Reader Tech & Maintenance Questions Answered by ATV Answerman

Feb. 26, 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 [email protected], Attn: ATV AnswerMan.

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Swapping CDI
I have a 2004 LT 400. My wire loom was all messed up and CDI was bad so I bought a used CDI and loom and it's from a 2005 LT 400, so it won't do nothing but turn on the neutral light and reverse light. It wonít start or make a noise. What could it be or what can I do to make it work?

This seems like an easy question but I guess for some the answer could be a little too obvious. If I were you I would find a used wiring harness for your machine and remove the one from the newer model. There could be wiring in the newer loom that is not used in the older or vice versa. The correct wiring is the only way to go. Get that installed and write back for additional help.

Running Rough
I have a 2012 Suzuki King Quad 500axi (493cc). The bike has 47 hours on it and is driven on my property, never been in water and oil changed every 4-5 months, it is always clean. The bike since new has made a knocking sound when first accelerating and when you get to the power band it quits unless you give it more gas and it gets noisy again. The bike seems to be getting louder as time goes by. When I Googled it there seems to be a large amount of people experiencing this same issue. I took it to the shop and they told me my crank was possibly bad and the lower end needs rebuilding. With 47 hours of easy riding and doing this since new I canít understand how this would happen.

The dealer should have pulled a list of service bulletins on the machine, which would have confirmed other issues noted by the manufacturer. I will say that manufacturers do not like to admit there is a problem so it is likely that there were none available. Anyway, the problem could possibly be identified in the oil. Is there any metallic debris in the oil? Is the engine running hot? Have you had the valves checked or adjusted since the machine was new? If the break-in service was not completed on the machine it is possible that the valves are just getting a little loose. Check that out and get back to us.

Alignment Off?
I just bought a 2002 Polaris Sportsman 500. When I stand in front of the machine and look at the front tires comparing them with the back tires, it looks like the front wheels are out of line. Can I change the toe-in and or caster /camber on the front end?

All 4X4 ATVs will appear to have a little outward toe. This is the nature of the beast. You can adjust the toe on the vehicle by loosening the jam nuts on the tie rods, but unfortunately caster and camber are fixed in place. An OEM service manual for the ATV will give you the specs and how to perform the toe adjustment.

Dude, Whereís My Spark Plug?
Cannot find spark plug on 2012 Arctic Cat 425. It is fouled out and stuck in three feet of snow.

Sorry to hear about the stuck ATV, but youíre in luck as I do know where the plug is located. The plug is on the left side upper section of the engine and is probably blocked by the radiator hose that runs right beside it. Keep looking because itís there.

Trading Up?
I recently traded my Raptor 700 for an Ď05 Arctic Cat 650 H1. I have had to put $800 into this bike already, and the only issue I can't fix is when I put it in high it will go about 10 mph and then it chokes and won't go any faster. When Iím in low I can ride at 30 mph no problem. Also in neutral it doesn't choke when given gas. It has clean fuel and new spark, and air filter. I don't know what it could be. Any suggestions?

This is a unique problem for sure. If the engine doesnít bog in low or neutral, logically it should run fine in high gear unless there is a sensor that is going bad on the engine or something fuel related. There is a gearshift sensor on the right side of the transmission case that I would check out. See if the contacts are clean and also be sure the wiring isnít compromised in any way. From there I would be sure the ATV is getting all the way into gear. Without experiencing the problem first hand, itís hard to call that one for sure. The dealer will be your final yet most promising avenue though.

Cutting Out
I have a 2012 Honda Foreman 500. It has a snorkel, an HMF exhaust and a hand-controlled optimized programmer. It acts like itís getting too much air or fuel Ė it idles high cutting in an out. How do if fix this? Iíve tried unplugging the programmer and it still does this.

Itís not the programmer, we know that. Have you checked the throttle cable to be sure it is fully releasing the slide? This would be my first thing to look into. If the cable has been moved around at all or shoved out of the way to gain access to the electronics that could be holding the throttle open just enough to make it idle higher. Look at the idle adjuster as well to be absolutely sure it is not screwed in too far. Start there and let us know what happens.

Where Thereís Smoke
Why is my Suzuki Eiger making blue smoke?#It is a 2002 Suzuki Eiger LT400F and was semi-submerged in water. It has 140 psi compression. Is hard starting. No water in intake tract. Used in swamps. Why is it making blue smoke?

Semi-submerged in water and now you have the infamous blue smoke. This is a problem, my friend. I have to ask, did you change the oil after it was drowned? Is it possible that the machine ingested some kind of debris? Hard starting could be a number of things. If you panic-revved the engine you may have bent a valve and then the engine would produce some smoke, not to mention it could be very hard to start. I think you have a deeper problem than the water you dropped off into. You might want to visit the dealer or a good mechanic to have them check the valves.

Oil Change
How often do I change the oil in a 2004 Polaris Sportsman 600 twin and what kind of oil?

Changing the oil in your ATV will vary depending on how often or how hard you ride. I change mine about every couple rides and check it every ride to assure that itís still in there. There are hundreds of brands when it comes to oil. Donít be cheap with the lifeblood of your vehicle. I use 10-40 in the summer.

Motor Trouble
I have a 2000 400ex. My question is: Why would the motor start to break up and sputter when I enter into a hard left or right turn? It only does this in heavy turns, and then back to normal again! Any advice would be great. Thanks.

There are several possibilities to your problem. Start by making sure the carb is very clean and that fuel is flowing into the carb without restriction (see Basic Carburetor Cleanup). Then I would look at the vent lines to the carburetor to be sure they are not being blocked by any mud or trash. These can sometimes get pinched and that will choke a motor down from lack of fuel. Fuel can also easily become contaminated if it sits in metal cans too long, so check for water in the gas that might be hiding in the bottom of the float bowl.

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
January 2014

December 2013

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