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I need some help with a no start problem that I am having…

I need some help with...
I need some help with a no start problem that I am having with my 2004 Polaris Sportsman 400 ATV. All of the sudden it will not start. The engine turns over fine. I am fairly mechanically inclined but I don't know what the next step would be in troubleshooting the problem. I have verified that I do have a spark and the carb is getting fuel. The engine will not start even on starting fluid. The last thing that I tried was removing the spark plug and putting some gas directly down in the cylinder and it still will not start. I have not done a compression test but I can put my finger over the spark plug hold and turn the engine over and the compression seems to be fine. If the jets in the carb were stopped up it should still crank on starting fluid right?
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Answered in 4 hours by:
10/9/2017
Louie
Louie, Technician
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 13,105
Experience: 25+ yrs. experience
Verified

Hi and welcome to JustAnswer, I’m Louie. Sorry you had to wait awhile but I’ll do my best to help.
Initially, let's try check and review the basics. Proposed preliminary tries (if have not been done):

  • • drain / clean tank;
  • • re-fill with fresh fuel;
  • • drain carb bowl;
  • • note quantity and quality of drained fuel;
  • • spray / soak the insides of the bowl/carb with carb cleaner for a period of time;
  • • attempt to start again while covering carb air entry with the palm of your hand;
  • - determine if there is strong suction; and
  • - if your palm would be wet with fuel.

This is an independent site and members of this online community provide information, repair tips, technical assistance as a form of paid Q & A service.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Alright, Let me perform those tasks and I will get back with you with my findings.

Please post back results / observations of the above once tried.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Can the pulse coil be bad and still have a spark? I think its a timing issue because the engine will not fire on starting fluid. That would rule out bad gas or faulty carb.

Can the pulse coil be bad and still have a spark? - most unlikely.

The ignition module / CDI needs the low pulsating voltage from the pulse coil as a trigger when to fire the ignition coil (spark).

The pulse coil is co-located with the stator. It is in turn energized by the spinning flywheel. The flywheel is mechanically driven by the crankshaft.

That would also make timing an unlikely suspect.

Please (re-)check the spark plug and determine its burn color.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I just replaced the spark plug to rule that out since they are inexpensive. I will keep digging and let you know what I come up with.

Sorry; meant the old spark plug when "...All of the sudden it will not start..."

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
When I took the old spark plug out it looked like it was a little wet with gas and it was fairly black.

Even if just to eliminate as potential suspects:

  • check/change the oil for possible water contamination;
  • do the same for the fuel including in the carb bowl.

Perform a compression test.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I have already changed the oil after the malfunction. I will recheck for possible fuel contamination.

Yes please.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Drained all gas from tank and carb bowl. Put some fresh gas in, no difference. Still will not start. I checked the resistance on the pulse coil and the reading was 105 ohms. The wiring diagram says it is suppose to be 97 but I am sure that there is some tolerance allowed.

Other than the resistance, the pulse coil would be producing pulsating low voltage when attempting to start / engine cranking / turning. These pulsating low voltage trigger the ignition module / CDI when to fire the ignition coil (spark).

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I will check the voltage reading while cranking the engine over to see what I get.

Yes please.

The prescrib ed test instrument is a peak voltage meter.

Alternatively, try the lowest setting of a regular voltmeter.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I noticed that there is some extra noise coming from the starter bendix gear apparently and it does not look like it is retracting like it is suppose to. Is it possible that it could be preventing the engine from running since it is not retracting? It has a fair amount of rust in it.

A possibility as it would contribute to the slow starting RPM. However, the engine should still be able to run albeit noisily.

Louie
Louie, Technician
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 13,105
Experience: 25+ yrs. experience
Verified
Louie and 87 other Motorcycle Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Well I finally figured out my problem. I had left a rag in the intake tube from when I had it covered up for cleaning. I forgot about it and when I cranked the engine over, it got sucked into the intake valve and jammed it open. I got the rag dislodged and now I have good compression and hope to be able to get everything put back together tomorrow and see if it will start. Thanks for the advice on this issue.
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