Polaris Pool Cleaners - Further Reading

Polaris Pool Cleaners

Polaris, part of Zodiac Pool Products, has a wide range of pool cleaners powered by water pressure and robotic.

Pressure Cleaners

Polaris pressure pool cleaners are:

  • Quattro Sport
    • best pressure side cleaner today.
    • A member said "5 months in and all is going well. The Quattro is cleaning far better than the Pentair Racer it replaced ever did. Getting stuck in corners is no longer a issue because of the " spinning dance " it does every few minutes ( instead of reverse and forward again to get stuck). I do know one thing, if you turn the directional nozzle in the up position it will try to climb out of the pool ! I leave mine in 24/7 and the only thing I have noticed is the original shine the plastic had is fading in a few spots. It is picking everything up from fine silt to golf balls!![1]"
    • Connection of the hose at the body can break so pull easy on it and use the handle to pull it out of the water[2]
  • 3900 Sport
  • TR36P
  • TR35P
  • TR28P
  • 380 - is powered by triple jets
  • 360 - does not require a separate booster pump
  • 280 - little brother to the 380
  • 180
  • 165
  • 65
  • Turbo Turtle

There are several models of pressure cleaners offered by Zodiac under the Polaris brand. It is easy to identify each model. If you remove the bag and look down the throat of each unit, you will see small jets. The number of jets is the first number in the description of the unit. If the unit requires a booster pump for proper pressure it will have an 8 or 9 as the second number. If a booster pump is not required and the unit operates off the regular pool returns, it will have a 6 as the second number. Example: 380 has three jets and requires a booster pump.

Most of the Polaris pressure cleaners require a separate booster pump that is connected to a timer or pool automation. Polaris has two booster pumps:

  • PB4-S60 - this has been the standard .75 HP booster pump for many years and runs on 115V or 230V AC. It is usually connected with flexible hoses and softube disconnects.
  • PB4SQ - is an updated pump that is more energy efficient.

Installation Adjustments

Make sure the hose is cut to the correct length, from the wall fitting to the furthermost point of the pool +/- 6".

If the hose is to long then the "leader hose" (hose connected to cleaner) should be cut to the depth of the pool (remove the off cut from the swivel end and not the cleaner but also make sure you do not remove too much to make the total hose too short), if you still have extra hose then remove equal amounts from hose 1 and hose 2 (at the first swivel from pool wall).

Check your pressure and set to 28 rpms which will equal 28psi (adjusted at the wall fitting).

Adjust the float behind the back up valve away approx 12 - 18" from the back up valve (the closer the float is the higher the cleaner will lift towards the pool surface, the further away the cleaner will be pulled along the pool floor).


Polaris Hose Inline Filter.jpg

Polaris cleaners may have a filter screen in the Universal Wall Fitting (UWF) quick disconnect (Zodiac 6-504-00) or inline in the hose (Zodiac 48-222. It is recommended the filter screens be cleaned periodically, at least once or twice a season.

Backup Valve

The backup valve is in the hose and backup valve yanks the Polaris back and turns it around to reposition. It does it every few minutes to get the cleaner out of a corner it may be stuck in and add to its random journey around the pool. Water should not be contentiously jetting out of the backup valve. If it is the valve is broken.

The valve should go into backup about every 2 1/2 min to 3 minutes. If it is longer than that, the gears may be worn. Zodiac also has a “double acting” backup valve. It runs twice as fast and backs up the cleaner more frequently, about every 1 minute 30 seconds to 1 minute 45 seconds.

The G52 is said to backup every 2 1/2 minutes. The G59 backups approximately every 1 minute 45 seconds.

The “double acting” backup valve is used in smaller pools where the cleaner gets stuck in a corner more frequently.

The backup valve can be disassembled and the valve body unscrewed although it may be difficult to get an old one apart. How do I get the collar off a Polaris 360/ 380 back up valve discussed different techniques to open the valve.

Zodiac G52 is usually the standard replacement backup valve. Pentair has the E10 backup valve that is bit more expensive then the Zodiac and some people have said works better and lasts longer on Polaris cleaners.

Rebuild and Tune-Up Kits

Polaris 380 Repair Manual

Polaris 360 Repair Manual

Polaris 280 Repair Manual

Polaris 180 Repair Manual

The Polaris pressure cleaners need periodic maintenance for proper operation. When the cleaners begins moving slowly and stops climbing the walls it is time for a tune-up or rebuild. The wheel bearings build up corrosion causing friction and the water pressure does not provide much power to overcome even slight friction in the moving parts.

You can buy individual parts, or a Tune-Up kit, or a complete rebuild kit. The rebuild kit costs about half the price of a new cleaner and gives you every moving part to replace. All you need is a screwdriver, pliers, and some patience. There are many YouTube videos on how to repair and rebuild the cleaners.

Parts diagrams for each cleaner are on the internet and parts are available from many sources.

You should always replace the wheel bearings when you are in there. The bearings develop corrosion and friction. The cleaner does not have alot of HP from the water pressure and any friction in the bearings makes it slow and sluggish and does not climb the walls well. Replacing the bearings make it climb the walls like new for a few seasons.

Robot Cleaners

Polaris VRX iQ+

Polaris VRXIQ+.jpg

The Polaris VRX iQ+ is sold at a popular pool store. The equivalent model from other stores is the Alpha IQ+. The 9560iq does not have the sensor which allows for the better navigation. This doesn't have a combination basket like the dolphin. So you will have to switch to a fine silt basket or a regular basket depending on conditions.[3] They have a fine silt filter available but you have to switch the filter to use with fine silt. It looks like the filters are much easier to clean than the Dolphin, but the dolphin has a combination filter which has a regular and ultra find stage.

One member said It did a great job cleaning his pool, picked up a lot of leaves and dirt/debris left over from the construction last season. It even got almost my entire tanning ledge. It also seems like it does go in a straight line more than other robots which just go in whatever direction...so their claim of having better navigation is true.[4]

There are some reports of the VRXIQ cord getting tangled even with the swiveler. Straightening out the cord and making sure the swiveler rotated freely fixed the problem. Many others report no problems with the cord.[5]

New VRXiQ+ Polaris pool robot - initial impressions

Polaris P965iQ vs Dolphin Oasis Z5 Review

Below is one members comparison:[6]

So I’ve come from a Dolphin Oasis Z5 with treads that constantly perched itself on top of my drains to a Polaris P965iQ (Leslie’s white version) with 3 year warranty, rebate, etc. same as the new VRX-iQ+ without the extra gimmicks to break (blue light, etc.).

Anyway, the 4WD Polaris is undoubtedly a “better” cleaner. Never gets stuck. However the quality of Polaris to Dolphin is inferior. Polaris cord tangles more than Dolphin and is more rigid, regardless of the Polaris swivel mechanism. It’s not as good.

2 years into my Polaris, it’s already going back to Leslie’s for service. It has stopped working with Error 10 code. Motors seems to have died. My Dolphin Z5 I’ve fortunately kept as a backup, purchased in 2016, still running fine. Yes, it still constantly gets stuck on main drains, but always has. Mechanically the electronics and build quality are better.

Have been on phone with both Polaris and Leslie’s. Polaris provides parts to Leslie’s but your warranty lies with Leslie’s. In my case, Leslie’s isn’t local. Now I have 2 lengthy trips back and forth for warranty service. Yet Dolphin has filled the gap.

Will certainly follow through on warranty service based on my investment, but a both a Dolphin and Polaris customer, I’d not purchase a Polaris cleaner again. Instead I’d get the 4WD Dolphin equivalent.