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  1. #1

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    2001 Polaris TXi Broken Spark Plug and no Fuel Pressure (broken crankcase)

    Sorry for being long winded here.....I just joined greenhulk after visiting the site multiple times and reading K447's postings on problems with Polaris PWCs. I picked up a 2001 Polaris Virage TXi this year which I fixed the MFI display, blown fuse, new battery and everything seems to work fine for a while. Last time out on the ski (3 weeks ago) it acted like it was bogging down no response to throttle. Someone got on it after me and the issue went away. Ran great all day then I went on it for the last run around the lake worked fine, then bogged down at the and and died. After trying to start it multiple times, the starter burned out.

    I put new NGK PZFR6H plugs in (previous owner had AC Delco), new starter, rebuilt the jet pump (new drive shift bumpers and oring, new brearings, seals, etc.) After a couple of times trying to start in the the garage it finally turned over with some coaxing. Took it to the lake, it would idle, but no power then die. After reviewing everything, I found the middle cylinder spark plug broken and could remove it by hand. I did torque it to specs when installed. (I did drop one spark plug in the garage and thought maybe it was me). I went and got another spark plug and tried it at the lake again, same problem, it would idle really rough and today I found the same broken spark plug on the middle cylinder with a properly torqued new plug and it was loose (could remove it by hand).

    I did check the voltage on the white/red wire ~20 V initially and jumped to ~44.7V steady and then slow decay down to 0.

    Not thinking that the new plug was broken, since I just installed it, I did get a fuel pressure checker from O'Reilly's and it read 0 PSI. Since this is my first time using one, I thought I was doing something wrong and picked one up from Harbor Freight. Again, 0 PSI and I checked it with my air compressor and it worked. There was fuel in the pressure gauge lines so I believe I was using it correctly. I ordered a fuel pump rebuild kit and TPS sensor (the EC1098 one seen from another posting).

    I did stick a pin through the brown wire on the fuel pump ground and grounded it to the engine. I heard the pump running (doesn't make much noise), but still no pressure on the fuel guage.

    One final thing, when the starter fried, there was an electrical burning smell. Same smell from the old starter when removed. Now with the new starter there appears to be exhaust gas (some smoke) in the hull when idling and more when I try to press the throttle and it revs a little (not much revving).

    Questions:
    1. Will the ski idle roughly with no fuel pressure and would this cause the ski to bog down with pressing the throttle.
    2. What is causing the middle cylinder to break the spark plug just installed and become untorqued? Maybe also a cause of the rough idle?
    3. How long does the fuel pump need to run to build up pressure?
    4. Any idea of what is causing smoke in the hull? All exhaust manifold connections, water to exhaust seems Ok and rubber lines appear good. I really could tell where the smoke was coming from.

    Below is a picture of the brand new spark plug installed yesterday and the damage it incurred. Thanks and sorry for the length of the posting. - Mark
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  2. #2
    Click avatar for tech links/info K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdw View Post
    Sorry for being long winded here.....I just joined greenhulk after visiting the site multiple times and reading K447's postings on problems with Polaris PWCs. I picked up a 2001 Polaris Virage TXi this year which I fixed the MFI display, blown fuse, new battery and everything seems to work fine for a while. Last time out on the ski (3 weeks ago) it acted like it was bogging down no response to throttle. Someone got on it after me and the issue went away. Ran great all day then I went on it for the last run around the lake worked fine, then bogged down at the and and died. After trying to start it multiple times, the starter burned out.

    I put new NGK PZFR6H plugs in (previous owner had AC Delco), new starter, rebuilt the jet pump (new drive shift bumpers and oring, new brearings, seals, etc.) After a couple of times trying to start in the the garage it finally turned over with some coaxing. Took it to the lake, it would idle, but no power then die. After reviewing everything, I found the middle cylinder spark plug broken and could remove it by hand. I did torque it to specs when installed. (I did drop one spark plug in the garage and thought maybe it was me). I went and got another spark plug and tried it at the lake again, same problem, it would idle really rough and today I found the same broken spark plug on the middle cylinder with a properly torqued new plug and it was loose (could remove it by hand).

