CAN’T FEEL THE THROTTLE
I love your magazine because it
takes me places in my head I can’t
afford to go. The issue I’m having
is my throttle thumb goes numb
when I’m riding in the cold. I have
Quadboss mitts over the ends of the
handlebars of my Honda Rancher.
I also wear Cabella Windstopper
gloves with heat packs, which help
me stay warm, except for my thumb.
I’ve been thinking about installing a
twist throttle, but there may not be
room for that with the mess of cables
and wires under the Quadboss mitts.
Do you know of any solution for the
I think I can help you out, son!
Moose Racing has several ways to
keep you warm this winter. If you
want just your thumb warm, they
have a thumb throttle warmer. What
I recommend is their complete four-zone kit, grip warmers and a thumb
warmer. The grip warmer can be
had in three ways. If you like the
grips you have now, get the under-grip heating grids. If you want new
grips, try either the WD- 40 glue-acti-vated push-on heated grips or the
conventional glue-on heated grips.
All three styles come with a heating
element for the thumb throttle. With
this kit, I would recommend ditching
the heavy gloves and using a lighter
pair to facilitate the heat transfer.
Your Quadboss mitts must still be
used to create a “dead air” space
for the heating elements to provide
sufficient heat. Otherwise, all the
heat is sucked away with the cold
air stream over them. These kits are
available all over the Internet. I suggest you search for the best price for
the model you decide on.
I own a 1986 Honda Fourtrax 250.
It’s a great machine and runs good
for how old it is. When compared
to the newer quads, its tire sizes
are a little confusing. The fronts are
22x8x10, and the rears are 25x12x9.
Could I change these wheel and
tire sizes to something more similar
to today’s ATVs? Some people say I
shouldn’t do that. You’re the best, so
By Winston “Boss” McKannick
Got a problem with your ATV?
Send your questions to Dirt
Wheels “Dialed In,” P.O. Box 957,
Valencia, CA 91380-9057. Our
e-mail address is
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name, city and state address.
I’m asking for your advice. Thanks.
Doe Run, MO
Here are my “modern” recommendations. For better steering and
braking in the front, try a Carlisle
AT489 in 23x7-10. The taller front tire
is better for steering, and there is less
deflection over roots and rocks in the
woods. The tread pattern will provide
better braking over stock too. In the
rear, the factory 12-inch tire width is
a bit excessive, especially if you have
an aggressive tread pattern. I would
suggest going 1 inch less to 11 inches.
Since the rear end is a bit high with
the factory 25-inch-high tire, I would
suggest a 24-inch tire. The front-to-rear balance should be better, with
the front being an inch taller and the
rear an inch shorter. There is also too
much tire sidewall flex with the small
9-inch rim, so I suggest a 12-inch rim
to dramatically cut down on the sidewall flex for more precise handling.
All this amounts to a 24x11-12 rear
tire size, and I would go again with
a Carlisle AT489. These are good all-terrain, smooth-riding tires with surprising traction.
So to recap, Houston, keep the
same size rims up front but go taller
with the 23x7-10 tires and new 12-inch
rims in the rear—1 inch shorter, 1 inch
narrower, and reduce the sidewall by
1 inch and with an improved tread
pattern. I think you will see a definite
gain in looks and handling.
I just wanted to let you know how
much my friends and family love Dirt
Wheels. Ever since I got my first mini
ATV as a young boy, my dad would
read me your column every month.
I don’t really have a question about
any quad problems. I just wanted to
say thanks, and keep up the good
Kyle, I want to thank you for your
letter. It is nice to know that your
work is appreciated. Since I get way
more letters dealing with problems
than compliments, or even follow-up
letters that my answers were helpful or just full of it, it is very satisfying to know that there are readers
that grew up reading this column.
Although, now that I think about it,
your letter just makes me feel old!
Thanks a lot!
SPORTSMAN LOSING ITS COOL
My son has a 2009 Polaris
Sportsman 500 4x4 with a problem
concerning the coolant. The recovery
bottle for the radiator goes dry after a
month of riding. We took his quad to
a mechanic, and after we got it back
the recovery bottle would still go dry
after a month. We took it to a second
mechanic, and he said to just keep
adding coolant to the recovery bottle.
How does that solve the problem?
Where is the coolant going? Boss,
what is the solution to this problem?
Let’s start with what the coolant
recovery bottle does. When the bottle
is filled to the cold fill line, it provides
additional coolant when the engine
needs it. When the engine is hot, the
coolant inside the engine expands
and is forced into the bottle. As the
engine cools off, a vacuum is created as the coolant shrinks and this
vacuum sucks coolant from the bottle
back inside the engine to maintain
the proper level inside the radiator. Check your hoses and radiator
for a wet spot. Check your engine
oil for the presence of white, milky
liquid. That indicates the presence
of water in the oil. The cause would
be a blown head gasket. Is there
any white smoke from the exhaust?
Burning anti-freeze is a smell you
won’t soon forget. Lastly, what are
you refilling your recovery bottle
with? Automotive antifreeze or ATV
antifreeze? Automotive antifreeze
can contain silica that damages the
water pump seals, and you would
get a slow drip out of the water pump
cover weep hole when operating.
Check for that, and if that is your
problem, rebuild the water-pump
seals, drain the automotive antifreeze
out and add ATV antifreeze that contains no silica. ❏