Polaris Sportsman ATV Repair Q&A

The Sportsman is one of the most popular Polaris ATV models, and we've done a series of maintenance and repair videos on the 850 Sportsman model. Our resident Polaris ATV expert John Talley got quite a few questions about the Sportsman in this edition of Partzilla Live Q&A. 

John goes live on our YouTube channel every Friday at 3pm Eastern, and in this session, the Sportsman ATV took center stage. Here are some of John's answers to questions from our viewers about Polaris Sportsman repairs.

Polaris Sportsman ATV repairs

Polaris Sportsman 1000XP

I have a 2015 Polaris Sportsman 1000 XP that I've been having a hard time changing gear. Any suggestions?

John Talley: Ok, where’s your idle set? That would be the first place I would look, because if it’s not set in the right RPM range, she’s not going to want to change gears very easily. It needs to be below a certain threshold and I think that’s what, 650 or 750 RPMS? They idle a little high naturally, but if it’s beyond that, it means your sheaves are engaging and it’s not wanting to relax the transmission where you can actually shift. There’s one other possibility. If your RPMS are not too high, the sheaves may be binding up. Maybe needs to be cleaned up in there and that could be causing it, because if those sheaves don’t go to a relaxed position, they’re going to continuously spin that belt with a lot of authority. I mean, just sitting there at idle it’s going to be moving, but it’s really not turning the driven sheave and that’s what allows you to change gears on it.  

Watch the video above to see how to rebuild the clutch on a Polaris Sportsman ATV.

Watch the video above to see how to replace the drive belt on a Polaris Sportsman ATV.

Buy Polaris ATV drive belt

Polaris Dot 4 brake fluid

Polaris Sportsman 500

I have a 2005 Polaris Sportsman 500 HO. I’m rebuilding the engine, and found the piston ring lands had cracked. What could've caused it?

John Talley: You’re saying the actual piston rings were broken, is that what you’re telling me? For something like that, did it ingest water? … When a piston ring actually cracks, that’s indicative of a wild temperature change, like it ingested water even for a split second and that shock to it made it pop. But it sounds like you’re on your way to reworking things, but that’s an odd one and that’s the only thing I can think of. 

Watch the video above to see how to remove and replace piston rings from a Polaris Sportsman ATV.

Polaris Sportsman 400

I have a 2002 Sportsman 400 that lost the brakes going downhill two days ago. Brake lever went to the grip and I got nothing. I pumped the brake lever and they came back, then went again, and now back. Any thoughts?

John Talley: Well, it’s obviously got air in the system and/or you’ve got a master cylinder failing, so I would probably start with some fresh fluid. Flush it through, and I’ve done a bunch of different videos showing how to do a brake bleed. I think we did one on the 850. … And if that still didn’t get, then you’re probably going to have to go in and take a peek at the master cylinder, because if your slave has a problem, it’s usually going to spit out fluid more than likely. But if you’re losing pressure after a couple of pumps, it may be that the seals are going in the master, and it’s going to need to be rebuilt and/or replaced, depending on what kind of shape the cylinder is on the master. 

Watch the video above to see how to bleed the brakes on a Polaris Sportsman ATV.

Watch the video above to see how to replace the brake master cylinder on a Polaris Sportsman ATV.

Want to see more live repair questions answered? See more motorcycle and ATV repair questions answered here.  







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