ATV AnswerMan: Your ATV and UTV Questions Answered

Dec. 24, 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 ATV AnswerMan Columns
November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

Pull-Start Trouble
I have a 2003 Yamaha Kodiak 400. When I try to pull start it, it is hard to pull because of the compression. Sometimes I cannot even pull it. I also have a side-by-side trail wagon with a 390 Honda engine that does the same thing. What causes this and how can I fix them?

Let me start by saying that compression is not a bad thing. I know it can be tough pull starting an ATV or SXS with good amounts of engine compression, but it means the cylinder is sealing good and the engine should perform very well because of it. Why wouldnít you simply get the starter fixed or charge the battery so you didnít have to pull start the unit. That will make your life a lot easier, and Iím sure the SXS you mentioned has a starter as well.

Suzuki LTA50
Hi everyone, I hope you can help. We got a Suzuki lt50 for our grandson. We need to take the seat off and we do not know how. Is there anyone out there that can help?

Most of these mini-quad seats are bolted in place, but the LTA-50 has a small lever that releases the rear of the seat.

Way Too Slow
I have a 2003 Rincon with 1600 miles and suddenly it will not go over 15 mph. Starts and runs ok but will not get up and go as it use to. There are no other problems.

Start by checking the fuel tank to see if there might be any contaminants inside. Even your gas can might contain condensation that makes its way to the quad with your help, and in small amounts this can wreak havoc on your acceleration. Some carburetors will have a drain on the bottom of the bowl and/or a screw on the side at the bottom that is used to drain off any water or trash in the bowl. Simply turn the gas off and drain the carburetorís fuel bowl. One last thing is the carbís insides Ė if the ATV sits for months without being ridden, the carburetor could have varnished up and possibly is not letting enough fuel to the engine.

Should I Buy It?
Okay I am considering buying a 2004 Suzuki LTZ400 and have been reading some posts about the sway bar bearings and a few other rear end problems, and I am just curious if what I am reading is true, and if it is how fast do the bearings usually go?

The swing arm design on this machine has had its issues in the past, but most of these problems have occurred under harsh conditions. The key to keeping the rear of this machine happy is easy. First, when washing this machine do NOT use a power washer directly on the bearing housing area or any areas that have bearings. It seems this may be the easiest way to get the mud and stuff off, but youíre just forcing the dirt and mud deep into the bearings. Bearings in this machine are sealed but not perfectly. They will wear more rapidly if you ride in muddy or sandy wet conditions a lot, so just expect that. Also many will blame the maker of the ATV for problems that occur when they themselves neglect to properly tighten or align the rear swinger housing or its components. Be sure to get yourself a genuine service manual for this machine and read the recommended service procedures for the quad. This will make you a happy rider and not a frustrated mechanic!

Canít Get to Speed
I have a problem with my Kawasaki 4x4. When I start it sounds good but when I go it doesnít want to go and it spits and sputters and only goes about 10 mph. I cleaned the carburetor and still does it.. I don't know what else to do can you please help.

It would be nice to have a year, model and make to start from. Have you tried checking the fuel? There could be contaminants that you are missing in the tank. If the fuel tank seems to be clean, drain the carburetor and put some fresh gas in the quad. Even in great gas cans there can be condensation, and water in small amounts can create havoc on your acceleration. From here I would move on to the plug just to make sure any bad gas in the past hasnít fouled the ignition to extinction.

Chain Adjustment
I have a 2003 that I am having problems with the rear chain adjustment. It has been raced since new and this is a new Polaris factory swing arm, but the problem is that it keeps rotating foward in which it rotates the cam and loosens my chain during normal conditions.

Well Adam I wish I knew what kind of Polaris you might have. I will take the year of 2003 and the fact that it could be race oriented and guess that itís a Predator or Scrambler of some type? I really need the whole description to make suggestions. Sorry but info in gets info out, bro!

Fuel Mileage
We have a 2003 Honda Rubicon 500. Hunting, working, and casual riding is all we do with it. Does anyone have a chart of what brands get what fuel mileage with various engine sizes? I have seen one for motorcycles but cannot find anything for ATV's.

There are no charts for fuel mileage that are exact figures. I would suggest performing your own test and fill us in on the results. Fill it up and if the unit records miles, just reset to zero and drive that puppy Ďtil she runs out. Divide the amount/gallons of gas by the miles you drove and there you have your answer. Just be sure to have a friend follow you so the test doesnít leave you in the woods. A GPS can help calculate the distance as well.

Another Hard Starter
Yamaha 660 very hard starting when cold, great once it starts. Perhaps 15 attempts to start before ignition. Machine is new with one hr of operation. Dealer says to change plug. Is that right?

The plug would be my first option as well. Even though itís new Iíd try the change and you might be surprised. Let us know how it works out. Be sure the unit is getting good fuel as well. None of that cheap gas, my friend.

No Spark
I have a Polaris 400 ATV with no spark while cranking it over. But when I let go of the start button I get one spark. I changed the CDI box and that was not cheap so any help would be great.

I would get myself a service manual for this ATV. Polaris has a deep set of wiring and troubleshooting diagrams in each manual that will help you pinpoint your problem. Have you installed a new plug? Just because it looks good doesnít mean it is. Hope this helps.

We are heading into a new year and it is time everyone reading this gets out and rides. If you have a problem you cannot figure out just hit us up and we can join in the fun of chasing the gremlins. Ride safe, ride often and be the kind of rider you would want to meet on a tight trail. Let the good times roll!

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 ATV AnswerMan Columns
November 2013

October 2013

September 2013 Newsletter
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