    I did check the voltage on the white/red wire ~20 V initially and jumped to ~44.7V steady and then slow decay down to 0.

    Not thinking that the new plug was broken, since I just installed it, I did get a fuel pressure checker from O'Reilly's and it read 0 PSI. Since this is my first time using one, I thought I was doing something wrong and picked one up from Harbor Freight. Again, 0 PSI and I checked it with my air compressor and it worked. There was fuel in the pressure gauge lines so I believe I was using it correctly. I ordered a fuel pump rebuild kit and TPS sensor (the EC1098 one seen from another posting).

    I did stick a pin through the brown wire on the fuel pump ground and grounded it to the engine. I heard the pump running (doesn't make much noise), but still no pressure on the fuel guage.

    One final thing, when the starter fried, there was an electrical burning smell. Same smell from the old starter when removed. Now with the new starter there appears to be exhaust gas (some smoke) in the hull when idling and more when I try to press the throttle and it revs a little (not much revving).

    Questions:
    1. Will the ski idle roughly with no fuel pressure and would this cause the ski to bog down with pressing the throttle. Yes, it can cause this sort of symptom.
    2. What is causing the middle cylinder to break the spark plug just installed and become untorqued? Maybe also a cause of the rough idle?
    3. How long does the fuel pump need to run to build up pressure?
    about 2 seconds or less.
    4. Any idea of what is causing smoke in the hull? All exhaust manifold connections, water to exhaust seems Ok and rubber lines appear good. I really could tell where the smoke was coming from.

    Below is a picture of the brand new spark plug installed yesterday and the damage it incurred. Thanks and sorry for the length of the posting. - Mark
    Broken spark plug is an odd thing for a Ficht engine. Is it possible the spark plug hole in the head is stripped or cross threaded?

    Check the cylinder head bolts for correct torque. If the head is not tight it will cause lots of problems. If the bolts are loose then you may need to remove the head and check the O-rings under the head. They can be damaged if the engine is run with the head loose.

    Exhaust inside the hull can come from the resonators. Remove them and inspect for splits or melting at the ends.
    Last edited by K447; 08-21-2016 at 09:14 PM.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by K447 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mdw View Post
    Sorry for being long winded here.....I just joined greenhulk after visiting the site multiple times and reading K447's postings on problems with Polaris PWCs. I picked up a 2001 Polaris Virage TXi this year which I fixed the MFI display, blown fuse, new battery and everything seems to work fine for a while. Last time out on the ski (3 weeks ago) it acted like it was bogging down no response to throttle. Someone got on it after me and the issue went away. Ran great all day then I went on it for the last run around the lake worked fine, then bogged down at the and and died. After trying to start it multiple times, the starter burned out.

    I put new NGK PZFR6H plugs in (previous owner had AC Delco), new starter, rebuilt the jet pump (new drive shift bumpers and oring, new brearings, seals, etc.) After a couple of times trying to start in the the garage it finally turned over with some coaxing. Took it to the lake, it would idle, but no power then die. After reviewing everything, I found the middle cylinder spark plug broken and could remove it by hand. I did torque it to specs when installed. (I did drop one spark plug in the garage and thought maybe it was me). I went and got another spark plug and tried it at the lake again, same problem, it would idle really rough and today I found the same broken spark plug on the middle cylinder with a properly torqued new plug and it was loose (could remove it by hand).

    I did check the voltage on the white/red wire ~20 V initially and jumped to ~44.7V steady and then slow decay down to 0.

    Not thinking that the new plug was broken, since I just installed it, I did get a fuel pressure checker from O'Reilly's and it read 0 PSI. Since this is my first time using one, I thought I was doing something wrong and picked one up from Harbor Freight. Again, 0 PSI and I checked it with my air compressor and it worked. There was fuel in the pressure gauge lines so I believe I was using it correctly. I ordered a fuel pump rebuild kit and TPS sensor (the EC1098 one seen from another posting).

    I did stick a pin through the brown wire on the fuel pump ground and grounded it to the engine. I heard the pump running (doesn't make much noise), but still no pressure on the fuel guage.

