ATV Answerman Ė ATV and UTV Tech and Maintenance

Jul. 31, 2013 By Rick Sosebee, Photo Courtesy of Yamaha
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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Proper Compression
I have a 2003 Honda 400ex and I have a K&N air filter, FMF
header and exhaust, and jet kit. Now Iím planning on boring it out to a
440, but I would like to know which compression is best a 11:1 or
12.0:1? I also would like to know your opinion on which brand to go

Donít waste your time or money on anything over 11:1 compression. The quad will become unreliable, youíll have to run a race fuel mix which is expensive now days and bench racing will be your only fun then. Trick that beast out with add-ons and do your best to leave the engine stock or close to stock. I prefer JE pistons and Mickey Dunlap is still working on these 400EXís so give him a call for the cylinder mods you want. Remember this though, if you want a reliable quad or something that doesnít have to be worked on every time you want to ride, donít go crazy with displacement. Your suspension should be the first item to work on.

Shifting Issues
I have a Polaris 700. I am having problems shifting the transmission. I have taken the shifter apart and cleaned it good. Any ideas?

Itís hard to diagnose your troubles with such a brief description. I have no clue what the unit is doing or when and what transpired to make it start shifting rough or not at all. You see, this column depends on you (the reader/inquiring mind) to give me (the genius) much more symptoms and then I find solutions. Got It?  For all I know, you may be the problem.

House Call?
My back tires are locked up please. Tell me how to fix call me if possible.

Well Iím not sure if this is a trick question or not so let me answer it very carefully. How about releasing the brake lever? Oh, sorry but I do not make house calls.


Cutting Out
I have a 2000 Kawasaki 300 automatic quad. It starts up good and will run good until I give it gas then it will cut out and back on again. I can drive at a slow speed just fine.

Seems to me this machine could be suffering from the same symptoms that many will as long as Ethanol is used in the fuel we buy. The carb is most likely clogged up and needs some relief from the varnish on the jets inside. Have the carb professionally rebuilt and try to start again. Make sure the air filter is clean as well.

Yamaha Timberwolf 2x4 Reverse
How do you reverse?

Iím not exactly sure what model, displacement or even the correct year to help you with, as you did not include that information, but Iíll give it a shot. Try finding neutral with the gear shifter, locate the drive selector and squeeze the big button on that handle while pulling backwards on the lever. This should enable a reverse. The Timberwolf could also require you to depress the shifter straight down to get reverse as well.

Code Issues
Code 5 shift motor locks can free up but same problem lights d1 d2 and esp flashing and will not shift
Teddy Davis

Wow, Iíve gotten a box full of half written and very confusing questions.  How about this Ė take it to the dealer.

Re: 2014 Yamaha Viking Side-by-Side
I would buy one today if I could trailer it behind my motor home and drive in on the streets in California.

This unit can indeed be hauled on your trailer, and if you choose the right roads in California you will have no problem driving it on them. Just get a BLM sticker and stay at a KOA!!

Proper Jetting
I have just rebuilt the wifeís 1994 Polaris 300 ATV and had to go .40 over on the piston. I have been told to go up to a 165 main jet. I was wondering if the prelim carb settings stay the same or if I should start with a different setting. Can you help?
Backus, MN

When changing displacement to this extreme, everything needs to be looked at. The main jetting will need to be adjusted to larger sizes and you might consider the pilot jet size as well. This will give the engine more response off the bottom and keep it from leaning out too much. It will also make the motor respond quicker. Rich can be tolerable but lean will kill the engine. Learn to read your plug and it will tell you where you stand with your jetting.

Brake Wheel Cylinder
I have a 1996 Honda 300 and the front brakes don't seem to work as well as they should. When I pulled the drum off the right side wheel, I noticed that only the front shoe moved when I applied the brake. It looks as if the wheel cylinder only moved the front pad; the back pad never moved. Shouldnít both shoes move at the same time to engage the drum? Thanks.

Hereís the deal my friend, the front shoe would push out until the drum catches it then the rear will move out. Without the drum on the quad the front or rear would only move, as there is no resistance. If your brakes are fading try bleeding the system and be sure the pads are up to spec by the manufacturer before reassembling the system.

Spary Start
I have a 2003 Grizzley 400. It will run as long as your spray cleaner in the breather. What's wrong? Please help.
Union, GA

How long has it been since the carb had a real good cleaning? Usually having to spray a motor to keep it running means itís not getting gas. Clean that carb inside and out and check the fuel tank for debris or water in the gas.


Holy Spellcheck, Batman!
My banshee is spitting and sputtering from about med rang to WOT. IT has after market pipes ,cool head,k&n and air box led removed. I just got the bike and don't know much about it or any other banshee. My plugs are
black powdery kinda but cranks on first or second kick and idoles fine. It reaves fine in nutreal. I mixed 1 qart of valvale 2 strock to 5 gallons of 87 octane pump gas but the day before i ran one of those little cheep 2 strock bottles to 2 gallons of 87 oct pump gas and it did fine. Allthow i did run it out of gas that day too. Did i suck trash, not mix the ratio right, carbs out of senk. Please help before i screw this bike up. Let me know what a safe mix ratio would be like how much oil to 2 gallons of what octane pump gas THANKS!

This could be quite possibly the most horrific display of spelling I have ever witnessed. Kids, do not give up on school because it is very important to learn how to read and write! As for the question, it seems you need new plugs. A 32-to-1 mix is good and using 87-octane in a two-stroke isnít really great. Use a quality oil, preferably Yamalube if itís available, as cheap premix will foul plugs fast and gum up the engine.

Busted Boot
My sonís Suzuki Kingquad has a broken boot on the front driveshaft. How hard is this to replace? Being a single mother with no mechanical skills Iím not sure if I can do it myself.

The CV boot is indeed an in-depth process that requires moderate-yet-simple skill to complete. If you do not have a good selection of hand tools or the banding tool to install the boot straps you might just want to haul it to the dealer. The axle comes out pretty easy but getting the new boot on securely can be a little tough. The Suzuki boots are expensive, so be sure to look for a universal boot or aftermarket kit like the ones from Erlandson Performance ( Good luck.

Rocking into the fall we still have super hot days and plenty of humidity here in the south. Be sure the radiator is clean on your big utes and keep the oil changed if you are riding long periods of time, as it is the life blood of your motor!

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
June 2013

May 2013

April 2013 Newsletter
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