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2021 Defender Max Limited gearbox failure


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I have a 2021 Defender Max Limited that only has just under 600 miles and the gearbox failed. The first time anything happened my wife and I went for a ride on dirt roads for about an hour. Then on the way back we drove on a paved road for about 3 miles at 50 mph. We then turned back on a dirt road and and accelerated slightly and the transmission seemed to slip out of gear and terrible grinding. We stopped, turned off the motor, restarted and drove off again. It seemed to be ok until I tried to back up. It will not go into reverse without grinding then drops in, but pops back out. I took it into the dealer and they said the gearbox was full of metal shavings and either needs to be completely rebuilt or a new gearbox installed. Of course it was 3 months out of warranty, so this is totally on me. It was cheaper to buy a new gearbox, so I ok the repair, only to find out there are no gearboxes available until at least March. So much for a reliable machine. This is my 5th SXS, second Can-Am. My first Can-Am was the X3, which I liked but it was too loud riding with your ear next to the intercooler and too hot. This will be my last Can-Am SXS. The quality is not on par with their snowmobiles. The doors are horrible, the front differential is worst on the market. I put a full locker on my X3 which is the way they should come from the factory. I still have 3 ski-doos and prefer them over the other major brand, but I prefer my other brand SXS's as I have never had a major issue, especially at less than 600 miles. Wondering if anyone else has had gearbox issues? BTY, the machine was service 1 month before the failure too.


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My 2018 Defender Xmr had kind of a similar issue... at less than 10 miles on the machine, I was out for a ride on the local roads and about 2 miles into the ride I was going to turn around.  I put it into reverse and it made a grinding sound then fell into gear, when I went to put it back into high it didn't move.  I put it in low and it moved, but the CVT was not shifting like normal.  The RPM's would almost hit the rev limiter, but the machine was only going about 15 MPH.  I stopped and tried to shift back into high, it went into high this time and everything seemed to have worked itself out. 

When I went to back it out of the garage the next time it wouldn't go into reverse.  No grinding noises, no nothing.  It would move in the forward gears, but absolutely nothing in reverse.  This was all way before covid so getting it into the dealer was no biggie and I brought it in that same week.  When I got to the dealer, surprise surprise, it went into reverse and everything seemed fine again.  I left it there anyways and they took everything apart, but noticed nothing to be wrong.  They put it all back together using the same parts and it has been just fine ever since.  There is now 1,900ish miles on it with zero issues so far.

No idea what the issue was, but I still am way better off with a BRP compared to the competition.  There is no way any other brand could do what this thing does.

I do, however, think that the higher end Defenders do not have the same bells and whistles as the higher end Rangers.  Can Am could definitely improve in that location, but I think the Can Am build quality is still second to none.  Sure you're going to have a machine hear or there that'll have a major issue, but I think the same goes for any brand.

Anyways, just my two cents.  Hope the next machine works out better for ya.

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id probably be having a heart to heart with the dealer about it, then if they dont want to play call can am.

most of the time if they break something, it is the reverse chain on them.  not the best design and could certainly be upgraded with the x3 rear diff and just do away with the turf mode all together.  

sorry about your bad luck, i enjoy mine along with my x3.  no issues with it for 1400 miles this summer other than a spark plug that wasnt gapped all the way.

hope you have better luck with whatever you buy next.


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