Polaris Ranger Suspension: Adjustments, Additions, And Upgrades
Oct 6th 2019
The suspension system on the Polaris Ranger can’t compete with the stock suspension parts on sport-style off-road vehicles like the RZR by Polaris, the Maverick X3 by Can-Am, and the Teryx by Kawasaki. But for most riders, the stock Polaris Ranger suspension setup is good enough for what the machine is typically used for. Depending on the edition and year of your Ranger -- be it a Polaris Ranger 570, an XP Ranger 800, or a special edition Trail Boss Ranger -- you can likely adjust its suspension to match both your riding style as well as the terrain over which you drive. Alternatively, you can also install aftermarket springs, shocks, and entire Polaris Ranger suspension systems in your UTV to improve its performance. Either way, here is our two cents about the best Polaris Ranger suspension systems, replacement Polaris Ranger suspension parts, and aftermarket Polaris Ranger suspension upgrades that you can install for a nicer ride in your off-road side-by-side.
Adjusting The Suspension On Your Polaris Ranger
You can significantly alter the plushness, ride height, and comfort of your Polaris Ranger by adjusting the suspension system. Whether you own a Ranger 900, a Ranger 1000 XP, or a Northstar edition of the Polaris Ranger, you should be able to adjust the shock placement, the rebound, and the compression settings of your machine's suspension. Although the shocks on older Ranger editions are less customizable, the factory suspension setup that comes stock on newer Rangers allows you to adjust much more than the stiffness of your suspension. You can crank your Polaris Ranger suspension all the way up to absorb harder hits and fit larger aftermarket tires and rims, or you can drop the preload to its lowest settings when you're doing technical off-camber riding and need proper articulation to prevent your rig from tipping over.
You can move your Polaris Ranger shocks to the outer-most hole to give your rig added height and stiffness. Or if you’re looking for extra ground clearance but still want soft suspension, we would suggest something like a 3” bracket lift. Not only are these types of Polaris Ranger lift kits cheap and easy to install, but they also leave your suspension on the lowest settings while still giving you added height.
Augmenting Your Polaris Ranger Suspension
If you don’t want a full-blown aftermarket suspension setup for your Polaris Ranger but adjusting your shock settings isn’t cutting either, you may want to consider upgrading your Polaris Ranger suspension springs. S3 springs, for example, will not only give your Polaris Ranger suspension more travel, but also a slight lift as well. If you’re running a lift kit larger than 3-4 inches, there could be axle issues along the line if you stick with factory Polaris Ranger axles. However many riders upgrade their Polaris Ranger axles anyways to get the right angle and geometry in their UTV after lifting it. You can check your factory specs on the axle angle, and while you might be pushing the limits with a lift and HD springs, aftermarket Ranger axles like the Rhino 2.0s by SuperATV have a burlier build as well as wider angle capabilities than their stock counterparts.
If you want a little more travel in your Polaris Ranger suspension when riding trails and technical terrain, yet still use your Ranger for farm, ranch, and other kinds of work, the HD springs by S3 Power Sports are a great choice. These as well as the Polaris Ranger springs by High Lifter, Quad Logic, and RT Pro are great for heavy loads, and can handle anything from snow plows and farm implements on the nose and tail to stacks of firewood and hay bales in the cargo bed. On top of all that, aftermarket Polaris Ranger suspension springs are also great for hauling deer, corn, and things of that nature without worrying about overloading your springs.
In addition to use cases, the right shocks and Polaris Ranger suspension parts for you will also depend on the year in which your Ranger was manufactured. Some years models of the Polaris Ranger came with aluminum-body shocks, while others came steel-body shocks. You can always try long travel a-arms and Polaris Ranger accessories of that nature, and installing shocks from different Polaris Ranger models and even different Polaris Ranger side-by-sides can work as well. Many riders found success by installing the SuperATV big lift without the lift bracket and RZR 1000 front shocks all the way around. You will still need to add some preload to the rear suspension parts to level things out, but the ride and handling abilities of a Ranger with this setup are night and day versus stock suspension.
In terms of spring length, not all aftermarket Polaris Ranger suspension springs are easily compatible with every year and edition of the Polaris Ranger. Many riders mistakenly though that the Turbo Polaris Rangers always come with dual rate springs, and the XP Polaris Rangers always come with progressive rate springs. Although this is somewhat true, if you investigate a bit further, you'll realize that the factory spring setup depends on the Polaris Ranger model year you get. Furthermore, the stock springs on Turbo Polaris Rangers aren't true dual rate springs, they just have tender springs. There is no doubt that the 2018+ Polaris Rangers are leaps and bounds more advanced than the older models where suspension is concerned. However the stock shocks will not handle well under all circumstances.
Take the 2019 Polaris Ranger Crew as an example. If you’ve ever taken one for a spin, you’ll know that the more people you have in it, the better it rides; and the harder you push it, the more you appreciate the dual sway bars. If you aren't maxing out the capacity of your machine, the shocks will likely be a little on the stiff side. Even on the softest setting and lowest rebound, the shocks still might seem a little slow. That said, even the Crew has a light nimble feel in the woods, while the older Polaris Rangers feel more like driving a school bus. Although a Ranger will never perform like an RZR, you’ll still be able to hot foot your machine through some tight trails with enough practice and the right Polaris Ranger suspension modifications!
Polaris Ranger Suspension Upgrades
There are quite a few aftermarket suspension kits for the Polaris Ranger, such as the ones by Elka and Walker Evans. Another good company for aftermarket Polaris Ranger suspension kits is 814. They’re half the price of other high-end Polaris Ranger suspension kits, and perform arguably as good if not better. They have both the Trail series Polaris Ranger suspension kits for all the trail riders out there, as well as the Dominator series Polaris Ranger suspension kits for those with a need for speed.
With such Polaris Ranger suspension setups, you might need accessories like limiter straps, as the shocks have more travel than the suspension can accommodate. Limit straps keep your axles from binding due to increases in the ride angle. You can also remove the front sway bar to achieve more travel and a smoother ride. But with regards to the rear Polaris Ranger sway bar, most suspension manufacturers include one and position it in the back to be set exactly where it needs to be. If you go super big with your rear suspension, it might be prudent to remove your rear sway bar in order to get the most droop out of your shocks. However the folks at Elka, Wakler Evans, 814, and HCR Racing know what they’re doing, and are almost always thinking ten steps ahead.
We’ve known Polaris Ranger owners that have upgraded their Polaris Rangers with Bandit UTV Suspension Shocks and really like them. Bandit shocks for the Polaris Ranger are completely rebuildable, and the founder is a former pro rider, so you know that he is very knowledgeable. L&W Fab out of Georgia has also developed a long travel kit for the Polaris Ranger, leveraging off of their experience making suspension products for the Polaris Razor. As it stands, your options for aftermarket shocks, springs, and other suspension components is quite extensive. So if you're unhappy with your Polaris Ranger suspension, there's no better time than the present to change it!