ATV AnswerMan - May 2016

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
Brakes are not optional!

Have an ATV or Side-by-Side tech question for the ATV AnswerMan? Send an e-mail with your name, vehicle year, model and a detailed description of the problem to ATV AnswerMan. Just be sure to watch your spelling and write clearly, because it will be out there for the world to see.

Stop Everything and Fix Your Brakes!

Hi!!! My name is Donna and I recently bought a 2006 Honda Rancher that I was told only needed new brakes, which I also purchased and had some hiccups along the way. So far everything on it does seem to be fine, but I’m worried I may have damaged something. I was riding up hill in an area I have rode many times, typically I come up in 2-3rd gear. I had stopped at the bottom of the hill and misjudged the gear I was in (no electronic display). I also am still having the breaks worked on because someone stripped my master cylinder screws and since it couldn’t be bled they just didn’t put them in, so I am just driving it around my home area not more than 20-30 mph so if going up hill I can’t stop or will roll backwards!!! Up hill it didn’t feel like it was pulling right so I lowered the gear, which actually made it jerk forward as I continued up it still seemed to be off with the way it was driving and sounding. right at the top on the steepest part of the hill it was whining pretty bad and for just a brief moment I smelled an oil burning type smell. right after which i was at the top of the hill and able to get it back on level ground and the smell was gone and it seems to be driving fine. I am a woman and don’t know much about atv repair. I am hoping the fact that it isn’t smoking and still seems to be driving fine is a good sign, but didn’t know if I may have caused some chain of events that will result in issues later on. I know I shouldn’t be driving around without brakes too this is the perfect example why!!! Please let me know if there is anything I can do to also help prevent any issues this could have cause, like fresh oil or transmission stuff? Thanks guys!!!

No brakes gives you NO BRAKES! Accidents happen way too fast even at 5 MPH, so never ever ride without brakes. As for the smells and smoky exhaust, this could be anything from an overheating engine to worn rings or possibly valve stem seals leaking. A good compression test when the engine is warmed up would eliminate the rings issue, but it is sometimes impossible to pinpoint an oil smell unless there is absolute visual evidence of oil leaking onto the exhaust. My suggestion to you is to have the brakes fixed first and then have a powersports mechanic look into the health of your engine.

Bombardier Rally Stalling

I have (2) 2005 rally’s with the same problem. They stall sometimes when going through puddles or small creeks. The water depth varies from a few inches to 1 foot. I’ve tried going very slow and it still happens sometimes but not all the time. There is a sensor for the oil temp and water temp that is in front of the engine. Could this be shorting out? Any ideas would be appreciated. Mike

My first thought is that these are carbureted engines so there is a possibility that a vent line is getting covered by the water and not allowing the fuel to be pulled in correctly. I would start there first. As far as the wiring issues go, I would definitely make sure that there are no bare wires or wiring that is rubbing together, etc. I’m leaning to a fueling issue, though.

Drive Belt Problem
Arctic Cat 500

I have a 2005 arctic cat 500 4×4 automatic it cranks right up but when I try to put it in any gear it won’t move unless I get on it even then it doesn’t go as fast as it should for as loud as it’s being


You might just have a CVT drive belt problem. If the belt is slipping, it will behave exactly like you explained. Now it might be the belt itself or there could be issues with the drive or driven sheaves/pulleys on the machine. I’d say it is time to have a pro look it over.

Complicated Clutch System

I recently Acquired It (2003 Honda 650) through a trade It’s the first ATV I’ve ever owned but I’m pretty knowledgeable Of any kind of mechanics on a Car or truck. So I question is when I go to put into drive it’s grinds But it will go into reverse it doesn’t have an automatic and annual transmission I also cleaned the carb recently Any idea what might be the issue?

The clutching system in this machine is pretty complex and can be complicated for any mechanic. If any of the three different multi-pack clutch system components are worn out or broken it could give the entire machine grief. It sounds like you either have the engine idled too high or a clutch system that is going to the grave. Like I said, this system is very complicated and should be serviced by a Honda dealer. Drain the oil into a pan and see if it has any metallic coloring or burnt smells. This should give you an idea of the severity of the problem.

Come Again?
Polaris Ranger 500

Polaris ranger 500 2×4 runs for about 10 minutes and stalls out if you choke it, it well start but die again and well not restart .I have replace everything but the carburetor, clean the tank, new fuel filter , took apart the carburetor and clean it . When it start acting up it all most like it not getting gas. Order a new carburetor hope this will help. Have not replace the fuel pump but the old one seem to be working it electric I can heard it running.

