Strut seal replacement 96 sportsman 400 - Polaris ATV Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-08-2010, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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Strut seal replacement 96 sportsman 400

Just replaced all seals and bearings in the front end of a 96 polaris sportsman 4x4. when i filled hub with oil the inside strut seal is leaking. Someone had replaced them before and didnt have strut seals bottomed out in strut like the manual shows. They were flush with outside of strut.Is it possible the sealing area is worn out? how deep does that seal go?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-08-2010, 06:19 PM
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I would imagine because the seals were not far enough into the strut...the sealing surface was not spinning accross the smooth, polished surface its intended to. I am replacing the left side strut and hub seal this weekend on my 2000 500. I will look at it when I reassemble and see what else it may be.

Does not take much to trash a seal if not properly installed. Book says only Polaris should do it with a special tool. However, Using a slide hammer to pull them out with machine screws insterted into the face of the seal works just fine. When reinstalling just take your time and lightly tap it arourd until fully seated.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-08-2010, 08:40 PM
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-09-2010, 06:25 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, you are correct, the one who did them prior to me didn't have seal installed correctly. Seal should be bottomed out, not flush with outside. However new seal is leaking around outside of seal (between seal and strut not seal and shaft) is this a common problem with them? I have seen other posts of people looking for new struts for the same yr make model as i'm working on.Thanks for info. If you happen across anything else workin on your 500 plz let me know
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-09-2010, 10:00 AM
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only thing I can think of for that situation is maybe there is a burr in the metal or dirt causing the seals outer edge to score. It is critical that he area is clean...I use a small bit of emory cloth after really scrubbing the inside of the shaft with simple green and water.

May have been sold the wrong part also...too small diameter.

I had to replace my right side strut when I first started my rebuild project. I was given this quad after the previous owner ran it into the ground and deemed it too expensive to fix. I have a spare right side strut I would sell super cheap plus shipping. However, unless the previous owner really screwed something up...i would bet on one of the two senarios listed above.

Are you new to the polaris stuff? If this is your forst one there are a bunch of tip I can offer...just don't want to insult your intelligence if you know what you doing.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-11-2010, 02:56 AM Thread Starter
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No thats fine i am pretty fussy with my wrenching but i am new to the polaris products, this vehicle belongs to my cousin that i'm doing a favor for. I typically work on yamaha stuff. It hasnt been taken very good care of either, "run it til it breaks" sort of thing.I've replaced alot of seals but these just have me scratchin my head. I can see ur point with the burr or the dirt on the shaft but like you i cleaned the strut and the shaft very well. the seals are OEM and i did double check part #.the more i tear into this thing the more the parts list grows.I would appreciate any tips you can offer
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-11-2010, 05:40 AM
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In regards to the seal, you may need to take it to the dealer and let them check it out. Some dealers will work on parts removed from the ATV some won't.

Like I said, I got my 500 for free but am up to over 2K in parts rebuilding it. It is now very reliable and I am pleased so far. However, it is higher maitenance compared to the japanese stuff. How its ridden plays the biggest factor in its continued reliability. I will split this response into two parts: maintenance and repair/riding tips.

Maintenance/repair

1. Mechanical water pump seal - I replaced three of these before I read about snorkeling the weephole and overflow bottle cap. I purchased the seal puller which allows removal with engine cases intact. There is also a small oil seal behind it which should be replaced if it looks crusty. The air space heats up with engine temp, rider goes through cooler muddy water, water gets sucked into air space - trashes seal which leaks coolant out weep hole. By snorkeling the coolant reservoir cap and weep hole this can be avoided.

2. Belt - make sure if there is any mud or crud in the clutches it is cleaned out. This can affect operation and cause belt slippage.

3. motor mounts - make sure they are intact. prone to go out on onlder machines this can cause the distance of your clutches to vary, causing premature wear, creep and slippage of the belt.

4. general maintenance - watch the hub caps, they tend to crack with age and slowly leak out hub fluid. mine was totally seized on right side from running dry. I also updated the jets in the carbs to the new Mikuni parts which made it run a whole lot better. Watch the radiators getting impacted with mud. They are lower to the ground on the old machines and get pretty crappy. Starter solenoid was replaced - they seem to go out. As well as the speed sensor on the right front - this affects the 4wd function.

5. CV Joints - rears have been problematic. Due to high angles the boots/joints take a beating. Replaced inner boots twice so far. OEMs seem to be better due to clearance issues with fwd A-Arm brackets

Riding Tips:

1. I learned that if idling the ATV make sure it is in neutral. This allows the belt to free wheel and not be spun around the clutches causing hot spots.

2. Below 15 mph stay in LOW gear

3. Above 15 mph use HIGH gear. Both extend belt and clutch life.


Some of this stuff you may already know. The water pump seal and CV axles were my biggest headache.
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