ATV AnswerMan: ATV and UTV Tech and Maintenance Questions

Jun. 26, 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

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Raptor Backfire
I have a 660r 2001 raptor it back fires when you try to start it. The bolt on the crank side with the shifter keeps coming loose and it would not take gas other than idle. Why is this and what do I do to fix it?

It sounds like you might need to take some time and give the quad a little love. Nuts will vibrate loose sometimes, and using a little safety wire to fasten them to the bolt that they are attached to might work. As far as the off idle issue, I would make sure your carb is in good working order. A clogged primary jet will keep the engine from running right off idle and could affect the overall performance as well.

Arctic Cat Gear
My 2003 arctic cat 500 4x4 has all gears are neutral. The belt is fine. The selector shift is working. She is an automatic.
Frank Cooper

Seems like you are missing the problem. If the transmission shifts in and out of gear it doesnít always mean that everything is good. If the belt looks visually fine it could be worn out. My suggestion is to pull the clutch cover off, start your engine while keeping all of your fingers and toes out of the way. Gently rev the engine and see if the clutch sheaves move in and out while clamping the belt to create forward motion. This is where you will also get familiar to how everything works in your driveline. Belts are made to wear out and will before you realize it.

Loud Noise, No Start
I have a Baja Wilderness trail 90cc and when I was driving it, it just made a very loud noise and I turned off the ignition right away and then after that it wouldnít start again.

This is a great question. I have no idea who makes the Baja Wilderness Trail 90, but it sounds like a street-corner quad with no support from the factory that spits them out with no consumer regard. With the brief description, I would say you possibly have an engine issue and you need to take it to the dealer from where you purchased the beast and have them look into it. Letís be clear here: if you buy a non-branded ATV due to low price you will pay the difference sooner or later.

Another Question, AnswerMan
Thanks for getting back to me! I have another question involving the clicking/chattering noise. I noticed today that if I turn my rear axle by hand, with bike in neutral I kept feeling a spot of looseness coming from the transmission or differential and you could hear a faint clicking noise. Problem is not sure which place itís coming from. But I do know with the can-am running in neutral on jack stands there isnít any noise other than the motor running, How hard is it to pull the drive axle out and check the splines on both ends? Thanks.

Mechanical devices will make noises as that is just what they do, and especially in the transmission. If you jack and ATV up on stands and spin the wheels there are more noises than you really want to hear. As far as removing the half shafts, youíll first need a service manual to follow the proper steps. I can tell you it might be time consuming but it is not difficult. Once the outer knuckle and wheel hub have been removed you can typically give a sharp jerk or tug on the half shaft and it should pop right out.

Fuel Range?
What is the range with an ATV quad vehicle when going cross country? Can these types of vehicles be considered as one of the ultimate bug-out gear in a crucial crisis situation? How far can one go with a backpack worth of food and one driver on an ATV?
John Malinoski

My ATV is my ultimate bug-out vehicle. The fuel range varies, but if you take it easy you should be able to get far enough away from civilization if you need to. As far as actual range is concerned, Iím not sure what the actual range would be. Each vehicle has different fuel mileage numbers so I guess a study is in order. Typically your 500cc size engine and below would be the best fuel misers.

Recon Idle
My 2002 Honda recon 250 will idle fine but when we give it a little throttle it dies.
Daniel Jensen

This carbureted engine in your 2002 Honda is probably in need of service. The fuel these days is really bad if it sits in the carb bowl for too long. The fact that the engine dies right off of idle is a very good sign that it needs a good cleaning. If you cannot work on your own ATV then take it to the local shop and have them clean the carb so you can get back out on the trail.

Squealing Cat
Hi I have an arctic cat prowler 650 and I just started the engine and moved backwards and then I started going forward and it started squealing in the back. I got scared and was putting it back when halfway the back wheels got blocked! Any idea please?

The Ac Prowler 650 is a belt-driven machine and this is probably the squealing you may hear. Iím not sure what could be causing the wheels to lock, but if I were you I would make sure the parking brake is all the way off and that there are no obstructions on any of the brake components. Try that and get back to us.

Trans Problem?
Yea I have a 06 450 ltr. Iíve worked on multiple ATVs for myself and others. Every time I go to put it in first gear the shifter just kind of jumps like Iím grinding gears, and when I stomp it in it just acts like its in neutral. That is a tranny problem, right?

Iím really confused about the method of repair you use. Using the ďForceĒ was just a movie quote and not an actual technique. Stomping on a gearshift is not going to help anything. The fact that it will not go into gear could be a transmission problem and maybe in the clutches of the machine. Itís clear that beating on machines is your technique of working on them, so I suggest allowing a local dealer inspect the problem so it will indeed be fixed.

Re: Polaris Phoenix
I own the phoenix. Itís a really nice bike to ride but as listed above the low power is not so good. My brother owns a Yamaha Grizzly 150 and makes it up hills that I have to get towed up.

Letís face it, my friend, you havenít got the most powerful ATV on the market, but if the engine is worn you could be giving up some of the power that would possibly be available. It might be a matter of power delivery as well. Maybe a trip to the dealership service department is due, bro.

Acquired ATV
I recently acquired a 97 Honda 300 Fourtrax just finished rear diff, rebuild, cranks up & idles fine. It has midrange RPM miss in all gear ranges. Any knowledge of such prob. would help. Thanks.

What is with the half sentences? Do you realize I not only have to figure out your problem but I have to figure out your question first? The three factors that determine the engine running and performance are air, fuel and fire. Make sure you have great sources for all three of these and youíll find your midrange run issue.

Bigger Tires?
I have a 2003 350cc Honda Rancher and I'm wondering if I can run 26x9x12's all the way around it. Iíve heard that if itís not a 450 or bigger...then youíre not supposed to go 2 inches above stock tire size.
Rancher Owner

This Honda may actually be able to pull this size of tire but the problem is you will wear this machine out in a heartbeat. The type of tire and lug size also determines the machineís ability to pull the tire. For a 350cc machine I would stay close to the stock tire size and try not to overload that little thumper or you will regret it.
Sportsman Gas Issues
I have a 2001 Polaris Sportsman and Iím getting a lot of gas into the air filter the quad wonít start.

It sounds to me like the carb is choking itself to death. Be sure the choke cable isnít stuck closed and pull the plug to clear out the excess fuel before trying to restart the machine.

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

Previous AnswerMan Columns:
May 2012

April 2012

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