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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, new member but not new to the forums!

I got a 2013 Sportsman 500, bought it new in August.

Anyways my front diff on occasions locks solid (hard, heavy steering) and wont unlock even with the switch is put back in 2x2. Stop, start and stopping again on flat level ground again doesn't unlock it either.

It happened twice on two different rides about 2 months after I bought my atv. Putting it in reverse unlocked the diff.
I called my dealer and they said bring it in; I did and they trouble shot it. And could not get it to do it for them. When they drained the oil from the diff they said it was was dirty; I was at about 20hrs at the time.
So they said that was the problem; replaced the oil and I was back on the road again. They only charged me for the oil change and not the time spent trouble shooting.
I had thought it was a broken cage; but it worked fine after I got it back.

Now a couple months later did it once on one ride; and then 5 times on the next..... once going up a loose gravel hill, coming down said hill, after hitting washboard on the logging road, after making a u-turn on gravel road and after descending a slippery solid rock face. When it happened on the washboard it was in a slight corner and my fiance was driving; she almost put it in the ditch because it locked up and was so hard to steer.
Again, after the diff locked up switching it to 2x4 did nothing; it stayed locked. Only way was to unlock was to kick it in reverse again.
Now I am at about 40-45 hrs on the atv. Called the dealer and brought it in again.
This time they tore the whole diff apart and inspected everything. They had it for a week and when I picked it up they said they couldn't find anything and they could not get it to do it for them, and that the diff oil was squeaky clean. I was amazed. Again thought the cage had fractured, or maybe a warped or magnetized armature plate. But they said the checked for all of that.
Anyways, they believed me this time and claimed it under warranty and said they found something wrong so I wouldn't have to foot the $600 bill.

When they gave it back to me the showed me how to unplug the front diff wiring harness behind the radiator and that way I could trouble shoot it for them when it happens again.

This time it made it to almost 50hrs without incident. On my last two rides it was horrible. The worst it had been. Locked up probably every second/ third time it engaged AWD because of wheel slip. This time each time it did it, I unplugged the front diff while leaving the switch in 4x4 and the atv it in gear. And instantly the diff unlocked and steering was back to normal. Stop and plug it in again and its fine until the diff locks up again. Its gotten so bad that almost half the time if it is in AWD and I make a turn on solid ground the diff locks up.

Called the dealer and told them, and they have no idea. I am out of warranty but my case is still open so Im told they will cover it because its pre existing condition and to date hasn't been fixed.

So they have created an ask polaris case.

Have you guys heard of anything like this?
It is beyond frustrating,:chairfall:

Sorry for the long post. If you guys have any questions Ill be happy to answer them. I hope that in posting this that if, and hopefully when it gets solved (i will keep it updated) someone will stumble upon this and my experience might be able to help them out.
 

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I just started having the same problem. I thought it was just mine and maybe something to do with the way the winch was installed because it was the last thing I did. It is a giant pain in the butt and hope that someone finds a cure...
 

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I'm wondering if its not something in your AWD selector switch....
 

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When they gave it back to me the showed me how to unplug the front diff wiring harness behind the radiator and that way I could trouble shoot it for them when it happens again.

This time it made it to almost 50hrs without incident. On my last two rides it was horrible. The worst it had been. Locked up probably every second/ third time it engaged AWD because of wheel slip. This time each time it did it, I unplugged the front diff while leaving the switch in 4x4 and the atv it in gear. And instantly the diff unlocked and steering was back to normal. Stop and plug it in again and its fine until the diff locks up again. Its gotten so bad that almost half the time if it is in AWD and I make a turn on solid ground the diff locks up.[/QUOTE]

When you plugged it back in and came disengaged was it still in 4x4 or 4x2? Is your speed O working right?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If the diff locks up I can switch the 4x4 switch off and nothing happens (diff doesn't unlock). If I unplug the diff while 4x4 is on and the diff is locked; the 4x4 light on the gauge goes off, the diff unlocks and I can drive normally. When I plug it back in half a minute later the diff is back to normal and the light goes back on.
If the switch is off and the light is off but the diff is still locked, I unplug it, the diff unlocks. And when I plug it back in the light is still in the off position as it should

My gauge functions properly; everything works great.

My dealer called today and said they spent 4 days back and forth with Polaris Engineers and they don't have much of an idea what it could be, lol.
So i think im going to go for a ride this weekend and then drop it off on Tuesday.

The part I don't understand is that whenever it goes to the dealer they change the front diff oil and that seems to cure it for a good many hours before I see the symptoms again. Which to me sounds like it is then a mechanical issue....
But the only way for me to unlock the diff when it is locked is to unplug the wiring harness or stick it in reverse (I don't have to drive in reverse; simply just shift into reverse and back to a forward gear without moving an inch); now what I was told at the dealer is when you shift into reverse it hard cuts power to the front diff and it is only restored when you press the override. ie. doesn't matter what the 4x4 switch is in.
And that sounds like an electrical problem, but to why it is so intermittent is the confusing part for myself and the dealer...... as well as the Polaris engineers!
 

