ATV Answerman: February Reader Questions Answered

Feb. 26, 2010 By Ricky Sosebee

Welcome to the year 2010! As you may have figured out by now, the greatest thing you have going for you is knowledge because knowledge is power. In 2010, the ATV Answer Man will do the very best to help you figure out any problems you may have with your ATV or SXS. Please feel free to write but include a few simple things so I can help you solve the trouble fast and painless. I need the make, model and year of the ATV or SXS you are working on. I will also need a good description of what the quad is doing or not doing. Don’t be shy, tell me all about it. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

From: polar-ice1
Brazil, IN
My '98 300 Polaris Explorer just started stalling under even the slightest load. It acts like a fuel line is collapsing. I figured I'd change the fuel filter first and go from there. The owner’s manual mentions the fuel filter once ... It says, has an unique inline fuel filter that has to be changed at your local dealer. Right. I've had the bike for eight years and have torn it down and put it back together twice. I've just never had trouble with the fuel delivery. All I want is to purchase one of the "unique" filters and install it myself. Can you lend me some advice?
The problem with this Explorer could very well be with the fuel filter. The inline fuel filter is Polaris part number 2530009 and can be bought for about $3. But let’s look a little deeper and consider for a minute the age of the ATV and the amount of attention the carborater has received over the last 12 years. Fuel will varnish in the tank and carb over a period of months without use. Put this with all the times you haven’t ridden the ATV and the cheap gas we know you’re putting down the tube on this beast. A very good chemical dip and overhaul of the carb is probably a great place to get started and a new fuel filter would be the bonus.

From: Fred
I have a 1984 Honda big red trike shaft driven with 200 motor. It starts up fine but as soon as I put her in gear it will shuts off right away. Any suggestions about this will be greatly appreciated. Love your site.

Sounds like there could be some fuel restrictions on the Trike. Taking into consideration that the Honda year of ‘84 produced several different versions of the same 200cc trike, it’s hard to pinpoint which ATV you are working with. There is a great possibility that you have lost what was left of the compression sealed into the cylinder of that dinosaur. So to answer your question: Perform a compression check and then check the carb out thoroughly. If you have good mechanical skills, take the carb apart piece by piece and clean that puppy out. Try these two and get back to me.

From: Rodney
Raleigh, NC
Just bought a 2007 Arctic Cat 700 efi 4wd. While riding in the snow, I smell hypoid gear oil on occasions. I have no leaks. I pretty handy on fixing all my cars, trucks, etc. I have checked for overnight leaks and no signs of any. I have serviced the brakes, oil, air and tires etc w/dealer parts only. I did purchase this about six weeks ago from a one owner older gentleman. Any suggestions because I don’t want to damage anything. Just ride it or should I worry? Thanks - Rodney
I know you may have checked this, but I would pull the cvt cover off and be sure the belt isn’t slipping. The smell of a slipping belt could be deceiving. Check under that CVT cover and keep on riding. I’m sure if the leak was severe enough you would have seen it by now.

From: Danny
Sunrise, FL
I have an ‘01 Yamaha Big Bear 4x4. It was back firing, installed new plug, still back firing. I took carb apart, cleaned all jets soaked in carb fluid for two hours, but it still wants to spit and back fire please, can you help?

There are several reasons why the overhead valve motor in the Yamaha Big Bear will backfire. What you haven’t told me is where the backfire is coming from. Does the engine backfire through the carb? Or does this mammoth backfire through the exhaust? Timing on the Big Bear is crucial and can cause problems such as back firing and sluggish or poor performance. A faulty cam chain tensioner can cause trouble as well as a poorly adjusted valve train. The carb, however, could also be giving the trouble you have experienced. Merely soaking the carb in cleaning solution isn’t going to be a 100 percent fix, as varnish can be tough if left to gel for years. Try pulling the carb back apart and find some fine paint sprayer cleaning brushes to get into the jets and miniature holes in the carbs inner body. This will at least eliminate the carb by 75 perecent, and then you can move on to the timing.

From: Paul
Sudbury Ontario, CANADA
I have a 2003 ATV Sportsman 500HO. How do I reset speedometer after tune-up, also where can I get a free owners manual.
Thanks, Paul.

