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I just purchased a sportsman 850, it's a 2011MY and only had 11 miles on it when I bought it (I think it was a display model). I was plowing yesterday and I put it into reverse and I heard a loud clunk when I hit the throttle. Didn't think anything of it, but noticed it was pulling to the right when I accelerated. So, I inspected it and it has a broken front half shaft. It now only has 47 miles on it and ~19 hours.

I think the 4wd system engaged after I hit throttle and rear tires were spinning a little, causing a huge load on the front axle. I've gotten used to the timing, waiting for the slow 4wd indicator to come on, but I must have been a little hasty on this shift...

What I'd like to know from the crowd is whether or not the slow 4wd engagement time is normal. If I shift from reverse to low, it takes nearly a second for the indicator to show 4wd engaged. This is plenty of time to move my hand to the throttle and is super annoying when plowing, as you shift from reverse to forward frequently. I took a short video showing the slow engagement times, so let me know if this looks normal to you.

If it's normal, it's pretty annoying. I hope there is a good reason for it.
 

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That seems like a normal response time to me but maybe I’m wrong on that. I know the 4wd does not work in reverse unless the override switch is pushed. Pushing this while the rear tires are spinning can and would cause damage to the drive line. Once the quad is in 4wd going forward, it’s on but once switched to reverse, it’s disengaged if I’m not mistaken.


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It definitely engages in reverse, even without the override. It seems like it disengages for neutral then re-engages when back in gear, forward or reverse.
 

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Think you may need to read about how the 4WD Polaris system works, in your 850. The indicator on the display is a function of where you have the yellow switch on the right handlebar, not necessarily if the machine is actually in 4WD. Lots of info on here about how that system works. I believe the 4WD functions in reverse, all the time. Forward is a different story. Depends on rear wheel slippage.
 

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Is this a military version we are working on? On all of the civilian versions with the AWD switch in the on position the front wheels will engage once there i about a 6 percent difference between the front and rear wheel speed. To get AWD in reverse you need to push and hold the yellow reverse over ride button on the left handlebar. My point i guess is that the AWD is ON DEMAND, not full time so it can take a mili-seconds for the sensors to respond. I haven't seen a lag in any of mine when plowing or on the trails. Use of the throttle could make a difference i suppose, but I have been into the throttle pretty hard from a stop and not had an issue.
 

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My 2015 850 must be different - If the switch is in 4X4 mode then 4X4 is active in reverse - no need to press the "override button on the left.
this is from the owners manual-

FEATURES AND CONTROLS All Wheel Drive System The All Wheel Drive system is controlled by the 4X4 switch. ADC 4X4 Mode When the switch is on ADC 4X4, the ADC system allows engine braking to all four wheels when the vehicle descends a hill or incline. Always move the 4X4 switch to ADC 4X4 before ascending or descending a hill. See page 33. 4X4 Mode When the switch is on 4X4, the ATV is in 4X4, and the 4X4 indicator icon in the instrument cluster display will be visible. When in 4X4, the demand drive unit will automatically engage any time the rear wheels lose traction. When the rear wheels regain traction, the demand drive unit will automatically disengage. There is no limit to the length of time the vehicle may remain in 4X4. The vehicle automatically engages 4X4 when operating in reverse if the switch is set to either 4X4 position. 2X4 Mode When the switch is on 2X4, the ATV is in two-wheel drive at all times.
 

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As soon as the shifter is positioned to a gear the tranny is in that gear. There should be no hesitation what so ever. The electronics are a different story!!!
 
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