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upnrunnin

1994 Polaris Sportsman 400 issues

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I just acquired a 1994 Polaris Sportsman 400 that sat in a shed for YEARS. After doing some heavy cleaning and carb rebuild it fired right up. The problem I am having is that when it is running and you try to engage into either forward or reverse it starts stumbling bad and quits running. When in neutral it purrs like a kitten. This has me stumped. Acts like the ignition wants to cut out when engaging gears. Any ideas what to look for? Thank you

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it sounds like the idle is set a little low. when you put it in gear and give it a little throttle, does it run good? if you put it in gear and then try to run but it stalls out, then you have something else going on, but if you just engage the gear shift and the bike throttles down, might just need to be adjusted.

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Thank you for the reply but more problems than I imagined. Will not go into forwrad or reverse. You can hear gears trying to engage but won't. If you push the shift lever forward hard it goes into forward but jumps forward HARD and quits. Low will engage but does the same thing as far as jumping forward hard and stalling. My dads '98 Sportsman 500 shifts into gear easily and will only move when given throttle. This machine jumps forward so hard it's scary.

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I'm not too familiar with the setup, but have you checked the shift linkage and/or cable? Are there any adjustments? Maybe its not fully engaging. 

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Sounds like you may be having problems with your clutches. Could be you just need a new belt or clutch cleaning.

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It sounds like your rev limiter thinks its in reverse. On the left handle bar at the bottom of the control there is an override button that bypasses it. Try pushing it while in forward, if it clears up then you either have a problem with the HLR switch located in the shifter or the ETC switch located inside the throttle control. One other question, how is your battery? I have a 96 400l sport that my wife or middle grand daugter rides. When the battery was junk and you had to pull start it no problem. After putting a new starter and battery in the reverse switch/rev limiter reared its ugly head. If you bypass the rev limiter and you break a throttle cable it will go to wide open throttle instantly. Forunately I was riding it with it bypassed unfortunatly I was on a steep, narrow muddy trail and got in some bench pressing action. Be warned!

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After rereading your post one other problem youre having that is pretty common with those, hard shifting. First thing to check is remove he triangle shaped cover behind the right foot pedal, start it up and apply the foot brake. If it doesnt stop the trans it will be really hard to shift. When you apply the pedal if it stops the trans and the engine stalls you then need to move to the clutches and belt. They are kinda like a chainsaw in that you want the idle low enough that the secondary clutch is barely turning and on that model you want to use the foot pedal to shift and be completely off the throttle

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Yep wildthang and dieljeeper hit the nail on the head. finally realizing it's a clutch issue. This machine sat for many years. Just ordered a new belt to see what difference it will make. I pulled secondary and cleaned it but not the primary yet. I am going to wait until I check with new belt. At a LOW idle the secondary spins too fast. Can even hold it in place (which at a low idle you would think belt would be loose enough). Since this machine sat so long I was just going to try and start it and ride it a little to see if that would change things but you can't even put it in gear (engine off)and start it. Just wants to jump forward

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What happens is the belt has grooves in it that match the shaft on the primary clutch. When the belt gets worn, it can move over one groove which causes the belt to hold pressure on one side of the primary so it never disengages. Sometimes, with the cover off and the engine not running, you can move the belt back to center, start the machine, and then get it in gear normally. But once you rev the engine to engage the clutch, the belt will move again. I don't recommend trying to run the machine without the cover, very dangerous.

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