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Thread: Polaris 380 wheels not turning

  1. #1
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    Polaris 380 wheels not turning

    I need some help with my Polaris 380. The wheels are not turning. The booster pump is running, there is a strong flow out of the pressure relief valve where the line conects inside the pool, there is some flow out the back of the unit and some out the tail but the tail does not whip around. There is a little flow up the suction part of the unit but not much, I think it typically has much stronger flow there.

    When I turn the wheels, they all turn together. I opened the housing and the paddlewheels inside seem to still be connected to the axle correctly, that is not broken, although I was surprised at the number of turns it took to make the wheels turn.

    I can't see what is wrong. And, I don't really have a local pool store that I trust all that much to just call to come take a look. I don't suppose that if I took it to a store they could see what is wrong, or could they?

    Is there anything I can do on my own first?
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

  2. #2
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    Re: Polaris 380 wheels not turning

    Same thing happened to me the other day, fortunately my local PS has a free-labor policy if you bring it in yourself. There are several little hoses inside the thing connecting different parts, and three (!) of them had popped off. He plugged it all together and put new zip ties on all of them and the Polaris has been gorging on the leaves in the pool ever since.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

  3. #3
    Senior Member spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Polaris 380 wheels not turning

    Check the in-line screen in the wall fitting as well.

  4. #4
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    Re: Polaris 380 wheels not turning

    check to see if the hoses inside are connected with the zip ties, also make sure that the jets inside aren't plugged with debris, poke them out with a paper clip

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    Re: Polaris 380 wheels not turning

    Quote Originally Posted by spishex
    Check the in-line screen in the wall fitting as well.
    That was clean.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

  6. #6
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    Re: Polaris 380 wheels not turning

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulR
    There are several little hoses inside the thing connecting different parts, and three (!) of them had popped off. --paulr
    The three connections looked OK, but I will check it again to be certain. After toying with it a bit we put it back together hoping that fiddling with it might have helped somehow but it didn't. So, I need to fetch it from the pool and recheck those hoses.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

  7. #7
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    Re: Polaris 380 wheels not turning

    Quote Originally Posted by DBfan187
    check to see if the hoses inside are connected with the zip ties, also make sure that the jets inside aren't plugged with debris, poke them out with a paper clip
    Will do, I did notice there was a weak flow of water out the top when I removed it from the pool but it was not the usual flood of water.

    Debris in a line is a possiblilty. Particularly the line that shoots water on the paddlewheel thing (I do need to learn the proper names of these parts next)
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

  8. #8
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    Re: Polaris 380 wheels not turning

    OK, I took it apart again, checked each of the 3 tubes inside, all are still securely connected.

    I probed each port in the suction tube, all clear.

    I blew air into the Feed Tube and covered the Hose Scrubber port and the Thrust Jet port (while holding it in place securely as it get loose when the unit is disassembled) and I could hear air exiting the ports in the suction tube. It seemed that there was air also exiting the port that would drive the wheels but I'd run out of fingers to pinch off other ports and so I 'm not totally sure.

    I gently rolled the Drive Train Gear that has the paddle wheels on it and it turned the wheels eventually, it seems there is a lot of slack in that for whatever reason.

    So, I turned the Cleaner Booster Pump on to check flow, it has flow but I have no idea what is normal flow. Holding the end of the hose where it connects to the cleaner, it shot out about 18" when held waist high off the ground. I don't have any idea of what normal flow looks like on that.

    It does seem to me that the Booster Pump sounds "funny", just a bit off pitch, a little whine to it that I don't think was there before.

