Polaris Tail Not Moving/Sweeping (For Model 3900, 280, 360, 380)

Even the best of appliances can give you a hard time with minor glitches here and there. A relatively common problem that users face with Polaris pool cleaners is that the tails of their cleaners stop sweeping like they should. Given that the job of the tail is to ensure proper cleaning of the stuck debris, this can adversely affect the entire function of the cleaner.

Luckily, most of the causes that can result in this issue are easy to fix at home and do not require a technician or a hefty cost to be done. In this article, we take you through the various causes of a malfunctioning tail, as well as their respective solutions. 

Water Flow Blockage by Sweep Hose Scrubber

The tails of pool cleaners typically have a steel wool structure at the end, called the sweep hose scrubber. As the name suggests, it works by scrubbing the dirt and debris, allowing the cleaner to pick it up.

However, sometimes the scrubber is misaligned and can completely occlude the flow of water through the hose which ultimately causes the tail to stop moving. In fact, it is the most common cause of this problem in all of the Polaris models i.e.  3900, 280, 360 and 380 units and should be the first one to hit your mind.

The solution to this is fairly simple. You just have to move the scrubber to its ideal position, away from the tip, and the tail should be sweeping perfectly!

The Adjustment Screw is Too Tight

If you look at the site where the tail is attached to your cleaner, you will find a tail sweep adjustment screw. This screw controls the flow of water through the tail.

Sometimes the screw is too tight, which means that the water pressure falls below the optimal value and prevents a proper sweeping action. 

Luckily, the fix is quite uncomplicated. All you have to do is loosen the screw. For Polaris 3900, this is done by turning it in a clockwise direction. However, for Polaris 280, 360 and 380, it has to be turned in a counter-clockwise direction .

Keep turning until the water flow is sufficient to restore movement of the tail, and there you go!

Leaks/Holes in the Tail

This is another frequently encountered cause of disruption of movement of the tail. The tail moves in a sweeping way as a result of the pressure of water flowing through it.

If there are any leaks or holes in the length of the tail, water will seep out and the flow will decrease. This ultimately leads to slowing and finally, stopping of the movement of the tail.

If you find that the tail of your cleaner in any of the models 3900, 280, 360 or 380 is damaged or leaky, the best way forward is to replace it with a new one, and it should be moving like it should! Here’s the Amazon link to your tail replacement for all Polaris cleaner models.

Pool Water Is Too Cold

This one might come as a surprise to you, but many users have noticed that the tail of their Polaris 360 and 380 cleaners stop sweeping in cold water. Nonetheless, this can happen for Polaris 3900 and 280 as well.

This is mainly due to the plastic material that is used to manufacture all these models. The plastic becomes stiff as the water temperature falls very low, and instead of sweeping, the tail follows the cleaner in a linear fashion. 

The only way to avoid this problem is to use the cleaner in water with a temperature that is ideally no less than 65°F for most models. The tail of Polaris 280, however, can function at temperatures nearing 50°F.

Clogging of the Hose

Since the tail of the cleaner is basically a hose, it is not uncommon for it to be clogged by various substances. These can include dirt, debris, leaves, and practically anything present in the pool small enough to get into it. Once the foreign body is lodged in the tail, it obstructs the flow of water through it and freezes it.

The best way to diagnose and resolve this issue is to remove the tail from the system and then use a rod or brush to remove the substance.

If you are unsure about which part of the hose is obstructed, you can replace the entire sweep hose, tail scrubber and hose clamp system with this inexpensive kit from Amazon.

One must be very vigilant in this regard, as sometimes the dirt is stuck in the tiny internal hoses of the system and can be missed. In that case, we suggest using a common pin or straightened paper clip to remove the obstruction.

Keep in mind that Polaris 3900 does not have internal hoses, so this particular step does not apply to it. However, Polaris 280, 360 and 380 can have this issue.

Debris In The Cleaner

Just like the tail itself can be clogged by debris, it is possible for almost any component of the unit to accumulate foreign substances and get clogged. Naturally, this can result in malfunctioning of the entire system, including the tail.

The cure is the same as that for the tail. Disassemble the unit and thoroughly clean the components. For Polaris 3900, it is especially important to check the impeller of the booster pump, as it is particularly prone to being clogged. Cleaning it can positively impact the water pressure. 

The cartridge filters of Polaris 280 are also a vital component. Make sure that you check that the filter is free from any obstruction, especially if you own this model.

For Polaris 360, 380 and 280, pay special attention to the internal hoses in the water management system. As these hoses are tiny, they can be blocked relatively easily and can go unnoticed. After clearing them out, flow water through them once and check if it comes out of the other side to be sure.

 This should do the job for you. 

Low Filter/Pump Pressure

By now we have established the importance of water pressure in keeping the tail of the pool cleaners moving. It is a no-brainer that if the pump pressure to the unit is set at a low value, or if the filter throws out water at a lower pressure than optimum, then it would eventually halt the sweeping of the tail.

Pump issues in any of the Polaris 3900, 280, 360 and 380 models can be diagnosed by simply using a pressure gauge to measure the pressure at the end of the tail. 

The solution here is a straightforward one. For all of these models, set the pressure to a higher value, and ideally use a booster pump. This will increase the water pressure multifold and restore the sweeping action of the tail.

For Polaris 3900, you can adjust the pressure by rotating the propulsion valve on the rear to 11 o’clock position.  

Tail Too Old/Worn Out

Pool cleaner tails have an age, like all other things, and can get firm after being used for long times. If you have exhausted all other possibilities, it is likely that the tail of your cleaner is simply worn out and it is time for a new one.

You can get a tail replacement from Amazon for each of the Polaris 3900, 280, 360 and 380 at no price at all.

Holes Too Small For Water Flow

An issue that has been reported, particularly with Polaris 3900, is that the holes for the flow of water to the tail are too small. As these two openings in the original model do not allow sufficient water to flow into the hose, the pressure remains significantly low and the tail might not move as well as you hope.

To increase the water flow, you simply need to enlarge the holes. This can be easily done by using a file on the edges of these holes, until they are about 25% larger than they used to be. This should greatly help in tail movement.

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