ATV AnswerMan - ATV & UTV Tech and Maintenance

Jan. 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 AnswerMan Columns:
December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

Outlander Clicking
I have an Ď05 Bombardier 400 Outlander Max. I have clicking noise coming from the wheel end of the front left axle behind the boot. The boot is also torn. Iíve been told that itís my axle but also the CV joint. The axle does have play in it. Can you shed some light on this situation and also where I might be able to order one from?
Thank you, 

If you know you have a boot that is busted and you know that the axle is loose in the wheel hub then you have already diagnosed your problem. Getting a rebuild kit is possible provided the CV axle parts are usable. The axle itself is very tough! You will probably need the spider, cage and ball bearings. You may also consider an entire outside CV joint as an easy replacement. Either way if you have no clue on how to do it I would recommend taking it to a dealer. Good luck.

Starter Issues
I have a 400cc Sunl ATV (Chinese ATV) that was bought used. Worked fine then the starter went out. All of the magnets inside the starter were in pieces. Before starter problems the ATV would start quickly using the pull rope with one or two pulls, but as the weather got colder took more pulls. Pulling the rope at the start is HARD. If you did not start the pull gradually you would hurt yourself because there is a lot of initial resistance. There is no way to relieve cylinder pressure prior to starting.

Found a new starter that fit and installed after inspecting the teeth on the flywheel. I did not see any missing teeth or very damaged ones. After 20 starts or so the starter sounds like the internals of the starter are out again. I can hear and feel clanking in the starter. Believe the starter was put on square and is not the issue. At this time the ATV is very hard to start with the pull rope. Takes a lot of pulls and does not want to start or does not start. The ATV is not usable. At this time I do not believe it is cold weather I think it is another problem.

Forgot: Before the original starter went out there were times when I could hear hitting noises after startup I do not know if the bendix was not fully disengaging or if it was the starter internals going out at the time.

Do you think the CDI is bad and I am getting engine kick back ruining the starter? Maybe the new starter was bad but at $110 dollars a pop I hate replacing and destroying. If I missed a missing tooth on the flywheel would this cause problems?

Any ideas of what may be happening and how I can correct it?

Thank you for your help.

Wow, my friend, ya wrote a book, but I did say be as clear as possible. You got me! Itís a little difficult to really pinpoint what is causing the initial problems. I have not had the pleasure of working on a Sunl ATV as many of these are not supported by dealerships in the States. I am guessing that this would be an overhead valve engine and tight valves or valve timing being off could have an effect on the starting side of things. Worn or cheap timing chains can destroy an engine quickly and that could be the noise you have heard at startup. Iím not saying thatís what it is though. Look for material in the oil and be sure the valve timing is correct. Thatís where I would go from here.

Firing Issue
Hi, my brother has a Nordix 800u side by side and it doesn't always fire. Sometimes it will start then you can shut it off and go to try to start it again and then it won't start. He has tried a new wiring harness and new relays for the fuel pump and something else, plus he has tried a new CDI box as well. We all seem to be at a loss as to the cause. It seems to be grounding fine.

Check the spark plug cap first and be sure the wire inside the cap is connected to the piece that fits over the top of the plug. Pull the plug and ground it against the head of the engine to be sure you are getting consistent fire. This will help you eliminate a few things. Then be sure the engine timing is correct. This will affect everything.

ATV Handlebar Controls
I just bought a 2002 Honda Rancher 350 4x4 fm model. Just curious about both levers on the handlebar... Is my right one my front brake and my back one on right foot? And also the clutch engage/disengage has a park brake on it, that's why I was wondering if both levers were brakes? ĎCause I always pull the left lever when cranking and engaging and reversing. Do I have to squeeze the left lever to engage into 1st gear? And how do I set the parking brake? I'd know all this if the previous owner had an ownerís manual.

It is very easy to download ownerís manuals online. Youíll have to look a little but they are there. The Honda-matic transmissions shift without a clutch. The lever on the bars on your left is a hand brake and a reverse assist and nothing else, and you do not have to pull it in when you change gears. Set the parking brake by pulling the left lever in, and there is a small, triangle-shaped piece on top of the lever that simply pushes into a lip to hold the lever compressed. Maybe a quick course at the local dealer would be a great refresher for you.

