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2008 Polaris RZR 800 Specs and Review

Before the advent of 900cc and liter-class side-by-sides, the 2008 Polaris RZR 800 was the king of sport UTVs. It had nimbler characteristics, better handling, and the best top speed rating in its category.

Its capabilities were superior to its counterparts in many areas, allowing it to make headway and spawn more powerful, monstrous incarnations within the segment.

The 2008 Polaris RZR 900 is a sport-utility vehicle unveiled to the public in 2008. Featuring OnDemand AWD, tilt steering, a 60-mph top speed, and a longitudinally mounted OHV twin, this two-seater charmed the off-roading community and set the bar for present-day dune buggies.

What was intended as a response to the competition’s challenge essentially laid the groundwork for Polaris’ trademark vehicle in subsequent years. Not only did the American firm solidify its foothold in the off-roading landscape, but the OEM also established itself as a force to be reckoned with in multiple automotive industries.

It is all thanks to this quintessential four-wheeler, which you will learn more about in today’s article.

Person With Helmet Driving Vehicle

The Ranger’s Evil Twin

Despite the ominous moniker, nothing is foreboding about the performance of the 2008 Polaris RZR 800. If anything, the SxS elicits nothing but positive feedback from both its ardent following and regular consumers.

Compared to the Ranger, the same-class RZR is smaller, faster, lighter, and more responsive. Furthermore, its low center of gravity and longer wheelbase help keep it stable on the dunes or other off-road terrain.

This devilishly appealing machine may have made some compromises to be more trail-worthy, but nothing that will ultimately be detrimental to its dual-sport function.

Its 50-inch width makes it suitable for most ATV/UTV trails. Plus, its smaller cargo bed with tie-down spots still makes for a great hauler when hunting or carrying gear.

The only real setback lies in the quad’s legroom, which stockier, taller drivers will find restrictive.

2008 Polaris RZR 800 Specs & Features


The Polaris RZR 800 for 2008 has a liquid-cooled Polaris Domestic ProStar® 4-Stroke Twin (model #EH076OLE021) with Bosch electronic fuel injection handling air-fuel mixture.

The bore-stroke ratio is a near-square 80 x 76.5 mm (3.15 x 3.01 inches), with a compression ratio of 10.0:1 and compression pressure of 150-200 psi. The quad uses a single-pipe silencer exhaust with a piston displacement of 760 cm³ (46.4 in³).

Overall, the above configuration yields the following performance figures:

Top Speed40—60 mph (64—96.6 km/h, unofficial)
Horsepower55 bhp (55 PS, 41 kW)
Fuel Economy (average)15—27 MPG (8.7—15.6 L/100 km)
Fuel Tank Range (approximate)60—109 miles, 98—175 km

Fuel & Lubrication

The tank capacity is 26.5 L (7 USgal) of unleaded gasoline. EU releases require either E5 or E10 premium unleaded petrol. Variants containing less than 5% MTBE or less than 10% ethanol (strictly no methanol) are preferred for all markets.

Lube-wise, the 800 RZR Polaris has the following requirements for its pressurized wet-sump system:

Engine Oil1.9 L (2 US quarts)
Coolant4.5 L (4.8 US quarts)
Transmission (Main Gearcase)24 oz. (710 ml)
Transmission (Transfer Case)14 oz. (414 ml)
Front Gearcase6.75 oz. (200 ml)
Rear Gearcase18 oz. (532 ml)

Recommended lubrication is SAE 0W-40 of Premium 4-Cycle Synthetic engine oil or its equivalent. Minimum API certification should be SJ, meeting JASO T903 MA/ACEA/ILSAC standards.

Other viscosity grades are permissible outside of -40° to 120° F (-40° to 48.9° C) ambient temperatures.


An automatic PVT (Polaris Variable Transmission) mated to a dry, primary drive clutch assembly (view on Amazon) delivers power to the ground and handles wheelspin.

The transmission has an in-line shift system with an H-L-N-R-P gearshift sequence. All production models have selectable driveline modes but no Traction Control System and ABS.

See below stock gear ratios for reference:

Transmission Gear Ratio — High3.14:1
Transmission Gear Ratio — Low8.71:1
Transmission Gear Ratio — Reverse5.94:1
Front Drive Ratio3.82:1
Final Drive Ratio3.70:1

Ignition & Electricals

The ignition system is an ECU-controlled Bosch EFI with a timing of 13° B.T.D.C. @ 1,200 RPM. An alternator with a rated output of 13.2 Vdc 20 A @ 2,500 RPM and a nominal output of 500 watts @ 3,000 RPM serves as its charging system.

