After a long day of riding dunes, you’re ready to head back to camp for some R and R. But you’re itching for just one more dune, and there’s a good one straight ahead. You give your machine full throttle to clear the massive dune and come down hard on the other side. Everything seems OK, but then you throw it in reverse to head back towards camp.
That was the sound of your transmission cracking, and now there’s oil soaking into the sand. You don’t know what broke, but you know it’s not good.
You pushed your RZR too far. Or maybe you haven’t yet but you’re worried this could happen to you on your next ride. That’s why today we’re looking at one key RZR transmission upgrade that can save you tons of money and your weekend dune trip.
One of the most important parts of your transmission is the pinion shaft and snorkel gear. The pinion shaft uses a snorkel gear (also called a spiral bevel gear) to turn the front output shaft. This turns your prop shaft, which delivers power to your front differential for four-wheel drive.
The problem is that the gear meshing between the pinion and snorkel gears is one of the biggest weak spots in your transmission, and we often see transmission failures in this spot. But what causes those failures and why? Let’s take a close look at this costly break and see what exactly you can do to upgrade your RZR Transmission.
First, let’s take a look at the spiral bevel gear itself. “Spiral bevel gear” sounds like a complex industry term on its face, but it’s quite simple when you break it down. “Spiral” means that the gear teeth are in a spiral pattern instead of being straight. “Bevel” means that it’s slanted instead of straight. The result is a gear in the shape of a cone with teeth spiraling around its center.
Polaris uses spiral bevel gears because they are very strong… when you’re driving forward. When your RZR is moving forward, the shape of the gears pulls them closer together and gives them better meshing for smoother, stronger gear mating and less heat buildup. The problems start when you throw the machine in reverse.
The spiral bevel gears on your RZR are more likely to break when the machine is in reverse. That’s because they tend to pull apart when they run in reverse. There are a complex set of forces involved to make them pull apart that we won’t get into, but when they pull apart even a little bit, the meshing can be bad enough to do damage.
That’s because bad meshing puts extra leverage and stress on the gear teeth. You want the whole tooth of one gear to push on the whole tooth of the other gear. If you have meshing where the tip of one tooth is pushing on the tip of another tooth, it’s going to break.
The transmission case and the pinion bearing retainer ring are designed to stop those gears from pulling apart. But the case and the retainer can flex when hot and allow the gears to come apart for a split second. Unfortunately, that’s all it takes for you to chip a tooth and lose both gears, your case, and the rest of your trip.
Apart from never driving in reverse again, what can you do to make sure the spiral bevel gears on your pinion shaft and front output shaft don’t explode? It’s easy—you just need a few RZR transmission upgrades. Upgrading your gears, your case, and your snorkel bearing retainer ring are surefire ways to make sure your transmission can handle the kind of riding you like to do.
SuperATV has an upgraded RZR transmission case built with more material around your spiral bevel gears to keep them from pulling apart. The transmission case has extra ribbing throughout that makes it stronger and acts as a heat sink to keep it cooler. It’s a straightforward and effective way to reduce failures.
To really make your transmission bulletproof, you’ll want SuperATV’s heavy-duty pinion shaft and snorkel gear kit which includes a heavy-duty pinion bearing retainer ring.
We have gone to great lengths to make sure our snorkel gear kit is a perfect fit, runs smoothly, and is made stronger. There are three things we do to ensure that it’s the best upgrade it can be:
First, we use 9310 steel—which is a high-strength gear alloy—to make our gears. It’s the same gear material used in NASCAR vehicles. There’s nothing better out there, and it’s a major upgrade from OEM.
Next, we ensure excellent meshing between the snorkel and pinion gears. We do this by lapping them as part of our manufacturing process. “Lapping” is when you run the gears together so that the pair is broken in straight from the factory. You don’t get lapped gears from OEM or other aftermarket manufacturers.
After all that, we stick them on our testing machine and see how well they mesh. This process involves slathering the gears in yellow grease, then running them together until a mesh pattern appears. Basically, the more grease gets cleaned off the tooth, the better the mesh. We tested out several configurations during R&D and you can clearly see the difference between a good mesh and a bad mesh.
Investing in your transmission is just that: an investment. Upgrading your Polaris RZR transmission parts now will save you time and money down the road. But when it comes to getting something better, make sure you actually know what makes it good before risking your ride on it. At SuperATV, we don’t guess and we’ve got an unbeatable snorkel gear and pinion shaft kit to prove it.
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My trans is making grinding noise an jumps in an out of low gear will not make full rotation without jumping out but works fine in reverse an in high range what is the problem what parts do I need
Hey Jon, thanks for reading! It could be a matter of adjusting your shifter cable, but give our customer service team a call and we can get you some tech support: 855-743-3240. Thanks for the support!
My ranger 800xp will not change into single wheel turf mode from 2 wheel mode. It only has 140hrs on it so mechanically is basically new. Does anyone have some guidance for me?
Hey Jerry! Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, we don’t dabble much in turf mode specifically and often delete it to eliminate issues like this, but only because it’s not usually necessary for us. However, if that is not an option for you and you would like to keep the turf mode in your transmission, the best place to start would be the electronic solenoid. You should be able to check the power going to that solenoid to ensure it is operating correctly. I hope this helps!
I have a 17 1000s
I want a heavy duty or billit trans help please
Hey James! Unfortunately, we do not offer a transmission specifically for the S model as of now. We appreciate you checking in!
Dude! I’m having the same issue right now and I thought might of been clutches so replaced both and still jumps out of low gear when I put load on it. Does good in high. Have you figured it out yet? I fear my transmission is bad.
