1998 Polaris Sportsman 500 Quad

Not mine ..but what it should look like.

Dec 9 2013:  And I’m at it again !

In my search for something to work on / putz with in the shop.. This Quad popped up and got Dave & I’s attention.. Cheap ! Beat up , dirty, not running good… and left outside .. PERFECT for me.. And more so because these are one of the best quads out there..  Not too big ..not too small.. go anywhere.. I know cause Dave has a 2004 version of this quad and I rode it for a whole day. .SEE POST .  But mine is missing a few things, like the rear rack. And some of the body parts are broken.. but I’m good at fixing that sort of thing. Needs a new muffler too.. and as I get involved there could be more things. For now it’s getting stripped down and cleaned.

My Quad …the good side.

It’s green ! that’s ok Daves is yellow.

I’m waiting for a warm day to do the cleaning.. or maybe take the quad to the shop at work..  Anyway what you see in these two photos above is me placing the body parts on for a photo shoot.. and another one from the net.. To show what it would be like in nice shape..The one I have came all in pieces. and one interesting thing was the carb wrapped in a bag and hanging by the throttle & choke cables…  Was told that the quad would run but barely .. and would stall out.. thought to be carb issue.  And that was correct !  And it wasn’t just the spider making a cozy home in there.. nope the first thing I found was the choke spring not in it’s proper place. See the following photo..

With a hole in the diaphragm the throttle would not open all the way.. So I’m thinking once I get a new one the quad will run fine..Or there could be more..won’t know till I get the parts and try starting the motor..  In the mean time a bath is needed.

Ya I know.. they are suppose to get dirty.. but wash it when you get back from getting it dirty !  For me it’s way easier to work on.. and this poor quad has not seen a grease gun or an oil can for a while.. So take note of the photo above.. cause it WILL look different after the bath.  One other thing that is of concern is bent stuff.. this quad had a rough life.. and the owner had replaced the front suspension …so it’s good to look at the frame carefully.  First thing I noticed was the bent down handlebar.. a common thing but I will fix that. You can see in this photo below..

But which is bent ? Well it’s a little of both.. the bars are bent down on the right side, but there is also a slight “skew” to the right-top frame rail.  not enough to be overly concerned about. If I’m able to pull it straight then great.. if not.. no worries.

Now it’s had the much needed bath. And under the dirt you always find stuff.. Missing screws, missing front disc brake.  Hmm.  I would have discovered that when I pulled the wheels off anyway.  Just another part needed. Last night I took the pull starter off and cleaned it up.. wound the rope in a bit.. and put it back on.. one more thing fixed.

Today we tried in vane to pull on the upper frame.. just to tweak it a bit.. wouldn’t move.. So I’m thinking leave it alone.  We also pulled the valve cover off to see if the cams are worn..  nope everything is fine..  I bought a motorcycle lift today and now the quad is up higher and easier to work on.. pulled the front wheels off and found … the right side had a brake disc.. but no pads left.. the left side is missing the disc but has wore out pads.. So there’s more stuff to buy.  Then I moved on to the speedo cable .. and where it goes on the transmission.  That part was seized.. so I took it apart and freed it up.. but I need a long square key to put it back on..

I’ve now ordered all the parts I need. and they are: new front brake pads, new front brake rotors,  new carburetor diaphragm, new key for speedometer, new shifter switch. Then there is the stuff I will fix: the muffler, the plastic body parts, the speedometer, the rear rack.  I have a few days before my Sister brings the parts.  So I’m working on some of the small stuff.. I took the rusty but functioning starter solenoid off and cleaned it up and bench tested it for function..  Works fine, but I have a bare wire that will have to be covered.

I was also working on the Rear/ Drive train brake.  Unlike the front bakes this one is all there and working good.. So I just pulled the caliper off and cleaned / lubricated stuff and made sure there was enough brake pads left. Oh and today I ordered LED lights to replace all the bulbs except the high beam light.

Rather then flipping between the different things..  And now that my parts are on the way.. I’ll list the fixes.. Starting with:

The Speedometer:

My poor sad speedometer.. I’ve taken it apart a week or so back and left it for dead..  Basically it has not been working for a while.  And upon investigation… it was the right angle drive off of the transmission that was seized.  And that twisted and sheared the square 2 inch long drive key. It is supposed to do that but then you fix it 🙂

This little baby with two 45 degree gears was the problem. Normally you would get a new one.  NA  I was so bold as to take it apart ( you can see where) and clean it and make it work . I may not have done the neatest job but It works again..  So once I get the new key (not able to fix that) then this goes back on the side of the transmission. The cable is good. .. but the speedometer had a broken glass..

