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Common Problems With The Polaris Ranger High Lifter And How To Solve Them

The base model of the Polaris Ranger is good, but the High Lifter edition is even better. This “undisputed king of the mud” comes stock with various protective accessories and innovative water draining features, and larger tires that make it perfect for mudding. But because this machine is made to be used and abused, it is not surprising that parts and components begin to break and fail. If you have been an owner of the Polaris Ranger High Lifter for an extended period of time, you’ve most likely encountered some type of failure on another. And if this is the case, perhaps we can shed a bit of light on the common issues with the High Lifter edition of the Polaris Ranger as well as how to solve them.  

Rusty High Lifter Differential Splines 

One common issue with the High Lifter is rust accumulation on the splines and differential. Because this machine is often used in the mud, the build-up of rust makes sense. And once the splines begin to rust against the differential, they can become extremely difficult to get off. Luckily, other riders have gone through this, and we’ve got their solutions.

You might be thinking about pulling the axle from other side and sticking an extension or long punch in there to knock out the rusted splines from the back side. This, however, takes a bit of work to take everything apart and put it back together. Plus, not all years of the High Lifter will allow this, as the differentials are sealed with no way to punch them out from the other side. 

A good way to deal with rusted-on parts is to soak the crap out of them with PB Blaster. They can be stubborn for sure, and you might have to tap and pull on them a bit. You can use a slide hammer and the upper arm as a pivot as well. Take a strap and wrap it tightly around the cup and the arm while the arm was pushed up. Hold pressure by pushing it down, which will cause the strap to tighten up more (essentially pulling on the cup), and have a buddy use a slide hammer. If all else fails, try Kano Aerokroil. It’s a bit costly, but definitely some of the best stuff on the market. 

Vibrations In The Differential Area

Similar to rusted splines, the front differential area is known to vibrate in the Polaris High Lifter. This is often caused by a bent or out-of-phase driveshaft, which can cause the pinion bearing to come apart and wreak havoc on the pinion seal as well. Even if you only notice the vibrations in four wheel drive, the driveshaft could still be the culprit, as it may only be under load when 4wd is engaged. You can try to replace the carrier bearing, but if the vibrations persist, you should replace or balance your drive shaft. 

Breaking High Lifter Output Shafts And Snorkel Gears

Even if you’re not using your Polaris High Lifter for extreme mudding, it is not uncommon to break the snorkel gear or output shaft — especially when backing up in reverse. Generally, with repetitive failures, there’s a common issue. If the transmission has been rebuilt or replaced, there’s a high chance that the gear lash is not being measured correctly and there are incorrect tolerances. If not, some aftermarket parts may help. We know riders that have replaced their output shaft and gear with an aftermarket option by the side-by-side parts provider Turner, and haven't had any problems since.

Stuttering And Hesitations In Reverse

Some riders have contacted us about reverse issues in their High Lifter Ranger, where it hesitates and then kicks into gear as they accelerate in low or reverse. They have complained that it almost gives them whiplash, and blame the factory gear reduction. This can be easily fixed, though, with an aftermarket clutch and tune. The Gilomen clutch and tune, for example, is night and day. 

Gilomen has High Lifter-specific tunes for both the 900 and 1000 High Lifter. Not only will this help with the hesitation issues, but the power that is unlocked is hard to even describe. No matter if you are running in low gear, at highway speeds, in reverse, uphill, through mud, or just want to punch it to pin your copilots to the back of their seats, the Gilomen clutch kit and tune completely delivers. 

Hitting 70mph on 30” tires is not a problem, and clutch engagement is almost instant. Backing up and parking is noticeably different, with the biggest advantage being that your High Lifter will remain in its power band. If you have put bigger tires on your machine, you have probably noticed the lack of power, which is far less than you used to have.

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