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Thread: Best towing ATV --Polaris Big Boss??

  1. #1

    Default Best towing ATV --Polaris Big Boss??

    Hello, Iv'e been a member since 2006 but mostly just lurk. A lot of you have a lot more experience on different machines than I do. Plus, nobody really wants to hear from a boring old timer who only rides a 300 Suzuki KQ.

    Well, I just finished a moose hunt,They are geared real low and tow great in the swamps and moderate hills. Most of my riding is towing a meat wagon plus a few scouting excursions each year. These machines have never let me down. These machines have been high in the mountains in alders so thick you would not want to walk thru them. They are like the Timex comercial 'takes a licken and keeps on tickin" I have never failed to be impressed with the toughness of these machines. Until recently I never felt I needed another machine. This year was different.

    We went to a new hunting area. My meat wagon probably was loaded between 400-500 lbs going in and out. We encountered much steeper hills than usual. Going up hills I Couldn't seem to always find the right gear and almost flipped the machine 3 times ( shifting to lower gear) during the trip in and out. I have over 2000 hard hunting miles on my main hunting machine and always try to keep at least 100 lbs of gas and water on the front rack to keep the front wheels on the ground during uphill climbs. This year it didn't help. Most of our riding is 3-5 mph towing heavy wagons. Low end grunt is real important. Not overheating is real important. Not flipping on hills is real important. Reliablity is real important --I don't want to be the guy needing a tow or screwing up a hunt for the rest of the party due to mechanical problems.

    The guys I ride with mostly ride Honda foreman 450s with a few other brands thrown in. My one buddy rides a polaris 500 and it has done real well but has few miles on it. I have always been mostly impressed with the Hondas. They are tough, reliable and have plenty of power. They also have over 2000+ miles on them. One of them has over 3500 hard hunting miles on it and still runs like a top. I have always put them a cut above my Suzuki KQs --but not by much. Not enough to go out and buy a new machine.

    If I make the jump to a different machine i always figured it would be a substantial jump. A machine that could REALLY pull a whole moose and camp out of the woods in one load to the highway. A machine not prone to flipping. One that perhaps would give reliable service. A machine that could travel through narrow 4 wheeler trails. Hence, I am considering the Polaris Big Boss.

    So I guess I am looking for a new machine with the following prioritys in mind: reliability, safety , large towing capacity with good low end grunt. I am not so sure about the Polaris reliability. But I am sure about a belt driven engine being safer going up hills then a manual tranny.

    I live 300+ driving miles from ANY ATV repair shop/dealership. I do not have the luxury to taking a machine in for service or warranty work. I do all my own routine maintenance and some of the simpler major items like bearings, brakes, etc. So reliability is a HUGE issue for me.

    I have rambled for a while. So my question is: Those of you who have owned or observed the Polaris Big Boss WITH a HEAVILY LOADED TRAILER. How does it perform? Is is it good in side hilling? Is it protected enough in the front to prevent alders and sticks from punching through the radiator when you pack your moose out of the alder patch? Do you have over heating problems? electrical issues? Have you had to take a new machine back to the shop more frequently than you think you should have? Please be honest and give your observations of the real pros and cons. Thanks for any replies.

  2. #2
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default Best towing ATV --Polaris Big Boss??

    I don't know how well they haul a trailer but your 400 lbs of gear is only 1/2 the rated capacity of the big boss's cargo box. Most of my buddies that use them just build taller sides for the bed box and take everything on the wheeler. They do have a 2k lb towing rating in case you need to carry more than the 800lb cargo box and 100 lb front rack can handle.

    If I were to sell my arctic cat 700 it would be to purchase a 6x6.

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    my partner hunts with one, and has for 3 years now (bought it new in 09). I think I saw 1500 miles on his odo when we were riding two up on one of the hunting rides. thing is BA. only problems he has had is the breaking of the rear a-arm bolts, which actually isn't a hard off trial fix. just make sure to carry a couple spares. and he blew his first belt this year. this was the first year we have towed a trailer in and I didn't hear him complain at all, I think we stopped once in 60 hard miles so he could let it cool down. he goes a little faster than I like to run and he had a whole moose with some camp gear in the bed, pulling a pacrat with more camp gear. powers through the alders and brush, most of the mud holes also. if I wasn't rolling a ranger 6x6 I would ride one of these. they work pretty well for two up, the seat is a longer than the old 6x so the few miles of two up weren't hard on either of us. neither of us will probably own anything with less than 6 wheels, there is just something to be said about that extra axel.
    I'm sure others will hit this up too, that have way more miles on theirs than we do. I'm curious to see what they say also.

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the replies. I talked to a co worker today and he is sold on them and he is a Suzuki guy. His friends and family members hunt with these machines. I don't think I would use the whole capacity of the machine. Maybe 500-600 lbs in the bed and 400-500 in a trailer. I would like to be able to take out a whole moose and camp out in one load --especially if I am short on time.

    I am aware of the grade 8 bolt problem based on the posts on this forum. One of my coworkers bought a 2011 and has already broke two bolts in the middle axle. It's a problem I think I could deal with. I'm more concerned with electrical and over heating issues.

    I also worry about drive train and axles. If I did buy a big boss about the most I would want to modify it is to put 26" mud lites 12" on the rear and 10" on the front and a winch. Don't know if this would require wheel spacers or not. In any case I would like to leave it as stock as possible.

    I didn't realize the seat is two up.

