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Discussion Starter #1
I have an early model 2004 Sportsman 500 HO that has a lot of play in the shift linkage rod ends, and it’s causing it to get stuck in gear when I try to shift to low, regardless of how may times I try to adjust it properly. Instead of replacing with Polaris parts (that wore out), I was thinking of getting actual heim joints for the rod ends. They seem more precise and durable than the original Polaris parts, and not much more expensive. Has anyone done this? If so do you know the measurements of a heim joint that would work? Possibly a parts source for this?
 

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You can replace the linkage parts all you like but you won't fix the hanging up in low problem until you replace the worn parts inside the gear selector box or the whole box.
Have you cleaned it and put in fresh oil?
138531
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I opened it up when I first got the ATV last year, and it had the proper amount of clean oil in it. I assume the guy I bought it from had changed it recently. It was clean inside, but I didn’t disassemble it. Which are the parts in there that wear out?

The specific problem of what’s happening, is that when changing from reverse to low, reverse doesn’t disengage, and the changer box gets jammed up until I take a pair of vice-grips and manually disengage reverse at the gearbox. It doesn’t happen when I go from reverse to high.
 

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Primarily #7 the plastic sphere gets worn letting the dowel pins it holds get sloppy but the centering spring and detent bullets and springs may be weak, broken or worn as well. When the Low and Reverse/High slides (13 and 17) aren't brought back perfectly centered to the Neutral position while trying to shift from one side to the other is usually what causes it to bind up and hang. If it was nice and clean inside with fresh oil which is unusual for an older machine, the PO probably had it apart attempting a repair and may have the centering spring 19 out of position or he just cleaned and didn't replace any parts. That alone will help. For the price of parts you can sometimes simply find a low miles used complete gear selector from places like PSN or ebay.
You can continue to use a badly worn shifter for a long time if you're really careful about making sure the shifter is perfectly centered at the neutral position before trying to go from the Low side over to the High/Reverse side and by making sure there is no pressure on the driveline while shifting. That ain't always easy due to the nature of WHY you want it in Low to start with (hills, mud holes, rough places etc.) but it can be done. When it does hang up, rocking/rolling the machine back to get the pressure off the driveline is the primary way to get it loose.
Now having said all that, if the linkage ends are badly worn they too need replaced so that you can accurately adjust the linkage. You adjust with the stick in Neutral to have a little free play both ways so the end easily inserts where it goes. And there's a possibility of internal tranny parts getting sloppy but the most common culprit I've seen is the plastic sphere and other parts of the gear selector being worn/sticky.
Hope this long-winded response helps lol. (y)
 
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