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2024 RANGER XD 1500 Operation

Since the drive system on the RANGER XD 1500 has been built differently, it's going to drive differently. In this article, you can learn about the new STEELDRIVE transmission, drive modes and more. 

For more information about the features of this vehicle, read the 2024 RANGER XD 1500 Overview

STEELDRIVE Transmission
The RANGER XD 1500 uses a 100% steel-constructed belt that requires little maintenance. This transmission allows the vehicle to creep and changes how the gear selector works compared to other Polaris UTVs. Watch the Shop Talk episode below for more information.

Gear Selector
To change gears, stop the vehicle, and with the engine idling, move the lever to the desired gear. Note: Only change gears when the vehicle is stationary. Attempting to shift to PARK (P) while the vehicle is moving may result in transmission damage. Only shift the vehicle to PARK (P) once the vehicle has come to a complete stop with the brake applied.

The gear selector has DRIVE (D), REVERSE (R) and PARK (P) options.

Read the 2024 RANGER XD 1500 Quick Start Guide for more information.

Stopping the Engine
1. Release the throttle pedal completely and brake to a complete stop.

2. Place the transmission in PARK (P).

3. Turn the key to the OFF position.

4. Slowly release the brake pedal and make sure the transmission is in PARK (P) before exiting the vehicle.

Warning: A rolling vehicle can cause serious injury. Always place the transmission in PARK (P) before stopping the engine.

Drive Modes
The Tow/Haul Mode switch can also change the drive mode of the vehicle by rotating the switch. The drive mode can be changed at any time while operating the vehicle, but it will not engage until correct operating conditions are met. The light next to the switch will flash until the mode is engaged, then turn solid once the mode is engaged. The current vehicle drive mode will be displayed on the Instrument Cluster Information Center.

The following ride modes can be selected:

ComfortAllows minimized engine feedback when pressing the throttle pedal.Low engine speeds (quiet, smooth, gentle inputs), maneuvering tight spaces, work, light duty and limited engine braking.
StandardAllows slightly less than MAX engine feedback when pressing the throttle pedal.Medium duty work where a little extra power is necessary. Moderate amount of engine braking.
SportAllows MAX engine feedback when pressing the throttle pedal.Recreational/trail riding.
Tow/HaulMaximizes available engine torque, speed limited to 30 MPH (48 kph).Extreme utility work, provides the most amount of engine braking available.

All Wheel Drive
If your model is equipped with a lockable differential, you can choose to operate with an open differential or a closed differential.

drive mode switches and knob

Press the top of the switch (1) to engage All Wheel Drive (AWD) or Ultra Turf. The 4X4 indicator illuminates in the rider information center to indicate that the vehicle is in AWD. When the AWD switch is on, the front gearcase will automatically engage any time the rear wheels lose traction. When the rear wheels regain traction, the front gearcase will automatically disengage. There is no limit to the length of time the vehicle may remain in AWD. Engage AWD before getting into conditions where front wheel drive may be needed. If the rear wheels are spinning, release the throttle before switching to AWD.

Press the AWD button (1) to disengage AWD. If the button is pushed while the front hubs are driving, they will not release until the rear wheels regain traction. In some situations, the front gearcase may remain locked after pushing the top (1) button. If this occurs, you may notice increased steering effort and some vehicle speed restriction. Perform the following procedure to unlock the front gearcase.

To disengage AWD, do the following:
1. Stop the vehicle.

2. Push the AWD button.

3. Shift into REVERSE (R) and drive backwards for approximately 10 feet (3.3 m).

4. If the front gearcase remains locked after following these instructions, see your authorized Polaris Dealer for service.

Rear Differential System (Turf Mode)
Press the Differential Lock button (2) to lock the differential and operate in 2WD. Locking the differential in slippery or low traction conditions helps improve traction. When the rear differential is locked, both rear wheels rotate at the same speed.

Press the Differential Lock button (2) to unlock the rear differential and operate in Turf Mode. When operating in Turf Mode, the inside rear wheel will rotate independently from the outside wheel during turns. Operate in Turf Mode only as needed to protect smooth, level surfaces from tire damage. DO NOT operate in Turf Mode when climbing or descending hills, sidehilling or operating on uneven, loose or slippery terrain such as sand, gravel, ice, snow, obstacles and water crossings. Always operate in AWD on these types of terrain.

Warning: Operating in Turf Mode when on sloped, uneven or loose terrain could cause loss of control and result in serious injury or death. One rear wheel may slip and lose traction or may lift up and grab when it touches the ground again.

Damage to the differential can occur if it is engaged while the vehicle is traveling at high speeds or while the rear wheels are spinning. Slow the vehicle to nearly stopped before engaging the differential. 

Tow/Haul Mode
Tow/Haul Mode is the primary driving range for the RANGER. Whenever the vehicle is left unattended, always place the transmission in PARK (P).

Press the Tow/Haul knob to disengage or engage this mode. Always engage Tow/Haul Mode for any of the following conditions:

  • Payload greater than 500 lbs. (226 kg)
  • Operating in rough terrain or over obstacles
  • Plowing snow
  • Loading the vehicle onto a trailer
  • Towing heavy loads greater than 500 lbs. (226 kg)
  • Driving slowly - under 10 MPH (16 km/h)
  • Climbing hills

For more information about transporting cargo, read Towing and Hauling with the 2024 RANGER XD 1500.

