What is Wrong With the Starter on My ATV?

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
The ATV AnswerMan digs into a troubled Bombardier 800

What is Wrong with the Starter on My ATV? This is what one of our readers wants to know and the ATV AnswerMan is here to help.

Here is exactly what reader John asked the ATV AnswerMan, followed by his answer:

I’m working on a 2006 bombardier Rotax 800 HO model # 2h6b.

The starter button is not working. So I thought I could jump the starting [solenoid] to make it run but nooo. It tries to start but will not. I have spark and fuel but no good. I also tried to use starting fluid but as soon as you try to give it some gas it just acts like it is flooding out. Can you tell me [where] to start looking for the problem? Thanks and hope to talk to you soon.

It seems there might be a touch of frustration in the form of your email and I do get it. Getting into the finer points of the electronics (whether it is the starting issues or powered gremlins evading your reach or reasoning) is something that has happened more than once in this garage. But, let us take a step back and breathe for a few minutes to look at exactly what is happening.

Your machine is a very popular one and I actually own a 2006 Bombardier 800 (Now Can-Am) myself and have extensive experience with many different issues here. In regards to the start button issue: I would begin the investigation by pulling the switch off of the handlebar and delicately disassembling the control. There should be two Phillips head screws holding it together. This will give you an idea if the switch is bad or if corrosion has taken control inside. These can become vulnerable to moisture sometimes and especially if the quad has ever been crashed where the controls had taken a part of the beating.

Secondly you mention that the start button is not the only issue, but one you attribute to the pile of issues. Jumping across the start solenoid is a way of turning the engine over (though not an extremely safe one), but this is not what got my attention in the question. You mentioned that the engine would start but that it cuts out when you press the throttle. This tells me that there is a spark and fuel or at least the starting fluid is causing the engine to pop off a little. That is hopeful yet it tells me fuel delivery is restricted or maybe even nonexistent. This is where I would intently look into the fuel pump. These throttle body fuel injected systems should be forcing fuel down the intake and if you have to use a starting supplement to get the engine to hit then its possible that the fuel pump inside the tank is weak, bad or blocked.

You can find the fuel filter under the plastic side panel on the right side of the quad right at the hip section of the seat. I would pull the inline fuel filter off, put the fuel line from the tank into a safe container and simply turn the ignition on (do not try to start the vehicle). The pump should push some fuel into your container for a couple of seconds. This will tell you if it is working. The filter would be my next focus if the fuel pump does indeed work. At this point you simply follow the fuel up the fuel system line until you find what the problem is. It is possible, if the machine has sat for a long while not being ridden, that the injectors are semi-clogged with varnish. That’s an entirely different issue and one that requires either fuel cleaner in the gas or removal of the injector to either be replaced or to undergo ultrasonic chemical cleaning. Good Luck and let us know how it goes.

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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