ATV Answerman: ATV & UTV Tech Questions Answered

May. 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

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2003 Yamaha Kodiak 450
I have a 2003 kodiak 450 that has a rattling or gear grinding sound when I slow down under compression. I can get going 5 mph or so and let of the throttle and let the engine compression slow me down and I get a rattling, gear grinding sound coming from the front differential, driveline, front of motor area. Hard to tell exactly while riding it. I also heard a couple of pops like something was trying to bind and then let go today. One happened when I was taking off turning sharp, and the other taking off going straight. Didn't hear that at first, but the grinding is getting louder also. I've been trying to figure it out for a while but can't seem to find it. And today for the first time, when I put it in 4 lock the rev limiter would start cutting the engine rpm as soon as I started giving it rpm. 

Would not even let me go 5 miles an hour. It didn't do that before. I don't know if the 2 problems are linked or 2 separate problems. Hope you can give me some idea what it is. I bought it 3 years ago. It only has about 650 miles on it. The last owner had hit something on the right side, sitting on it, and cracked the fender clear across so I don't know if the impact could have damaged something or not. Just trying to give you as much information as I can.

I haven't been able to use it for two years because of this problem. I am disabled on Social Security so I can't seem to get the money saved up to take it to a mechanic. I would really appreciate your help.

Thank you,

If I were you I would clean out a spot in the shop and jack the front end up. Try rotating the front wheels and feel for the vibration or grinding. The first thing that comes to mind with your description is quite possibly a CV joint going bad. Sometimes these will be called half shafts or CV axles but the joint or knuckle is what wears. Sounds like this would be a great place to start.

2001 Polaris Trail Boss
I have a 2001 Polaris trail boss 325 that stopped running when my son was riding it. I pulled the plug. I am getting fuel, but I am not getting a spark. Where to go from here?

Trying to chase an electrical issue can be difficult but start by checking the obvious. Make sure the kill switch isnít turned off. If this is not the problem then unplug the kill switch and see if the unit starts then. Sometimes these very small things can cause big headaches. From here I would make sure the electrical isnít grounded out anywhere. Check the coil for loose wires or shorted wiring.

ATV Neutral Problem
My 2000 moto 4 Yamaha it will not go in to neutral I try every thing. Help please.
Devon Lowe

Iím not sure which Yamaha Moto 4 you have as there are several different displacements. The fact that the unit will not go into neutral presents many different problems. I could really use more information before giving you an answer.

Sputtering UTV
We have a Brand new Hisun UTV when warmed up it sputters and shuts off, runs fine when cold?
Tom Ambrosius

Check to be sure the choke isnít stuck on the unit. This would create an extremely rich condition that would kill the engine when warm. Also look at the plug after the unit is warmed up. If it is black then it is probably fuel fouled.

Honda Fuse?
I have 2002 honda 350 it does not fire fuse has power on it but the coil has no power to it.

The kill switch can become a problem that would keep your machine from starting. It seems simple but I have had several short-outs over the years and this is always a possibility. When you have ruled out the kill switch then move on to the coil/plug cap connection. Sometimes corrosion can build in the cable to the plug cap connection and make the connection weak.

Head Scrambler?
I have a 2005 Polaris scrambler 500 it will run with a charged battery but will not run with weak or dead battery. What can be the problem?

Iím not really sure how to answer this question. Iím not sure if you are asking me this as a joke or not. Many battery-operated ATVs will not run well on a semi-dead or dead battery. The electrical system needs power to run the many items on the engine.

Race School
My husband would like our grandsons to have a school to learn to ride for racing. We live in Armagh, PA. There is a course setup here in Seward. Would you be holding any classes where we could put the boys in? We would be willing to even travel to Tenn. We love to visit the state.
Sharon Lowther

There are many racing schools in the ATV industry. The fact that you want your grandsons to race doesnít really mean they will be great at it or even want to do it after you pour your time and money in to it so be prepared for that. You must decide what type of racing the kids will be trained for, as the training would be different as well. There are schools such as the Joe Byrd Racing School and the Jeremiah Jones racing school for Motocross ATV racing. If cross-country racing is the route you want them to take, then the Bill Balance School would be a great choice. Most racing requires strict discipline on health training and exercise so youíll need to consider that as well.

Sputtering ATV
I have 2000 Polaris 500 magnum. It runs ok in forward but sputters and jumps in reverse and cuts out.
Doug Maynard

Most ATVs have a rev limit in reverse to keep the rider from losing control. This could very well be what you are experiencing.

