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With that speedo not working, and hearing those noises i would be very suspect of a bad speedo side driveshaft bearing. Put the sled on a secure track stand, and run it a bit at slow speed....see if you can duplicate the problem. At least loosen the track and manually rotate it feeling for any roughness in the driveshaft, or noises than the norm.
 

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Sounds like you may have more than one problem going on. The bearing might be getting loose but I don't think that's whats causing your main issue on the trail. I reread everything you posted and as others have indicated I think its the brake overheating. Since this only happens when your wife is running it, and you believe she is constantly on the brake its not getting any time to cool off and it is locking up or dragging. It also looks like Polaris redesigned the caliper in 2004 so the coolant runs on only 1 side of the caliper vs being on the top where it absorbed heat from both sides better.
Also the fluid is likely original and has absorbed alot of moisture by now which may be causing the caliper piston to hang. I would flush the brake fluid with fresh fluid.
I don't remember if any of the sleds in that vintage had a better brake air scoop you could install to help cool it off, maybe a pro x?
 

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Discussion Starter #44
I'm heavily leaning towards the brake system myself. Not familiar with the scoop but it makes sense, I've got a vented slots in the hood I'll try and make one. And I'll change the fluid it could be old I just bought it a couple years ago. Good advice, thank you.
 

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That's correct. But the pics in post #12 and 13 show a mechanical reverse chaincase. Maybe this sled is an earlier MY.
Here's the 2004 chaincase: 2004 Polaris 600/700/800 CLASSIC TOURING/INT'L (S04NT6ES/EE) Chaincase S04nt6es/6Ee/7Cs/7Ce/8Cs/8Ce | PartsPitstop.com
Quite right, PERC was standard on these sleds NOT mechanical reverse chaincase. The MY03-04 700/800 Big Block (belt driven waterpump) touring sleds were trying to work out the kinks of PERC working properly on slowing down that 700/800 motor and then reversing its direction. I seem to recollect them eventually getting the carburetion right with air jets and slide cutaway changes on those rack mounted flat slide carbs, they tinkered with the ignition also.

Is it possible someone put on a mechanical reverse kit, so they would have reliable reverse, especially on a cold motor?
 
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