I have a 2013 polaris 4 900 XP Jagged X Edition. I will press my 4 wd switch at a stop and then proceed forward. Appears that my 4wd doesn’t start pulling until after a higher RPM. Is it designed this way? There isn’t any popping or grinding, just a delay before the front tires starting turning.
Hey BJ, thanks for tuning in. To answer your question—no, it should engage as soon as you hit the button. It could just be an armature plate issue or something like that. Give us a call at 855-743-3247 and our tech team should be able to help you figure it out.
Can I run it without the snorkel gear I know I won’t have 4×4 which is okay at the moment
Thanks for reading! To answer your question, yes you should be able to run without the snorkel gear as as you’re not running any broken parts and your housing is sealed. Give us a call at 855-743-3427 if you have any more questions.
Does your transmission half case (snorkel side) include the seals? I am getting ready to repair my transmission (broken snorkel gear / pinion gear / cracked case) and am getting the parts list together.
Hey Jason, yes—they come with all the seals. The only thing that doesn’t come with it is the silicone for the housing halves. Thank you for the support!
Hi! What you recommend for uphill/downhill park position in order to not force the gear box? Is there any break system or the polaris units are strong enough to not damage
Hi Maycon, there are companies that make aftermarket parking brakes, but we do not have one available. We typically rely on the Polaris transmission. We haven’t seemed to have any issues. Thanks for the support!
Can you shit into low 4 wheel drive while the razor 800 Polaris is driving?
Hey Vinnie, it is not advised to shift into 4WD while driving. Thanks for reading!
2009 rzr 800 ranger, in low or high gear I’m getting the grinding, it starts to move forward but then it starts grinding, it does this in 4 wheel drive too. In reverse it travels backwards at low RPM but starts grinding and slipping the more you excelarate.
Hey Mitch, thanks for reaching out! It sounds like you’ve got some transmission issues. Give us a call at 855-743-3427 and we can try to help you troubleshoot.
My 2020 turbo S 4 has a bad delay when going into reverse. I have to get the RPMs up to about 3500-4000 then it chirps the tires and goes but I know something is wrong. I have a Gilman Clutch kit on it just in case that could be an issue. Any ideas?
Hey Johnny! It sounds like a belt or clutch issue to me. Unfortunately, since it’s not our parts, it’s hard for us to troubleshoot the exact issue. I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help. We appreciate you checking in!
2015 rzr 1000 xp4. Just upgraded front axels and changed all oils. Now getting a vibration in my gas pedal when 4×4 engaged and turning left or right. No vibration going straight.
Hey Brian! It sounds like it could be a tire or alignment issue. Give our tech team a call at 855-743-3427 so we can help troubleshoot.
2017 RZR 900s. Shift arm on the transmission will not move at all, even with the engine off. The shift linkage from the lever moves freely when disconnected from the shift arm. If you rock the machine enough it will ultimately free up and work fine again for a little while, but with a sort of bumping in the driveline.
Hey James, thanks for checking in! It’s hard to say what exactly is going on. Give us a call so we can get some more info to help you troubleshoot. 855-743-3427
2008 Polaris rzr 800 s transmission 38t clutch gear im in search for it
Hey Dwayne, unfortunately, we do not have any parts for the RZR 800 transmission. We appreciate you checking in with us!
I have a 2018 xp1000 Highlifter, I get this ear piercing noise under acceleration (it’s bad)! When I let off the accelerator it goes absolute quiet, I ease on the accelerator and the whine comes back!
I’ve been inside the transmission a few time, replaced bearings, gears, and chain. I’m thinking it’s the prop shaft and snorkel gear. Tired of throwing money and parts at this thing? Help!
Hey Michael. It’s hard to say exactly what could be causing that issue. You’ll have to do more diagnosing before you pull the trigger on another fix. You can use the old screwdriver as a stethoscope trick to pinpoint the source of the noise. Get a buddy, stick them in the driver’s seat and jack up the machine. Have them hit the accelerator while you probe around with the screwdriver. It should make it clear where the exact location of the problem is. If you’ve never heard of the screwdriver trick, this guy does a pretty good job of explaining it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U927cYhQXB4
Hopefully that helps you figure out exactly what your problem is. Thanks for reaching out!
2019 Razor XP 1000 4 HighLifter w/5000+ miles: The bolt that holds the secondary clutch to the transmission broke. Half of the bolt is stuck in the shaft. Should we try to replace the shaft or do a complete tranny change in case there is an issue with the transmission that caused the break? Was lucky to be close to home when the break occurred.
That’s a rough situation, Andy. If you can extract the bolt easily and replace it cheaply, I’d say it’s not worth going whole-hog on a new tranny without doing some extra digging to see if your tranny is actually the problem. It could be a fluke, it could be that you need to change your transmission fluid, or it could be the age of your tranny. It’s hard to say.
The first thing to try would be an EZ out kit like one of these: https://www.amazon.com/Ez-Out/s?k=Ez+Out. Or you could try some other extractor kit. That doesn’t always work, though, and we’ve seen folks that have to cut the secondary off, which would be a nightmare. In that situation, you’d need to take it to a dealer and you’re looking at a difficult and expensive job that could damage your tranny anyway.
Before paying for an expensive fix like that, you’d want to consider cutting your losses and replacing your transmission. If you go that route, make sure you check out our complete, heavy-duty transmission: https://www.superatv.com/polaris-rzr-xp-1000-complete-heavy-duty-transmission
Sorry you’ve got such a doozy of a problem. Hopefully you get it sorted out without too much pain and suffering.