Torque Limiting and Torque Boost
Under high load, slow speed driving scenarios (towing heavy loads, operating at high altitudes, driving in deep snow/mud or hauling heavy material in the cargo box) your XD 1500 is working hard to stay at optimal performance levels. The STEELDRIVE transmission uses a wet clutch to engage and disengage the driveline and, as it slips, it can generate heat. When the transmission reaches a certain temperature, it begins to limit torque delivered to the wheels to prevent overheating. This is known as Torque Limiting. This feature is designed to maximize longevity of the transmission. However, you may experience a decrease in performance levels during this situation and/or may see this warning on your display during this scenario. If the Clutch Overtemp warning does not display, please contact your local authorized Polaris Dealer.

XD 1500 Overtemp Message

Operating at slower speeds and high load can increase the risk of the transmission overheating. To minimize or prevent Torque Limiting:
1. Always operate in Tow/Haul mode in high load scenarios.

2. Apply the appropriate amount of throttle while operating in high load scenarios.

In some high-load and low RPM traction conditions, Torque Limiting may be initiated without an overheat. In these situations, the STEELDRIVE transmission is equipped with a feature called Torque Boost, which momentarily provides a burst of torque to the wheels to fully engage the hydraulic clutch and prevent Torque Limiting. Warning: Do not apply Torque Boost if there are bystanders or obstacles nearby. To engage Torque Boost:
1. Turn Tow/Haul mode ON.

2. Shift into DRIVE (D).

3. Apply maximum throttle for 2-3 seconds. Applying maximum throttle for 2-3 seconds will command the engine to rev up to approximately 5,000 RPM and rapidly engages the wet clutch for the STEELDRIVE transmission. The purpose of this sequence is to quickly get the vehicle moving in scenarios requiring high torque while minimizing additional heat input into the wet clutch and transmission.   

If you see the Overtemp warning message, let the vehicle sit idle for 20-30 seconds to allow the transmission clutch packs to cool down. Follow the steps above for preventing Torque Limiting and resume normal operation.

Unlike many other Polaris vehicles, the RANGER XD 1500 can roll whenever the gear selector is not in the PARK (P) position or the brake pedal is not depressed. Always shift to PARK (P) when stopping the engine or leaving the vehicle. 

With the driver’s seat belt engaged and the driver sitting securely in the driver’s seat, this vehicle will creep in DRIVE (D) and in REVERSE (R). This added creep behavior helps with low speed drivability and makes for a smoother power delivery. At any time if the user is not intending to move the vehicle, the brake shall be applied and vehicle placed back into PARK (P). The vehicle should always be placed in PARK (P) before unbuckling seatbelt or exiting the vehicle.

The vehicle will disengage creep mode if loss of driver weight on the seat is experienced or the seatbelt is released. To re-engage the creep function, press the throttle pedal, brake pedal, or shift from PARK (P) to DRIVE (D). The rider information center will prompt operator to “shift to park” if creep is engaged and vehicle speed is zero after a small amount of time.

Hill Assist
Hill assist allows for easier maneuvering and improved control when stopping and starting on hills. In limited conditions, it may enable the vehicle to hold position when driving over obstacles or on hills. Never rely solely on hill assist to prevent the vehicle from moving on a hill. Note: Vehicle payload and trailer weight affect the angle of hill on which vehicle may hold.

Warning: Vehicle rollaway can cause serious injury or death. Even when stationary, the vehicle may move whenever the gear selector is not in the PARK (P) position or when the brakes are not applied. Always shift to PARK (P) when turning off the engine or leaving the vehicle. Use extra care when leaving the vehicle on an incline is unavoidable. If leaving the vehicle unattended on a hill, block the rear wheels on the downhill side and keep children, pets and others away from the gear selector.

Hill assist is not designed to hold the vehicle at a standstill on a hill. When stopped on a hill, depress the brake pedal to maintain vehicle control or shift to PARK (P). Failure to do so may result in the vehicle moving.

The vehicle will disengage hill assist if the seat belt is released or if the driver’s weight is not on the seat, including as you exit the vehicle. When hill assist is disengaged, the vehicle can move freely.

Hill assist may not prevent the vehicle from moving on a hill under all conditions. Always be prepared to depress the brake pedal to prevent the vehicle from moving.

Transmission Neutral Disconnect
Disconnect the transmission to tow or pull the vehicle. Even at low speeds, attempting to tow or pull this vehicle can damage the transmission. Note: Do not tow a disabled RANGER faster than 10 mph (16 km/h).

Follow these steps to disconnect the transmission:
1. Place the vehicle in PARK (P) and remove the neutral cover.

2. Rotate the Neutral Disconnect handle (1) counterclockwise by 90 degrees and pull until you hear an audible click.

transmission neutral disconnect lever

Follow these steps to reconnect the transmission:
1. Ensure the vehicle is in PARK (P).

2. Turn the Neutral Disconnect handle clockwise 90 degrees until it's back in its original position, then push handle till seated.

3. Replace the Neutral Disconnect handle cover.

4. Cycle the ignition switch to re-engage the transmission.

For additional guidelines around transporting your RANGER XD 1500, read Transporting Your RANGER.

If you'd like more information about operating your RANGER XD 1500, watch the Shop Talk video.

For more information, see your authorized Polaris Dealer. Find a dealer near you with the Dealer Locator.
Maintenance tips, procedures and specifications can be found in your Owner's Manual.
To find diagrams and replacement part numbers, use the online parts catalog.

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