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post #1 of 57 Old 07-24-2014, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Ranger Diesel Nightmare

Well, after almost two years, I'm back with the latest update from the events that were unfolding in this thread:


The last thing I posted from that thread was that I was taking the machine back to the dealer to address the shifting issue. It took a couple weeks to get the Ranger back, but it did indeed shift fine when I got it back. In fact, it worked well for over a year, and I was thinking it was going to be a happy ending, but a 2-3 months ago things started going downhill as the shifting problem arose yet again.

It started as a very minor stickiness in shifting, and I though it was just my mind playing tricks on me due to the past experiences. But as of two weeks ago the machine was once again impossible to shift when running. When I turned it off it would shift fine, and it would also shift fine when it was first started, but once you had driven it any distance (even a few feet), you could not change gears in any way aside from turning the machine off.

So back to the dealer it went yet again...

Two days ago I got a call from the dealer that the problem was that the shift cable had gone bad, but they could shift it just fine, and for $150 they would replace the cable and all would be well. I suspected that the cable going out was just due to the repeated force over the past couple months trying to shift the thing, and told them that they needed to drive the machine around the parking lot for a few minutes and they would see that it becomes impossible to shift. Yesterday they called back and confirmed that this was indeed the case, and asked my permission to take apart the transmission to see what was wrong.

Today I got a call that pretty much the entire transmission was shot, and that I could either pay $1800 to have it rebuilt, or $2300 to have a whole new transmission installed. There were no further "kits" from Polaris that they could install, and the best they could do was to send a memo to Polaris telling them about my issue.

I told them to hold off on ordering the new transmission until I had a chance to talk to Polaris, and so I called Polaris this afternoon. After 20 minutes or so of describing the problems I've had, and where things stand now with $2500+ in charges, I was basically told that the machine is out of warranty and that I'm going to have to eat the cost myself.

After dropping $12,000 on this Ranger, the prospect of paying another $2300 for a new transmission, $150 for a cable, and who-knows how much for labor has left me with a rather sour taste in my mouth.

I've treated this machine very well, and there's no reason why the transmission should be shot. We have no hills, I don't go around flooring it, and it has hardly ever had any kind of load attached to it. Aside from the transmission, it is in excellent condition. The dealer has said as much themselves.

This Ranger has been back to the shop three times in three years for the same issue. It's an issue that Polaris obviously knows about, and that affects many machines, since they have shipped these "clutch kits" out to the dealers for models sitting on the showroom floor. I know this because the dealer mentioned it on one of the previous occasions when I brought it in. And the numerous replies in the thread linked above are evidence that I am far from the only person who has been affected by this.

There is no way that this shifting issue is not related to the transmission damage. Being billed $2500+ in charges for a $12,000 machine that is less than three years old, for an issue that is the direct result of a known problem, is unacceptable in my book.

But what options do I have? When I last posted, I had only paid $4000 paid on the Ranger. Now it is completely paid off, and I am really regretting having given up the other $8000. I feel like I should have cut my losses at $4000 and taken the hit on my credit rating. Now I have a $12,000 paperweight unless I put another $2500 into this transmission, and the new transmission only comes with a 30-day warranty. So if the the whole problem repeats itself a year from now, I guess I'll have to fork out another $2500.

$2500 here, $2500 there... pretty soon you're talking real money.

If you were in this situation, what would you do?
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post #2 of 57 Old 07-25-2014, 09:18 AM
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I feel your pain. I have a 2010 800 Ranger. Engine out for second time in 12 months. Probably won't fix it this time. Can't see putting another 4000.00 into it. Been offered 2000.00 as is. Probably will take that and buy a 900 or a Yamaha Viking.
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post #3 of 57 Old 07-25-2014, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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Got a call from the dealer this afternoon. They sent in a request for a goodwill warranty on the transmission, which Polaris promptly denied. I called an 888 number I was given for Polaris, and the customer support just kept repeating that "they" (the warranty division) denied the request, and there was nothing the customer support division could do about it.

I asked for a number to the warranty division. Customer support doesn't know it. Apparently there is no "company directory" at this company. I asked to speak to a supervisor... get put on hold for 10 minutes, then I am told that no supervisors are available, but one will call me back in 1 or 2 business days. Basically, it's the runaround game at this point. Try to confuse and frustrate me into giving up.

I told the dealer to hold off on the repair until I had a chance to talk to Polaris, but at this rate it's unknown how long before I can reach someone there. If I eat this bill, I'll be in over $15,000 on this Ranger, with a constant nagging in the back of my head that it's going to crap out again. If I don't eat the bill, I have a $12,000 paperweight.

