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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
First I would like to say hi. I am new to the site and new to Polaris. I have owned My 2004 Sportsman 500 for about 6 months and have put about 200 miles on it. I love the bike but today I was riding in some light snow, about 2 inches, and the 4wd started engaging by itself. I could see and feel the front grab when the rear tires would spin but the switch was off and steered like normal and I could spin the tires for a little before the front engaged quite3 harshly. I jacked the bike up and could not get the fronts to engage until I hit the awd switch on then off again and they would not disengage. any ideas? Btw I love this bike and am looking for a Sportsman 800 now to beat my brothers KingQuad 700, lol.
 

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Welcome, I'm somewhat new also. Sounds like the problem is with the Hilliard Clutch in the front drive. These things are fairly simple to work on if your mildly handy. My suggestion is to buy a Clymer Maintenance manual. It gives you some pretty good step by step info. The down side is it makes everything seem easier than it is. Considering its a 2004 and you bought it used it's very possible the front drive fluid has never been replaced also. That could be part of the problem.
 

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thanks, I will check the diff fluid first, hopefully that is it
You want to check the Drive Hub fluid, not Diff. fluid. The Hilliard clutch is married up next to the bearings in the hub of each front wheel. The front hubs are filled with this fluid, and if it's low or the fluid is old or contaminated the clutch might not operate correctly. If the fluid is low you may need to replace the seals in the front hubs. If the seals are bad you could have water intrusion.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
so does each hub have its own drain and filler for fluid? I figured the hilliard clutch was in the front differential and then went through the axles to the hubs? Is there a certain fluid to use?
 

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Yes, each hub has it's own fluid seperate from the differential (pumpkin). If you take the front wheel off and look at the hub you will see a allen screw that tightens up flush with the hub. This is where you add fluid. There are 3 or 4 torx screws that hold the cap on the end of the hub that if you remove will allow all the fluid to drain. There are other things that could be wrong with the Hilliard clutch besides the fluid, but it's a simple place to start.

Polaris makes a specific fluid for the front hubs. I forget which one it is off the top of my head, but I believe the polaris website has a graph that tells you what fluids to use where for every year sportsman made.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes, each hub has it's own fluid seperate from the differential (pumpkin). If you take the front wheel off and look at the hub you will see a allen screw that tightens up flush with the hub. This is where you add fluid. There are 3 or 4 torx screws that hold the cap on the end of the hub that if you remove will allow all the fluid to drain. There are other things that could be wrong with the Hilliard clutch besides the fluid, but it's a simple place to start.

Polaris makes a specific fluid for the front hubs. I forget which one it is off the top of my head, but I believe the polaris website has a graph that tells you what fluids to use where for every year sportsman made.
thanks for the detailed description and break down, I am planning on working on the bike a little later this week.
 

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Yes, each hub has it's own fluid seperate from the differential (pumpkin). If you take the front wheel off and look at the hub you will see a allen screw that tightens up flush with the hub. This is where you add fluid. There are 3 or 4 torx screws that hold the cap on the end of the hub that if you remove will allow all the fluid to drain. There are other things that could be wrong with the Hilliard clutch besides the fluid, but it's a simple place to start.

Polaris makes a specific fluid for the front hubs. I forget which one it is off the top of my head, but I believe the polaris website has a graph that tells you what fluids to use where for every year sportsman made.

Is this the same for the new 2011 also??
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Yes, each hub has it's own fluid seperate from the differential (pumpkin). If you take the front wheel off and look at the hub you will see a allen screw that tightens up flush with the hub. This is where you add fluid. There are 3 or 4 torx screws that hold the cap on the end of the hub that if you remove will allow all the fluid to drain. There are other things that could be wrong with the Hilliard clutch besides the fluid, but it's a simple place to start.

Polaris makes a specific fluid for the front hubs. I forget which one it is off the top of my head, but I believe the polaris website has a graph that tells you what fluids to use where for every year sportsman made.
thanks for the detailed description and break down, I am planning on working on the bike a little later this week.
well i got the wheel off and then took off the brake assembly but there was no clutch assembly. i called my local dealer and they told me the same thing about each wheel hilliard, after he double checked they switched to a centrailzed hilliard in 2004. just changed the fluid, which was pretty dirty and it is still doing it. it works fine until you switch into awd and then back to 2wd it will start engaging again. any ideas, could it be a bad switch or something.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have read on some other forums of the armature plates becoming permanently magnetized and that could cause the 4wd to not disengage? Anyone heard of that and is it abig job? I am assumiung you have to remove the front diff to do so. Thanks
 

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I have read on some other forums of the armature plates becoming permanently magnetized and that could cause the 4wd to not disengage? Anyone heard of that and is it abig job? I am assumiung you have to remove the front diff to do so. Thanks
it's not an uncommon problem on older machines. do you have the centralized hilliard or one in each hub? Ive never worked on the centralized one, but the individuals in each hub are an easy job to get to. remove tire, remove rotor, take out 3 T25 screws in the plastic hub cover, remove cotter pin and crown nut and everything just slides out from there. (2 bearings then the clutch then the armature plate is right there.)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I have a centralized. The indivdual seem pretty simple but the central hilliard is more intimidating
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have a centralized. The indivdual seem pretty simple but the central hilliard is more intimidating
not sure if you have a manual or not but you can download one from here: http://www.polarisatvforums.com/forums/atv-repair-maintenance/10064-service-manuals.html

grab the 2005 400/500 it'll show you step by step how to disassemble the front gearcase.
tanks for the link. I talked to the dealer today and they said they could look right at it with no wait but they always scare me with their prices
 

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Discussion Starter #20
well, I am going to try and tear down the differential this weekend. from everyones suggestions and talking to polaris i think from my symtoms my armature plate is bad. will it be noticeable if it is the armature plate? from my understanding this part gets magnetized and can possibly become permanently magnetic, if so if i unplug the awd swtich to the diff the front wheels should still spin if still magnetized? thanks for everyones help i came from sportbikes and these things seem way more complicated
 
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