Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Polaris doing donuts - what is problem?

  1. Back To Top    #1
    Gooserider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    North Billerica, MA, USA, etc.
    Posts
    211

    Polaris doing donuts - what is problem?

    We have a Polaris cleaner in our pool, not sure of the exact model. I thought it was a 360, but it has a booster pump, and it does not have that extra little drive wheel that I see on the pictures of the 280. It doesn't quite match the picture of 380 on the Polaris website, but that may be simply because of model year differences. Serial number is K555226 if that helps any.

    Right now if I turn the booster pump on, it just does donuts, or runs around in circles, mostly in the deep end. It does seem to do an OK job of picking up stuff in the small area that it covers, but it isn't getting most of the pool. The circles are all with the dual wheels on the inside, and the single wheel outside.

    Pulling the unit out of the water with the pumps off, I found that the single wheel was reasonably stiff to turn, and definitely sounded like it was driving a transmission.

    The two wheels both spun fairly freely, with no sounds like they were connected to anything, and they were not connected as each would stay still while I spun the other.

    Any ideas as to what might be wrong?

    Also, the velcro on the collection bags is getting really weak, and doesn't seem to stay closed very well any longer - do they make zipper replacement bags for all the Polaris models?

    Another problem I've had is that the black "scrubby pad" on the end of the tail seems to wear out incredibly fast on our unpainted gunnite pool surface, I go through several in a season. Any suggestions for longer wearing alternatives? I've thought of trying to put one of those plastic pot scrubber pads over the tail to see if that would last better - good idea or bad?

    Thanks,
    Gooserider
    Free-form Inground gunnite pool, Estimated 16-17K gallons. New Pentair TR60 ClearPro 24" sand filter and Compupool CPSC-48 SWG, Hayward SP1607X10 Pump w/ 1HP motor, 1.5" plumbing, Polaris Pressure cleaner w/ booster pump. pool is more than 25 yrs old, less than 35. Not painted, deteriorating tile surround. I am paraplegic, get in/out of pool w/ S.R. SMITH PAL portable pool lift (significantly modified)

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Central Texas
    Posts
    326

    Re: Polaris doing donuts - what is problem?

    Most likely that the gear teeth are stripped on one of the wheels. On my 280 the teeth on the inside of the wheels is plastic while the drive gear is steel. The plastic on the wheels wears away until the gear slips. The first time this happens, you can just swap the rear wheel on the 2-wheel side with the worn wheel. (There isn't a drive gear for that wheel, so it doesn't wear). But start looking for a deal on spare drive wheels, because it won't be long before the other drive wheel also needs replaced.
    26,000 Gallon Gunnite IGP
    2 HP Challenger High Head Pump
    60sf Nautilus DE filter
    Polaris 280

  3. Back To Top    #3
    ivyleager's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Raleigh-Durham,NC
    Posts
    489

    Re: Polaris doing donuts - what is problem?

    First: a quick way to tell the difference between the Polaris 360 and everything else is the hose line. The 360 uses a 1" diameter hard white plastic hose with inefficient twist connectors; while the 280, 380 use a thinner diameter clear malleable plastic. The 360 does not require a booster pump, all others do.

    I have/had the 360 model because I do not have a booster pump. When my unit decided to do wheelies, it was do to to much water pressure. To correct, I decreased flow via pressure relief valve.

    RE: scrubby pad. You should be able to adjust the tail movement which could extend the life of the pad. My BIL has a 380 and his tail pad whips ferociously, and goes thru several/season too. (Painted gunite). I've never replaced mine (vinyl) in 4 years. I have the tail movement on mine much slower.

    Hope this helps.
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Gooserider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    North Billerica, MA, USA, etc.
    Posts
    211

    Re: Polaris doing donuts - what is problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by ivyleager
    First: a quick way to tell the difference between the Polaris 360 and everything else is the hose line. The 360 uses a 1" diameter hard white plastic hose with inefficient twist connectors; while the 280, 380 use a thinner diameter clear malleable plastic. The 360 does not require a booster pump, all others do.

    I have/had the 360 model because I do not have a booster pump. When my unit decided to do wheelies, it was do to to much water pressure. To correct, I decreased flow via pressure relief valve.

    RE: scrubby pad. You should be able to adjust the tail movement which could extend the life of the pad. My BIL has a 380 and his tail pad whips ferociously, and goes thru several/season too. (Painted gunite). I've never replaced mine (vinyl) in 4 years. I have the tail movement on mine much slower.

    Hope this helps.
    Yes it does to some degree - I ended up calling Polaris Tech Support, and they I'd the unit as a 380 from the serial number. Mine has two different hose types - the first part, closest to the wall fitting is a fairly thick walled white hose, looks like it might have some kind of fiber reinforcing in it, sort of like a good quality garden hose. The part closest to the head is a fairly thick walled clear hose, which turns cloudy white after a while sitting in the pool... There are floats at regular intervals all along the hose.

