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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just purchased an '86 fourtrax 350, and the electric start didn't work. When I opened the panel on the left crank case, there were no gears. Not that they were ground or broken off, all the gears and shafts were gone!

I found a complete set including the plate on eBay, but when they arrived the set is from an 87 or newer model. The pic below shows the one I bought on the left and my old plate on the right.



Now, looking at the exploded parts view I see that all the gears and shafts 'appear' to be the same for all years, and the only difference is the cover plate. The '86 is in the cutout at the top-right.



But, when I took all the parts from the '87 and put it in place, my '86 cover won't fit. All the shafts and gears fit perfectly, but the shafts are about 1/8 too long and prevent the '86 cover from seating.

My question is this. Did they perhaps re-design the '86 cover plate to accommodate the longer shafts, and if I just bought a new '86 plate it would fit? Or, am I out of luck?

I fear that some or all of the original parts will not be available at the dealer, and of course they will be twice as much as the ones I got on EBay.

Anyone have any idea?
 

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Got to www.bikebandit.com and see how much just the shafts are for your engine.. if you can replace them I think that would work if the gears are the same like you say.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I will do that.

It seems bikebandit, and several other sites have multiple shafts listed. BB doesn't list them per engine number, it just shows 2 shaft numbers. Other sites show one or more shaft or gear as 'not available'.

I think I'll just stop by the dealer and see if they can get me the shafts for my engine. That might be the easiest and safest thing to do.

The guy on ebay will take the parts back and refund my return shipping, but if I can get the shafts I need, I'll probably still make out cheaper in the long run instead of buying all new gears.

I'll post back when I get it sorted.

If anyone is interested, this is the bike I bought.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
OK, I went to the dealer and just ordered a whole new set of everything under the plate. It cost me $130, but I figured at least I would have all the right parts because they were showing the gears were different for the 86.

But, then they called me back to say the shaft is no longer available. Exactly what I feared. I guess I'll just keep watching ebay again for another set. Makes me mad because the guy on ebay had 2 sets, and maybe the other set he had was really from an 86, but it's already been sold. Oh well, another will come up eventually, I'm sure.

For the time being I'll just kick start it and that seems to work fine. :cool:

If anyone has a shaft for an '86 laying around, I'll pay you in blood for it. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
:partsin01:

OK, I got my new set of gears purchased from Ebay [second set, first was described as the wrong year], and this one has a broken tooth on one of the gears.

How hard is it to look at the gears? I mean, the dude said "all gears and shafts look perfect, no broken teeth" and as soon as I open the box I can see a broken tooth. Jeez.

Oh well. At least now I have the right shafts and can [hopefully] :get the gear from the dealer and the guy will [hopefully] give me a refund for the broken gear.
 

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If your still missing parts give this guy a try.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
OK, I just received the last gear in the mail. I kept the gear set I got on ebay, and the guy refunded me the price I paid for the new gear.

Installed everything, and it sort of works. It will electric start, but there sounds like there is something else slipping inside. It makes a hell of a racket when starting like the gears aren't catching, and then it will catch enough to start.

There must be something else inside that needs to engage and is slipping. It's not anything with the new stuff I just installed, I'm fairly certain, it's something deeper inside. Maybe that's why the last guy removed the gears completely, who knows.

Guess I need to read the manual more and see if I can figure it out. I'm not sure I'm ready to start taking the engine apart, but we'll see.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Found this on another site. It's similar to my problem, in that I know the gears aren't bad, and something behind the curtain is slipping. I guess I'll look at how to get the clutch guts out and inspect them.

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have 86 fourtrax 350hd in excellent shape. the problem i have is that when i go to start the bike the starter sometimes just spins without engaging , similar to a car starter with a bad selinoid. the problem is 10 times worse when sub zero temps. when normal condtions i usually have to stab the starter button 3 to 5 times to get it to engage. we took starter out and tested on bench and it seemed to spin fine. spline end was a little worn but not bad. starter reduction gear appeared perfect and gear on end of shaft leading to flywheel appeared perfect also. cant understand how whole system works because it seems everything would be engaged all the time. someone told us starter reduction gear had a bendix type clutch that spun out and engaged during starting but that is not the case. the starter reduction gear is all one piece.
any help would be apprecieated
thanks
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Hello

How a typical Honda starter clutch works is your flywheel gear (mounted behind your clutch) is a free spinning in one direction only. It engages by means of rollers and ramps and is strictly a friction connection when the starter spins. When the starter turns the flywheel, these rollers move outward on their ramps to press against the inside of the clutch housing. What is happening is the rollers (possibly called "barrels") get a flat spot on them. If the flat spot is in the position to make contact with the clutch housing then they will slip and thus, starter spins with no engaging.

You are correct; Honda does not use a bendix type of starter. You will need to remove and disassemble the clutch basket to get to the starter clutch area to find these rollers.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So, I read the service manual last night and I have to take the left crank case cover off to get at the clutch. That means taking the drive shaft off to get to the case cover.

This is sounding like it's a bit more than I want to bite off. I'm charging the battery now on the off chance that it's not spinning the gears fast enough to properly engage the clutch. Hopefully that will fix it and I can just get a new battery, but that seems awefully optimistic. :|
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
What is happening is the rollers (possibly called "barrels") get a flat spot on them. If the flat spot is in the position to make contact with the clutch housing then they will slip and thus, starter spins with no engaging.
I did a little looking this morning, and I'm not going to tackle taking that crankcase apart today. But, I do think what is happening is in that quote. I can hit the starter button once, and it will fire up in a second. The next time it sounds like theres a bucket of loose bolts in the engine.

I guess I'm going to get a gasket and some oil and crack that case open, some day. Not today.
 
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