Tech and Maintenance Q&A by ATV AnswerMan

Feb. 26, 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
January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

Auction Winner
Hi, I just recently bought a Polaris Phoenix 200 at auction. When I started it up and put it into forward drive it wouldn't move and made a loud grinding noise also the same noise when put into neutral and reverse. I could also feel a lot of vibration at the foot well as I revved it up. Do you have any ideas on what could be causing this and is it an easy fix or expensive job. I bought the quad for $750 so anything to suggest getting this back working so I can sell it on would be grateful.

Ok, I am taking a guess at the year on this machine, as you did not list it. The Polaris Phoenix 200 is typically a belt-driven machine. The belt, as it begins to come apart, can sound like a host of metal parts flailing around in the cover as most of these small engine CVT covers are aluminum. This would also explain the non-movement of the machine under throttle. The belt is relatively inexpensive and can be replaced easily, but if you are not mechanically inclined I would carry it to a dealer for the service.

Missing Power?
I have a 2003 Polaris predator 500 but the problem is that when i take it out to the dunes it sounds like it is missing a whole lot of power.. I don't know what the problem would be.

The Polaris Predator 500 was indeed a powerful machine and should have enough bottom-end to pull the sandy terrain. My first thoughts would be that the clutch could be slipping but I would think it sounds more like a compression issue. If you are mechanically skilled I would check the compression to see if the rings could need replacing. Being a four-stroke overhead valve engine you might also check the valve clearance. There are many areas to search, and a good OEM service manual is going to be key at getting it right.

Rotax Spark
I have a 2006 Ausa Task M50 UTV that has a Rotax 400 engine in it. I am experiencing the problem where it won't start. When checking for spark I got spark the first time it cranked over but never on multiple cranks. If I stop cranking then start again I get the same thing Ė spark only the first time it turns over then nothing after. I'm stumped any help would be great.

The Rotax engine is a popular motor platform and can be used in many other elements. So, with that said I have never heard of the UTV this motor is mounted in. I would start searching for this problem by looking at the wiring harness. Check for chaffed wires or even the very easily overlooked kill switch. The switch could have a short or a pinched wire so be patient and methodical. Getting a good service manual for the machine could be impossible, but if available itís a must have.

2002 Bombardier 650 Quest
I have to turn engine off before transmission lever will shift. How can I adjust the idle rpm?
Thank you,

If you are having trouble shifting the Quest and the idle is high then you have the trouble for both problems right in front of you. Most engines need to be idled down to shift into a gear, especially the belt driven machines. The idle screw for the Quest is located on the side of the carb. This small knurled knob will be on the left side of the carb and can be turned counter clockwise to run the idle of the engine down.

What Kind of Oil?
I just bought a little 90 two-stroke ATV for my kids. What kind of oil do I put in it? Not sure if its two-stroke oil or something special.

If you are mixing the gas it needs to be two-stroke mix oil for the fuel. The engine probably uses a typical engine oil of your choosing in the crankcase. This should be in the ownerís manual or the dealer will have the specifications for types and weights.

Pull Start
How do I release the compression on a 2002 King Quad 300 before pull-starting?

The 2002 King Quad engine does not have a compression release. Sorry but itís probably a good idea to get a new battery so you will not have to pull it.

Apache ATV Track
Are tracks available for 1987 Yamaha Big Bear?

Apache tracks are a brand built by and for Bombardier machines like the Outlander and Renegade, etc. I hate to break it to you but there are no tracks for the Ď87 Big Bear. I am not sure why you would want to put that machine under that much strain anyways as it takes a lot of power to spin the track system.

Trail Boss Needs Choking
I have 2006 Polaris Trail Boss. It dies when I let the throttle go. In one word it will not idle unless I have the choke pulled. Please help.

Ok, since you were so clear and brief Iíll do the same. In one word, the carburetor needs to be serviced and possibly parts inside replaced. One more word: use a good fuel treatment if the machine is going to sit for any extended time. Thanks and come again.

Worth the Trouble?
I purchased a 2011 Suzuki king quad new from Malcolm Smith Motorsports. It is a 750axi no power steering. I would like to know if it is possible to add power steering. And how much trouble and cost?

Anything is possible, my friend, but it may be easier to sell the KQ you have and buy one with power steering instead. The wiring on the PS model is going to be different as well as the stator will be larger to handle the extra draw on the system. This could be a cost you will regret. Sell it and buy what you want. Trust me, itís cheaper.

Will Not Respond to Junk!
I have a Yamaha Wolverine 350 4x4 and itís 24 degrees, and I turn the key on and push the start button but the dash light that says oil temp comes on. We have tried to use the pull cord, but it wont start up and it is very hard to pull. Also we have tried to pull start it down the road but it wouldn't work. Do you have any suggestions? We thought maybe spark plug or starter wasn't working, and also last time I drove I hadn't shut off the gas and it leaks into the carb. Email me at (email deleted). I will not respond to junk!

