ATV AnswerMan: ATV and UTV Technical and Maintenance Q&A

Jun. 26, 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, Attn: ATV AnswerMan.

Previous ATV AnswerMan Columns
May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

Restart Issues
I have a 2007 Honda 400 ATV and I have a problem restarting the machine. I have it running then shut it off and it wont restart until it is cooled off. How can I fix this problem? Please help!
Gordon Mackinnon

It would be good to know if this is a TRX400EX or what other branch of Honda ATV it could be. I have heard that the decompression settings on models such as the TRX450 when not set correctly can cause starting issues once hot, but I need a bit more info on the machine to direct you correctly.

Expanding Engine?
What to do if my raptor 700 (2011) expand? We were trying to empty the tank without running it so left the engine on for more then 2 hours.

And the questions get crazier every time I get them. I honestly have no idea what you are talking about when you say “my Yamaha Raptor expand?” I think if you left the engine running at idle for over two hours the engine would expire not expand. When draining the fuel out of a machine you only need to pull the main supply line to the tank and allow it to drain into an approved fuel container. Allowing the engine to idle could be very bad for every part inside the motor and it’s kind of irresponsible of you to do that. Now go to a shady corner of your garage and sulk because you deserve it!

Knock Knock
I got a Brute Force and I hear a knock in the back left tire when I go in reverse. I was told it was the bearings or it was the whole axle?

Clicking in the inner or outer halfshaft/axle could mean you have a bad CV joint. The axle may or may not be hurt. If the machine has been ridden with a cut or torn axle boot then chances are that dirt has mixed with the grease and worn out the joint. As long as the axle shaft is not broken you can rebuild the constant-velocity joint, or CV, and reboot it. You will then need to get a helmet and go ride.

RE: ATV Wheel and Tire Sizing
Hello I have a 2003 Honda Rincon with stock tires and the tires are

Front 25x8x12
Rear 25x10x12

And I want to buy aftermath rims and I am new in this so I really don't know the exactly size for it.

The “Aftermath” rims you speak of can only be purchased right after you do your math homework. It seems like that may be a better subject for you than literature. But you are in luck because “Aftermarket” rims are available at any time and there are many companies that sell them for the Honda Rincon. If you just need wheels and not tires then look for 12-inch wheels, hence the 12 in the tire size. The Rincon has 25-inch tires on it from the factory so try to stay with 25s or maybe 26s at the largest for better overall performance and reliability.


Need to Tow
I am looking at using my 2000 Suzuki LT F250 to tow a Swisher 20 hp finish trail mower that weighs about 500 lbs., but has four wheels, over relatively flat, but uneven ground. Is that cause for concern? I'd like to know before I buy. Thanks.
John McCamman

Towing a large Swisher mower is not as big of a concern as you might think, but with a 250cc machine the problems are inevitable if you do not take certain precautions to keep the machine running at peak performance. You failed to mention if you had a 2WD model or 4WD. The fact that the mower itself has four wheels helps the situation as it can rely on its own wheels to carry the weight and your machine is essentially just dragging the weight behind it. Stopping the mower on downhill or off-camber sections could be a big concern though, as the 500 lbs. is counting on your small braking ability to slow its decent. I would say it could be a strain on any small-displacement quad, but be sure the oil is fresh and use a thicker than usual oil too. The air-cooled engine is going to get hot so upping the viscosity rating will keep everything well oiled inside.

Bad Fuel?
I have a 2012 Honda rancher 4x4 ATV. It starts fine but when I start to drive it, it loses power, it gets power and then it just jerks I guess is the best way to describe it n sometimes it runs fine.

There are many possible causes of the symptoms you describe but the simplest is possibly contaminated fuel. If you have water in the gas it will stutter or stall out under power in very inconsistent times. The easiest way to be sure it is not the fuel is to drain the tank and carb bowl and add fresh gas. If this proves to not be the problem you may need to have a dealer look into the transmission as it could be clutch related.

No Fire
I have a ‘97 Honda Rancher 350 4x4 with electronic shift and it's not getting fire anywhere except to the ignition switch and headlights. There is no fire to the electronic shift, starter, or spark plug. All the wiring seems to be intact, and the battery is strong, the neutral or reverse light is not coming on either, and the fuses are good. It has a three-prong fuse-type thing in the fuse box that the solenoid wires run to and it's black. What's wrong with this thing?
Donnie Townsley

Man, what’s up with all the commas? I am a little confused on the exact model as well because Honda did not make a 350 until the model year 2000. My best suggestion would be to remove the plastics and search the entire wiring harness for any chaffing or possible grounding of wires. I would then begin in the fuse panel and if the fuses are good the regulator rectifier may need to be checked by the dealer.

