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I am interested in hearing from people that have experience with both the Polaris Northstar and the Defender Limited. In 2019 I bought a 2020 Ranger Northstar edition. I bought the Northstar primarily as a snow plowing machine, and didn't plan to use it much for trail riding because I own two other UTVs that pretty much cover the sport and 50" trail segments of the sport. To my surprise, two years later I have accumulated more miles on the Ranger Northstar than I have on both of the other UTVs combined. So I am using it alot. It seems there are more days with bad weather than I would have anticipated, and the enclosed cab is nice to have.

I am not entirely happy with the Polaris Northstar though. The worst part is the extremely notchy and catchy shifting mechanism. It is at times almost impossible to get the transmission to shift from one gear to the next because of binding in the linkage or transmission. Almost every shift requires jacking around, back and forth, to jostle the linkage enough to get it to release. I have taken it to the dealer and they did a recall and said it was fixed, but it still works very poorly. Last weekend we were on a narrow two track road on a mountain side, and got to a place where we could not continue, and had to turn around where it requires a 12 point turn to get pointed back out of the trail again. With the transmission binding so badly I got into a point where it just would not release from reverse, without having to back up slightly to get it to release. But I couldn't back up without going off the side of the mountain. It was a bad situation, and I started to think I wouldn't be able to get out of there. I'm sick of fighting the transmission linkage on the Northstar, and an opportunity has come up to get a Defender Limited instead. The dealer has one that is supposed to be shipped in March, so it will be arriving within the next few days to few weeks.

I have already told the Polaris dealer I bought the Northstar from, which is a different dealer than sells the Defender, that he has to either fix the transmission issues, or it is going to be traded on a Can Am. So what do you people think that have experience with both? Is the Defender Limited a quality machine that will work at least as well as the Polaris Northstar? Is it worth making the trade?
 

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I am interested in hearing from people that have experience with both the Polaris Northstar and the Defender Limited. In 2019 I bought a 2020 Ranger Northstar edition. I bought the Northstar primarily as a snow plowing machine, and didn't plan to use it much for trail riding because I own two other UTVs that pretty much cover the sport and 50" trail segments of the sport. To my surprise, two years later I have accumulated more miles on the Ranger Northstar than I have on both of the other UTVs combined. So I am using it alot. It seems there are more days with bad weather than I would have anticipated, and the enclosed cab is nice to have.

I am not entirely happy with the Polaris Northstar though. The worst part is the extremely notchy and catchy shifting mechanism. It is at times almost impossible to get the transmission to shift from one gear to the next because of binding in the linkage or transmission. Almost every shift requires jacking around, back and forth, to jostle the linkage enough to get it to release. I have taken it to the dealer and they did a recall and said it was fixed, but it still works very poorly. Last weekend we were on a narrow two track road on a mountain side, and got to a place where we could not continue, and had to turn around where it requires a 12 point turn to get pointed back out of the trail again. With the transmission binding so badly I got into a point where it just would not release from reverse, without having to back up slightly to get it to release. But I couldn't back up without going off the side of the mountain. It was a bad situation, and I started to think I wouldn't be able to get out of there. I'm sick of fighting the transmission linkage on the Northstar, and an opportunity has come up to get a Defender Limited instead. The dealer has one that is supposed to be shipped in March, so it will be arriving within the next few days to few weeks.

I have already told the Polaris dealer I bought the Northstar from, which is a different dealer than sells the Defender, that he has to either fix the transmission issues, or it is going to be traded on a Can Am. So what do you people think that have experience with both? Is the Defender Limited a quality machine that will work at least as well as the Polaris Northstar? Is it worth making the trade?
Following this post. I am in the exact same position as you, so frustrated with the shifting of our Northstar we are ready to switch brands. My wife doesn't even want to drive the Northstar because she can barely shift it.
 

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2020 Ranger XP1000 Northstar Crew Ultimate
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Certainly not a clutch expert but to both of you, please try to shift the transmission (preferably on level ground) with the engine off. If it shifts smooth then there are still likely alignment issues with the primary and secondary. As horrible as mine used to shift i didnt think there was any way that i would see a difference with the engine off but it proved that there were alignment problems and the issue not in the cable. Some great videos out there on YouTube that shows how to check to see where the issue is (and if you need to add or remove shims) and resolve it. After some work mine is very good now, but i will say shifting to high does take a slight bit more force. I believe someone smart told me this was due to cable/shifter geometry.
 

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I have to guess that that it’s an adjustment issue, but I’m sure the experts will apply. I think most of them work during the day. :D
 

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I have a customer with three 2019 Northstars and they are all hardish to shift. Two of them have Duraclutches which gives them the smooth take off but didn't do much for the shifting and it doesn't make a difference if they are running or not. I also believe that it has something to do with the geometry of the shift lever but maybe it's a combination of multiple small issues.
 

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Even when I had my Duraclutch installed on my 20 crew it was at times hard to shift. It got really bad one day when i took it out for about the last time with the tracks. I was in a position when i went to turn around and it was as smooth as it had ever been. It was on an incline and in gear and with the brakes applied and gravity trying its best to move it. my guess is the secondary couldnt move at all making it shift great. Just before getting ready to take it off i looked at the secondary and sure enough it was moving in park. Wasn’t spinning fast but i dont think it needs to either. Must have been just enough to make it a bear to select gears. After removing a couple of shims problem is gone for me.
 

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I would not hesitate to buy a Can Am several people I know own Can Am very happy no shifting complaints .
 

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As far as shifting goes my 2015 xp900 was very hard to shift at first, then it became like butter. My new 2021 NS. ULTIMATE is the same way, notchy at times, but try shifting it one Notch at a time, not all in one Motion, my new NS is shifting better allready.
 

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I went from a CanAm Commander to a Ranger XP. The CanAm was also difficult to shift. However, the CanAm had a better quality and better positioned shift lever.

There are pros and cons to both. The Ranger is much smoother in terms of throttle response (I love work mode) and also belt engagement. My CanAm was very herky jerky.

If the CanAm was a car I would liken it to an Audi. If the Polaris was a car I would liken it to a Subaru.
 

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This is interesting to know although the main reason I bought Polaris is the dealer network in Minnesota is very good . Many stock parts I would classify as consumable .
 

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One thing i will give CanAm credit for is they saw fit to put a Dam park brake in there Defenders from the Factory. I spent 2 hours pissing around with my NS. yesterday with a Park brake that i still didn't get the way i want it. It should have came with One bottom line.
 

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One thing i will give CanAm credit for is they saw fit to put a Dam park brake in there Defenders from the Factory. I spent 2 hours pissing around with my NS. yesterday with a Park brake that i still didn't get the way i want it. It should have came with One bottom line.
Yep, I can't figure out why polaris put the parking brake in the shift pattern instead of a separate lever like my old 800 had. That was a much better setup.
 

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If you have questions about why Polaris ? Just go look at a Polaris snowmobile they use this mindset in everything they build . They just can’t shake it !
 

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because they wanted us to have to keep a couple of pieces of firewood in the bed to chock the wheels on steep inclines
Funny, but doesn't help with binding up the drive train,unless u can toss it under the Wheel from the cab before you put it in Park. Seriously though a machine that weighs a rolling ton should have a separate park brake Without fail.
 
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