Rancher: Trouble in 4th
I have a 2008 Honda TRX 420 Rancher that runs smooth in the first three gears then in fourth gear it makes a rattling sound. Any thoughts as to what it could be? It sounds like the rattling is in the transmission.

I would say you have a pre-detonation issue going on. Rattling in the trans box is not a good sign and usually leads to cash flowing from the hip pocket. My first thought is to drain the fluids in the machine and see what falls out. If there is metal in the oil stop and take it to a dealer.

Clutch Belt Trouble
Hi I have a 2007 Ridge Runner rtx800 and last weekend I went through two clutch belts in one day. A couple months ago I had a Polaris dealer adjust the clutches. Any help? Thanks. I also have a question about how the belt sits in the secondary clutch. When the belt was installed in kind of looked like it was not seating correctly in the secondary clutch. The top of the belt was sticking out a little more than I expected it would. Thanks for help.

Be sure the belt is put installed in the right direction. They usually have arrows on them showing the direction of spin and usually this is toward the front of the machine. In the stopped position the belt will be out of the secondary just a little, but if half the belt is out the adjustment may be off.

Re: First Ride Brute Force 750
I am very pleased with the bike and more so with the team that put that test together. I am a 25-year-old male that lives in East Alabama and I own the 2010 Brute 650. I do not get to ride like I wish I could because of my job and our barely scraping by lifestyle just can't afford to go on any planed trips, therefore I love reading articles like these! It was easy to read, and more importantly FUN!! Stay safe on the trails and Keep up the awesome work!
Chris Logan

Letter sparked by First Ride Brute Force 750

Thanks, Chris. We do have fun and I feel the pinch every time I go out to ride as well. I hope you get more time on your Kawi and if you need anything just shoot us an email.

Braking Issue
I have an Ď01 Arctic Cat 300 4x4 when I squeeze the hand brake lever it will slowly continue in until the lever touches handle bars. But there is no fluid leak anywhere.
Wheeler is in A1 shape.

A light lever on the brakes indicates possible air in the lines somewhere. If the brakes have been changed recently or fluid added there is always a possibility. ATV brakes are miserable to bleed most of the time.

Spark Plug Change
I recently purchased a 2004 Polaris ATP 500 and want to change the spark plug but have not been able to see it. Will it require disassembling the entire upper section and removing the gas tank or is there some shortcut?
Gary Zavadil

Pull the left side cover off of the machine and look under the fuel tank. Itís tucked down in the head. You can also follow the plug wire from the coil to the plug boot. Itís not fun to change but it is possible.

Wonít Start
Why does my Polaris 2x4 wonít start after sitting for 5 min?

I give. Why?

Thumb Throttle
When I press the thumb throttle it takes a while to let the quad drive.

Be patient. Itís the journey not the speed.

Belt Change?
I have an Ď04 660 Grizzly and it works fine but when I first use it if I go down a hill or something then the compression lets off and it just coasts. I didnít know if that was from not letting it warm up enough or what?
Jonathan Acord

This sounds like an engine braking problem or the lack of. This could be a great time to change or at least look at the belt.

Sputtering Big Bear
I have a 05 Yamaha Big Bear 400 4x4. Just had the carb cleaned and tuned about two months ago. The bike ran perfect but I installed a snorkel a few days ago and now the bike idles fine but sputters when I give it gas. I think the bike is sucking more air but not sure where to make this adjustment.

You need to learn to read your spark plug. Run the machine a little until it warms up. And then pull the plug to see what color it is. If itís darker than a tootsie roll then youíre rich. Light color like grey chalk and you are lean. The addition of a snorkel can go either way in the jetting. If the pipe is small or the same size as the carbís throat you may need more air or less gas. If the snorkel is larger, like 1.5 to 2 times bigger than the carb inlet then you could be a little lean. Either way you may even need to go up a jet size or two.

