Polaris Ranger Axle Analysis: An In-Depth Exploration of Aftermarket Side-By-Side Axles
Nov 5th 2018
Despite large increases in power, torque and overall weight, most UTVs -- and the Polaris Ranger in particular -- still run the same axle sizes as their lighter, less powerful, predecessors. And in an era rife with heavy-duty, high-performance modifications, broken Polaris Ranger axles are among the most common issues that riders experience -- coming in just behind flat tires and belt failures.
While stock riders and weekend cruisers are less prone to encounter broken axles, mud boggers, sand dune rippers, and speed racers -- with their aftermarket lift kits, burley tires, and long-travel suspension -- are much more likely to experience axle failures.
In many Polaris Ranger models, the axle makes contact with the CV carrier at full droop -- that is when the shocks are completely bottomed out. Thus, when large forces are applied in the downward direction, the outer bottom lip of the CV carriers hit the axles, wearing them down over time or -- depending on how much force is exerted -- breaking them immediately.
Limiter straps can mitigate this damage to an extent, but a more long-term solution is to get axles with greater clearance. That being said, there are other solutions to prevent broken Polaris Ranger axles.
Some would argue that weak axles are pre-engineered safety features, meant to snap or break under stressful conditions in order to protect the drivetrain. Smoother driving -- whereby you roll into the throttle from dead stops and ease up on the gas when your wheels aren’t contacting the ground -- and regular maintenance of broken or damaged CV boots can definitely help extend the lifespan of your axles, but there are other options available for riders who aren’t too thrilled about the idea of driving on eggshells.
For those in the second camp, installing stronger, bulier, and better-designed axles is a viable option to reduce axle breaks and failures as well as shorten downtime caused by broken OEM axles. Whether you’re in need of a rebuild kit or a completely new Polaris Ranger front or rear axle, there are dozens of companies that specialize in Polaris Ranger and Ranger XP axles.
Dragonfire, EPI, Gorilla, and High Lifter are four of the many companies that provide quality aftermarket UTV parts and accessories. Their axles, in particular, are known to be far superior to the stock Polaris Ranger axle.
By incorporating one of the industry’s strongest steels into their design -- 4340 Chromoly Steel -- Gorilla is able to make front and rear Polaris Ranger axles that can better accommodate aftermarket suspension assemblies, lift kits, and oversized tires.
In addition to the higher quality materials used in their axles, Gorilla also subjects them to various treatment processes, including heat and cryogenic treatment to ensure that ultimate strength and durability is attained.
With their H.D Replacement Axle shafts, there's no need to fret when if you accidentally bust an axle. They drop right into place with relative ease and don’t require a master mechanic to install. And because of the relentless punishment that axles take, even the strongest ones can break, so easy replaceability is a must.
EPI takes a unique approach in their replacement axles for the Polaris Ranger. In their view, both the front and rear Polaris Ranger axles are bound to break. So instead of focusing on preventing the inevitable, they took a different route.
They design and manufacture their front axles, rear axles, CV boot kits, and CV joint kits, to OEM specifications to ensure a proper fit. They have been able to lower their prices as well, making their products more competitive than those of Polaris.
High Lifter Axles
High Lifter is the company that produces the Outlaw DHT Axle, a product that stands in a league of its own in terms of both design and manufacturing. It is dual heated with an emphasis on protecting and beefing up the most vulnerable parts of a Polaris Ranger axle -- namely, the cage and housing.
Like Gorilla, High Lifter also utilizes 4340 Chromoly Steel. They also incorporate thermoplastic elastomers as the main constituents of their boots, which provides a great deal of protection and helps to thwart wear and fatigue.