ATV AnswerMan – March 2016

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
An ATV anatomy lesson highlights this month's AnswerMan

If you are having some trouble with your ATV or Side-by-Side, the ATV AnswerMan is here to help. Send an e-mail with your name, vehicle year, model and a detailed description of the problem to Just be sure to watch your spelling and write clearly, because it will be out there for the world to see.

Buyer’s Remorse

I just bought a 07 can am 4×4 400. The guy told me it had a built motor an lots of new parts. I got to his house, he rode it then i rode it and loaded it up and brought it home. The next morning went out choked it cranked it let it warm up drove it 3-mins and it sounded like the motor came apart in it. Some came out of the left snorkel. It has 3 snorkels on it and a fan relocation kit. It will crank sometimes and sometimes it will idle but nothing happens when I give it gas nothing it stays idle when it decides to crank then shuts off. I am a single dad of 3 kids I work hard for my money an don’t have much I just got my taxes back and me and my kids wanted a 4 wheeler to ride and bond with. I gave 3400 for this an only got to ride 3-mins please if any way can u help me. I called an asked the guy but he laughed and said I sold u a perfect 4 wheeler nothing I can do. Our bill of sale doesn’t say as is. Is there anything I can do to him? We live in Carrollton Ga he lives griffin ga. Thanks for any replies and help.

I would say as far as the seller of the machine goes, he’s off the hook and knows it. It doesn’t make this person good or innocent, but there’s really nothing you can do and legal recourse will most likely cost you more than it’s worth. If the engine still cranks and idles but you get no movement when the machine is in gear, I would pull the clutch cover off of the left side of the engine. This should be fairly simple on this machine. It sounds like you might have just destroyed the drive belt. If this is the case, be leery of just reinstalling a fresh belt. The clutches should be inspected for any debris. This could cause a new belt to just destroy itself within a few rides. Good luck.

Anatomy Lesson

I have a 2004 Suzuki Eiger, Quad runner 400 with manual shift and it won’t start I’ve done a compression teat and it’s running 33 PSI higher than the service manual calls for which is 142PsI. The valves are adjusted correctly, it’s getting good consistent spark and it is getting fuel. Are there any suggestions you may have for me to try. Thank you for any assistance you may provide.

I’ve never performed a compression “Teat” in my time and I wasn’t sure that there was even a “Teat” on that ATV, but I guess anything is possible! Sounds like there are all the correct items to create a running machine. How is the engine timing? That would be my next step.

Where There’s Smoke…
Arctic Cat 700

I have a 2007 arctic cat 700 4×4 it turns over but doesn’t start unless I pour gas directly in the carb. When it fires up it is pouring white smoke and spraying oil out the exhaust then dies like its not getting any gas. What could be the problem.

Engines that use carburetors need to have engine vacuum to pull the fuel into the engine. When the rings of an engine wear out not only does the engine lose vacuum, but it also allows the oil in the crankcase to slip by into the combustion chamber. The oil gets burnt in the combustion process and the smoke from the burning oil slips out of the exhaust. I’d check the compression of the engine (does your ATV have a compression teat?) and remember that both rings and valves effect the level of compression you will see. A bent valve can create low compression situations as well. Pick up a factory service manual and start checking those things out.

Another Problem Smoker

I have a Yamaha 660 rhino, 2005 model. I bought it used and called myself checking it out pretty good, mainly engine and tranny. I changed the oil and the next time I cranked it, after it sat overnight, it smoked bad! Now I had had it a couple of weeks and this never happened. My son told me about it cause he had taken it hunting. Checked the oil and it was low. Now I had just changed it so it was full. It wasn’t even on the stick on level ground. Filled the oil back up and have ridden it numerous times (10-15) and it has only smoked once. Oil level is fine. It has never smoked while riding, only when you crank it and then not very often! What gives? Leaking valve seat or what? Thanks in advance for any help!

Honestly, Who knows? A smoking motor of any kind can be due to rings, valves or valve stem seals. Consider everything that has to be filled with oil when refilling during a change. The oil filter, oil cooler lines and cooler etc will suck up oil and its best to keep a check on the level for a few minutes right after the oil change. I would just be sure the engine is filled properly and ride the beast. Just know that the machine is almost 10 plus years old so the engine may be tired and ready for an overhaul soon if it has not been opened up recently.

More Information, Please
Honda TRX450R

I have a 05 Honda 450r and it’s in perfect shape and runs great except one thing. Every time I get to about 3/4 open throttle in any gear it wants to bog down and stops accelerating. I don’t know what’s wrong and would appreciate your help.

There are many things that can cause this situation. The first thing I think of is fuel or air starvation. Have you put an aftermarket exhaust on the machine? Have you jetted the carburetor recently? Is the air box stock and contain the stock lid? I need to know if you have made any of these changes to give you a direction to go.

Busted Axle Shaft

2001 Polaris 325 expedition 4×4

My left rear wheel bearing went bad and the axle shaft broke it is a solid shaft at least on the left side. The axle shaft broke in half. I cannot find a repair kit, a rebuild kit. I cannot find anything to fix this axle please tell me where I can look, or where I can get one. My mom gave me the four wheeler for free be cause we can not find a parts site that carries any of the axle parts, only for the sportsman, and I just need to know where i can go and what I can do to fix it please and thank you.

