Burning Oil? 2011 Rancher 420FM - Honda ATV Forum
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post #1 of 56 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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Burning Oil? 2011 Rancher 420FM

First off I was wondering if someone could link me a service manual for my atv, I could only find a service manual for the automatic transmission for 2011.

So my brother was riding the atv a few days ago, I was leading on our other bike. We were on a small slow speed trail and the trail we were on before this one was also slow and we used 4x4. We stopped to take a break and just as we stopped the high temp light went on. I figured it was just because of the hot weather (30*C +) and the fact that we were going slow and using 4x4, not providing much air to cool the rad. When he started the atv back up the light was no longer on, but the rad fan was going. We decided to start riding again because we were going take the main gravel road to another trail about 20km away which I thought would provide enough cooling because of the high speed. We headed off, and we were giving it. I couldn't see my brother behind me because of the dust and because the atv I was riding was faster lol. We must've been doing around 80-90km/h steady and I arrived at the next trail and waited for my brother for about 5 mins. He didn't show up so I doubled back a few km and he was parked on the side of the road. A rare occurrence for a Honda ha ha. Anyway he said the high temp light went on so he stopped right away and shut er down. He said that it was bogging for the 5 minutes leading up to the high temp light on. Apparently it was topping out at 75km/h instead of the usual 90-95km/h. He figured it was just bogging due to a dirty air filter because of the very dusty conditions. I had some problems with my atv so we had to 2 up the Honda back to the cottage (a common occurrence). On the way back the engine was backfiring when he let off the throttle and had the same bog as before it overheated. I also noticed the exhaust had a rubber burning smell to it. We had been smelling that smell all day and we thought it was just the tire getting hot because it was so close to the muffler on the atv I was riding.

I thought it could just be a dirty air filter because when I looked at it after my brother overheated it was very dirty. I didn't have any varsol to clean the filter so I just wiped off most of the caked on dirt as I could. Its a new filter that has only about 250km on it so I didn't want to use gas to clean it. I then checked the oil level and it was very low, wasn't even showing on the dipstick. This was really weird because I had just done an oil change around 250km ago and I also checked the oil level before we started riding the day before. It was full. I added the 3/4 full 1L bottle of Honda oil and the level was at the lowest point on the dipstick.

I just realized I have been checking the oil wrong. According to my owners manual you insert the dipstick without threading it in. I have gotten into the habit of screwing it in on the Honda because my other atv you screw it in. I don't think that it has been low on oil before though because I check the oil daily and top it up if it is below the full mark on the dipstick.

I started it up and rode it around for about 5 mins to let it warm up and while I was riding the exhaust smelled different again. I don't know if its still bogging or not, since it is hard to tell in 1st, 2nd and 3rd gear. I revved it 3/4 to full throttle a few times to try and determine if it was bogging and then I noticed that there was some black/grey exhaust smoke at 3/4 to full throttle. I am quite certain that the oil is not leaking, but I will keep an eye on it, I'm also going to clean the air filter to rule that out and top up the oil. So if the problem still persists after doing that what do you guys think is wrong? I'm thinking because it was running hot and overheating the piston rings are done and that caused oil to enter the combustion chamber which in turn burned oil which didn't allow all the fuel to be burned. The unburned fuel then went into the exhaust and ignited causing backfires.

There is almost 8000km on the engine and the coolant in the reservoir (which is at the cold level) looks dirty so it obviously doesn't have the cooling properties that fresh coolant has, but it still doesn't explain why the high temp light didn't go on when the engine started bogging (which I assume was because it started to burn oil). Although I don't think it started burning oil then, but rather earlier in the day when we smelled the different exhaust smell. Unless the engine was running hot enough to damage the piston rings, but not trigger the high temp light.

Since I don't think the coolant has been changed before I guess I should drain the system and put in new stuff. If I can get a service manual I'll know how to do that. Is there any other brands of coolant I can use other than Honda?
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post #2 of 56 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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I'll also take a look at the spark plug and post a pic tomorrow
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post #3 of 56 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 11:10 PM
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Here is the manual that covers up to 2010. I'm not positive, but the procedure for changing the coolant should be the same as for your 2011. Since you ride in dusty conditions you will need to check the radiator for blockage. It probably needs a good cleaning.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...hmEXNdf2N2P7tk

I'll defer to the experts to tell you what might be the problem with your Rancher. However, I suspect they will suggest you check the engine compression.

I hope this helps you.
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post #4 of 56 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Click the image to open in full size.Click the image to open in full size.Spark Plug is black, black oil around spark plug hole. There is about 700km on this plug and the old one had a perfect burn.

Did a compression test as well: Click the image to open in full size. That is cold engine, throttle closed, using electric starter

Click the image to open in full size.Here is wet. I put some oil in the spark plug hole and as you can see the compression went up. I didnít put much oil only a few mL. So at the minimum I suppose this is bad rings?

I also cleaned the air filter and air box.

Iím going to get some more oil from my dealer tomorrow so I feel comfortable starting it up and confirming the symptoms the engine was showing.


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post #5 of 56 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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I read somewhere that the compression should be about 72psi. Although 12psi isnít a big difference I think if I were to do a warm compression test it would show much lower.


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post #6 of 56 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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Is this in the right section or is this forum just not active?


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post #7 of 56 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 12:20 PM
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Your problem isn't a simple fix so it might take a little longer for replies. Hang in there.
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post #8 of 56 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 02:16 PM
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Sounds to me that the engine is burning oil as you suspect. The oil light may have come on because the engine was very low on oil and overheated as a result, however I am suspecting a second problem with the cooling system. I would tear down the top end and do an inspection. You may get lucky and just need rings and valve seals. Running low on oil has me thinking there may be some damage to the head and rod too. After repairing the engine I'd at least flush the radiator and inspect for clogged fins and passages. I'd watch the temp close after that before trusting the cooling system is ok.
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post #9 of 56 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misterclean59 View Post
Sounds to me that the engine is burning oil as you suspect. The oil light may have come on because the engine was very low on oil and overheated as a result, however I am suspecting a second problem with the cooling system. I would tear down the top end and do an inspection. You may get lucky and just need rings and valve seals. Running low on oil has me thinking there may be some damage to the head and rod too. After repairing the engine I'd at least flush the radiator and inspect for clogged fins and passages. I'd watch the temp close after that before trusting the cooling system is ok.


Low oil light never came on. Didnít even know there was one. Only the high temp light. Iím going to do a leak down test before I tear it down. Iíve never cleaned the radiator before and I donít wash the atv itself much so it might be really dirty.


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post #10 of 56 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 05:37 PM
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Hi: When last did you change the fuel filter -- it's in the sub fuel tank -- that can cause the problem.

compression is 73 psi
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