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Thread: Polaris problem

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    Polaris problem

    Hey everyone, I have had my Polaris for 4 years, this will be my 5th season. The builder included it as part of the pool build, and he installed a dedicated booster pump for it.

    I just got my pool opened and it was a mess. I vacuumed it as well as I could, cloudy water made it hard to see everything. I ran the filter and popped the polaris in to try to pick up any debris. It seemed to be working fine for the first day.

    Next day I saw I needed to vacuum much better, I did, kept the polaris out, filed more. I now have crystal clear water.

    Popped the polaris in, and its going to the bottom, tail is moving, but the polaris is not moving at all. I pulled it up and noticed that the back up valve was shooting water out constantly, not sure if it is supposed to or not, but it was. I also noticed that water was shooting out from the back of the polaris, which is supposed to propel it.

    From what I have researched, my back up valve should not be flowing constantly like it is, and that could be causing the problem?

    Can anyone tell me how to confirm if it is my back up valve, and anything else I can do to troubleshoot this thing?

    Thank you!
    20K gallon, gunite w/attached spa
    2 HP WhisperFlow pump
    Kreepy Krauly Cleaner
    DE Filter
    New Gas heater being installed in a few days

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    112

    Re: Polaris problem

    Are the wheels turning on your Polaris? That is the primary means of driving the unit. If the backup valve was constantly on, I would think your Polaris would be flying around the pool off the bottom? What model do you have?
    30,000 plaster in-ground pool with spa; 2.5HP single speed Centurion pump; Raypak RP2100 propane heater; Polaris 280 with pump, waterfall with separate pump, Triton II commercial sand filter; TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    hoskim's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Berkeley Heights, NJ
    Posts
    80

    Re: Polaris problem

    I initially thought I also had a backup valve problem but it was not. Two things I learned while "fixing" my Polaris 380 last weekend, which was not moving - 1) the hose below the turbine ("water wheel") was loose because whoever assembled placed a zip tie / tube too close to the turbine hence rubbing against the turbine slowly but surly, 2) after opening the pool, the univ wall fitting filter screen was clogged with debris. Now mine runs like a maniac and may be too fast
    25,000 Gal, in-ground w/ vinyl liner
    Hayward SP2303VSP (1.5 HP) / DE filter (4820)
    Aqua Rite SWG / T-CELL-9 (v1.5)
    Polaris 380, PB4-60 Booster Pump (post-2012) / Aqua Heat Pump (S95)
    TF-100 Test Kit with Speedstir

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    Re: Polaris problem

    Thanks for the replies guys. I pull it out of the water tonight and a few things.

    I am not exactly sure which model it is, because I do not see a model number on it, but it looks closest to the 360 or the 380, I do have a booster pump that runs it.

    The wheels were initially not moving, and it looked like it was trying to nose dive into the floor of the pool, so I turned off the pump and the booster and pulled it out. I tried to turn the wheels by hand, and they felt stuck. So I gently turned them backwards then forwards until I got them turning, but it felt crunchy, like there is something in the gears, or the gears were broken. But it was turning and I felt gear resistance. I threw it back in the pool and turned the pump and the booster on, and it was working as expected, but a bit slower than it usually would go, but not bad. It went across the pool, and the wheels stopped again and same thing.

    Not sure if some dirt got in the wheels, or there is a gear issue or what. Looking over it, it was not clear how to pull the body apart and get into the gears, but if I have to do it I will. Anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

    Thanks!
    20K gallon, gunite w/attached spa
    2 HP WhisperFlow pump
    Kreepy Krauly Cleaner
    DE Filter
    New Gas heater being installed in a few days

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    hoskim's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Berkeley Heights, NJ
    Posts
    80

    Re: Polaris problem

    If you have a booster pump, then likely a 380. Opening / disassembling shouldn't be too difficult as I found the unit to be rather simple / straight forward. A few lessons learned from last week when I fixed mine: 1) DO NOT use a power drill / tool - stripped one of the screws on feeder pipe, 2) check for any debris / leaves (gears, turbine), 3) lube o-rings since it is open already, 4) check all tube connections, and 5) see if a zip tie under the turbine is or is not preventing the turbine to turn, and 6) inspect any clogging - you can see better if you remove the feeder pipe (which connects to your main hose) which can easily be remove (but gently).
    25,000 Gal, in-ground w/ vinyl liner
    Hayward SP2303VSP (1.5 HP) / DE filter (4820)
    Aqua Rite SWG / T-CELL-9 (v1.5)
    Polaris 380, PB4-60 Booster Pump (post-2012) / Aqua Heat Pump (S95)
    TF-100 Test Kit with Speedstir

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    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    29