    One final thing, when the starter fried, there was an electrical burning smell. Same smell from the old starter when removed. Now with the new starter there appears to be exhaust gas (some smoke) in the hull when idling and more when I try to press the throttle and it revs a little (not much revving).

    Questions:
    1. Will the ski idle roughly with no fuel pressure and would this cause the ski to bog down with pressing the throttle. Yes, it can cause this sort of symptom.
    2. What is causing the middle cylinder to break the spark plug just installed and become untorqued? Maybe also a cause of the rough idle?
    3. How long does the fuel pump need to run to build up pressure?
    about 2 seconds or less.
    4. Any idea of what is causing smoke in the hull? All exhaust manifold connections, water to exhaust seems Ok and rubber lines appear good. I really could tell where the smoke was coming from.

    Below is a picture of the brand new spark plug installed yesterday and the damage it incurred. Thanks and sorry for the length of the posting. - Mark
    Broken s-ark plug is an odd thing for a Fciht engine. Is it possible the spark plug hole in the head is stripped or cross threaded?

    Check the cylinder head bolts for correct torque. If the head is not tight it will cause lots of problems. If the bolts are loose then you may need to remove the head and check the O-rings under the head. They can be damaged if the engine is run with the head loose.

    Exhaust inside the hull can come from the resonators. Remove them and inspect for splits or melting at the ends.

    Thanks for the reply K447.
    I think I'll get a new cylinder head if possible. I'll also vacuum out the middle piston if there is any debris inside.
    As far as cross threading, the plug threaded just fine and torqued to 18 ft.lb without a problem. It is the strangest thing that a brand new plug torqued properly would totally break and become loose.

    2 seconds or less on the fuel pressure certainly means that I have a problem with the fuel pump. No pressure was seen after about 10 seconds of grounding the brown wire.

    Time to look for a new cylinder head! Oy!

  4. #4
    martincom's Avatar
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    mdw,

    You need to reinforce the Fuel Pressure Regulator (FPR). The FPR falling off into the fuel tank is not a "may" happen problem, but a when will it happen problem on any FICHT injected Polaris. Your fuel pump is probably fine, as you've already checked it by grounding the brown wire and hearing it running. If you want to verify it is OK and your FPR has fallen off, ground it again and pinch off the return fuel line after the Schrader valve with some hose pinch pliers or needle nose pliers with the jaws wrapped in tape. You should see the fuel pressure jump to about 30 psi.

    See this post on repairing your FPR: http://www.greenhulk.net/forums/showthread.php?t=77110

    Make sure you do the thread hose barb method.

    You do not want to run the engine other than briefly with low fuel pressure. You'll burn holes through pistons from the lean mixture.

    Exhaust resonators can also split from mis-fires (aka: backfires)---I just repaired one http://www.greenhulk.net/forums/showthread.php?t=251694

    What are utilizing for a spark plug socket? I don't use the rubber booted sockets---they break more plugs than they ever protect. I just use a regular 6-point deep socket and have never had an issue. Of course, you want to keep one hand on top of the socket to keep it from cocking while tightening. If not that, I'd guess you have something that is hitting it.

  5. #5

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    Thanks martincom for the information....I'll go back and pinch off the return line while grounding the brown wire. I did pinch a line, but I guess it wasn't the return line. So the return line, with supposedly the pressure regulator, is the one with the Schrader valve? I thought this line was the supply line. I'll do this tomorrow evening after work.

    I checked out out the post for the barb method and book marked it for the near future.

    I also ordered a new "used" cylinder head cover since I don't trust how my spark plug became loose after being torqued properly. I'm also wondering if the exhaust fumes were pushed out of the loose spark plug. I don't remember if I used a socket with a rubber boot or not. Once I have the new cylinder head on, I'll get another one of those expensive spark plugs .

  6. #6
    Click avatar for tech links/info K447's Avatar
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    On the MSX 140 the ignition coils are mounted to a metal plate, right below the spark plugs.

    Make sure that plate and both coils are solidly mounted, no bolts worked loose or fallen out.

