WHEN TO REPLACE YOUR CV JOINTS
— And, how to fix sloppy steering & recall info —
By Sarge McCoy
SINGING IN THE RAIN
We have an old 2006 Yamaha 660 Rhino SE that has started making a whining noise at speed and the occasional clunk when you turn to the right. My dealer says I must immediately stop running it and bring it in for service or the axles will break! The price he quoted for all four CV joints was over $800 in parts for the joints and $400 in labor! So, Sarge, would you replace the four joints or go with replacement-axle assemblies?
Humbolt, South Dakota
Private Hunchback, I would do neither! First, when the CV joints begin to “sing,” there may still be time to save them. Same goes with the occasional clunk. But only if you don’t procrastinate! New CV boots and lube may hold off CV joint failure for many months. There are many boot kits available from the numerous advertisers in this fine rag. We produced a comprehensive how-to guide on CV boot/axle replacement here: https://utvactionmag.com/how-to-replace-cvs-axles/. Assuming you can’t repair the CV joints with a boot kit, it will be far cheaper to replace the complete axle shafts with CV joints than rebuilding each individual CV joint. Now to what your dealer told you—yes, he was right in telling you the axles would break if you continued to operate the Zooter. The CV joint without grease and filled with water and dirt will explode! For OEM CV joints and installation, the estimate is within the ball park, but I choose not to play in that ball park! Laugh, Boot! If they were any kind of dealer, they would have pointed you towards aftermarket axle assemblies that would end up costing you less in both parts and labor. Boot, you are ordered to watch and follow our guide, and requisition the required parts and do the work yourself. Disregard these orders, Boot, and two things will happen: 1. you will be much poorer, and 2. you will come to believe the Crucible is a walk in the park! Dismissed!
I have a 2008 Polaris RZR 800. I got really lucky, it has little hours and spend most of its life garaged. I picked it up at a repo sale. However as I have put miles on her, the steering has developed a side to side slop. My dealer told me this was common on the ‘08’s and was fixed by Polaris on the 2009’s, but there was no way to retrofit the upgraded bearings onto mine. Sarge, surely there is a fix for this problem?
Private Rice-a-Roni, your dealer is correct in that the 2009 upgraded steering bearings are not compatible with your 2008 Zooter. However, your dealer’s parts people should have notified you of the availability of an aftermarket bearing kit that would correct your sloppy steering. All-Terrain Research developed a needle-bearing upgrade kit here: https://atrpowersports.com/atr-polaris-rzr-steering-column-bearing-kit/. This will fix your “sloppy RZR,” Boot! I will assume you have the factory shop manual, right, Boot?! Didn’t think so! Download a copy here: http://quads.ddns.net/servicemanuals/polaris/2008%20polaris%20rzr%20800%20service%20manual.pdf. Now that you have the factory shop manual, you need the specific All-Terrain Research installation instructions here: https://allterrainresearch.net/polaris-rzr-steering-column-bearing-system-installation/. Okay, Boot, we have learned two important things: 1. Don’t take your dealer’s word as gospel, and 2. depend on Sarge to set you straight! On your face and count off 25! Dismissed!
CAGES VS. CAGES
I have one of the 2018 Polaris Turbo S models that was recalled due to the roll-over cage (reference their website at www.polaris.com/en-us/recalls/off-road/polaris-recalls-rzr-turbo-s-vehicles/). Now it is my understanding the welds on the cage were causing the metal to break instead of bend. With that said, should I just keep the improved cage or go with an aftermarket cage that is undoubtedly stronger? Your opinion, Sarge?
Well, Boot, my opinion will be based on facts. The fact is, any aftermarket roll cage will be even stronger than your recalled roll cage, but it will weigh between one to two times more. And if it was designed lower and rounded (think VW Bug here), or it has kicker supports in the rear, this design is far more prone to continue to roll over and over more times than a stock cage. Polaris did a study years ago on what they called the “egg factor” and determined the shape of aftermarket roll cages caused excessive roll-overs. That is why Polaris still produces their “ugly” cages and the aftermarket produces “cool” cages. People purchase aftermarket roll cages based on two issues—perceived safety and cool or better-looking designs. Now the perceived safety is indisputable. The aftermarket cages are stronger. It takes far more force to crush or deform an aftermarket roll cage than a factory unit. So, Boot, if you want an aftermarket cage for strength, go requisition one. If you just want one for the looks, remember the egg factor. What do I choose, Boot? Glad you asked! I chose a custom cage that embodies aftermarket strength with the same factory-style design with the addition of intrusion bars. I chose performance over cool! And, factory-fit roofs and accessories still fit. Now, will people stop purchasing “cool”? Not likely! Everybody wants the best-looking Zooter in the dunes! And, they are willing to trade away some sound engineering for the cool factor, and the cool factor currently is chopped and lowered or VW Bug-shaped. Those are the facts! The other fact is, you owe me 50 sit-ups! Dismissed!