Tuesday, November 9, 2010
The basic Honda Foreman is the most popular ATV in rural Alaska. They are cheap and reliable. They may not be the best machine for serious work or off road travel, but they are great for around town. That is where most ATVs spend the majority of their time, going to the store, picking up mail at the post office, etc. They get used the way most people use a car.
With all those short trips the electric starters get a workout. The machine that I had in the shop today was about 2 years old and had 4500 miles on it. The brushes in the starter where wearing out. They were not completely gone, but every once in a while the starter would not go.
This is an easy problem to diagnose. When you push the starter button you can hear the solenoid click, but the motor does not turn. If you hold the starter button down and tap on the side of the starter the brushes make contact and it runs. If you tap on the starter and it still does not run, you should check for battery voltage at the positive terminal on the starter. If there is full voltage the problem is definitely the brushes.
It is a quick and easy job to replace the brushes, about 1/2 hour of work if all goes well. The only important thing is to make sure you get the rubber and fiber insulating washer on the positive stud assembled correctly. Beginners sometimes misplace these washers and end up with the stud shorted to the motor case.