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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
:wavey: Hello ATV confederates and partners in crime. My name is Mick. I am located in Smyrna, Ga., just outside Atlanta.

Not long ago I announced in the newbie section that I have a project ATV that I was about to restore/refurbish/work on and I am planning to discuss it here, including pictures. This is the kickoff of that endeavor. I invite your participation with critique and commentary. I'll do my best to keep it interesting, but sorry, I can't say everything in twenty-five words or less. I'll leave that to the twittering nit-twits. Now, on with the show.

I have been looking at ATV's, from a distance, for several years, but never got really inspired to get one until recently. The research I did showed me that it would take somewhere between $4000 and $8000 to get a new one, depending on a number of factors. I couldn't go there, so I put it on the back burner. A few weeks ago, a friend I work with, Amanda, mentioned that her husband, Jay, big deer hunter, fisherman, etc., was about to buy himself a brand new Polaris. My antennae went up immediately and I began to ask questions. Their old 4x is a 1992 Polaris 350L Trail Boss 4x4. It was for sale, 'as is'. It had a broken motor mount, and a few other issues, though the motor ran 'good and strong'. He was asking $900. I was thinking more like $500, even though I had never laid eyes on the machine, other than the pictures Amanda took with her cell phone, and had no realistic idea of what a machine like that would be worth. I let it drift for a few more days until one day Amanda was talking about the fact that the new Polaris was too wide for the loading ramps they used for the old Polaris, meaning they were going to have to buy either new ramps, or a trailer, neither of which were probably covered by the new quad loan. Jay was needing some loose cash to help him get mobile. Hmmm...the new owner was also going to need some ramps, and I had a little bit of loose cash...so, after mulling it over for a day or two, I made an offer: $700 for the machine, $100 for the ramps. Word came back...Deal! He delivered it a few days later, and now I have it...and he has my $800. I could have offered $600, but didn't figure he would come off his price that much. To tell you the truth, I was really surprised when he accepted my offer. I was expecting for him to come back with $800 for the bike, which I would likely have refused. Maybe he figured that. Up to that time, I had never seen the actual machine, only pictures. I had met the husband, Jay, once at a party. Other than that, I had not even so much as talked to him on the phone. I did have a most important ally, however. My friend, his wife, Amanda, was very forthcoming with honest, sincere discussion, before she knew that I was interested in buying the quad.

The Clunker in question, front and back:


I know some of you will be real critical and say that I paid way too much for a bucket of bolts, but I say, be that as it may, I thought it was a reasonably good deal. He came off his price a little bit and I came off mine. I really do think it is a pretty good machine, even if it is almost 20 years old and has had at least two prior owners, and even if it currently has some serious issues. With some good mechanican and a few cosmetic touch-ups, it can be a good ride for someone who doesn't plan to rawhide it much (That would be me). Sure, I would love to be writing about how I got it for three hundred with the ramps thrown in as a bonus. The bottom line is, you can't learn to play a guitar unless you have a guitar. So, now I have one. I can go forward. My thinking is that for less than fifteen hundred, I can have a solid, reliable, handsome, four-wheeler for my entertainment and pleasure. That's doable with the right mechanic, meaning fiscally reasonable. I can do the cosmetics myself.
 

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That will be a great bike, I had a similar machine for my first quad and it was awesome, you also have come to the right place for excellent advice....

Best Regards - MM :)
 

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Looks like a nice ride! Bet you can't wait to get it ready to ride!
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
@MonkeyMan:
I feel like it will be a great bike, too. I have a way to go yet, but I got the vision. This site has been a great find. I have already picked up several things of value, and anticipate many more.

@Racer37l:
Thanks Racer. I'm planning to have lots of fun with this machine. Right now, though, I'm having to practice extreme patience during the process of the repairs. Stay tuned, I will more or less chronicalize it all right here.

