Top critical review
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Polaris isn't what it used to be anymore
on April 5, 2015
I bought this sweep because I had owned an earlier version of it which had functioned reliably for well over 10 years. I replaced that older 380 with a Polaris 280, which lasted less than a year in service, and never functioned properly when it was in the pool. So, with one good Polaris experience (the original 380) and one poor Polaris experience (the replacement 280) under my belt, I gave them another chance, and bought this 380.
When it runs, it works well, but it has a bad habit of locking the wheels, which requires me to remove it from the pools and manually push the wheels into rotation again. After that, it may function well for a few minutes or a few days, but never as reliably as its forebearer.
After a few sessions of breaking the wheels free by hand, I disassembled it to see why it was locking (something the first 380 NEVER did in the many years that I owned it). Firstly, I noticed that the scroll housing which covers the impeller wheel is held in place by a single screw, a method which does not bode well for reliability.
Then I noticed that the hose fitting which secured the input hose to the single jet plenum in the venturi tube was covered in a thick gob of what looks like white silastic; the two hose connectors leading to the two-jet plenum on the other side of the venturi tube are correctly fastened with no sealer in sight.
I sent pictures to the Zodiac support man who answered my telephone inquiry, and asked him why a brand-new Polaris (sold by Amazon Direct, by the way) should look like it had been patched before it was sold, rather than have the (probable) leaking parts replaced before the piece shipped out.
After he saw the photos that I sent to him, he replied, and I quote:
"I talked with my Lead Tech. and he stated that all the cleaners are coming out of the factory that way now. I apologize for it looking that way but it should not affect your cleaner. As far as the one screw holding that plastic together has been tested and we have not had any known problems with the design."
In my opinion, Polaris is de-contenting their designs, which is a euphemism for cheapening them, and I sincerely suggest that buyers of their equipment think carefully before committing to the purchase of these pieces of equipment, because they are singularly expensive ab initio.
As for me, I've bought my last Polaris/Zodiac product.