ATV AnswerMan – December 2014

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
Our expert helps you with your ATV and UTV problems

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, Attn: ATV AnswerMan. Just be sure to watch your spelling and write clearly, because it will be out there for the world to see.

Sputtering Cat

Hello, My name is Dawson and I have a 1996 Arctic Cat 454 4×4. I bought it a few months back from a man who said that he had let it sit in the rain and a seal had went bad on the fuel gauge so it went down into the carburetor and messed up the float valve. I changed the oil in the machine, replaced the float valve and seat, cleaned the whole rest of the carburetor and ran some sea foam through it and it ran pretty good for a while. But then just recently i took it down the road and it ran fine. I brought it back to the house turned it off for a minute, cranked up and took off again. But I didn’t make it more than 500 yards when it started sputtering like it was being flooded. It had done this before so I revved up the engine trying to clear it out but it wouldn’t rev up. It just kept sputtering like it wanted to die, it backfired a little bit as well. But ever since all it will do is idle. And I can’t get anything above that without sputtering and stalling. I tried cleaning the carb again, running fresh fuel through it, changing spark plug because it was all blacked up, took off the air cleaner thinking it might have been to dirty. But it still won’t run. And today, I can’t get it to idle without the choke on, and if I just touch the gas it dies. If you might know what the problem would be I would appreciate since I really don’t want to take it to the dealer.



Well, it seems pretty clear that the fuel or fuel delivery is the problem. Finding the issue with the fuel could be a challenge. Here is a quick tip for machines that have to be choked to run. The small jet inside the carb float bowl that contributes to fuel delivery on start-up is called different names. Primary jet or Starter jet are just a couple. The primary jet gives the engine a small spray of fuel to actually start and idle. If this small hole in the jet is clogged in any way it will not run well without the help of the choke. My suggestion is to simply replace this jet with a new one. It is about $5-$10 dollars and this will give you a great start to any other issues. With the Arctic Cat tanks having issues with the manual fuel level gauge leaking, it is not uncommon to get water in the fuel so if the problem persists check the gas for water.

Honda Rancher Sound Effects

Hi my name is Donnie, my question is: I have a 2003 Honda rancher 350. I was riding the other day and started hearing a ringing that sounds like it is coming from the top end. Any ideas?



It would be hard for me to diagnose what kind of sound you have coming from the engine as well as what is its actually attributed too over email. My suggestion is to first check the oil for any gray or metallic material. Changing the oil will tell you if there is any immediate problem to address. After that, I would be sure the front or rear brakes are not hanging up, creating the mysterious squeal. The sound can travel from places you wouldn’t expect. If you need to inspect the Valve train there are only four bolts holding the cover on top of the head. Just be sure the machine is clean first so no dirt or mud gets inside.

Outraged with Outlander Clutch

My 2011 Outlander has a clutch that is AWFUL!!! It is almost impossible to get a smooth start, my wife hate’s it, and I have divots all over the driveway where the back tires spun every time I move the thing. There is great power after the rude start. Is there any way to adjust it, to make the clutch more livable?

thanks allen

There are several possible problems. If it were mine I would pull the CVT cover and inspect the belt. A belt that is worn or has slipped at anytime could create the sudden jerking in the transmission. If the drive or driven clutch has issues from trash or corrosion they will not work well.

More Clutch Confusion

Honda trx 420 trail edition 2011

It feels like the quad keep kicking into neutral. At first it’s was an occasional thing. Maybe a one off type deal I was hoping. Went out on a trip and it got worse. Any time it needs torque like starting off in 1st, 2nd and even third. Going up hills. Hitting small puddles. It’s like a clutch is engaging the rpm go up and quad slows down.


This machine has a dual clutch system with a centrifugal clutch and traditional metal/fiber clutch plates. If you drain the transmission oil I bet you will find the answer to your problem. If you are mechanically inclined I suggest getting a Honda service manual and digging in but if not the local dealer can replace it for you.

Magnum P.U.

I have a Polaris 2004 magnum 4by4 that will not run faster than 25 mph. We worked on the carb and replaced several parts. It starts, runs good but will not run over 25. It used to go 45. What can be the problem?

Any help will be much appreciated.


Has this machine ever had issues with the belt drive? If the sheaves on either the drive or driven clutch get stuck the machine will not accelerate. If the drive belt has ever broken and been changed there is a possibility that some debris is jamming up the proper operation of the clutch system. It’s worth the time to remove the clutch cover and inspect the clutch system. A good service manual will help you evaluate the system and provide possible repairs.

