Stop the Tin Can Sound in Your Polaris UTV Differential

If you own or ever had a Polaris XP 2014 + up, you probably have heard your front differential making weird noises or some bad vibrations – I know it happened on my 2015 Polaris XP1000.

This was my first Polaris XP1000. I bought it brand new in late 2015 and was excited to go riding with my friend, Pat, with his 2015 Polaris XP1000.

Pat let me take his RZR for a test ride after a while at the Little Sahara sand dunes.  Jackie and I hopped in Pat’s XP; we buckled in and off we went! – WOW! What a difference from my RZR 800. The next week I sold my RZR 800, and the plan was on to get a great deal on a yearend Polaris.

Finally, the spring of 2016 came and I was ready to start riding in my XP1000. In March the best place to go riding is at the sand dunes… so off we went.

I had noticed that when in 4- wheel drive, there was a noticeable vibration under acceleration. With this being my first XP1000, I thought this might be normal. When talking with Pat about this noise and if he experienced it on his XP, he told me his Polaris did not have the vibration that I was talking about.

Pat told me to hop in his and take it for a test drive.  So, I did and after only a couple of minutes, I knew his Polaris did not have the vibration that mine had – that’s weird!

After this ride, I got home and had gone online to try and find out what other people had found out about this noise and vibration – believe me, I was not the only one.

When researching this problem, there were many different opinions about what the cause was and how to fix it… everything from rebuilding the differential with better bearings, to replacing the complete driveshaft, and or balancing and phasing the driveline assembly to a new solid carrier bearing. When you start putting these together it can turn into some big money.

I chose to change out the differential fluid, hoping this would help the problem somewhat. My shop always uses Amsoil.  This is a great fluid, and Amsoil is into working with the power sport vehicles.  They have performed a lot of testing and research for our UTV Side x Side field.

I had been putting up with the noise and vibration all summer long and knew eventually it was going to have to get fixed. But we had planned a 4- day vacation in October to Marysvale, Utah, and decided I could get one more trip out of my XP1000.

Polaris Xp1000

2015 Polaris XP1000 Differential pieces

Polaris Differential

Polaris side cover survived

Polaris XP Differential

Rebuild parts for front differential on Polaris

Marysvale is a lot of fun because you can ride over 100 miles in a day and not hit the same trail twice.

So, we did a lot of riding, and the longer we rode, the worse my front differential became. Then, all of a sudden there was a popping noise, and the UTV would start pulling to the left hard enough you better have your hands on the wheel or it could shoot off the road.  Then, all of a sudden it would quit pulling and act normal, and then a couple of miles later it would start pulling really hard left.

I made it through the trip but knew it was time to pull the front differential out. If you’re like me and have a winch on your UTV, the job takes twice as long because you have to remove your winch and mount assembly.

When I pulled the differential out and took it apart, there were pieces of plastic and roller bearings everywhere. But the big problem was that a couple of roller bearings had lodged into the case and had broken the roller bearings apart enough to dig deep into the aluminum case and cause the output shaft to seize up. See pictures of differential parts.

After several hours of removing the lodged rollers and getting everything apart, I was able to save the differential case and buy a whole bunch of parts to repair it.

I read all the time about people talking on social media about this problem, and other people telling them to just drive it until it explodes.  I guess this is good advice to the person who has a lot more money than most of us and does not care if his UTV breaks down out on the trail somewhere.

We can reference this to the dentist – If you wait long enough before getting something fixed, it will probably cost you a whole bunch more money and a lot more grief.

Take care of this problem soon after you are aware of it.  If you can, borrow your friend’s Polaris just to see if your noise and vibration is a problem or not. This makes it an easy yes or no.

Looking for the vibration and noise, I would start at rebuilding the front differential before replacing the drivelines and carrier bearings unless you notice a particular problem with them.

After you get into the front differential assembly and check all pieces and bearings for noise and wear, repair and replace bearings and seals. Then reinstall the front differential and go for a ride. If, at this time, you still feel a vibration that you want to solve, then take out your driveline and either get it balanced at your local shop or buy a quality one through many UTV parts companies out there.

I am highly suggesting that you do not wait and put it off. It will cost a whole lot more and possibly you will be purchasing a complete front differential assembly.

Here at UTV Service, we rebuild the front differentials – Call now for your appointment. 801-410-0599

Polaris Front Differential Rebuild Bench Labor $195.00 + parts

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Polaris UTV Side X Side Front Differential

Until we ride again.