ATV AnswerMan: ATV and UTV Maintenance and Tech

Mar. 29, 2013 By Rick Sosebee
Have an ATV or side-by-side tech question for the AnswerMan? Send an e-mail with your name, vehicle year, model and a detailed description of the problem to [email protected], Attn: ATV AnswerMan.

Previous ATV AnswerMan Columns
February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

No Left Turns
I have a Kawasaki prairie 4x4 300, year 2001, and it just started shutting off when I make a hard left turn. Only when I make a left turn.

Ok, there has to be a problem we are overlooking here. The machine has a kill switch and some wiring that runs off of the handlebars and down under the plastics. I would start looking for chaffed wires. This may take some patience but itís a must do. If you have had the carburetor off at any point lately you could have the choke cable in a bind when turning left. Check that as well. Let me know how it works out.

2001 Bombardier Traxter 500
I recently purchased a 2001 Bombardier Traxter from my brother. He didn't drive it much. I replaced the battery, changed the oil and air filter and when I started it, it was hard to start and will only run with the choke pulled all the way out. When I throttle it up, it dies. I checked the plug and fuel flow, no problems. I took the carb off and cleaned it. I didn't see any issues with it, cleaned it and reinstalled it, same problem. Any clues? Thanks.
Jeff Hart

There is probably an easy solution and even though you have brushed by the carb itís going to need a second look. The jetting in the Traxter is very small and the primary jet is 32.5. Youíll be better off simply replacing this part at a cost of about $10-15 dollars. Trust me when I say itís easier than trying to get the grunge out of it. While youíre there maybe even replace the main jet. This should cure your problem.

2006 Can-Am 800 HO
I have a 2006 Can Am 800 HO ATV with tracks. When pulling hard (ice shacks) sometimes it feels like it is popping out of gear (stops pulling) then jumps back in again, this is a very disturbing noise Ė sounds like chain jumping on teeth. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

I think you have diagnoised your own problem. The trans could possibly be jumping but it could also be the belt. I would start with a good look under the big black cover on the side of the Rotax engine on the left side. If the belt has shreds of belt hanging off it this is most likely your problem. Good luck.

2005 Honda Rancher 400 AT
We just bought this bike it had a homemade snorkel on it, so we bought a snorkel kit an put the new one on and it starts fine and sounds good, but now when you put it in gear it barely moves an makes a loud grinding sound. What could this be?

Something is not jiving in the transmission. Iím not sure how the snorkel is affecting the trans unless you have the pipes binding on the shift linkage. It sounds like the transmission isnít getting all the way in gear. Take a gander at that first. Next you might need to service the clutch.

Locating a Fan Cover
I'm trying to locate a fan cover for a Tantrum 90. I ordered one for a Polaris Scrambler after being told they were the same machine. Part that goes over the fan lined right up with the bolt pattern. However, while I was trying to get the front piece I found that the fan cover was too short for this model. Thus the piece that connects to the fan cover and circles around the spark plug is prevented from seating. Do you know where I can find Xtreme ATV parts since Xtreme has since flopped?

Unfortunately my friend I have not been able to find the surplus of leftover parts for Xtreme machines. One option to check is eBay Ė sometimes you get lucky. Otherwise, this may be a bust for you and it would be wise to sell it off for something that has a good support system.

Honda Reverse Help
I have a 350 Honda and it wonít come out of reverse. Can you help me?

It is possible I can help. The clutch design on most of the auto clutches uses dual-operating systems. There are regular clutch plates both fiber and metal, but there is a centrifugal clutch as well. If there is a problem with either of these youíll have trouble shifting the machine. There are also shift forks in the tranny that can wear or break. Honestly itís hard to diagnose without some history on what was going on before it stopped shifting.

Electrical Issues
We are working on a 1995 Polaris Sportsman 400 4x4. Having electrical issue, keeps tripping breaker Ė even with key off. Any help would be appreciated.
Sgt. Ed Dutra

This should be a simple yet tedious find, my friend. There is a wire somewhere that is shorting out or a device that is internally shorted when power is applied to the battery cable. Search high and low for any wires rubbing the frame or each other. It could even be in the switches on the bars. Take your time as itís probably right in front of you.

