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Thread: Polaris Sportsman 500 starter???

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    Thumbs down Polaris Sportsman 500 starter???

    I have a 2002 Polaris Sportsman 500 6X6 and the starter just spins when engaged. I am a 30 year aircraft mechanic and just figured the bendix shaft is likely corroded and needs cleaning and lubing. I also have the factory manual, which does not say JACK about removal. The aft of the two flange bolts hit the inner primary cover, which leads me to believe I have to pull the PVT clutch and driven peaves, inner primary (special tools seem required...unable to budge PVT clutch) in order to have enough clearance to rotate the starter to remove the aft bolt. I have the outer primary off (TERRIBLE design in having to remove and lift aft fairing just to do that) and the manual says "just pull the belt up off the driven sheaves to remove and replace. RIGHT! No WAY, I can't possibly imagine doing in two feet of water or mud 30 miles from NOWHERE, Alaska...even though I ALWAYS pack a spare belt, seal, tools, etc. Is the anybody out there who can shed some light on any possible way to remove the inner primary and related components without special tools, or a "secret on the bolt ( I will surely shorten upon re-installation? Please, this is an awesome resource and I know there was a guy (possibly a cop) in Palmer that "really KNEW his 6 wheeler", but lost his number. Any help IS much appreciated??? Thanks...

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    Member AKMuddy's Avatar
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    Starter issues on the Popos are well documented. I had a 2005 Sportsman 500 and the starter went out as well. I talked to the dealership about replacing it and was shocked when they wanted over $300.00 to replace it (no including labor). I just used the pull start from then on. I was told to check the ATV salvage yard in Eagle River but I just got used to pull starting the quad so I never checked into it.
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    Angry Case closed...problem solved!

    Since I posted this last night, after studying both the terrible design of this machine from a maintenance access standpoint and the service manual, I KNOW that you MUST remove both the PVT (engine) AND driven (transmission sheaves) clutches, THEN remove the inner primary to remove the starter...PERIOD! NO other way around it! You also need special pullers to remove them, which the average guy does not pack on the trail! I DID find (already knew starter was OK, only that bendix did not engage) that the bendix lives under the recoil start cover on the left side of engine. If, as I suspected...the issue is only a "dirty, sticking" bendix that justs need clean and lube, then "leave the starter in place"!!!! Simply remove the recoil cover and the bendix pops right out in your hand. SO...after all that cussing and knashing of teeth and calling Polaris engineers EVERY name in the book, I fixed the bendix, bolted the starter back on, reinstalled all NEEDLESSLY removed parts and "VROOOM"!!! I understnad that Polaris starters are KNOWN to be "shortlived" (mine is a 2002 and still turns fine, "knock on wood") and are $350 from the "Stealer Dealer" and a $100 online! I am selling my Polaris and buying a Honda! I now feel absolutely terrible that I allowed my daughter and son-in-law to buy a Polaris 600 with NO recoil start, and it was BARGED out to their remote cabin! When that starter takes a ****, they will be SCREWED in the middle of NOWHERE!!! Polaris's are NOT built to "be maintained"...buy a HONDA, SCREW the rest!!!! Just FYI...

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaGrizz View Post
    Since I posted this last night, after studying both the terrible design of this machine from a maintenance access standpoint and the service manual, I KNOW that you MUST remove both the PVT (engine) AND driven (transmission sheaves) clutches, THEN remove the inner primary to remove the starter...PERIOD! NO other way around it! You also need special pullers to remove them, which the average guy does not pack on the trail! I DID find (already knew starter was OK, only that bendix did not engage) that the bendix lives under the recoil start cover on the left side of engine. If, as I suspected...the issue is only a "dirty, sticking" bendix that justs need clean and lube, then "leave the starter in place"!!!! Simply remove the recoil cover and the bendix pops right out in your hand. SO...after all that cussing and knashing of teeth and calling Polaris engineers EVERY name in the book, I fixed the bendix, bolted the starter back on, reinstalled all NEEDLESSLY removed parts and "VROOOM"!!! I understnad that Polaris starters are KNOWN to be "shortlived" (mine is a 2002 and still turns fine, "knock on wood") and are $350 from the "Stealer Dealer" and a $100 online! I am selling my Polaris and buying a Honda! I now feel absolutely terrible that I allowed my daughter and son-in-law to buy a Polaris 600 with NO recoil start, and it was BARGED out to their remote cabin! When that starter takes a ****, they will be SCREWED in the middle of NOWHERE!!! Polaris's are NOT built to "be maintained"...buy a HONDA, SCREW the rest!!!! Just FYI...
    How much you asking for the 6x6?

