Premature engine wear- a warning - - Polaris Ranger Forum
Polaris Ranger Diesel General Discussions for the Polaris Ranger Diesel

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post #1 of 21 Old 01-11-2016, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
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Premature engine wear- a warning

I've just joined the forum basically because I wanted to warn others of a problem and the attitude Polaris has taken to it.

I have a 2015 Ranger diesel with the Kohler engine. I recently went to book it in for its scheduled service and at the time asked how much oil they would expect it to use.
The mechanic raised an eyebrow and asked which motor I had. As soon as I said Kohler, he said it'll need a new engine! You can imagine my surprise considering it was less than a year old with only 500 hrs on it. Apparently there has been problems with the air intake...

So in it goes to the dealer and I'm told that Polaris has instructed them to strip it down to inspect it for wear, it'll probably just get new rings, especially as they had no engines in stock (I'm in Australia). The root cause of the problem is that the air intake and filter system is inadequate. There have been a few cases up north (drier and duster conditions) that were all the same, dust ingress into the engine, premature wear.
Fortunately I have a bit of engine knowledge and protested as dust in the bores will mean it's right through the engine, bearings and all and a set of rings wasn't good enough.
The dealer agreed.
Four weeks later, I'm told today that it has its new replacement engine fitted and they are waiting on the new air intake snorkel to finish it off.
The killer bit for everyone else is that you'll have to pay for the privilege of rectifying a design fault from the factory. (Different air intake) I was told that I don't have to because of the warranty...

Having read nightmare stories with transmissions on this forum, I'm grateful we have stronger consumer protection laws here and for once I don't need to go into battle.

So the warning for all... if you own a Ranger Diesel, 2015 model with a Kohler engine, ESPECIALLY if it has low hours. Check the oil consumption. Mine emptied the sump below the new replacement dipstick (recalled for being calibrated wrong) then emptied it again to the low mark in just one service period. Get onto your dealer and start asking questions.

I've reported Polaris to the authorities here as they can't make owners pay for rectification of a factory manufacturing flaw. ..
And to think I chose Polaris because of bad experiences with Can Am..... Sigh. .
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post #2 of 21 Old 01-11-2016, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Aussieranger View Post
The root cause of the problem is that the air intake and filter system is inadequate.
I would be interested in knowing exactly what is inadequate. The same air filter is used on the 900 gas engine that flows almost twice as much air as the diesel, and similar filters are used for much larger engines. Is there a poor connection in the piping after the filter or a design flaw that lets air bypass the filter element?
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post #3 of 21 Old 01-11-2016, 05:34 PM
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The root of the cause is the placement of the air intake, which is under the seat. There is no pre-filter, and the air box itself doesn't always get closed properly (operator error). If you operate in an extreme dusty environment, this is something that should be addressed. Operators are installing snorkles to get the intake point higher away from the dust cloud directly under the vehicle. There are also some after market filters that are popular.

These air intake dust ingestion problems are not just with the diesels, in fact, I think this is the 1st diesel operator that I have read with this problem, but they are not as popular as the gas models.

Aussieranger; Thanks for the warning, but many of the members on this forum are aware of these "potential" issues. Those that are aware are so because they spend a little time on these forums. They are also aware of other potential problems, and cures that are associated with their particular machine. Your dealers service manager is not the most progressive way to learn about the short coming of a vehicle that you operate. There are 100's of 1000's of Rangers being operated in the US, and they are far from perfect, but a little bit of knowledge can go a long ways to managing your investment in your product.

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post #4 of 21 Old 01-12-2016, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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Interceptor, I don't know for certain yet as I don't have mine back yet, but..
From what I was told, the pre filter set up (those discreet mesh patches in the b pillars about shoulder height) are inadequate, then, whatever makes it to the air filter box is presumably getting around the filter as there was no mention of problems from between the filter housing and actual engine throttle body. I will get clarification when I collect it
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post #5 of 21 Old 01-16-2016, 02:01 AM
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Crazy they don't R&D more and find this stuff.

The previous version of the Diesel has the intake pipe routed right next to the prop shaft going to the front axle. Some make contact and wear a hole through the intake and as soon as you drop into any real amount of water the engine is hydrolocked.

The Polaris recall is to place a stickyback tab (an adhesive tab meant to hold a zip tie, like to hold wiring in an electrical panel) on the frame rail and then zip tie the pipe to the stickyback.

I work in the electrical world, stickybacks fail all the time without getting in an area where they can get wet.

When I saw Polaris' fix, I just took a long zip tie and wrapped it around the frame rail. Later I abandoned that whole run of intake.

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post #6 of 21 Old 01-16-2016, 02:35 AM Thread Starter
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Well we're still waiting to get ours back, so i have no idea what they have in mind other than its some kind of 'snorkel'.
I'll update when I get it back, hopefully this week..
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post #7 of 21 Old 01-20-2016, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Interceptor, we finally got our Ranger back this week.

I pressed the dealer to advise exactly what it is that has been done and how it,would,prevent the situation again.

They have told me that:

I have been supplied with a brand new engine and that the Polaris fix was to fit a 'snorkel' type arrangement so that the air supply is being drawn from up high, rather than midway through the weird B pillar vents.

I pressed them further because I couldn't see how this would change anything when it ultimately is a problem with dust getting past the air filter in the filter box and not piping between it and the engine. Basically the answer is that the filter was getting overloaded and dust was just getting sucked past it. By lifting the air intake, less dust is getting drawn in. They are also changing the maintenence interval for the filter to 20 hours. You would think a clogged filter would show up in the starting and running of the engine, but we noticed nothing other than the weird idle that would drop low when hot and first started, then recover after about 10 seconds- that hasn't changed.

The 'snorkel' is just vehicle exhaust pipe routed out of one side of the old air vents, up behind the cab and points in toward the rear tub.

Because it's a new engine, we have to take it back in 25 hrs use and they want to inspect the filter then.
I'm still a bit alarmed by all this. Consider that we bought this in the middle of our last summer, not a particularly dry or hot one. It then spent the bulk of its working time through a damp and cold autumn and winter and the beginning of this spring just gone. All up about 500 hrs use. We are in one of the areas that is the last to dry off and not particularly dusty, only driving up and down 300 meters of gravel driveway and about the same on a farm track.
This was enough to stuff the engine and in the middle of all that, it had already had a scheduled service (you would assume the filter would have been changed or at least inspected..)

Apparently Polaris is only going to fit the snorkel to units that show this problem (presumably only during the warranty period) and not do a recall... bad luck if it shows up outside the warrantype period..
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post #8 of 21 Old 01-21-2016, 07:24 AM
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That explanation of what happened sounds plausible. The air intake is in about the worst possible location. The snorkel helps remedy that, but like you said they haven't really fixed the problem. A blocked air filter should choke the engine, not allow dirty air to bypass it. I haven't had an opportunity to inspect the panel type air cleaner to see how it could fail, I suspect it's just not rigid enough to fully compress the perimeter of the filter. If it were mine I'd seriously look at installing a Donaldson radial seal air cleaner. They use them on the Brutus, probably because of design input from Bobcat.
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post #9 of 21 Old 01-21-2016, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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Funny you should say that. The dealer had already told me that that was the type fitted to the earlier models and they never had any problems...
Fortunately we have pretty strong consumer laws over here if it happens again. I have already notified both the State and Federal authorities responsible, more so for others that may get caught and also I case anything further happens.
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post #10 of 21 Old 01-22-2016, 06:06 AM
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Kubota has the same problem. They now offer a snorkel kit for the exact same reason.
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