Polaris 280 not moving-All moving parts replaced

cargod723

Member
Jan 30, 2020
12
Woodstock, Georgia
Hi, I have a Polaris 280 that stopped moving, as in, no movement of the drive wheels. It was due to have the wheel bearings and turbine bearings replaced. I have hat it completely apart. There are no blockages in any lines, tubes, or passages. I replaced the water management system while I had it apart because it was brittle. Mechanically, I see no fault in the parts of the unit to cause it not to work.

When I completed the rebuild and put it in the pool, the flow of water was stronger than usual from the rear directional jet and from the two upward ports of the water management system. The reverse valve, which is new, functioned properly at a 3 minute interval. But there was no apparent flow to the turbine on the drive axle. The drive wheels were appropriately tight and all 4 wheels (the 2 drive wheels, idle wheel, and non-drive wheel) turned in unison by hand. At this point, there are no moving parts in this Polaris 280 that have not been replaced in the last 12 months. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Thanks,
Greg
Bewildered in Woodstock, GA
 

cargod723

Member
Jan 30, 2020
12
Woodstock, Georgia
Allen, I will certainly recheck my work. However, the turbine cover only fits correctly in one way. The screw holes won't line up if it is out of position and it won't sit flush. I will also check the hose going to the turbine. It is clamped in place with quality nylon zip ties that hold up to a pool environment.

I do appreciate your help, but my Polaris was doing this BEFORE I did ANY repairs on it. It seemed simple enough to me that water wasn't getting to the turbine. There were no blockages anywhere in the Polaris itself. The only real weaknesses I found were the water management system, a couple of sets of rusting wheel bearings, and a bad reverse valve.

I'm not trying to brag, but I need you to understand that I'm not a mechanical novice seeking level 1 tech support. I'm a retired ASE Master Auto Technician. I tend to know my way around most mechanical things and made a career out of repairing them. That being said, I'm not too proud to ask for help when I'm baffled by a problem and am grateful for the assistance rendered. Please don't think I'm ungrateful for your initial response because I am not!

Ps- I'll update my signature later this AM with more information about my pool, pumps, SWG, etc. My filter is DE not DG. ~:>)
 

cargod723

Member
Jan 30, 2020
12
Woodstock, Georgia
I have had an opportunity to tear down the Polaris and inspect it. The turbine cover was installed correctly. It is virtually idiot proof on the 280. It sits down into a perfectly sized compartment and the cover has flaps that must mate flush to the body plate for the bolts to line up for attachment. The hose, turbine housing, and feed pipe are completely unobstructed. The turbine / drive axle moves freely and the plastic axle covers are completely intact. There is no leakage from the hose connecting the feed pipe to the turbine cover.

The only components NOT replaced in the last 12 months are the following: top cover, main body plate, feed pipe, float, vacuum tube, turbine cover, turbine hose, axle shaft shield, one wheel, and the rear jet (new o-ring). Everything else has been replaced. The main feed hose is good and the pressure valve was replaced last year. I mentioned in the original post that the reverse valve was just replaced this month with new Polaris model. The Polaris pump was replaced not quite two years ago.

The 280's wheels do not move. There appears to be more water pressure coming out the rear jet and up the vacuum tube. This is the same thing that was going on before I replaced any parts on the unit. When I tore it down originally, the water management system was brittle and my have been leaking, so I replaced it. There were also some wheel bearings that were rusting, but they still moved freely. That prompted me to replace all of the bearings, as I mentioned in the original post. I hope I have provided a clue as to the problem so that someone might know of a solution. This one really has me baffled. Thanks!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
13,083
Northern NJ
Remove the top cover and plug the cleaner into the hose. Observe if you get water out part 38 and powering the turbine. If so the wheel should move from the water pressure.

The water path is clear from the vertical pipe on the back through the turbine hose to power the turbine wheel.

Do you have a good stream of water hitting the turbine wheel?
 

cargod723

Member
Jan 30, 2020
12
Woodstock, Georgia
Allen, I have tested the turbine cover with a water hose and have good flow. Further, when assembled with water flowing into the turbine cover hose, the wheels turn properly. Do I now assume that the feed tube is the cause of the problem since everything past it is functioning properly with water flowing? Thanks!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
13,083
Northern NJ
I don't assume anything. I was suggesting testing the water flow using the feed hose connected to the pool to see if the water is turning the turbine wheel.