Well Jared, Iíll try to not waste your time here finding the answer to your question. Obviously Iíll have to be thorough because you do not respond to junk, right? So, I would say at 24 degrees outside (kinda guessed thatís what you were referring to) the oil is probably like syrup and very thick as well. The oil light comes on because the battery is probably too weak to spin the motor. It probably has nothing to do with oil at this point just a knee-jerk reaction to a low power supply. The electrical system may not be able produce the spark needed to start the engine due to no battery power. My last and final thought leans toward the fact that the fuel leaks past the needle jet and into the cylinder. This could be a future problem. Drain the oil and pull the plug. See if the engine spins free. Reinstall fresh oil and new plug as well as a fresh battery and go ride. Later.

Wonít Start
I have a 2005 Honda Rancher and itís getting fuel and spark but wonít start. What can I do to get it started?
John S

This is confusing as most engines require both fuel and spark to work correctly. But, you might think about valve timing and clearance to get the big red back on the trail. Timing is everything in this motor and can be off or even slightly out.

T-Rex 90cc Mini
I need a wiring diagram for the 90cc T-rex. Where can I get one or find on the net or purchase the book for the quad?
Wes Becker

I wish I knew exactly who makes this T-Rex you speak of. There are so many little knock-off quads in our industry that you may have bought one of a kind. What is the wiring issue?

Clanking Noise
I have 2010 Kawasaki Brute Force 750 and when starting it makes a clanking noise coming from the front of motor, I put my hand on the starter as I was starting and it seems like it was coming from the starter?

It is difficult for me to diagnose your exact issue, but if I were to start looking I would pull the CVT belt drive cover off to be sure the belt is in good shape. The clanking you hear could be a fragmented belt slapping the cover. If this proves to be good then I would drain the oil to see if there is any metallic look to the oil. Definitely do not ride the machine until you figure it out. It may go bad quick.

Fail Reading?
I have a 2005 Bombardier Outlander max 400 and it is reading up fail. What does that mean?
Shaun Webster

Take your machine to a dealer and have them run a systems diagnostics on the computer. The dealer is the only one who can deal with this issue because they are the only ones with the correct software. As a consumer you cannot even reset it.

Cranking Slow
My '07 650 H1 battery seems to crank slow when it was new, seemed underpowered. What is the CCA needed for that model?

Getting good cranking power is essential with the 650 H1 motors but it can be lost through the wiring of the machine and some contacts. The CCA should be around 350 for this machine. Get a good lithium ferrous battery as these are lighter and spin the huge single cylinder like a mad man.

Arctic Cat Pump
I have a 2006 Arctic Cat 500cc quad. I have to pump the manual fuel pump lever to get the quad started when it's cold, as well as most of the time when it's warmed up. Someone suggested the "fuse" to the automatic choke, but there isn't one in the fuse block, so I'm stumped.  Also, the idle really varies, despite the carb being cleaned and the gasoline is good as well. Any ideas?

It seems to me that the carb may still have trash in some of the smaller ports of the fuel system. The slow jet and starter jets can get clogged very easily although it may look clean. The fact that your pumping awakens the motor tells me youíre not getting fuel along the way. Try again on the carb cleaning and you may want to get a kit that has the slow jet, starter jet and main and just replace them all.

Kill the Lights
When I turn the lights on my Kodiak 450, it cuts power to my battery! It backfires constantly and I changed my spark plug, checked all the wiring and grounds and tested the battery. Do you have any other advice for me?

The lights are using what little power is available to the engine. This is why the engine runs bad. The problem is the battery or charging system. Check that.

2007 Suzuki King Quad 700
My King Quad keeps flooding and wonít start. The problem I have came across is that I can pull the plug and verify itís flooding, and when I let it sit and try to start it back up, as soon as I turn the key back on the fuel pump just sends more gas to it and it just keeps flooding.

So my question is: how do you get a fuel-injected ATV to start if it floods and the fuel pump just keeps sending more gas to it when you try to turn it over? This all started because my battery was dead after sitting in the building for a month in cold temperatures. It started fine a few days ago, but when the battery is dead you can pull start it but every time you pull the cord, the fuel pump shoots more gas. This is the reason it flooded in the first place.

Well, Iím not sure if you understand the process of fuel injection but it only delivers fuel as the engine runs. Of course it will pull fuel in under a ďchoke onĒ condition, but this machine should not even have a choke being fuel injected. It seems you may have more of a ďno sparkĒ issue. I did not read that you had replaced the battery. I would start there, as the new fuel-injection systems need a good fully charged battery to function correctly.

Starting Trouble
Hello there, I have an Arctic Cat 250cc ATV and itís been in my garage all winter. I have managed to start it a few times but I am having trouble starting it again. Just last night I had it going and then I went out again this morning and it starts but then gives out. What could be causing this problem?

Anytime an ATV sits for extended periods of time the common myth is that ďif I start it once a month it will be ok,Ē but what you may not realize is the varnishing process is gradually building in the float bowl and will eventually keep the machine from starting at all. Clean the carb and start over.

Thatís it for now. Until we meet again, keep on riding and speak out for your rights to ride. Itís up to all of us to insure we have a place to enjoy the outdoors.
RS Newsletter
Join our Weekly Newsletter to get the latest off-road news, reviews, events, and alerts!