    Re: Polaris problem

    Before you open it up, you might want to inspect the axles for anything that might be wrapped around them. We once found a frog leg wrapped around one of ours. Once it was extracted, she was puttering around the pool again like no one's business. I can see it also potentially happening with other things that find their way into the pool. Twine, plastic bags, etc.
    Pool Stats: 15k gal IG plaster, Pentair FNS Plus 60 DE filter, Pentair WhisperFlo pump, Pentair Legend Platinum pressure cleaner w/ Polaris PB4-60 booster pump. Test Kit: Taylor K-2006

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    Re: Polaris problem

    Guys, thanks for all your help. I ended up buying the 380 tune up kit for around $125. I went through the instructions, and in breaking it all down, I figured out really all I needed was the bearings. I had about 5 bearings that were between bad and completely shot. All the rest of the parts were totally fine. So I have a lot of spare parts for the future now Anyway, it is now MOSTLY operating the way it should, perfect RPM, good suction when its working, BUT, its now constantly getting stuck on my steps. I have a beach entry with 2 steps down into the shallow end, and the polaris is constantly getting stuck on the steps and cannot seem to get itself out. I have tried changing the jet position to every way possible, and also adjusting the float, but no matter what I do I cannot get it to the point where it can consistently get it self unstuck. This is the 5th season I have had it, and our builder set it up originally. I asked them for help, and all they told me is to keep adjusting the jet until I get it right. In the past it would get stuck, but get itself out of trouble. Any suggestions on a position to try for the jet?
    20K gallon, gunite w/attached spa
    2 HP WhisperFlow pump
    Kreepy Krauly Cleaner
    DE Filter
    New Gas heater being installed in a few days

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    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4

    Re: Polaris problem

    I have been going through the same issues, and I believe that I found a sweet spot where the jet is angled up toward 11 o'clock- also, the thread has helped me out big time- I had issues regarding power where it would not be able to climb or even untangle the feed line. Initially, I had the same problem where an internal hose clamp had snapped and caused a loss of pressure. However, that did not completely fix the problem. Upon disassembling again, I found that there was a small piece of debris in the water manifold that would obstruct the jet for the drive wheel. I cleaned that out, cleaned all the lines, and tightened the belts, and the vac is better than it has been in years!
    20'x40' IG vinyl re-lined, new sch 40 plumbing, valves, pentair sta-rite supermax VS pump, hayward sand filter-all in 2016; booster pumped Polaris 380 vac

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    Re: Polaris problem

    Quote Originally Posted by 77midget View Post
    I have been going through the same issues, and I believe that I found a sweet spot where the jet is angled up toward 11 o'clock- also, the thread has helped me out big time- I had issues regarding power where it would not be able to climb or even untangle the feed line. Initially, I had the same problem where an internal hose clamp had snapped and caused a loss of pressure. However, that did not completely fix the problem. Upon disassembling again, I found that there was a small piece of debris in the water manifold that would obstruct the jet for the drive wheel. I cleaned that out, cleaned all the lines, and tightened the belts, and the vac is better than it has been in years!
    Yeah, doing the tune up allowed me to really learn the polaris inside and out, I had pretty much every part taken off and laid out on my bench. So when you are angling it up toward 11:00, are you going as high up as it will go, or are you just slightly above center horizontally, pointing at 11:00? I am assuming that makes it lean backwards a tiny bit and sway very slightly to the left?
    20K gallon, gunite w/attached spa
    2 HP WhisperFlow pump
    Kreepy Krauly Cleaner
    DE Filter
    New Gas heater being installed in a few days

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    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4

    Re: Polaris problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Eriky View Post
    Yeah, doing the tune up allowed me to really learn the polaris inside and out, I had pretty much every part taken off and laid out on my bench. So when you are angling it up toward 11:00, are you going as high up as it will go, or are you just slightly above center horizontally, pointing at 11:00? I am assuming that makes it lean backwards a tiny bit and sway very slightly to the left?
    Well, my unit seems to have a natural tendency to the right, so I havent noticed any left turns....I have it probably 1/2 way to full 11 o'clock. It sometimes will lean back a bit, and I am going to play with float position next, but overall I am happy with how it is running now, and yeah- I have torn this thing down to the serial number plate, so I am perfectly fine with working on any issue with it now.
    20'x40' IG vinyl re-lined, new sch 40 plumbing, valves, pentair sta-rite supermax VS pump, hayward sand filter-all in 2016; booster pumped Polaris 380 vac

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: Polaris problem

    Quote Originally Posted by 77midget View Post
    Well, my unit seems to have a natural tendency to the right, so I havent noticed any left turns....I have it probably 1/2 way to full 11 o'clock. It sometimes will lean back a bit, and I am going to play with float position next, but overall I am happy with how it is running now, and yeah- I have torn this thing down to the serial number plate, so I am perfectly fine with working on any issue with it now.
    Thanks, I will try to set it in that area and let it run for a while and see if I can get it working well enough. Seems to just get stuck on my steps no matter where I put it.
    20K gallon, gunite w/attached spa
    2 HP WhisperFlow pump
    Kreepy Krauly Cleaner
    DE Filter
    New Gas heater being installed in a few days

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