You can write to Sarge at Troubleshooter, ATV Action, P.O. Box 957, Valencia, CA 91380-9057 or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
When sending e-mail, you must include full name, city and state. Also, be sure to put SARGE! in the subject line.
By Sarge McCoy
ROLL OVER, BIG RED
My Honda Big Red UTV has an
unusual starting problem. The starter
motor turns over much faster when the
engine is cold than when it is warm.
Sometimes it almost seems as if the
battery is failing. I took it to the dealer
and had the battery tested, and he said
it was okay. They are stumped. Sarge,
can you help me?
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Boot, I am surprised that your local
motor pool couldn’t diagnose your
problem. I, personally, have seen your
problem many times. Your problem is
located inside the starter motor. One of
your starter motor brushes overheated
and it started to decompose to dust.
This dust is burned into the starter
motor’s armature commutator when the
battery’s electricity passes through the
brushes to the commutator sections.
When the starter motor is cold, this
coating passes electricity much better
than when it is hot. When hot, this
coating is like an insulator. Less volts
and amps available to the armature
and it turns over more slowly. Remove
your starter motor and disassemble
the motor. Replace the brushes and
clean the copper commutator with
emery cloth and some WD- 40. Clean
the residue with contact cleaner and
reassemble. You will find your Zooter
will turn over much faster now. Report
to the mess tent, Boot, where they will
show you how to turn over a potato!
Laugh, Boot! Dismissed!
CAN I STRETCH IT A
owns two Honda
circa 1986. Yes, I
know they are kind
of old and not very
sporty, but they
do the job around
the farm and
camp. We would
like to stretch the
life of them a bit
more before finally
having to invest
in a new one.
One of the 350s
brake problems. The fronts no longer
work. You can pull the hand lever all
the way back to the handlebar and
nothing happens. The rears stick on
and won’t release. Sarge, can you help
us stretch a bit more life from these old
Adams, New York
Private Clear-cut, those Zooters
of yours aren’t run by rubber bands!
Laugh, Boot! I am actually surprised
that both of them do not have the same
problem! Your front brakes may simply
be out of adjustment. Remove the
rubber access plug on the side of the
front rims and rotate the rim until you
can see the star wheel adjuster. Use a
flat-blade screwdriver to turn the wheel
in the direction of the embossed arrow.
When you feel resistance, back off 1
prong. Do the other front wheel. You
should now have a firm hand lever. The
rear brakes are sticking either because
of the brake-pedal pivot being seized
to the frame pivot or the brake shoe
cam is seized in the brake backing
plate. To determine which, remove
the brake-adjusting rod from the brake
arm. With the brake pedal removed
from the rear brakes, see if the pedal
pivots freely. If it doesn’t, remove the
pedal from the frame and clean the
pivot and pedal, grease it and reinstall.
If you determine the problem is in the
brake itself, then the right rear wheel,
hub, brake drum and brake shoes must
be removed. Separate the brake lever
from the brake cam. Pound out the
cam from the brake backing plate and
clean and regrease the cam and pivot
hole. Reassemble, and everything should
work smoothly. For letting that fine Zooter
get that way, Boot, you will be digging the
entire company’s latrines with a teaspoon!
MY FIRST UTV FOR MY SON
I am looking for a UTV that has a
bench seat. My son is handicapped, and
he is wanting to ride ATVs with us. We
have tried dual seat quads at the dealer,
but I think that a UTV is the way to go.
If we can find one with a bench seat, I
can sit right beside my son to work the
pedals for him as he steers. What do you
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Private Fenderflap, I think it is admirable
that you are looking for a way for your son
to enjoy riding as much as you do. I would
suggest something like a Polaris 400
Ranger. It has a bench seat and enough
horsepower ( 29) to have some fun, but
not so much that it will get away from
your son. You might want to consider Pro-Armor’s aluminum half doors that would
positively keep your son’s feet inside the
cab better than soft fabric doors would.
Carry on, Boot! Dismissed!
BURNING THE MIDNIGHT RUBBER
I own a 2013 Yamaha Rhino, and it
seems that I have an abnormally short belt
life. I have tried to make sure all the clutch
parts are sliding/moving correctly, yet I
never get more than a few hundred miles
out of a factory belt. Do you have any
Ontario, New York
Private Lava Light, some people get
longer life from their SxS Zooters than
others. All things being equal, it can
usually be traced to the belt overheating.
Your Zooter has a restriction in its drive
snorkel that, while it won’t affect the
majority of riders, has become a problem
for a select few. Your Zooter has a 3-inch
intake port. That is then reduced to a 1
1⁄2-inch flex hose and then to a 1 1⁄2-inch
PVC pipe. The 1 1⁄2-inch flex pipe is the
restriction. Due to the construction of
the hose, it is actually closer to 1 1⁄8-inch,
because there is a boundary layer of dead
air that doesn’t move lying in and near the
accordion grooves. I would recommend
going from 3 to 2 inches all the way.
Twenty-five situps, Boot! Dismissed! o