You can write to Sarge at Troubleshooter, ATV Action, P.O. Box 958, Valencia, CA 91380-9058 or via e-mail: email@example.com.
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
WHAT I THINK I NEED IS…
I need some advice. I have been
lucky enough to purchase an almost-
new 2007 400EX for trail riding in
the coal-tailing hills of Pennsylvania.
I believe the motor is up to the task.
What I think I need is shocks, tires and
maybe nerf bars. Sarge, what is your
Private Wheelman, I have ridden
those very trails, and you may not
need any different suspension. If your
Zooter is as “new” as you say it is,
then the factory suspension may be
good enough until it gets tired. Those
trails are not that open, so speeds are
moderate, and the hills are very steep
and very smooth. If it was me, Boot, I
would start by testing and tuning what
I had. If you ride aggressively enough
to bottom the suspension frequently or
make it fade, you’ll want to consider
better aftermarket shocks. Even if
the stock suspension works for your
weight and riding style, the shock oil
will break down with use. The stock
400EX rear shock can be serviced, but
the fronts are not rebuildable. When
the components get tired, you can get
rebuildable, high-performance front
shocks from Elka or Race Tech for
around $600 a pair. Race Tech can
change the oil and replace the worn
parts in the rear shock. What I would
recommend for tires are Maxxis Razrs
for those “coal-tailing” hills. You can
get by without nerf bars on a woods
machine, unless you and your riding
buddies do a lot of close racing. I need
50, Boot, for believing aftermarket hype
and another 50 for nerf bars on a trail-riding Zooter! Dismissed!
SHOULD A UTV REALLY BE CALLED AN
I used to think you guys gave an
honest review of every four-wheeler you
test. But I think these side-by-sides, or
“UTVs” as you call them, are closer to
a small Jeep than a four-wheel ATV.
If you want to test these machines,
shouldn’t they be put in their own
publication instead of diluting your four-wheeler base of readers?
“Diluting our four-wheeler base”?
What kind of new-age doublespeak is
that, Boot? Do you even remember
when we were called 3- & 4-Wheel
Action We covered the transition of
the industry and consumers from three-wheelers to four-wheelers. Currently we
are following the trend toward UTVs,
but we haven’t forgotten our roots,
and we still jump at the chance to
throw a leg over a three-wheeler. Boot,
you seem to have forgotten what the
“A” and “T” of “ATV” stands for—all
terrain. Two-, three-, four-, six- and
eight-wheelers—we have tested them
all. Our base of readers are all ATV
enthusiasts—ATV purists like you—and
UTV drivers, including many who also
I am at my wits’ end with this 350
ES Honda Rancher. All of my attempts
to repair my electric shifting have been
met with failure. I was experiencing
the classic “stuck in gear” and had to
use the manual shift lever. I have been
following the recommendations of the
local Honda shop and have replaced
the shift sensor, ECM and the wiring
harness. I am now out over $300 and a
bunch of time, and I still can’t shift. I am
an electrical engineer and have studied
the electrical schematic of the shifting
system closely, and I don’t see anything
wrong. Sarge, I hope you can help me
with this problem, or it’s going down
Sulphur Springs, Texas
Private Hothouse, with your
credentials, I can be relatively assured
the wiring is correct and the related
components test out okay. What you
are left with is right in front of your
eyes, yet it can be overlooked easily.
Honda used aluminum for some of
their electrical connectors. With a
little corrosion, you get aluminum
oxide. Aluminum oxide is an insulator.
Disconnect every related electrical
connector, clean the connector and
coat each connector with a corrosion-
inhibiting paste for aluminum, such as
Pentatrox, Mac Tex inhibiting compound
or Nolox. Put everything back together,
and I can almost guarantee your ES
Zooter will ES again! You shouldn’t
have any problem doing 50 pull-ups
because your wallet is so much lighter
now! Laugh, Boot! Dismissed!
DO I HAVE A BRAKE LIGHT OR NOT?
My brother and I have matching
Yamaha Blasters. However, his has a
brake light and mine doesn’t seem to
have a provision for one. How can this
be? And can I purchase the required
parts to have a brake light?
Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
Private Chris-Chris, it would depend
on where you purchased your Zooters
as to whether a Blaster came factory
equipped with brake lights or not.
During the years 1992–1997, Yamaha
produced special MNH-model Blasters
that complied with state ATV laws
requiring rear brake lights on ATVs.
Those states were Maine and New
Hampshire. Since you didn’t supply
Sarge with enough information as
to the lineage of your two Zooters, I
can only guess how you acquired a
MNH model in Pennsylvania. Was one
purchased or shipped from either Maine
or New Hampshire? Or, was there a
shortage of Blasters in Pennsylvania,
and Yamaha shipped whatever they
had on hand? To convert yours to an
MNH using factory parts, your best
bet is an ATV salvage yard due to the
prohibitive cost of OEM parts. Using
aftermarket parts would be easier.
You would need a universal brake-light assembly, or a 12-volt 1157 light
bulb, dual-contact socket to fit the
1157 (anything can be made to work),
universal motorcycle spring-activated
rear-brake switch, some wire, zip-ties
and a bit of ingenuity, and you can have
your rear brake light like your brother’s.
Procure a shop manual before you
begin, Private Chris-Chris—either OEM
or aftermarket—or you will be on report!