2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 Specs and Review

2003 was a important yr for the Polaris Sportsman 500 lineup, simply having had its breakthrough the yr earlier than. Given the state of affairs, the American agency was cautious to not overdo the variety of its mannequin variations. Nevertheless, this isn’t to say that the agency fell brief in delivering reliable, high quality machines to the general public – as you’ll later uncover on this article.

The 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 was the eighth installment within the Sportsman 500 lineup and the antepenultimate manufacturing yr of the carbureted, H.O. fashions. Like earlier variations, the Sportsman featured PVT with EBS, fully-independent entrance and rear suspension, and Mossy Oak® Break-Up™ Camo packages.

As a result of the Sportsman 500 made headway with the Japanese-dominated, utility-ATV area of interest, it made sense for Polaris to not solely redefine its total method with the well-known four-wheeled machines but in addition observe restraint with its special-edition trims. And because of the shortage of buzz across the launch of the 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500, Polaris was in a position to cleverly draft the long run course the long-lasting 4×4 would take.

Yellow Polaris Sportsman 500 ATV

An Insightful Transfer

As an alternative of going massive and past with many choices, the corporate did the alternative with the 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500. From its star-studded 2002 choice inclusive of the Remington and Geese Limitless editions, Polaris trimmed the product down to a few (3) variations, particularly:

  • 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 HO (Excessive Output, base)
    • Mannequin quantity A03CH50AA
    • Mannequin quantity A03CH50AB
    • Mannequin quantity A03CH50AC
    • Mannequin quantity A03CH50AD
    • Mannequin quantity A03CH50AE
    • Mannequin quantity A03CH50AH
    • Mannequin quantity A03CH50AJ
    • Mannequin quantity A03CH50AU
  • 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 HO (Excessive Output, Mossy Oak Camouflage trim)
  • 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 6×6

Although not understood on the time, the explanation behind Polaris taking a step again with its limited-edition trims is foresight. Cracking the code, so to talk, shouldn’t be sufficient to make sure the product line’s continued success. The agency has to anticipate prospects’ future using wants whereas staying unrelenting in its pursuit of excellence. To take action, it has to seek out methods to reinvent its machines’ total design and performance with out compromising on what’s made accessible for shoppers – therefore, fewer product variations.

Regardless of taking out the favored assertion trims, shoppers didn’t really feel that the then current-year choice was inadequate – due to the Mossy Oak® Break-Up™ Camouflage trim. The EBS-equipped base fashions and hunting-oriented camo variations have been lots sufficient to select from. The 6×6 Sportsman with its 27-inch-longer wheelbase and manual-tilting cargo mattress was additionally there to cater to drivers looking for a extra utility-oriented area of interest car.

2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 Specs & Options


The 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 makes use of a 4-stroke, liquid-cooled single-cylinder SOHC engine. Like previous-year fashions, it has a bore-stroke ratio of 92 x 75 mm (3.622 x 2.953 inches) and a compression ratio of 10:1. Piston displacement is 499 cm3 (30.45 in3), delivered by a 40-mm Fixed Velocity Mikuni carburetor with a pressurized dry-sump lubrication system and a single-pipe exhaust. These engine configurations lend to a top-speed ranking starting from 54 to 69 mph (87 to 111 km/h).

Gasoline & Lubrication

Oil capability stays unchanged at 1.89 US quarts/2 liters of SAE 10W-40 4-stroke motor oil. The producer nonetheless recommends Polaris Premium 4 Artificial Lubricant or any API-certified SJ artificial oil assembly JASO T903 MA requirements. Mechanics and veterans advise engine oil with out molybdenum components and of the identical viscosity grade.

As for beneficial gas, tank capability is 5.25 US gallons/19.9 liters of unleaded gasoline and a minimal PON ranking of 87/89 (oxygenated/non-oxygenated) or RON 91 ranking. Any suitable gas variant containing not more than 10% ethanol or 5% methanol is permitted to be used.


An computerized, torque-sensitive Polaris Variable Transmission with EBS, Hilliard-type clutch meeting (with reverse and an E-Z high-low shifter), and direct rear driveshaft ship energy to the bottom. This powertrain provides On-Demand™ AWD/2WD driveline modes managed by a thumb swap situated on the right-hand grip. All different controls, such because the headlight, starter, auxiliary shut-off, and override switches, are housed on the left handlebar.