    What shall I do next? How do I check the pump flow rate? How can I find what it is supposed to be? I can take a stopwatch and time 5 gallons of flow, if I can be sure that the pressure relief valve is not diverting any flow. There was a mighty flow from that valve when I was in the pool messing with the Polaris, any way it could be malfunctioning, diverting needed flow from the polaris?
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

  9. #9
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    Re: Polaris 380 wheels not turning

    You check the flow by timing the RPM of the wheels. They should turn 28-32 RPM when the water is flowing properly.
    26,000 Gallon Gunnite IGP
    2 HP Challenger High Head Pump
    60sf Nautilus DE filter
    Polaris 280

  10. #10
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    Re: Polaris 380 wheels not turning

    Problem solved.... it was the Pressure Relief Valve.

    I stopped by Pool Warehouse Supply and described all of the above to one of the guys there and when I got to the flow rate and mentioned the mighty flow out the pressure relief valve he stopped me and said that was it.

    That explains the mysterious round part we found in the pool. I thought it might be from the Polaris, but there was nothing like that in the drawings for the cleaner. Turns out it was the end cap of the pressure relief valve, not shown on any parts description since it is not a separate thing. It was about 1 1/2" diameter, very thin and slightly convex on what seemed to be the outer side and with a small star shaped fracture in the center where there was some connection to something else. On the new one this piece is black but on mine it was grey or white or maybe blue, sort of hard to say it was pretty old looking.

    So, off to the pool with a $12 part to slip into place. [edit] That was it, everything works now.

    Anyhow, thanks to all who responded.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

  11. #11

    Re: Polaris 380 wheels not turning

    Same problem with our 380. Wheels turn fine manually and there is plenty of water pressure. Tail wags and back up valve works but it will not move. Took cover off and turned pump on and hubby held it over the pool and water shoots strong everywhere its supposed to. Nothing looked wrong to us so I took to PS where labor is free and I am familiar with the technician's expertize. The only thing he found was one broken zip tie and from what I read on here I was so sure that was the problem...ha ha ....not. Took it back with the hose this time at his request and he tested the hose for leaks and all was well. He took the entire Polaris apart and I mean completely and showed me how everything fits/works,etc and he looked for any sign of anything being wrong. I helped him examine every nook and crannyand we found nothing . The little 'O' ring was a bit loose but it was in good condition but he wanted to change it and see if that could be it. Well of course he had just used the last one to fix another 380 so he ordered me one. Is it possible that it being loose could possible cause the cleaner not to move at all? I think we all know and he said it too....there is nothing really complicated about the way these cleaners operate. Its so frustrating and meanwhile the pool floor is getting dirty and I am anal about keeping it clean. SURE DON'T want to buy a new cleaner....OMG. In 27 yrs and only on our second Polaris we have never had the vacuum out of the box and I don't want to have to resort to that. Helped friends clean pools with one and its not that easy. I am fishing leaves out of the bottom at least. Anyone have any ideas about what in the world could be wrong? Thanks in advance

    30,000 gunite/plaster
    16X37 30,000 GALLON INGROUND GUNITE/ PLASTER MOUNTAIN LAKE WITH DE FILTER BUILT 1987

  12. #12
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    Re: Polaris 380 wheels not turning

    tbenton, mine just started doing this same thing you describe above. Where you able to get yours fixed? I took mine apart and I cant find anything wrong with it.

    Update - took the unit completely apart this time where I was able to get to the jet that propels the unit. The jet was clogged with a piece of small debris, blew the jet out with an air compressor as well as the rest of the jets and now the unit is up and running again.
    27K Gal IG Pebble Stone, 1.5HP Century Pump, Polaris Booster Pump with 380 Cleaner, Hayward DE 4820 Filter, Jandy Lite2 400k BTU Heater, Aqua Rite SWG, TF-100 Test Kit

  13. #13

    Re: Polaris 380 wheels not turning

    After Leslie's tech took it apart and found some debris and then replaced some things at my request I would go home and it still did same thing so back and forth I went to Leslies and he kept working on it but nothing helped. The tech was wonderful and let me watch everything he did. He got as frustrated as I did. I couldn't take it anymore so bought a used one on Ebay. Worked fine for weeks but then it started to climb too high and sat there and the whole unit would slightly turn right and left back and forth but never moved. All the wheels were turning and pressure good. Back up valve would drag it to the bottom and then it would go right back up the first wall it ran into. I adjusted the thrust jet to get it to climb less but same movement back and forth with no forward movement. I am so FED UP. I will now being taking this one to Leslies now that the pool is closed. WHAT IN THE WORLD IS HAPPENING? I feel like I am being punked.

