How to Replace a Polaris Sportsman Drive Shaft
A damaged drive shaft (or half shaft), which can be caused by an unseen tree stump or rock, is not uncommon on ATVs.
Follow the step-by-step walkthrough below and watch the Polaris Sportsman 850XP drive shaft replacement video above for reference on how to get this ATV repair done.
Tools and Parts Needed – Polaris Sportsman Drive Shaft Replacement
- Ratchet and sockets
- Punch tool
- Torque wrench
Removing Front Drive Shaft Polaris Sportsman 850XP
Step 1. Remove the wheel.
Step 2. Pry off the center cap from the hub, then remove the cotter pin, the 27mm castle nut, and the two cone washers from the axle.
NOTE: The cone washers are directional, so make note of which way they were installed so you can reinstall them facing the correct way.
Step 3. Remove the two 15mm brake caliper mounting bolts, and slide the brake caliper assembly off the brake rotor.
PRO TIP: Hold the brake caliper assembly up and out of the way with a bungee cord or something similar. Don’t let the caliper assembly hang suspended by the brake hose.
Step 4. Pull the wheel hub and brake rotor off from the steering knuckle.
Step 5. Remove the bolt that mounts the shock absorber to the upper control arm, and pull the shock absorber free.
Step 6. Remove the 13mm bolt that holds the upper ball joint within the steering knuckle and pull the ball joint free.
PRO TIP: Hold the upper control arm and shock absorber up and out of the way with a bungee cord or something similar.
Step 7. Use a hammer and punch tool to knock the drive shaft inward through the steering knuckle until it’s free.
Step 8. Tug firmly on the drive shaft to pull it out from the front differential.
PRO TIP: If the half shaft is completely stuck in the diff, you may need to resort to more forceful measures to pull it out.
Watch the clip below of our Polaris Sportsman 850XP drive shaft replacement video to see our solution.
Installing Front Drive Shaft Polaris Sportsman 850XP
Step 1. Grease the axle splines of the new drive shaft, then grease the input splines within the differential, and press the new drive shaft into the diff. Gently tap the drive shaft with a soft blow hammer to be sure it’s fully seated in the differential.
PRO TIP: A new Polaris front drive shaft comes fully assembled, complete with CV joints and CV boots. Apart from greasing the splines, no other maintenance is required to install it.
Step 2. Slide the drive shaft into the steering knuckle.
Step 3. Reattach the shock absorber to the upper control arm, and reinstall the shock absorber mounting bolt.
Step 4. Press the upper ball joint back into the steering knuckle, then align the groove in the ball joint with the bolt hole in the knuckle and reinstall the ball joint mounting bolt.
Step 5. Reinstall the wheel hub and brake rotor back onto the steering knuckle.
Step 6. Reinstall the two cone washers and the castle nut onto the axle.
NOTE: Remember the cone washers are directional and must be installed facing the correct way.
Step 7. Slide the brake caliper assembly back over the brake rotor, and reinstall the two brake caliper mounting bolts.
Step 8. Torque the castle nut to 80-foot pounds, and install a new cotter pin. Reinstall the center cap into the hub.
Step 9. Reinstall the wheel and you’re done!