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Honda Rancher Discuss all models of the Honda Rancher 350/400/420

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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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Minor Starting Problem

Hi Everyone,
2003-2005 Rancher 350 ES. Tuneup complete, plugs, oil, diff fluids, carbs cleaned and one rebuilt. They run great and I'm happy with that. But there is one question I have. I always have to prime the carb with two or three pumps to cold start the ATVs. Cold start, two or three prime pumps every time, if they have been running and then sit for 30 min. I have to prime with 1 or 2 pumps. Warm starts I don't need to prime.

Is this common or am I missing an adjustment?


Thanks, Neal
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 10:17 AM
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Good question most folks will tell you they never use the priming feature.
Here’s how I’ve always started my carburetted quads– this is how Shadetree explained to me awhile back:

Cold engine
Run switch to ON
Set choke
Key Ignition to ON
Neutral light on steady
Oil light on momentarily then off
Hold throttle 1/3 open
Crank or kick over engine
Should start within 5 secs

After it runs for a minute maybe two then switch to half choke; after 3-5 minutes ready for choke off.

Hope this helps you with cold starting. Otherwise your starter valve may require changing or cleaning. When you pull the choke out does the carb want to suck it back in?

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 01:19 PM
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I'm going to say this is NOT normal
my 400 has a primmer on it, and in 20 yrs I have maybe used it 5 times? and this is in like minus 10 and lower temps!

how often do you run./use atv?
if it sits often and your running ETHANOL fuel,. fuel can go bad FAST as in weeks or less and cause all sorts of starting issue's!(running one's too)
what is compression on this motor?
these ain't new atv's anymore, so, small things can add up to have starting issue's like this IMO!
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-01-2019, 08:49 PM
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What is the elevation there? Are the carbs set up for your elevation? Are the chokes functional on each bike and are you using them?
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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1: Yes my fuel has ethanol 10% I always use stabil in my fuel.

2: I'm not sure what my compression is but I have 1000 miles one and 250 on the other.

3: I haven't insisted on using the choke because they seem to start fine with the primer. Although the times I have used the choke I seemed to have to prime the carb.

4: My beginning elevation is 4700 feet and at times can go well above 6000. As far as "set up" for the elevation I would have to say no.

5: starting temps are rarely if ever below freezing and generally 70-80 degrees.

6: When I have used the choke it does seem to suck back in. (if my memory is correct, I haven't used the choke in a looooong time)

Thanks, Neal

Where is the starter valve?
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 08:45 AM Thread Starter
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ONE MORE THING....... My 2003 runs about twice a week. Sometimes for hours and other time it's only riding across the hood to a neighbor or to a convenience store. 2005 not so often. It's my neighbors and I'll start and run it but I generally don't ride it around, only on trips to the backcountry but it'll be used this winter for plowing. BOTH QUADS SHARE THE SAME STARTING CHARACTERISTICS, but then again there's a good chance it's my habits.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 08:48 AM
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OK< so these are extremely LOW used atv's, a 2003-2005 with only 250 miles on it? WOW!(Like 16 miles a yr ??)

this being said, I would be running NON ethanol fuel, and not ethanol with additives to it, there sitting WAY too long and fuel is most likely still going bad on you!
and yes, you should be using the choke over priming the carb IMO! its what the choke is for! cold starts!
based on these super low miles , I have to ask, how often do you change the oil, as if your going off miles, your oil is IMO sitting a LONG time and can go bad from this alone, due to condensation issues from temp changes, and the low use, your most likely never running them enough to burn it off!
I would still be changing it once a yr IMO!
Just food for thought here!
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 08:50 AM
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when was the last time the valves were checks?
just idling a motor is NOT very healthy for it, you can build excessive heat (no air flowing) and carbon can build up on things!
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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These are very low use machines. We have had 2005 less than 3 months. We know the original owner, He was an elderly man in the early stages of dementia. The original owner gave it to his brother-in-law who lives down the way from us. The long and short the brother in law is elderly as well and my wife and I have been helping them with Dr appointments, shopping, snow removal, garbage and other things So he asked me to get it running and he'll leave it with us to ride in the summer for helping with him and his wife. And I'll I don't think there was any maintenance done there. But all the fluids looked fine when I changed them.

2003 I purchased several years ago off of CL from a man who was passing from cancer. I have no idea of the maintenance that was done prior to owning it but my read in the family was that it was reasonably cared for. I regularly maintain the ATV.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 09:28 AM
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they sound like good atv's
but the low use can cause running issue's(and other things, seal go dry, as to bearings and such)
and that is my point on the fuel side of things, like new atv';s tend to start fast and easy and NO need for priming a carb on them!
if your going to start them now and then I suggest driving them as well, to help lube parts, make sure there up to temp before parking them as well, so things have a time to burn off any condensation in oils
from motor to diff's!

bearings need to be turned to keep lubing all sides of them, so just idling thing sis NOT the best way to keep older low use items IMO

Tires too can dry rot from age alone!
not maybe p[art of your question, just adding some food for thought for you

I would honestly again try and find some place that sells NON ethanol fuel and drain tanks of the old/mixed fuel and or drive them and use it up and then start with new NON ethanol fuel, it just plain and simple last longer doesn't absorb water as much or fast!, you an still treat it and I would based on your low use, but I woudn;'t be using ethanol at all if I could help it, its worth the drive to go get it!

Valves being out of spec, can also again, cause starting issue's!
so they should be checked!
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