For spark ignition, all RZR 800s utilize a Champion RC7YC3 plug with an electrode gap of 0.9 mm (0.035 inches) and tightening torque of 24 Nm (2.4 kgf-m, 18 ft-lbf).

The recommended battery for the sport UTV is a 12V 18 Ah/(10 HR) Yuasa YTX20HL format. It has a 310 CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) rating and assembled dimensions of 6.88 x 3.44 x 6.12 inches — L x W x H, sans mounting hardware and accessories.

The battery is interchangeable with YIX20HL, YTX20HL-BS, and YTX20L-BS (view on Amazon) formats but not with a YTX20H due to the latter’s reversed polarities.

As for its fuse and lighting assembly, see the tables below:

DescriptionWattage x Quantity
Main HeadlightsDual-beam halogen, 55 W x 2
Tail/Brake Light27 W x 2
Work Lights13 W x 2
Fan Motor, Chassis20 A
EFI, Lights, Accessory15 A
Instrumentation, ECU5 A

Tires & Brakes

Factory rubber consists of stamped steel or cast aluminum wheels measuring 12 x 6 / 10 gauge at the front and 12 x 8 / 10 gauge at the back. Maxxis Radials like Maxxis MU01 Zilla Tires (view on Amazon) — 25×8 R12 (front) and 25×10 R12 (back) — are standard on all iterations and cannot be substituted by RZR 900 tires.

A foot-actuated 4-wheel hydraulic disc with dual-bore front calipers provides the quad stopping power and completes its tire-and-wheel assembly.

Recommended cold-tire pressure on all fours is 55 kPa (0.56 kgf/cm2, 8.0 psi).

Depending on riding conditions, these 12-inch knobbies can be slightly inflated or aired down. However, take care not to overdo tire pressure adjustments, and ensure old tires are replaced once the tread depth measures 0.125 inches (0.3 cm) or less.


Enclosed in a steel round tube frame are independent dual A-arms offering long suspension travel. Respective wheel travel measures 230 cm (9 inches) at the front and 240 cm (9.5 inches) at the rear.

These suspension units are mated to a 1/8—1/4 inch/3—6.35 mm toe out, an 8.6-foot turning radius, a 10-inch/250-cm) ground clearance and a 77-inch/196-cm wheelbase.

All 2008 Polaris RZR 800s have adjustable front-and-rear spring preloads and a rear stabilizer bar, lending to the UTV’s maneuverability and superior handling off-road. However, there is still much to be had with its overall suspension geometry (considered somewhat conservative for its class).

Dimensions & Capacities

The overall dimensions of the 2008 Polaris RZR 800 are 2,590 x 1,270 x 1,740 mm (102 x 50 x 68.5 inches — L x W x H).

Seat height is unspecified in the owner’s manual but can be safely assumed to be 780 mm or 30.7 inches (similar to, if not slightly lower than, the RZR 900).

Dry weight is 429 Kg (945 lbs.), while GVWR is estimated at 791.9 Kg (1,745.8 lbs.) — a combination of the Gross Vehicle Weight of 783 Kg (1,727 lbs.), a full tank, and fluids.

As for storage, the RXR 800 provides plenty of room for riding essentials, game, and gear. Its front storage, for one, has a capacity of 11.3 Kg (25 lbs.).

The rear cargo box — with dimensions of 22 x 42 inches or 560 x 1,070 mm — can carry 300 lbs. or 136 Kg of load. In addition, it shares the same payload (336 Kg, 740 lbs.) and hitch towing capacity (680 Kg, 1,500 lbs.) with the RZR 900.


The four-wheeler’s tubular steel frame has one of the following finishes: Gloss Black (P-067), Matte Black (P-458), Indy Red (P-293), or Sage Brush Green Metallic (P-498).

It is sold in the market as half-naked quads to allow owners to customize their rides with protective equipment according to their preferences.

Among the most popular aftermarket consumer purchases are 4-point harness seatbelts with bypass plugs (view on Amazon), skid plates, windshields, and high-clearance A-arms (view on Amazon) to accommodate larger tires.

But for those who wanted to go OEM equipment all the way, Polaris offered the following embellishments:

  • Bikini top
  • 3500-lb. Warn winch (view on Amazon)
  • Polycarbonate top
  • Pre-runner front/rear bumper
  • Rock sliders
  • Spare tire rack
  • Stealth front/rear bumper
  • Windshields (half and full)

Cost of a Polaris RZR 800

The 800 RZR’s MSRP in 2008 was $10,299 — $2,500 cheaper than its bigger-displacement namesake. Currently, average retail ranges from $3,980 to $5,240 in the U.S. and $5,629.12 to $8,292 in Canada (or $4,203—$6,190+).

