While on my annual camping trip with my family and friends, we always take my RZR and just love cruising the mountains. This year was no different, except my wife and I got to take our new dog, Zorro, for his first camping trip and ride in the side x side!
Zorro loves riding and could not wait to go each day.
After three days of riding in the Utah mountains, my Polaris XPT Turbo started to develop a noise on the right side of the engine, where the timing chain is. It was a definite ticking noise.
The first thing I did was check the oil level – it was full and still looked clean.
My wonderful wife, Jackie, and my best friend Zorro were riding with me, and we were pretty far away from anyone. We had only seen two other vehicles that morning. The noise was not going away, and I started to get worried about the UTV leaving us stranded, and that we would have to walk out with my arthritic ankles not good!
We chose to make our way back to camp, and just think about the noise in the valve train. I knew that the XP1000’s had a hydraulic timing chain tensioner that was a known problem. If the tensioner breaks, it can cause catastrophic damage to the head and valves, making for a really expensive fix.
After researching on the internet some more about the valve train noise, and knowing firsthand what kind of damage can result, I decided to not drive the Polaris XPT side x side our last two days of our camping trip.
We still had a great time – we just took rides in our Chevrolet truck and stayed on better dirt roads, but loved every minute of it. I still missed not being able to drive the RZR, but better safe than sorry.
When I returned from our trip, it was time to figure out the noise in the valve train and get it fixed.
I removed the clutch cover to be able to turn the engine over by hand and to put the rear camshaft lobes facing up before removing the timing chain tensioner.
When I removed the tensioner, I left the bolt and spring in because it made sense for me to see what it did when I pulled it out. I expected the tensioner to extend out as far as possible, but, no, it was completely stuck about 1/3 of the way out and would not extend anymore.
The problem was discovered, and it sure feels good to find a problem that more than likely would have caused a very expensive repair bill.
The Polaris XPT Turbo side x side has a manual timing chain tensioner, unlike the XP1000 that has a hydraulic type tensioner.
I ordered the parts from Polaris and in a few days was ready to re-install the new timing chain tensioner and see if all the noise was gone.
When I work with any valve train, I manually turn the engine over several revolutions. Then I’ll remove the fuel pump relay and turn the engine over with the starter, just to make sure everything is rotating properly with no weird noises.
After all the rotating, it is ready to install the fuel pump relay and start the engine on the Polaris turbo to make sure there is no noise.
Success!! The ticking noise is gone from the valve train and the engine sounds great.
Here is what you can take away from this story…If you hear noises in your UTV engine that you know are not normal or have never been there before, you might want to shut it off and quit riding until you get it fixed.
Of course, unless you just want to keep riding until it breaks in order to figure out the noise, this way it might cost you thousands of dollars, but you will find out where the noise is coming from.
Should these types of parts fail on a normal running, you would not think so, but it is a mechanical item, and we run in a very harsh dusty environment.
Keep up the maintenance on your side x side and fix what becomes a problem. Make it last and have better resale value because of your work.
Until we ride again.
Owner of UTV Service specializing in shocks and suspension.
I have always loved making cars and now UTV’s run and handle there best. I do not believe in taking short cuts and when something comes along that does not fit my values I will not sell or back that product.
Business owner for over 35 years. 3-Time Nascar short track champion at our local race track Rocky Mountain Raceway in Salt Lake City, Utah
2017 Polaris XPT 2-Seat Turbo-Current
2015 Polaris XP1000 -Sold
2011 Polaris RZR 800- Sold