I’d love to know what year this machine is because if it’s carbureted yet has an electric fuel pump then it is most likely not carbureted. Why could it not have a fuel pump if it is carbureted, you ask? Well, if you pressurize the fuel line to a carb then it will most likely just blow fuel through the float needle and flood the ground around your machine as well as the cylinder of the machine with gas. Also, I have not found a fuel-injected machine yet with a choke. I’m not sure you were sober when you wrote this question, so I’ll give you a little leeway here. Here is my suggestion: since it is clear that you may not have a grip on what is going on with the machine or even what kind of machine it is outside of being a Polaris and I am laughing so hard that I cannot begin to come up with a good response, just take it to a dealer for help.

Buyer Beware

I have a side by side Chinese model xiny xinyan 2007. It recently started to die when going over 25 miles per hour. If we let it sit for a few minuets it starts back up. We have change the fuel filter and pump but it still sputters and tries to die at higher speeds. Every time this happens the break lights stop working?? O confused could you offer some ideas??

I’m so sorry you were duped into buying this junk. Sounds like a coil or worse electrical problem.

The Manual Is Your Friend
QLINK Frontrunner

Hello. Been working a 2010 Q-link front runner 700cc rhino clone. I am having a bad issue with the carb being blow off when trying to start up. Just rebuilt the top end new rings and timing chain. Timing is TDC. Valves are set right, even cleaned the carb, still back fires thou the carb blowing it off the boot with or with out air box hooked up to it. Been at it for the week now still no luck. Any help would be great. Thanks.

I’m almost positive that TDC is a step in assuring the timing is correct and not a timing setting. I would get into a good service manual, providing it is available, and see exactly where the valves and timing is set to eliminate that issue first.

Big Bear Having Trouble Breathing

Hi answerman,

I don’t know what to do next? I’ve got a 5/90 Yamaha big bear 350cc (I guess that makes it a ’91 ?) Anyway, the mid range throttle is missing like crazy. Idle is good, and of course full throttle is no problem. I understand that the main needle is for the mid-range. Why oh why is it running so rough? The carb was thoroughly cleaned a number of times. So what I’m asking is, should the main needle be sloppy in the slide? After I cleaned the carb it seemed to run ok, but shortly after it runs rough again. I think it’s taking in too much fuel at mid-range because I pulled the plug and it was black, on a new plug. Again, should the needle be loose in the slide? Or is that even the problem? I’m using clean gas. Any help would be most appreciated!

Hopefully you realize that the engine needs air to run properly as well. Stumbling at mid to high range could be any number of things, but here are a few places to start. This information is, of course, only good providing you have a full stock exhaust and air cleaner. So start with the air filter and be sure it is clean and unrestricted. This means the air box inlet needs to be clear of debris as well. Also be sure the air/fuel mixture screw is set to factory specifications. Once past this point be sure the coil is putting out good spark once the engine is warmed up. This should get you close.

Interchangeable Clutch?
Bennche Bighorn 700

Hi my name is Luke. I have a 2013 Bennche Bighorn 700. My clutch seems to slip quite a bit in high gear. I was wondering if the clutch on this machine might be interchangeable with any of the clutches from higher end machines such as the rhino or ranger or rzr. Thanks in advance.

There is a great possibility that it is the same as a Yamaha Rhino 700 as the Bennche is actually made by Hisun, which uses many copied parts from these Yamaha vehicles. If you know the dealer from where you purchased the machine they may offer service manuals for their machines. But it’s not likely an easy task.

You Already Know The Answer!

I have a lt250r Suzuki 1986 and it won’t start I think it’s because I was not mixing enough oil with the gas I was putting 2 oz but they said it was 4 oz after.

Seems like you know you’re guilty and have found out the consequences for your careless intentions to know your machine.

Outlander Bogging Down
Outlander 400

It (2006 bombardier 400 outlander xt) will start and run short distance then bogs down back fires then quits won’t restart until it cools off I changed the fuel pump (vacume type) sprayed the carburetor with cleaner nothing helps. Any suggestions

You could possibly have an issue with engine compression. The engine warms up, looses any effective compression and then quits from lack of fuel being pulled into the engine.

