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Old 09-08-2010, 12:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Honda Rancher AT engine rebuild

OK guys...I have a question/concern. Today, I called my local Honda ATV dealer to get an estimate on rebuilding the top end of my 2004 Honda Rancher AT. He quoted me a price of $2500 - $3500 which is MUCH higher than the estimate I got from the dealer in MO where the ATV is located...he said around $600. The local dealer said they tear down the motor completely, don't just rebuild the top end. His reasoning is that if it was run with a dirty air cleaner or sunk in water, rebuilding the top end is a temporary fix and within a few oil changes, it would be back to it's original condition.

I got the ATV used, with the knowledge that it smoked/used oil. The guy I got it from is in the business of ATV repair, but for himself, not with a dealership. He repaired my Polaris and did an adequate job, but it didn't involve motor rebuilding. When I got the Honda, the foam air cleaner was a mess - the top rubber piece had come apart from the foam insert, but the insert itself was still covering the metal housing...this wasn't discovered until after titles were exchanged. He is going to rebuild the top end this winter as part of the deal when we swapped machines. I'm quite certain he will not be tearing apart the whole motor. I replaced the foam air cleaner with a new one.

The ATV has plenty of get up and go - it runs great, starts every time, shifts OK in automatic mode (I personally haven't used the ESP, but others have and say it's fine). It uses a lot of oil...like about a 1/2 quart every other day which is about 60 miles of riding on gravel roads, a few non-challenging trails, and pavement to get from point A to point B.

My question is...if I just do a top rebuild, will there be problems down the road where the motor will have to be torn apart?

Thanks in advance for answers/help.
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If the engine has been damaged by sinking in mud and water, the normal procedure is to tear the entire engine apart, because it will have dirt inside the engine. If you rebuild the top end without cleaning the dirt out of the crankcase, it will likely just get back to the piston rings and cylinder walls and cause damage again. Some people will just try to flush the engine out with diesel or something, that might work and might not, probably not. Flushing out would be better than not flushing, though.

If the engine has been damaged by just normal wear, there shouldn't be a problem with just rebuilding the top end.
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Old 09-08-2010, 01:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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To my knowledge, it hasn't been sunk in water. Maybe ridden through the mud some. I will be the third owner. It's always been ridden at Cloud 9 Ranch in MO - a private campground resort with 100+ miles of trails - by the original owner, an older man, and the member I got it from, and now myself. I have no reason to believe he would be dishonest about it being sunk in water/mud, and other members of the the Ranch speak highly of him as being reliable and honest. I am thinking the local dealer may be looking to maximize his profit for the work.

Thanks, Helmut.
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Old 09-08-2010, 01:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I am thinking the local dealer may be looking to maximize his profit for the work.
I don't doubt that at all. If you trust the previous owner, then I would just go with the top end rebuild. $3,500 would be a lot of money to put in a 2004 model, you could probably buy another 2004 that doesn't need rebuilt for $3,500.

Riding through mud won't hurt them, it's sinking them in deep water and mud and getting it into the engine, that's the problem. If you feel that this has never happened, then just go with the top end rebuild.

BTW, you can usually tell if the previous owner rode in deep mud and water all the time, by looking at the color of the engine. It will be brownish looking from the mud stain.
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Top end rebuild should be fine. You should do it yourself and have a sense of pride when you're done. All you need is a manual and hand tools. I rebuilt a KFX 400 top end a few years back with no prior experience and it ran great when done. I've now rebuilt several other top ends, mostly on old 3 wheelers.

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Old 09-08-2010, 02:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'll be bringing my microscope with me this weekend for a thorough inspection of the engine color!!! LOL
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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too be on the safe side..try to flush the engine as much as you can..at least you will know you gave it a good bath !..lol..as for 3500 to rebuild it..this is comming from a dealer..they all mark up thier work..like 100%..lol..doing a top end job..flushing the motor real good..won't cost you a arm and leg..mostly time.
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Old 09-08-2010, 02:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks, guys...I agree, Shadetree, on the markup. ShadeTree, being as you are also from central AR, you may know which Little Rock ATV dealer I'm referring to. I was told prior to calling they were likely to be high. If not looking to maximize their profits, they may have been hoping I'd say "no way" and trade for a new machine. I may be mechanically-challenged, but I'm not totally stupid.

I'm going with y'all's advice and have the motor flushed out prior to the rebuild and let it go at that. If the problem should reoccur somewhere down the road, I'll deal with it at that time! :-)
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Old 09-08-2010, 03:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LilRagamuffin View Post
Thanks, guys...I agree, Shadetree, on the markup. ShadeTree, being as you are also from central AR, you may know which Little Rock ATV dealer I'm referring to. I was told prior to calling they were likely to be high. If not looking to maximize their profits, they may have been hoping I'd say "no way" and trade for a new machine. I may be mechanically-challenged, but I'm not totally stupid.

I'm going with y'all's advice and have the motor flushed out prior to the rebuild and let it go at that. If the problem should reoccur somewhere down the road, I'll deal with it at that time! :-)
yep lil' i know which dealer your talking about..lmfao..and yes..your right..they are trying to con you into buying a new atv..lmao..this is why i do all my own work..dealers...ekkkkkkkkkk..lmfao.
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