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1997 Polaris 780 starter and carb issues

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  • 1997 Polaris 780 starter and carb issues

    Hey everyone,

    First time poster long time looker!

    i have a 97 polaris slt 780.
    i definitely burnt out the starter from all the long starts it takes to get this bad boy running.

    first issue is replacing the starter, I'm wondering if anyone out here knows any tips and tricks how to replace it easily before i just jump into it and struggle. shop wanted 500 to replace it but i already purchased a new starter for 20 dollars. i just want to know if anyone has done it and if there is an easy way to do it!

    2nd problem is my carbs. im guessing that's the problem since its so hard to get started. once i get it started it runs fine but will not idle at all. i blast starting fluid in the intake and it starts but i don't want to keep doing that.

    ANY help on this ski is greatly appreciated! i have a 98 seadoo and it runs PERFECT!
    i love the polaris as its fun to run around our lake. just want to get it running nice this coming summer here in Minnesota!


  • #2
    Welcome to the Hulk.

    I love the SLT 780's, great all around platform.

    1. The starter is in a hard to reach location. However, it is only attached with 3 fasteners. Disconnect the 12v+ from the battery and if you can disconnect it from the starter. Try not to drop the nut and washer. They always slide to the middle of the boat. Or just have a new washer and nut on hand just in case.

    The 2 bolts attaching the starter are on the back of it. They're not long and if reachable can be removed. Once those are out, it's just a matter of prying the starter out of the engine. The O ring gets a bit stuck, but with a little wiggling it should go.

    Now this might be possible if you have small hands and have a good assortment of hand tools available.

    If this doesn't work with the expansion pipe installed, you'll need to remove it to create access to the starter. In that case, you will need a new exh manifold to expansion pipe gasket when you reinstall the pipe.

    If you need to remove it, disconnect the hose up front, undo the hose clamps at the rear, and remove the nuts from the rear pipe support. Remove the 4 bolts up top and slide the expansion pipe as far forward as you can. This should give you the room to work on the starter.

    Be sure to clean any old gasket from the exh manifold and pipe prior to installing the new one. I like to wire wheel and use antiseize on the threads of the 4 big bolts on the pipe. I also like to install the pipe and all fasteners by hand prior to torquing any of them to spec. Don't forget to reinstall the front hose and tighten all hose clamps.

    It shouldn't be too bad if you have a good set of tools. Good luck.

    Where did you get a starter for $20? Hopefully it's quality so you don't need to replace it any time soon.

    2. Honestly, if the carbs have not been removed and cleaned/rebuilt within a coupler years, that's the route I would go. Today's fuels suck and gum up the internals. If you do this, I recommend only genuine Mikuni rebuild kits. You will need 3 total (1 for each carb) or see if John Zigler at Rock county still sells the nice kit that has just the parts you need.

    Please stop using starting fluid. I've read it washes the oil from the cylinder walls which can lead to scuffed pistons. Is the choke not working? I'm guessing prob not since you're using starter fluid.

    If the choke isn't working and the ski doesn't idle well, I'm guessing the pilot jets are clogged and leads back to rebuild/cleaning the carbs. Or you may just be out of adjustment on the carb screws. If you've been lurking for a while, you might have read about syncing the carbs. Start with that first. Then get the ski running and adjust the idle air screw to reach maximum RPM IN THE WATER. You may have to adjust the idle speed screw to get RPM within spec.

    Since the ski is out of the water, all I can suggest is adjusting the idle air screws to factory settings if the engine has not been modified at all. The amount of turns, or fractions of a turn, are from a lightly seated closed position. (don't crank them in real hard. They have a pointed tip that can get damaged and will cause you tuning problems after) Then turn the idle air screw OUT from the closed position the amount of turns for your model year.

    NOTE: just for reference, write down the amount of turns IN you have now for each carb. That way you can always return them to this setting should the factory settings not work for you.

    Here's the Mikuni manual to help with any repairs and adjustment.

    Post #7 http://greenhulk.net/showthread.php?t=15433
    My ski says made in the U.S.A...... Can yours say that???