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Thread: 1998 foreman dies after minute or two

  1. #1
    Member jmg's Avatar
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    Default 1998 foreman dies after minute or two

    I've had a 1998 Honda foreman 400 for about six or seven years. I recently put a warn winch on it, and got a warn plow for winter use. It worked several times really well, but the last four or five attempts to plow, the atv stalls out and is hard to get going again. It has gotten to the point where it stalls after about two minutes. It won't start again for several minutes, but does crank for awhile. But if I let it sit ten minutes, it fires right up, then dies again.

    Im wondering if adding the winch and plow is too much for the battery. The stator is working fine, charging around 14-15 volts. When I crank it when it won't start, the voltage drops to around 8-8.5 volts. But, it seems like once I get it started, it should continue to run on the stator, like a car alternator? Does it need a solid battery to keep running after its started?

    My ear tells me maybe a fuel problem. But I also have never replaced the battery in all the years I've owned it. If I need to pull the carburetor and rebuild, it sure would be nice to start there instead of an expensive battery. Or maybe a choke/flooding issue.

    Im thinking possible problems to be:
    battery
    spark plug
    carb rebuild
    fuel screen in gas tank

    anything else I might be missing (other than compression, but lets not go there yet)

    thanks in advance
    Never count your days, but rather, make all of your days count.

  2. #2
    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    I've got the same exact machine....it was having issues this year so I had the carb rebuilt, no problems thereafter...although it does need a new battery. Carb kit was less than $20 on ebay, guy I know installed it, hour or so....I'd start there.
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Wouldn't hurt to replace that old fuel line while you're in there too.
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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like a fuel issue. Does it have a primary/reserve selector? If so try switching it to reserve and see if it helps. I'm thinking a supply line restriction could be causing the bowl to fill slowly. When you start the machine it empties the float bowl faster than it can refill. Letting it sit for 10 minutes would allow the bowl to refill and give you another couple minutes of run time. I seem to recall you were storing it outside. If that is true bring it in and warm it up overnight. May be icing in the lines. If it runs fine after a night in the garage add some Heet to the tank.

  5. #5
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    The first thing I would do is check/replace the fuel filter. I don't think it a battery problem, if you use jumper cable and a 2nd battery that would prove it not the battery.

  6. #6

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    Fuel filter on the good ole Honda is the screen on the petcock neck inside the tank unless you added an inline filter at some point. Lujon has some good advice for you, wouldnt hurt to dissasmble the carb for a good clean and rebuild(cheap enough) even if that turns out not to be tbe issue. I have seen stators that got warm after running a bit then failed only to be fine again after cooling off but I would start with the easy stuff meaning fuel delivery and carb attention.
    You got a good machine there,dont give up on her!

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    Member jmg's Avatar
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    Man I love this site. Post before bed, wake up to lots of awesome advice. Thank you so much. Going to play with the fuel selector today, maybe drain the tank and clean the petcock filter, and see if my local honda shop has a new line and carb kit. Should be easy enough. I'll post results later. Thanks all!!!!
    Never count your days, but rather, make all of your days count.

  8. #8
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    Start with the easy stuff. Check you fuel tank vent. You may have pinched or twisted it while working on the winch install. Easy to test. Loosen the fuel cap and see if that makes the problem go away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    Start with the easy stuff. Check you fuel tank vent. You may have pinched or twisted it while working on the winch install. Easy to test. Loosen the fuel cap and see if that makes the problem go away.
    That is the first thought that came to me.


    Also, the battery voltage is dropping too low on cranking, it should stay above 10.5 while cranking, a new battery will only be a help though is unlikely it is the stalling problem, but not impossible if it is stalling as you operate the winch. A shorted cell and heavy load could take down the ignition.

  10. #10
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    If you want to determine if lack of fuel is the problem before tearing everything apart, squirt some gas in the carburetor if. It keeps running you found the problem, now you have to find what causing the problem.

    P.S I would remove the gas cap first.

    Good call Mr. Pid, 9.9 out of 10 times it the last guy that work on a vehicle cause the problem.
    Why do I know that? It the first thing I ask a customer. What did you do before you had a problem?

  11. #11
    Member jmg's Avatar
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    Wow, you guys have done this before huh? I've benn keeping the bike in the garage, so I knew nothing was frozen up. Threw it outside, pulled the gas cap off, and she seems to be running fine. Got the father-in-law out plowing the property now.

    Since I got to this point though, I think I'm going to get the carb rebuild kit and do that, get a new air cleaner, battery, and brakes, get it maintained up real good for summer.

    Thanks a ton guys!!!
    Never count your days, but rather, make all of your days count.

  12. #12

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    I have a 300 Honda 4X4 and the gas cap has a mark on it that you line up to a mark on the tank. you can put the cap on 1/2 a turn off and it will not vent right. Check that out and see if yours has to be lined up right. Also if you drain your gas tank check for moisture. That is becoming a big problem because of ethanol gas.

  13. #13
    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cast Iron View Post
    That is becoming a big problem because of ethanol gas.
    Just an FYI Alaska gas doesn't have Ethanol in it.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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  14. #14

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    Hey being an old time plow guy, witch has a broken plow as of now. I have been using my 750 susuki, with warn stuff- it took me a season to realizing that un-like my plow truck that would just drop the blade-- the warn system uses battery for up and down, thus killing it..
    New battery and simple logic-- she works well now.
    Goo

  15. #15

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    You are very lucky. Our gas has a mandatory limit of at least 10% ethanol. This rule was put in place by Obama. I was under the impression that it was nationwide. A good small engine shop here can stay busy fixing the problems caused by the ethanol gas.

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    Member Derby06's Avatar
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    I am amazed not one person has said replace the spark plug.
    That would be my FIRST, EASY, CHEAP step.
    Not to mention very possibly the issue.

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    [QUOTE=Derby06;1352289]I am amazed not one person has said replace the spark plug.
    That would be my FIRST, EASY, CHEAP step.
    Not to mention very possibly the issue.[/QUOTE

    I can only speak for myself. The information posted about the problem and more years that I want to admit to working on engines tells me it not a spark plug problem at this time. After determining it not a fuel problem replacing the spark plugs would be the next step.

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    I think he said "taking the gas cap off fixed it" ....

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