1996 Sportsman 400 4X4 - Polaris ATV Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 06:30 AM Thread Starter
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1996 Sportsman 400 4X4

Boy howdy! My name is Ben and I am from eastern NC. I am active duty on Ft Carson in Colorado. I recently came across a Sportsman 400 in sorry shape. After a few minutes, I got it to crank and fire, but there is no power to the lights. The 12V outlet reads ~13.2V.

Here's the rest of the bad:

Over heats after about 5 minutes

Overflow bottle missing

Drive belt cover got rubbed through by a loose belt

None of the plastic is good

Front drive chain gone

The only brake present and firmly attached is the foot brake. The rest have been removed and lines cut.

I have no clue what fluid to change, drain, use, etc.

This was an air force quad that was given to the Air Force Academy Equestrian Center. It sat for about 10 years because no one had the knowledge base to fix it. Honestly, I don't know where to start. Flush the cooling system first? No clue! I need it to be reliable. It does a few quirky things like shutting off unless you hold the throttle, boggs down and stalls if you give it too much throttle, and slips when it's in gear.

I'll donate the finished product to the wounded warrior guys that can't ride our horses for one reason or another. I could really use some help with this. It doesn't need to be a monster or tricked out, it just needs to work. I'm doing this out of pocket, so the budget isn't huge. Any info and help would be awesome!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 06:40 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1996 Sportsman 400 4X4

Here's a few pictures
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Last edited by SOBX; 06-19-2013 at 07:57 AM.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 07:56 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1996 Sportsman 400 4X4

And some more
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1996 Sportsman 400 4X4

A bunch of people looking, but nobody interested enough to reply... ouch
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 02:13 PM
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Sounds like you have a carburetor to clean and a few parts to replace..... I'd start by replacing all the fluids, cleaning the carburetor and cleaning the radiator fins thoroughly! Than go from there!

Check this link out.... http://gh-ftp.com/ORV%20Manuals/Pola...0%20-%20SM.pdf

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 02:54 PM
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Sounds like you really have your hands full. Just know that before you begin this project it is likely that you will exceed the value of the machine. I'm not discouraging, I'm realistic.
That being said...
I don't know many fluids that stay reliable for a decade. Drain them all and refill.
The overflow tank is not a must have at this time but can be picked up fairly cheap.
My guess on the lights being blown is that someone ran it with either a dead battery or battery disconnected. This will cause it to put out in excess of 20 volts and blow any bulb that is on (highs, lows, indicator bulbs, brake light, 4x4 indicator).
Majority of the "quirky" things you described sound like they are being caused by the carburetor. It's a bit tedious but the carb needs to be thoroughly dissected and cleaned with brake cleaner.
For their age, those plastics seem to be in fairly amazing shape if you ask me. There are a number of products that you can buy at your local auto parts store to improve them further (search "plastics" on your homepage).
Over heating is usually caused by a stopped up radiator. Disconnect it and soak it over night. Then gently spray out whatever is compacted in there. Be careful not to bend the veins!
The other parts can be picked up on eBay as a lot or there are several guys on here that have a pile of parts for these older machines.
I hope I've been of some assistance.
Good luck on your build.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 04:09 PM
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I think it will be fixable but will cost much more then the value of the machine, good luck and thanks for your service.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-20-2013, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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All is good. They bought another quad and "auctioned" the other one to me for $1.00. Now I have a nearly free quad. I'll still be fixing it.
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