Well Paul, I have always heard that nothing in life is free. With that said, I know your local dealer will be glad to order a service manual for you. I mean, come on. The manual can’t be more than $40. As far as resetting the hour meter on the digital dash, you can try this sequence: Squeeze the front brake lever, depress the foot brake, turn the steering wheel twice to the left and once to the right. This is only good if the tire pressure is over five pounds. By this time you will probably figured out how ridiculous the procedure is, so rush over to the dealer closest to you and buy a service manual to find out the reset speed trick!


From: Kyle
Milton, VT
I’ve heard a lot about the Can-Am DS450xc. I’ve heard that after about the first couple of months owning one that there will have stress cracks in the center were the chain is and it cracks there making it cost a lot to fix? Is that true?
I understand your concern on this ATV but the facts are that this has not been an issue for the majority of theses ATVs. If the chain gets loose on any chain driven atv there is the possibility of busting cases. My advice is to not believe everything you hear and only half of what you see.

From: Bombardier

Gillett, WI
I have a Bombardier Outlander 2004 and have a problem with the high gear working when I put it in high it really grinds but it is in all the way.

It sounds like the shifting lever and linkage needs to be adjusted a bit. If the selector isn’t being engaged all the way because the linkage has slipped out of adjustment, I could see it grinding until it engages. Get under the plastic on the Outlander and make sure the gear position selector is getting the travel it needs to fully engage.

From: Kris

Brantford, CANADA
Hi, I have a 98 RM125 and was wondering if a jug and crankshaft from a 94 model RM will fit on my 98 RM125?

I can see that these two cylinder heads are very similar. The part numbers are different but this doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work. My question is why? Why do you need to add a 4-year-old cylinder to a newer model engine? This is just crazy in my opinion. All I can say is to take the gaskets that fit on the 98 and hold them on the 94 cylinder to see if any of the ports match up. This is where I would start.

From: 1313mtaylor
Bradyville, TN
I have a 96 Honda 300Ex I bought to fix. I thought it would be a simple fix, as it was just puffing a little smoke. I tore it all the way down to the piston and noticed that whoever rebuilt it before me put the piston in backwards. The piston was marked up from the valves hitting the top. I replaced the piston and rings hoping that would solve my smoke problem but it didn’t work. Will it still smoke if the timing is off? Or could it be a bent valve just dumping oil out? Thanks, Mike.

Mike, you have valve clearance troubles as you stated, my friend. When the valve train hits the piston in any motor, the valve seating can be changed and damaged. The valve has to seat perfectly in its place to make a tight seal. More than likely your valve train will need a service or possibly replaced to get rid of the smoking gun.

From: Ben
Rainier, OR
I was wondering if anyone knew how to take the rear gear box off an older honda 250?

I might know how to get that gearbox off of an older Honda 250, but I would really need to know how much older and exactly what year the 250 is. I probably could help you even more if I knew what type of Honda 250. Is this machine a 4X4, 2X4 or a trike? I need you to help me to help you, my friend.

From: Canuck
Spirit River, ZZ CANADA
I have a 2005 Arctic cat 650 H1. I have a backlight in the dash but no readout, etc. All the fuses are good and I don't see any loose wires. Have others had issues with them? I have had trouble keeping the battery up as they are so small, and I use the winch a lot while snow plowing so I mounted a truck battery on the front rack ... that seems to be working better, but could the dead battery issue fry the dash readout? Thanks.
There are several issues that can be causing the electrical gremlins. The first is an old, worn-out battery. If this is the original battery it may be time to change it. The next is a bit more complex. With the motor running and using a simple volt meter, you should be able to get between 12 to 14 volts on the battery cables that reveals that the stator is charging the system. If you are not charging then the issue is with the stator. These are not really easy to change out, and if one or more windings are bad it’s best/cheapest to just replace. Depending on your mechanical ability, it may be best to trust the dealer on this. Good luck and let us know what you find.


From: Kenny
Theodore, AL
I need your help! I have a 2005 Yamaha Big Bear 400 - will not idle back fires high rpm through exhaust and intake, HELP!! Thanks, Kenny Bank.

