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Discussion Starter #1
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Thought I would pass this along to you all so that what happend to me will not happen to you. I currently own a 2004 Sport Touring, 1800 miles, 550 F/C motor. Great sled and in mint condition. Now let me first preface this by saying that this sled has been cared for, not ridden hard and I regularly do all the recommended maintenance as required. This was also NOT MODIFIED, 100% stock.

Last week I was out riding, crusing around 35-40 MPH and the sled slowly started to loose power, eventually it died. After doing a quick check of everything I could think of I attempted to restart. Well it ran, but like dog meat. Finally was able to determine that it was running on one cylinder. Checked spark, OK, checked fuel, OK, put my finger over the plug hole and it seemed to have compression but no go. Well I got some guys to give me a hand in towing it back to the truck, loaded it up and went over to my local Polaris dealer. Service manager takes my sled in, comes back 15 minutes later tells me that I popped a piston and the engine needs a rebuild. Um, say what? Not sure he was pulling my leg I took my sled home. However before I did he did give me a "tech tip" concerning piston seizure in these engines, and told me that this is not the first of it's kind he has had to fix.

After I got home I pulled the head cover off and sure enough the piston on the pull side was wasted, blown right through and pieces of piston and rings had been in the combustion chamber, the cylinder wall was all scored up and boy what a mess. Needless to say I was very upset. Before I went any further I decided to call Polaris. After talking to thier warranty department they pretty much told me there was nothing they could do. It was out of warranty. When I pressed the guy on the phone about the "tech tip" that I had which specifically addressed this exact failure (I'll get into the details of that later) he had no answer. The net sum was that Polaris was not going to do a thing about this.

So what about this "tech tip" you ask. Well it seems as though there was enough of a problem with the way these engines were configured when they shipped that in at least some of them this failure occured. This tip covers all 2004 550 Fan cooled engines and select 2005 engines manufatured before September 2004. It covers three areas. It calls for a change in the piston to cylinder wall clearance, it calls for the needle jets and jet needles to be changed and finally an adjustment to the air screw settings. The tech tip number is S-04-09-02. The techincal specs are as follows:

Piston to cylinder wall clearance must fall between .114 and .135 MM. This same clearance must be met if going over sized with an OEM piston

Change needle jets to Q-4 480 (PN 3131593) this part number has been superseeded by this (PN 3130947)

Change jet needles to 6BGY-41 (PN 3131592)

When installing jet needle ensure the E clip is in the #3 position and adjust the air screw to 3/4 turn out on soft seat EXCEPT for 04-05 Trail RMK and 04 PRO X Fan.


I highly suggest if you have a sled that falls under this "team tip" you make these adjustments now or risk having your engine blow up.

Now lucky for me I do my own mechanical work and rebuilt the engine on my own. The total cost was just shy of 500.00 for a .5MM over bore with new Wiesco pistons. Both cylinders were done even though my local dealer said only one needed to be done. I'm not a proponent of running a motor like this with different bores. I had to completely tear the engine down to clean up all the exploded piston and ring parts out of the top and lower end. It even blew pieces into the air box and exhaust pipe. I have pictures that document the entire teardown and show up close the carnage my engine suffered. I posted pix in my "member gallery" to document the entire rebuild.

http://www.snowmobilefanatics.com/gallery/default.asp?user=8076

It could have been a lot worse so I am thankful of that. This by no means indicates the engine is a bad powerplant, rather it was misconfigured and as such failed. I cannot express my disappointment in the fact that Polaris would not even admit that there was a problem when I was on the phone with them, nor even when asked pay for the labor to fix it with my offer to pay for the parts which I thought under the circumstances was a fair compromise all things considered.

My other beef is that since this is known to happen enough to justify a "team tip" then at least Polaris should make it a point to notify those that own these sleds that they risk damaging thier engines if action is not taken.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ouch - that's a pretty nasty chunk taken out of the bore. Might want to consider seeing what it would cost to re-sleeve that jug, you can buy new sleeves through several vendors, not sure if I can post names, but I priced them for mine thinking that the scoring was so bad that even a max +1mm over would not be enough. Lucky for me that was not the case. Anyways the sleeves run ~ $150.00 per and the machine shop that did the bore work for me said had the jug needed a new sleeve he'd charge me $150 to do it. That's a far cry from $550.00. Of course prices vary at different machine shops, I include the price only as a ballpark figure.

If you PM me I can send you to that particular vendor's website.
 

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I just talked to my dealer, said they have some program from a company out in wisconsin, i get a reconditioned jug for 220, so that isn't too bad! i haven't pulled the trigger yet!
 

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i know a guy who just had this happen to his classic 550 same damage, ill be sure to let hime know this tech info.
 

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Sorry to hear that. That is the one downside of doing your own maintenance, not knowing about about the service bulletins. Part of doing your own maintenance would be checking the piston wash to see that the machine isn't running too lean or rich. Probably the most important thing on a 2-stroke motor.

Don't feel bad, your not the only one Polaris blew off.
The '95-96 XCR 600's and '96-'97 Xlt had a casting defect and they would blow crank bearings prematurely. Polaris did nothing for those owners unless it happened while the machine was still under warranty.
Also some owners of twin 800's are also experiencing cranks problems also.
 

