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Discussion Starter #1
I have searched and found some info but not everything I’m looking for so I thought I would ask. What do you all know about the main drive shaft failing not from being bent or damaged but generally premature wear? Seems the universal joint is the problem, no zerk fitting so mud and sand will ruin them. Universal joint doesn’t appear replaceable, the entire shaft at $350 plus a bunch of labor to remove front end is required for a total cost of $600+.

My question is, how prevalent is this problem, what are the symptoms and are there after market solutions that a better choice than another crappy Polaris shaft. I’m having symptoms similar to a friend with a lot of noise and vibration coming from under the feet of the middle passenger, and forward. The shaft also has a decent amount of play in it. 13 ranger 900 xp
 

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The prop shaft u-joints are a common problem as is the carrier bearing on the crews. Polaris has done away with the u-joint in favor of CV joints so we'll see how the longevity is with them. I think it will be better unless the CV boot gets torn and then the whole shaft will need to be replaced. One solution is the CCI Driveline prop shaft to replace the u-joint style shafts. They have CV joints like the new Polaris style and are balanced but quite expensive. I've talked to the nice folks at CCI and asked about a torn boot. They said if that occurs the shaft would need to be sent back to them for repair.

When it comes to u-joint replacement there are many greaseable ones out there, NAPA, All Balls, etc.

An interesting observation is that the old Sportsmans , 90s era, used a combo of CV joints and u-joints on the two front driveshafts. The u-joints usually last the life of the ATV, 25+ years. Also, Kawasaki Mules use u-joints on their prop shafts and they usually last the life of the vehicle. I have never figured out why Ranger OEM u-joints don't last.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I don’t think the u joint can be replaced, I think the entire shaft needs to be purchased and the new shaft doesn’t have a zerk either.

The cci is crazy expensive, wont work for me. I see there is a super at. Version but also no zerk. Any others with recommendations or comments? Was hoping for more feedback
 

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I don’t think the u joint can be replaced, I think the entire shaft needs to be purchased and the new shaft doesn’t have a zerk either.

The cci is crazy expensive, wont work for me. I see there is a super at. Version but also no zerk. Any others with recommendations or comments? Was hoping for more feedback
Unless I am misunderstanding you comment, I believe you are mistaken. The parts are available here:
https://www.amazon.com/polaris-ranger-u-joint/s?k=polaris+ranger+u+joint
I've read other posts on this Forum about the use of NAPA 338 U joints as well.
Note in the link above some of the U Joints listed have grease fittings.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow, ok, thanks. I did not realize repairing the u joints was an option, I thought I had to replace the entire shaft. Thank you both. The labor will be slightly higher but a lot less costly than a new shaft.
 

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Wow, ok, thanks. I did not realize repairing the u joints was an option, I thought I had to replace the entire shaft. Thank you both. The labor will be slightly higher but a lot less costly than a new shaft.
Replacing the U Joints is a pretty easy job. You can make do if you have some sockets and a bench vise and a little patience.
 

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As previous posts states...with a hammer and a few sockets the job is quite simple. As an ASE tech...I recommend the “ball joint/u-joint” removal and installation press/tool. Less chance of having the needle bearings in the caps fall out as often happens with hammer method. The tool looks like an oversized C clamp. This tool is now available at Harbor freight and has some cups and accessories in the kit that do U-joints VERY easy. You will also find the tool works great for press in ball joints and lots of other jobs. But I have used the hammer method when in a pinch. Most U-joints can be found WITH a zerk fitting if you look hard enough. Moog/Napa/TRW and many others out there. Once you find the part number...just search other brands until you find the one that offers it with the Zerks.
 

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As previous posts states...with a hammer and a few sockets the job is quite simple. As an ASE tech...I recommend the “ball joint/u-joint” removal and installation press/tool. Less chance of having the needle bearings in the caps fall out as often happens with hammer method. The tool looks like an oversized C clamp. This tool is now available at Harbor freight and has some cups and accessories in the kit that do U-joints VERY easy. You will also find the tool works great for press in ball joints and lots of other jobs. But I have used the hammer method when in a pinch. Most U-joints can be found WITH a zerk fitting if you look hard enough. Moog/Napa/TRW and many others out there. Once you find the part number...just search other brands until you find the one that offers it with the Zerks.
Having access to the right tools like a ball joint press is definitely the best way to go, although the ball joint press kit may not come with the proper sized attachments for all size U joints, so you may still have to use sockets or some other home made attachments to make it work. On the other hand, I'm not a fan of the hammer for this job, particularly in the hands of someone not really experienced in the procedure. It's easy to damage the cups if too small a socket is used. The cups are hardened steel, and brittle, and I don't like beating on my sockets. A blow in the center of the cup can break them (asI learned in my teens during my first experiences with make do tools). A vise works much like a ball joint press and exerts gradual controlled pressure resulting in less chance of needle bearings if that type of joint is used and allows the installer to control the installation with more opportunity to correct for misalignment or angular installation. IMHO, slow and gradual is better if you aren't trying to make a living doing it. A friend with a couple of extra hands is helpful when using the vise method, although even a one handed friend would be better than nothing. :eek:
 