Step 4 to Check for Proper RPM in the manual - https://www.polarispool.com/-/media/zodiac/global/downloads/tl/tl-200.pdf?force=1 - shows the cleaner on it's side and measuring the RPM using the feed hose. Put your cleaner on it's side out of the pool and see how well the wheel turns.
 

cargod723

Member
Jan 30, 2020
12
Woodstock, Georgia
Allen, the Polaris was correctly assembled and no water was moving the turbine when connected in the pool. I established today that when water pressure is applied to the turbine, the wheels spin. Diagnostic theory says you test the source and terminus for the fault condition. You then check at a midpoint to determine which direction the diagnostic process should proceed: toward the source or the terminus. In this case, the only part not proved functional is the feed pipe. Insufficient water supply is being diverted into the turbine tube, into the turbine housing, and onto the turbine to turn the wheels. At the outset, I stated that the Polaris would not move and that it seemed excessive water pressure was being released through the rear jet and vacuum tube (water management system) jets. I was able to easily turn the turbine with a low to medium flow of water from the garden hose to duplicate water pressures from 10 psi to 24 psi, all within a normal working range that any Polaris 280 may encounter.

I appreciate the Owner's Manual download link that you sent. Measuring the RPM of the wheels will be important to its operational calibration ONCE ITS FUNCTIONAL. As of now, nothing has been corrected or repaired since I started this thread. I have gone back and checked my work, which was not faulty, and I have function checked the area in question. Please don't send me to go calibrating the unit without the problem being repaired.

There is a water flow management problem originating between the feed hose and the turbine hose. Having had the Polaris 280 apart several times, there is only one part that is directly between the two: the feed tube. I do know that the feed tube feeds the tail sweep, the rear jet, the water management system (replaced), and the turbine. Unless there is a reason that one of these water fed components could be the culprit, besides the water management system or turbine, I'd love to hear about it. Otherwise, as I said in my last message, I assume...believe...and find the feed tube to be the cause of the water flow issue not getting to the turbine because there is nothing else left! So why would you NOT assume the feed pipe to be the culprit?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
13,083
Northern NJ
How do you intend to check the feed line from the UWF to the Polaris? Checking the wheel RPM is a simple way to check the connection.
 

cargod723

Member
Jan 30, 2020
12
Woodstock, Georgia
When connected to the feed hose (I'm guessing that's what you mean by UWF) in the pool, the Polaris wheels do not move. A point that I have stressed multiple times. I have not connected the pool line to the turbine line as the result would be the same as when the garden hose was connected...the wheels would move. Further, if I connected the Polaris turbine tube directly to the feed line, the RPM calibration would be meaningless as the pressure would be higher than it should be if it ran through the feed tube where water would be separated out to the tail sweep, the water management system, and the rear jet. All of these diversions would lower the water's pressure and reduce the wheel's RPMs. The academic part of the exercise is does the turbine drive the wheels sufficiently and is there sufficient water pressure to do it? Yes to both questions.

Now, do you understand my frustration?
 
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Rocket J Squirrel

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
632
Alamo, CA
UWF is the Universal Wall Fitting. I guess it works throughout the galaxy.

I understand your frustration. I also went through replacing parts in my 280. I finally gave up and upgraded to the 3900. I just rebuilt the 3900. The rebuild kit seems bogus, though. It includes the metal drive chain but not the rubber tires. Which is more likely to wear out?

Remember a pool is a big hole in the ground you pour money into. I would admit defeat and get the latest & greatest Quattro Sport. And I don’t know who thinks pool sweeping is a sport.
 

cargod723

Member
Jan 30, 2020
12
Woodstock, Georgia
UWF is the Universal Wall Fitting. I guess it works throughout the galaxy.

I understand your frustration. I also went through replacing parts in my 280. I finally gave up and upgraded to the 3900. I just rebuilt the 3900. The rebuild kit seems bogus, though. It includes the metal drive chain but not the rubber tires. Which is more likely to wear out?

