ATV AnswerMan - August 2015

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
Knocking engines, spark issues and more

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.

New Rancher with Big Problems

Hi I have a 2014 Honda rancher AT 420 It’s IRS with the auto/esp trans. Recently it’s gotten to where it’s stalls a lot before take off. For instance in reverse I gotta max the throttle out to get it to start moving, or if I get in sticky mud or dirt it will rev and not spin the tires. Also with the esp it will not shift pass 3rd after it warms up. It shows dashes. Any info would help me greatly. Thanks

This could be a host of issues and if I had to guess where to start I would be draining the oil out of the machine’s engine and transmission. The smells and discoloration of the oil can tell you many things about what is going on inside the engine. This engine is hydraulically shifted and needs proper fluids moving to make this happen. It sounds to me like you have some issues with the clutch system on this machine and you may need as little as an adjustment or possibly an overhaul. The clutch system is very complicated and is made up of three components. Any one of these can fail if not maintained or treated poorly. Drain the fluid and if its black, smells burnt or anything but crystal clear with a hint of light brown tint, then you need dealer help.

Clogged Jets
Baja Dune 150

I have a 2006-8 (cant tell what year exactly) baja dune 150cc, it idles fine but when i give it gas is sputters and cuts out unless i hammer the gas pedal. I thought it was the choke cutting out but it does that when i have the choke unplugged also. I have no clue what it may be and i work on cars everyday so that says Something. I bought a new carb when i got the buggy but it started acting up so please help.

Fueling is always a problem with gas motors. The fuel we get today is just waiting to varnish up inside the carburetor and has to be carefully monitored. I would look very closely at the jetting in the carb as I suspect you might have a clogged pilot or starter jet.

What’s a Kaskaksi?

I have a Kaskaksi 220.shifting to netural or getting it in reverse take several times moving the shifing lever several times. seems no specific sot helps. Your help would be geatlyy appropriated.

What the hell, man? You expect someone to follow this question and actually answer it? Even spell check was waving its hands in defeat! My eye is twitching now, thank you…

Boisterous Bayou
Kawasaki Bayou 300

I have a 99 bayou 300 4×4 that has an occasional tap/knock only when idling when it is cold that seems to be coming from the clutch area, if I raise the idle it stops making the noise. Here are a few other things that I have noticed: If I remove oil fill cap noise can be heard better, when I rev the rpms up I notice the oil level remains higher than if it was idling, i tried adjusting the clutch but when I turn adjusting screw clock wise it simply bottoms out before getting tight. Clutch does not slip, was trying to adjust to see if that would help with the noise.

Knocking, pinging, banging, tapping, clicking and yes, even rattling are not good noises from inside a motor. Loose valves, worn piston rings and even timing chains make these noises when an engine is cold. I would make a list of these and eliminate each one until I found the culprit. The timing chain has a mechanical tensioner that can also go awry and will allow the chain to smack the engine inside sometimes. Check the compression of the engine to determine if the rings are wasted. Valves are also notorious for noise when not properly set.

Sputtering Engine

Having issues with my 2002 atv arctic cat.back fires,spits and sputtered.has new gas,New plugs, I had valves checked they’s firing good.any ideas what it could be.also had caurbrater a 400

I will make an attempt to decipher your question as I see you made an effort (sort of) to submit a question. Here is the plain and simple truth my friend; if the engine gets proper gas, air and fire, the machine should run as intended by the manufacturer. I have been told thousands of times that “my machine is in perfect shape” and that the person asking the question has gone the extra mile to ensure this. But while throwing money at the problem they figure out that most items listed as replaced, rebuilt or new are not what they seem. Carburetors (proper spelling) are tricky and need great care to work properly. Simply dumping out old gas and debris will not get the extremely tiny ports clear and this is where your stumbling in the throttle could be coming from. If you do not know how to clean jets properly, then simply replace them. It is a lot less hassle in my personal opinion. Also, be sure that the air filter is clean and the exhaust has no leaks. Its takes every part of the engine system for the motor to run right.

Why am I filled with doubts today that our education system is working?

Outlaw Has No Spark

I bought an 06 outlaw 500 and there is no spark to the plug, I have changed the magneto, and the coil. The only thing i can think of it being is it not being in time which none of the timing marks are lining up with what I have found online. I was wanting to know if you would be able to assist me in how to get the timing set right or even an accurate picture of the way the timing marks are supposed to line up? Please help me if you can. Thank you very much.

This could be a very deep question, but to answer it quickly I would first tell you that timing has little to no effect on spark. A machine should produce fire on the plug regardless of timing. Now actual performance and engine run sequence would be affected by the improper timing. Sometimes the littlest things get us off the right path and if it were mine I would not only buy an Polaris service manual for future reference, but I would check for blown fuses, chaffed/grounded wires and also the plug cap itself as these things will affect spark. If the system has ever had a kill switch attached for racing purposes, then you might have a good lead on a potential problem right there. Check any and all ground wires also and let us know what you come up with.

