Why is My UTV Not Moving After Making a Sudden Clanking Noise?

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
The ATV AnswerMan diagnoses an uncooperative UTV

Why is my UTV not moving after making a sudden clanking noise? That’s the gist of the question one of our readers wants an answer to.

Here’s exactly what reader Jerry asked the ATV AnswerMan, followed by his answer:

I have a BMS Motorsport 500 Ranch Pony UTV (it’s a generic Rhino). While driving it through the woods all of a sudden it made a clanking noise, jumped and would only move forward a few inches, it kept doing this. It was locked into four-wheel drive when this happened. Not sure what is causing the issues. I thought it might be the belt, but can’t see any issue with it.

Clanking and sudden jerking is never something you want to experience while out on the trail in your machine, but unfortunately it does happen to the best of us. I know you have given me the make as well as the model, but it is not clear just what happened leading up to the sudden stop. If I am reading your question correctly it sounds to me like there could be a middle drive gearing broken. The prop shaft that comes out of the transmission for both front and rear differentials is subject to breakage under heavy spike loads, such as sudden wheel spin combined with instant traction which can simply shear the gearing. If I were to send you to a place to start looking I would say jack the machine up and place it on some kind of stands so the wheels spin freely. After spinning the wheels individually and watching the driveline of both front and rear differentials you will see if there is an issue there.

My next move if this proves to give no good indication that it is broken would be to pull the CVT/Belt cover and inspect the clutch system completely. Has the clutch been serviced recently? Is the primary clutch seated on the shaft correctly? This may require a little disassembly to get a real good eyeball on it, but it’s just part of the process. Did the belt squeal at all before the machine began to have trouble moving? Even if the belt isn’t broken, the movable primary clutch sheave could be giving the trouble.

It is going to take some serious investigating, but these two starting points are sure to give you a very good idea of where the issue is.

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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