I don't have it in me to get it fixed and then sell it to someone, knowing the issues it has had.

What's the difference between Polaris and a casino?

At the casino, at least you expect to lose.

What recourse does the little guy have against a faceless corporation and all the bureaucracy?

The Polaris CEO took home $8.6M in 2013, and $31M in 2012.

This Polaris customer took home a $12,000 lemon in 2011, and was told sayonara.
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post #4 of 57 Old 07-25-2014, 09:02 PM
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Terrible situation your in. I'm selling my 800 as is with busted motor just to get out of it. I look at two forums, one for polaris, and one for Yamaha Viking. Polaris site full of issues, Yamaha site full of positive topics. Think thats the way i'm headed for a replacement for 800.
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post #5 of 57 Old 07-28-2014, 04:40 PM
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Man, that realy stinks. I have been in the same situation with other products. I only wish I would have read this post about the poor CS at Polaris before buying my Ranger last week. CS is huge and it seems that Polaris may not care about the customer after the sale...
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post #6 of 57 Old 07-28-2014, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so I broke down and told the dealer to go ahead and order the transmission today. It's going to be at least a week before I get the machine back, probably longer. Total bill is estimated to be around $2500. And this is with the dealer being very generous with the labor portion of the bill.

I asked the dealer if I could get a phone number or email address for someone in the warranty department, or just any department at all other than "customer support". They told me flat out that Polaris does not permit them to give out any number other than the customer support number. I don't know what the consequences are if they give me the number, but since the dealer has been courteous and helpful through all this -- not to mention they are what stands between me and a working machine right now -- I wasn't going to push the issue to hard. I told them to proceed with the repair.

I called Polaris customer support back and this time asked to speak to a supervisor right from the start. After a short wait I found myself talking to "Haylie", not just a supervisor, but allegedly the head of the customer support department. Encouraged by this turn of events, I proceeded to tell her my story, thinking I might actually get somewhere. But after 35 minutes on the phone, I got nowhere.

Haylie repeated informed me that customer support has no control over the warranty department's decision, and that she was also not permitted to give me any contact information for anyone in the warranty department. She couldn't tell me anything about why the warranty department denied the request, other than that the machine was too far out of warranty. I asked her about a goodwill warranty, since there are plenty of posts on the Internet about this machine having the exact same problem that I had, and that there is no reason that a $12,000 Ranger should be having the entire transmission replaced after less than three years.

I stressed to her that this recurring clutch issue was almost certainly what led to the the blown transmission, and at no point did she suggest that this was not the case. She acknowledged that the dealer said the machine was well kept and that there were no signs of abuse, but kept drilling home the same point: the warranty department has made their decision, there is no way you can talk to anyone about it, it sucks, but you just need to live with this.

I was quite effectively stonewalled. I asked Hailey to talk to her supervisor. She said she had no supervisor, and that she was the head of her department. I suggested that surely she had some kind of boss, but she told me in no uncertain terms that the conversation was not going to go past her. There was no way I was going to be able to talk to anyone who could actually make a decision about a goodwill warranty, or anyone at any level above her.

By the end of the conversation she was obviously flustered with me. I guess I was supposed to have given up a lot sooner. She started telling me how the conversation was going in circles and how she's told me everything she's going to tell me, and I just don't want to hear it. I suppose she's right. I actually don't want to hear that I'm going to have to eat a $2500 service bill on a $12,000 machine that has had constant issues, with no better excuse than "it's out of warranty".

She did give me one avenue of hope to pursue: If I wanted to present my case to Polaris, I could submit, in writing, a request for a goodwill warranty. Yes, in this technological age of phones, email, and faxes, my one long shot is to write a letter on a piece of paper to present my case. However, I cannot send this letter to anyone at Polaris directly, but instead I must take it to my dealer, and then the dealer can re-submit it along with another goodwill warranty request.

From the sound of her voice, I gathered that this would be a waste of time.

So, it looks like I am actually going to have to eat a $2500 repair bill for a new transmission.

The new transmission comes with a 30 day warranty. So if it goes out again in another six months, I get to pay for yet another transmission. Nobody can give me a guarantee that this is finally going to be fixed once and for all.

Note that this has been an ongoing issue for almost three years.

There are numerous posts around the web with people having the exact same problem with this machine, several of which have also stated that Polaris' "fix" did not work past the short term.

This machine is a lemon that should have never left the factory, and I'm far from the only one who bought one.

Polaris knows about the issue, but is abandoning customers who are still affected by it.
Corporate profits must have taken precedence.

Customer support is no more than a stonewalling department for grievances. They insulate the people making the decisions from having to answer for their decisions.

