Whether you’re doing some high-speed highway driving, drag racing your side-by-side on flat blacktop, or just have the need for speed, there are various ways to give your Polaris Ranger some added giddy-up-and-go. Simple things like tuning or flashing your machine’s ECU / ECM to remove the speed governor will increase the top-end limits on a stock Ranger, but without more substantial UTV mods, you’ll never reach the potential of your machine.
While LS small-block or Hayabusa engine swaps will surely make your Ranger faster, there are more practical and less intrusive ways of speeding up your Ranger — after all, stock tires are only rated for certain speeds, and your stock belt will likely slap the case like mad at high velocities. Nevertheless, if you’re tired of lagging behind your friends with RZRs and no longer want to be the caboose of your convoy, here are some ideas that could quicken up your Polaris Ranger.
Tweaking The Engine Control Module For A Faster Ranger
Depending on what cc Ranger you have, a simple ECU tune can really wake your machine up. A Polaris Ranger 1000, for example, has the same motor as the RZR 1000, so you would think their top speeds would be comparable. Yet because the Ranger 1000 comes tuned down from the factory, it will lag behind an RZR — that is, if you don’t adjust the ECM.
You can send your ECU in to have it reflashed, or install an ECU tuner to make the adjustments yourself. Furthermore, if you’re Ranger feels sluggish, make sure that you’re using it in performance mode and that your performance switch is plugged in. It might seem obvious, but some people think their Ranger is abnormally slow, but were just riding in low or four-wheel drive. Additionally, having your seat belt plugged in and ensuring that your seat belt sensors are functional — or overriding the seat belt safety measures all together in the ECU — could also be slowing you down.
Going Faster With Road Tires
If speed is the only thing you’re after, you may as well just get a sports car. At around 2,500 lbs bone stock with no adds or accessories, the Ranger will never feel like a supercar no matter how much you put into it. This isn’t to say, however, that it can’t be woken up. If you’re running bulky mud tires, your top speeds will be limited. So if you really want to go fast and ride primarily on paved roads, smooth radial tires are your best bet.
The lighter the UTV, the faster it will go. Ergo, light tires are best for high-speed applications. But in addition to running lighter tires, you could also run on a quarter of a tank of fuel while stripping off any accessory that you don’t use. This may seem extreme, but everything UTV related requires a sacrifice, and most things are zero sum — performance gains in one area will detract from another.
Increasing Speed And Acceleration With A Clutch Kit
The best way to increase both speed and acceleration in your Polaris Ranger is with a clutch kit, and the best Ranger clutch kit is either from Gilomen Innovations or RVS Performance. With one of these clutch kits and their related tunes (as well as an aftermarket belt), you can reach nearly 80MPH in your Ranger without taking ages to get there.
Clutch kits are the first thing many riders do their Rangers, even before a roof, winch or windshield — it is that good. Riders with large tires go with clutch kits as well, bringing their speeds up to near-stock levels despite running bigger aftermarket tires.
The clutch work is rather simple if you want to do it yourself. No special tools are required — unless you have a 2015 or earlier 900, and then you should add a spider jam nut while you are in there, as the extra power will spin your spider off on the primary. Later machines had this from the factory. The nut is cheap but the tool isn’t the cheapest.
Most riders opt for clutch kits with a stiffer secondary spring because it pinches the belt a little more, and heavier primary clutch weights. The Giloman or RVS tune basically brings the de-tuned 1000 motor close to the same specs as the 1000 RZR. For A Giloman tune, you need to send in your ECU every time you need to change or upgrade a tune. With RVS, however, they will download tunes onto a Dynojet tuner and you can switch back and forth or upgrade the tunes yourself.
The Polaris Ranger isn’t a racing side-by-side. And despite what you may have seen at the local mud hole, it’s not a submarine either. That isn’t to say, however, that going faster isn’t a priority for some riders. So if you want to wake your UTV up a bit, yet still want all the benefits that come with a Ranger, there are options to be had.