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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I’ve had several inquiries looking for a clearer explanation of the Turf Mode for XP project. It took a while to figure everything out, but the project was successful. My 2012 550XP now has Turf Mode. And it is awesome!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxVh9jNlK77NYjVDaklZSVp6M1k/view?usp=sharing

Here is a summary.

What?
Turf mode is Polaris’ name for a differential that can be unlocked or locked. In other words, it behaves like a car axle where the two rear wheels can turn and be powered at different speeds – as in going around turns. Or the axle can be locked to give better traction in demanding situations.

Why?
Unlocking the differential makes the quad dramatically easier to steer – especially on high-traction surfaces like pavement or hard packed trails. When riding across delicate terrain (like grass), the tires do far less damage since they are not skidding in turns. Turning places less stress on the drive train and tires because the wheels can turn at different speeds instead of skidding. On tight trails the quad is noticeably more agile following a twisting trail.

The difference is pretty dramatic. On hard surface, it is so easy to turn that many (including me) think that Power Steering is not necessary. That’s good because EPS is expensive, vulnerable to failure, adds stress to your drive train and tires, and gives the quad a disconnected “fly by wire” feel that many (including me) really do not like. Of course you could have both EPS and Turf mode.

How?
Turf mode is available on some Polaris models – but not at this time on the Sportsman XP. With a pretty simple project, the 550XP and 850XP can have turf mode (unlocking differential) added. This is done by replacing the rear gear case with a rear gear case that has a true differential.

How Much? (aprox)
$610 Differential
$110 Control Module
$ 20 Alum Box
$ 5 Switch etc
$ 7 Connectors
------
$752

Not cheap but a lot less than EPS - and a lot better! (imho)

Here is a picture of the Solenoid Driver Installed in the Aluminum box.


 

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This is on my todo list after i put on my fox shocks
 

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If you run into questions, I'll be glad to help.

Superb! Do you have any links to paste to show me where everything was ordered? Thanks in advance.
 

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I’ve had several inquiries looking for a clearer explanation of the Turf Mode for XP project. It took a while to figure everything out, but the project was successful. My 2012 550XP now has Turf Mode. And it is awesome!

I have attached to this post, a summary how-to as a .pdf file
CLICK HERE for .pdf document


Here is a summary.

What?
Turf mode is Polaris’ name for a differential that can be unlocked or locked. In other words, it behaves like a car axle where the two rear wheels can turn and be powered at different speeds – as in going around turns. Or the axle can be locked to give better traction in demanding situations.

Why?
Unlocking the differential makes the quad dramatically easier to steer – especially on high-traction surfaces like pavement or hard packed trails. When riding across delicate terrain (like grass), the tires do far less damage since they are not skidding in turns. Turning places less stress on the drive train and tires because the wheels can turn at different speeds instead of skidding. On tight trails the quad is noticeably more agile following a twisting trail.

The difference is pretty dramatic. On hard surface, it is so easy to turn that many (including me) think that Power Steering is not necessary. That’s good because EPS is expensive, vulnerable to failure, adds stress to your drive train and tires, and gives the quad a disconnected “fly by wire” feel that many (including me) really do not like. Of course you could have both EPS and Turf mode.

How?
Turf mode is available on some Polaris models – but not at this time on the Sportsman XP. With a pretty simple project, the 550XP and 850XP can have turf mode (unlocking differential) added. This is done by replacing the rear gear case with a rear gear case that has a true differential.

How Much? (aprox)
$610 Differential
$110 Control Module
$ 20 Alum Box
$ 5 Switch etc
$ 7 Connectors
------
$752

Not cheap but a lot less than EPS - and a lot better! (imho)
Great info. Thanks for posting. This should save a great deal of trial and error.
I've ordered the diff and axle to do my rzr4 800. I'm guessing the process is very similar, but looks like your parts are a lot less expensive. My diff was over a grand and the axle was a couple hundred.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Great info. Thanks for posting. This should save a great deal of trial and error.
I've ordered the diff and axle to do my rzr4 800. I'm guessing the process is very similar, but looks like your parts are a lot less expensive. My diff was over a grand and the axle was a couple hundred.
I shopped for parts on the internet. Prices change weekly but I bought the differential from Babbits.

HEre is a link to a "sister project" on the RZR. The electronics are the same, so I suggest you use my write-up for that portion - I found a better solution for the solenoid control than they did.
RZRMODS.org ? View topic - RZR Turf Saver Differential Project

Good Luck. Let me know if I can help.
-curt
 

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Discussion Starter #9
UPDATE: In-Use report

Now that I have some good experience riding the 550xp with Turf mode, I have a few observations:

  1. The XP has a shorter wheelbase than the X2 and so it benefits from Turf mode even more than the X2 does. Its agility on all surfaces is dramatically better. Note that EPS allows you to turn the bars but does not give you this added turning agility since the tires are still skidding through turns.
  2. The lock/unlock is controlled by a simple toggle switch. It does not go through the computer and so is in no way controlled by the computer. I have found that is an advantage. I find that I leave turf mode ON (unlocked) most of the time including when I am using 4WD. You can't do that on the X2. It gives great traction but also the added turning agility of the unlocked rear axle. There are no negative side effects.
  3. There have been no problems with either the electronic control nor the solenoid overheating. They run cool.

This has been a successful project. I highly recommend it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I've you change to turf mode,don't forget the 2.rear brake.

Ah Hah ! ! !

I knew someone would bring this up.:ponder:

I elected to not worry about the single rear brake. Here is why:

  • Rear Brakes do a small portion of the braking anyway.
  • IF the axle is locked (Turf Mode OFF), then its a moot point.
  • You still get full engine braking.
  • If I am in such an extreme situation that I need that other rear brake, then I would probably have the axle locked anyway.
  • With quite a few extreme miles, I have never noticed the difference.
  • So, I think only a Polaris Lawyer would want me to add an additional rear
    brake along with all the balancing problems that would bring.
Nonetheless.... Good Catch Cariboo !
 

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Why is this not available on the "value" line differentials? or can it be done? I am very interested in this mod
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Why is this not available on the "value" line differentials? or can it be done? I am very interested in this mod
I don't know.

The trick to making this mod easy is the ability to buy a replacement differential that has turf mode (unlocking) AND is plug and play compatible.

In my case I ordered the differential for an X2. It is externally identical to the original gear case (not really a differential) on my XP.
 

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Thanks for the detailed write up.

It is good to know this let you get easy steering without having to desire power steering feature/cost.
 

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absolutely love my turf mode on my x2. I like you wish they put it on more atvs. I would like to see it on a lot of side by sides also. Man it really cuts down on turning radius and damage to yard and so on.
 

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i bought all of the stuff for this a year ago and still havent got around to do it lol
 

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Last year a guy with a 3 by (3 seat belts) took me and the son around my sister's place measuring acreage. I think it was a Kubota ? and it had 1, 2 and 4 WD selector. I guess the one wheel drive was perhaps a 'turf' mode?

With our old Magnums being in 2WD mode helps some over 4WD but it still stresses my arthritis if not going fast enough to get some drift. They have the shaft driven solid rear axle with one brake so we will live with that limitation because they work and are cheap. :)

The machines that can be converted to turf mode by just unbolting parts should be very doable cost wise when the required parts can be found used at some point in time.
 

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it's great to know this can be done. But that's allot of $'s. I wish someone would figure out how to make this a true 4 x 4. I think the on demand AWD sucks. Example - when I'm trying to turn on snow or ice and it just pushes the front wheels.
 
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