Letting mother nature into the speedometer is never a good thing. You can see what’s left of the glass..  I CAN FIX.  So I took it all apart too.. (I have no fear with this stuff)  I clean and lubed it up and it works fine now.  I made a new lens from some lexan I have .  And …

I say “almost” because the black face is weathered.  And it’s in miles !  what’s up with that ?  Speaking of .. there is got to be more than the 2603 miles that shows in the ODO ., but I’m leaving that alone. Dave says set it to 0.  I’ll just be happy to know how fast I can go before I get scared.

The Battery:

And the holder ..and the solenoid.  I was contemplating removing or cutting the battery holder to fit the battery I have but I’m thinking it would be better to just buy the correct size battery.

I removed all the rust and gave it a paint job… new positive red wire too.  Seams a little exposed for a hot lead.. I need a second rubber boot.  I’ve still to go over all the electrical, but I have not found a problem yet other than the shifter switch and a few burnt out bulbs. Speaking of those.. one of the burnt out bulbs was the AWD light.. a tiny bulb , never seen anything like it.. So in my bag of tricks I found a blue LED tiny bulb that I soldered on to the old bulb holder.. and now the AWD lights up blue.. very cool..  I took the handlebar off and all the switches that mount on the bar.. and I’ve tested and cleaned all of them now.. The exception is the brake switch, I’ll need all the brakes installed to test that because there needs to be pressure on the brake lines.   If that works there should be no electrical woes ..  Hopefully.

The New Parts:

It’s Christmas.. and the parts arrived with my Sister.

Not shown here is the shifter switch .. I was antsy to see if it would work.. It’s a new design.  Seems ok.. it fits and should do the job.

I’m a bit nervous putting the shifter back together.  The service manual tells you to be careful because the switch needs to work !  but does not go in great detail.  And this being an expensive part I do not want to damage it.. I can see now that it’s a more robust switch, it’s metal not plastic like the old one.. The shifter went back together without a hitch.. the switch works good too.  Yessss..  Now I can finish the carb.. and work on the front hubs.. Today is Boxing Day..  I thought I would take the handle bar over to Peter’s shop and use a torch to take the slight bend out.. So I heated it up carefully and got it perfectly straight.  I sanded the bar and gave it a new paint job.  I also cleaned and polished the bar clamps and replaced the missing bolt.  Done.  When I was taking the grips off I noticed there were a bit ratty.. so some nice new ones … maybe heated would be good 🙂

Them’s The Brakes :

Now that I had all the parts I needed it was time to do the front wheel hubs and brakes.  You need to pull the hubs off to replace the disc rotors.  It’s a good thing to inspect the locking hubs for wear and broken parts..  Everything was in good order despite the fact that one hub hadn’t seen much oil for awhile.  Your supposed to  fill them 1/3 up with oil.. there was a bit in one side only.  So they got some oil and put back together with new rotors.

So the brakes are like new.. and the brake light switch is working too.. There does not seem to be any air got into the lines.  So them’s the brakes 🙂

Sunday Dec 29 th :

I thought I’d get a lot more done today.. but I ran into a snag or two.  I did get the carb back in it’s proper place.. I now have the proper battery.  And with those things I thought I’d be starting the motor.. But I wanted to have ALL the electrical in place and working..

The other evening I got the handle bars all fixed and painted .. installed with new grips. So today I figured I better get the pod back together.. witch meant fixing the broken mounting holes.. I used new metal to reinforce the plastic . Worked great. Even did a bit of plastic welding with the soldering iron.

I placed the top here so I could check out the lights .  See the little red light in the middle. That’s my new brake light. It will tell you when ever you use the brakes.. but the idea is for you not to drive with the parking brake on… Something I did and not proud of.  Will it be annoying..  ?  I’m not sure yet.  Anyway I got to testing all things electric.. and found that the starter would not work.. Wow whoda thunk..  I seriously could not get it to turn over. 🙁

So out it came.. not to hard .. two bolts. When I did get the shaft to turn it make some BAAAD noises.  I printed the instructions for taking it apart, and got to it..

Boy was it dirty, no lube , and one of the brushes was welded to the armature..  None of which was good, but explains why it was a no-go.  So Clean-Clean.. lube-lube and back together.  And it works.  Yay.. :)….  Until I put it back into the motor.. it cranked the motor over about six times and click..  nothing.  Took it back out and apart.. The brushes are too short.. or wore out too much.. need new ones if I’m going to have electric start.  So I’ll move along to something else:

Bonus !