Can either of you, or anyone else tell me if one can upload full-sized pictures (bigger than a thumbnail) into the middle of ones post, or just upload attachment photos, the thumbnails of which appear at the end of the post? I would prefer to be able to keep viewable pictures near the text that relates to them.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
@CW: Thanks for the PhotoBucket tip. I had to work with it for a couple hours before I finally got the hang of it. It works great now. What I was talking about in my question above, was a way to have the pictures uploaded and visible in the thread. Apparently that protocol is not functional on this site, at least I tried some html code tags designed to do it, but they were not accepted as html. That's OK, though. I can work with this. It was more important that the picture be near the text that reflects it than it was that the picture be visible in the thread. Having both would be ideal. Thanks again.
 

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@CW: Thanks for the Photo Bucket tip. I had to work with it for a couple hours before I finally got the hang of it. It works great now. What I was talking about in my question above, was a way to have the pictures uploaded and visible in the thread. Apparently that protocol is not functional on this site, at least I tried some html code tags designed to do it, but they were not accepted as html. That's OK, though. I can work with this. It was more important that the picture be near the text that reflects it than it was that the picture be visible in the thread. Having both would be ideal. Thanks again.
Everything you post is in brackets "[" "]" then they have the code IMG for pics and QUOTE for text quotations...

Here is a pic from my site, but I added some spaces between the IMG and the brackets, so you can see the code...

[ IMG ]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v465/CWLONGSHOT/Quads/Polaris%20Sportsman%20700/da21b124.jpg[ / IMG ]

Here is the actual pic...

 

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Discussion Starter #8
@CW: Double thanks, CW. I think I have it now. I was on the right track with the html tags, I just had not landed on the correct syntax. This will make this whole process (meaning telling the story of this restoration) a lot more fun.

Wow! What a picture you put up as your example. That is about as tuff looking a machine as I have ever seen. It's like the HumVee of quads, a regular little open-air tank. :goldcup: Maybe after I cut my teeth on this old bike I'll get it in my blood and move up to one like that. That is a great dream. Nothing, without first a dream, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Finding QuadMan.

I have kinda had the clunker project on hold for the past few weeks, for a couple of reasons: 1. Finding someone in my area who works on 'old' ATV's has presented quite a challenge. I left it with one guy for a week, only to be told that he didn't want to get into it because it required too many 'special tools' that he didn't have. He knew that because he read the Hayne's Shop Manual I handed him. (I about broke my neck when I went to pick it up from him. I didn't realize that the right rear tire was basically slow leak deflated, so when the rear wheels hit the ramp and torqued to start the climb into the back of the truck, the right rear tire collapsed and the front would swing almost off the ramp. It was a little dicey until I figured out the tire inflation problem. That's all I need, to tip the thing over, sideways, off the edge of the ramp, directly on top of my slow, can't-get-out-of-the-way-fast-enough, aging ass.)

A friend of mine suggested a Lawnmower and Go-cart repair place just a few minutes from my house. He had heard that they also worked on ATV's. I pulled up their website. There were eight comments...all bad. One comment speculated that the attitude there was so bad that they must have been a front for a drug operation or a chop shop or something. I don't think I'll be going to the Lawnmower and Go-cart Repair place.

I called shop after shop, finally to be quietly informed that not many people worked on old ATV's (a fact I had already discovered). The last fellow sent me to the only person he would go to if he had an old machine needing fixing, the only go-to guy within a hundred miles. This guy has been repairing quads since the mid-seventies and has been in the quad repair business since 1991. Not only that, but his prices were better than the guy recommending him because he was more efficient, and faster, etc. Sounded like my man, so I paid him a visit, without the bike. I knew he was the guy when I said that I had been told that he worked on old quads. He asked, "How old?" "1992," says I. "Ah, that's not old", he replied. He and I talked for a few minutes and he agreed to do the work, "...since we are sort of slow, right now." Hmmm! :cool2:
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Money Honey!

And that brings me to reason number 2 that I have the project on hold:

Lack of operating capital...funds...money. When I made the quad deal, I had

enough money in the ClunkerATV budget to get it and then get it repaired.

