Any vehicle this old is going to come with some issues. Our "NEW" Ranger came with a known problem that the seller thought was a bad brake switch. The sticker on the dash says your foot has to be on the brake pedal for the engine to crank. This Ranger would not crank unless the brake pedal was pressed just right. I was not convinced that this was a brake switch issue and proceeded to go thru all the battery cables and connections, fixing or replacing everything that looked like it needed attention. While doing that, the start solenoid was tested at least twice with a voltmeter. Sadly, none of that good work made any difference to the cranking issue. Then one day it wouldn't crank no matter how I touched the brake pedal. Sitting there I realized every time I touched the brake pedal with the key turned I could hear the start solenoid click. The problem is not with the brake switch. The start solenoid is not sending voltage to the starter motor even though it tested good with a voltmeter.
It is at least an hour round-trip to drive to town for parts, and no guarantee any parts store is going to have anything that will work on this Polaris. I decided to investigate the start solenoid guts. I was 99% sure the problem was inside the solenoid. I decided to drill the rivets and try to fix the one I had. This is a fairly common-looking 4 terminal solenoid. All 4 terminals are press-fit into the housing. Once the bottom plate and gasket are off, the two small terminals have to be carefully pressed out (at the same time), so the coil assembly can just drop out. Prying or yanking on the coil will just rip those terminals loose. After the coil assembly is out, the two large terminals can be pressed out of the housing. Don't lose any springs, small parts, or O-rings for the terminal shafts.
This is what the guts look like disassembled. The contacts that carry current are top left in the photo. Two fixed screw terminals and the terminal plate that the coil jams into the fixed terminals when the key is turned to "start". Notice how black the entire top terminal screw is compared to the other one. This has been getting very hot.
Yep, The difference in the two fixed contacts and the two sides of the moving contact plate was very noticeable. I filed all contact surfaces down to clean, smooth copper, then polished them. Reassembly was a bit tricky with all the loose parts and springs. Some #4 screws and nuts were used to hold opposite corners together long enough to install new rivets in the other two corners. There was no room to install pop rivets with a rivet gun from the top. Installing from the bottom would just crack the plastic housing. I knocked the stud out of four rivets, dropped the rivets in the holes, then used a hammer and punch to expand the bottom over the metal plate.
That fixed it. The engine now cranks reliably every single time the key is turned with foot resting on the brake pedal.
The manufacturer and part number on the solenoid are: Trombetta 7721211212. Searching for that on-line turned up several for about half what Polaris dealers want for the same part. There are a bunch of universal 4-terminal solenoids for garden tractors that would probably work just fine for around $11. I'm going to buy one of those to have a spare on-hand.
Next = AWD Switch Upgrade Problem
|POLARIS RANGER - TABLE OF CONTENTS|
|1||Research and Purchase|
|2||Soft Cab and Bed Rails|
|3||Lighting Upgrade and Wiring|
|4||Cranking Problem Fixed|
|5||AWD Switch Upgrade Problem|
|6||Seat Cover and Winch|
|8||Exhaust Tip and Trail Rides|
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