    I am SO HAPPY you got yours running again!

    Quote Originally Posted by RUSigX
    tbenton, mine just started doing this same thing you describe above. Where you able to get yours fixed? I took mine apart and I cant find anything wrong with it.

    Update - took the unit completely apart this time where I was able to get to the jet that propels the unit. The jet was clogged with a piece of small debris, blew the jet out with an air compressor as well as the rest of the jets and now the unit is up and running again.
    16X37 30,000 GALLON INGROUND GUNITE/ PLASTER MOUNTAIN LAKE WITH DE FILTER BUILT 1987

  14. #14
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    Re: Polaris 380 wheels not turning

    After taking mine completely apart I'd say it could only be a couple of things if yours isn't working correctly. You've probably got some trash in the unit that stopping up your propulsion jet or a hose inside is loose or off. I'd suggest taking a Philips head screwdriver and taking the 380 completely apart, then check each jet and blow them all out with an air compressor. Also check all of the hoses inside the 380 to make sure they are secure. All you need is a Phillips head to take it all the way down. Clean it out good and take your time. You have to take it completely apart in order to get to the propulsion jet in the very bottom. I'm sure you have checked your gears and belts and all wheels turn together and fairly smoothly.

    If this doesn't fix it I would turn my focus to the water pressure that's coming to the 380. When my pump is running and the hose is off the 380 it shoots a stream of water a good 4 feet probably. If you dont have good pressure I'd work my way back to the pump from there.
    27K Gal IG Pebble Stone, 1.5HP Century Pump, Polaris Booster Pump with 380 Cleaner, Hayward DE 4820 Filter, Jandy Lite2 400k BTU Heater, Aqua Rite SWG, TF-100 Test Kit

  15. #15

    Re: Polaris 380 wheels not turning

    The body on this good used one that supposedly has all new parts is the dark blue rather sparkly one that you can kind of see through it. I guess its a newer 380 than the one I had. My original one was solid light blue and easy to take the cover off with one screw but I cannot figure out how to take the cover off this one. I feel foolish but so far cannot find the secret to taking it apart. All I have been able to check without taking it apart is that the wheels turn fine even when its 'struck' on the wall and the water comes out where its supposed to and strongly. Its odd to watch it turn slightly to the right and slightly to the left over and over but it never moves until the back wash pulls it. I went 25 years with ZERO issues with two Polaris and now all this drama and its wearing on my nerves.

    Thanks for the pressure check. I also have a four foot or more strong stream of water when the Polaris is not on and the pump is on.

    Terri

    Quote Originally Posted by RUSigX
    After taking mine completely apart I'd say it could only be a couple of things if yours isn't working correctly. You've probably got some trash in the unit that stopping up your propulsion jet or a hose inside is loose or off. I'd suggest taking a Philips head screwdriver and taking the 380 completely apart, then check each jet and blow them all out with an air compressor. Also check all of the hoses inside the 380 to make sure they are secure. All you need is a Phillips head to take it all the way down. Clean it out good and take your time. You have to take it completely apart in order to get to the propulsion jet in the very bottom. I'm sure you have checked your gears and belts and all wheels turn together and fairly smoothly.

    If this doesn't fix it I would turn my focus to the water pressure that's coming to the 380. When my pump is running and the hose is off the 380 it shoots a stream of water a good 4 feet probably. If you dont have good pressure I'd work my way back to the pump from there.
    16X37 30,000 GALLON INGROUND GUNITE/ PLASTER MOUNTAIN LAKE WITH DE FILTER BUILT 1987

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