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You need to check the wires for power whenever your in 4x2 and the diff locks on you again to see if it's supplying power whenever it shouldn't that right there will tell you.
 

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now what I was told at the dealer is when you shift into reverse it hard cuts power to the front diff and it is only restored when you press the override. ie. doesn't matter what the 4x4 switch is in.

That is incorrect info. They changed that in 2013 so that you don't have to hold the override button in for 4x4 in reverse.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You need to check the wires for power whenever your in 4x2 and the diff locks on you again to see if it's supplying power whenever it shouldn't that right there will tell you.
Sorry for the confusion. It has never locked up the front diff when the switch is in 2x4. I've given er' balls in 2x4 to test that; than having switched into 4x4 and it locks right up.
As of current it seems to consistantly lock up on firm pack; half of the time I can't even make a 90° turn in 4x4 without the diff staying locked.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
now what I was told at the dealer is when you shift into reverse it hard cuts power to the front diff and it is only restored when you press the override. ie. doesn't matter what the 4x4 switch is in.

That is incorrect info. They changed that in 2013 so that you don't have to hold the override button in for 4x4 in reverse.
I don't believe it is, as in the manual for my 2013 it says to hold the yellow button for 4x4 in reverse. And that is what the dealer told me as well when I first purchased my atv, and that's how it has worked since new. But maybe I'm mistaken. How does everyone else's non xp 2013's work?

I read somewhere on the forums that's they might have done that to the xp line of atv but the base models stayed the same.
 

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I'm pretty sure that on the "Value Line" machines (400-500-800) you have to hold i nthe yellow override button for awd to work in revers.... no matter what year it is. I believe the "XP Line" does not have to do that for awd to work on the 2013+ models.
 

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I have a 2013 sportsman 400 HO and the manual states it both ways. But mine does not require me to hold the yellow button in for 4x4 in reverse. Let me see if I can give you page numbers of the manual that states it both ways.


Page 24 "AWD Switch
Use the AWD switch to engage 4X4 or 2X4. See page 33. The vehicle
automatically engages AWD when operating in reverse if the AWD
switch is set to the AWD position."


Page 33 "Tip:
The override switch allows activation of AWD in reverse if the AWD switch
is on. See page 24."
 

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At least it's still on an open ticket item..... and warranty will cover it.

As others have stated.... sounds electrical. If it were me, I'd push for a new front diff and handle bar switch housing assembly.

Question..... what's your riding style and terrain? (Mud & Water??) Just currious as to why the front diff oil is dirty after such a short time.
 

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I have a 2013 sportsman 400 HO and the manual states it both ways. But mine does not require me to hold the yellow button in for 4x4 in reverse. Let me see if I can give you page numbers of the manual that states it both ways.


Page 24 "AWD Switch
Use the AWD switch to engage 4X4 or 2X4. See page 33. The vehicle
automatically engages AWD when operating in reverse if the AWD
switch is set to the AWD position."


Page 33 "Tip:
The override switch allows activation of AWD in reverse if the AWD switch
is on. See page 24."
Haha...... so which is it? Have you tried it both ways backing into snoow in the yard? That's how I test the awd system every now and then..... pull in in 2wd, switch to awd and verify. Then put in reverse with no override and check, then (after waiting for wheels to stop spining) push override and try back out checking wheel spin while doing so..... then usually have to "wiggle, wiggle, wiggle yeah" (as my daughter calls it) to acctually get unstuck! :D

 

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I plow snow with my 400 and I never have to push the yellow override button to have 4x4 in reverse. When I got the 400 and was reading the manual I was hoping that the part about having 4x4 in reverse without the button was true because I thought it would be such a pain in the butt to run the winch, and button with the same hand. I was going to do the bypass. But Polaris must have changed that for 2013 because I don't need the button to have 4x4 in reverse.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
At least it's still on an open ticket item..... and warranty will cover it.

As others have stated.... sounds electrical. If it were me, I'd push for a new front diff and handle bar switch housing assembly.

Question..... what's your riding style and terrain? (Mud & Water??) Just currious as to why the front diff oil is dirty after such a short time.
My riding style is not in the mud and haven't been in any water over the hubs. But early on I was just exploring logging roads. Hadn't gone in to water until way later.
I like steep, tight, bumpy anything like that which slows you down and make you think.

I had no idea why the diff oil was dirty, and they didn't either. Last time I brought it in it had more hours than the first time and the oil was squeaky clean.

I've been pushing for a new diff. They just have to try a few more things first I guess :ponder:
 

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I don't need to push the override on my 13' BUT my wifes 09' you have to push the override for the AWD to work in reverse
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I don't need to push the override on my 13' BUT my wifes 09' you have to push the override for the AWD to work in reverse
That's weird.... silly polaris haha. Guess its a crapshoot as to which you get. Mines definitely a need the reverse override switch or just the rears spin.
 

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getting up in the air safely jack stands or whatever you have start It up put it in gear give it little gas so the back wheel's are spinning and wiggle sum wires around see you if you can get the 4x4 to engage by wiggling sum wires maybe you will find a short sum where!
 
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