Mystery Machine

About 2 yrs ago I was in a steep incline with my bike and was in 4wd I had some additional weight on the front and rear racks of the bike . When I tried to come out of the incline I wasn’t sure if I was going to come out so I hammered the throttle pretty hard and heard a snap from the front of the bike in the either transfer case or out drives. Got the bike back on level ground and drove it back to my home without any further issues. Over time there has been a click noise that has gotten worse while in 4wd and usually happens when deceleration occurs and the bikes steering pulls to the right noticeably. This problem does not exist while in 2wd but there is a clicking noise that is noticeable coming from the front end. Recently changed the left front outer cv joint an no change next would be to pull the right front and inspect that side. Have you experienced this type of problem and what would your remedy be. It seems as a gear or piece a metal may have broke but it seems that would have locked the front up making it in-operable until repair.

It would be good to know what kind of machine you have but I can see some of the problem in your inquiry. In my humble opinion you may have either an additional CV joint broken or it is worn causing the clicking. There is a possibility that you also damaged the front differential in the machine. I would drain the front diff oil and see if there are any chunks of metal or even shavings that could give away a failing internal part.

Aging King Quad Needs Some Love
1995 KingQuad


I have a 1995 Suzuki King Quad and it runs like a champ. I try to keep pretty good maintenance on it and just the other day the (clutch?) started slipping while I was pulling a trailer around the yard. I had maybe 200lbs in the trailer. After I unloaded the trailer I decided to hold the brakes while in gear and try to accelerate. I definitely felt the clutch slipping at that time. The question I have is it possible to narrow it down to either the Primary Gear Drum, (which shows sign of heat on the outer ring), the centrifugal clutch, (which you can see very small parts of the friction material missing, but appears to have plenty of pad left 1/8″ or so) or possibly the clutch disc pack (which can’t be seen until removed)? I am fairly mechanical and do most of my own repairs, but this on has me stumped. I’m thinking it would probably just be best to replace all three items, but I’ve never done a clutch disc pack before. Do you have any thoughts or insight on how to narrow down the issue?

Thanks in advance,

You have my confidence in your decision to replace all three worn parts. You are so close once the engine is opened up that it would just be a disservice to yourself to not go that route. All of these parts are aging fast and will only get worse if a good part is thrown into the mix of old worn parts.

More KingQuad Concerns

Why does our suzuki king quad, 1995, 4×4 just quit. Always restarts, goes along a way then quits. Why?

There could be a small amount of water in the gas tank that only gets swished around from time to time and finds its way inside the carburetor. Start there!

What Do Mean “Used to Be?”
KingQuad 750

I have a 2012 Suzuki Kingquad 750 axi..recently I went for a ride and was gone about 30 min. My 4 wheeler suddenly stopped and would not start back. U haven’t had any problems with it thus I began to check fuses and relays , gas , and when I looked under it I noticed a milky substance dripping from where the oil drain plug used to be.. I towed it home and put it in a smaller 4 wheeler shop. They checked the compression and valve clearances everything checked out good but the motor wouldn’t will turn over but wants to backfire through the carb.. any suggestions at this point would be greatly appreciated.

It surprises me that you are stating that there is a milky substance where the oil plug used to be!” This should be an indication that the engine may not be in great shape at all. I’d say you have some internal problems that cannot be repaired by the smaller ATV shop.

Setting The Back-Lash

I have a 2006 cub cadet volunteer. I need to set backlash, but I cant find location on machine to do this. Can you tell me where the backlash adjustment screw is?

If you are speaking about Back-Lash on the front or rear differentials then you will find that adjustment screw to be very small and close to the pinion shaft on the diff housing. This is what I have from Cub Cadet:

Backlash Adjustment

  1. Using a 5/32” Allen wrench, turn the socket head cap screw (located inside the hollowed out round boss protruding from the output cover) clockwise until it will not move any more (do not apply a lot of torque). At this point, you should not be able to turn the pinion gear (part Page 5). Do not tighten the screw.
  2. Now, slowly turn the backlash cap screw counter-clockwise while turning the pinion gear at the same time. Keep slowly turning the backlash cap screw until the pinion gear can rotate (4) times (1 revolution of the ring gear) freely without any tight spots. You should only have to turn the backlash cap screw between 1/8 and 1/4 of a turn to have the proper backlash set.

Hopefully you are all ready to ride for the summer season and I am as well. Be sure the gas cans you use are clean and always use fresh gasoline. Hope to see you on the trails!

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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