Depending on how much cash you have on hand you can get the solid axle shaft from your local dealer or even order it online. It appears that the axle is about $240 from Polaris on average, but you my find it on eBay or other aftermarket sites at a slightly better price. The part number is 5131862. If you have not replaced the bearings yet I would look at both bearings and seals.

Mud Machine Backfiring
Arctic Cat Mud Pro

Hi, I have a question about my 2012 mudpro 700 I just bought it and I have no power it idles fine but when I rev it up it backfires and seems like it floods and my other problem is that the clutch doesn’t stop spinning even on neutral. Could you help me?

I wish I had just a little more information about how it runs while in gear. The lack of power could be from low compression or lack of fuel or air. Slightly bent valves can also contribute to the lack of power by lowering operating compression as well. Since these machines are made for the mud I would be very cautious and perform some key tests to get to the issue. Get an OEM Arctic Cat service manual to guide you, but for the first test I would look at fuel. Drain the tank to be sure there is no debris or water in the system. Check for a fuel filter somewhere inline past the tank to the fuel injector as there could be a restriction there somewhere. Also run a fuel system cleaner such as Liquid performances Ethanol Equalizer through the system in case any varnish has formed internally. As for the clutch, it will always spin as it is connected to the crankshaft.

Engine Cutting Out

Goodly morning to you,

I have a Kawasaki klf 250 atv, which I have had for a couple of years. Its a 2007 model. It runs absolutely fine…once it’s running. Often when I start it, it dies out after a couple of seconds. Its often worse if I give it some revs, but sometimes if I can time it right, the revs keep it going. usually takes 3-4 start starts before it stays running. then for the first 2-3 mins I have to keep a little gas on all the time, because if I let the gas off completely, it will cut out again…any ideas what the issue may be?

Many thanks

Well Goodly morning to you! The simple answer is that these engines are just as grouchy as we are in the morning and when they are first started some just do not like to stay running until they are warmed up. It is just something you will have to deal with. Try pulling the choke just a tad and let it warm up until it stumbles with the choke on. That should help you get her going a little faster.

Repaired Rancher Making Noise
Honda Rancher

I have a 2000 Honda rancher 350 I just had the front differential replaced and the left wheel bearing now it makes a noise when slowing down similar to a winding down not quite a grinding I wasn’t sure if this is normal or if I should take it back to the person I had repair it

I would most definitely return to the mechanic for a once over. Be sure there is differential fluid in the new diff. If the differential had been rebuilt and the pinion and ring gears are not shimmed properly then it will make noise. Sounds like the differential gearing could be too tight internally.

Clutch Repair On A Budget

Hi I’m Luke I have a 2003 Suzuki LT-Z400 and just a few weeks ago started having a problem. When I shift out of first into second it sounds like it is still in first and third gear does the same. Is this a clutch problem? Can it be fixed for cheap?

Lets be clear, owning an ATV is never cheap and if it is the machine usually does not run long! Clutch components are relatively inexpensive, providing the clutch and engine have been properly maintained. I’d say you will be looking at about a cool $100 to get the beast back in shape providing you’re doing the work to replace it.

Strip Tease
Kawasaki Brute Force 300

I have a Kawasaki brute force 300 2×4 I cant get my top of my brake fluid screws loose with out stripping the head.

These little screws require some finesse for sure. They also require a very well fitted screwdriver to get even pressure on all sides to get them out. If the centers are stripped then the process gets a little complicated from here. Using a small sharp pointed center punch you may be able to get them free. Holding the punch at an angle (45 degrees or So) to the top face of the screw the sharp point should dig into the edge of the screw enough to loosen it. Remember this though – righty tighty, lefty loosey. I would ask a seasoned mechanic for help if you have never performed this kind of surgery as you can ruin the fluid reservoir easily if your not careful.

Vague Question Of The Week

Ok my can am has a grindin noise when I drive it and it wants to kick in gear when I rev it up in neutral

Vague Answer Of The Week – You might have clutch issues.

Raptor Not Running Right
Yamaha Raptor

I just bored my 2002 Yamaha 660 raptor .5 over and am having problems getting it running right. The carburetor is jetted the highest it will go, and everything is to spec.

So did you perform the overhaul? It doesn’t seem like a lot for a machine that is almost 14 years old. Jetting a carburetor doesn’t always mean gutting the carburetor to its max. That almost never makes the machine run better. There is a real possibility that the machine is getting too much fuel, not enough air or a good combination of both. Is the air box lid still on the machine? Has it been modified? Does it have the stock exhaust? All of these things affect the way a machine runs.

Check Your Switch


Two days ago I had my 2007 arctic cat out driving it while hunting and the computer on the handle bars won’t shut off now by the switch. It showed a VOLT light on the computer but then it went away. I’ve replaced the battery and cleaned all the connectors. What would be causing this not to shut off?

Well, I am no scientist but maybe it is a switch issue? When you pulled the battery cables off I am assuming it just came on when they were reconnected? If there is any moisture in the switch it could be shorting the switch, causing it to stay powered up.

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Hi I have a 2004 baja Motorsport blaster and every time I shift up and accelerate and down shift it starts to rattle am solution?

Rattles are common on cheap ATVs and should be diagnosed with a rattle chart from the manufacturer. Each rattle gets a different grade and one single rattle does not indicate a major problem. The most common are as listed below.




Boomm-shocka-locka (if you ever get this one with a hiss afterwards then you will need muffler bearings)



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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