Stalling Problem
Polaris Ranger 500

Hey my name is Shannon and I have a 2011 Polaris 500 EFI side by side. Lately it has started acting up. It runs fine at idle or about have throttle but if u press it to the floor it doesn’t go 50yds before it stalls out. Once it dies u can crank it right back up and it runs fine as long as u don’t floor it again then it will do the same thing. It also has an exhaust odor after it does this. Any help would b appreciated.

This is a good one. Have you inspected your air box to be sure you have a free flowing and clean air filter? Also be sure that the fuel tank does not have any foreign material such as water or trash inside. The fact that it will start right back up would make me think maybe you have a little water in the gas tank that only gets to the pickup when you floor it.

Why Won’t It Start?

I have a 2002 Polaris trailblazer 250 and i bought it non running. I had to put a new top end rebuild kit and new plug its getting spark and fuel and won’t start and timing is on it only has pull start because solenoid is bad and battery is bad please help me figure it out

Is the engine getting fuel into the cylinder? One thing you may try to see if the carb is giving the fuel for the fire is to take a very small mist of fuel into the cylinder and then try to pull it over a few times. It might be to your advantage to have a buddy handy when you are pulling so he or she can enjoy and share in the fun. Or simply replace your battery and use the start button. Either way you will need to get the motor spinning to get the gas into the cylinder, provided you have installed the piston and rings correctly. I would start there and if fuel is getting into the cylinder then look for spark issues at your spark plug.

Simple Answer…No
Honda Rubicon

I have a 2015 Honda rubicon and i was wanting to know if there was a way to either take the governor off or modify it to make it go faster because it tops out around 47mph Thanks

There is no way to dismantle the restrictions on speed for this machine. Sorry. If you want to race or fly into the record books as being one more someone who buys a machine not for its intended purpose, then you have won the fight my friend.

We’d Like to Help, But…

I have a 2009 foreman 500 4×4. I went riding last weekend and bike did great. Its been sitting in yard for past week and went to move it today and when i put in gear its making a LOUD clanking sound from motor..gear box im guessing. I dont get how it can break sitting still?? Plz help

I don’t get it either, my friend.

Listen to Your ATV
Can-Am Outlander 400

My name is Ethan I have a 2004 can am outlander 400 every time I try to start it, it will make a grinding noise. We already replaced the starter it still makes the grinding noise still any help would be appreciated.

I would check the oil out by draining it into a clean pan for inspection. I bet you’ll find some evidence of the grinding there. If the motor is a problem starter (play on words), then you could be in need of dealer service. Noises are included with every machine and if you do not properly service the engine they will get louder until the noise becomes a notice of intent to shut down as the motor throws its guts out into the grass under its wheels.

Pull Start Won’t Engage Engine

Hi this is Chris and I have a 1995 Polaris trail boss. I was riding it the other day and it stalled so I went to pull start because the starter doesn’t work but the cord wouldn’t retract so I took it off and the fixed it but it won’t retract smoothly but it still retracts so I put it back on to see if it would work but when I turned it all on and went to pull it the pulley just pulled and it didn’t even turn over and I tried it again it did the same thing. As far as the starter goes it just clicks when you hit the push start my dad thought it was the battery so we bought one and it didn’t do anything. I’m only 16 so idk much about quads and I bought it used. Any help would be useful

I would say you might have mixed up a step or two when working on your pull start mechanism if it is simply pulling out without turning the engine. Have you tried spinning the engine by hand or with a socket/ratchet yet to be sure that when it stalled that it did not grenade inside? If the rings are shot inside the engine, it will spin over very freely and you might mistake this for the pull cord not engaging. You act like we have known each other for years my friend. Who knows, maybe we have.

Hot ATV Battery

My 4wheeler will not run unless it has a hot battery. Does this ATV have an alternator with separate voltage regulator? Could the problem be in the stator? What should I check?

A hot battery, huh? Sounds like a problem for sure. I wish I knew what four-wheeler we were working on, because I could tell you exactly where you could get a good hot battery for it. If the alternator is not on the side of the motor right next to the Jackson rod case then you have a problem. You might just be out of ionizer fluid for the electrical wiring conductors.

Air Box Filling with Oil

Hi, i have a 2001 Polaris magnum 500 4×4 it blows oil in the air box from the clutch side tube please help

Is it possible that you have overfilled the crankcase by mistake? Also check that any vent lines from the engine are not crimped or blocked in any way as pressure can build up in the motor and with no way to escape it pushes oil out into the airbox. There is a small filter in a fitting on the bottom of the oil tank in the front of your quad that might be clogged as well. It could be a long evening, but search out all of the lines to be sure the system is breathing properly.

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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