Support Needed
Hello I have two issues. My sunl 400 trans went on me it slips out of gear while driving forward the shifter doesn't move just the trans slips out. I have 222 mile on it. Bought it in Dec 2011 when I came back from Iraq. Is there a place local I can take it to? My zip code is 18328. Also my son has a coolster 125cc it just stopped running. I checked the wiring harness and so forth and no spark but cranks over. Also purchased same time as mine. Thanks looking forward to your help. Ed Ret 1SG USA MP
Ed Hammond

First off, thank you for your service and I hope you have many days of enjoyment with your family as you deserve it. Unfortunately the machines you have are not exactly supported the way you would hope, and I have no way of locating a supplier that would be able to look into the problems you’re having. This website,, seems to have an abundance of repair parts for the Sun L and most general ATV mechanics can search through the machines and help you as long as you do not need parts. The transmission problem could be related to clutch plates being prematurely worn out. As far as the electrical issue, search the machine for any fuses or if it has a cutoff switch/kill switch for younger riders, as this could be keeping it from cranking. My suggestion is to sell these as soon as possible and buy a brand with great support in the USA.


Cheap, Not Supported
I have a 2012 Yonghe 150cc UTV. Yesterday it stopped running after a short, slow-speed ride. Now, it wont shift into reverse. There are what look like a few little metal shavings that have come out of a chute (not the exhaust pipe), and when the engine starts it sounds like there is something clinking around inside of it. Lastly, it will start up easily but when shifting into gear, the engine stops running immediately. Any thoughts on the problem? THX
Paul H.

The problem started when we became a little too conservative with our money and bought a roadside, non-supported UTV. The fact that engine debris is ejecting itself from the inside means you have bigger problems that just the money you saved by purchasing a no-name brand. I am sorry but now you have to suffer what I like to call  “the discount inflation expenditure.” This means you’ll need the money you saved times 50% and get a supported, as well as reliable, brand of UTV. That is all.

Starter Trouble
I have a Chinese 70cc ATV for my son. It runs great but after he rides for about 10 mins the starter starts spinning at the same rate as the rpm. I have tapped the starter to try and get it to disengage but does not work. Turn the ATV off and let sit for a while and after it warms up same thing happens. I have changed starter three times and same issue. Please help me solve this problem.

Please get the machine running and sell it to anyone needing a lawn dart or boat anchor. The starter bendix is not disengaging and it may never so move away from this knock-off ATV quickly.

Ready to Race
Id like to get my daughter into ATV races. Where can I start?

Getting into any kind of racing takes time, skill, reliable brand name equipment and a lot of money so just be prepared. Looking for a local ATV race series is as easy as typing those exact words into the computer you wrote to us on. Finding a reliable dealer to support you is just as easy. Teaching your child to be respectful as well as attentive is a plus and not pressuring the young one to do what you really wished you were doing is always a razors edge, as most parents live vicariously through their kids. Start small and see if the child’s idea of fun is just as yours and if not bail out. You do not want to get your kid hurt. Find a local series, go to the races, watch your kid’s face as you wander the pits and feel them out. Many race parents are willing to help a newbie into the fold.

Oil Change Gone Wrong
I changed the oil in my Honda 500 ATV last week. I went fishing shortly after only got about 8 kms down the road and it died. I took it to the dealer and he told me I installed the filter the wrong way. Is this true?

Hi my friend, unfortunately you could have just spent a great deal of money on your machine with this small mistake. The oil filter does go in one way and one only on most ATVs. This will completely destroy a motor if not installed correctly. Sorry to break the news, my man, but sit down hold on and open the wallet.


Mechanically Inclined?
I have a 2003 Suzuki 300 4x4. It has the hi, low, superlow tranny, and it was slipping bad. I tried to adjust clutches, but it will not pull at all now. How do I change clutches? I found new rebuild kit on eBay for planetary. I will replace centrifugal clutch too. Any help would be very appreciated. The shop said they were gonna charge $700-1,000. I would like to change it myself. Thanks.

I have to know how mechanically inclined you might be before I can tell you it is cheaper for you to do it yourself. The amount of small parts in this transmission can be overwhelming once piled into the floor of your garage. A good shop manual will guide you but it will not prevent your ability from doing it incorrectly. Think this one out, my friend.

We often think that saving money by buying cheap, unreliable equipment from the local gas station will lend us free fun times on the trail. Truth is, the old statement of pay now or pay later should be written on the front of every dealership. It’s hot outside and you should be riding, but if you have a problem with your machine give us a shout and we will do our best to help get you going again.
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