Just so no one misunderstands, I’m not jumping up and down screaming “Polaris Sucks” or trying to convince anyone not to buy a Polaris. I just want people to know what I have had to deal with when my Polaris had a problem. I purchased a 2005 Polaris Phoenix for my son 12 months ago and it has been in and out of the shop for 10 of those months. The thing would not start 8 of 10 attempts when it’s cold. If the Phoenix didn’t start right away it was pretty much done for the day. On 4 different occasions we drove 250 miles to upper Michigan, only to be left “hanging” at a trailhead because the Phoenix won’t start again. We tried every technique to start it (half choke, full choke, no choke, tap the throttle, don’t touch the throttle, etc…). This caused quite a dilemma as we had 5 people and 4 (running) machines. Obviously we were not going to leave my son sitting in the van at the trailhead so we packed up and called it a day. When we returned home we would check it back in for service and the dealer would call Polaris and patiently spend his time (most of which I’m sure was not reimbursed) going through every half cocked "fix" and “try this” that the Polaris resolution team could think up to try and correct the problem (new plug, jets, swapped carb, check valves, stator output, loose wires, coil output, etc...) and the thing still wouldn't start worth a damn. The "Polaris Resolution Team" even had him grind something off the choke lever on the bars to help the choke close all the way. This went on for 10 Months and none of these “fixes” ever worked.
I understood when I purchased the Phoenix that it was a new model and there could be problems. I was O.K. with that, as long as Polaris stood behind it. When I called Polaris myself to find out what we had to do to get the problem resolved, I was told “you can take it to a different dealer”. Great, after all the dealer has done to help me and stand behind the Polaris product, they “threw the dealer under the bus”. Well the dealer didn’t O.E.M. this “Aeon Cobra 220”, Polaris did.
Finally, after getting jerked around by Polaris for 10 months and out of sheer desperation, I called Rick Ritter in Illinois and I must say that Rick is one of the coolest people I have never met. Rick took time out of his busy day to talk with me on the phone, listening to my problem and suggested that I try closing the gap on the spark plug to about 15 to 20 and see if that helps it start. After adjusting the plug, I cannot get this thing to “Not Start”. Flood it, choke it, don’t choke it, it doesn’t matter. The thing starts anyway. I tuned the carb and this thing starts and runs like a champ. Hats off to Rick.
As for Polaris being a company that stands behind their product, or even has a clue, Buyer Beware!
a kid we ride with has a sawtooth, same thing as phoenix and I'm not impressed with the machine at all, it seems like it has to rev too high to get moving and it has the same starting problems yours had. not my machine so it's not my problem, thats just what i saw of it.
good to hear you got the problem sorted out though.
I hear most of the o5s have problems, including my stepsons. But everthing I hear is that they got it right on the o6s. I know that don't help us, but, well I'm not sure. I have learned not to buy a first year edition of any thing from now on.
I have worked in this business for over 20 years as a self employeed shop owner . I was around back in the early years when you only had a few models from the Japanese big three to work with . In late 1993 polaris took their utility liquid cooled 350 and made it into a 400 . They stripped down one version and added a decal that said "Sport" . I went out and bought one and started making hop ups for it reasoning Polaris would continue this venue which they did until the 400 was discontinued just a few years ago . I have done well for myself in this business and do believe my small company is close to the top in polaris ATV modifications . I still do a lot of work on even the older big three Japanese models that got things started for me .
This day and age with Preditors , YFZ'z , and 450 hondas that are out I really don't want to battle for business on these machines . I do work on them but honestly , I don't care to mess with them all that much . Long gone are the days when Honda released something good to work with like the 400EX or the 300EX. The new engines are very hi output out of the box and if you are an avid forum reader you know all the trouble poeple have with them - very expensive to modify - and all to frequently very short lived . I don't want much to do with it . I don't like to explain why the new quad you have just spent $2000 on mod parts is a smoldering heap of crap after a short time - it's just me - I prefer happy customers .
I picked up a Phoenix in April of 2005 to work with and have developed a good exhaust and am preparing to install a ported head and bigger cam on my test unit . My days are busy and things don't happen as quickly as I like on the Phoenix but I am going to continue working with it figuring out it's problems and quirks. Polaris has updated and improved this model from 2005 to 2006 and they will continue to . I also believe Polaris will keep this machine in the line-up for several years .
The Phoenix has a durable frame and the engine itself is pretty durable . The problems I hear about are of course the lack of power , hard starting problems , and some electrical problems. The plastic and the way it mounts is very cheap and really should have been done better for the long haul . I do not think it is the best entry level machine on the market - however - I am in the business of fixing problems and since the Phoenix is here to stay I am going to work with it to correct some of the inherant problems . For me it is more entertaining and challanging that trying to twist more power out of a YFZ or a Preditor. I think I can make happy customers by working with it - plus - it sounds like fun to me .
If you have friends with Phoenixes I would like you to forward my name allong and help me cultivate another nitch of my business .
When I sat down to put together my origional post my intention was more of a thank you to Rick Ritter than a bashing of Polaris, but as I typed the more pissed I got about the 10 month run around I got from Polaris. They never really seemed concerned about the problems I was having, I just got the feeling that they were waiting for the warranty to run out so I would go away. The dealer, Winners Powersports in Woodhaven Michigan was as helpful as they could be. Also yourself Rick, for taking time to help me when you didn't have to. At the time I wasn't calling to buy anything just ask you're advice. I am sure that in the future any "spend on the Phoenix dollars" that I have, will come you're way.
My son and I we're coming home from upper Michigan a couple of weeks ago and a guy passed us with a Phoenix on his trailer. I told my son that if he pulled off at a rest stop we would stop and see how he likes his Phoenix. Well we pulled off and talked to the guy. He mentioned that his is hard to start and backfires alot but the dealer has been unable to correct the problems. We let him know how to correct both problems and told him that when its time to make any modifications to it, do a web search for a guy named Rick Ritter in Illinois. I taught my son that when someone helps you out you need to pass it on. Thats what makes this such a great sport.
Last night I realized that because of all the starting problems we have had with this Phoenix, the starter now sounds like a coffee grinder. This added to the fact that we have only had this thing 2 of the last 12 months. I called Polaris support and asked them to extend the warranty on my Phoenix for a period of time or at a minimum, cover the starter under warranty. Jim in customer service (who I have spoke with many times before) said "sorry, can't do that". He did offer to help me purchase some great Polaris accessories at a discounted price.[img]i/expressions/face-icon-small-confused.gif[/img]
Now, I'm done with Polaris! (at least after I eat new starter)
Bansai, I feel you're pain.
We still like the Phoenix. I'm just fed up with Polaris not standing behind me after I bought a "first year" product from them. After I reset the spark plug gap to 17 instead of 25 the thing starts and runs like a charm. My concern now is when something breaks i'm going to get shafted on the price of the parts.
Well I have a Polaris Outlaw and it's awesome, all of their machines aren't like this and the engine is not Polaris it is made in Taiwan not bashing it just stating a fact my son has a e-ton 70 and it's took all the abuse. My point because of one machine don't bash Polaris.
Hey Zoomer99, thanks for sharing that spark plug gap fix. Ours does the same thing. I'm gonna give it a try. Are you still running the stock plug? If not what plug are you using? Riding them is fun, fixing them aint!
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