Too Much Compression?
Where is the compression valve on an Ď01 Bombardier Quest 650 four-wheel drive? We have rebuilt the starter and bought a new solenoid for it but it will not start; yes it will turn over but it sounds like it has too much compression in the motor. Please help if you can.

Pull the spark plug and see if it spins any easier. If so, check to be sure the starter has a very good ground.

Cracked Head?
I have a 1996 Polaris 400 Scrambler. Thought head gasket was out because seemed to be dumping antifreeze out the exhaust. Put new head gasket on and started for a few seconds. Then died and seems like raw fuel being dumped out exhaust. Not sure if mixed with antifreeze or plain gas. Any ideas?

Is the head cracked, my friend? I cannot see the fluid so it seems you may need a visit to the dealer to make this problem go away. If there is excessive fuel escaping then you may have a clogged needle jet in the carb allowing the cylinder to fill up.

Mud Hole Trouble
I bought a Ď04 Polaris Sportsman 90 for my son. While riding we went through a mud hole it died mid center of the mud hole and won't start back. Checked spark plug and it was dry. It sounds like it isn't getting fire. Any ideas?

Is it possible the low-slung engine sucked up some water or possibly clogged the vent tubes for the carb? Look at the small tubes and make sure they are clear. If these are clear check for fuses under the seat to be sure nothing shorted. Is there a kill switch on this machine still? Look into that as well.

Proper Ratio
I have a 1987 Polaris Trailboss 250 4x4 and I was wondering what the fuel/oil mix ratio. I know it is oil injected but I wanted to know to be safe. Thanks

The mix ratio that is a universal mix would be 32:1 but it could run on 40:1. Get a ďRatio RiteĒ cup and the hard part is finished.

Greetings from Serbia
I need a certificate EU for the KW model Bombardier Quest 500 2003 year. Registration for travel by road. In Europe maximum. 15 KW

Iím sorry but I have no idea what you are looking for. If itís remotely possible that you need a certificate of origin for the machine to get a tag then I cannot help you on that either. You will have to find the original dealer for a copy of most recent paperwork for your machine.

2006 Polaris Sportsman 450
Have power but cannot get fire at spark plug. Has anyone ran into this problem?

The wiring on the 2006 Sportsman is pretty simple. But you will need an OEM service manual to trace this issue down. Pull the plug and touch it to the cylinder while turning over the engine to be sure no fire is jumping the plug gap. If nothing happens with this little test then youíll need to look closer at the magneto, and that my friend is where the service manual will come in handy.

Big Bear Bogging
How come my Big Bear 400 boggs down in the mud an under pressure. I have 28" Outlaws and it runs fine on dry ground but when I get in thick mud or put it under pressure it cuts out real bad. Do I need clutch kit a jet kit or what?
JME Nowell

Well letís see here. You have a 396cc engine that is trying to pull really fat and heavy tires and you dunk it into the mud. This entire scenario is a recipe for disaster, buddy. Iíd say if the Big bear has any age on it you may have a really tired machine. Try checking the compression of the engine and maybe lay off the heavy mud stuff.

Oily Condition
What weight of oil do I use for a 2002 Honda ATV?
Dale Hannover

If it were me Iíd say maybe a 10-30 in the winter and a 10-40 in the summer. Manufacturer or brand choice is something I cannot help you with.

Which One?
I am looking for info on ATV/UTV reliability by brand (basically a good bet). Are you aware of a non-biased list to point a guy in the right direction I.E. Honda, Can-Am, Yamaha, etc.... Thanks, Crusty

Crusty, I could give you my suggestions but truth is you need to give yourself a budget and look in that price range. Every manufacturer has its issues and it does also depend on what you are intending on doing with the machine. Sort out your budget, intended use and go from there. Finding a good fit is all trial and error, and Iím sure the first time you slip into the woods on whatever you have it will be the right choice. Did I side-step your question good enough?

Itís no surprise to me that people always want to be pointed into some direction on repairs or even machine purchases. This is okay for me because it gives me something to write about, but truth is you may not like the ďhand pickedĒ perfect choice before you even get it broken in. Just ride as much as you can and make sure whatever you get it has a good customer service record and a dealer with a reputation of helping its machine owners. Pop-up shops with half price one-off ATVs will bite you every time so donít let it happen to you!
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