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Emergency Belt Replacement on the Trail

23327 Views 20 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Papa-t
Some people will think that this is preparation overkill.
I am doing this for two reasons:

1. When I am out in the middle of nowhere, if I blow a belt for any reason, I am up a creek without a paddle. There might not be a Polaris belt to be had within 250 miles in any direction. And if I got a belt, I'd still need tools. Collecting all of that stuff after my belt has broken is the dumb way to do it. That kind of event ruins trips for everyone in the group and tends to be expensive.
I'm not going to be the guy who gets stranded and has to get towed out or call for an airlift, ruining the ride for everyone, because I was unprepared for a common CVT failure.

2. It seems to me that 1 in 5 people believe that it is their solemn duty to educate me on the fact that they heard that Polaris vehicles have a tendency to break CVT belts. There is nothing I can say to change their mind about this. It will vary in degrees of annoyingness, from a casual mention and a shrug, to it becoming the topic of a seemingly endless conversation around the campfire after a day's ride, to someone obsessing about it while planning a trip, sending me quotes from people supporting their anxiety, and suggesting that I buy things like a belt temperature sensor that installs into the CVT exhaust and has a gauge on my dashboard.

If you read the post below, buy the stuff for your tool kit, and make sure you can do it with only what you have in your tool kit (do a practice run), then you can say the following to those people:
"I have a spare belt and all of the tools I need to clean out the blown belt and replace it. I have practiced doing this with only the tools in my kit. Can YOU do that with YOUR vehicle?"
Most of the time, that shuts people the hell up.

Now on to the How-To:

You will need the following items:
1. Pulley Puller Tool (Note: This is listed as fitting the RZR-S 800. I tested it on my ACE. It works.)
2. 3/8" ratchet.
3. 10mm socket
4. 15mm socket.
5. 16mm socket.
6. 19mm socket.
7. 3/8" wrench.
8. Short extension.
9. Medium extension.
10. Cheater bar. (I used a piece of tube steel just big enough to slip over a few inches of the end of the ratchet.)
11. Bracing bar. (Make sure it is soft so it does not damage the pulley. I used a 7/8" wooden dowel.)
12. Anti-seize. Slather this into the threads of your puller tool and bag it up in a tough waterproof bag. That tool is worth its weight in gold in a trail emergency.
13. A Polaris #3211149 drive belt.

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Obviously, you need to first remove the PVT cover. There are 8 lag screws holding the PVT cover on. The heads are 10mm.
Some of them are annoyingly hard to reach because of crap in the way. That is why you have two different sized socket extensions.
Before you can get the cover out, you will need to remove the grease zirk on the left rear A-arm. I find this highly annoying. Polaris saw fit to put a grease zirk right in the way of getting the PVT cover off.
You can avoid this by lifting up the rear of the vehicle until the left rear tire is off the ground. If you're on the trail, you'll probably be able to manage this with a buddy or two and a big rock or stick, or your winch and some creativity.
Once you lift the vehicle enough to get the rear wheels off the ground, you can remove the PVT cover. But it's much easier to have a 3/8" wrench in your toolkit and remove the zirk.
Once the zirk is out of the way, It's still a bit fiddly. You have to angle it just right and apply some pressure, and then the cover flexes a little and pops out of there.

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Once you get the cover off, here is your PVT system:

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You might notice some wear on your PVT cover. Even after only about 10 minutes of driving my rig on pavement, here is what mine looks like:

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It is possible to remove and install a belt by hand, and if you can do this, you will save some time if your belt is still in one piece and just not working right, or if it snapped cleanly.
First make sure your vehicle is in neutral.
All you have to do to remove a belt is shove the belt down into the driven pulley as hard as you can, then pull the belt onto the lip of the driven pulley and rotate the pulley.
It helps to get it tight and then use the drive pulley to help it along.
Putting the belt back on goes pretty much the same way.

But here's the thing: I have heard that when these belts go, they EXPLODE all over the place in a mess of strings and rubber bits.
Those strings, if you do not remove them, will wrap around the shafts and destroy the seals, resulting in a sloppy mess and expensive repairs.
If this has happened, you have to remove the pulleys and clean that crap out.

I started with the drive pulley. The bolt is 16mm. It is a normal right hand thread. If it is the same as the RZR, the torque on this bolt is supposed to be 40 ft-lbs.
40 lbs felt about right when I removed it. I had to use a bracer bar to keep the pulley from turning when I loosened it.

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Once you get the retaining bolt out, then you need the puller tool. Make sure you have put anti-seize in the threads.
Thread the puller tool in there until it seats (about a half inch of thread will be visible) and re-position your bracing bar.

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The puller tool needs a 19mm socket. Put pressure on it until you feel it "break". Then do a few more easy strokes until the pulley is loose.
Remove the puller tool and put it back into its bag right away. Do not put it on the ground and get dirt in the threads.
Now you can remove the pulley from the crankshaft.

