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Old 10-22-2009, 07:33 PM   #1
zmotorsports
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Default Polaris Camshaft

I have attached a few pics of a camshaft that I just removed from a clients Polaris Sportsman 500 ATV. He brought it to me complaining that it didn't have any power and two other shops had already worked on it, one found nothing wrong with it and the other replaced most of the ignition system because it was backfiring and they said it was due to bad ignition. After spending over $500.00 dollars on ignition parts they still could not get it to run and said they couldn't afford to spend any more time on it. He was referred to me after complaining at the local NAPA store.

What kills me is he asks me to keep the price down due to the fact that he already spent $500.00 on it and didn't fix the problem. I love it when I am asked to work for nothing because some crook took advantage of someone and made off with their money. Anyway that is whole other subject.

Upon troubleshooting I noticed it would fire and idle beautifully, however, upon applying very little throttle it would sputter and backfire as per the owners complaint. I removed the airbox and noticed it was backfiring through the intake not the exhaust. Generally when backfiring through the intake it is not ignition related so this was suspicious why the first shop changed all of the ignition components. I did a compression test and cylinder leakage test and saw nothing out of the ordinary other than maybe a little low on compression. I thought to myselft I wonder if the exhaust rocker is damaged or something with the camshaft not letting the exhaust escape the engine. I removed the body, fuel tank and rocker cover and bingo, camshaft is trashed. I have attached a couple pictures of the camshaft. The first pic is of the camshaft and exhaust rocker, the second pic is of the camshaft looking at an angle towards the exhaust lobe which is pretty much missing and the third pic is of the exhaust rocker which is damaged as well. After a little research I discovered that early Polaris 500 engines were notorious for this due to the extra wide camshaft lobe and poor oiling capabilities. It looks like a new camshaft is available which will fix the problem. Polaris evidently replaced quite a few under warranty, but the warranty is long gone on this quad. Thanks for looking, Mike.






Last edited by zmotorsports; 10-22-2009 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 10-22-2009, 07:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

Mmmm! Toasty!

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Old 10-22-2009, 08:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

yep........lot's of bad cams on those.
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Old 10-22-2009, 08:10 PM   #4
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

What year sportsman? HO?
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Old 10-22-2009, 09:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

holy cow
I have never seen a can flatten out that badly

weld it up and grind it smooth and your done.......

actually I would look into an aftermarket cam as you might get one for less than the OEM

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Old 10-23-2009, 06:44 AM   #6
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

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What year sportsman? HO?

1997 Polaris Sportsman 500.
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Old 06-09-2010, 10:06 AM   #7
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

I have a 2001 polaris sportsman 500 HO and I have been experiancing the same symptoms.
Does anyone know if this year sportsman has the same issue witj the camshafts?
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:20 PM   #8
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

Found a few Polaris flat camshafts here. One made the crank bearings look real nice. Lot of shavings.
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

Used to spin wrenches at a Polaris dealer. Saw a LOT of cams with the center lobe wiped off it on the 400's and 500's. I'm really surprised 2 shops didn't catch it. Or were they just general repair shops and not Polaris dealers? Pretty much any of those that came in and idled fine but backfired when trying to throttle up was instantly diagnosed as a cam, and pretty much always was. I can't remember when Polaris had their fix in place, I want to say maybe 01 or 02.
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

I've been having problems with my '06 450 sportsman with 1400 miles on like what you have described. Idles great runs good at slow speed but falls flat on it self when it goes up hill or in any sand and mud. Have taken it to the repair shop that used to be a Polaris Dealer said it was the fuel pump and plug and relashing the valves should do it. They also checked out the wiring to see if any wiring came loose.

What I've been reading is that was fixed on older models.Would my '06 be included?

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Old 09-22-2010, 11:06 AM   #11
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

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Originally Posted by wanglermi View Post
I've been having problems with my '06 450 sportsman with 1400 miles on like what you have described. Idles great runs good at slow speed but falls flat on it self when it goes up hill or in any sand and mud. Have taken it to the repair shop that used to be a Polaris Dealer said it was the fuel pump and plug and relashing the valves should do it. They also checked out the wiring to see if any wiring came loose.

What I've been reading is that was fixed on older models.Would my '06 be included?

Dale
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I thing they corrected the issue around '01 or '02 so you should be fine. Mike.
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Old 09-22-2010, 11:13 AM   #12
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

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Originally Posted by adam728 View Post
Used to spin wrenches at a Polaris dealer. Saw a LOT of cams with the center lobe wiped off it on the 400's and 500's. I'm really surprised 2 shops didn't catch it. Or were they just general repair shops and not Polaris dealers? Pretty much any of those that came in and idled fine but backfired when trying to throttle up was instantly diagnosed as a cam, and pretty much always was. I can't remember when Polaris had their fix in place, I want to say maybe 01 or 02.

