ATV Answerman: Your Off-Road ATV Questions Answered

May. 24, 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

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ATV Carb Cleanup
I am stumbling around the net trying to come up with a cruise control kit for a buddy of mine. He has a 2007 Yamaha Rhino and has some physical challenges that have restricted his use of the machine. We will be installing power steering and a hand accelerator/braking assist. A cruise control that we can rig up large buttons to would be ideal to help him get around the farm. If you have any ideas, or know of someone who might, that information would be put to great use.

It is always good to hear of true friends keeping dreams alive for a buddy who cannot fully enjoy the outdoor powersports world. I am not aware of any cruise control kits or even engineered parts that I could point you to. It might be a little more helpful for me to know what type handicap your friend has and then I may be able to come up with some ideas. If I could gently speak for a second I would suggest that cruise control may not be a great addition to the Rhino. Locking in the throttle on any machine, especially with limited limb usage, could prove dangerous or even fatal. If keeping control of the machine is an issue then maybe an integrated steering wheel throttle lever would be better. I am very interested in how the project turns out so please keep in touch.   

Outlaw Plug Gap
I need to know the specifications for setting the spark plug gap on a polaris 2008 outlaw 4-wheeler.
John Hattaway

Spark plugs are simple yet complex, but the biggest part of their complexity is in the design and how they operate. Gapping a plug can seem like a daunting task, but in the grand scheme of things itís not rocket science nor is the process different from ATV to ATV. The first item you will need is a service manual for your ATV. This is where the proper plug gap will be listed. Youíll need to head out to the Auto parts store and pick up a plug gap tool. We use the round one with a sloping edge, which will cost less than $3. The gap of a plug is the actual distance between the center electrode and the side or lateral electrode. You simply set the space with the proper spacing using the gap tool. So get to it!

Fuel Leak
I have two 150cc Chinese ATVs both 4-stroke. One has electric choke, runs good to 1/2 throttle then sputters. Manual choke runs good but leaks fuel out of vent tube.
Chris M

Sounds to me like you may have a little varnish built up on the jets inside the carb. Take the time to either have the carb cleaned or clean it yourself to get the performance back that you payed for!
Check out our carb cleaning story on

Shifting Issues
I have a 1995 Yamaha 350 moto 4 and the tranny is stuck in 4th gear, like I can shift from hi-lo and rev but all I have is 4th. I can shift up and down but it just grinds when Iím moving the shifter and then it doesnít catch, but when Iím in 4 hi goin pretty fast it sometimes lets me get 5th then it will let me go to 4th! I need any help or suggestions on whatís wrong or how to fix it and a guess-tamation on costs.
David Spangler
So what does the oil look and smell like in the quad? This will give an indication as to what shape the clutch system is in. Being an auto clutch engine this particular ATV has not only a standard style metal, fiber plate clutch setup but also incorporates a centrifugal clutch as well. There are many parts inside the cases, and if I were guessing where to start it would be the automatic clutch system. This is most likely the reason that this machine will not shift out of the gear in which it is stuck.

Bogging Quad
My 2006 z400 quasport starts and then runs but when I hit the gas it bogs out. Any suggestions?

How long does the quad sit between rides? Also, how old is the gas in the tank and what grade is it? If the quad sits for even a couple of weeks between rides the fuel can varnish the insides of the carb. Also if you use cheap fuel or if the gas contains ethanol it will go bad faster. Iíd say you will need fresh gas and possibly a good carb cleaning. You can find the proper technique for ATV carb cleaning in the same story I shared earlier.

Kodiak Fuel Filter?
Where is gas filter located on 2003 Kodiak 400?

The Yamaha Kodiak does not come with an in line fuel filter but the fuel petcock on the gas tank is the filtration. The fuel petcock has twin-tower-like tubes that filter particulates from the gas. They cannot, however, keep water out of the carburetor.

Polaris Sportsman 500
I have a 2010 polaris sportsman 500 carbureted, just 300 hours. It keeps cutting off after running for 10 minutes or so. It seems to happen a few minutes after the fan turns on and happens if idling or running. Once it shuts off itís really hard to start, and if you give it any gas it chokes out. After it cools down for hour or so it fires right back up. I took it to our only certified Polaris dealer and they kept it for two weeks. They changed air filter, fuel filter, and adjusted throttle. I picked it up today and have same problem when I got home. Does this sound like fuel or cooling problem? Does it have a fuel pump?
Jimmie Jackson
Ripley, TN

This machine does have a diaphragm-style fuel pump, however, given the age of the machine I would look elsewhere for problems first. To make a better suggestion though I would need more information. If the carb/fuel system is running lean that could cause the engine to over heat quickly. Have you tried to read the plug to determine if the ATV is choked out by fuel or running out of fuel? If flooding is the issue then the plug will be dark and wet. A lean or overheating condition will leave the plug whitish or gray around the electrode and that could be the issue that leads to the need for a cool-down period before the engine would restart. If this ATV has sat for a while there could also be an issue with gummed jetting inside the carburetor. Itís very interesting problem and be sure to get back with us on what you find.

Want to Race
Hello, I was just wondering if you could help me out. My husband and I are trying to start a 4-wheeler race team. The only thing is we have a Polaris Sportsman 500 HO. We would love to know what we have to do to get you as a possible sponsor, or just to help us find some competitions. Thank you.
Howard Racing

Finding a place to race is as easy as searching online forums about the subject. There are many competitions each and every year depending on where you live in these fine United States. Check the ATV forums here on

As far as getting sponsorship goes, I would say it has become more and more difficult to gain sponsorship over anything more than light discounts on parts and equipment. This may include the occasional freebie, but the days of totally factory sponsored rides have been pushed back on the shelf for the next few years. Even the previous season champions in some quad racing are having trouble getting rides for the next season. Do it for fun, not gain, and youíll love it more in the long run. Good luck.

Snowmobile Carb?
Do you know if a snowmobile carb can be put on a four wheeler?

Iím not sure what ATV you are working on, but it is possible to get a carburetor from a snowmobile to fit an ATV. More information next time would be helpful.

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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