View attachment 354

Now it's time for the driven pulley. It is a 15mm bolt. It is a normal right-hand thread.
I do not know what the torque spec for the driven pulley is either. If it is the same as the RZR it should be 17 lbs, but I could not get mine loose by hand.
I tried a cheater bar and a block of 2x4 jammed between the belt and the pulley for resistance, and I could not budge it. So I cheated. I hooked up the impact wrench and popped that SOB off.

(I will NOT have an impact wrench with me on the trail, but I put that pulley back on at 20 ft-lbs like I do with my RZR. I will be able to remove it by hand now.)
I highly recommend that you practice this procedure and break loose your pulley bolts at home so you know they are manageable on the trail.
You are, of course, solely responsible for finding out the correct torque and setting it on your machine.

Once you get the driven pulley off, you'll want to be careful. There is a washer floating around in the middle of it. Don't lose it.

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Now you can clean the strings and crap from around the shafts, if there is any. If there is none, YAY! You have not wasted time/effort, you have been safe instead of sorry.
If your pulley comes apart at any time during this process, make sure you get that washer back in the middle. In fact, check it anyway.
If you are not removing your drive pulley, but did remove your driven pulley and need to reassemble it with a belt on it: I suggest putting the back half of the pulley on the shaft, putting the washer in, and then putting the front half on. You can do this with the belt on (it is kind of fiddly) or with the belt off and then bsqueeze your belt on over the assembled pulley.
The two halves of the driven pulley are supposed to go together a certain way. Note the X marks on the two pulleys. Make sure to align those.

Now it is time for re-assembly.
The drive pulley is a press fit, no keys to align or anything. The driven pulley has splines.
I recommend this sequence:
1. Install driven pulley and tighten its bolt. At home, use a torque wrench and set it at 20 ft-lbs. On the trail, just get it tight, and check/re-tighten it with a torque wrench as soon as you can afterward.
2. Loop the belt around the driven pulley. Make sure the lettering is right-side up. That way you know you're always installing the belt facing the same direction.
3. Loop the belt around the drive pulley before you install the pulley. Then slide it onto the shaft, install the bolt, and tighten it up. 40 ft-lbs at home, "close enough" on the trail. Again, check it later.

So now you have your pulleys on and tightened, and your new belt on with the lettering facing you. Now you can put your PVT cover back on, set your ACE back on the ground, and RIDE!
Be gentle on that new belt for a while.
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Yea, Scoundrel great job. We'll have to start sending you beer money ! :beer8:
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I just ordered a new belt and will do this as soon as I get my ace. Thanks a ton Scoundrel. Just another thing to do on the tinker list...
Can't stand beer. But thanks for the thought!

Don't forget the puller tool. There is no good substitute...
I never actually replaced a belt myself , but read a lot of different threads. Do you actually need to take both pullys off to put the belt on , or do you do that to clean the pullys if the original belt breaks
Scoundrel said:
It is possible to remove and install a belt by hand, and if you can do this, you will save some time if your belt is still in one piece and just not working right, or if it snapped cleanly.
First make sure your vehicle is in neutral.
All you have to do to remove a belt is shove the belt down into the driven pulley as hard as you can, then pull the belt onto the lip of the driven pulley and rotate the pulley.
It helps to get it tight and then use the drive pulley to help it along.
Putting the belt back on goes pretty much the same way.
If you are replacing due to breakage, it is highly recommended to remove the pulleys looking for bits of string and debris to clean out.
If you are replacing due to age, cracks, glassy appearance, etc and the belt did not actually break, you can do it without removing either pulley.
Thanks for the write up. Every time someone brings up their uninformed myth that Sportsmans eat belts, I ask them how often you see a sled(snowmobile) eating belts? Either no answer, or a bs reply. This is a tried and true sled clutching set up, vety durable.
I've done very little snowmobiling, but I did see one guy break a belt. He had a sled that was the largest engine on the market at the time. He was drag racing another guy. Both of the sleds were cold, hadn't had a chance to warm up the belts yet. That's almost certainly why it broke.

When people abuse the belts, they break.

I may never use my spare, but it takes up very little room in the cargo box, and if one does break on a trip, getting a new one will be expensive, if even possible to get one in time to salvage the trip.
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Great write up Scoundrel, I f I may where did you get your puller tool, is it something I would have to get from Polaris? Again great info I will be building my tool kit using this information

The words "Pulley Puller Tool" in the first post are a clickable link. Here it is:
got it thanks will order one asap thanks again
Make sure you coat the tool with anti-sieze before you use it. Makes the job easier and less stressful on your parts.
Scoundrel, thanks for the excellent instructions. I replaced my belt today in less than 30 minutes. I did remove the rear wheel to make access to the PVT cover easier. I replaced the belt with a Gates 23C4140. I got this part number from the Gates website. I ordered the replacement belt through Amazon from RPO Powersports. The total cost for the belt was $79.99 through Amazon Prime. The Amazon website appears to be out of date. It stated that this belt would not fit a Polaris Ace. Gates was right and it fit perfectly. I ordered the belt on May 7 and it arrived May 11. Pro Powersports processed the order the same day.