A solid-state DC-CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition) with an ignition timing of 30° ± 2° BTDC @ 3,500 RPM and an electrical beginning system with an auxiliary recoil starter brings the 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 to life. This ignition system reduces the quad’s propensity to fail as a consequence of moisture or filth buildup and works with an NGK BKR6E spark plug having a spot of 0.9 mm (0.036 inches). A triple-phase alternator with a 250W rated output serves as its charging system.

For its battery, the ’03 Sportsman 500 makes use of a 12V, 14 Ah/(10 HR) YB14A-A2 format to energy up digital equipment and its 12V DC outlet. If the inventory battery is already shot or broken, you’ll be able to exchange it with a 12V, 12 Ah/(10 HR) YTX14AH-BS battery (view on Amazon) – with dimensions of 134 x 89 x 166 mm – L x W x H. You want 10-mm spacers to make sure this battery matches contained in the battery field.

Tires & Brakes

Metal wheels pair with tubeless, low-pressure 25 x 8-12 entrance and 22 x 11-10 rear tires. Chilly-tire stress on all fours is 34.47 kPa (0.35 kg-f/cm2, 5 psi), which might be aired down or inflated following a wide range of terrain and producer suggestions. A hydraulic all-wheel lock, a foot brake, and a rear hydraulic opposed piston caliper brake full the 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 tire-and-wheel meeting.


An unbiased entrance MacPherson strut offering 6.25 inches (158.7 mm) of journey and a fully-independent, progressive-rate rear suspension with an anti-roll bar, twin shocks, and 9.5 inches (241.3 mm) of journey includes the Sportsman 500’s suspension system. This combo, alongside a minimal (unloaded) floor clearance of 11 inches (279.4 mm), wheelbase of 51 inches (1,285 mm), and turning radius of 5.42 ft (165.1 cm), makes for the 4×4’s maneuverability and superior dealing with when cornering or traversing technical terrain.


General car dimensions – 85 x 46 x 45 inches (2,159 x 1,168 x 1,143 mm – L x W x H) – are evidently totally different and are just a few inches longer and shorter than its 2002 sibling. Seat top and dry weight stay the identical at 34 inches (863.6 mm) and 697 lbs (316.1 Kg), respectively. Towing capability ranges from 1,225 lbs (556 Kg) to 1,786 lbs (810 Kg) utilizing a brakeless trailer. GVWR is estimated at 1,200 lbs (544 Kg) and is inclusive of the 741-lb (336-Kg) curb weight, 270-lb (122-Kg) complete rack capability, passenger weight, and equipment.


 Like different utility-oriented fashions that got here earlier than it, the 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 four-wheeler has a Gen IV metal body completed in medium gloss black. Plastic physique panels can be found in normal Sonic Blue, Sportsman Inexperienced, purple, yellow coloration choices. Understandably, it solely supplied the Mossy Oak® Break-Up™ model camouflage model out of the 5 (5) special-edition trims produced the earlier yr.

Particular trims apart, the ’03 Sportsman shared the identical primary options as its predecessors: a full-length skid plate, fenders, full footwells, composite utility racks, hand grips, and handlebars. It additionally comes with an analog speedometer that may improve to a Trail Tech 752-114 Black Vapor Digital Speedometer Tachometer Gauge Kit (view on Amazon).


Single, 12V 60W handlebar-mounted high-beam Halogen headlight, two (2) grille-mounted 12V 27W low-beam lights, 8.26W taillight, 6.9W brake gentle, and single-watt indicator lights comprise the quad’s lighting system. TURBO SII – Combo Beam Offroad Driving Lights (view deal on Amazon) could be nice additions for late-night wheeling functions.

2003 Sportsman 500 Pricing

The checklist worth of the 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 ranges from $6,599 to $6,899, with the bottom H.O. mannequin being the most cost effective and the Mossy Oak® Break-Up™ model camo trims being the most costly. 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 components and package deal add-ons that carry out the utilitarian prowess of the machine additional the bottom worth by $1,720 to $2,265. The identical-displacement, 6×6 mannequin has the heftiest price ticket of the lot at $7,599.

Retail-wise, the common ’03 Sportsman 500 pricing falls between $1,655 and $2,340 per Nada Guides knowledge. As for public sale listings, secondhand models promote for as little as $840 (principally non-operable) or a mean of $2,700. Camouflage trims are not often present in near-mint situation on dealer websites – they’re normally costlier than typical resale values of the quad.