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Having access to the right tools like a ball joint press is definitely the best way to go, although the ball joint press kit may not come with the proper sized attachments for all size U joints, so you may still have to use sockets or some other home made attachments to make it work. On the other hand, I'm not a fan of the hammer for this job, particularly in the hands of someone not really experienced in the procedure. It's easy to damage the cups if too small a socket is used. The cups are hardened steel, and brittle, and I don't like beating on my sockets. A blow in the center of the cup can break them (asI learned in my teens during my first experiences with make do tools). A vise works much like a ball joint press and exerts gradual controlled pressure resulting in less chance of needle bearings if that type of joint is used and allows the installer to control the installation with more opportunity to correct for misalignment or angular installation. IMHO, slow and gradual is better if you aren't trying to make a living doing it. A friend with a couple of extra hands is helpful when using the vise method, although even a one handed friend would be better than nothing. :eek:
Correct on all counts.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Great, appreciate all the help. Getting ready to order and have two questions. Are the front and the back the same size and part number? Second, is this the same u joint as found on the 2015 ranger xp 900? I can explain why I’m asking but it’s important that I know
 

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Those brand names I mentioned would be “auto parts” store brands etc. Dana/Spicer is also a top brand. Was just advising you to stay away from the cheap no name import u-joints.
 

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Great, appreciate all the help. Getting ready to order and have two questions. Are the front and the back the same size and part number? Second, is this the same u joint as found on the 2015 ranger xp 900? I can explain why I’m asking but it’s important that I know
Front and Back are the same.
These are the same U joints used since the beginning of time. They are used on just about everything Polaris has produced, including the hybrid front CV shaft BPS mentioned.
I prefer the Spicer 5-170X as well if your going with U joints.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Great, thanks all. I ordered spicer
 

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I have been couple weekends on my 13-900XP at my buddies garage. Replaced U-joints, still had thump/vibration in front end. order front yoke and come to find out the splines on the front diff are wore and was causing the thump. Did away with roll pin and tighten it with bolt, helped a lil, still has a lil thump. Thoughts on this? Just deal with it or worth fixing?
 

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The following is opinion/observation/assumption/suggestion:
It appears that the splines on the driveshaft (propshaft) of a Ranger slide only at the output shaft (snorkel shaft) of the transmission, and even at that, not much. The relationship of the front differential to the transmission output shaft (snorkel shaft) remains relatively static with the exception of whatever small movement the rubber engine/transmission mounts allow. Normally the front yoke that attaches to the front differential doesn't slide at all and is pinned in place. Given that "assumption", it seems to me that the front yoke could be split lengthwise and a double split shaft collar placed around it's outer diameter and tightened so that the yoke would actually clamp on the splined shaft, thus removing any slack (clearance) between the yoke and splined shaft. Performing this modification will probably involve machining the outside of the yoke for the split collar to fit as well as making the lengthwise splits, 180 degrees apart, in the yoke and perhaps either making the split collar or modifying a commercial collar to fit the final outer yoke dimensions.
Thoughts, opinion, disagreement is welcome. At this point my idea is all theory.
 

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What you're describing pyro is exactly how CCI Driveline was making their front yoke. Now they've upgraded (IMHO) and done away with the collar in favor of a larger diameter yoke with two bolts on each side to do the clamping. I wish I would have taken a picture of the last one that I installed.
 

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Man, if only I had been smarter, sooner I could have been rich. However, now that you've verified my idea I know that if my front yoke gets loose I can modify it as described and save a few bucks.
 

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The following is opinion/observation/assumption/suggestion:
It appears that the splines on the driveshaft (propshaft) of a Ranger slide only at the output shaft (snorkel shaft) of the transmission, and even at that, not much. The relationship of the front differential to the transmission output shaft (snorkel shaft) remains relatively static with the exception of whatever small movement the rubber engine/transmission mounts allow. Normally the front yoke that attaches to the front differential doesn't slide at all and is pinned in place. Given that "assumption", it seems to me that the front yoke could be split lengthwise and a double split shaft collar placed around it's outer diameter and tightened so that the yoke would actually clamp on the splined shaft, thus removing any slack (clearance) between the yoke and splined shaft. Performing this modification will probably involve machining the outside of the yoke for the split collar to fit as well as making the lengthwise splits, 180 degrees apart, in the yoke and perhaps either making the split collar or modifying a commercial collar to fit the final outer yoke dimensions.
Thoughts, opinion, disagreement is welcome. At this point my idea is all theory.
Great Idea and my buddy has the tools in his shop to have done this.
 
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