Watch Polaris Engineers Explain How Turf Mode Works

The principle is simple but the mechanics are anything but.

Chris Hendricks and Pat McArdle discuss how Turf Mode works in a Polaris differential.Polaris

Our UTV Buyer’s Guides always mention when a rig comes with a Turf Mode. This drive setting turns a UTV’s typical two-wheel drive — when both rear half-shafts are locked together — into one-wheel drive. Doing so allows the back wheels to rotate at different speeds. The benefit comes when making turns and the outside wheel travels further than the inside wheel. In Turf Mode, the inside wheel can move freely at its own speed instead of being dragged over the lawn.

This cutaway of a Polaris engine and transmission shows how the whole unit fits into the rig.Polaris

Having not taken a Polaris Ranger apart (yet), we never learned how the Minnesota company makes Turf Mode work. Enter episode 14 of Polaris’ Shop Talk series on YouTube, fronted by product experts Chris Hendricks and Pat McArdle. The duo spend a surprisingly informative 15 minutes breaking down how a Ranger powertrain moves engine output around. There’s a Turf Mode section at 3:00 that answers all the questions we didn’t know we had.

Most of the vid is spent on a deep dive into the front differential. It might not be Modern Marvels, but the full teardown of fascinating bits arranged into a simple design speaks to the part of us that loves dismantling complex components when we know we don’t need to put them back together.

There are six other segments in the video beyond Turf Mode and Front Drive. We highly recommend a watch. Check the description under the video for chapter headings if there’s a subject you want to get to pronto.

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