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Toughest Most Reliable Quad ever Produced


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It seems every ATV i look at to buy used has no title, does everyone loose there title, or do they change hands so often the title is lost in the shuffle. The ones that do have titles are triple the price. I am new to buying used quads is this pretty standard procedure.

I know all quads are good and tough but thought it might be good to hear opinions as to what member think is the best, from your experiences.

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Honda 250EX.  It's so tough that it doesn't need or have an oil filter.  After 15 years of abuse the only things I've changed are tires, oil, battery, and starter.  I don't remember even changing the plug or air filter.  I never set the valves, cleaned the carb, changed the brakes, changed any bearings or cabling.  Gotta be one of the toughest quads ever.

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I agree with the Honda 250 my father has one, has had it about 30 years, i think its a four trax not 4 wheel drive its an 87 model, engine bulletproof , starter not so much, and its not the starter itself it the gears, they break and get into the stator expensive repair, I think its happened 3 times since he has had it. It always makes a clunk sound when starting even with new gears and starter, never any carb problems or running problems. The only thing, I never liked the way Hondas reverse switch worked, push the plastic button and pull the brake lever at the same time. It always worked I just never liked it. 

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My starter goes out once a year or two but that's because I use it so much.  Lots of short trips.  It wears the brushes down to nothing.  So I keep a bunch of brushes on the shelf along with a couple rebuilt starters ready to go.  Even when the starter starts to go it's not a big deal.  I hit the button and nothing happens so I rock the atv forward in gear and the starter starts working.  I can get along like that for a long time before finally replacing it.  It's not like it would leave me stranded or anything.  That's a good thing since it doesn't have a backup starting mechanism like a pull cord or kicker.

I guess I got used to the reverse.  When I pull up to the garden I usually already have it in reverse before even coming to a stop and shutting it off.  That way I can jump on with an arm load of stuff and not worry about finding reverse.  I fixed it so it will start in any gear so a lot of times I park it in reverse, then just hit the button and go.

It's one of the most nimble and maneuverable quads made.  I went riding with a couple guys on big 4x4s and spent most of the time riding in circles and doing donuts waiting on them to get over a log, down a hill, or out from being pinned between trees.

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  • 6 months later...
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  • 1 month later...

I picked up an 02 Honda Recon 250 from a friend of mine and this thing fires up year round without using the choke. Its an amazing machine. My 21 750 king quad is a monster but no way it will hold up like this little honda. Simple design, maintenance looks really straightforward and easily performed. However im yet to read anyone who owned one of these things ever doing the recommended service haha. Well built. 

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  • 1 month later...

Had a king quad for 12 years and love it, but definitely not a reliable quad. 

Any quad with a fuel pump can't be THE most reliable quad because gravity will work longer than any pump.  In addition to a pump it also has a vacuum actuated petcock that most people disable and work around because it fails.  Also the diaphragm in the cv carb is another point of failure.  The regulator is a known issue with those quads, intake valves wear out commonly, and even the bore to stroke ratio isn't that great for reliability.  All the gears are shifted by cable and cables fail.  The drive axle has u-joints which fail faster than solid axles.

It's a fun quad and will do lots of work on a homestead, but I wouldn't trust it with my life in the wilderness.

 

Btw, the Honda 250EX after 18 years of flawless reliability finally let me down.  I parked it one night and no spark the next day.   Probably the pickup coil in the stator.

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There's always some parts that wear out on any quad. But I've seen a many of the kings ,take a beating and keep on ticking.  For their age and countless storys I've heard I would not a doubt in my mind take one on a long hunting trip in the woods. Just to say quality sometimes over wins what you might think shouldn't happen.  Have a good one.by the way them little Honda's are a beast if taken care of.

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Yep there's lots of parts that wear out but the fuel pump will never wear out on the 250EX because there isn't one ;)

It also doesn't have an oil filter so not much to take care of.  I've never fixed anything major on it in 18 years, until now.  Never changed brakes, bearings, filters,,,, nothing but tires, battery, oil and starter brushes.  I think the spark plug is even still original.  And I beat the snot out of it all the time because it's only 229cc and I'm always looking for a 6th gear lol.

