ATV Answerman: ATV & UTV Tech Questions

Sep. 29, 2011 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].

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Rhino Shift Issues
My Rhino will not shift out of High gear. The shifter moves freely but will not shift gears. I just finished power washing the Rhino. Would that have done something to it?


Well Andy, there could be several things to cause this problem. I really need a little more info but Iím assuming the Rhino will actually move but will not go into low range, etc. The easiest thing to do would be to remove the seats and the center console. This will expose the shift linkage. Pull the shifter through the positions and watch to see that it is indeed moving the entire linkage back to the control arm on the transmission. This will eliminate the control as an issue. If for some reason the shift linkage is unhooked or loose you may need a mechanically-inclined friend to fix this unless you are this person. Otherwise, get a genuine service manual and there are instructions in there for this fix.

Blinking Honda Foreman
I have a 2005 Honda foreman 500 es. I overhauled the motor and now it has no fire to the plug and the electric shift will not work the code on the dash in two bars with three blinks.


OK, find a local dealer and get yourself a service manual. This is the best way to really find all the possible problems with your Hondaís electrical system. If I were you I would start in the easiest area possible, and that is the in line fuses. The fuses for the Foreman are under the seat near the battery. Make sure each one is in good condition. Obviously the dash works so make sure every wire connection on the engine that could have been unplugged is back where it belongs. It is going to take a patient and observant set of eyes, but if you just take a deep breath I believe youíll find the culprit.

Kawasaki Brute Force Sitting
A 2010 Kawasaki Brute Force has set in garage for a few months. It was very low on fuel. I started it and would idle but not rev up. I put a half tank in it and still the same problem. It will barely rev up then will spit and sputter and bog down like itís almost out of fuel. Where should I start to search problem? Was thinking maybe water in the fuel.


There is a possibility that there could be water in the fuel. The simple fix is to drain the fuel tank and the fuel bowl on the carb to eliminate that issue. BUT, it is more likely that after sitting for the extended period of time your once great gas has varnished the jets in the carb and they will need to be cleaned. This is not a difficult task, however, it is a tedious one. We show you how in this article posted just a while back: ATV Carburetor Cleanup.

Torgue Valve
How do you torque the valves on a 1998 Suzuki 250lt 4wd?


Adjusting valves would be the proper terminology, and having a factory service manual is the best way to do this. Setting valves can be a little tricky and each ATV is similar yet different. With the process having several key points that cannot be missed, my suggestion would be to buy a factory authorized service manual and youíll have a resource that will forever answer your questions.

Re: Can-Am Unleashes 2008 ATV Lineup
My question is on the 2008 touring ATV. Why is the rear seat designed like this? Is it for comfort or does it help keep the passenger in place


The seat design is this way to not only bring comfort to the passenger but the lip on the front of the seat also gives that passenger a little bit of bite for descents where the driver is caught unaware. This makes the passenger more confident while riding as well.

2005 Polaris Phoenix 250 Manual
I would like to order the manual shop of the 2005 Polaris Phoenix 250.

Thank you!

I do get requests for service manuals quite frequently, but unfortunately I have not set up shop to do so. I merely suggest that each person goes to their local dealer and order the factory service manual to get the best info possible on their machine. If you donít have one nearby, a search in Google can sometimes help you find a location to purchase one, or, in some instances, you might be able to find a PDF version of the manual that you can print.

Hiflite USA Desert ATV Seat
Need the new seat (foam and cover) for a Polaris Sportsman 450, 2007. What is price and how do I order it?

Karen Rhoads

Well Karen, It seems we need to set up shop here at because we do get so many requests for products. We do not sell these seat covers or seats, but if you contact the number below maybe they can help you out.
15632 Commerce Lane
Huntington Beach, CA 92649

ATV Wheel and Tire Size Demystified
For a Yamaha Timber Wolf 250 4x2 1993, the OEM tires are worn out (Front 22x7x10 and Rear 22x10x10). I want to replace with: Front 23x8x10; Rear 24x11x10. Are these too big for the 250?

Ben Cowart

Ben, I would say that in the Timber Wolfís heydays it might be able to handle the oversized tires, but if the engine is stock or worn in the least it could create power-robbing trouble for the beast. I would stay within the stock range unless you have a fresh or modified motor and tranny that can handle the taller and wider tires. Larger tires will just put added stress on a stock engine and transmission.

Yamaha Big Bear 350 Shifting Trouble
I have had my Big Bear for 16 years and bought it with low usage time on it. Itís been mainly used for light work around my property, along with plowing snow for a few years. After I run my Big Bear constantly for a couple hours, it will start not going into gear when I shift. If I continue to shift up, it will eventually get into a higher gear (which is too high a gear to start off), then I try to downshift into a lower gear, and continue to get a false neutral. If I let it sit to cool down, then get back on it, it works ok. Any help on where the problem might be would be greatly appreciated.


I would say you are in the early stages of clutch trouble. The clutches will have more grip when cool and slip more as the engine gets progressively warmer, which would keep the ATV from getting into gear. The Big Bear also has a centrifugal clutch, which has wearable pads on it. With the combination of age and general usage I would say a clutch system overhaul is getting closer with each ride. Check the fluid level and condition first, but I bet youíll need service soon.

Fuel Hose
We have an 85 350 Honda 4x4 fourtrax. The gas line is hanging down. It still runs, but gas leaks from hose. We can't figure out where the line goes. Thanks for any info.


The fact that fuel leaks from this hose is sometimes a sign of carb trouble and not a misplaced line. The carb has vent lines as well as overflow lines that allow excess fuel to be flushed from the carb. It would be my suggestion to have the carb overhauled to find issue. The needle and seat could be worn enough to allow the fuel to escape.

New Exhaust Question
Hi, I just purchased the penland utility exhaust slip on for my Honda rancher 420 and was wondering if you know if the computer needs to be re-mapped after installation?

The general rule is that when you add an unrestrictive exhaust you will want to also open the airflow from the air box as well. This helps the exhaust perform like you would want instead of just being loud and overly obnoxious. When you do these things it is best to richen the fuel mixture. This keeps the proper amount of fuel coming to the engine and eliminates the possibility of running lean, which will destroy the motor. So to answer your question I would say yes, you need to properly adjust the fuel delivery for your Rancher.

The world of ATV mechanics is changing so rapidly and without the help of a friend who knows a friend it can be tough for the backyard garage to work on these machines. But if you look at what you have and buy the proper service manual the majority of your problems can be handled in the pages of that manual. Granted, you will not have the super systems that are needed to get into the brain of most of these machines, but a deep breath and some searching could lend to a fix that could otherwise cost hundreds.

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].

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