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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi All,

I posted this thread this morning but I don't think my account was approved yet so here we go again! I've also come upon some more information since the initial post.
I purchased what I was told was a 2005 Sportsman 500 HO a few weeks ago third hand. I am not sure if it is a 05 or 04 though because when I got it home I noticed it had a 25 year 1979-2004 badge on it. This is my first ATV hence the Rookie handle. I am fairly technically inclined and hands on but this is a new animal for me.
Brought it home and started going over the few issues I knew were present and noticed something was missing (was wondering how power was transferred from rear diff to front diff as there was no drive shaft?). Upon further research I learned this was the AWD prop shaft. Contacted the seller, went and picked it up. He told me he took it off because his GF (the primary rider) was annoyed by the rattling of the bad U joints. He assured me the AWD drive worked and I went on my way.
Yesterday while attending to some of the other issues I attempted to manually spin the front diff pinion as I have seen in various prop shaft install videos and it would not budge. Put a screw driver through the pin hole and tried again, nothing. I doused it in WD40 and left it overnight.
Today I can turn it with the screw driver but it is VERY tight. I've read that cages can go bad, all sorts of issues can happen with these things.
I plan to swap the diff fluid and see if that helps. I noticed that the fill and drain screws look untouched like they have never been removed.
Other info:
ATV was in park with AWD switch set to 2x4 and all 4 wheels OFF the ground when I tried to spin the pinion yesterday.
ATV was in park with AWD switch set to 2x4 and all 4 wheels ON the ground when I was able to move it today.
Both front wheels spin independently, forward and reverse, but are a little tight going forward OFF the ground.
The pinion does NOT move when the wheels are hand spun, although I think this is normal as it should not engage until voltage activates a magnet in the hub when the front wheels override the rear?
The pinion has a little less than a 1/4 of play in any direction.

Two questions:
1: How freely should that pinion turn if all the internals are in good shape?
2: Which diff fluid do I need? The diff part number (sticker is still on it thank goodness!) is 1341497. I see that there is angle drive fluid and on demand fluid but depending on if you have an early 04 or late 04 (or 05 which it may be?) the fluid is different. Can I use another Amsoil synthetic or something I can purchase from an auto parts store?

I am hoping that the seller is being honest and that he didn't take that prop shaft off because the front diff was destroyed on the inside. I am sure I am capable of a rebuild, I just would rather not gut it now since the primary purchase and use of this ATV is for plowing and time is running out before Winter is here.

Thanks all. Seeing a lot of good info in the is forum just nothing specific to this particular question of the pinion.
 

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Diff should be able to be hand spun.

And that is a TON of play in the pinion!!!!!!

Going out on a little bit of a limb cause in not physically inspecting it but your diff sounds SHOT!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Diff should be able to be hand spun.

And that is a TON of play in the pinion!!!!!!

Going out on a little bit of a limb cause in not physically inspecting it but your diff sounds SHOT!!!!
Wonderful, exactly what I did not want to hear!
I'm going to break the fill plug screw loose and at least see if there is any fluid in it before opening the bottom. After a fluid swap I think I just might install the prop shaft and see what happens.
Aside from those two points you noted, does everything else sound OK as far as wheels spinning?

EDIT: I just went back and checked the play on the pinion. It's more like 1/8" up and down only (anger exageration?). Moving it with the screw driver does not produce any noise or grinding and it is loosening up the more I move it. I anticipate this diff being bone dry once I open it up.
 

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Yup wheels spinning independently of the diff and each other is normal. 1/8" play sounds acceptable. What about pulling it in and out, pinion shaft that is. How much play?? Yup the best way to go about is change the fluid and run it!! May have to change it a couple times with about 10hrs on each oil change. This way your sorta sure the fluid is clean and the parts in the diff have been flushed and are lubed. Be sure to inspect the oils that comes out for contaminates ie metal/plastic particles. The drain plug should be magnetic.
 

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Just look at the front hubs. Are they a big metal piece with a drain plug for adding oil or just a plastic hubcap?
The first is an early 04 or earlier with hub Hilliards the second is a 2005+ with a central Hilliard in the front housing.
Hub Hilliards lock AWD in each hub. A central Hilliard is the more modern and locks both axles at the gearcase.

Hub Hilliards use regular gear oil or Angle Drive in the gearcase and Demand Drive fluid in the hubs.
Central Hilliard machines use Demand Drive in the gearcase. There in no place to put anything in the hubs.
Demand Drive fluid is basically a thin type of hydraulic fluid. You can substitute ATF if you want.

Drain the front gearcase into a clean container and inspect it under bright light for metal or plastic. Fill back up with the correct oil. Put new greaseable u-joints in the prop shaft and install it. Then run the machine on blocks while testing the AWD. If it works... GO RIDING! Put a few miles on and then change the gearcase oil again and inspect the old oil.

Only then will you know if all is OK.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey All thanks for the good info and feedback.

