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Old 01-16-2011, 03:24 PM
ADK Wheelin's Avatar
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AWD or 4WD

Hello-
I'm new here and I have a question that I hope someone can help with. I was out in the deep snow today and it was very obvious that my rear tires were doing all the pushing and I was already losing traction before the front engaged. I've heard you can ramp up the front clutches and "lock" the hubs in. How do you do this? Would it help or is the difference in front to rear ratios enough that it still wouldn't help. I'd like 4wd not just AWD.
Thanks-
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Old 01-16-2011, 05:08 PM
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There are several mechanics on this site that really seem to know their stuff. Until one of these guys find this thread, let me give my unprofessional opinion. If you are in awd and only your back wheels are driving, I believe you have a mechanical or electrical problem. Is the red light on the awd switch working? If not, it may be A switch problem. The other thing I might consider is checking the front hubs for water or lack of proper lubricant. If you don't keep up on the maintenance on those things, they may not engage. You should never notice a significant delay into 4 WD when the rear wheels begin slipping. I believe the slippage is just a fraction of a turn before the front engages. The guys that really know will probably want to know the year and model of your quad. If you check the two above items, you can provide them with those parts of the puzzle also. Best wishes & welcome to the forum!
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Last edited by Dbez1; 01-16-2011 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 01-16-2011, 05:23 PM
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I just noticed a similar question in the "Active Topics" category of this forum. The title is "AWD not working...please help". Check it out, there are 23 replies at this point.

Last edited by Dbez1; 01-16-2011 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:28 AM
ADK Wheelin's Avatar
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Good Morning-
I'm sorry I should have mentioned that this is not a maintenance related malfunction. The bike is a 2010 with 35 miles and the front is engaging after the rears slip but at that point the machine has lost traction. Kind of like a gov-lock in a GM rear end. I have read that it is possible to get the clutches to stay locked, someone said they do it to get engine braking on all four wheels if the hills are steep.
My question is does anybody know how to do this? Whats the difference in front to rear ratios? Will the rears always be spinning a little faster or is the difference small enough to change with tire pressure/size? I would like to have 4WD in the snow not just spinning tires. Sorry for the confusion and thank-you to those that replied.
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:15 AM
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That's the first I've ever heard of "locking" the awd. The only way that I can see it being done is if the plastic roller cage is replaced with a metal one and the entire clutch assembly is welded together. Or possibly if the wiring to the diff is replaced with a constant 12v charge to keep it magnetized at all times. Either way, I see that causing more problems later on.

The gear ratio is the same. When the AWD is engaged, the front and rear turn at the same rate. If it was not the same, then different sized tires on the front would be required to keep from breaking drivetrain components.

I agree that something isn't right with yours. On a brand new machine, it should be engaging flawlessly and almost instantly. If it's still under warranty, take it back and make them fix it.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:40 AM
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I agree, something isn't right. The awd is locked when it engages, and it should happen so fast (1/5 of one wheel revolution of slip) that you should never notice it, and it should be getting through snow just fine. Sounds like something is up on your machine.


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Old 01-17-2011, 06:00 AM
ADK Wheelin's Avatar
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Thanks for your input,
This is not a malfunction just a design problem I'm trying to work around.
I found this on another forum:
Polaris AWD System
Its directly from Hillard, the condition is called wedging. I will have to see if it can be done on the newer bikes. I see that they mention a 20% variation in ratio, the 1/5 turn you always hear of. I wonder if this could be lessened by staggered tire sizes like on the scramblers. Remember this set up with the clutches was done because its simple and cheap not because its the best. They use two over running clutches to replace the axle disconnect, the locking front differential, and the front differential all together. HAs anyone tried using larger front tires? It would be nice to have the front wheels supplying power not just drag.
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:00 AM
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Other quads ( Yamaha & Kawaisaki) have manual lockers that lock all 4 wheels but you can't steer the thing then. The beauty of the Polaris system is that you don't need to manually lock all four wheels. Guys that have these brands tend to put the Polaris system down, but my experience has been that I can go anywhere they go and with less effort. The tires make a HUGE difference too. Up to this point I have use Gators & MudLites. They go anywhere but they ride rough. After you get your quad fixed, if you still are getting stuck, you might need to consider a more aggressive tire.
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:40 AM
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If you change tire sizes the gear ratio will be off and you'll break something. That 20% difference isn't in gearing, it's referring to the amount of slip the rear wheels need to activate the awd.

And no, it's not a design problem. There's something wrong with yours. If it was working properly, then it should engage and disengage without you even noticing, and like I said earlier, almost instantly when the rears slip.

You also mentioned locking the front. Yes, other machines can be manually locked into 4wd, and like you said, it's hard to drive them while locked, and you have to stop to disengage it. The polaris awd design also completely locks the front wheels when it engages, but only when needed, making it easy to steer. That's why it's the only true AWD system made. Unless it has a full locking diff, other brands only give you 3 wheel drive.
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:21 AM
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Thanks for the input-
I'm not looking to argue here but there is not anything different on this machine than any other. Thanks for all the input but its not a malfunction specific to this bike. I was just hoping someone might have some experience with this. I'm not bashing since I obviously choose this brand over the others, I just want to improve on its shortcomings.
Does anyone know where I can confirm the axle ratios? Doing a google search I found 3.82:1 in the front and 3.1:1 in the rear giving the ~20% higher ratio to the rears and creating the front wheel assist. I want to know if I can even out the ratios to have all wheels spin at the same speed and if I do will the front clutches disengage when the switch is thrown. There is not a mechanical issue with my machine its how they are designed. If you are on easy terrain then it is 2 wheel drive and grabs the front when you slip. If you are in constant need of all wheels turning then the rears are constantly digging to keep the front engaged. This means that you are pushing the front wheels through the snow or spining the rear to maintain the ground speed of the front. At slow speeds it creates understeer in snow. Its counter intuitive to apply throttle to correct push. Has anyone run differnt size tires on a Polaris-maybe on a scrambler? I want to ask before I try to change out tire sizes.
It would take a 30" front and 25" rear to correct for ratios so I maybe out of luck but maybe it could get better with a little stagger in size.
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