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  1. #1
    CoastalGSD's Avatar
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    SL780 - Adventures on Craigslist

    I am very happy to have my Sl780 up and running again. I was sipping around for about 2 hours yesterday, and it is running great! However, I have come to the conclusion that I get a bit bored riding around by myself, so I have been scoping for another ski. It is hard to find an older ski down here at the coast, I think the salt water killed most of them off. A few weeks ago I spotted a pair on CL, about 2 hours inland. The guy was a bit evasive, and said one needed "work".... when pressed he finally stated that it had a blown motor. The second one "runs". (He sent a short cell phone video). No trailer...they were sitting in the back of large storage unit on old tires. Water test was not a possibility. I figured what the hell, let's give it a shot. I got the pair for $600. Just a bill of sale, but I am pretty sure I can procure a title if I get one running.

    Both skis appear to have been used in fresh water....no pitting/corrosion on the motors or around the jet pump. They are originally from Tennessee. Both are 96 SL780s like my original ski. As a bonus, both also had nice OEM Polaris covers in the storage bin up front!! A little musty, but very functional.

    The first ski (parts ski) is pretty clean, but had a tragic end at some point. PTO piston is smashed, head is pitted, and rod is broken. A piece of the lower rod bearing is wedged down in the crank. Everything else looks pretty tidy, and the MFD lit right up when I connected a battery. I have already swapped the seat from this ski to my running ski as it is in great shape aside from being faded.


    The second ski is also very clean, with the exception of seat which has a tear near the back. MFD is toast---full of water, no signs of life. Buttons look good, but display is gone. I put a teaspoon or so of gas/oil in each carb and it fired up for a fuel seconds until it burned off the fuel. I will try and do a compression test this weekend. It looks promising for this one. I will look at it and maybe see if I can pull the carbs off for starters. This will be the ski that I will try to get running with everyone's help.

    I will try and get some pics tomorrow.

    On a side note, there was a SL900 on CL today...for parts. The guy said parts of the motor were missing. I decided to go take a look since it was sort of on the way home from work. Missing parts was the understatement of the year...this thing was stripped! No motor, no pump. Even the motor cradle was MIA. It is in the back of a storage yard, so apparently someone pillaged for scrap steel. Whoever tore it apart left the electrical box open, so that is a rusty and useless mess. Surprisingly, the MFD was still there, and looked dry. I pried it out and shook it....it rattled. Ack. I gave the guy 2 bucks for it just for the hell of it. (That's the number he came up with....like a lottery ticket). I came home and pried out the water logged MFD...same oval and same model number. Plugged in my salvage MFD and bumped the motor on ski. Holy cow...the thing seems to work. Display is a bit dim, but it works. Who knows how long it will last, but better than nothing!! Score!!!!

    Maybe I can send the waterlogged on to K447 in case he is still looking for buttons for his project MFDs


  2. #2
    I like pipes. I love boost Mr. GP1800's Avatar
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    The rattling in the MFD is a packet of silica for a dessicant.

  3. #3
    CoastalGSD's Avatar
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    Thanks Mr Matrix! Good to know! I have never taken out of ski before, so I did not know. My water logged one does not rattle....
    Makes sense!!

  4. #4
    Click avatar for tech links/info K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoastalGSD View Post
    ...

    Maybe I can send the waterlogged on to K447 in case he is still looking for buttons for his project MFDs
    I will take it

  5. #5
    CoastalGSD's Avatar
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    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	365274k447, PM sent This is what it looks like

  6. #6
    Click avatar for tech links/info K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoastalGSD View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	MFD.JPG 
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ID:	365274k447, PM sent This is what it looks like
    Sure looks wet inside!

    PM reply sent

  7. #7
    CoastalGSD's Avatar
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    Decided to investigate the healthier of the 2 SL780s. I put a few drops of two cycle oil in the cylinders and sprayed a bit of carb cleaner in the carbs and let her sit for a while. I did a compression test with a fresh battery---MAG 90, CEN 90, PTO 75. Not good. I retested with a second battery the next day and got same results. It is a Harbor Freight tool, so maybe not so accurate, but obviously the difference with the PTO is not good even if the guage is not properly calibrated.

    I mixed some gas/oil in a squirt bottle and started the ski. I let it run for about 15 seconds or so, and was just squirting the gas/oil directly into the carbs. It seemed to run uniformly.

    I removed the cylinder heads to look at the pistons. PTO appears to be running lean I think....there is a dime sized indentation in the center of the top of pistion. It is not through the top, but clearly visible that material is missing. CEN looks decent from what I can see (based on reading all the posts and looking at pics!). The MAG is intact as well, but had a really strange milky white wash on it?? I took a swab at it, and it is feeling like fine grit/sand is in there. Odd?? Is this perhaps the gunk that comes from the original grey fuel lines disintegrating??

    SO, based on the pics, what should I do next??
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  8. #8
    CoastalGSD's Avatar
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    Close up of pistons: Pics are out of order...PTO is on left, MAG is center pic, and CEN is last pic

    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9
    Sooo...how much for the 780? stimpsonjcat's Avatar
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    Good news is the center looks OK.

    But the PTO has gone or is going lean and you are eroding the piston top.

    Really bad news is the milky stuff is water mixed with oil.

    If it were mine the engine would be coming out and getting rebuilt. I suspect something is warped or cracked on the MAG, and that the rear seals are leaking causing that cylinder to be lean. But with your compression numbers I also suspect cylinder/piston/ring damage.

  10. #10

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    It shall live...SOON not bad for 600 bucks, heck around here that might have bought the broken one!

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