What about pulling it in and out, pinion shaft that is. How much play??
About the same 1/8". Though hard to tell for sure now as the ATV is in my crowded garage and I'm just reaching in from the side.

Just look at the front hubs. Are they a big metal piece with a drain plug for adding oil or just a plastic hubcap?
Definitely have hub Hilliards. I guess this would also be a good time to change the fluid in those since they are a little taught moving forward.

Put new greaseable u-joints in the prop shaft and install it.
The prop shaft he gave me was so beat up that I bought a new full assembly. Rather than spend the time to change the U joints in the bad one I just spent the money for a brand new one with new o ring and yoke pin.

At this point I'm swapping all fluids in the machine, installing the new prop shaft, and crossing my fingers. Not sure when I will have time to do so but I hope that cures all that ails me.

Another question. When I actually switch the ATV to AWD should I be seeing an indicator on the gauge cluster? Because I don't. Does it only show "AWD" when it is actually utilizing it?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey All,

Had a few moments and an emptyish garage tonight so took a closer look.
Removed the fill screw with maximum effort. Stuck my finger in and it came out dry.
Get underneath and the drain screw comes out after a HALF TURN! No fluid came out whatsoever, have to imagine the drain screw washer has been unseated for some time and it's been running dry while collecting debris along the way.
Can I use something other than Angle Drive Fluid to flush out all the crap before I actually fill it back up with Angle Drive Fluid and give it a go? This would also give me a chance to see if there is a leak somewhere other than the neglected drain screw without pouring fluid (and money) in and right back out again.
 

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Hey All,

Had a few moments and an emptyish garage tonight so took a closer look.
Removed the fill screw with maximum effort. Stuck my finger in and it came out dry.
Get underneath and the drain screw comes out after a HALF TURN! No fluid came out whatsoever, have to imagine the drain screw washer has been unseated for some time and it's been running dry while collecting debris along the way.
Can I use something other than Angle Drive Fluid to flush out all the crap before I actually fill it back up with Angle Drive Fluid and give it a go? This would also give me a chance to see if there is a leak somewhere other than the neglected drain screw without pouring fluid (and money) in and right back out again.
You don't have to use Angle drive fluid anytime... Its just regular gear oil. Any 75w-90 will work just fine. Its only a straight angle gearcase with no special needs other than good clean gear oil.
If it has a lot junk in it I'd probably flush it good with diesel fuel first and then let it drain well. If its just dry use any cheap gear oil. Then put good stuff in if all is ok.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Had some more time Thursday night to dive back in.
I didn't have any diesel on hand nor kerosene so I bathed everything in WD40. I know that's probably not ideal, but I gave it a good half hour to drain and air out and then flushed it 4 times with cheap 75W 90 fluid. Most of what came out with the flush was rust colored but there were no big chunks of metal or plastic with it so that's good. Started to clear up on the second to last and last flush. Refilled with the cheap stuff and let it sit until this morning.
Pinion is spinning freely now by hand. I'm going to give it a couple hundred rotations manually, drain and fill again, then reinstall the old prop shaft and get it running. If that goes well I'll drain and fill again with the proper fluid.
That brings up another side note. I was looking at the blowout diagram of the diff (1341479) and it has a cage on the inside. Took another look at my hubs and I don't see anywhere I can add fluid so I think I actually have the central hilliard. Good for maintenance, bad that I now have the wrong equivalent fluid in it!
 

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OK... You never did say if it had hub Hilliards or not and then started talking about Angle Drive fluid which is the same thing as regular gear oil. NOW you're saying it DOES NOT have hub Hilliards. Which is it??

If it is a 2005 and has a central Hilliard gearcase DO NOT use regular gear oil!!
You need to be flushing with ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid). 75w-90 is WAY too thick and will not work.
If you can't figure out what it is take a picture or post up the VIN or something. You keep bouncing around so its impossible to give you accurate info.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
OK... You never did say if it had hub Hilliards or not and then started talking about Angle Drive fluid which is the same thing as regular gear oil. NOW you're saying it DOES NOT have hub Hilliards. Which is it??

If it is a 2005 and has a central Hilliard gearcase DO NOT use regular gear oil!!
You need to be flushing with ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid). 75w-90 is WAY too thick and will not work.
If you can't figure out what it is take a picture or post up the VIN or something. You keep bouncing around so its impossible to give you accurate info.
I know I know, I'm sorry! It's frustrating trying to help with bad info. Like I said I am completely new to ATVs so I am learning off parts diagrams. When plastic hub cap was mentioned and I didn't see them I thought it was the hub hilliards. I now know that is just a plastic dust cover and my machine is missing them.
The diff still has the sticker on it for part# 1341497 which I linked below. The blowout diagram has a cage and armature plate within it so that means it should not also have the same in the hubs if I understand correctly.
And yes I still don't know if it is a 2005 as I was told, or a 2004 because it has a 50 year anniversary badge on it that says 2004. Can't get to the VIN at the moment, it is covered by the plow bracket.
Thanks again for the reply. I'll drain out and pick up some auto trans fluid and start flushing again.
Promise I'm not an idiot, just a little overwhelmed!

