ATV AnswerMan - September 2016

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
Wiring headache and a gremlin infection

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Look For the Short

2009 SUZUKI LT-A400/F :It runs and will start but when I shut it off and I try to start it again it will not start. It cranks but no spark on plug. I cleaned all the ignition related connectors and put dielectric grease on them with a new plug but won’t start then a day later it starts what can it be it has only 200 Km need advice thank you

My first thought is to check the kill switch. There has to be a short somewhere and it will most likely be a real pain in the butt to find.

Attack of the Gremlins

My Polaris (2000 Sportsman 500) has started acting strange this summer. I don’t think it’s all related but here’s what’s going on. It first started starting in any gear. Then when you stop and get off for a second it moves, it used to would stay without moving until you pressed the gas again. The last time I rode it the brakes wouldn’t work but now they do. Lastly, now the key will not come out. Thanks in advance for your help! Kathy.

Whoa, sounds like a wet patch of gremlins has invaded your favorite off-road rig! I can say that starting in any gear isn’t an uncommon occurrence. It’s a blessing in disguise as long as you are a safe rider. Moving after you get off could be an idle high issue, so adjust the idle down and be sure to set the parking brake. As for the key not coming out, well that might be a switch that has twisted out of its position in the plastic and you may not be getting it turned off perfectly, which holds the key hostage. Good luck and keep on riding!

Beat Up Bear Tracker
Yamaha Bear Tracker

I have a 2003 Yamaha bear tracker 250 I replaced the clutch plates and bands. It worked great for 2 months now when you go forward it seems to drag almost like it’s in high gear. What could it be? I just ordered a centrifugal clutch.

There are many small things that could cause your problem. It could be anything from a maladjusted clutch to the clutch carrier assembly being worn out as well. It is not too uncommon for the clutch plates to wear and then clutch carrier pads that are bathed in the same oil become worn out as well. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I would think that if the oil smells burnt or has any discoloring that you really need to replace the fiber clutch plates and the three or four pads in the carrier as well. You did change the oil in the engine and flush it out before replacing the used parts, right?

Big Wheel Won’t Keep On Turning


I have a long question for you. I recently bought a Yamaha Big Wheel 200 in running condition. Ran pretty good. Ignition switch was non-functional and was always turned on. No key. Stopped the engine with the handlebar kill switch. I wanted the security of a key on the bike. I got a comparable 4 wire ignition switch (same 4 color coded wires). I installed it and wired it. The ignition switch works correctly. Key off, nothing will work. Key on, power on, starter spins correctly, etc. Engine will not fire.

I double-checked the ignition switch wires. They are wired correctly to the same color wires from previous ignition switch. Fuel petcock is on and carb is getting fuel.

I have now installed a new spark plug and cleaned the air filter. I have tried spinning the engine many times with the starter and have tried kick starter dozens of times.

Will not fire.

I thought maybe I pulled a wire loose or something while wiring the new ignition switch. All appear to be connected. I don’t think anything I did with the ignition switch would have affected the spark, but it acts like it is getting no spark.

Any suggestions????????????????????????????????????

Thank you

Kudos on the score of your Yamaha BW200. I bet it is fun to ride when it is running. My very first suggestion is to pull the plug wire and plug. Insert the plug in the wire and lay it against the head. Turn the engine over and see if it is actually getting any spark instead of guessing. There is a small tool available at some autopart stores that will plug inline so you do not have to pull the plug. That’s an easy way to see if it is sparking. Then you go down the line of fuel and then air to complete the explosion process in the cylinder!

Clicking Front End
Honda Foreman

Lately my four wheeler [2006 Honda Foreman 500] is clicking in the front when it’s under load so I jacked it up put it in 4-wheel drive hit the gas and I can stop the front wheels from moving do you believe I need new CV axles

The Foreman 500 is a great machine and rarely has issues with the front differential unless it has been abused and not serviced properly. The CV axles should be tight and the axle shafts should not rotate even a little when the wheels are on the ground. If I suspect a customers quad of having CV axle trouble I will jack the beast up and see if I feel or notice any abnormal grinding in the wheel while spinning the wheel individually. If I notice and any twisting of the CV boots or axle movement, that means the CV axle is loose. If a CV axle is popping when you turn left or right in a tight circle you will know it. That’s an easy way to expose an issue.

We Love an Easy Fix

2001 Arctic Cat 250 4WD – Having carbon problems. When I shut the cat down and leave the gas turned on. I come back a couple hours later and the motor is locked up. I can push it a few feet and it will act flooded but will eventually start. Runs like a champ afterward started. I can turn the gas off and it will start normally even days later. Pulled carburetor off once and found top of cylinder full of gas. I’m thinking needle and needs replacing but could the float be the problem? Maybe just a good cleaning?

I’d say with utmost certainty that you have one of two problems. The fuel is dirty and trash is hanging the float open or the needle and seat are bad and need to be replaced. It is not a hard job to install an inline fuel filter to cure the first problem and the needle and seat are easy to replace as well. If it were mine I would do both at the same time. One for insurance and one to remove headaches further down the road.

Sportsman Having Trouble after Long Sleep

I have a 1997 Polaris Sportsman 500 4×4 was fine when I parked it and let sit for the off-season. When I started it after a few seconds it started smoking. I removed the air box cover I found oil blowing in from one of the return lines any idea where I should start


Great question and one that is more complicated than you might think. There are many things that can go bad during the “off-Season” and drying of valve stem seals as well as rings sticking to pistons can be two of the issues. If it were mine I would inspect every vent line for the engine to be sure those mud carrying bugs haven’t plugged them up first and then dig deeper into the engine side of things. Simply checking the oil for correct level could reveal the issue and if you left the fuel petcock on it might have filled the crankcase with gas. If the oil level and quality checks out and you can push the beast outside you might just add a little Marvel Mystery Oil to the crankcase and let it warm up. The smoking might go away if the rings reseat themselves. Good luck!

Charging Issue
Honda Recon

Ok, I just got my 2007 Honda recon rear end fixed and I’m just getting to ride it. Well now my battery died a couple of times but that’s not the problem. When I try to charge it and then try to crank it she won’t start just a clicking noise but I found a new way today how to start was to put it in neutral and push it for a couple of seconds and shift it up to 1st gear. Then I put it back in neutral and then it cranks up just fine. Please help

I’d say the starter Solenoid could be the culprit. As for the charging, the regulator rectifier has been known to go bad and sometimes from people jumping the battery off with another battery or machine. Your OEM service manual has a very detailed process on testing that.

Wiring Headache

Hi my name is Colby I have a 2003 Polaris 600 twin. I changed the stator and all the wiring it came with and the coil that has the spark plug wires on it I got it started so I put it all back together and took it for a ride and while riding it I took it down a dirt road and just lost all power it cranks over just won’t start so I checked all the connections and they were all good what would you suggest looking at thanks again for taking time to read this

There is a great possibility you have a loose wire that just let go a little during your ride on the rough country road. Check and double-check the wiring again. You are missing it there somewhere! There is also the possibility that you have a chaffed wire from your stator install. If it was not all OEM replacements then you might be the owner of a bad set of electronics as well.

Rick Sosebee
Rick Sosebee

Whether he is in Mexico covering the Baja 1000, building ATVs for local racers, or out enjoying the trails, Rick’s passion shows in his stories. Learning to wrench his own machines from his grandfather, Rick also has an undying appreciation for the mechanics of off-road vehicles. Do not let the dirt and mud fool you, though, as Rick also has a deep love for street cars.

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