ATV Answerman: Off-Road ATV Tech Questions Answered

Mar. 22, 2011 By Rick Sosebee
Photo Courtesy of Polaris 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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Trans Slip Honda
I own a 2005 Honda Rancher AT 400. When the engine reaches operating temperature the transmission slips, and makes a loud whizzing noise. It has been this way since I bought the four wheeler. I have changed the oil and filter several times with no change in the problem. It does not matter if the transmission is in auto or manual shift mode. Hope you can give me some direction on the cause of the problem.
Thanks for your time.
Russ Moyer

This particular clutch has an outer clutch housing and inside there are spring-loaded weights that have a fiber-type material on them. When you give the ATV throttle, the weights spin and make contact with the outer clutch housing resulting in movement of the ATV. It sounds to me like the clutch weight assembly is what has been slipping and thatís the noise you hear as well. This is made even more evident when the oil gets hot and thinner. I would check the clutch system in the Honda before it really detonates and leaves you far out on the trails.

Hard to Start Arctic Cat Prowler
I have an arctic cat prowler 650xt 2006 or 2007.After It sits for few days very hard to start regardless of weather. Once its been started its quick to start even the next day. Seems fuel drains back into tank after few days and carburator dries up. If I am right how can I stop this from happening so I can save my poor starter from an early death. I was thinking of using a non return valve or tank breather valve reversed so gas comes out but not back into tank. What are your thoughts on this and or other solutions? By the way, these valves seem to only be available in the UK??
Cat Owner

Iím not totally convinced that the draining of the fuel back into the tank is your problem. However, you can get the check valve you speak of to eliminate this particular issue. They are readily available here in the States. I donít believe that over a few days the gas in the carb could totally dry out, either. Iíve had gas cans sitting around for weeks with fuel in them and although some may evaporate itís still very minimal. I would look into the fuel lines and possibly the fuel pump itself. This machine is almost 5 to 6 years old, and fuel line can break down. Even a small vacuum leak would wreak havoc on the fuel system.

Quest 650 - Low Oil Pressure When COLD
Oil pressure is usually highest when an engine is cold, but my 2002 Bombardier Quest 650 XT (Can-Am, BRP) has the opposite problem - it's low when cold. I only have the warning light to go by, but it stays on solidly until the engine has been running for almost three to five minutes. At that point it starts flickering, finally going out for good. It does not come on again when restarted as long as the engine hasn't had time to thoroughly cool down.

During the period when the light's on I keep the engine at idle. I have tried bringing the throttle up a bit after one or two minutes to see what happens: the light remains on rock steady. It behaves the same winter and summer, but I believe it takes longer for the light to go out in colder weather (I haven't timed it though). This behavior started somewhere around the beginning of last summer or end of last winter.

The engine starts and runs great. I use the Quest for plowing in the winter and yard work at other times. It's not used every week, but when it is I usually use it for several days in a row. It's running synthetic oil from the dealership and the oil is right at the full mark (it doesn't burn any oil and has no leaks).

Any suggestions as to the root cause of this problem?
Thank you,
- Gil Jeffer

Letís start with the simplest of things on this one. How often do you change or clean the oil filter on your Quest? The engineers at Bombardier installed a small disc-shaped and very thin oil sieve on the bottom of the motor for this machine. It is not like a typical screw-on oil filter like you see on a car but thinner and small. Itís located right beside the oil drain plug under an aluminum cover. When oil is cold itís thicker, and this would slow down the delivery of the oil to the sensor which is at the top of the cases but right below the cylinder head height. Try looking into this and get back to us.

King Quad
I have a 2008 suzuki king quad 750 axi and i cant get any of power from the battery to the gauges or anything for that matter the battery checks out good and the fuses are fine i've checked them all and theres nothing touching anywhere that i can find that might ground it out or any lose wires i could use some advice on where i might could look to find the problem?

Wiring of any kind is always a real pain, and my first suggestion would be to get a service manual for this machine so you can properly trace the wires throughout the King Quadís harness. Having a simple probe-type test light is going to be the next tool youíll need. If the fuses check out as you say then I would look through my newly purchased OEM service manual and find the power source for my dash. I would then ground the electrical test light to the frame and prick the wire that the service manual claims would be live with the switch on. I feel like I might not be getting the entire story on what happened before this all went down, so if there are any details you know that would help apply that during the search!!

2000 Polaris Xpedition
Where is the transmision fluid add or check on this machine?
Rod Allen

Well Rod, Iím gonna assume (very carefully) that this is the 325 version and not the 425 version of the Xpedition. No matter which displacement you have, the oil dipstick is in the same spot on both of these engines. Should be right side about 2/3rds back on the engine. This will be a large o-ring sealed dipstick. Hope thatís got your question answered.

To Tune or Not to Tune?
I've had my ATV sitting for the winter. Now, since I'm new at owning one of these machines, is it recommended that I change the oil and do a tune-up? Is there an oil filter or air filter that I have to change? I appreciate any advice you can give.
C. Allan Moar

Every ATV owner is different when it comes to maintenance on their machine. I personally go through my machines several times during the riding season, but if the machine sits over the winter thatís a different story. I would probably change the oil and filter as well as check the air filter. The carb needs to be drained before the ATV is put into storage so there arenít any surprises when you get ready to ride in the spring. Prepping the quad when you put it away for the winter would be easier than working on it for hours right before you want to ride, right?

