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Thread: A quick review of Polaris models from a Polaris Mechanic

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    A quick review of Polaris models from a Polaris Mechanic

    I work on all Polaris models, and have so for 18 years.
    I will be brief:

    models 180 & 280 (2 wheel drive with a transfer wheel)
    Well made units with the oldest "drive" system. the bearings wear out quickly causing the front and single side wheels to loose their camber, or become "wobbley". this then leads to the wheel gears to get chewed up and broken.
    SOLUTION: replace all 8 bearings on these units every 2-3 years.

    model 380 (3 wheel drive WITHOUT a transfer wheel)
    As this unit is made now (2010), all previous problems have been fixed. Water management is now glued, belts last as long as 6 years. filter screen has been changed to an inline, larger unit.
    the 380 will get arond the pool much faster than the 180 or 280, however, its' "throat" is not as big as the 280 so it will not pick up the neighbors cat as the 280 will.

    model 3900 (3 wheel drive WITHOUT a transfer wheel)
    This model is designed after the 380, 480, and 280. the bag and "throat" are from the 280 & 480 model. everything else is an advanced heavy duty 380 model.
    the 3900 has a bigger bag, better traction with the bigger wheels, hard plumbed water management, and a stainless steel chain drive system.
    The entire unit is now UV protected.
    ***Polaris has fixed the wheel issue last year, if you have this problem, take it in to a Polaris repair center, usually at your pool store you bought it from, and it will be repaired for free.

    And finally- please note this on all Polaris 180, 280, 380, & 3900 models:
    THE BACK UP VALVE CAN AND WILL CRACK CAUSING ALL UNITS TO ACT SLUGGISH.
    Look closely around the jet on the back up valve, if there is a crack OR the black O-ring seal around the jet is comprimised - replace it!!
    Make sure a hose float is always placed just behind the back up valve, this will help to keep the valve body off the bottom of the pool and keep it from cracking and it will protect the seal.

    feel free to contact me directly if you have questions about your Polaris model.
    I will not answer on the Legend models other than to get rid of it and get a Polaris!!

    thanks!
    timothy.earp@gmail.com
    36K gallon, IG, Vinyl, Hayward DE-3600 Filter, Hayward 1.5HP SP2610X15 pump aka AO Smith UST1152

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    Re: A quick review of Polaris models from a Polaris Mechanic

    Also,
    These cleaners are like little cars, they need repairs now and then. They can be repaired
    at very little cost. extending their life to 15+ years!!!

    you wouldn't expect your car to last 10+ years without an oil change.

    Seek repairing your current model before buying a new one!

    Tim
    36K gallon, IG, Vinyl, Hayward DE-3600 Filter, Hayward 1.5HP SP2610X15 pump aka AO Smith UST1152

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    Re: A quick review of Polaris models from a Polaris Mechanic

    Welcome to the house! Glad to have you here.

    I hope you continue this thread with the other models that are offered too.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: A quick review of Polaris models from a Polaris Mechanic

    Thanks,
    I had a customer today tell me about this place and
    he read that polaris cleaners only last 4 years! what???
    I felt compelled!!
    tim
    36K gallon, IG, Vinyl, Hayward DE-3600 Filter, Hayward 1.5HP SP2610X15 pump aka AO Smith UST1152

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    Re: A quick review of Polaris models from a Polaris Mechanic

    models 180 & 280 (2 wheel drive with a transfer wheel)
    Well made units with the oldest "drive" system. the bearings wear out quickly causing the front and single side wheels to loose their camber, or become "wobbley". this then leads to the wheel gears to get chewed up and broken.
    SOLUTION: replace all 8 bearings on these units every 2-3 years.
    Yes, I had this problem at the end of last summer, after about 3 years. My 280 would not go shallow and was doing large circles in the deep end. I took a good look and found the gears in the wheel were stripped. I swapped it with a wheel that did not need the gear and it was running fine again. When that wheel goes to pot, I'll look at replacing the wheels and bearings as well.
    Gary
    21k gal SW, IG Gunite PebbleSheen, 1HP Jandy, Jandy 340 filter, Polaris 280, 17' fiberglass slide w/ 2HP pump.

