PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS THREAD UNTIL I LITERALLY SAY " FEEL FREE TO RESPOND". I have to format it as several replies to myself for the images to wind up in the correct order...and I'm heavily medicated at the moment. Thank you.
This is long-winded but very important. I want everybody to see what is going on with the "Door Separation issue". Feel free to link to it from other forums, Facebook, etc. Polaris needs to see "numbers" to accept that this is a widespread issue and needs to be properly addressed by them. Polaris will be provided a link to this thread.
Okay, for those who don't know what this is all about, here's the backstory. My 4 month old, $20,000 Polaris General with a $2000 extended warranty has a problem with the door skins separating (among other issues). I took it to the dealer for a warranty claim. When I picked it up a week later I was told that to replicate the problem the Polaris representative had to "slam the door shut so hard it nearly tore off the hinges". Polaris sent them a PowerPoint on how to install some zip-ties on the inner structure and the claim was denied/closed. I was not pleased. The dealer told me to take it up with Polaris and gave me their 800 number. Here's the video I made the morning after picking it up from the dealer. https://youtu.be/XkroBDx960I
Hmmmm, had to really slam it to replicate that problem eh? Turns out the Polaris rep in question was in Minnesota...1300 miles away from my machine in Idaho...looking at a Polaris General that sits in a warehouse at Polaris headquarters. Because that machine didn't have a problem there was no problem with my machine according to Polaris. I began to wonder if the 1000XP in that warehouse was currently on fire since they did a recall on those but I decided that was off-subject so I let it go.
At this point Polaris' stand is that I haven't proven that there is a defect in the door skins and that my 5'3" 110lb girlfriend must have pulled a Magilla Gorilla and created this problem. Actually they didn't blame her specifically but she's the only one getting in and out of that door. She was not pleased.
From my first contact with Polaris Corporate on July 26th I asked if I could disassemble the door myself to investigate. They claim they needed more specific info on the flaw from me although they wouldn't say what would constitute sufficient evidence of a defect. I wanted to ensure they wouldn't void my warranty. After multiple emails back and forth where they continued to not answer those questions I grew tired of waiting for a response. I gathered the hardware and disassembled the door on Aug 4th to install my own solution and to gather info on the root cause of the defect. I posted on the General Forum that evening that I was 90% complete with the first door and I would be providing a How-to in the future. On Aug 5th I received an email telling me not to disassemble the door and that my warranty would be void if I "modified the machine". Again, I was not pleased.
"Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them." - Bruce Lee
Through all of this Polaris has said both that there is no defect and that I need to be patient while they come up with a better solution (than the zip-ties). This is double-speak. How can you come up with a better solution to a problem you deny exists? I asked them to clarify that stance and as of this writing it's been 2 days with no response.
Design= to plan and make (something) artistically or skilfully
Flaw=An imperfect or defective part.
Design flaw=allowing a defective part to remain in the plan when it reaches production.
Without knowing exactly what Polaris expects for proof that there is a flaw in the door skins I set out to document what I found and give my reasoning for why I feel it was a bad design right from the start. There will be some Physics and Math involved but don't worry. It was public schools in small-town Montana then right into the military for me, I never went to college. If I can follow this line of thinking anybody can. If I'm wrong I'm sure the higher educated among us will point it out.
According to Newton's first Law of Motion "An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force." Basically, objects in motion tend to stay in motion until they are stopped by something else. Here's Stevie Stickfigure to give us a visual aide.
When the motion of Stevie and his rad unicycle hit the ramp their direction of travel changes but their motion continues on. When Stevie hits the upright object his motion is "acted upon by an unbalanced force". In other words, his motion is stopped cold and he heads to the E.R. with multiple fractures and a ruptured spleen. You may be asking why Stevie is riding a unicycle and what this all has to do with the door skins on a Polaris General. He's on a unicycle because I'm not an art major and it was easier to draw in the Paint program on my computer. For the answer to the second question we have to look at the internals of the General door so follow along.
Those images show the "tabs and sockets" that hold the inner and outer door skins together along the upper edge of the door (where the separation issue occurs). Notice that the inner panel has nice squared-off, upright sockets. Also notice that the outer skin has tabs that have a noticeable angle or "ramp" to them where they engage the sockets. Don't blurt out the answer now, let's walk through the process.
These tabs and sockets are holding together as the door assembly is swung closed. The motion of the door closing is suddenly "acted upon" by the door coming into contact with the body of the General. The body of the General is upright (hopefully) and has much more mass than the door so the door stops moving...or does it.
Newton's second Law of Motion says that "The greater the mass (of the object being accelerated) the greater the amount of force needed (to accelerate the object)". In short, larger/heavier objects take more force to move than smaller/lighter objects. The same is true for stopping the motion of these objects.
The inner door skin is thicker plastic than the outer door skin. It has more mass, therefore it requires more force to stop the motion of the inner door skin than it does to stop the motion of the outer door skin. When the outer skin finally stops the inner skin wants to continue moving. Suddenly the connection between the sockets and tabs is tested. The sockets, being a part of the inner skin want to keep moving. The tabs, being attached to the outer skin want to stop them from moving but...the tabs are angled and there are only 3 of them in the area of greatest motion. Instead of squarely stopping the movement of the sockets (and the inner skin) the tabs lose the battle of mass and the tab/socket connection fails. The inner and outer door skins separate. Here's Stevie again to demonstrate what happens when an object in motion (socket) interacts with a ramp (tab).
At this point the average person simply grabs the offending parts and snaps them back together. No harm no fowl. Eventually this "opening/closing" of the gap, as the door is opened/closed during normal use, weakens the plastic tab and socket. It reaches the point that at times they simply will not hold together at all or it takes only a slight "bump" to break the connection (see video). This is where I feel I was at with my machine and the video seems to back up my theory.
The design is flawed.
Note: It has been found that even some new, on the dealer floor, machines have this same problem.
The tab should not be angled. It becomes a ramp for the socket instead of a solid vertical wall. Also, there simply are not enough of them to resist this mass at the rear of the door where the amount of motion is the greatest.
I have performed a long-term "fix" for this on my machine that I will document in another thread soon and provide a link here.
Below are my suggestions for a permanent fix:
-The outer skin should actually wrap over the top of the door and overlap the inner skin by a significant amount (1/2"?). This places the seam of the adjoining surfaces perpendicular to the direction of travel of the door and the full-length overlap helps keep the two skins together despite their different masses. or
-The tab and socket should be a tab and slot with the tab entering the slot perpendicular to the direction of the door travel. In other words the tabs should be pointed up or down and the inner skin raised or lowered into position to engage them in the slots. Ironically this is exactly how the very top/front of the inner and outer panels fit together. Unfortunately there is only one of these tabs/slots per door and it is located in the area of the least amount of travel for the door. My $80 factory service manual has exactly zero information on disassembling/reassembling the door assembly so here's a picture of the instructions that come with the "Upper Door Kit" (windows).