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SERVICE TIPS: Between ride maintenance on a sport ATV

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December 30, 2016
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Keeping your sport quad in tip-top shape is something that we should all do; jobs like washing your ATV, changing your oil, changing your oil filter, lubing your chain, and checking over your bolts to make sure they’re tight to name a few. Because, let’s face it, the sport isn’t cheap, and purchasing a quad usually isn’t cheap, either. Check out some simple tips below to keep your sport quad ready for your next ride.

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WASHING YOUR QUAD
Always wash the quad after a ride. Some soil and mud could stain the engine or possibly other components if you don’t address it quickly. It is easier to work on the machine when it’s spic-and-span. Start by putting an exhaust plug in so we don’t jeopardize the exhaust packing. Then you can remove the air filter, block the intake opening with a plastic bag and secure it in place with the air-filter clamp. You can also simply keep the air filter installed, as we suggest cleaning it after each ride.

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OIL CHANGE
After drying your ATV, it’s time to get your hands dirty, and we suggest having disposable latex or nitrile gloves. We start by draining the engine oil. Place your oil-catch container underneath your quad and remove the engineoil drain plug. Note: The TRX450R has a separate gear box from the engine, so it requires the removal of both engine plugs. The same is true of some KTM and KTM-powered machines.

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OIL-FILTER CHANGE
You keep track of the hours on the oil, right? If it is time, replace the old oil filter while the oil is draining. Machines vary, but you usually start by removing the two oil-filter cover bolts. When that is removed, pull the oil filter out of the engine case; however, be careful not to lose the oil-filter spring that sits behind it.

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INSTALLING A NEW OIL FILTER
Install the new filter onto the oil-filter cover and set the oil-filter spring on the back side of the filter where it will sit in the recess. Then install the entire filter assembly, making sure the spring doesn’t fall out of the back of the filter. Reinstall the two filter cover bolts and tighten them to OEM torque specs.

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REINSTALLING THE DRAIN BOLT
By now the engine and transmission oil should be drained completely. We suggest installing new crush washers on the oil-drain bolts, as they’re usually good for one use. Once those are installed, you can install the drain plugs and tighten them to OEM torque specs.

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FILLING THE ENGINE WITH NEW OIL
Next, remove the oil-fill plug and fill the engine and transmission with the correct oil. Check your service manual for what oil weight you should be using in your quad. Be sure to run the quad for at least a few minutes, because the engine oil level will be lower when it cools down. Since we installed a new filter, it will take a bit more oil than normal.

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REMOVING THE AIR FILTER
The next steps are equally as important as the oil change. The next step is to clean the air filter and airbox; we suggest putting on a pair of good latex shop gloves for this. First, remove the air filter by using either a nut driver or a flat-head screwdriver to loosen the air-filter clamp. Once it’s loose, gently pull the air filter off of the airbox for cleaning.

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CLEANING THE AIRBOX
During this time we suggest cleaning out the airbox with a light degreaser fluid by spraying it liberally into the airbox. Be sure to keep any of the degreaser out of the intake tube by stuffing a clean cloth down in the intake opening.

CLEANING THE AIR FILTER
This particular air filter is a dual-stage foam filter with the top foam layer being removable. Remove the top layer to clean both foam filters. We inspected the base filter, and it was still visibly clean, so we will just clean the top layer. Using a foam-filter cleaner, liberally spray the outside and inside of the filter, then let the cleaning solution sit for about 10 minutes or so to do its job.

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WASHING THE AIR FILTER
Once the airbox is clean, it’s time to wash out the air filter with warm water. Squeeze it out, but don’t wring it or twist it, and set it outside to dry. It could take a bit of time depending on the weather for the filter to dry, but make sure it dries completely.

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APPLYING NEW AIR-FILTER OIL
After it’s dry, take either a spray-on foam-filter oil or a bottle of foam-filter oil and apply it to the filter. With the spray can, apply the oil on the outside of the filter in an up-and-down pattern. When we use the foam-filter oil bottle, we poke a small hole into the seal under the cap to make life easy when applying it, because getting air filter oil everywhere is not what you want to do! Once you have the entire filter coated, work in the oil with your hands until it’s completely covered. Let the air-filter oil-carrier solvent evaporate, then pat the excess oil off with paper towels.

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REINSTALLING THE AIR FILTER
Reinstall the outer foam filter to the base foam filter and install the air-filter assembly back on the intake boot. Be sure that the filter is installed correctly, then you can tighten the air-filter clamp to finish out the process.

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CHECKING TIRE PRESSURE
The next step is to check your tire pressure. You should do this after each ride, because the heat, cold and elevation can change the air pressure. Plus, low pressure can alert you to tire problems that might ruin the next ride. We inflated the fronts to 10 psi and 9 psi in the rear for desert riding. If the machine sits, or you travel to the riding area, check them again before the ride.

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LUBING THE CHAIN
Lubing the chain is crucial. We suggest lubing the chain after each ride to make it last a long time. You can either push the quad forward and backward, or you can put the rear of a quad on a stand to elevate the tires. We start by rotating the tires with our hands and applying the chain lube to the top of the chain. We then spray on the other side of the chain close to the lower chainguide on the swingarm. Once the chain is completely lubed, you can wipe residual chain lube off of the machine and you’re good to go.

CHECKING YOUR CHAIN TENSION
This is the time to check your chain tension. We use two fingers to lift up under the chain directly behind the upper swingarm chain slider. If your two fingers fit snug in between the chain and swingarm, then it’s good. If it’s too tight or too loose, adjust the chain accordingly.

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TIGHTENING CRUCIAL HARDWARE
The last thing we do is go over nuts and bolts. Here is a check list to consider when doing so: —Check nuts and bolts that hold the suspension —Check wheels lugs
—Check beadlock ring bolts if applicable
—Check handlebar bolts
—Check your grips to make sure they’re not loose
—Check your axle nut
—Check your front- and rear-wheel hub nuts
—Check skid-plate bolts
—Check drain bolts on the engine
—Check gas tank bolts
—Check swingarm pivot nut and bolt
—Check steering-stem upper bolts and lower nut
—Check engine mount bolts and nuts
—Check exhaust bolts and nuts
—Check front and rear bumper bolts
—Check footpeg bolts and all of the plastic bolts.
Once that is complete, put some pressure on the side, front and back of the quad, and push it forward and back. This will allow you to feel any slop in the bearings on the quad. If you spend a little time after the ride, you will save money, your machine will last longer and preparing for the next ride will be less of a scramble. Plus, you will be riding a machine that is safe and secure, and that is priceless.

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