2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 Recognized Points

ATV Crossing Stream

Broken Fusible Hyperlink

A extra delicate a part of the 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 HO fashions is its multi-gauge fusible hyperlink. A cracked shrink tube or corroded wires may cause this half to be blown. Equally, working an amp ranking increased than 18A by way of it simply melts its wiring harness, rendering the fusible hyperlink unusable. Aftermarket components like these created by skilled outfitters like NAPA are good spare choices and are assured to work like inventory components.

Flooded Belt Housing

This specific drawback is extra evident in hard-ridden or water-submerged Sportsman 500s, even when homeowners adhere to the machine’s fording depth restrict. To repair this situation, exchange outdated or worn-out seals or take away the complete clutch housing. Doing so helps decide if different troubleshooting steps have to be taken.


Count on brake noises to happen over time since filth or mud buildup on the brake pads and hydraulic discs can’t be prevented. Relying on how severely or carelessly the 4×4 is used, brake pads would ultimately turn into glazed or excessively worn, and brake discs warped. It doesn’t assist that the manufacturer-recommended brake fluid is hygroscopic – one which simply absorbs moisture, ultimately lowering brake efficiency.

Fortunately, doing common cleansing and inspection of brake parts and their alignment assist hold squealing at bay. Make certain to verify on untimely pad put on, warped/free brake discs and bearings, lever/pedal clearance, and grasp cylinder ports. Utilizing tried-and-tested, non-flammable aerosol brake cleaners on the disc hub and brake pads helps take away obstructions and different caught supplies in these areas.

Speedometer Points

Points with the analog speedometer may imply an issue with the quad’s All-Wheel Drive operate. Your speedometer not displaying something or giving inaccurate readouts are a part of the telltale indicators that your speedo could also be faulty. Resolving speedo points would normally entail energy biking the element (if it weren’t severe), fixing dangerous wiring, or changing the unit fully. Sadly, you might also must tinker with multi-pin electrical connectors to get the speedometer to work.

Buyer Evaluations

Regardless of releasing just one special-edition trim and Excessive Output base fashions, the stress was on for the 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 from the time of its launch. It ought to come as no shock because it was the 2nd manufacturing mannequin following Polaris’ profitable pierce into Japan’s monopoly of the ATV trade. Many elderly-time fanatics agree the Polaris Sportsman 500 lineup is probably the most wise and purpose-appropriate sequence since Suzuki’s Quadrunner. Even so, it was not in a position to impress off-road aficionados and end-users till seven years after its inception.

This dual-purpose brute is definitely sturdy and reliable, making them nice workhorses and leisure autos. Its well-positioned vent and water resistant wiring are however just a few of its praiseworthy qualities. However they’re lots sufficient to compensate for the Sportsman 500’s velocity and energy output. In spite of everything, the ’03 mannequin is a utility ATV meant for severe mudding and wooded trails.

About Polaris

Polaris is an American producer identified for spawning the snowmobile trade. However that’s not what the maker of the 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 is revered for. Polaris is the one firm to have single-handedly put a cease to the Japanese’ ATV monopoly. And by doing so, it has impressed different automotive producers to comply with swimsuit.

From the 1956 Sno Traveler to the 1968 Textron acquisition to the first-ever U.S.-made ATV in 1985, the American agency tirelessly continues to provide you with trade improvements and enhance its product line. This has consequently turned Polaris into an trade powerhouse acknowledged for introducing computerized transmission, Digital Gasoline Injection (EFI), and Unbiased Rear Suspension (IRS) to the market.

Conclusion – 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 Evaluate

As in most issues, the yr after a profitable turnover is sort of all the time uncared for however not for Polaris – and the 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 is obvious proof of this. Certain, the agency did lower down on the amount and number of its normal and particular trims however not with out a objective. After uncovering the system for successful shoppers over, the agency has gone again to the drafting board, fastidiously planning how else it may make its product choices higher.

It might be one other two years earlier than Polaris lets go of its carbureted four-wheelers for good and replaces them with fuel-injected machines. Whereas this was not a plan of action everybody can admire, it was one other step in the precise course for the American producer. The 2003 Polaris Sportsman 500 nearing the tip of its line certainly made its enchantment and constant following develop larger – a testomony to Polaris’ well-thought-out efforts.

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