Just after the deal went down, but before it was delivered, I had to put

my truck in the shop for what I thought would be a tune-up and minor

maintenance...two or three hundred bucks, tops. As it turned out, intake

manifold gaskets were leaking and had to be replaced. That bumped it up

to almost a thousand dollars, with all the other stuff I was having done. It

ate the entire Clunker budget, plus some. So, now, I'm just coasting along,

letting the coffers build up again. I'm almost there, so it is likely that I will

put it in the shop this coming week.

In the meantime, I have begun some of the cosmetic things I can do. I

have removed the rear cargo rack so I can paint it. It was relatively easy

to remove, but I may try to paint the front rack in place, simply because it

would also be easy to do it that way. I removed the right rear tire,

replaced the stem-valve, and added a can of Slime. No more slow leak. Now

I am in the process of painting the wheels black. If I don't like black, I

can repaint them quick and easy. I just don't like the red, for sure. (I could

not get the 'lug nuts' on the front wheels to break loose. They are not

really lug nuts, more like three-eighth inch bolts that turn with the nut. I

didn't have the 'right stuff' to convince them to let go. Yes, I did hit'em

with WD-40.)

Once all that is done, I plan to remove the decals/stickers, paint the metal

parts black, and ArmourAll everything else. Hopefully, I can get that all

done in the next few of days and then take it to QuadMan. Stay tuned.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Definitely, don't quit the day job!

What a royal pain in the ass. Remember when I said that I had removed the rear cargo rack for painting? Well, I kinda fudged on that a little. I didn't have it quite off when I wrote it. What I eventually discovered was that I had unbolted from the frame the mounting brackets that support the cargo rack, instead of unbolting the rack from the mounting brackets. That would not have happened to a real mechanic, who has a lift to raise the thing off the ground, adequate lighting, line of sight vision, and direct access to the parts involved....not to mention youthful flexibility, manual dexterity, and 20/20 eyes. But, despite those handicaps, I decided that I was not going to let a couple of bolts and their subsequent nuts get the best of me. I would just rebolt the mounting brackets, detach the final connector holding the cargo rack, and go on with my life. Ha! What a joke...a not-very-funny joke, at that.

As it turns out, the mounting brackets in question not only supported the cargo rack, a minor function, but are the primary supports for vibration dampening 'fingers' to the undersides of the rear fenders. The ramification of that is that the vibration dampening finger assembly consists of six or seven pieces sandwiched together with a bolt through them. Two metal washers, two rubber washers, the vibration dampening finger, the bracket with the small tab for mounting the cargo rack, and, of course, the frame to which everything is secured. What unbelieveable torture and torment. I had to do it all by sense of touch because I couldn't see it and touch it at the same time. The location was just high enough off the ground that you couldn't sit on a crate to work on it, or kneel, or sit on the ground. A bigger problem was that it was high up under the rear fender, which curls down sharply to block any attempt at actually seeing what my hands were doing. I was not about to dissemble the fender just to put one bolt in.

This was a true 'trial by ordeal'. The whole process was awkward and frustrating to the max, for all the reasons mentioned above. I must have dropped the lock nut and washer fifteen or twenty times, often requiring a magnet to find them (outdoor, leafy ground). It was getting dark and had started to drizzle rain, just to kick things up a notch or two. Anybody with any sense would have covered the whole thing up and given it a rest. Not me, though, glutton for punishment that I am. I covered it up, all right, then rigged up a light, put on some rain gear, and got under the cover with it, kinda. I still got soaking wet, but like I said, I was not going to let a couple of bolts and rubber washers get the best of me. The dogged determination probably converted to stubborn idiocy when the rain ticked up another notch, but it was 'game on' at that point. After what seemed like hours, actually not more than twenty minutes, I got the nut started. I was so relieved that I took a break, before I tightened it up, and celebrated with some refreshments. I felt like I had really accomplished something.

