ATV AnswerMan: ATV & UTV Tech Questions Answered

Apr. 29, 2014 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 editor@off-road.com, Attn: ATV AnswerMan.

Previous ATV AnswerMan Columns
March 2014

February 2014

January 2014


Popping Noise
I have a 2006 Honda 650 Rincon. I am hearing a popping noise in the rear end especially when make a turn. Is this an indication of an axle problem?

This is most definitely a sign that you will need to replace an axle component very soon. The popping is most likely the cage and balls inside the CV axle getting worn and allowing the slipping of the system inside the CV hub itself. If the CV joint is caught quick enough you may be able to replace the internals with a rebuild kit and not the entire axle. Ride it much longer and you will be in deep when you have to fork over the cash for a new complete half shaft.


No 4WD
My four-wheel drive will not engage on the front axles. What is the problem?

There are several issues revolving around the front differential engagement that could be electrical in nature. If the fuse for the differential has blown due to high stress then you have an easy fix. However, the electronics can also go bad on these little boxes, and to replace this one with a new unit will most likely be a few hundred dollars. There is a little electric motor inside that just simply burns out. Some have had luck replacing this tiny motor if you can find it. Pulling the actuator off and using 3vlt to engage it will tell you if its working or not. The process is well outlined in most service manuals for the machines that have this type of drive engagement.


Water Damage
My 2004 Arctic Cat 500 has a fuse box that isnít working properly since I flooded it in a huge swamp. How do I know if something is missing or needs replaced? The cover isnít on the box and itís all muddy now.

Muddy water and electrical do not mix well, and chances are you have blown out fuses or other components that were not sealed properly. The fastest way to get started is to remove the battery and start washing the machine. Removing the battery allows you to clean in the really sensitive areas on the fuse panel without fear of further damage. Then a cool blast of compressed air can be used to dry out the fuse box so you can begin the search for problems. Find an OEM service manual so you know what is supposed to be in the fuse box and go for it. This can take some time so be patient.


Leaky Diff
My Polaris Ranger front differential is leaking oil. I cannot see the place where it is coming from but the mud around the drive shaft is really oily.

The problem is simple and the answer is right in front of you. You claim you cannot see the leak for the mud? Mud works its way into many places, and if left alone for a while it will destroy seals as well as rust out universal joints on the shafts. You need to get this machine super clean to get a proper visual. Most likely you were your own enemy in this case by not caring for this expensive toy. Shame shame!! Seal kits are cheap so pinpoint the leak and start there.


Another Mud question?
My Polaris Sportsman overheats for no reason. I ride in the mud but wash my sportsman well and Armor All the entire thing each time I ride. What is causing it to overheat now when I ride the trails?

I can tell you this, Armor All is a great product but it is like putting makeup on a pig. Itís still a pig under all that greasy covering! Chances are you have ridden in the mud enough to get the radiator covered, and even in your best attempt you have failed to get the most important part of the engineís cooling system fully clean. Try removing the plastic around the radiator or maybe even remove the radiator itself and really get down to business with it. Youíll find many hidden stacks of the dried clay Iím sure.


Stuttering Quad
I have an LTR450 race quad. It is fast but it really is starting to stutter at full throttle and seems like it isnít getting any gas. Iíve pulled the fuel tank to make sure itís clean, and I see a round box under the tank that my fuel lines go to. Why is that there and why am I losing power on my machine?

The disc-shaped device under the tank is actually a fuel filter. There should be a flat filter in this little box, and if you are having fueling trouble this could be the culprit. Clamp off the feed lines to the filter from the tank and remove the screws holding it together. Chances are this is clogged and bogging the machine.


Rev Limiter Issue?
It is a 2008 500 4x4 and it has an rpm limiter that causes it to miss after about half throttle wondering. What might fix this? Already replaced the override switch.

I am totally confused on this one. So youíre saying this mystery 500 4x4 misses in forward gear at half throttle? This could be a fuel-related issue and not an RPM limiter, unless itís the unlikely event the belt is failing or slipping and the engine is ramping into the rev limit. If this is a reverse speed/throttle issue you need to have your head examined for wanting to go full throttle in reverse. The override switch is for reverse gear on most ATVs.

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 editor@off-road.com, Attn: ATV AnswerMan.

Previous ATV AnswerMan Columns
March 2014

February 2014

January 2014


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