Remember a pool is a big hole in the ground you pour money into. I would admit defeat and get the latest & greatest Quattro Sport. And I don’t know who thinks pool sweeping is a sport.
That's funny! A METAL drive chain!!! A real rocket scientist...chlorine or salt... it doesn't have a prayer!

Thanks for the UWF explanation. At least I was on track. I was thinking of the pressure release valve in the wall and hose as one assembly...and really the backup valve too.

I have put a bunch of money into this pool sweep that I inherited with a home purchase. Too deep to cut and run now. Indeed, pools are holes we throw money into. I have a hot tub too, so I'm a real glutton for punishment. At least I sold my boat a few years ago, so I'm not throwing money into a hole in the water anymore! Thanks for your input and the laughs!
 

C.Johnson

In The Industry
May 14, 2019
27
Tulsa, OK
I hate to ask such a rudimentary question, and please don't take offense, but is the Cleaner Booster Pump running when you are testing the 280? Without the CBP, there is not enough water pressure to run the cleaner.

As long as you are getting adequate flow through the hose that connects to the turbine cover, and there are no small pieces of debris lodged in the waterway of the turbine cover, you should be getting the same volume of flow and that element of analysis should be done.

If the turbine cover was not part of the water management system you replaced, that may be something to check. Blowing backward through it with water or air can sometimes dislodge something that isn't visible. You can also gently push backwards through the orifice with something narrow enough to clean it out. Just make sure to flush backwards with water so that it doesn't just lodge itself in the orifice again when you put water through the right way.
Try tightening the tail whip adjustment screw--that shouldn't allow enough water out to cause the unit to not function, but it removes one variable, and once we get it running we can set it to proper adjustment.

If that does not solve the issue, when checking to see if all wheels spin, try (lightly) rotating through several full rotations; I have encountered 280s with bent driveshafts that would hang up on the raceway and lock the wheels until external pressure was applied. If there are any spots where you hear a different noise, or feel increased pressure, that may be your culprit.

Check for worn teeth on the driveshaft or the inner sides of the wheels: if they sometimes disengage, that will also cause no rotation--rotating the wheels by hand can sometimes put enough pressure to engage it. removing the wheels and connecting the cleaner can tell you if the driveshaft is being turned by the turbine.

P.S.: You mention 4 wheels, are you including the small in-between wheel on the side with two large ones? Or does your unit have four large wheels?

P.P.S.: I wouldn't consider the more expensive models of cleaners better than the 280; these units are much simpler to work on and as far as I have been able to tell work just as good with fewer parts to break. I know it doesn't feel like it now, however >.> lol
 

cargod723

Member
Jan 30, 2020
12
Woodstock, Georgia
I hate to ask such a rudimentary question, and please don't take offense, but is the Cleaner Booster Pump running when you are testing the 280? Without the CBP, there is not enough water pressure to run the cleaner.

As long as you are getting adequate flow through the hose that connects to the turbine cover, and there are no small pieces of debris lodged in the waterway of the turbine cover, you should be getting the same volume of flow and that element of analysis should be done.

If the turbine cover was not part of the water management system you replaced, that may be something to check. Blowing backward through it with water or air can sometimes dislodge something that isn't visible. You can also gently push backwards through the orifice with something narrow enough to clean it out. Just make sure to flush backwards with water so that it doesn't just lodge itself in the orifice again when you put water through the right way.
Try tightening the tail whip adjustment screw--that shouldn't allow enough water out to cause the unit to not function, but it removes one variable, and once we get it running we can set it to proper adjustment.

If that does not solve the issue, when checking to see if all wheels spin, try (lightly) rotating through several full rotations; I have encountered 280s with bent driveshafts that would hang up on the raceway and lock the wheels until external pressure was applied. If there are any spots where you hear a different noise, or feel increased pressure, that may be your culprit.

Check for worn teeth on the driveshaft or the inner sides of the wheels: if they sometimes disengage, that will also cause no rotation--rotating the wheels by hand can sometimes put enough pressure to engage it. removing the wheels and connecting the cleaner can tell you if the driveshaft is being turned by the turbine.

P.S.: You mention 4 wheels, are you including the small in-between wheel on the side with two large ones? Or does your unit have four large wheels?

