DIALED IN: By Winston “Boss” McKannick


Dear Boss,

I gave up waiting for a new 2022 Honda Rubicon, so I purchased a gently used 2021 off Facebook Marketplace. While I am generally happy with this used machine, there is one problem I am hoping you can solve for me. I have a squeaking noise coming from the front of the Rubicon. At idle there is no sound. Even revving it up there is no sound. But, get out on the trail and there is this loud, annoying squeak. I am beginning to see why the previous owner didn’t ride it much and got rid of it! I thought it was a shock, but I traded shocks with a neighbor for a day and the squeak was still there. Boss, do you have any ideas as to the source and the cure? 

Daniel Snyder

Bradford, PA

Well, son, my first thought was a squeaking front shock, but since you swapped with a neighbor, then the only other component that can cause a squeak in the front end is the front driveshaft. There were a few 2020–2021s that got out with minimal to no grease on the slip joints of the driveshaft. My suggestion is to have the front drive (propeller) shaft removed and greased, and hopefully the squeaking sound will disappear. Then you can really congratulate yourself on a great purchase!


Dear Boss,

Last fall I put money down on a 2022 BRP X3 X rs Smart-Shox. It took almost four months to arrive, only to be told it was missing parts, like the ECU, gauge cluster, voltage regulator and the key assembly. Now I am making payments on it but can’t take it home because of the “missing parts.” The dealer isn’t even optimistic that I will see the missing parts before the end of February! I have thousands of dollars tied up in aftermarket parts just waiting for delivery, like Shock Therapy springs, Simpson seats, HCR control arms, ZRP radius rods, LM UTV sway-bar links, KMC Recon beadlocks and System 3 RT320 33-inch tires, Rockford Fosgate stereo, and StayFlush custom dash panel for the radio and stereo. Can’t they swap out a gauge cluster from another model. I would be willing to bet the ECU and voltage regulator are interchangeable.

Sammy Graham

Labelle, Quebec, Canada

Well, Sammy, you seem to be very well versed in how a factory stock X3 X rs drives and handles! Most people add parts as they are necessary, unless you are doing a magazine-style  project. Electrically, the voltage regulator would be the same, but the mounting points and electrical connectors may not be the same. The ECU may be the same, too, but would not have the correct program in it. The gauge cluster is probably unique to that model as well. Getting your dealer to gut a complete X3 for you from the showroom floor is a long shot!


Dear Boss,

I am building a four-wheeler hybrid with a ATC350X engine in a Yamaha Warrior chassis. Once I got the wiring sorted out and the carburetor flowing the correct amount of fuel, I ran into a problem with the placement of the exhaust pipe. It is too close to the right rear fender, causing the plastic to get too hot and begin to melt. I have tried those heat shields that stick on the plastic, but they really didn’t do much other than melt the black glue that sticks them onto the plastic. Do you have a better way of shielding the rear fender plastic from the exhaust pipe’s heat?

Larry Anderson

Hannibal, MO

Those stick-on foil heat barriers are not designed for direct contact with a hot surface. They are designed for radiant heat from a nearby heat source. What you need to construct is a fender standoff, something that will push the fender away from the hot exhaust pipe. Bolting or welding on a standoff would be the most effective. If you simply can’t push either the fender or the exhaust pipe out of the way, then there is one more method to try. You would need a small piece of thin-wall steel tubing of roughly 1–1.25 inches in diameter. Hacksaw it in half lengthwise, leaving you with a section of pipe that is C-shaped. Mark the portion of the exhaust pipe that touches the fender. Remove the rear fender. Lay the C-section of pipe on the exhaust pipe at your mark. Place a quarter under the outer edge of the C-section where it would touch the exhaust pipe. Use a C-clamp to hold the piece in place and tack-weld the backside of the “C”-section where it touches the exhaust pipe. Now remove the quarter and note the air gap. Exhaust pipe heat must now travel up the welded section towards the fender, but most of the heat will be dissipated by the cooler air passing under the C-section. Any heat that is remaining can be further dissipated by a piece of your stick-on heat shield stuck to the fender. We now expect to see pictures of your build in this fine magazine in the future, son! 

Got a problem with your ATV?

Send your questions to Dirt Wheels “Dialed In,” P.O. Box 957, Valencia, CA 91380-9057. E-mail us at [email protected], and include your name, city and state address.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.