If you hear a noise out of the ordinary coming out of your UTV, it almost certainly means trouble. In the same way, many components in your Polaris Ranger emit noises when it fails, your Polaris Ranger prop shaft will also emit certain noises when it does fail. As a UTV owner, you will eventually run into a malfunctioning Polaris Ranger prop shaft down the road, and when it does, you should know how to diagnose and resolve the issues.
Figuring out why your Polaris Ranger prop shaft failed is the first step to finding out a way to fix it.
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1. Worn Or Damaged Bearings
If your carrier bearings are slightly damaged, you should notice a howling noise similar to a tire noise coming from your Polaris Ranger prop shaft. It should be easy to hear for anyone driving inside the cabin, as the sound originates from right under the floorboards. If the damage is extensive, you’d hear a clunking noise instead of a howling noise.
It usually happens when either your bearings are too worn from use or when they don’t have enough lubrication to run smoothly. Obviously, it is best to check up on these things every once in a while to make sure they run smoothly. This often leads to the howling sound. You could also be suffering from a more problematic issue, which is the actual carrier bearing being worn. If you often find yourself driving with bad U-joints, you could end up putting a lot of stress on the carrier, which can lead to premature wear.
To check for bad carrier bearings, you’ll need to take off the skid plate. And then simply try to move your prop shaft and if it does move, then that would be a prime sign.
Anyway, as a responsible UTV owner, you need to know how to tackle this. All you need is a jack and some common tools. Before starting, you should park the car and also disconnect the battery for safety reasons to ensure the side-by-side does not start. Start by placing the jack under the differential and jacking the car up. Next, proceed to loosen the bolts that hold the axle. Then lower the jack gently until you can see the carrier-bearing bolt patterns. Once you see them, you should be able to remove them with your socket and wrench set.
Now you will have gained access to the carrier bearings, simply tap the carrier so that you remove the old bearings. Make sure to be gentle, as you don’t want to damage the carrier. Next, clean the housing of any grease, grime, or dirt. Now you can insert the new bearings and tap them evenly to make sure they are secured. Now that the bearings are replaced, you can reinstall the carrier bearing and continue to reverse what you did.
If you were to replace the entire carrier for your Polaris Ranger, you’d be looking at around $200 to $300 cost-wise. If your carrier bearing is what’s causing the nasty sounds, it should now be non-existent. If it is still making those noises, you may want to investigate further.
2. Worn Or Broken U-Joint
U joints are a common suspect when you notice vibrations or squeaking noises coming from under your cabin. You may be able to notice these well when starting or shifting gears. As the U joint connects your side by side’s transmission and the rear differential to the drive shaft and such, it is constantly worn down.
Over time, as the U joint wears or is damaged, you will experience these vibrations and sounds coming from your prop shaft.
To check for U joint issues, you should first set your Ranger in park, then put it into neutral. Try to move the U joint yokes manually. If they move too much, then you may have a problem. Generally, you will be able to notice when it moves too far, as it will indicate a worn or broken U joint.
Replacing a U joint isn’t super hard, so it’s best that you know how to do it yourself. First, start by removing all the retaining clips from all the 4 bearing cups. Now you can proceed to remove the bearing cups, so you can free up everything to replace the U joint. For this, however, you will need a proper adapter and press pin that fits your UTV’s bearing cups. You can do this by either using a U joint tool, which is recommended, or you can also substitute by using a vice. Make sure to keep everything well-lubricated when you go through this process.
Now you’ve done all you need to be able to install your new U joint. Make sure to grease it up before proceeding. Then put the U joint in between the yokes and insert the bearing cups. You will need to once more use the U joint to press your bearing cups into place, and also make sure to attach the retaining clips once more. And before you attach it again, do make sure to get it well greased up.
It is also possible to attach a grease zerk when you reattach the U joint. This will make it possible to grease your U joint with ease. Which will in turn make sure that your U joint works well.
Replacing your worn or broken Polaris Ranger U joints is a fairly cheap repair. As long as you have all the necessary tools for the job, the replacement will only cost you about $100.
See video below for a U-joint replacement.
3. Worn Or Damaged CV Joints
Your CV joints are an integral part of the prop shaft. It gives the wheels of your Polaris Ranger a wide range of motion for a smooth drive. It is also a vital part when looking at the power transfer to your wheels. A badly damaged CV joint can cause your Ranger to stop in its tracks.
The telltale sign that your CV is bad is hearing popping or clicking noises while you are turning. If you do want to confirm that this is the problem, you should start by putting your rig in reverse, then turn the steering all the way to one side and drive backward in a circle. If the sound grows louder, then it’s time you take a look at your CV joint.
You would want to examine the components in the axle as well, as they could also be making noise. If they are damaged, there is a possibility that they could be repaired, but if not, your best option would be to go for aftermarket alternatives which will last longer. If the CV joint itself is the culprit, then there isn’t much else you can do other than replace it.
To do the replacement by yourself, all you will need are your common repair tools. As always, you will need to access the CV joint, which means you will need to lift your UTV with a jack. Take off the wheels and the axle nuts as well. Next, you will have to take off a couple of bolts so that you can get the hub assembly out of the way and gain access to the CV joint.
At this point, you should be able to slip out the outer CV joint. Next, you should carefully pry the inner CV joint from the differential. Then, once you take off the CV joint, cut the boot and the clips on the shaft, as you will have to replace them as well. Proceed to insert the new CV joint.
First put in the boot and clips. Make sure they are properly greased. And then insert the CV joint. Once you revert everything in the axle back to its original position, it should be good to go back into the side-by-side.
Replacing a CV joint on your Ranger would set you back anywhere from $300 to $500.
4. Replacing Complete Prop Shaft
Rather than replacing the problematic parts of your Polaris Ranger prop shaft individually, you can make the process much easier by replacing the complete prop shaft. This’ll ensure that you don’t run into similar prop shaft noises in the near future. The only downside is that replacing the entire Polaris Ranger prop shaft will be costly. A high-quality aftermarket Polaris Ranger prop shaft could cost as much as $800. But, it’ll surely solve your issue.
“Complained to the dealer about “noisy” prop shaft on my 2017 General Deluxe that I bought “used” but only had 12 miles on it. The dealer drove it and agreed it had the “marbles in a can” noise that many are complaining about. So, they started a “case/complaint” for me and Polaris approved a new prop shaft installed. I am excited to report they installed it yesterday afternoon and I picked it up this AM, several test drives now and all is quiet!”