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    Member Roger's Avatar
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    I had 5 starters put on last 2 years on a 2007 sportsman 500 also 3 new starters 2 rebuilt on a polock 6x6,Needless to say they "SUCK" and are up for sale. I'll stick with my yamahas 8,000 miles and same starter. 2007 polaris 1,000 miles 5 starters,2 fly wheels due to the starter breaking 4 pull cords and other parts in there.Replaced bushings all dry rotted 3 weeks after I picked up the bike, It caught on fire due to lack of no heat sheild from Polaris.Over heated beacuse of faulty sensor all in all over a 2 year period $3,000 in repairs for 2 more grand I could of bought a Yamaha..............Sorry to vent but Polaris sucks!!! I'll never listen to my guide again either ride the yamahas I use or get a new job is my moto
    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

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    Dang....not good.
    I have an 09 Sportsman 500...I hope they have that fixed by now!
    "We're all here cuz we're not all there"

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    Member AKMuddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK DUX View Post
    Dang....not good.
    I have an 09 Sportsman 500...I hope they have that fixed by now!
    Polaris has never addressed the issue. I have heard stories about their starters for years. Most folks just switch to the pull start after a few starters need replacing. On the smaller machines (500cc or less) that is ok. For the big boys, pull starting is usually not something you would want to do. My Grizzly 700 doesn't even have a pull start. Good thing it's a Yamaha...I would never need the pull start anyway. I can't imagine having to pull start a Polaris 850


    Do they even have a pull start?
    2007 Yamaha Rhino 660
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKMuddy View Post
    Polaris has never addressed the issue. I have heard stories about their starters for years. Most folks just switch to the pull start after a few starters need replacing. On the smaller machines (500cc or less) that is ok. For the big boys, pull starting is usually not something you would want to do. My Grizzly 700 doesn't even have a pull start. Good thing it's a Yamaha...I would never need the pull start anyway. I can't imagine having to pull start a Polaris 850


    Do they even have a pull start?
    That is hilarious "good thing its a yamaha". From my experience Yamaha atv's are the most unreliable of them all. I have put at least 15k miles on polaris 500,s a couple of 6x6,s and a 4x4. Ive never had a starter issue, I still have them and they still start just fine. As far as changing a starter in the field. Why would you do that? theres a pull start. As the originator of this post discovered a sticky starter is actually a very easy fix, If you actually had to remove the starter taking the clutches off for access should not intimidate anyone, especially an A&P mechanic. Sorry im not trying to stir anything I just got a kick out this thread.

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    It has been my experience that if one person is having more than there share of problems with an item such as a starter. It could be something other than the starter that is the problem causing the starter to go bad. I would check everything that control and powers the starter.

    Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loomis View Post
    . I have put at least 15k miles on polaris 500,s a couple of 6x6,s and a 4x4. Ive never had a starter issue,
    You must stay on dry land
    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

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    We have also had problems with a Polaris 500, although not the starter. It had a sensor go bad so it constantly overheated. The local Poo dealer washed off the radiator and changed the belt and charged us for it, didn't fix the problem, had to take it back. Now it sticks in reverse and we have to carry a big f(reaking) wrench with us for when that happens. First time it happened we were nearly to the glacier at Jim Creek and had to tow it out. That's a long tow.

    We have had Yamaha Grizzly 700's since '07 and they have been 100% reliable and virtually bomb proof. The only rig we've ever had problems with is the Polaris 500.
    "If snowmachiners would adopt the habits of riding one at a time and not parking at the base of avalanche prone slopes, the number of fatalities would likely be whittled by at least a third, if not by half." ~ Jill Fredston, in the book Snowstruck, In The Grip Of Avalanches.

  12. #12

    Default No more Polaris

    After years of field fixes or me towing them out one of our close riding friends bought a new Yamaha 550 and is selling the old 500 sportsman cheap because she knows she is only passing her problem on to some else.
    19' Lowe Roughneck
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loomis View Post
    That is hilarious "good thing its a Yamaha". From my experience Yamaha atv's are the most unreliable of them all. I have put at least 15k miles on polaris 500,s a couple of 6x6,s and a 4x4. Ive never had a starter issue, I still have them and they still start just fine. As far as changing a starter in the field. Why would you do that? theres a pull start. As the originator of this post discovered a sticky starter is actually a very easy fix, If you actually had to remove the starter taking the clutches off for access should not intimidate anyone, especially an A&P mechanic. Sorry im not trying to stir anything I just got a kick out this thread.
    How many Yamahas have you owned and what issues did you incur?