P.P.S.: I wouldn't consider the more expensive models of cleaners better than the 280; these units are much simpler to work on and as far as I have been able to tell work just as good with fewer parts to break. I know it doesn't feel like it now, however >.> lol
Hi, yes, the booster pump was on and the wheels turn freely. The drive shaft is essentially new. It was replaced in July. The turbine cover and hose are completely free of debris. In fact, no debris was found in any of the passages. I did reduce the flow to the tail sweep early on before I did anything else when it first stopped moving. That did nothing to change the non-movement of the wheels.

When I mention 4 wheels, the unit has 2 drive wheels, one free wheel, and one tensioned idler wheel between one drive wheel and the free wheel. The 3 full sized wheels use tires. The idler wheel is hard plastic with treads modled into it. The wheels turn easily with very little hand pressure applied. The drive wheels are missing no teeth and the drive shaft is in like new condition...straight and unworn.

Your questions are valid and appreciated. There is plenty of pressure getting to the Polaris, but not enough getting to the turbine. The water pressure seems to be flowing to the water management system proper (the wishbone shaped jets for the vacuum tube which was replaced during this repair) and rear jet leaving too little pressure for the turbine to spin. I have been unable to find a reason for this issue. I find no blockages in any of the passages of the feed tube, turbine tube, or turbine cover visually. I have also cleaned the smaller openings with pipe cleaners, water, and compressed air. No debris was found during this cleaning.
 

C.Johnson

In The Industry
May 14, 2019
27
Tulsa, OK
Ok, thanks for the followup.

None of the wheels should spin freely with little pressure, there should be a moderate amount of resistance on two of the wheels. Turning either the wheel on the right, or the rear wheel should cause both wheels to spin and you should hear a bit of gear noise (the turbine spinning and driveshaft spinning) and turning either one of them should turn all three wheels if the idler wheel is adjusted properly.

I know your diagnosis is that there is not enough water pressure to the turbine--I don't mean to continue on in a different direction but your mention that all wheels turn easily with very little pressure makes me want to verify that things are as I stated above before moving on.

Absent any blockages or leaks, there should not be any way for there to be too little pressure to turn the turbine if the booster pump is on; it doesn't take all that much.
The only things I can think of are a loss of pressure at the UWF, hose swivels, or water management system. If it is even slightly difficult to remove or install the bayonet fitting into the UWF, lube the o-ring with something like Magic Lube II. Sometimes the o-ring can pinch and let water through. This usually makes a good deal of noise though. The pressure relief valve in the connector body could be letting water through as well. Swivels in the hose can leak, but shouldn't rob that much pressure though unless its *really* bad. Finally, the water management system, mast assy. (feed pipe I think it is called in the parts lists,) and thrust jet all have o-rings that are vital to correct function. If one of those is bad or missing, it may cause the symptoms we are seeing.

*PHEW* This is much harder when I don't have the unit in front of me
 

cargod723

Member
Jan 30, 2020
12
Woodstock, Georgia
Ok, thanks for the followup.

None of the wheels should spin freely with little pressure, there should be a moderate amount of resistance on two of the wheels. Turning either the wheel on the right, or the rear wheel should cause both wheels to spin and you should hear a bit of gear noise (the turbine spinning and driveshaft spinning) and turning either one of them should turn all three wheels if the idler wheel is adjusted properly.

I know your diagnosis is that there is not enough water pressure to the turbine--I don't mean to continue on in a different direction but your mention that all wheels turn easily with very little pressure makes me want to verify that things are as I stated above before moving on.

Absent any blockages or leaks, there should not be any way for there to be too little pressure to turn the turbine if the booster pump is on; it doesn't take all that much.
The only things I can think of are a loss of pressure at the UWF, hose swivels, or water management system. If it is even slightly difficult to remove or install the bayonet fitting into the UWF, lube the o-ring with something like Magic Lube II. Sometimes the o-ring can pinch and let water through. This usually makes a good deal of noise though. The pressure relief valve in the connector body could be letting water through as well. Swivels in the hose can leak, but shouldn't rob that much pressure though unless its *really* bad. Finally, the water management system, mast assy. (feed pipe I think it is called in the parts lists,) and thrust jet all have o-rings that are vital to correct function. If one of those is bad or missing, it may cause the symptoms we are seeing.

