ATV AnswerMan: ATV and UTV Maintenance and Tech Questions

Nov. 28, 2012 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 AnswerMan Columns:
October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

2004 Kawasaki 700 Prairie Parts
Have had this ATV since 7/03 and bought it new. It is old tech (no PS or FI or IRS) but I do like her. Question I have is where can I get any aftermarket suspension pieces to smooth out the ride and control it better? This is a McPherson Strut design? Thanks in advance for any help with this.

There are many companies making specialized suspension parts for your machine. The Kawasaki Prairie was once one of the more popular race ATVs in the GNCC cross-country series. Give Mike Penland a call in Rabun Gap Georgia, as he was one of Kawsakiís Utility class racers for years. The shop phone is 706-746-2812 and Iím sure he can give you great tips on other things for your Prairie too!

Plug Location
I am pretty new to ATVs. I have a new Artic Cat 425 since June. Now I must change the spark plug. My problem is locating where the plug actually is! Any help appreciated.

 Hi my friend,
 If this is the 2011 model 425 you will find the spark plug on the driver side of the engine tucked down in the head. There should be a spark plug wire stuck in the side of the head at slight angle. I do recommend getting a factory service manual for the machine if you plan on servicing the ride yourself.

Torn Wires
I have a 650 Prairie and the wires going to the box that is electronic which engages the belt has been torn apart and now my belt light flashes. The ATV will not go faster than 10 miles an hour.

Iím not sure whether this is a trick question or just a statement to let me know you have wiring problems? It is obvious that maybe you will have to get a wiring diagram and rewire the harness so the proper signal can get to the electronic brake control for the CVT. This is why your machine will only run at slow speed. The light that is flashing will cut off if the wires are fixed, and I recommend getting a factory service manual so you know you have gotten it right.

Suzuki Bogging
I have a 2007 Suzuki ltz400 and it boggs down and cuts off at about half throttle and was wondering if anyone knows the cause of it?

It seems to me you are having fuel delivery problems that could stem from prolonged storage of garbage gasoline. Our fuel keeps going up in price and down in quality, so it is up to us to manage our fuel burning rides to prevent problems. Remove the carb and either clean the jetting out yourself or take it to a dealer and have them clean or replace the jets. Sometimes simply replacing the primary and main jets can be a faster alternative.

Bayou Gasket Replacement
Good morning, I'm replacing a head gasket on my 1998 Kawasaki KLF300 Bayou. In this process the camshaft sprocket needs to be removed. I am having trouble removing the camshaft sprocket bolt. I have read and applied all the instructions in the service manual but still cannot get the bolt off. Can you help me out.

I would say it might be easiest when the timing chain is still attached and you will have to have a socket to hold the crankshaft still. There could be some form of Loctite on the bolt as well. Using a small torch to gently heat the head of the bolt will transfer heat to the Loctite and loosen it if there is indeed any on the bolt. Hope this helps.

Fuel Trouble
My 2003 Polaris 600 Sportsman ran out of fuel, now it doesn't start. We can get the odd ''kick'' out of it-but it won't run. Did running empty somehow allow debris to get into the line? How do I fix it?
Peter M Clarke

This could be an easy fix or possibly a little more difficult one. Running out of gas does not typically cause many issues, but if there is and water or trash in the bottom of the tank it could very well end up in the bowl on the carb. Try draining the carb bowl via the small screw on the bottom. It is possible that you had water in the tank which is now in your carburetor.

Whatís the Difference?
What are the differences between ATV Quads and UTV Quads?

An ATV (or all-terrain vehicle) is a four-wheel single-passenger, unless itís a two-seater, off-road vehicle. The UTV (utility terrain vehicle) is a side-by-side two-passenger vehicle where the riders sit next to each other. Most early UTV models were built for work on ranches as they could haul loads and cargo and more than just a rider. With a service bed on the rear the machine it is much more capable in hauling gear and loads than an ATV.

Which Oil?
What oil do I use to refill my sonís LTA 50? I have drained it as the oil was very cloudy when I checked it for a service.

If the oil in the machine is whitish or cloudy I would figure out where the water is coming from before I just let the quad run with new oil. When replacing oil I always look to the service manual but as a suggestion 10-30w will probably work fine.

Idle Problems
I own a 1997 Yamaha Rhino 660 and it runs good in idle but as soon as I accelerate it jerks bad an backfires. The exhaust was leaking bad. I figured the backfire out now but would it cause it to jerk and also cut in and out?

The leaky exhaust could cause the problem but you never told me if you fixed the leak you found nor did you let me in on if it corrected the problem. Jerking while driving could be a carb or leaky exhaust problem. It could also be an issue caused by a worn or bad belt. I just need a little more info on that exhaust repair result!

Oil in Wrong Places
I have a 2006 Yamaha 660 rhino it puts engine oil in air cleaner housing. It does not smoke like it has low compression. What do you think is the problem?

Most crank cases are vented into the air box and you will see oil accumulate in there; however, if itís a large amount this could be a different and more complex issue. I have seen residue in many Rhino air boxes and it seems to not effect the way the machine runs as long as the oil level is in the proper range.

Huntiní Upgrades
Hello, I have a 700 Polaris 2005. I love my machine for hunting or opening up my yard in the winter. Itís a very strong and dependable machine. On the picture I would be interested in getting that roll bar which is attached in front of the ATV. How do I order that and how much does the roll bar cost? Thank you.
Alex Twardy

Many accessories can be purchased directly from Polaris themselves. I would check there and the pricing should be listed as well. Glad to hear you are enjoying the Polaris 700. Head to for more info.

2012 Brute Force 750
My question concerns the fan on/off temperatures for 2012-2013 BF750s. The manual states that the fan relay operates the fan when temperatures go beyond 212* and turns the fan off at 194*. However, several of us that have temp gauges noted that the fan comes on at 186* and shuts off at around 174*.  We have checked the sensors for the gauges and found them to be accurate. The 12s were upgraded with a bigger radiator and hoses. Which do you think is correct, the temp gauges or the manual? Could the fan relay be set differently than the specs in the manual?

Thanks for any insight you may have on this.

Well Jack, my first thought on this is that the sensors work because the fan is coming on, and if the machine is running fine, as it should at those temps, I wouldnít worry too much about it. As far as the temp at which they do turn on, I would think your temp gauge should be pretty close to accurate as long as itís measuring the same place that the sensor would be. In-line on the hose could give a slightly different reading than the sensorís location in the radiator as it could be passing at a cooler point. As long as it does come on at a level lower than 210-200, I wouldnít stress over it.

With the weather turning colder, now would be a great time to check the antifreeze in your ATV or SXS. Make sure it cannot only handle the heat but the cold as well. Also, never ride your SXS off into the wild blue without giving it a once over. I recently drove six hours to rescue a friend whoís SXS front wheel bearings fell apart during a ride. Iím sure there could have been some kind of indication before the ride that something wasnít right. Check it so you donít wreck it. That is all!

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 AnswerMan Columns:
October 2012

September 2012

August 2012 Newsletter
Join our Weekly Newsletter to get the latest off-road news, reviews, events, and alerts!