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· Registered
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good Morning all,

I have searched the forums and can not find what I'm looking for wanted to get some opinions. Firstly I have a 2003 Honda Rancher 350, when I got the bike I did a carb job on it and well it never really ran right flooding out from the carb and stuff like that, so i threw a new carb on it and basically had a time getting it to stop flooding and ran right.

Finally i changed the oil and out of the blew for the most part it ran fairly well. It would normally run a bit then die / bogg out putter/sputtering.. typically same time the infamous 'ticking' and pop on the exhaust kicks in.

Well it ran fairly well minimal ticking and would run all day you wanted it. It would still have that if you idle raise in RPM as if it was leaning out or something. I know the A/F could had been better set but i got it close as possible not being a mechanic.

Some time went by and the carb started overflowing again, it would gargle a bit at idle or low low rpm due to the flooding, think i got some trash in it but really you just give a little throttle and it come out of it and run perfectly good.

Always having that upper end tick though once it got warm/hot. only ran it like that a little bit, i had adjusted the A/F a touch and it seemed to help, but anyways out of the blue it started doing that sputtering/ poping again until the point it would not even run any more.

In a rage, thinking it might be the carb; i took the 'new' carb off and put a fresh kit in the old Factory OEM Carb; set the A/F to 1.75 turn to close factory setting and then but it all back - it would run and not die but still had bad puttering and popping.

SO since i knew the valves needed adjustment per most forums and honda guys, i went in....

what I found was the exhaust was opening just a smidgen between strokes so not having feeler gauge; i put to TDC the T with the line under it on the fly wheel, through the peep hole - based on Youtube videos showing the process, following it to a T LOL

Just put it to barley touching. so it would not open - It helped a little but not really that much. Got feelers finally and did it fully to 6thousands as shown on the videos. What i found was both at TDC were being pressed it took several turns for the valves not to be being pressed, I'm not even sure how it was running like that.

Now that I have it back; the compression is insane; I used to could sit on the bike and pull start it with one arm; now that adjustments had been made; after 1 or 2 pulls if it doesn't start right up i have to use 2 hands; and I'm a big guy with lots of power.

You can hear its got deep deep sound now unlike before. The power though just is not there; and still has a slight putter; but its no where near the putter/poping sound it had; and it will run and idle with out having to give it gas or mess with the idle adjustment as it wants to raise/lower on its own.

What I do have aside from the putter is the ticking is 10x's worse and does not matter cold or hot. Its almost like it has too much tolerance now and its tapping sounds as its being pressed.

I was wondering if anyone can tell me what they think; I'm so sick of working on this I just want it to run right. I'm half tempted to put both intake and exhaust valves both barely touching the valve so to get rid of the ticking; im worried there is something else going on or could cause damage the way it sounds.

Here is the video; I have not tired to mess with the A/F yet, possibly for the putter, but I'm just worried about the ticking; I'm going to do a full service; Oil / Filter again, plug and see what it does.

Please share with me what you think, this video is when i first cranked it back up after final adjustment I was trying to adjust idle and record video i have not ran it since worried about the tapping.


· Premium Member
5,960 Posts
Well, I'll try to keep this short but I'll probably ramble on for a bit...

The ticking noises might all be coming from under the valve cover. I'll explain how:
There are two Top-dead-centers (TDC) occurring during every four-stroke cycle... which takes two revolutions of the crankshaft to complete.

The four strokes in an Otto cycle motor are named:


Each stroke = 1/2 revolution of the crankshaft. So all four strokes = 2 complete revolutions of the crankshaft.

So, you can line up the "T" in the window (TDC) at the end of the exhaust stroke and again at the end of the compression stroke.

If you line up the "T" at the end of the exhaust stroke, the exhaust valve will be nearly closed... while the Intake valve is beginning to open. Both valves are lifted slightly off their seats and both are in motion. If you attempt to adjust the valves at this point in the cycle, both valves will be adjusted way too loose and rattle like yours does.

So, continue to rotate the crankshaft (in its normal direction of rotation, NEVER turn it backwards!) one more complete revolution and stop on the "T" mark again. This is the end of the compression stroke and this is where you adjust both valves to .006" each.

Always watch the rocker arms in motion while you are cranking the motor over by hand. When you see the Intake valve close completely that indicates the end of the Intake stroke and the beginning of the compression stroke. So rotate the crankshaft by hand approximately 1/2 revolution further and stop on the "T" mark.

Now you can adjust both valves using a .006" feeler gauge. Double check and triple check the clearance using the feeler gauge after you have tightened the adjuster locknuts down. If either is not producing a snug drag on the feeler while PUSHING the feeler gauge into the gap, keep practicing until it is. Take your time and be precise.

Next subject... the carb and the exhaust and jetting. You seem to have an aftermarket exhaust on your 350 Rancher. What brand/type is it?

You'll need to clean out your fuel tank, clean and check the condition of the petcock and the strainer. You'll also need to work on your original OEM carb some more... but I'm gonna stop right here and allow you time to catch up before continuing on...

Keep us updated on your progress! And welcome to the forums!!

· Premium Member
38,589 Posts
wellllllllllll..I for one have turned many 4 strokes backwards, and never have had a problem. there is a great sticky in the repair section, and its what I use to this day, and again, never have had a problem. retro makes some very valid points ^^^, NEVER SET VALVES ON THE EXHAUST STROKE !!. I want to point out, one some of the early rancher trx350 models, honda ran a batch of defective heads, where the valve seats would work their way out of the heads, sit there, slap against the valve springs when warmed up. reason: once they got warm/hot ?, the head would expand, herby letting the valve seats come out. main thing ?, be sure to set valves on the compression stroke, and not the exhaust stroke !.

· Premium Member
12,712 Posts
I would guess your timing chain and or sprockets are worn out , I have found with a slack chain , if you were to check your valve adjustment again and again , then it will change as soon as you start it up and be off again

· Premium Member
6,580 Posts
I have a similar issue with the 01 Rancher I thought I had cleaned up. Belongs to my wife's uncle.

It ran ok, but had a tick. Took valve cover off, and had practically no clearance with the T in the window.

Tried it again, and same thing. Adjusted valves to .006 and now it's a helluva lot louder than it was before.

I'm hoping I set the valves on the wrong stroke. Ran out of daylight and it's one of those jobs where I was worn out from other work before I even started on it, so probably just oversight on my part and I set valves on the wrong stroke.

Be interested to see what you find though.

I haven't been into this motor at all, and was hoping I wouldn't have to tear into it. It ran fine after a carb rebuild. No smoke. I had to replace the front CV's, tie rod ends, front diff seals, rear end bearings, put 420 brakes up front, and replace the rear brake backing plate. Thing was a basketcase, but he got it cheap.
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