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kentucky_backwoods

1989 Big Bear 350 Won't Start

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Hello everyone, I recently got an 89 Big Bear on a trade. This is my first atv that I've ever owned and I'm awfully green when it comes to everything. When I got it there was a front wench installed but the support welds were busted, so I took it off.

Prior to taking the wench off I was able to use the push button start, but since then I haven't been able to use it.

I followed the wiring diagram in the service manual and made sure that it was all wired correctly; the only difference is the two in-line fuses that were added to the red line which runs from the ignition to the Starting Circuit Cut-Off Relay.

When I turn the key it doesn't do ANYTHING...the only way I can get it to start is by taking a screwdriver and touching both sides of the starter relay to each other. When I do that, the indicator lights come on and it starts right up. My assumption is that something is not telling the starter relay that the ignition is on, but I'm not sure why. For the life of me I can't remember what it looked like when I took the wench off, lesson learned to make notes! :aargh:

Any suggestions would be great, because I have spent many hours trying to figure out what to do! Thanks!

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First, hello and welcome! I'm new to ATVs, and this forum, and also recently got an 89 Big Bear 350. Its been fun learning about them and tinkering with it.

The starting system is pretty easy, ignition cylinder(on/off), Starting circuit cut off relay, starter relay, starter motor, and battery. If all you did was remove the winch, perhaps you didnt see another wire, the power wire to the Batt, is perhaps not hooked back up? Perhaps they spliced the winch power wire into the main wire, and in removing that, you no longer have power. No idea w/o seeing it.

Lets get the easy stuff out of the way. Are you in neutral, is your battery nice and charged, and how about your connection plug wire on the ignition cylinder to the rest of the harness. Thats a current issue with mine, I installed a new ignition cylinder, its a cheap Chinese piece of crap, and the 4 prong plug has to be wiggled around occasionally, and I hear the relay click and see the green light.

Id suggest working your way from the battery forward. Find the main power wire off the batt, and trace it from component to component.

Battery>Starter Relay>Starting Circuit Cutoff Relay>Ignition Switch in that order.

If youre not getting the green light on, check connections.

My wiring diagram in my Clymer manual shows a 2nd wire from the + batt post to the regulator/rectifier, but Im not sure how its represented, I think I have one wire on the + post, and on the cutt-off relay it where the 2nd connection is.

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Just went to go look, I only remembered one connection on the post, but there are two wires that share the same eye bolt connection. The thick wire, goes to to the relay>starter. The thin wire dissapears into the harness, and per manual, to a fuse, then regulator/rectifier.

The starter relay itself, which is mounted left of the battery on the frame rail, has the thick wire from the battery, and to the starter motor. And it also has two small wires with a plug, and dissapears into a harness. My diagram showing ones ground, and one to the cutoff relay.

Hopefully its something simple, loose connection, and not a bad component. If you can jump the connection with a screwdriver I guess that rules out the starter relay and thats good. Only thing left in the system is the cutoff relay, ignition switch, and associated connections, and of course like I said the easy stuff, gearbox in neutral, battery charged.

My on/off switch on the left handlebar is broken, and stuck in the on position, and I have some wires that are disconnected here and there, someone previously did some monkeying around.

Edited by MrSchaeferPants

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Thanks for the response. It is in neutral and battery has a good charge. When I turn the key, none of the lights even come on, it's almost like it doesn't know that I've even switched the key on (which wasn't a problem before).

I've got the two connections to the positive terminal and, per the diagram I have, two to the negative terminal. The thin wire from the positive terminal might be where my problem is...It has two in-line fuses, and runs back to the ignition switch. It is spliced in one spot, which might be where it runs to the regulator/rectifier.

I don't think it's the ignition switch itself, because it worked just fine before I took the winch off unless it just crapped out all of a sudden.

How can I check the cutoff relay to see if it's getting anything?

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Need to get a multimeter and check for voltage. You should be able to check everything in the system (cutoff relay for example) for voltage. Check those fuses, make sure theyre good.

Parts dont usually mysteriously crap out. Fuses could depending on the situation.

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I was able to find the problem, I had to test each wire individually and found a spot where the wire had gone bad. I'm assuming that it was being bypassed when the wench was on it. It took me a while but I figured it out.

I have another problem now though....I can't get the s.o.b to start, even when using starter fluid. It just wont turn over. The carb is fine, it's getting gas and nothing is stopped up. The spark plug is fine, it's getting a spark. I am going to check the timing chain tomorrow and probably the valve.

Does anyone have any other suggestions?

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i just got a 93 big bear in sorry shape,

on mine, the holder for the inline fuse under the seat on the right side is torn and occasionally works loose. when its loose, i have no lights w/ key on, but as soon as i push it together it works fine.

just to clarify, yours is turning over, but it wont fire?

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Need to get a multimeter and check for voltage. You should be able to check everything in the system (cutoff relay for example) for voltage. Check those fuses, make sure theyre good.

Parts dont usually mysteriously crap out. Fuses could depending on the situation.

I beg to differ, I'm an aircraft mechanic and parts do mysteriously crap out, all the time.

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Here is the update:

Rebuild kit completed on the carb, everything looks good and nothing is sticking or worn.

When I push start it turns over, and over, and over, but no fire. The spacer between the jug and carb "breathes" each time it turns over. It swells up, which makes me think there is too much air coming in. Problem is, I have tried the pilot screw in a number of different positions but that doesn't change anything.

I checked both valves and valve clearance, the timing chain was off one link but I fixed that too. Occasionally if I sit and jiggle the throttle it will act like it wants to start, and on a rare occasion it actually will for a few minutes.

I'm at a loss, and I really don't want to take it to a shop, so does anyone have any suggestions? Keep in mind I am pretty green, so keep the lingo to a minimum please!

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The spacer between the carb & jug is an intake boot. That boot should not breathe or swell. If anything it would collapse from air getting sucked into the engine. I dont have a big bear , but what you describe sure sounds like your valve timing is off.

Edited by Mudflap64

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It sounds like its forcing air out the intake which on a car would mean your timing was 180* out. I don't know enough about single cylinder engines to give you a more accurate diagnosis other than to double check your timing and make sure your valves aren't sticking. Also take a close look at that intake boot and make sure it isn't cracked or torn.

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