Hello Polaris ATV owners, Though I've owned/maintained some 30 motorcycles since age 12, I recently purchased my first ATV...a 2011 Polaris 850 Sportsman/Pursuit Camo. I am a Honda man at heart and when it comes to motors or electronics I generally purchase only Japanese products. Why you ask? They've been reliable and resilient as opposed to my Ford, Chevrolet and Harley. With that said, I am beginning my struggle to have what I consider a manufacturing defect repaired by Polaris. I've begun a service schedule and have included the particulars below. I hope to use this thread, if editing is allowed, to keep you informed regarding my experience with Polaris. Happy trails to all and keep the rubber side down. RickeyD
Polaris Repair File/Repair/Service Record
349 Miles/18 Hours
The unit was transported directly to Wheeler Powersports for its first service and purchase inspection. My only operation of the ATV was a test ride on 6-26-12 and riding the unit up onto and off the trailer on 6-27-12.
Break-in/First service performed by Wheeler Powersports/Fort Smith, AR. 479-783-5822
In addition to first service check-up, I asked Mike and JD, service representatives for Wheeler Powersports, to inspect the ATV for any problems and advise me so that I could make an informed decision relevant to purchase of unit.
Problem identified: At the first inspection, 18 hours on the unit, oil was discovered in the air-box. Such a large volume of oil was blown into the air-box that the problem necessitated replacement of the air filter. I was asked to pay for the air filter element and did so, but I considered it rather unusual that the customer was asked to pay for an item that was destroyed by an obvious manufacturer defect. Mike or JD showed me the damaged air filter that had been inundated with engine oil on one side of the filter. The dry side of the filter was perfectly clean and in good condition. Had the filter not been subject to oil blow-by, the filter would have been completely serviceable.
I performed an Internet search on problems with the 2011 Polaris 850 and discovered numerous entries relevant to oil in the air-box. Mike or JD explained that the problem resulted from over-revving the engine. I initially accepted that explanation, paid for the first service and the new oil filter. I transported the ATV to my place of residence and used the unit on my property at slow speeds, primarily in “low” drive and low to medium RPM.
At 20 hours, only 2 hours after the initial inspection, I inspected the air-box and air filter. The bottom of the air-box was filled with fresh engine oil. I cleaned the air-box floor and inspected the new Polaris air filter. The filter element had not yet been compromised but the large pool of oil on the floor of the air-box unit is unacceptable.
I called Wheeler Powersports on Tuesday, July 10, 2012, 0910 Hours, and spoke with JD in service. I explained the problem I was having with oil in the air-box and JD advised me that he would attempt to have the unit repaired by Polaris. JD was skeptical regarding Polaris’ response to repairing the unit as either a warranty item or manufactures’ defect. JD advised that he was understaffed at that time and would not be able to contact Polaris until Thursday, 7-12-12. JD asked that I call him back on Thursday to confirm that he had made the service request. I asked if I should bring the unit to Wheeler Powersports. JD advised that I could but that it would set in a secure lot until the parts from Polaris arrived. JD also advised that he would not make the next parts order until Saturday, 7-14-12.
I asked JD if the unit could be used in its present condition. JD advised that yes, I could use the unit, but I should clean the oil from the air-box and operate at low engine RPM.
Received phone call from JD at Wheeler Powersports in Fort Smith Arkansas (approximately 1130 hours). Advised that I needed to send photos of my ATV in order to process request for repair. I advised JD, via email, that both of my cameras which allowed me to upload photos were presently out of town and to please ask Polaris to proceeded without the photos.
0750 Hours: Emailed photos of ATV to JD at [email protected]
as requested in order to proceed with Polaris claim.
1000 Hours: Spoke with JD at Wheeler Powersports and reminded him, as requested by JD, regarding my oil in air box problem. JD advised that he had not received the photos of the ATV and the photos were necessary/required to proceed. Lost cell phone reception with JD but resent the photos two times. Received call-back from JD stating that he had received the photos but probably would not be able to begin the service claim until tomorrow. JD stated that Polaris usually gets back with him within a couple of hours after filing a service claim. JD also advised that the last time he repaired an "oil in the air-box problem" Polaris did pay for the parts but would NOT PAY FOR THE LABOR, especially seeing that my unit was out of warranty.
I advised JD that this was totally unacceptable. The oil in the air box issue is an ongoing problem with the 2011 850's and is well documented on the Internet via posts from a multitude of 850 owners. Furthermore, the oil in the air box problem is obviously a mechanical/engineering defect in the 2011 850's and Polaris is responsible for repairing the machines at NO COST to the owner. In fact, I should be reimbursed for the expensive Polaris air filter replaced at the first service seeing that said air filter was perfectly clean except the areas that were saturated with engine oil. I advised JD that I would take-up the issue with Polaris and, if necessary, pursue the case civilly.
