot it.

    Looks like it's a little bit of work to get to starter. Can someone tell me what is the easiest way to replace starter, procedure wise. Looked like taking off exhaust parts might be the way, but need to know if I need to replace gaskets etc. when I do this? Figured while I had it all apart I might as well see what else is under there.

    I must not know which forums to search or am doing it wrong, because I only get about three hits when searching for starter replacement and none are saying anything about procedure or have links to diagrams. I searched a couple of different forums.

    I have the 92-98 Polaris watercraft factory manual fron Beerdart but did not locate diagram in their either.

    ...Figured before I started troubleshooting with the suggestions made so far, I would see about getting ski some new equipment to alleviate future problems, depending on cost of course.
    Troubleshoot first.

    Short the solenoid terminals as described above, see whether the engine cranks.

    Parts cost depends on whether you shop new or used. New starter (PN 3240281) and solenoid would cost $300-ish dollars, used would be less. I don't know if the solenoid (start relay) is even available new

    The starter motor is a bear to get at without removing the exhaust pipes. The engine removal section in the service manual shows how to get the pipes out, as do several threads on here.

    Once you get the pipes shifted out of the way, the starter can be removed by undoing the two bolts at the rear, then sliding the starter backwards. It can be stuck in place, but it will slide out with some 'insistence' from you.

    Don't forget that there are Polaris parts diagrams available online

  7. #7
    What I am calling the start relay is located in the elec box, if removed it says it on the part, at least in my ski.

    Is this what everyone else is calling the starter solenoid? or is there a solenoid at the starter like on vehicles.

    Tried jumping across the relay in the electric box, no luck, same sound is made. Looks like time to take off exhaust and look at starter and clean up connections down there and test the starter itself.

    Thanks for all the help so far!

  8. #8
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wjstewart View Post
    What I am calling the start relay is located in the elec box, if removed it says it on the part, at least in my ski.

    Is this what everyone else is calling the starter solenoid?...
    Yes, the solenoid (aka starter relay) is in the electrical box, not mounted with the starter motor.

    Tried jumping across the relay in the electric box, no luck, same sound is made. Looks like time to take off exhaust and look at starter and clean up connections down there and test the starter itself...
    Starter motors do fail, so it sounds like you are on the right track.

    One last test - take the spark plugs out, and try turning the engine over by hand using the drive shaft coupler behind the engine. It should turn without binding or grinding. This means the Bendix gear on the front of the starter motor has not jammed.

    If you can not rotate the engine by hand, then the Bendix may have jammed in the flywheel ring gear teeth.

  9. #9

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    I wish I had a better way to describe this, but when you hear the clicking while pressing the starter button, does the engine appear to move...or shift...or "torque over". If this is the case as it was with my ski (when I first got it) you may have pump issues. In my case the wear ring developed corrosion between the two layers (that make up the extension ring) causing the inner part of the wear ring to close in on the impeller. In other words, the impeller was binding against the wear ring.

    If you do as K447 suggests and try to rotate by hand, and are unable to do so, pull the pump off (really easy to do) and try again. If you can rotate the engine then, look into what is siezing up the pump...hell, try to start the engine with the pump off!!

    Oh, and there is NOT a solenoid on the starter itself. Only in the electrical box!!

  10. #10
    All right, after kids baseball and family to bed, spark plugs are out, and can turn by hand no problem.

    To answer the question about the noise, it sounds totally electronic, nothing is trying to turn over or dragging or anyhting like that.

    Pretty sure I have gat bad grounds, bad connections at starter, or starter problems etc. Exhaust is coming off next, can anyone tell me about the manifold gasket I'm seeing, is that all i have to worry about replacing by removing the exhaust to get to the starter. Does not look too complicated, just looking at it.

    Also is there a tech manual that explains some assembly and disassembly questions so I do not have to bother everyone with all these questions, I only have the owners manual.

    Oh, and thanks for clearing up the solenoid issue!

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