Why Won't My UTV Shift Out Of Reverse?

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
This Polaris Ranger has no intention of moving forward

Why won’ my UTV shift out of reverse? That’s what one frustrated reader asked the ATV AnswerMan about his Polaris Ranger.

Here is exactly what the reader asked the AnserMan, followed by his answer:

I put my ranger in reverse and now it won’t come out of reverse. I unhooked the linkage and it is not the linkage. I believe it may be in the case? HELP PLEASE

Time has proven that the more information you give when asking for help the better the help will be. If I stare off into the trees and hold my tongue just right I can see that you have a “Polaris” Ranger but that’s as close as I can get. I will however try to give you some of the more common problems that I have found and maybe this mysterious year model Ranger will get fixed by using something I said.

I see that you have unhooked the “linkage?” If you have taken the cable off of the transmission and still cannot get the “Bell Crank”, as Polaris calls it, to move then you need to remove the sector gear’s cover to dig deeper. There are a few moving parts in here so be careful when removing this small cover. There is a pair of Sector gears, shift shaft, detent block as well as a shift spring hiding in here. These springs have been known to break and crumble into small pieces that can block the sector gears from moving. The sector gear has also been known to break and jam itself in the same manner. Hopefully this is where you will find your problem. You may also want to get an OEM service manual from the local Polaris Dealer before digging into this cover, as there are some seals that you may want to replace while you are inside.

If you had unintentionally unhooked the linkage and still tried to move the shift lever in the cab, then the cable could be the issue. The cable has a seal/boot on the end near the bell crank and this can get water or mud into the cable housing. This will, of course, allow rust and corrosion to jam the cable, preventing you from shifting the rig into any gear. This might be a problem anyway and while you have it apart I would check to be sure the cable is in good working order. Maybe a little cable lube will help the shifting attitude as well.

Rick Sosebee
Rick Sosebee

Whether he is in Mexico covering the Baja 1000, building ATVs for local racers, or out enjoying the trails, Rick’s passion shows in his stories. Learning to wrench his own machines from his grandfather, Rick also has an undying appreciation for the mechanics of off-road vehicles. Do not let the dirt and mud fool you, though, as Rick also has a deep love for street cars.

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