One shop is a Polaris/Yamaha/Suzuki dealer and the other is an independent shop like myself. I was somewhat surprised neither one was able to figure it out either. However, what I am seeing lately is that if a shop cannot figure it out in a quick fashion they have been sending them down the road. I have done more repairs this past summer of other shops that have been unable to diagnose or don't want to spend the time diagnosing, I don't know which.

It kills me because everyone is using the excuse about the economy. The economy seems to be everyone's excuse for their incompetence. The economy may be bad but I am having to turn work away because I am so busy and I am trying to be honest with people by telling them I cannot get to their job right away. Mike.
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Old 09-22-2010, 11:41 AM   #13
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

WOW that looks bad...

On a side note I think I seen you guys at the Sand dunes this weekend? Was your boy riding that purple and black Quad racer?
I was the dude in the silver dodge trying to pull my buddys stuck Chev and toy hauler out of the sand..
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:55 AM   #14
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

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WOW that looks bad...

On a side note I think I seen you guys at the Sand dunes this weekend? Was your boy riding that purple and black Quad racer?
I was the dude in the silver dodge trying to pull my buddys stuck Chev and toy hauler out of the sand..

That was us. There were a lot of people stuck on Saturday. Where are you from? I had just picked up a used Banshee and was trying to get a base line so I can cut it up and start modifying it.

I sold my green GS1100 powered quad a couple of weeks ago so we could finish my son's new chassis/quad that is on the jig right now.

What do you ride? How often do you go down to Little Sahara?

We generally take the coach and stay for the weekend but we had to be back Saturday night so we just went down for a quick day trip. Mike.
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Old 09-23-2010, 08:58 AM   #15
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

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That was us. There were a lot of people stuck on Saturday. Where are you from? I had just picked up a used Banshee and was trying to get a base line so I can cut it up and start modifying it.

I sold my green GS1100 powered quad a couple of weeks ago so we could finish my son's new chassis/quad that is on the jig right now.

What do you ride? How often do you go down to Little Sahara?

We generally take the coach and stay for the weekend but we had to be back Saturday night so we just went down for a quick day trip. Mike.
I live in Sandy, That was only my 3rd trip down this year Lack of funds and time usualy keeps me from going more. I ride a 07 Honda TRX450.
If you need another forum to browse join up on intermountainriders.com, I help run it and its for us local utards who like to play in the sand and dirt
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:35 AM   #16
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

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Originally Posted by Wastegate View Post
I live in Sandy, That was only my 3rd trip down this year Lack of funds and time usualy keeps me from going more. I ride a 07 Honda TRX450.
If you need another forum to browse join up on intermountainriders.com, I help run it and its for us local utards who like to play in the sand and dirt
Thanks, I may do that. I am always liking to talk to those who enjoy riding, especially locals. Mike.
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Old 11-13-2011, 05:03 PM   #17
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Exclamation Re: Polaris Camshaft

I have a 2001 Sportsman 500 HO.My machine runs good but it seems like it doesn't top out as fast as it used to it only hits about 50 or so.Does the 2001 have the issue with the cam shafts wearing out.My machine has about 1400 miles on it with 138 hours.
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Old 11-13-2011, 11:22 PM   #18
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

Had my own shop and have been wrenching on quads and bikes for 17 years and sad to say Polaris( supposedly US made) are the worst pieces of Sh!t I have ever worked on. Bolt standards are really weird. Parts are hard to get and/or take forever to get ( at least 6 weeks for most) unless aftermarket. Usually had a polaris in the shop for what should have been a simple part swap in for two months or longer awaiting parts. The issue you are having isnt a new surprise. Polaris new about it for 6 yrs before fixing the issue. They had Tb's on the cams in the 250's, 325's, 400's and 500's for years. You can try to get a newer released cam or have the cam reworked and hard chromed by CWR. Pretty much your only options for a permanant fix. The shift and go bikes dont come without sacrifice. I always said Polaris had P.O.S. in thier name for a reason. Just my $.02, take it for what its worth.
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Old 11-14-2011, 06:33 PM   #19
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

Looks like an old Super Shops Erson cam for a SBC. . .those things would go flat in the box.
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Old 11-14-2011, 06:38 PM   #20
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Default Re: Polaris Camshaft

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. . .those things would go flat in the box.
Thanks for the laugh.
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