Polaris is a pioneer when it comes to off-road vehicles such as ATVs and UTVs. They have a massive client base, and they do have a successful lineup to back that up. Even with all this success, you cannot overlook the fact that the company has been plagued by Polaris Electronic Throttle Control Problems for a long time.
Polaris ATV might lose throttle if its parts or connections are soaked in water. Some Polaris Sportsman models might have a sticky throttle if the cable is worn out or old. While some have inaccurate throttle play distance which causes the throttle to not work properly.
Due to this issue, some models are more consistently affected than others. Let us look at some of the problems that you could encounter with the electronic throttle control on your Polaris. Furthermore, at the end of this, you will know how to perform required repairs and their costs.
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1. Vehicle Keeps Cutting Out Due to Throttle Free Play Distance – Polaris Sportsman
If your Polaris vehicle keeps cutting out and doesn’t respond when you open the throttle, it’s probably the inaccurate throttle play distance that’s causing the trouble.
It is a common Polaris problem, mostly found in Sportsman 300 models.
In this situation, if you press the start button, it will come back to life and will run fine for a few minutes. But it will sit again at tick over after a while.
The throttle play distance is the space between the handlebars and the rider’s grip. If this distance is too great, it can cause the vehicle to cut out. To fix this, simply adjust the throttle play distance so that it’s smaller.
Adjusting the throttle play is a simple process, and it only takes a few minutes. Here’s how you can adjust it:
Take the cover off the throttle control and pull the boot back off, of the cable at the throttle control. When you lightly press the throttle, there should be a very slight amount of play before you feel the tension from the throttle return spring. That clearance is only about .025″. You adjust it through the collar on the cable housing. Loosen the lock nut, and you should be able to turn it in or out to adjust the play.
- Remove the throttle control cover
- Pull the boot back to expose the cable. There should be a slight amount of play before you feel the tension from the throttle return spring. That clearance is only about .025″.
- Adjust it through the collar on the cable housing.
- Loosen the lock nut and turn the collar to adjust the play.
However, necessary throttle-free play is crucial to the proper operation of your ATV. Too little free play will cause the throttle to be “jerky” or “snatchy”, and too much free play can cause the throttle to return too slowly, or not at all. The proper amount of free play is dictated by what your Polaris manual recommends.
2. Losing Throttle While Hitting Puddles – Polaris RZR
When you’re driving your Polaris in heavy waters, it goes into limp mode and won’t let you go above a certain speed.
RZR XP 1000 models have been experiencing this problem since quite a while.
Limp mode is a safety feature that is designed to limit the speed of your Polaris when it detects there is a fault in the engine or transmission.
When limp mode is active, your Polaris will only be able to reach a top speed of around 30-40 mph. This is to prevent further damage to the engine or transmission and to allow you to get your vehicle to a safe location.
If you are driving your Polaris, and it suddenly goes into limp mode, it is important to pull over and turn off the engine. Once the engine is turned off, check for any error codes that may be displayed on the dash. These codes can help you diagnose the problem and get your Polaris back up and running.
First of all, check if the intake has sucked any water. Check every plug, fuse box, ECM for any water intrusion. If it hasn’t, cover your throttle and peddle connectors and all the plugs that you can see with dielectric grease.
If everything seems fine, go for checking the accelerator peddle — You might need a new one. A new accelerator peddle will probably cost you around $80 to $130.
Also read: 5 x Most Common Polaris RZR 170 Problems!
3. Electronic Safety Switch Killing the Engine – Polaris Predator
There is a safety switch that kills the Polaris engine if you don’t put your thumb on the throttle at all times.
It’s not a fault or malfunction, but a general problem with most Polaris models.
If the safety switch is activated, the engine will not run. You’ll need to bypass the safety switch in order to get the engine to start.
Remove the electronic throttle control’s cover. Be careful of the small o-ring inside the cap, as it may fall out when you open the cover. While looking inside, you will see two small contacts. They are likely touching. The idea is to have them close without touching. They kill the engine when they touch as a safety feature to prevent the throttle from becoming stuck wide open.
Find the throttle cable where it goes into the etc box, about three inches down. There will be a small bulge in the cable; this is the spot where the cable should be adjusted. To adjust it, first remove the rubber protectors from the lock nut and sleeve. Then loosen the lock nut and twist the sleeve down the threads. Inside the etc box, you will see two small contacts moving; separate them slightly, so they don’t touch each other.
The throttle should be in the home position (no thumb on it) when you make this adjustment.
4. Throttle Sticking Due to Bad Cable – Sportsman
Polaris ATV throttles start sticking when the cable is too old or faulty. The throttle cable may need to be replaced in order to fix the issue.
Sportsman 600, 500 HO models commonly face this bad cable problem.
When your throttle starts sticking, it’s the sign that the cable is fraying inside the cable housing. Avoid riding on such vehicle as it can be very dangerous if it hangs up.
A customer said,
I was riding my 04 sportsman 600 yesterday, throttle was fine. Started it up this morning and the throttle is sticking. If I push the gas and let off it sticks but the RPMs very slowly drop. If I push the gas more than half way the RPMs just keep going up, and I have to manually pull the throttle back, I sprayed some penetrating oil in the throttle housing and down the throttle cable but didn’t help much. Don’t know what else to do besides get a new cable, but I don’t know why I feel like the cable isn’t the issue?
You can try lubing the throttle cable but it won’t probably solve the issue for long. Only use approved cable lube. If your cable has an inner Teflon coating, oil or similar lubricants can cause a reaction with the Teflon and throttle speed or function.
A new throttle cable will cost you less than twenty dollars.
5. Losing Throttle Due to Soaked Parts – Polaris Ranger
While washing your Polaris vehicle, you may have soaked some parts due to which it loses the throttle. Although it will start and idle fine, but it will lose its throttle ability if it has any moisture in the connections.
Water can enter inside the parts of your Polaris vehicle, which is not good for it. Avoid using pressure washer on your vehicle.
You can use compressed air to dry out any wet parts of your Polaris vehicle. This will prevent water from entering inside the parts of your Polaris vehicle.
Ranger XP 900 users face this problem sometimes, but other models are susceptible too. Comments of a Polaris XP 900 driver on a forum:
While taking a ride this afternoon my check engine light came on after stopping to move some brush that had fallen on the trail, the code# I retrieved was 0 656 13 2 anyone has an idea on this one, the machine starts and idles fine but has no throttle at all. Might as well mention I just installed my OEM stereo yesterday and just washed and waxed the machine today before taking a ride!
Give your vehicle a day or two until it dries out completely. Usually, the moisture goes away on its own.
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