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Once your sled is out of warrantee you are on your own. As for service bulletins every owner receives one, all the dealers do and I believe it is posted in their website. First I've heard about the 550 service bulletin, but I do know that the '04 and newer engines were redone to be more reliable than the first few model years which were notorious for blowing pistons.
 

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Polaris service bulletins are not online and owners do not get them. The only way an owner can get them is from a dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I am very particular about my sled maintenance and watch everything closely. There was no warning that this was going to happen, matter of fact the sled ran awesome and when I checked the plugs every 250 miles they were always a nice light brown as the book says they should look.

As for changes made to the engine, well that's rather funny because after this happend I tore through the online parts lists from 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005. There were no changes in any of the major engine components. Now Polaris did say that changes were made in the 04 model year to "increase performance" and as far as I can tell the only thing different is the shape of the exhaust pipe and air intake box. The jets, needles, main jets and pistons are all the same part numbers which are the main components discussed in this bulletin. That said the new needles and needle jets are in the 2006. This leads me to believe that the changes made to the intake and exhaust are the culprit and thus resulted in to lean a burn under certain conditions (IE operation at a constant speed between 1/4 and 1/2 throttle). I'm not a huge expert on the subject just speculating...

Knowing there is a team tip on your sled is the luck of the draw, unless you know to perodically go down to your dealer and ask for one, you'd never know it exists, and that's only if the dealer is willing to hook you up. Thankfully the service manager at the dealer I took mine to offered this information to me, otherwise I'd never know any different. The only thing they have to notify you of is recalls, which ironically mine has one on the gas tank.
 

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All-

Thought I would pass this along to you all so that what happend to me will not happen to you. I currently own a 2004 Sport Touring, 1800 miles, 550 F/C motor. Great sled and in mint condition. Now let me first preface this by saying that this sled has been cared for, not ridden hard and I regularly do all the recommended maintenance as required. This was also NOT MODIFIED, 100% stock.

Last week I was out riding, crusing around 35-40 MPH and the sled slowly started to loose power, eventually it died. After doing a quick check of everything I could think of I attempted to restart. Well it ran, but like dog meat. Finally was able to determine that it was running on one cylinder. Checked spark, OK, checked fuel, OK, put my finger over the plug hole and it seemed to have compression but no go. Well I got some guys to give me a hand in towing it back to the truck, loaded it up and went over to my local Polaris dealer. Service manager takes my sled in, comes back 15 minutes later tells me that I popped a piston and the engine needs a rebuild. Um, say what? Not sure he was pulling my leg I took my sled home. However before I did he did give me a "tech tip" concerning piston seizure in these engines, and told me that this is not the first of it's kind he has had to fix.

After I got home I pulled the head cover off and sure enough the piston on the pull side was wasted, blown right through and pieces of piston and rings had been in the combustion chamber, the cylinder wall was all scored up and boy what a mess. Needless to say I was very upset. Before I went any further I decided to call Polaris. After talking to thier warranty department they pretty much told me there was nothing they could do. It was out of warranty. When I pressed the guy on the phone about the "tech tip" that I had which specifically addressed this exact failure (I'll get into the details of that later) he had no answer. The net sum was that Polaris was not going to do a thing about this.

So what about this "tech tip" you ask. Well it seems as though there was enough of a problem with the way these engines were configured when they shipped that in at least some of them this failure occured. This tip covers all 2004 550 Fan cooled engines and select 2005 engines manufatured before September 2004. It covers three areas. It calls for a change in the piston to cylinder wall clearance, it calls for the needle jets and jet needles to be changed and finally an adjustment to the air screw settings. The tech tip number is S-04-09-02. The techincal specs are as follows:

Piston to cylinder wall clearance must fall between .114 and .135 MM. This same clearance must be met if going over sized with an OEM piston

Change needle jets to Q-4 480 (PN 3131593) this part number has been superseeded by this (PN 3130947)

Change jet needles to 6BGY-41 (PN 3131592)

When installing jet needle ensure the E clip is in the #3 position and adjust the air screw to 3/4 turn out on soft seat EXCEPT for 04-05 Trail RMK and 04 PRO X Fan.


I highly suggest if you have a sled that falls under this "team tip" you make these adjustments now or risk having your engine blow up.

Now lucky for me I do my own mechanical work and rebuilt the engine on my own. The total cost was just shy of 500.00 for a .5MM over bore with new Wiesco pistons. Both cylinders were done even though my local dealer said only one needed to be done. I'm not a proponent of running a motor like this with different bores. I had to completely tear the engine down to clean up all the exploded piston and ring parts out of the top and lower end. It even blew pieces into the air box and exhaust pipe. I have pictures that document the entire teardown and show up close the carnage my engine suffered. I posted pix in my "member gallery" to document the entire rebuild.


It could have been a lot worse so I am thankful of that. This by no means indicates the engine is a bad powerplant, rather it was misconfigured and as such failed. I cannot express my disappointment in the fact that Polaris would not even admit that there was a problem when I was on the phone with them, nor even when asked pay for the labor to fix it with my offer to pay for the parts which I thought under the circumstances was a fair compromise all things considered.

My other beef is that since this is known to happen enough to justify a "team tip" then at least Polaris should make it a point to notify those that own these sleds that they risk damaging thier engines if action is not taken.
Thanks but question do you happen to know what it is for the pro x
 
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