The only reliability drawback is there is no backup starting system so if the battery dies it will have to be push started.  That takes a workaround because from the factory it will only start in neutral which makes push starting impossible.  I was stranded on top of a mountain because of that.

At least the King does have a pull cord.

Love my king, but I've had to work on it a lot over the years.  The one-way clutch is worn on it right now.  When I let off the gas I coast instead of slowing down.  Kinda neat actually.

And seems like there are a lot of people on here asking for help with their kings and the 250 version.  Seems like the email I get on sundays always has at least one in the latest topics.  There's a lot too go wrong and much of it is made out of rubberish plastic like vacuum hoses, diaphragms, u-joint boots, cable sheaths.  And the engine design is ancient.  You could swap the cam, head and piston for that of the 1989 250S quadsport which is little different than a 1985 230 quadsport which isn't much different than the original 185.

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Aggree,good machine but when they get age I guess things gonna happen,and now we have to work on things that have sensors on just about everything,the other day I had brand new one in shop that had so much crap on it and mostly plastic,bet inside engine they did also. The best engine with the less moving parts will always win.  

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I have come to the conclusion that they are all tough, some maybe more reliable than others, but everyone of them that i have worked on i have not been unimpressed with the build quality, even some of the chinese ones are good. A lot goes back to the way they are treated. They are made to handle grueling offroad conditions, and they do it well.  

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When I first got my king I backed over a small tree which wedged itself in the a-arm and tore the u-joint boot.  I had to get my truck to winch the quad off the stump.  Then I welded stainless plate to the entire bottom and all the a-arms.  Now the quad is tough.  But before.... not so much.  A small tree required a 4000lb vehicle to free it.

Just the other day I had a mess of vines wrapped around the rear axle and if I hadn't had the armor it would have ripped the boot to shreds.

With the 250ex I don't have to worry because there are no boots to rip.  And it will go more places, climb steeper hills, fit between more trees, bunny hop logs, and if I do get stuck I can pick it up.  With the king I can't just go and not worry about a stick ramming into a boot or vines wrapping around or who knows what.

I don't know what people consider to be tough but for me it's not having to worry about breaking anything while riding around the house.

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On 9/4/2022 at 11:45 AM, JustRandy said:

Honda 250EX.  It's so tough that it doesn't need or have an oil filter.  After 15 years of abuse the only things I've changed are tires, oil, battery, and starter.  I don't remember even changing the plug or air filter.  I never set the valves, cleaned the carb, changed the brakes, changed any bearings or cabling.  Gotta be one of the toughest quads ever.

I used to have a 1981 Honda 250 dirt bike.  Instead of an oil filter, it had a centrifugal oil separator that caught particles in the oil.  You had to remove one of the big case covers to do this.  I did it when I first got the bike, (2000), and there was probably a table spoon of debris.  It looked like the sludge was mostly clutch lining wear particles with a few metal flakes for decoration.  I cleaned it, replaced the side cover, new oil, and rode it another 20 years before I sold it.

I don't know if Honda still uses this technique on newer machines.  That's why I always like to get the service manual for anything with an engine.

tom

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On 7/31/2023 at 1:03 PM, geezer99 said:

I don't know if Honda still uses this technique on newer machines.  That's why I always like to get the service manual for anything with an engine.

Rocky Mountain ATV sold me an oil filter they said would fit the 250EX, but I looked all over the engine and couldn't find where it goes.  I looked in the service manual and engine diagrams and couldn't find anything about a filter.  So I guess it just doesn't have one.  I still have the filter like a souvenir lol. 

It might have a screen or something to keep the chunks out of the oil pump but not sure since I've never had it apart.

It's also a pushrod engine.  Can you believe it?  Honda redesigned everything from the 250X to the 250EX using computers and decades of knowledge and what they came up with was a pushrod engine with no oil filter lol

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