All resale units in the used-bike market are standard models since the label did not release any limited-edition trims during its debut.

RZR Polaris 800 Problems

Air Filter Issues

An issue seemingly shared by 800cc and 900cc RZRs is the quads’ air intake tract or inlet layout. The latter has a large perimeter and several outside fasteners that inadvertently allow contaminants and unfiltered air to seep through rings and seals.

This design flaw makes the 2008 Polaris RZR 800 more vulnerable to fine dust and eventual engine damage (unless aftermarket seals are procured early to address the problem).

Pinion Nut Problem

Some things have aggravated this rear differential problem. One, Polaris switched to the ‘nyloc nut’ sometime in 2008 (affecting 2008 production models onward). Two, the inferior nylon-based nut is not sealed with Loctite from the factory, causing it to not hold torque for as long as it should.

Initially, the design entailed the early Nyloc nuts being peened into a recess in the threads to hold them in place. However, the OEM did not seem to have followed through with this original concept — leading to RZR owners busting their rear differentials two to three times within their warranty periods.

When left unaddressed, this pinion nut problem has been proven to result in the following complications (source: Park Muffler):

  • Difficulty in handling
  • Engine noises
  • Fluid leaks
  • Gear grinding
  • Rattling while idling
  • Tire damage
  • Vibrations and shaking

It is unclear if the issue only affects 2008 and 2009 RZRs or if it includes newer models. Based on Polaris-dedicated forums, ATVers with 2011 to 2014 models reportedly had similar problems (even if their quads already had metal instead of nylon nuts).

Polaris has yet to roll out a permanent fix for this. But a quick remedy would be to get same-size aftermarket steel pinion nuts, use Loctite, and follow tightening torque specs in your owner’s manual to hold them in place.

Jumpy Power Steering

Another major upset for the RZR 800 is that its power steering tends to jump or turn left on its own. According to some owners, they typically observe this odd behavior after a long day of trailing or at night. The symptom also surfaces when the brake and accelerator pedals are depressed simultaneously.

After performing repeated tests on electricals, many have concluded that the issue stems from the odd placement of the SxS’s voltage regulator and from low-voltage batteries.

It is crucial to note that lead-acid battery formats tend to discharge faster and must be kept at a full charge more regularly than Yumicon-type batteries (especially before hard riding and seasonal storage).

Understandably, using your RZR 800 with a partially charged battery cannot be helped at times. However, never get accustomed to doing so, as it is a top cause of low voltage.

Starting Difficulties

This no longer comes as a surprise for many ATV enthusiasts. Still, it is worth looking into (especially if your RZR just had a front-end/engine rebuild.

Often, outfitters unintentionally miss out on getting the fuel pressure back to spec (39 psi, to be exact) and cause the ATV to backfire after driving for a few minutes.

However, low fuel pressure is not the only culprit behind no-starts or misfiring. Savants and experienced ATVers will tell you that the issue could be caused by any one of the following:

  • There is water in the fuel reservoir
  • Compromised in-tank fuel pump
  • Fuel is too lean from low fuel pressure
  • Fuel is too rich from bad TBAP sensor or harness
  • Exhaust leak caused by cracked gasket or manifold
  • Intake leak due to damaged throttle body adapter
  • Incorrect TPS settings
  • Faulty Crank Position Sensor harness or connection
  • ECU not making a clean, full contact

For any of these problems, refer to your owner’s manual for accurate diagnosis and resolution. But should you find DIYing these issues uncomfortable, reach out to your local technician for assistance.


Other complaints associated with the 2008 Polaris RZR 800 has to do with the transmission popping out of gear in reverse and defective brake calipers. While the first of these issues is potentially a design flaw, Polaris has never confirmed that it is such.

As for the malfunctioning brake calipers, they appear to be an aftermath of the parts approaching their service limit. For both of these reported problems, the most RZR owners can do is replace damaged components or consult a professional mechanic and seek help.

Conclusion — Polaris 800 RZR® Review

The 2008 Polaris RZR 800 was considered a groundbreaking product when it was launched in 2007 — and it still is now. The SxS can still fly alongside more tech-advanced four-wheelers like the Honda Pioneer and Yamaha RMAX.

It may look more compressed than your average big-bore UTV. But when it comes down to traversing dry stream beds and twisties, the RZR 800’s competencies do not fall short of amazing.

Between you and this 15-year-old design, you will find yourself more shaken after a long bumpy ride. This fact does not change whether you ride the quad fully armed or dune-buggy style.

If you are searching for something new and are up for loads of fun, look no further than a 2008 Polaris Ranger RZR® 800 to take home and ride!