Dave Had a motor brush that worked ! With a little modification and some solder I repaired the brush.. and the starter now works great.. all the time every time..

You can see the difference in length in the photo above.

I also got the pod all together and as you can see all the lights work, red speedo light , and the bright red one is the brake light..  coming along nicely. 🙂

The high beam light got a new H4 bulb, and a polish to take the yellow and scratches away. It’s mounted properly now and you can adjust the angle..  It always should be that way..

Where are we at :

Time to take stock:  I’ve yet to start and run / test the motor.. But as of tonight I could, it’s mechanically all together,  but there is no muffler yet. Here’s what I do know..  The starter and all electrical is working. The brakes are excellent. The wheels go round & round.. Ok that’s silly.  Maybe it’s easier to say what I know needs work.  The left hub did not engage when I tested the AWD .. That side had a bent disc that I straightened, it’s also got a bad rear oil seal.. so that’s work to do. Strangely the tail light won’t work ?? it worked before ?  not a big deal but it bugs me. The Unknown: How well does the motor run ?  Does the belt drive do it’s thing ? Does the charging system work ?  Will the wheels fall off.. That’s silly again. Seriously though I’ve done a lot of hours of work.. and spent some cash here .. so crossing my fingers.

We have a running motor !

Took most of the day to fart around with checking for fuel..and trying to mickey rig a muffler.. but it started and it ran good enough for a boot down the street and back.. but the muffler is to restrictive and the motor runs like crap with that.  The good news is it RUNS, The Drive line works good too.. and things like the fuel pump are working good.. But I need a proper muffler.

Welding Plastic 101 :

Well I’ve heard of it being done.. but never tried it till today..  I have a flat tip for the soldering gun.. that’s just the ticket.

One of the foot rests for the quad was broken right in half.  not anymore !

Exhaust & Muffler :

Breath in … Breath out.  Instead of spending hours TRYING to build my own muffler I found an “off the shelf” one at Lordco that is perfect.. and cheap.

This seams to be working fine.. the mounts are a bit of a compromise, but I’m thinking the muffler will do the job at a fraction of the cost of the Polaris one. Once we get the motor running better we’ll see.

Dave’s coming over and we are going to check the gap on the valve cams.. Very important that they work good.  But what I found today while removing the fuel tank ..  may be the problem with the motor performance, or a good part of it..  I noticed that when I pulled the fuel line off the shut off valve .. I saw the fuel just dribbling out of the fuel line.. even though there was lots in the tank. So I replaced the two fuel lines coming from the fuel tank.. better flow..  While setting the valve clearance the starter calved again..  I’m buying a new jobber one it’s not expensive.. so why fart around with the old one. Also seemed the carb was not working good .. pulled it off and apart to check the float setting and found the jet seat loose in the float bowl.. All these fixes should mean a running motor when I get the new starter.. So no more work on quad till new starter comes.

Wee Haa !

Yup Got the starter installed and Dave & I fired up the Quad …  runs great, idles nice .. so we put the air box back together and the seat on and went for a boot… Even better with all the stuff properly together..  Much quieter .. Gobs of power… and go.. Speedo works  ! It was dark so I did not video that.. maybe on the weekend. A few tweaks are still needed.. and the left hub needs it’s parts to function properly.. will get this stuff done on the weekend.  So I also need to build a new rear rack and put the body back on. Oh and the problem with the tail light was a bad bulb.. Ha.

More Tweaking:

I got the parts to fix the Left hub.. and after getting that done Dave was anxious to test that the 4×4 was working.. The Polaris fired up without choke in seconds..  It’s running great.  So here’s the Video..

Short little clip, but shows the 4×4 working in the snow.  I’ve got all the front body and rack on today.. after the bit of fun… I went cruising all over the back yard.  We set to work on a rear rack..

This is what we came up with.. it’s only to mount the box that I have for the rear..

This box will be at home on the back of the quad.. It’s roomy , weather proof.. and will hold plenty of stuff.   I decided to work into the evening.. and see what I could finish.

If the LED’s ever show up and go in we are done..  Up for sale now.. we’ll see what happens.

Lots of action on the sale.. someone came and took it for a ride.. really liked it.  Others want to trade everything and anything for the quad..  Guys like quads !  ??

Sold…. On to the next project….