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    Re: A quick review of Polaris models from a Polaris Mechanic

    Quote Originally Posted by polaris mechanic
    Thanks,
    I had a customer today tell me about this place and
    he read that polaris cleaners only last 4 years! what???
    I felt compelled!!
    tim
    I can understand that... on the other hand, I don't remember any posts like that, and couldn't find any with a quick search. I did come up with one where somebody posted about replacing their 15-year-old Polaris, though.
    --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

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    Re: A quick review of Polaris models from a Polaris Mechanic

    OP - Although I doubt there is any service data to speak of, I would think it interesting if you could share any knowledge of the internals of the new 9300.
    Geometric 16X36', 16K gal, shotcrete, exposed aggregate plaster, acrylic coated concrete deck/cantilever coping;
    Pentair equipment suite (EasyTouch w/wireless, 2 Intellibrites, Intelliflo VS-3050, C&C 200 Filter, IC-40 SWG);
    Heliocol solar panels, Rocky's Roller, Blue Diamond robot

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    Re: A quick review of Polaris models from a Polaris Mechanic

    Quote Originally Posted by polaris mechanic
    I work on all Polaris models, and have so for 18 years.
    I will be brief:

    models 180 & 280 (2 wheel drive with a transfer wheel)
    Well made units with the oldest "drive" system. the bearings wear out quickly causing the front and single side wheels to loose their camber, or become "wobbley". this then leads to the wheel gears to get chewed up and broken.
    SOLUTION: replace all 8 bearings on these units every 2-3 years.

    timothy.earp@gmail.com
    Many thanks for your valuable info. I've had 280s since they first came out. The only reason I've had to replace them is my dogs have "rescued" and then "killed" them. Of course I've always saved salvageable parts. I have a nice collection of floats. My current 280 is at least 6 years old. Except for about half of 2008 it typically runs minimum of 10 hours a day year round. I used the Aquabot this past winter but have put 280 back in service because the Aquabot is just so much hassle, fine bags clogs up too fast with my microscopic dust, and, now, using the EZ disposable bags, the 280 is picking up more fine stuff that goes right through the Polaris sand/silt bag and even the liner sock for bag. I'm now running it 3 x 3 hour cycles as the Pool Skim is helping to catch floating debris so most of Polaris's job is sand/silt/and finer stuff. What I want to ask is, should I replace the bearings now before trouble hits? I know your answer is "YES". They have never been replaced and don't seem wobbly but I'd like to avoid the issue you describe. An issue I didn't know existed. The most frequent replacement for my 280 is, of course, the foam scrubber pretty frequently, then tail wear rings yearly, and tires about every 2.5 years. Hoses last three to four years; actually longer but new ones work better in the winter. I replace the hose swivels as needed and have learned to keep at least one backup and at least one backup wall screen. I replace the wall fitting every couple of years, too, just to make it easier on my arthritic dominant hand, especially in winter. My current guy is still on his original backup module. In fact, I just checked that this a.m. and it's looking good.

    I love my Polaris.

    Thanks, gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: A quick review of Polaris models from a Polaris Mechanic

    Okay, you do not mention 360 pressure side units. Mine is very temperamental, to say the least.

    Issues: 1. hose connections stink to high heaven 2. unit gets stuck in shallow end corner, whitened (burned) a section of my liner but this ONLY happens when cleaner is attached to deep end pressure return. When I attach to shallow end return it cleans quite well. 3. I've seen the unit get stuck via suction on the shallow/deep end transition edge. I basically have to babysit this machine.

    My goals this year: get a SWG and robotic cleaner. Either that a cabana pool boy who will tend to pool and fetch me drinks all the while wearing a blue sequined speedo. (A girl has to have a dream).
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

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    Re: A quick review of Polaris models from a Polaris Mechanic

    Welcome to TFP!!

    THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge

    I was certified by Polaris ~ 20 years ago and don't feel comfortable diagnosing them after such a long time

    If I can help you with any pool issues you run into, please ask of me I feel I owe you one for this
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    Re: A quick review of Polaris models from a Polaris Mechanic

    Is the 280 still the best option?
    built 4/08/2000 16 x32 460 Sq FT Pool 16,000 gallons 3.5 ft 5 ft 3.5 ft sport pool

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    Re: A quick review of Polaris models from a Polaris Mechanic

    Is the 280 still the best option?
    The thread is five years old........robots are quickly dominating the market now.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: A quick review of Polaris models from a Polaris Mechanic

    And my 8 year old 280 still dominates my pool. Simplicity at it's best.
    Gary
    21k gal SW, IG Gunite PebbleSheen, 1HP Jandy, Jandy 340 filter, Polaris 280, 17' fiberglass slide w/ 2HP pump.

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    Re: A quick review of Polaris models from a Polaris Mechanic

    Quote Originally Posted by crabboy View Post
    And my 8 year old 280 still dominates my pool. Simplicity at it's best.
    It also dominates the power consumption by requiring running 2 pumps
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: A quick review of Polaris models from a Polaris Mechanic

    Convenience has it's costs...
    Gary
    21k gal SW, IG Gunite PebbleSheen, 1HP Jandy, Jandy 340 filter, Polaris 280, 17' fiberglass slide w/ 2HP pump.

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