ATV AnswerMan – Your ATV and UTV Questions Answered

Sep. 24, 2013 By Rick Sosebee, Photo Courtesy of Kawasaki
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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Motor Oil Type?
I have a 2011 Arctic Cat 425 4x4 40th anniversary edition. What type of motor oil does it need and how many quarts including the filter?

Motor oil has many debatable attributes and the type you use is totally a crap-shoot, as it is close in my opinion over a variety of manufacturers. If you ride hard in the summer for long hours use a 10w40 for the extra viscosity protection. I think the wintertime riding could be a bit thinner at a 10w30. Whatever you use be sure to change it regularly if you do ride a lot, and the filter on most ATVs can go every two or three oil changes providing there is not contamination in the oil such as heavy metallics or water. As far as the amount or volume goes, the 425 is probably 1-1.5 quarts with oil filter change. These machines have dipsticks so be sure to use it to properly fill the engine.

Overheating Youth Model
I have a 2004 Arctic Cat 90 two-stroke youth ATV and it starts, idles, and runs fine, but after riding for a little while it just stalls and I cant start it again until it cools down. Any way to fix this?

This could be a problem with the compression of the machine. I say “could be” because I have no idea how hard the machine is ridden or if it has been properly maintained. The fact that it runs until hot and will not restart until it cools down leads me to believe that it could be compression related. Be sure you are using the proper pre-mix ratio as well as a good quality two-stroke oil. If it is oil-injected, meaning you just simply pour the oil in a tank, be sure it is mixing well. You may be better off mixing the oil and fuel yourself and eliminating the oil tank, etc.

Electrical Gremlins?
I have a 2003 Polaris Sportsman 600. Sometimes it won't start but if I go through the diagnostic modes on the speedometer it will start and start for a few more times. Let it sit a couple of days and it won't start again. Go through the speedo modes and it will start. Any ideas?

You have gremlins, my friend.  Getting a machine that is haunted by electrical woes is a tough thing, but the only real answers are going to be found at the local dealer. If you have to “clear” codes before each ride obviously something is wrong with in the loop of things. Get the beast to the dealer the next time it will not start and do not clear anything. They can determine the issues and repair them.                                    

Trail Protection
How can I get my Suzuki King Quad to quit breaking the rubber boots on the axle?

CV axles are prone to anything in the trail. If you ride in very rough trails with underbrush or lots of sticks you will have this problem. Getting a good set of A-Arm skids can prevent a good majority of this problem. CV boots can also become cracked or burst due to high heat in the axle joint itself. If the ATV has been lifted and the axles are not changed to work with the extended angle you will also experience this problem. The axle simply cannot flex downward as it needs for the steep angle and it will rub the inner cup until it heats the metal up enough to melt the boot. Take these things into consideration and get back with us.

Loose Chain
I just tightened my chain on my ATV, took it in the mud for a run and the chain got loose again. Is this a serious problem? How do I ensure it won't keep coming loose?

Chain tension can be tricky, but if the chain is already worn out and you just keep stretching it out of shape it will never stay tight. Ask yourself a few questions like: How old is my chain? When was the last time I treated it to an oil bath? Do I properly tighten my chain, and if so do I also properly tighten the bolts holding the axle in position? Sometimes we just have to slow down and look at every possible problem before we figure out maybe we have missed a step.

Proper Grip
Hi, I have a 2003 Honda Fourtrax and I love to ride in the mud. What kind of grips do I need to put on my Utility ATV for rain and mud?

This is a good question and one I think I may have addressed a few months back. The grips I prefer for mud riding that keep my hands from falling off and keep me from getting bad blisters while trying to hold on are made by Spider Grips. They have an ATV-specific grip for wet conditions so look them up and I think you will be pleased.

Mini Quad Issues
I have just bought a used 49cc mini quad for my son. It starts ok. turns over ok, revs ok but when you try give it enough revs to move it cuts out. Basically lots of noise but no movement. Hope u can help.

All mini quads are not created equal, and I can tell you they are not all the same either so knowing which model you are working with is very important for a good, straight answer. If I were to take a stab at this I would say it is more than likely belt driven from the motor to the gearbox and maybe chain on out to the rear wheels. Check the belt drive to be sure it is in proper working order and then move to the carb. Cutting out can be a problem with fuel-related parts that can be replaced instead of repaired. Cheap gas will ruin a small carb in no time and is the most likely culprit if the rear wheels are spinning fine under throttle.

Battery Trouble?
What causes my 2010 HS800 UTV to run only from the battery? I can fully charge the battery, drive the UTV for about an hour +/- and then I lose all power and it stops running. It has a new battery, so I know it is not the battery.  If you could tell me what my problem is and the part(s) I need to fix the problem.

This is an issue that would send me to the stator of the machine. If the machine is not sending a charging voltage then you have a problem right off the bat. The engine throws a small charge to the battery when it is running to keep it charged, but if this part is failing you will end up with the exact problem you are describing. I am not familiar with the HiSun’s electrical layout and have no way to look it up so you’ll need to contact the dealer who sold you the unit for a service manual to properly trace the charging wires out. Good luck with that. Probably should have bought two machines so you could have some spare parts.

Stuck Wheel
I have a 2000 Honda TRX 300 FW two-wheel drive ATV that has been used lightly but has been through water but not for long distances. I recently removed the front wheel to repair a flat tire and noticed that the hub is very difficult to rotate by hand. The opposite wheel is difficult to rotate and will not “free wheel" when I attempt to spin it like a bicycle wheel. Is this normal or do I need to replace the bearings and seals?

You have answered your very own question, my friend. Bearings can only take so much and before we realize it they have frozen up with water or even mud. If the beast is cleaned with a pressure washer of any kind it’s also possible to have forced water into the seals of the bearings and ruined them this way. Never let a machine be put up with mud coated all over it, as this just holds in the moisture and creates an even bigger problem. Bearings for this machine can be found in cheap or expensive versions, but I would say lean to the most you can afford. Cheap seals will have you replacing them again.

Off-Brand UTV
I have a 500cc UTV, Chinese made it's called a gorilla. I thought it was battery problem, replaced it still won't start. Lights work but no power to shifter indicter, lights or starter. Is there a hidden fuse somewhere? All panel fuses are good.

Ok, you asked for it. You should get a mirror and stare into the eyes of the person who made the most fatal flaw in UTV ownership. You bought a machine that probably has no support in the States, and if you needed parts you probably could not get them. Also, I bet there is no service manual available for this machine and the guy or gal who sold you the machine has no clue how to work on them because the bottom line of their business plan is to sell it and disappear. Now I know this is a bit harsh but if you had purchased a well-known brand from a major manufacturer you’d probably be riding the high trail instead of sitting in the garage with your face in your hands wishing you could just ride. Don’t be fooled by low pricing, because when you take money out of the bottom line you leave yourself disappointed. I cannot answer your question because I am simply not familiar with a UTV called the Gorilla. Good Luck and good day.

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
August 2013

July 2013

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