Forward-Thinking Suzuki

I have 04 Suzuki 400 i can’t get it in neutral or reverse do i have to take it apart to fix the problem thank you


Is this an LTZ400 sport machine? If so, it is possible that you may have to open the transmission. I would start with the clutch side of the engine first. The clutch cover can be removed relatively easily and it will reveal the shifting shaft on the lower left or backside of the engine. If anything has become loose or jammed up this would be the first place to see it. Again, a good service manual will be invaluable for this process.

Rally 200 Firing Problem

Have a bombardier rally 200 firing at the wrong time. I have checked the timing and valves. At Top Dead Center the valves are perfect. Timing chain is tight. Plug is good and has spark. Carburetor is clean. Is there any way to test the ecu? Or maybe the coil?


How do you suspect it is firing at the wrong time? What does the machine do that makes you believe it is wrong? A weak battery can cause a stumbling effect due to lack of power to the ignition in these machines. Bad fuel can also cause this stumbling symptom. I would check these two first. There are ways to test the coil as well as the ECU but it should be viewed as a last resort in this case and explaining it is a story in itself.

Rough Start for KingQuad

Hi I have a king quad 750 sometimes when you hit the starter it is hard starting then starts with a real bang if you just keep holding the button


It would be helpful to know the year of this machine even though they have been basically the same for some time now. The Suzuki KingQuad 750 engine was built starting in 2007 with fuel injection so it should fire relatively quickly. There are three things needed to start: fuel, air and fire. Be sure the plugs are good as well. Hard starting can also be a problem caused by valves that need adjustment or fuel that is going bad. If you have any contaminants in the fuel such as water there will be trouble when starting. The fact that our quads suffer from Ethanol poisoning everyday we pump gas into our machines does not help either. Start with these few things and I bet you’ll find the problem.

Mule Struggling with 4WD

My UTV slips out of gear when in 4-wheel drive. It is a 2003 Kawasaki mule.


I will need to know the model of Mule you have, Ed, but I’ll take a guess. The Mule produces most of its torque in low gear and 4WD so there is a lot of stress on the belt. Chances are you have a belt problem of the slipping variety. Start there first and if the belt is in good condition then look into the shifting mechanism as it may need adjusting to get the machine fully into a drive gear.

Ozark Crank Case Repair

Good afternoon I have a 2004 lt 250 ozark I believe I bought this fourwheeler. Inside the crank case the houseing for the starter gear and fly wheel it broke at the top and bottom I was wondering if that house can be changed with out me having to buy the full casing or can I weld a piece of metal on top and the bottom can’t afford the casing for it hope u can help me out


So you’re not sure of the ATV you have and you’re asking me to figure out what is wrong with it or are you telling me you can’t believe you bought the four-wheeler? First off, the casings are made of aluminum so repair is sketchy at best. These cases are split into two pieces so it is possible that you can replace just the side that is broken. Buying a used case is always an option.

Vague Question of the Month – 1st Runner Up

I’m having problems with my 4 wheeler I bought it a month ago the guy said it was the starter that was bad. I bought a new starter and it’s still not turning I can pull it with a truck and it will cranks right up. Can you please help???


Most commonly the wiring will be the big problem in situations like this. The fact that there is limited information given on the ATV makes it a little harder for me to pinpoint a possible place to begin a search for problems. My question to you is, does the starter spin at all? Have you verified that the starter works by engaging it before installing it into the machine? Look for any fusible links as well as problems in the starter button on the bars. Corrosion could prevent the connection needed to spin the starter. Also be sure the starter has a solid ground connection and a positive lead connection. Good Luck!

Vague Question of the Month – Winner!

Need help with my 2006 Honda Rancher


I need to know why you need help with your Rancher. Is it sick? Did it steal too much gas money? Are the tires flat?

A Plea from the AnswerMan

Just a quick note on basic information I need to help really get close to a cure for your machines. Please fill this out in the subject or body of your letter and I can get some scenerios rolling for you.

Year: When is its birth year?

Make: Who makes it?

Model: There could be several so be sure to list yours specifically!

Symptoms: What is the machine having trouble with.

This basic info helps me help you! Now go ride and take someone with you. And if you see Betsy, she needs help so be sure to step in!

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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