RZR 800 & Ranger 800 Troubleshooting

— How to fix the problem —

By Sarge McCoy

MY SUPER-UTV ISN’T SO SUPER ANYMORE!

Dear Sarge,

I have a 2013 Polaris RZR 800 EPS. I also have a sound system, winch and a light bar. There have been times when the power-steering unit has quit working, and other times it only works with the wheel turned to the left. Then it magically restarts. Then sometimes the steering wheel jumps to the left. This happens mostly at night. This makes me think it’s voltage-sensitive. What do you think, Sarge?

Carl Wilson

Nampa, Idaho

Real Marines don’t need power steering, Boot! Low voltage can certainly be one of the reasons your power steering is acting up. I would put a VOM meter on the battery and see if you are maintaining +14 volts at half throttle and +13 volts at idle. If not, test your voltage regulator and stator per your shop manual. You do have one, right, Boot? Didn’t think so. Get yours here: www.dropbox.com/s/9auxobkeivgoajp/2013%20RZR%2C%20RZR4%20800%20Service-Manual.pdf?dl=0. Still, there are other reasons this could be happening, and you should eliminate all of these causes. 1. Using the gas and brake pedal at the same time can cause your power steering to quit working. 2. Leaving the key on with the engine off can cause the steering motor to turn off to save battery power. 3. Getting into a situation where the front wheels are prevented from turning side to side can cause the power steering to overload and shut down. It will reset by itself if given enough time; however, a racer’s trick can help here. Install a switch to kill power to the power steering. A quick power cycle will reset the power steering. Fifty push-ups, Boot, to strengthen those wimpy arms! Dismissed!

ARE STICKING BRAKES A “FEATURE”?

Dear Sarge,

Recently, my 2010 Polaris Ranger 800 has started having its brakes stick. When I let off on the throttle, I feel it slowing down rather quickly, so my guess is the brakes are sticking. My dealer wants to replace all four calipers, and right now, Sarge, I can’t afford that. Do you have a simpler, cheaper solution?

Chelsea Bruce

Hoffman, Illinois

Private Sea Salt, how do you know your calipers are sticking? Your brake pads could be worn out and the caliper’s pistons overextended. Your wheel bearings could be dry. The wheels could be out of alignment. Even the tires could be partially deflated. But, since you are certain it’s the brakes, I will address that issue. There are several items you need to look at. First is determining which wheels are dragging. You will need a floor jack to raise each corner of your Zooter so you can spin each wheel to check for drag and any scraping sounds. Now would be a good time to check the condition of the brake pads. If they are worn, use a C-clamp to push the caliper’s pistons back into the body and install new pads. With each wheel in the air, remove the wheel and caliper and lube the caliper’s slide pins with waterproof grease. The caliper must be able to center on the brake disc or the brakes will drag. Also, check to see if the caliper mounting bracket is bent. This would cause the caliper to “cock” to the side and drag. If after checking all four wheels you find all the calipers are dragging, your problem is either the master cylinder or you have internal corrosion. The master cylinder is something best left to your dealer, but you can address the problem of internal corrosion inside your brake’s hydraulic system. Requisition some Dot 5 brake fluid. This silicone-based brake fluid will provide internal lubrication to the caliper’s pistons. Follow your service manual’s procedure to bleed the Dot 5 through all the lines. Now you need to free up the corroded caliper pistons. Drive slowly for 1/4 mile on blacktop with the brakes applied. Turn around and return to where you started, again dragging the brakes. Let your Zooter sit for a half hour to allow the calipers to cool. Test drive to see if the brakes are free. If not, rinse and repeat. In most cases your calipers should have gotten hot enough to allow the silicone brake fluid to get through the rust around the internal pistons and free them up. If the calipers are now free, great! You owe Sarge 25 sit-ups (per wheel)! If not, you owe your dealer a bunch of green for new or rebuilt calipers! And, don’t forget to tell him you are using DOT 5. Dismissed!

SEIZED FRONT END

Dear Sarge,

I have a 1984 Honda ATC200ES Big Red. The front end is seized, and I have been told the front end cannot be rebuilt! Everything can be rebuilt, Sarge! Can you help me find the parts?

Dan Feeld

Lucerne, Wyoming

Private Dirt, you are correct that everything can be rebuilt, but only if the parts are available. Unfortunately, Honda has discontinued the internal damper unit. See here: www.ronniesmailorder.com/oemparts/a/hon/506f8cbff8700229747b95b2/front-shock-absorber. You can requisition new guides (#10) and new boots (#14), but the damper (#2) is not available. You can try some Zooter salvage yards, but most Zooters found would be in the same shape as yours. If your Zooter had real motorcycle forks like the 200X, they could be rebuilt. So, my suggestion, Private Dirt, is to run your Zooter as is. Most of the early ATC Zooters had rigid front ends, and your damper had little travel and nasty stiction, so you are not losing much. Dismissed! 

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