The whole thing is reprehensible.

Last edited by mrmike; 07-28-2014 at 11:36 PM.
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post #7 of 57 Old 07-31-2014, 09:23 PM
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I have had tremendous experiences with Polaris products over the years, but would be spitting mad if I were in your shoes. The dealer could always step up and help make it right too. Perhaps you could offer to divide the cost in thirds? 1/3 Polaris, 1/3 dealer and 1/3 you. Not saying its right, just throwing out an idea.
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post #8 of 57 Old 08-03-2014, 03:14 PM
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I registered just to talk to you about your transmission. I honestly don't think the transmission is the problem and don't want to see you get taken! I frequent another forum and have only ever been to this forum a couple times and never registered until today.

My Diesel had a hard shifting issue and I spent money like you trying to get things right.

Check a couple things before letting them do anything to your transmission.

Change your fluid and see if there are any chunks or specs in the fluid. A bit of fuzz on the drain plug is normal and not a concern.

Check to see how things shift with the engine not running. Your post indicated that shifting was OK without the engine running. This leads back to the clutch.

The Diesel clutch is an odd unit, Polaris had to do their best to engage the clutch as soon as possible due to the limited RPM the diesel has so engagement isn't far above idle.

I bought a new clutch and like you after a while the hard shifting came back. I also lowered idle rpm which helped.

Mine would also would shift fine until warm and then shifting was impossible.

My take on this is that the belt gets warm and expands and the tight clearances in the clutch just cause it to grab.

The reason that I believe lowering the rpm solves the issue for a while is due to the clutch spring breaking in and causing engagement to be lower and lower.

I honestly hope the dealer hasn't tore into the transmission and they screwed it up!
However, at any rate, when the transmission is replaced, the issue will return as there isn't really anything in the transmission itself that can cause the issues you have!

Anyway the thing that solved my issue was the SVI Duraclutch.

The owner is a Polaris engineer and is one of the original developers of their snowmobiles and ATV's.

With the stock Polaris clutch, the clutch sheaves perform two things, they act as clutch and as transmission.

The Duraclutch separates these and has a centrifugal clutch for clutching with the belt constantly pinched and used only to transmit power.

It solved my hard shifting problems and gave my machine back to me.

Engagement is smooth now and I also have engine braking. This is the clutch the machine should have been made with.

I hate to say it, but I don't trust most dealers for much of anything. The ones I've dealt with try to blame things on an issue that can't cause a problem at all and don't look at things in a logical manner.

My Ranger is turboed and I take all liability for turboing it. However, in speaking with a couple dealers, the first thing they blamed the hard shifting on was the turbo or damage that may've been done by the power increase. It did not matter to them that the hard shift issue was prevalent before the turbo, that Polaris has issued recalls for hard shifting and they could not relate that the shift issue is RPM related. Could not make them understand that at idle, the turbo doesn't do a thing, doesn't make more power or anything.

I hate to say it, but I think you're in a similar issue. The dealer isn't looking at the situation correctly and hoping that changing the transmission will fix the problem when it's pretty clear the clutch is the problem.

Last edited by DaveB.inVa; 08-03-2014 at 03:24 PM.
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post #9 of 57 Old 08-04-2014, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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DaveB.inVa, thank you, thank you, thank you! I actually just registered over on PRC Forum this morning and posted a thread asking specifically to talk to you. I didn't check this thread first, as it seemed to have died.

You are a wizard on this machine. I've put together a whole web page documenting what I've been through and including a bunch of links from around the web where other people have had the same problem. You feature prominently in the links section:

My Polaris Ranger Nightmare

Let me have some time to digest everything you have said here. I haven't even had a chance to read it all yet, I wanted to reply and thank you for finding me first
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post #10 of 57 Old 08-04-2014, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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Damn... well that pretty much confirms my suspicions about the clutch issue leading to the transmission damage. And it confirms my even worse suspicion: that the problem is just going to return again in the future.

Part of me was really hoping that all the transmission damage had occurred during the period where I had the bad clutch (2011-2012), and that it just took a while to manifest.

It looks like I find myself in absolutely the worst case scenario: I am stuck with a $2500 repair bill, and have a machine that is impossible to drive because it is CERTAIN to fail again.

So I have a goddamn $15000 paperweight.

Must. Refrain. From. Outburst. Of. Profanity.


I couldn't find a price on the Duraclutch page. How much are they?

Thanks again for your post Dave. I think I've read everything you've written over the last three years regarding this Ranger while trying to solve my problems. You are a wizard in diagnosing this clutch issue. Polaris should be paying you a consulting fee.
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