https://www.partzilla.com/catalog/polaris/atv/2005/sportsman-500-ho-intl-a05mh50ab/front-housing-ac-ag-ah-al-at-fb
 

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Gotcha!
It shouldn't hurt anything to have run the 75w-90 through it. In fact, if it was all rusted up it may actually help lol.
I'd fill it with ATF put the prop shaft in and ride it around a while and then flush again. Do that a couple times and then try the AWD. Or you can run it on blocks too and keep running it more and flushing etc. It'll either start working or you're gonna have to pull it out and go through it.
If it starts working I'd flush it after each ride for a while till it starts coming out pretty clean before then putting Demand Drive fluid in. Even after that it probably still needs changed at least every three or four rides.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Gotcha!
It shouldn't hurt anything to have run the 75w-90 through it. In fact, if it was all rusted up it may actually help lol.
I'd fill it with ATF put the prop shaft in and ride it around a while and then flush again. Do that a couple times and then try the AWD. Or you can run it on blocks too and keep running it more and flushing etc. It'll either start working or you're gonna have to pull it out and go through it.
If it starts working I'd flush it after each ride for a while till it starts coming out pretty clean before then putting Demand Drive fluid in. Even after that it probably still needs changed at least every three or four rides.
Sorry one more question for you.
You say ride it a few times and THEN try the AWD. This tells me the prop shaft should be spinning at all times even when the machine is NOT in AWD, correct?
This would make sense as I understand that all initiation of the AWD drive happens between the AWD switch and the front end diff, why complicate it with another action on the back end.
I never checked if the pinion on the back end was in good shape/spinning or not, and know that I need to get the back end off the ground to check that. ATV does drive just fine in 2 x 4, I have to assume if there was an issue on the back end I would know it by now.
 

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:spank::chairshot::confused::nzd:
 

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Anytime the rear wheels turn the front prop shaft will turn. Don't matter if the engine is turning it or you do it by hand or roll it across the garage floor. The switch simply energizes the magnet and attracts the armature plate. The machine is STILL in 2x4 and AWD will only engage IF the rears slip a little in relation to the front.
The best/easiest way to test AWD is with all 4 wheels off the ground. When you switch the AWD on, put it in gear and give it some gas, the rears will start to turn. Because the rears are "slipping" in relation to the fronts and the energized armature is creating drag on the cage in the front gearcase, feedback through the prop shaft makes the rollers in the Hilliard climb up the ramps and lock into place causing the front wheels to turn.
In live operation on the ground the fronts disengage as soon as the rotational speed between front and rear equalize when the rears regain traction. Its complicated to describe but when working right it all happens instantly and you can't even feel it. That's why its called "On Demand All Wheel Drive". All four wheels are ONLY engaged "on demand" when needed because the rears have slipped in relation to the fronts. It requires no input from the rider. Otherwise, the machine is still running in 2wd. When you go off road you just turn the switch on and forget it. The machine does the rest "On Demand" as needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
OK thanks that's what I thought.
Got the prop shaft installed this morning and ran it lightly on a jack with the 75W-90 fluid still in the diff (I bought the ATF but don't have a funnel small enough to get it into the tight space yet).
Gave it both forward and reverse pulls for about 30 seconds each a total of 4 times. Prop shaft was spinning fine. There was a little high pitch whine the first go round but then it went away. I did not test the AWD.
Took it down off the jack and noticed some fluid on the ground. It appears I am leaking out from the front pinion. It was not a ton of fluid, but enough to make a quarter size pool. Looks like I am in for at least a partial rebuild after all.
I still plan to refill and flush with the ATF a few times since I already have it and then test the AWD to see if it works. If it doesn't, I'm going to have to take it in to a mechanic because I simply don't have the time to rebuild the entire diff.
 

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Sounds like you're on the right track OP. If it does work and you want to just replace the pinion seal the old one can be pulled out and replaced with the gearcase still in the machine.
If you do decide to rebuild its fairly easy and only takes a couple hours if you have parts already.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Good Evening...

Got the ATF in tonight and jacked her up.
Did a few pulls in 2 x 4 and there is definitely a leak from the pinion.
Switched it over to AWD and IT WORKS! But then doesn't disengage...
I ran it in 2 x 4 reverse a few pulls as I've read that will disengage the AWD. Didn't happen.
It also will not operate AWD in reverse. I pushed the reverse over ride button and just kept seeing a signal of SLOW on the gauge cluster, even when it was idling.
I'm actually happy about this because I know I can at least get through the winter without a complete rebuild. I plan on replacing the seals at the pinion and leaving it be. I can live with it being locked in AWD as it is strictly going to be used for plowing on my massive, steep driveway.
Appreciate all the replies, except for maybe this one which looks like you were giving a spanking???
:spank::chairshot::confused::nzd:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Wanted to share a YouTube video I just found. Makes a world of difference to see it exploded, and might have just motivated me to break mine apart.

 
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