  5. #5
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    I don't pretend to know every wheeler out there, but from the Rangers and wheelers I do have experience with? Side by sides and sit-ons, 4x4 and 6x6? If I had to choose one? It would be a Polaris 800 Sportsman. Comfy, capable, tough, fun to ride, and very versatile. I have no doubt the same can be said for the other brands as well. We have great equipment to choose from. Get one and have fun!

    Honest truth? I spend more time and get more smiles from my old 250 Yamaha Timberwolf than from any machine I've had. Fun is where you find it.

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    Member Spookum's Avatar
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    when loaded properly, i have seen them pick up the front axel and just CRAWL up steep hills. This is where normal wheelers would flip over. IT is like driving a tank. Since i already own a argo, i would get the 6x6 big boss as my next rig!

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    Member mod elan's Avatar
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    You can go with 27's on the Big Boss and not have problems with the drivetrain. 10" wide front tires I believe will require wheel spacers. Someone correct me if I'm wrong here.

  8. #8

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    I pull a meat wagon with mine and hardly can tell its back there. The big thing is to make sure you have plenty of weight on the machine for good traction. I like to load all my heavy stuff in the bed of the 6x6 and some on the front rack and put the big bulky stuff in the trailer when I can. Like everyone says, these things are impressive to say the least!

  9. #9

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    wiring won't be an issue if you treat it before you get problems...cut off the zip ties that are on the connectors asap...get silicone tape(F4 or emergency tape or any self bonding) and start wrapping over the connector and work down the wiring about 6 in or as far as possible. this will not only protect them but will water-proof the connection. works great on numerous aircraft, excellent on anything closer to the mud.

  10. #10
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    My hunting buddy has been on one since 1994. His latest is a 2010 800cc. I was so impressed with the new suspension I bought a 2011 model. The 2011 and newer moved the radiator up and the winch down. Radiator stays much cleaner. Neither of us have ever had a overheat problem, and as I said he has been on one since '94. I have a tandem axle alum meat trailer but haven't used is yet. An old single axle with 500 pounds in it and a bull moose in the bed of the 6x6 - you don't even know it's there. Also side-hilling with the new suspension is MUCH BETTER then the old solid axles. I put 27" mud lites on mine and needed about 1/2" spacers. Polaris only offers 1", which I got, but my buddy went with three washers per wheel stud and spend MUCH LESS money. Just need a little clearance on the front for the steering ball joints. As for the rear "A" frame bolts. I have borken two, on the same axle. My buddy has never broken one. Doesn't even carry a spare. I carry two spares. Easy to change with a 9/16 wrench and a 9/16 wrachet. Drive the beast up on a log or stump, remove the tire and replace the bolt, replace the tire and continue on. Just a Pain in the *****. Polaris claims only 5% have this problem. I think it is way higher percentage. Then they said owners were overtorquing the bolts (requires 40foot pounds). Ya like I carry a torque wrench in the woods on a moose hunt. I just think Polaris should stand up for the owners (not going to happen) and provide replacement bolts when one breaks. They are about $20 a pop. I have tried to find another source here in Anchorage but could only find grade 8 bolts to 8 inches. These are about 18' long. Even with this problem it is still a great machine. I would buy one again.

  11. #11

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    I pull a double axle trailer on week long trips. 65 or more gallons of gas. Have had 3 caribou and an entire musk ox in trailer coming out plus remaing gas & camping gear in bed. Hard to tell it is there. I have also hauled an entire 65" moose out in the bed. (head & hide as well) I knew that was there because of the wheelies going up cutbanks! Seriously, there is no four wheeled ATV that compares. I have had zero issues in 2000 + miles. I just wish for two things: better mpg and a larger tank. In low range and working hard, it is fill up time every 20 miles. Yes, 5 mpg. I have 26 Mudlites, no spacers, no rubbing.

  12. #12

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    aknome, I only get around 10 mpg on my old 300 King Qaud when pulling a heavy trailer with racks overloaded. Does your 5 mpg figure include trailer and fully loaded bed? If so it does not sound so bad for a machine of this capability in real tough terrain. Also what width are your tires? 2000+ miles without issue sounds very impressive.

    I don't know if wide tires with spacers contribute to the grade 8 bolt problem or not. But I am of the general mind set ( right or wrong): I would rather settle for a little less tire if it saves my drive train wear and tear. Ideally I still think I would like to go with 12" rear and 10" on the fronts. I might be willing to go 10" widths all the way around in a 26-27 inch mudlight or ITP 589. Still on the fence on this one. I would like to keep the machine as stock as possible yet still get good performance.

  13. #13

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    The 5mpg is both machine and trailer loaded down. Gas, gear, we evan pack a 150 quart cooler with ice on August hunts. i get about 10 mpg if just cruising in high range down a good trail. It is a gas hog but the work it will do is amazing. I think the fronts are 9x 26 and 11 x 26 rears. ITP mud lite Radials.. No wear visible yet. Only issue is a sticky bendix and a broken wire below headlight pod caused by a too tight ziplock where the Y is in the Wire harness.

  14. #14

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    aknome, Thanks for the response. Thanks to all the the other forum members for the replies. Not trying to close the thread just can't think of any more concerns or questions to think of. You guys have given me a lot of good solid information to confidently purchase a new Big Boss. It probably will not happen until early this spring. This should allow me some riding time and time to address any issues (not eluding that there will or should be) prior to hunting season and while warranty is still new. Again. Thanks....

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