Fuel Leak?
What makes fuel leak from the drain hose on the bottom of a carburetor? Itís on a 1998 Yamaha Big Bear 350 2x4.
Keith Cook

The float on the carb is not seating properly and the carb needs a good cleaning.

My rear axle has shifted to the right to the point the muffle now touches the inside of my left rear wheel?

Well Barry all I can say is sorry, bro. Oh wait, are you talking about a truck?

Locking Up
I have a Bombardier DS650 when you give it gas it sounds like something on the side by the starter locks up and it dies but you can start it right back up. Any ideas?

This could be ugly, my friend. Noises that stop the engine need to be researched quickly and with the motor off! If youíre not sure drag that beast to the nearest Can-Am dealer and they will get it going. I suspect a faulty starter to be a prime suspect.

Sell Parts?
Iím lookiní for a direct fit seat pan foam and cover for my 1985 Honda 125m atc. If you can do it please let me know a price. Thanks.

We do not sell parts here my friend. Sorry. Try Ebay or maybe Babbitts

Head Gasket
I have a 2003 Suzuki Ozark 250 and my head gasket blew so I replaced it and now the top end wont fit correctly back on. Any ideas?
Matthew Gurnee

Slow down and look at every moving part. Be sure the dowels that line the head up are riding into the correct holes. Itís often better to put the dowels in the cylinder and let the head slide over them. Also be sure the head is square when you sit it down over the dowels. If itís not level it will bind.

6 Months a Year
I have a 2007 Suzuki Eiger 400. It has 475 miles the problem is that it bogs down from the get-go. Once it warms up itís better. Itís only used six months a year. Hope you can help.

This is a crime. If you own an ATV you should ride it at least twice a month or more. What kind of climate you ride in, and is the machine just really warm natured? I donít know how much better it is after it warms up either. Itís hard to figure out an issue with little info but I would look into the carb and maybe even the plug to start.

Starting Issue
Hi, I've got a 2007 Grizzly 700. I parked it because of a flat tire. I went to go start it after a few months and it would not start. At first it clicked real fast as if the battery was not charged (so I charged it) then after that it would do only one click, so I replaced battery wasn't it replaced ignition coil wasn't it? Can you help?
Carlos Martinez

Electrical connections can be a bear to trace but I would be very sure the connections are clean and the battery needs a full charge. If itís clicking it means itís not getting enough power. The starter solenoid is what you hear clicking.

Fuel Lines
My 1996 king quad 300 carb has three vacuum lines with one to fuel and one to fuel pump, and one thatís not hooked up. Is this a vent line?
Gerald G

Could be vent or carb bowl drain line.

Axle Trouble?
I have a 1995 Trail Boss 250. I just bought the ATV and I was trying to tighten the chain but notice the whole axle is sliding out of the housing. Is this the bearing are bad? I tighten the two screws but didnít make any difference. It slides to the right with ease even if you try to push it around with the chain on it. How can I fix this? Do I need to replace the rear end?
Secortney Gardner

Seems like the bearings are shot and if the bearings get too bad you could have to buy a housing as well. The axle should not slide from left to right. No Bueno.

No Crank
I cannot crank my 1988 Yamaha 350 Moto 4. It will go into neutral but light does not come on and I get nothing when I push starter button. I checked the in line fuse for the ignition. Is there another fuse or a fuse box somewhere? Battery is new and charged.
Moto 4

There is a circuit breaker on this machine as well. Youíll still need a good factory service manual to trouble shoot a little deeper but it should be on the right side of the machine or directly under the front of the seat.

Electrical Issue?
2008 Can-Am outlander 400 headlights donít work. It will not change to two-wheel drive and the screen with speedo says needs engine service. All fuses are ok.

This could be an internal electrical issue. If the fuses prove good then I wouldnít hesitate to drag it in to the dealer. The Can-Am electrical system is bigger than me or you, and I do not play when it comes to things like that. The dealer hooks to it and within minutes they will know your problem.

Some things just need to be addressed by a certified dealer, and if you play hard your machine deserves good, quality service. Ride often and keep in touch. We can only help if you write us and ask.

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:
December 2012

November 2012

October 2012 Newsletter
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