Having an ATV is a dream, promises of freedom, riding, power, fun…but also challenges and opportunities to learn. We talk a lot about novelties and trends, but mountain bikes are durable machines. With a little maintenance, they’ll take you a long way.
If you follow the used ads on Kijiji, marketplace, it’s common, in 2023, to see quads for sale from the early 80s! For me, it’s the hope of being able to keep my machine for decades to come.
So, in November 2021, after moving to the countryside, I fell in love with a 2006 Grizzly 660. As a total neophyte, I did my research online, and everyone agreed: it’s indestructible!
First step, changing the oil on my machine
When we buy a used quad, with common sense and good advice, we make a contract with ourselves, maintain it and learn how to make repairs.
As we read everywhere, the life of a gasoline engine depends mainly on regular oil changes. The only way to really know when the last oil change was, is to do it ourselves (or have it done in the garage).
The experience described by Chantal Pelletier in her article “My first steps in the maintenance of my ATV” is just such an experience!
All of us beginner enthusiasts spend hours watching YouTube. Watching tutorials leading to constant improvement… of our toolbox!
First winter ride, and first bad luck
The trails are open, it’s the weekend and I’ve received my annual pass!
I’d even had a chance to go out and plant stakes with the local club a few weeks beforehand, just so I could do some mountain biking after all.
I set off, despite a bit of blowing snow, for a short ride between Rougemont and Saint-Pie. After 20 minutes of fun, I cross a few snowbanks, and then it cuts out. I hit the gas pedal and the engine chokes. Here I am in the middle of the fields, alone, planted in the snow, betrayed by the machine. Talk about trusting the machine!
Just then, some snowmobilers whose trail ran parallel a few yards ahead, seeing me stuck, come up to me to offer their help. Towed by snowmobiles to the next road, they took me back to my car.
Solidarity – that’s what the world of motorsport is all about!
While my confidence in the machine has taken a knock, my confidence in people has risen again! I’d read about rivalries between ATVs and snowmobiles, but what I saw was solidarity!
An intermittent breakdown, no less! The garage couldn’t find anything, and it was when I washed the ATV later that I found a bad contact. It was the ignition coil, and as soon as it got wet, it went! I spent $20 on Amazon, and a long time looking for the damned little bolts with my big hands that struggle to get through the Grizzly’s frame, and the problem was fixed!
Between us I went through everything and nothing on online forums, “it’s your valves” came up most often, “adjust the valves”, but no.
The more we tinker with and maintain our machine, the more we know about it, the more comfortable we are.
Changing a bearing, changing a universal joint, no problem. We find a lot of YouTube videos, often in English.
We feel the stress of breaking everything, but what a pleasure and what a feeling of accomplishment when we’ve put it all back together and it works!
Personally, as long as it’s not in the oil, repairs seem feasible. When my engine brake started behaving strangely on a descent to Val des Sources, I knew something was wrong. We went for a ride with my neighbor, and there I had to brake harder than usual.
I looked it up on the internet, then it came up again and again: “It’s your ‘one way bearing'”. I refused to believe it, it was still rolling after all, but I read that the situation could get worse.
On YouTube, I learn how to change the “one way bearing”. It talks about getting into the transmission, not just the belt, but behind the belt, inside.
A Mechanical Worksite!
Should I take it to the garage (an easy but expensive solution) or try it myself (after all, I also bought this quad to learn how to maintain the mechanics). A thousand dollars in the garage, or a thousand dollars in tools and parts?
Go for tools, tools and knowledge are for life. I order a “one way bearing” from partzilla, a gasket just in case.
My wife laughs at me, as I watch YouTube videos of guys greasing rollers (in the clutch) and opening engines.
Alright, changing the “one way bearing” on a Grizzly is:
– Changing the engine oil, which I know how to do and have already done
– Opening the belt box, which I’ve also done before
– Finally, I had to remove 2 plastic covers, some screws and a gasket.
My biggest mechanical job ever! Don’t laugh, I work in IT, so I knew nothing about mechanics.
Hands-on the Quad Transmission
Finally, behind the clutch box, there’s another aluminum box and some screws:
Then, when we open this box (having drained the engine oil, thanks to YouTube tutorials!), there’s the wet clutch. “Wet” means bathed in oil.
Tap-tap tap, the clutch is open. The joy when you reach the part you want to change, the “one way bearing”!
I’d seen it on video, but here it is, in my hand!
I take out the new bearing, paying close attention to the direction (when I opened the box, the old one fell out, so I had to identify the right edge “this side out” with a little green dot). Then I put everything back in the box. Careful not to “stripe” anything, and watch out for the gasket, everything fits together, it’s almost magical. I reassemble everything, in order.
Two Maintenances for the Price of One
In the YouTube tutorials, they also talked about maintaining the primary clutch.
I take advantage of the fact that everything’s open to dismantle the primary, clean the dust inside, and grease the rollers with the recommended grease (molybdenum). You don’t need too much grease, it’s a centrifugal clutch, just enough for it to slide well.
I refill the oil, rotate, adjust the level. I make sure the clutch behaves as it should before putting the gearbox back on top. Everything working, I put it back together.
The Satisfaction of Accomplishment
When you get back on your ATV after maintenance, there’s always a little stress, and that day, my biggest intervention to date, I set off with the ATV. I try it out in the garden, and it’s almost magical! It purrs smoothly, and on the way down, the engine brake does its job!
That was it! “One way bearing! Gotcha!
Now I know my machine a little better, I can say it, I’m holding it!
They say that a well-maintained machine can last for decades. It’s a 2006, were in 2023, it’s 17 years old, 29,000km (of which 2,000 or so were done by me). With each maintenance, I develop confidence in her, and above all confidence in myself.