I hope that I don't ever have to do this on the trail. I did this replacement because my old belt was slipping on hard acceleration. I could smell the belt burning. It was worn down a bit on the sides. I did order a pulley puller through Amazon from Boss Powersports Outlet for $23 so that I can do a trail replacement. I am going to add one of those wands with a magnet on the end to my trail tool box to pick up the screws that I inevitable drop. Finding the bronze colored screws in a pile of dead leaves would be difficult at best. I am also going to add a deep socket that will fit my lug nuts to my trail tool box.

I have driven the Ace only about a quarter mile. The Gates belt seemed very smooth. Before the day is out I will put about 10 easy miles on the belt. If I have a problem, I will report back to the forum.
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Great write up. I put together the necessary tools including the puller. During my test run using only tools I carry, the only problem I had in trying to remove/replace the belt was in getting the PVT cover off without removing the left rear wheel. I have a 2016 570 SP with stock wheels and tires and I was unable to get the PVT cover off with the left rear tire still on. Am I doing something wrong or is it necessary to remove the left rear tire/wheel? I do carry a 1/2 drive breaker bar and the correct socket to get the lug nuts off anyway, but what do people carry for a jack or what ever to get the tire off the ground? I have a small bottle jack that I could carry, but would rather not have to. I often ride with only my wife on her bike so we don't have enough people to lift the corner of my Ace if necessary. Looking for ideas. Thanks
Something my father showed me few years back when our truck dropped through a frozen beaverdam. One rear wheel dropped right up to the differential & I thought we were walking the 40kms out to the highway.
Had me get a log about 15ft. long, stuck large stump few feet behind truck, then used the log as leverage to lift the rear end up while he filled in the hole with sticks & bits of wood.

You'd be surprised how easy you can lift a few thousand pounds with very little effort! The ACE would be a feather-weight in that situation!
MaxximusD: Very true about using lever from a small log or large branch when riding in the forest which I do about half of the time. I am more worried about those time riding in the desert where there might not be anything around for miles to use as a lever. Am afraid that my chances of burning up a belt are likely to be higher while riding in the desert where you may be in deep sand and/or deep gullies or doing a little rock crawling.

Except for my jack, got all or my tools and spare parts stashed in either the front storage area or in the bags that are attached to the insides of the doors. Bought a small tool bag at Harbor and cut a piece of plywood to fit in the bottom of the tool bag. Until I come up with something better, will carry my bottle jack in the tool bag and carry it in the back. Figure the plywood may be handy if needing to jack on sand.

Would like to find a small bladder that I could inflate with my 12 volt air pump that could be used to lift up one corner of the Ace. So far all I can find online are way to large and expensive for what I need. Some one needs to come up with a small one sized for UTVs and ATVs as most people have some sort of air pump with them.
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I know this is an older post. But thanks Scoundrel for a great write up. Decided to practice mine today with my tool bag and my bottle jack I keep in my box. Didn’t have to remove the grease fitting on my 2015 570 to get the cover off. Took me approximately 40 minutes to pull the pulleys; try out my new belt and replace the old belt and put everything back. Of course I only have about 400 miles on my new old stock Ace belt that I bought new this past December. Now I feel confident if I break a belt I can pull the pulleys remove the broken belt strings (if any) and replace my backup belt and be on my way.
Sorry Scoundrel but pulling the primary and secondary clutches off and removing rear wheel to replace and install a new belt is overkill and NOT field friendly.

To install or remove an old belt, all you need to do is separate the sheaves on the secondary clutch and then pull the belt off. There is usually a threaded tool that you screw into the secondary sheave that spreads the sheave. That is all you have to do and nothing more.

Primary clutches do not come off easily on machines with time and hours on them. A clutch puller can break inside the crankshaft when trying to pull the primary. Any belt strings can easily be picked without removing clutch sheaves.

Removing rear wheel and clutches is like pulling your head to replace the spark plug AFAIC.

This is a great writeup for information about changing the belt and what is required. Not sure about the clutch puller you posted in the link, but I emailed both EPI and SLP about clutch pullers and this is the information I got back:

EPI Clutch Puller for the ACE 900XC: PCP-8
SLP Clutch Puller for the ACE 900XC: 20-136

Not sure if the puller listed in the original post is different or the same, but this was the information direct from the manufacturers.

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