Went out on the first quadding expedition of the spring with some buddies. We started about 1130 and finished up around 730 covering close to 80 miles, with lots of refreshment breaks in between. We did manage to find a bit of mud and snow along the way.
I’ve gone on a few rides with these guys, and I generally have the smallest machine. A lot of these guys are running around on machines that cost as much as a car. These things would be a blast to have, but I can’t justify that expense. I ride the quad more than the snowmobile, but not near as much as my bike. I still have fun on mine, but I do feel a little envious of those machines. I’d have to hit the lottery before I’d buy one though.
Before the run I’d given my quad a quick once over. Last year I’d done a little bit of work on this machine. It’s a 2003 yamaha kodiak 400. It’s always done well for what we used it for…a little bit of putzing around on the farm, hauling some stuff back and forth and I spent a couple of years moving snow with it. It had lived a pretty easy life until I started pushing snow. That is really hard on the machine. I did end up buying a bobcat this past summer, so hopefully there will be no more pushing snow with the quad. During this time, I decided the machine needed a little attention. Yamaha sends everything out of the factory running very lean. It’s easy enough to open up the intake and exhaust to get the air moving through things a little better. Once you do that, it’s necessary to rejet the machine so it doesn’t burn up. I did all that last year and it seems to have given the machine a bit more pep. I then dropped the oil and changed out the differential oil front and back.
After riding her around a little bit there was a hot grease smell to it. I’d felt around the differentials and couldn’t feel anything hot, so it wasn’t burning up. I figured I’d gotten some grease one something and it needed to burn off. It ran fine for the year. I pushed it hard through mud at times but it didn’t disappoint. It probably burns a little more gas now compared to before…but I don’t really notice. I generally don’t go on marathon runs, and never without a spare gallon.
Yesterday while we were pissing around I started to hear some noise coming from the front end. I’m not sure how to describe it. It wasn’t a grinding…more of a rattling. We were on our way back when the noise became prevalent. I kicked it in and out of 4wd a few times…the noise was there in 2wd, but it was much more prominent in 4wd. I also thought maybe I was losing a little power towards the end of the run. Now it could have very well been than the heat of the day and the area we were in being more muddy that caused the seaming loss of power. The motor was running good and it seemed like the wheels were turning at the same speed…so maybe I was looking for things that were not really there.
When I got back to the trailer I felt around the hubs and differential and there was no heat being generated from anywhere. So while there might be a bearing or seal out, I don’t think I necessarily have damage to any other parts…yet. After I got the quad back to my place I felt around again and didn’t find anything too out of place. I did have some grease smeared on my hand after being in there. I must have a leak from somewhere. I’ll have to pull things apart and see if I can figure out where the problem is. I’m semi confident it’s a seal somewhere..which leaves me with the choice of replacing just the seal or do I replace all the seals and bearings while I’m in there. The smart thing to do would be to get the All Balls Front Differential kit, pull the diff out and replace everything. The pain of the procedure is removing all the shit that is in the way to just get at the diff. The back is so much easier to work with. To do this job I’m looking at 50 bucks and probably a day of fighting. As I’m typing this, it seems more and more likely that I’ll redo all the bearings in the front diff. I’ve never tore this piece apart before…so it should be interesting. I’m going to try and make a video of this adventure. Depending on how that turns out I may or may not post it somewhere. If I look like a dumbass I’m not putting it up. If it seems like I can maybe show something that will help someone else do this in the future I’ll post it. So much of what I do with these machines starts with watching someone else on youtube do something very similar. At the very least I’ll take some pix and post them in the blog when I detail how much of a PITA this repair is.
This is going to be “more fixin'” on this machine, but it doesn’t piss me off too bad. This type of stuff is general maintenance that should be done on these things. Given it’s age and the beating it’s been taking it’s not such a big deal. Right now, I’m not up against time constraints due to work, coaching and sam’s sports. Having time makes a lot of difference in my disposition towards having to do this kind of thing. I’m not sure if I’m paying attention to these machines more, pounding on them more, or if we just neglected them when we were younger…but I don’t remember ever having to do maintenance on these machines like this in the past. I think the mind set before was “ride it till the wheels fall off” instead of working on it to keep everything running like it should.
I couldn’t imagine having to pay for all the fixing I’ve had to do on things. The upper rebuild on the sled, the carb cleanings (which I was quoted $600…wtf!), rejetting and now this project. There are probably several others that I’ve forgotten about…but I can see why guys think it’s cheaper to just buy something newer and make payments instead of making payments to a mechanic to keep old shit running.
Some pix of the quad after our Sunday run.