JD stated that he felt Polaris was stepping-up to the plate by buying the parts. I, once again, reiterated the fact that the oil in the air box was a manufacturing defect and all associated costs relevant to replacement/repair must be paid by Polaris. JD was very polite and advised that he would work with me in any way possible and would proceed with the claim. I advised JD that I would take-up the issue with Polaris personally. JD provided me with the phone number to Polaris' customer service line: 888-704-5290.
1012 Hours: I spoke with Carry at Polaris Customer Service, 888-704-5290, and provided her with the needed information. Carry was very polite and asked if there was anything else she could help me with.
My thoughts: Yes, I agree that the 2011 Polaris is out of warranty. When I purchased the unit it had 18 hours on the clock/346 miles. The first service had not yet been performed; therefore, the oil in the air box problem had not been discovered. It is a very safe assumption that while the unit WAS IN WARRANTY the oil in the air box problem did exist, as evidenced by the oil saturated lower half of the OEM Polaris air filter when inspected at the first service. If Polaris will reimburse my purchase price for this unit, I will proceed to Honda and purchase a Rincon.
1500 Hours: JD, Service Representative for Wheeler Powersports in Fort Smith, called and advised he was submitting my claim to Polaris and needed my approximately mileage now that I've had the ATV for a week or so.
1620 Hours: Received phone call from JD advising that Polaris has agreed to pay for the parts to repair the manufacturers defect but WILL NOT PAY FOR LABOR since my ATV is no longer in warranty. I advised JD that I am shocked that Polaris refuses to stand behind their product and remedy THEIR defective equipment that has been sold to the public.
0943 Hours: I called JD at Wheeler Powersports and told him that I wanted to have the ATV air box repaired and that I would pay for the service. Best advise being that I must first pay for the service then, considering the amount of "damages" incurred in the labor charges, with receipt in hand, proceed to small claims court and settle the dissension between Polaris and myself in a court of law. This will allow the facts of the case to be recorded and my anger tempered somewhat by having done all that is "legally" available to me.
JD advised that he had already told Polaris that I wanted to take them to court. JD said he would contact Polaris and advise them that I had changed my mind and wanted to have the ATV repaired and pay for the labor. JD commented that he has not heard from Polaris since advising them of my decision to take the matter to court; considering my position on the matter he is not sure if Polaris is going to assist me in repairing the ATV. JD stated that if Polaris did agree to furnish the parts, it would be sometime in the middle of next week before the parts arrived.
This is a working ATV. It is NOT a toy or for pleasure only.
1411 Hours: Received phone call from JD stating that Polaris will pay for the parts but is holding fast on their refusal to pay for labor. The parts are expected to be at the dealership midweek next week.
Transported 850 to Wheeler Powersports at approximately 1430 hours. Mike was expecting my arrival, was very kind and courteous, and had all of the necessary paper work completed...only needed a signature. Mike advised me that the parts package from Polaris should be there on Wednesday, 7-17-12. I also asked Mike to check-out the very rough gear engagement when applying power from idle. The Polaris transmission appears to be very hard on itself as it literally jerks/slams the ATV forward when the RPM's reach a certain limit.
Purchased new Honda Rincon and tire kit from Honda of Russellville in Arkansas. Honda of Russellville was absolutely fantastic...a 5 out of 5 stars. Salesman Chris Howell was one of the best I've dealt with over my extremely long motorcycle riding history. Not only were the ATV's priced right, but Chris ensured that I test drove the Rincon, Foreman and Foreman Rubicon so that I could make an informed decision about my purchase. The characteristics of each ATV were explained in layman's terms and I felt that my best interest was the focal point of my test drive and purchase decision. Very impressive indeed!
0915 Hours: Received phone call from Wheeler Powersports advising my 850 had been repaired. Arrived at dealership and paid $73.14 in labor charges. Mike, service rep., and his mechanics were very helpful and even loaded the Polaris into the bed of my truck. I was advised that should there be any other problems, please call them...I have a 90 day warranty on parts and labor. All-in-all, Wheeler Powersports has been very kind, courteous and helpful. Though I'm still a little ticked at Polaris for failing to take care of the labor charges, the kindness and professionalism I was shown at Wheeler Powersports makes it difficult to remain angry. I am going to give the Polaris 850 a chance to prove itself now that the "factory defect" has been corrected. Though I am concerned about the integrity of the belt drive and the hard lunge from idle to forward and rearward motion, the ride of the big 850 is excellent and the power is appreciated in the steep rocky terrain of the Ozarks. My Honda Rincon and the Polaris will be tested side-by-side and we will see what each has to offer. Thanks to all of you who showed an interest in this subject and offered very good advice on how to handle the situation.