Polaris is a pioneer when it comes to off-road vehicles such as ATVs and UTVs. They have a massive client base, and they do have a successful lineup to back that up. Even with all this success, you cannot overlook the fact that the company has been plagued by Polaris ranger Lift Kit Problems for a long time.
Polaris Sportsman might experience a loud knocking or clanking sound followed by axle damage after installing a new lift kit. A brand-new lift kit can also cause strain and wear and tear on CV boots due to incompatible or extra lift height.
Due to this issue, some Ranger models are more consistently affected than others. Let us look at some of the problems that you could encounter with the Ranger Lift Kit. Furthermore, at the end of this, you will know how to perform required repairs and their costs.
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1. Axle Binding
Axle binds are caused due to the CV joint being bent in a way that the inner bearings and cage are locked, making it impossible to turn the vehicle. In this condition, if you press the accelerator pedal to force rotation, the CV joint explodes internally.
Even if the axle does not engage when driving on level ground, it can become engaged when driving on uneven terrain in which a side-by-side would often be in, where the suspension can immediately fall off. That is why this is a fatal issue in a UTV.
Raising the machine without raising the axle increases the pivot angle of the axle. There is no other way. However, before turning the side by side, you must ensure that the shafts are connected. To check the suspension, raise the vehicle fully off the ground until the suspension is fully lowered, then turn all four wheels manually. It must rotate freely. The axle is stuck if the suspension needs to be raised to turn the wheels.
2. Knocking Sounds
This is another issue you might face with a Polaris Ranger lift kit. If you are hearing knocking sounds, the culprit is probably your axle.
‘I just added new tires and a 2″ ATVsuperstore lift kit. Now I am getting some weird knocking in the front end, specifically when I turn hard left or right. Unfortunately, I can’t drive the thing and watch it at the same time. Any idea what the heck might be going on?’
This is often seen with smaller lifts like the 2-inch lift above the Polaris Ranger owner got. Replacing your front axle with OEM axles is the best way forward if you are having the same issue. It is better to do your research and get a stronger, more durable aftermarket axle.
A good, strong axle can cost upwards of $500. But it’ll be worth it eventually.
3. Axle Failure
80% of the time, a Polaris Ranger is installed, and the owners follow it up with massive tires. Some even opt to go with tires upwards of 36 inches. Can’t blame them, cause a lift kit without bigger tires looks a bit weird.
Smaller lift kits and a small enlargement in tire size won’t cause a serious problem. But a massive Polaris Ranger lift kit followed up with the right tires can cause havoc. Larger tires require more torque due to their size and weight. So, what’s the next step? A gear reduction.
Again, if your axle isn’t upgraded to withstand the heavy torque load, it will snap, bend or fail in another way. Though your stock axle might hold up when riding through subtle terrain, the moment you hit a rough patch or mud bog, your axle will surely fail.
Though your OEM axles can’t handle the excess torque, there are plenty of heavy-duty aftermarket axles out there which are more than capable of handling 50% gear reductions with 36-inch tires.
4. Unstable Steering
Large lifting kits are equipped with steering stops. Because even though axles are better with a larger lift kit, you can still tie them in certain situations. Without a steering brake kit, turning the steering wheel left or right, reversing and accelerating can easily damage the axle.
This causes the UTV to wobble forward and adds extra weight to the front axle, which is already fully stretched when cornering. This maneuver is a bad idea, no matter what you’re riding, but with a lot of climbs, you’re guaranteed a break.
When you add big tires and big lift kits, driving cautiously will get you far. Don’t throttle the vehicle too much when the vehicle is wedged or stuck. And if you are going for big lift kits, you might also want to add heavy-duty axles since most stock axles can’t handle big lift kits, many of them pop or break even with only 2 to 3 inches of lift.
You might also feel like your front end wobbles as it is about to come loose.
‘I am noticing now, though, at higher speeds (45-50mph), the front end doesn’t feel as stable. My guess is this is common after adding a lift and slightly larger tires.’
Also read: 6 x Most Common Polaris Steering Problems!
5. CV Joints Overheating
Even if there is no problem with binding after you’ve installed the lift kit, the steeper angles of the lifted side-by-side cause the CV joints to heat up; it doesn’t sound that bad, right? What’s the worst that can happen if your CV joints overheat?
This can cause two major problems. One is the additional friction from the steep angle causing the CV joint grease to break down quicker, which makes it lose its lubricating properties and become watery, causing the CV to wear faster.
The second problem is, If you have a serious overheating problem, you may experience sudden spontaneous failure. At extreme angles, high friction or poor-quality CV can cause the lubricant to get too hot, and pressure can cause the rubber boots to rupture or completely melt. Almost immediately, you will lose all the grease that can instantly destroy the CV.
Whether it happens immediately or if it takes time, at the end of the day, you’d have to replace your CV joints. Replacing CV joints cost less than $100, but this doesn’t mean you should ignore the issue.
Instead of buying a lift-kit, you can get one for free, just see the next video!
6. Lose Comfort
There are many ways in which you can get your Polaris Ranger lifted. If you are looking for a massive lift, you will opt for a bracket lift or a portal gear lift. But the problem is that these Polaris Ranger lift kits are costly. Some cost upwards of $3000 or $4000.
So many owners meddle with the Polaris Ranger suspension for a lift. You can add high lifting a-arms and radius arms to increase your ride height. You can try repositioning your suspension to increase its angle to make it more vertical. Or you can stiffen your shocks.
All these options will surely give your Polaris Ranger/General a lift, but at what cost? You’ll be paying with your ride comfort.
7. Increased Risk Of Toppling
This is simple physics. When you attach a Polaris Ranger lift kit to your rig, you are also lifting its center of gravity. Incline your rig a little too much, and you’ll roll over your rig.
Here’s what one customer who understood the cost of a Polaris Ranger lift kit had to say about the problem.
‘A lot of the trails we ride put you in off-camber / sidehill angles; without a lift, I have scared myself; with a lift, I would have either flipped or browned my shorts.’
In an ATV, you can use your body to balance your ride to avoid toppling. But in a UTV, there is nothing you can do about it.
A Polaris Ranger lift kit does look cool and allows you to get bigger tires, but it isn’t for everyone. If you regularly ride through mud bogs or deep puddles, your Polaris Ranger lift kit would come in handy.
But if you ride through hilly terrain or go rock crawling, you are increasing the risk of toppling your rig. If you want to lift your rig regardless, you should also consider getting a long travel kit. It’ll give a wider stance for your Polaris Ranger, making it more stable.
Featured image: Polaris ORV Media