Loose Nut
I have a 1989 kawasaki bayou 220 and in the transmission a nut keeps slipping off .How do I get it to stay on the bolt?

Well Dylan, Iím not sure what nut you are talking about nor do I know exactly what it keeps in place, as the description you gave is very vague. But, if I were to give this a shot in the dark I would say it either needs some red locktite or the nut could possibly have a washer that has to be staked up against the nut to keep it in place once itís installed. Get a good factory service manual and youíll figure out which one you need to do.

Stalling Rubicon
I have an 2001 Honda Rubicon and when in neutral it runs great when i go to shift it into gear it stalls like you shut the key off...put it into neutral starts fine, but go to shift it out of neutral and it dies. Any ideas what this might be?

Sounds like there could be a sensor that is kicking the engine off. If you do not have a factory service manual you need to get one for trouble shooting just like this. For now, try this small procedure to check for trouble codes on your Rubicon.

Rubicon Hondamatic Code Retrieval
1. Put the gearshift lever in neutral (be sure the neutral indicator comes on) and the ignition switch OFF (vehicle at a stop).
2. While pushing the UP and DOWN shift switches (ESP) simultaneously, turn the ignition key to the on position.
3. Release the UP and DOWN switches immediately, then at the same time push both the UP and DOWN shift switches again and hold form more than two seconds.
4. The problem code is displayed by a certain number of blinks ď - - ď on the gear indicator, which indicates the problem code by the number of blinks. If ďNĒ (neutral) stays ON on the position indicator, the retrieval process was not correctly performed. Repeat the procedures from step one at this time.
5. When the problem code(s) displays, release the shift switches.
You should see ď - - ď for approximately 3 seconds then off, then the ď - - ď should flash, once for code one, twice for code two and so on. The engine control module (ECM) can store two different codes. If your ECM has stored two different codes, the first code displayed is the most recent and the second code is the earlier code. Write them down.
Code 1 - Ignition Pulse Generator system
Code 2 - Speed Sensor System
Code 3 - Gear Position Switch System
Code 4 - Throttle Sensor System
Code 5 - Angle Sensor System (Motor lock i.e., angle sensor, wiring, ECM, control
motor, motor transmission section, transmission unit)
Code 6 - Angle Sensor System (swash plate angle, sensor / wiring)
Code 7 - ESP shift switch system
Code 9 - ECM voltage converter circuit
Code 10 - ECM fail-safe relay circuit
Code 11 - ECM motor drive circuit
Code 12 - ECM CPU

Suspension Needed
Hi. I am looking for performance suspension for a 2007 Sportsman 800.
Rod Boe

The sportsman has many different options for performance suspension. The first that comes to mind would be FOX shocks or maybe Elka suspension. These two shock companies can provide a better suspension for the utility you have.

Rancher Whining
My 2006 Honda 400 rancher 4x4 has a slight whining noise in transmission during acceleration/deceleration but not at moderate speed any suggestions?

My first suggestion would be to check the fluid for any contaminants. Drain the fluid into a clean open container so you can visually inspect the fluid. If there is no visual metallic look or metal in the fluid replace the drained fluid with new. Itís difficult to diagnois from here, as I would need the machine to hear the problem. My suggestion would be to take the ATV to the local dealer.

Stuck in Reverse
My 2003 Praire is stuck on reverse.  What do you think I need to do - is it a common thing or can you help me its a 4x4 650?
Greg Monson

If it were here in my shop I would remove the right side plastics to reveal the shift linkage as it could be jammed. If this gets you no result then try to disconnect the linkage from the transmission control arm and try moving the linkage there. If this doesnít prove possible then you could have some internal problems that would be better sorted out by the dealer.

Engine Size Question
Can you tell me what the various UTV engine sizes mean in terms of ability? I understand larger means more power, but say- 300 - what can it handle as opposed to say a 550?
Thank you,

Having the larger engine provides not only speed or towing power but it allows the UTV work less to do the same job. The larger the size of the engine the more torque for hauling and climbing tougher trails. Getting a UTV for the job you are doing is as simple as evaluating what youíll be doing with the machine. Sometimes more is good but only if you can use it. A 300cc UTV isnít going to be very powerful at all, and with the weight of the machine dragging power out of the engine itís not a very effective machine.

We all have big plans for the summer riding season but if you do not properly care for the ride you will be stuck hearing the stories instead of being out making memories. Let me know if I can help!

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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