    According to the tech support lady, she said it sounded to her like my gear drive train has worn out - part #9-100-1132. However, considering that the unit is several years old, I'm considering getting the total rebuild kit, part #9-100-930, which is supposed to replace just about all the parts in the cleaner head except for the bottom frame that has the serial number on it... Don't know how accurate it is, but I've been told that it is fairly common to need to rebuild the head every 3-4 seasons, and we probably have at least twice that much time on it.

    As to the scrubby pads, I suspect that yours lasts more because you have a vinyl liner as opposed to the tail movement - my tail barely moves at all, and still wears out the pads quickly, but gunite is much more abrasive than vinyl, even when painted.... (I found that I needed to turn my tail speed way down, or the unit would spray the bystanders when it climbed the wall...)

    Gooserider
    Free-form Inground gunnite pool, Estimated 16-17K gallons. New Pentair TR60 ClearPro 24" sand filter and Compupool CPSC-48 SWG, Hayward SP1607X10 Pump w/ 1HP motor, 1.5" plumbing, Polaris Pressure cleaner w/ booster pump. pool is more than 25 yrs old, less than 35. Not painted, deteriorating tile surround. I am paraplegic, get in/out of pool w/ S.R. SMITH PAL portable pool lift (significantly modified)

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Gooserider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    North Billerica, MA, USA, etc.
    Posts
    211

    Re: Polaris doing donuts - what is problem?

    I did some serious parts ordering last night, Mix of Amazon and Ebay vendors - got a total rebuild kit, which was more than the "tune-up-kit" that some vendors were selling, but has a lot more parts in it - essentially it will give me a new cleaner as it includes replacements for everything but the base frame with the serial number on it.

    I also got another 5 extra scrubbers for the tail, and a bunch of extra bags - a couple aftermarket "Mega-all-purpose" bags that are supposed to be the same weave fabric as the OEM bags, but slightly larger. Also a couple each of the sand / silt bags and the leaf bags - I can see times when I need all three types...

    Now I just have to wait and see when the parts get here....

    Gooserider
    Free-form Inground gunnite pool, Estimated 16-17K gallons. New Pentair TR60 ClearPro 24" sand filter and Compupool CPSC-48 SWG, Hayward SP1607X10 Pump w/ 1HP motor, 1.5" plumbing, Polaris Pressure cleaner w/ booster pump. pool is more than 25 yrs old, less than 35. Not painted, deteriorating tile surround. I am paraplegic, get in/out of pool w/ S.R. SMITH PAL portable pool lift (significantly modified)

  6. Back To Top    #6
    Gooserider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    North Billerica, MA, USA, etc.
    Posts
    211

    Re: Polaris doing donuts - what is problem?

    Just a follow-up and report on my repair efforts.... As mentioned I ordered a bunch of different size bags for the Polaris 380, along with a pack of 5 tail scrubbies, and a "Factory Rebuild Kit" - Polaris P/N# 9-100-9030, as I wasn't quite sure what was wrong, and didn't trust the Polaris tech support diagnosis. The parts arrived earlier this week, and today I went out and did a total rebuild on the 380 cleaner head.

    Turned out the diagnosis was WRONG - the drive gears weren't in the greatest of shape, but the real problem was that the belts were totally destroyed - Essentially all that was left was a bunch of strings wrapped around the central drive wheel. In addition, at least two of the bearings were falling apart, and several others felt "gritty"`. This wasn't a total surprise as I found a lot of sand inside the unit, not sure how it got there.

    However, the kit I ordered was a VERY complete unit, arguably to the point of overkill... Literally the only parts that were NOT replaced were the central frame where the serial number is located, and the wall fittings and water feed line (But I did replace the backup unit) - This included a bottom and top cover (Very nice looking transparent metalflake blue - much prettier than the old "Pool Blue" cover) The wheels, tires, all the internal parts, and even a new tail hose. They even included trivial stuff like new screws and e-clips.

    For all intents and purposes when done you end up with a completely new head unit, for about half what a replacement head from Polaris would have cost.

    There were some significant differences in the way some of the parts were put together, but everything fit quite nicely. The directions did leave a LOT to be desired, they left out a great deal of information about both how to take it apart, and more importantly how to put it back together again. Especially confusing was a new ballast weight that wasn't in the old unit, and wasn't mentioned in the directions for the kit Fortunately I had downloaded the manual for the 380, and was able to find it in the parts diagram. What wasn't so great was having to take the unit half way apart again to put the weight were it belonged ...

    I saved all the old parts, and probably could do some significant repairs if I have more problems but am not expecting to for a few more years.

    At any rate, I put it in the pool and turned on the pumps, and it immediately started running around the pool like it did when new...

    If your Polaris 380 is getting long in the tooth, I highly recommend this kit.

    Gooserider
    Free-form Inground gunnite pool, Estimated 16-17K gallons. New Pentair TR60 ClearPro 24" sand filter and Compupool CPSC-48 SWG, Hayward SP1607X10 Pump w/ 1HP motor, 1.5" plumbing, Polaris Pressure cleaner w/ booster pump. pool is more than 25 yrs old, less than 35. Not painted, deteriorating tile surround. I am paraplegic, get in/out of pool w/ S.R. SMITH PAL portable pool lift (significantly modified)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •