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Thread: Sportsman 500 6x6 chains/sprockets/bearings?

  1. #1
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    Default Sportsman 500 6x6 chains/sprockets/bearings?

    I have a 2008 sportsman 500 6x6 with 1000 miles on it. 300 miles have been with tracks and the remaining 700 have been with the 3 inch spacers on the rear and oversized tires on the front. This is the first 6x I have owned. I am wondering what I should do besides the general maintenance and fluid changes.

    This last trip I noticed that the rear eccentric seals started going bad (milky grease instead of black like the front). The sprockets are showing a little wear too. I really do not want to wait for a failure in the field before replacing parts. Is it time for me to do the 4 sprockets, 2 chains, and seals. While I am at it should I also do the eccentric bearings and middle axle ball bearings? Are there any other parts that I should replace that typically fail between the 1000 and 1500 mile mark? I don't mind putting some money and time into the rig to avoid a ruined hunting trip. I really appreciate any advice that the long time 6x6 owners may have. Thank you

  2. #2

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    Id change all the bearings out in the middle and rear axle housing. The rear is much more forgiving, they typically don't fail. Also change out the swing arm bushings. This requires taking off the driven clutch and removing some stuff. Those little guys are what causes the rear axles to get out of alignment and kill your sprockets. I've done the bearings on the rears of those things for years, and if you have one go out it takes the sprockets and the shaft itself out too, and also the housing which is expensive. All the bushings in the rear shock angle thing should be swapped too, those are cheap and a quick fix. When you put the new bearings in make sure you check the preload on the middle housing 3-4 times in the first 25 miles, they like to wear a lot to break in. Don't put to much grease in when the seals are new because you will blow the seals out(talking from experience).

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    Fishhook..Thank you for the advice. I am a little nervous about pulling the driven clutch to replace the swing arm bushings. I may wait on this one until the next sprocket/chain replacement.

    One quick question (hopefully not a dumb one). When you said to "check the preload on the middle housing 3-4 times in the first 25 miles" are you referring to the chain tension?

    Thank you again.

  4. #4
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    Also, save yourself some money and get your bearings at Alaska Bearing in Anchorage. For chain, I found Power Sports on the Parks hwy just past Pittman had the 520 O-ring chain in bulk for cheap. I don't remember how many links it takes though.
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  5. #5

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    Pulling the clutch is easy, just rent the puller bolt from polaris and use an impact, and to re install you just tighten it down with a torque wrench. And for the preload, its the 2 nuts that put the preload on the taper bearings in the housing. Thats the number one killer of the bearings, incorrect preload. They should be check every 100 miles anyways, I have gotten 2600 miles out of a set checking them all the time, and they were still good. Those swing arm bushings should definitely be changed out while you have everything apart. You will need to rent a 1.75" wrench if you don't have one. Powersports stuff has the cheapest chain like mentioned above. Its easier than Im making it sound, if you have all the right tools.

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    Thanks for the aftermarket recommendation and additional info on preload. I will do the swing arm bushings too. I will probably have more than $800 into parts by the time I am done (bearings, chain, sprockets, brakes, and bushings). Maintenance is kind of pricey on these things. Thanks again.

  7. #7

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    You will feel very good about it afterwards though. Less things to worry about when your chasing moose other than...wel...chasing moose
    I go overboard on maintaining my equipment I'm often told but that's the way I like it, knock on wood I haven't had to run for parts on a hunt ever. I like the piece of mind.

  8. #8

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    800$ is right around what it will cost, but you will be good for 1500 more miles if you watch everything. I always did way more maintence then I needed to, it pays off because I haven't been stranded out in the woods yet.

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    I am just about done with all the repairs. One thing just does not seem right though. For the middle axle the axle nut on the sprocket side states that an 8-10 ft. lbs torque is required (preload). At first this made plenty of sense to me because the middle axle housing has tapered bearing (cone/cup) and like a trailer wheel bearing, too much torque will lead to bearing failure. Where the confusion started is when I did the rear axle. Both middle and rear housing have the same cone/cup tapered bearings yet the torque on the rear axle is 150 ft. lbs.! The 2008 polaris service manual clearly states that both nuts on the rear axle are torqued to 150 lbs. Why such a drastic variance in torque between both axles? Why 8-10 ft. lbs on the middle axle and 150 ft. lbs on the rear axle? Is this an error in the service manual. With a 150 lbs of torque on the rear axle nut it takes two hands to spin the axle. Thanks again for the help.

  10. #10

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    The 150 ft lbs is for the jam nut to make sure the preload nut doesnt come loose. The manual doesn't state it very well. I always got mine as tight as possible by fingers, then tightened a little with a wrench, then backed off and re torqued after spinning it a few times to make sure the grease doesn't take up any preload space. I did mine probably 20 lb-fts and was fine. Then after a test drive of a few miles re torque again. It will be loose again trust me. After your first trip check it again, then your good for the regular intervals. I always checked mine every 200 miles. Doesn't take long to do and is good insurance. Be careful to not pop the seals out with the grease gun. They are very easy to pop, I usually only did a few pumps in the central housing every few trips and 2 shots in the outboard ones. Polaris parts guy told me years ago the good grease will outlast the bearings!

    Edit: If you already torqued 150 on the bearings they are done. Change them out, my friend did this exact thing and even after the correct torque they didn't last 10 miles. To clarify my above paragraph, do it just like your trailer spindles, its not different, other than the constant wear and short life of the bearings.

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    Thank you again Fishhook.... That dang polaris manual cost me another $50. I wish I would have thought a little about it before torquing. I will replace the bearings and seals again. The bearing race should be fine... not damaged by the over torque? I really appreciate the advice about swapping out the over torqued bearings.

  12. #12

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    The races are fine, as long as you didn't drive on them tight like that. What gets ruined is the cage for the rollers gets crushed out of spec and chews on them until it fails all together. Sadly those seals aren't reusable, most ones of that size are. After owning these guys for quite a few years I learned most of the stuff that goes wrong, so if you have any more questions just ask ill be glad to help.

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