Wow, seems like every Yamaha Big Bear owner is having the same issues. I would first look into the fuel system and make sure your not running lean due to a clogged carb. Varnish can prevent the proper amount of fuel from getting to the engine and low fuel with clean, unrestricted air flow will make a very lean condition. Next is timing. The timing of the Big Bear is simple to adjust, and when adjusted the next thing to check would be the timing chain tensioner. Be sure it’s working properly. These few tips should cure the problem after being thoroughly inspected and adjusted.

From: Larry Sadler
Swan Quarter, NC
I bought 2006 Honda Rincon brand new. I paid almost 10,000 dollars for it. I have had it back to the Honda shop (where I bought it) for numerous reasons. I have owned Hondas all my life and never had trouble with them like I have had with this one. I took it back to the dealership a week ago and now they tell me the frame has almost rusted in half.  I’ve had it a little over 3 years, it’s still under warranty and they will not fix it because Honda says rust is (cosmetic). I don’t live by the ocean so how can this be my fault? As I’m writing this, the owner of the local Honda shop called me and telling me again there’s nothing he can do.. I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER HONDA PRODUCT.... LARRY SADLER hope everyone reads this and never buys one as well....

Wow, first off I wouldn’t be bragging about paying $10,000.00 for a quad that only listed for around $6400-$6800 brand new. That salesperson is eating fat if you truly paid that price. Secondly, I hate to be the bearer of bad news again, but living in a coastal city and also realizing the fact that warranties do not cover rust should at least shed a little light on the reason why the dealer isn’t going to honor this claim. I know we try to believe that we take care of our machines better than anyone, but fact is that’s not true. Slamming the dealer isn’t a great way to get a point across, as the dealer has rules and guidelines that they have to follow. It’s like screaming at the sun for coming up too early to fit into your day. It’s just silly. BTW I had the grand opportunity of riding this machine in 2005 before anyone in the USA had even seen it, and I loved every minute of it. Personal favorite of mine …

From: Peter E. Malchiodi
Carmel, NY
Myself, along with a few friends, purchased 2006 Suzuki 700 King Quads. Ever since we bought these we have had battery problems. I am on my third battery and all the dealers tell me is to keep it on a trickle charger. I do but still have the problem. We think it is because of defective stators for that year. Do you know of any call-backs on this item, Suzuki will not elaborate? Thanks for any advice you have for us.

This is actually an issue that is known by Suzuki. The problem is in the voltage drain by the IAC valve on the throttle body. Seems this device gets a small 7 milliamp draw consistently and this is where the battery gets drained. Keeping a trickle charger on the King when not in use will help with the problem. The Battery Tender gives a subtle 2-amp trickle to the battery and actually helps keep the battery conditioned so it’s ready to go when you need it to be. With the harsh winters in NY, this is also a problem for this small of a battery. All the more reason to keep a trickle on it during storage.

From: bayou4004x4
Trevor, WI
I heard from a buddy of mine that cam chains from other 4-stroke engines will fit my 93 Kawasaki Bayou 400. Can you tell me what are these other models of motorcyles and/or ATVs will fit my bayou 400 cam chain? If not a new chain costs well over 100.00. Thank you, Johnny.

The cam chain on this Bayou 400 is definitely used on other models. The only problem is the price is the same for any model you choose from. I found this chain for $79.50 in many places, but chances are you will find it cheaper if you dig a little online. Buying used isn’t a good idea either, so I wish you luck, but chances are you’ll have to choke up the dough for the new part in the end.

From: Fred Hunter
Plano, IL
2001 lt-a50 stalled and was towed home. Now the automatic clutch does not engage. Any ideas? I can start and run the quad on jack stands only, if I stop the wheels the engine stalls. I am assuming it's the clutch.

Sounds like the CVT-style transmission in the LT50 has become locked. To start the problem elimination process you need to remove the left side cover that will expose the CVT /belt drive transmission. The belt can easily be removed and then start the engine up again. If the engine runs fine then the trouble is possibly in the sheaves of the trans. Let’s just say the sheaves are in good working order, then you have to look into the gearbox/final drive on this Suzuki. It should be straight-forward and relatively easy for anyone with moderate mechanical skills and a good set of eyes to figure this one out.
Look for more questions and answers in the next ATV answer man coming in April. Get those questions in to [email protected], and let’s get the fun machines back on the trails before spring!
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