The stop ride/stop sale edict that Polaris issued for a decade worth of snowmobiles continues as summer transitions to fall, but Polaris officials say fixes to the problems have been identified.
The order, issued August 30, affects 230,000 snowmobiles in all, including 2021-23 models in the Matryx chassis, 2015-22 models in the Axys chassis and even some Pro-Ride chassis trail sleds dating back to 2013-14. It is related to electrostatic discharge from in-tank fuel pumps that could lead to fires, though just 30 incidences, 16 fires and 1 injury has been reported in that 10 years worth of sleds.
In recent updates, Polaris officials have said that fixes for the problems that are have been identified, but the actual repairs have to go through a rigorous testing and validation process and gain Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) buy-in before they’ll be rolled out to dealers to fix.
Now it’s a race against the calendar, as winter closes in.
Behind The Problem
On background, we learned from Polaris officials that there are actually three different fuel pumps that Polaris has used in its snowmobiles in different applications over the last decade. All are from the same vendor, and all have the same potential flaw.
The fix varies between the three pumps, but each one has been identified and is going through testing, we were told. Each will involve removing those fuel pumps and either replacing the fuel pump or modifying them before reinstalling.
In an online video, Polaris Staff Design Engineer Matt Prusak (no relation to this magazine’s editor with the same last name) covered some important topics. It is posted below.
Polaris officials also said that they are investigating ways to send help to dealerships once the fixes get the OK, because they obviously have a LOT of snowmobiles to fix across the Snowbelt.
Here is the word-for-word transcription of the Polaris video, with items in all capital letters being the on-screen questions between Mr. Prusak’s answers:
“My name is Matt Prusak, I am a senior staff engineer with the snow team in Roseau, I have been with the company for 16 years. My team is responsible for the chassis, steering, suspension and fuel systems for the snowmobiles.”
WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH THE FIX PROCESS?
“There have been a lot of questions about what has been happening with this fix process and we think that it’s very important to reiterate that, first we are very focused on the safety of our product. We have a fix identified for every snowmobile that is affected by this ‘stop ride’ and we are in the final stages of validation of that fix. We are also ramping up our supply chain to quickly react and get parts to dealers, and build clean product on our production line.”
IF I JUST PUT FRESH GAS IN, WILL THAT BE ENOUGH?
“The question is: ‘If I just top off my fuel tank or put in fresh gas, does that fix the problem?’ The answer is ‘No.’ You shouldn’t ride your snowmobile without bringing it in to your dealer and having this fix installed. Only if you need to move your snowmobile should you top the fuel tank fully before you do that.”
HOW IS POLARIS PLANNING TO HELP GET SLEDS FIXED QUICKLY FOR THE COMING SEASON?
“We want to reiterate again that we are focused on safety. There are engineers and validation team members working around the clock and on weekends to validate this fix as quickly as possible. At the same time we are ramping up our supply chain so that we can begin to deliver the components needed for this to the field as quickly as possible.”
Editor’s Note: Every issue of Snow Goer magazine includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more! This story is from the November 2021 issue’s Cold Tested department. Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive issues delivered to your door or your computer for a low cost.