  7. #7
    Click avatar for tech links/info K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdw View Post
    ... the return line, with supposedly the pressure regulator, is the one with the Schrader valve

    I also ordered a new "used" cylinder head cover since I don't trust how my spark plug became loose after being torqued properly. I'm also wondering if the exhaust fumes were pushed out of the loose spark plug. I don't remember if I used a socket with a rubber boot or not. Once I have the new cylinder head on, I'll get another one of those expensive spark plugs .
    Use new o-rings when you install the replacement cylinder head. Make sure the grooves for the O-rings on the cylinder top are clean and square edged, no nicks or rough spots.

    clean the cylinder bolt holes with a thread tap, apply new Loktite during re-assembly.

    Note that the Ficht cylinder head configuration has a tiny o-ring under each bolt head on a Ficht engine. The bolt is exposed to the cooling water and the tiny o-rings are the only seal between each bolt and the cylinder head holes.

    Some guys omit the tiny o-rings and apply a very thin bead of sealant under each bolt head around the bolt shaft.

  8. #8
    Click avatar for tech links/info K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martincom View Post
    ...

    What are utilizing for a spark plug socket? I don't use the rubber booted sockets---they break more plugs than they ever protect. I just use a regular 6-point deep socket and have never had an issue. Of course, you want to keep one hand on top of the socket to keep it from cocking while tightening. If not that, I'd guess you have something that is hitting it.
    I do use a rubber booted spark plug socket, but I do not use a ratchet drive wrench on Ficht spark plugs.

    My spark plug socket has an external hex on the socket end. I use a regular box end wrench to apply torque to the plug socket. It is an angled wrench so the torque moment is roughly in plane with the spark plug base.

    Do not over torque the spark plugs.

    Looks like this.


  9. #9
    martincom's Avatar
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    Yes, if someone hasn't flipped things around, the return line is the line with the Schrader valve.

    You may want to do a search on here for a bore scope before getting into a cylinder head swap. Someone posted something that works on here not to long ago that was pretty affordable. I would think if something was hitting the plug, in the chamber, the tip would be all mushed and you'd see it in a compression test as well.

    If it isn't too bad, start checking for signs of soot around the exhaust components. The resonators are known to leak from being overheated or cracked from mis-fires. Sometimes, it is difficult to see a crack with the naked eye. You may to pull them off and plug one with a tennis ball or similar and use the blower output from a shop vac to pressurize the other end. Submerge it in a tub of water and look for bubbles. You only want a few psi, definitely not shop compressed air.

  10. #10

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    Thanks K447 and martincom,
    I should note that when I bought the TXi, the middle cylinder head cover (the one that is now breaking spark plugs) had one of the cooling line bolts snapped off. I had previously removed the cylinder head cover and used MAP gas to heat up the remaining bolt and un-threaded it. I think someone cross threaded this bolt since a new one just barely holds and doesn't torque to specs. When I put this cylinder head cover back on, I did torque all the cover bolts and the Ficht injector to specifications (I have the downloaded service manual). All spark plugs in the ski were AC Delco type...don't remember the number since I threw them away when I bought the new NGK ones. The ski really didn't idle well, but ran very well at other speeds with the AC Delco. I did compare the length of the NGK to the AC Delco and it appears the NGK are longer into the cylinder head cover.
    Anyway, I will remove the existing cylinder head cover and replace it with the one I receive. I don't remember seeing tiny orings around the head of the cylinder head cover bolts. I guess I'll use gasket sealant instead.

    As far as the orings between the cylinder head cover and the piston housing (sorry if wrong terms), I remember only seeing one, but I believe there are supposed to be two. Any idea of where these can be obtained? I would like to get new ones.

    One other question....I was checking the water path for any obstructions, I was checking also the thermostat pop off assembly. When I disassembled it I saw the pop off valve and spring and the oring (kind of figure 8 ). I did not see the thermostat and (boot?) (see red circled items in the pic) unless it was still in the upper red cooling rail. I'll check again, but if the thermostat is missing, would this be a problem?
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    Last edited by K447; 08-22-2016 at 07:52 AM.

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