*PHEW* This is much harder when I don't have the unit in front of me
Ok, thanks for the followup.

None of the wheels should spin freely with little pressure, there should be a moderate amount of resistance on two of the wheels. Turning either the wheel on the right, or the rear wheel should cause both wheels to spin and you should hear a bit of gear noise (the turbine spinning and driveshaft spinning) and turning either one of them should turn all three wheels if the idler wheel is adjusted properly.

I know your diagnosis is that there is not enough water pressure to the turbine--I don't mean to continue on in a different direction but your mention that all wheels turn easily with very little pressure makes me want to verify that things are as I stated above before moving on.

Absent any blockages or leaks, there should not be any way for there to be too little pressure to turn the turbine if the booster pump is on; it doesn't take all that much.
The only things I can think of are a loss of pressure at the UWF, hose swivels, or water management system. If it is even slightly difficult to remove or install the bayonet fitting into the UWF, lube the o-ring with something like Magic Lube II. Sometimes the o-ring can pinch and let water through. This usually makes a good deal of noise though. The pressure relief valve in the connector body could be letting water through as well. Swivels in the hose can leak, but shouldn't rob that much pressure though unless its *really* bad. Finally, the water management system, mast assy. (feed pipe I think it is called in the parts lists,) and thrust jet all have o-rings that are vital to correct function. If one of those is bad or missing, it may cause the symptoms we are seeing.

*PHEW* This is much harder when I don't have the unit in front of me
You are getting a bit ahead of yourself in your first paragraph. When connected to the feed line, the wheels do not move on their own at all. They move freely by hand, of course with resistance. The do not "spin" like a Hot Wheels car from our youth. And yes, of course you can hear the turbine and axle "gear noise". The adjustment of the wheels and idler wheel are good. Please understand that sounds freely means no binding of the axle shaft / turbine, axle bearings, wheel bearings, or idler wheel bearings. Thay are all in mechanically new condition and are properly installed, aligned, and adjusted.

The Polaris pump is about a year old and I have a good connection at the UWF with no noise, relative ease in disconnecting the pressure valve end, and no feelable streams of water shooting from it. The pressure valve is also about a year old and makes no noise and has no feelable streams of water shooting from it. The end of the feed hose shoots water 8+/- feet from the end of it. That seems to be a pretty solid flow of water, more than sufficient to run the Polaris 280...but it does not move with the feed hose attached.

The O-Rings you mention have been replaced. They came with the new parts replaced, except the rear jet (that o-ring was replaced in July) and the feed tube o-ring replaced during this repair. The rear jet o-ring fitment with the jet into the new water management system was more loose than I would have expected. Previous o-ring replacements at the jet were always tight and required loosening the jet's cover plate screws to adjust its directional position. This time, I can adjust the jet without loosening the screws. It is not loose, but it is not tightly held either. By the way, I have only used Polaris / Zodiac parts maintain this 280. Cheap parts are just that...cheap.

I trust that has clarified some of the issues of communication we were having. I appreciate your assistance and input. I have ordered a feed pipe that I should receive late this week. It is one part that I can't prove good and one of the few things not ever replaced on this old sweep. Thanks again!
 
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C.Johnson

In The Industry
May 14, 2019
27
Tulsa, OK
Happy to help, sorry to make you feel like I'm going over increasingly basic things; without being there in person and with most of the bases covered I'm having to fall back on even the least likely recommendations.

When you spin the turbine by hand, do all wheels turn and does the unit move?

Edit: I forget, have you had the turbine cover off with everything running to see how much water comes out of the orifice? Let us know how if the feed pipe o-ring resolves the issue.
 
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cargod723

Member
Jan 30, 2020
12
Woodstock, Georgia
Here is the follow up to the problem of my Polaris 280 not moving. The replacement of the feed pipe has corrected the problem. It is functioning as it should now with no other issues. I appreciate the assistance of those who took the time to chime in, send me information, and coach me along the process of diagnosing the problem. I do sincerely appreciate your help, Greg