Suzuki Gasket
I have a 1987 Suzuki 250-r lt I put new head gasket one of my studs is striped out in the jug. What do i do?

This is all dependant on the damage that has already been done. If the bolt can be removed then you have a hole to work with, and I would consider a heli-coil repair for the hole in the jug and buy a new stud to fit back in the newly repaired spot. Heli-coil repair kits can be found at almost any auto parts store. The size of the heli-coil would be determined by the size of the stud and actually would be just a bit bigger. Good luck!

Power Steering
I have a 2003 honda 450 foreman and i was wonder if you can put a power
steering unit on it.
Bruce P.

Look up as they have been developing a new line of powersteering units for various atvís. These units will run in the $600 dollar range and should be relatively easy to install.

2003 Polaris Sportsman 600 Twin
I have a 2003 Polaris Sportsman 600 Twin, and every time I turn my atv on and turn the headlights on my battery light starts flashing. But when they headlights are off it doesn't flash. What could be the problem?
Brad Ware

The fact that the battery light flashes indicates a low-voltage issue that has a hidden problem somewhere. The lights draw power off the battery, and if the stator is not charging the battery correctly this could be what the voltage sensor is warning you about. There might also be an issue with the battery itself. The battery not taking a charge or being weak could set the same light off. I would check the charging system and my battery before the problem gets worse.

Polaris Sportsman 400
i have sportsman 400 model 2005. In the middle of a trip the variator belt break so i change it to belt i found but it was a little big than the original. I drive it for an 20 km did i make any damage to my atv?
moshe cohen

This should not have damaged anything but the larger belt. Having a belt that is too big will result in the belt being damaged but not anything else. This would allow the CVT to slip and engage at a higher rpm, and although the belt would work itís not recommended to leave it in there for long. Get a factory OEM belt to put back on the machine and check the sheaves as well before closing everything up.

Arctic Cat 250 ATV
I have a 2006 rctic cat 250 that starts hard, wont idle, only runs with the choke on. thought i cleaned carb good but ive never dealt with a keihin carb what have i missed? also what are settings on the screws any help would be great
In my experience the most common thing people miss is actually getting the carb clean. Sounds simple but itís kind of complex. The primary jet allows fuel in for start-up and this is where I would start. This little jet has a very, very small hole in the center and it gets clogged fast and easy. If you have your OEM service manual you can get an idea of the parts and their description in there. If not, look at our carb rebuild article, and even though the carb isnít the same it does have a lot of the same parts. Iíd say the primary jet needs a good cleaning as well as the rest of the carb.

2002 Yamaha Big Bear
I changed the oil on my quad. slacken the compression screw on head to see if oil came up. when i tighten up screw ,it must have stripped because now have small oil weep. now what to do.
Callistus McDonald

I have no idea what a compression screw is on this machine. If you are speaking of the valve cover then I would say the gasket probably did not seat back down good or in place. For future reference, youíll know if the top end isnít getting any oil and pretty quick as things will start tapping around.

Polaris Track Kits
Hi, I have a 2000 Polaris sportsman 500cc. I'm trying to find a track kit to fit, and have found that TJD & Mattracks offer kits for this machine. I have a Camoplast dealer that claims He can install the Tatou 4S on my machine, even though Camoplast does not recommend because of the "big hubs" (electric front hubs) that engage the 4WD. There is an over - running clutch in each front hub. Tire sizes 25x8x12 Front & 25x11x10 Rear. Do you think that I will have problems with the engaging & dis-engaging of the front wheel drive?


There is a reason many manufacturers do not recommend adding tracks to any quad. They are simply rough as hell on everything in the driveline, and if youíre not in snow nine months out of the year I wouldnít either. Iím sure the front drive may engage easy enough at dead stopped but this could bring on many issues with the machine and the front differential. It takes so much more power and torque to pull a set of tracks and even when I had the Apache tracks on our Can-Am Max project it was a constant battle to turn the beast. They work in their environment, but be sure you have something in the rainy day fund for repairs as they will come!!!

Ď87 Polaris Trail Boss
2 stroke 4×4 has electric start pull start pull housing thats another story any way been sitting couple of years before i just got it tries to start but wont tourn over has spark should i put pre mixed fuel down. carb or down. spark plug area I removed gas tank because fuel lines. were kind of ther kind of not ther no what i mean i just want to hear it at least cough or burn the fuel that i wuld put down. its mouth to give me a sign of hope and life no what i mean by the way the guy i got it from swore it used to run before it got flat tire then just lost the key so he just left it for dead so i had cut wires and hot wire when trying to start dont even get me going on the brakes they DONT move needs bleeding or something any way thats my deal help to start the heart please any body ordered a manual but will take about week. but cant just sit and look at it you know what i mean

This is a comedy of errors instead of a question, but Iíll see what I can do with it. Well, Iím thinking an offering for the quad gods is in order here. Seems to be 20 questions in one, which means the beast is better off dead and buried! Nahhhmean?

Where can I ride?
We are new too ATVing and we are looking for trails too ride in the state of new york. If anyone knows of them please email us the info.
John Kerr

There are many places to ride in NewYork depending on where you are in the state. Head over to the New York State off-highway recreational vehicle associations website and check them out.

Get out and fix that old quad up for the spring riding season. If you need any help Iíll be right here waiting!

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

Check out recent ATV Answerman columns:



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