    All I can say is that I have owned Polaris (2005 Sportsman 500HO), Honda (old ATC), and Yamaha (late 90s 350cc- 2007 Rhino 660cc & Grizzly660cc & 700cc). I also ride with folks that own Polaris, Arctic Cat, and Honda. I have never had to be towed home on my Yamaha...EVER!!!! I have never had them not start (from -25f and and warmer). I have, in fact, had to tow several Polaris and one Honda back to the trailer. The Honda was a battery issue. The first Polaris was an ECU (first ride after purchase from the dealer), the second was a battery (different machine), the third was hydro locked (different machine), and a second ECU (same machine that had the battery issue).

    I also have a friend that is a die-hard Polaris fan. He has talked bad about Yamaha for years...

    He bought 2 new Yamaha Grizzly 550s last summer. He says they are the best machines he has ever owned. He didn't even tell me he bought them. He knew how much grief I was going to give him. I actually found out from my Yamaha dealer because they had a conversation about the whole issue when he was buying his new toys.

    Last summer we were riding/camping out at Petersville. We came across a group of folks parked along the side of the road. They were tearing down the plastic on a Sportman 500. It died on the trail...they ended up towing it back to their camp because they could not get it to start. Don't know the issue...I'm just saying...

    Do all ATVs have issues? Yes, absolutely. I have broken axles on my Grizzly 660 (both rear axles on separate occasions)...but honestly, that is the only issue I have ever had out of a Yamaha.

    I had several issues with my Polaris and experienced several issues with my friends polaris ATVs...enough to know I am glad I sold the one I had and that friends of mine that sang Polaris praise for years are now turning to Yamaha to get them down the trail.
    2007 Yamaha Rhino 660
    2007 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE w/EPS
    http://www.grizzlycentral.com/

  14. #14

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    I watched the neighbor kid for a 1/2 hour this winter as he tried to pull two high school girls and their S10 out of the ditch with his Polaris 500. I decided to bundle up and get my 550 Grizzly out and go help. I figured the 2 of us together could get them out. By the time I got there the Polaris was stinking and out of commission. So I gave it a go alone. I put it in low lock 4WD and grunted them out without all the jerking and fuss the the lad on his 500 Polaris was going through. I was only intending to help but turns out I shamed him in front of his girlly friend and he was a jerk about it so giving him a tow home didn't happen! It was his choice!

    It must have made an impression on him though. He has been driving around for the last week with a new Grizzly in the back of his pick up. He's been by my house a dozen times a day. I told my wife that I want to put a sign in the front yard that says congrats on the new Grizzly Kevin.....your welcome!

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    Take a closer look. I've never had to pull the clutches and housing to get the starter off. Just need to be patient and it will come out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone View Post
    I watched the neighbor kid for a 1/2 hour this winter as he tried to pull two high school girls and their S10 out of the ditch with his Polaris 500. I decided to bundle up and get my 550 Grizzly out and go help. I figured the 2 of us together could get them out. By the time I got there the Polaris was stinking and out of commission. So I gave it a go alone. I put it in low lock 4WD and grunted them out without all the jerking and fuss the the lad on his 500 Polaris was going through. I was only intending to help but turns out I shamed him in front of his girlly friend and he was a jerk about it so giving him a tow home didn't happen! It was his choice!

    It must have made an impression on him though. He has been driving around for the last week with a new Grizzly in the back of his pick up. He's been by my house a dozen times a day. I told my wife that I want to put a sign in the front yard that says congrats on the new Grizzly Kevin.....your welcome!
    ...too funny!!!
    2007 Yamaha Rhino 660
    2007 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE w/EPS
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    Some interesting information... http://www.atvsafety.gov/atvrecalls.html

    I'm just sayin'
    2007 Yamaha Rhino 660
    2007 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE w/EPS
    http://www.grizzlycentral.com/

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    Member Roger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKMuddy View Post
    Some interesting information... http://www.atvsafety.gov/atvrecalls.html

    I'm just sayin'
    Thats a good link .Funny I did not see the recall for fire hazard due to no heat shield on the 500 Sportsman ......OHHHHHH wait a min there was not one !!!! Must not have been enough people caught on fire From the mouth of the Polaris dealer " We know there is a problem with them catching on fire,But not enough to have a recall "
    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

  19. #19
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Wow, we don't seem to be having these problems w/ our AC's... My only complaint is the crummy factory battery which I will be replacing when I get back home. Oh and my 700 has a pull start and thought it is not exactly a joy to pull, it is quite reasonable.

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    The problem is not the battery on your AC, you need to fix what is draining the battery or install a battery disconnect switch, if not you always have a dead battery.

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