Back on task, I quickly tightened the first assembly, saw that it was looking perfect, and moved to the other side to begin the same grueling process there. It was when I was sorting through all the second-assembly parts that I discovered that the remaining rubber washers looked a lot different from the set I had just installed. These were fitted parts, made of rubber, not just the plain rubber washers now part of the first assembly. Immediately following that was the doomed feeling of worst nightmare realized...I had to undo the first assembly. I had used the wrong combination of rubber washers. Dammit!

So, how could that have happened? Well, it was the result of a phase of the process that must be very similar to 'the fog of war'. Because of the position the assemblies were in, up under the machine, blocked by the fender, I was not ever able to get a real good visual on them, then I took them apart blind, and, of course, all those parts, from both sides, fell on the ground under the machine. Somehow, I settled on the two plain rubber washers as the parts needed for the first assembly... a decision I would live to regret. I just didn't think the problem through, far enough.

Moving on, the rework of the first assembly was equally as frustrating and painful as the first time around, but was done in half the time since I had lots of experience at it. The only consolation was that I was now sure that I had the right parts for the second assembly, so the same thing could not happen again.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Now, the other side.

It was still raining, lightly, when I moved around to install the second assembly. I had great confidence that I could get it in correctly and quickly, building on the episode I just endured. My great confidence served me well...kinda. Despite the fact that the whole assembly was the mirror image of the other side, I was tightening it up within about ten minutes. I only dropped the locknut and washer three times. I'll take that, and be glad of it. When I was cleaning up and breaking everything down, I looked down through the hole in the fender, through which would pass the support post of the rear cargo rack to reach its mounting point, a tab flange on the assembly just installed. Guess what. I couldn't see the mounting flange. Feeling panic set in, I jammed my finger into the hole, praying to feel the little mounting tab just beneath the hole, about three inches deep. I wrangled my finger all around...no flange. Examination of the assembly, with a flashlight, under the tarp, in a drizzling rain, revealed that the assembly part that contained the mounting flange had been installed backward, rotated one-hundred-eighty degrees from it's normal position. I couldn't believe it!! This had to be a bad dream. How do I wake up? Dammit! Actually, I didn't waste any time getting mad. What good would it have done. What is that old song, "Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This"? That being said, I didn't exactly start laughing either. I felt like you do when your wrench slips and you knock the skin off three knuckles. The five seconds after that is exquisitely painful, you cuss a blue streak, and then it gradually subsides to just a dull ache that lasts for a long time. Eventually, you accept it and move on. That's about as close as I can get to an accurate description.

I didn't give it up, though. If God put all this on me to see if I could pass the test, then I was going to pass the test. I had come down the trail too far to give up now. No, with dismay, trepidation, and dread, I trudged on. (To be honest, the real reason I was so determined to get this done, regardless of obstruction or difficulty, was that I was afraid I would lose parts or not remember how it all went back together, both very real possibilities.) This final phase ended, without further incident, about fifteen minutes later. Fifteen minutes...that's all the whole process should have taken, in the first place. I didn't clock it, but it was daylight when I started and had been dark for a while when I finished. It had to have been more than two hours that I was side-tracked with this nonsense.

I learned a lot about myself during this 'comedy of errors' though, the main of which was to never embark on a journey when you only have a vague idea of where you're going, having never been there before, no map, obstructed vision, inclimate weather, arthritic knees, and the apparent manual dexterity of a monkey with gloves on. You see, I knew all that before I started, so the outcome should have been predicted. I just hope I passed the test, because, believe me, I will NEVER (unless compelled by God) do it again! :nono:
 

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$900 was a good deal on that. Do you by chance write for a living? If not, perhaps consider it.

Working on a quad is like working on anything else. Research it and use the right tools, take your time and figure out what exactly your trying to attempt and you'll be good.
 

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I'll give you an "A" for effort, writing skills, and persistance!! LOL

I know exactly how you feel as old age, along with the bad joints and eye sight hinder progress at my abode also.

Great writeup! Thanks for keeping us posted and make sure you ask any querys you may have.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
@vajakes: Thanks for the nod. What's that old saying, "Even a blind squirrell can find a nut every once in a while."

@700: If $900 was a good buy, I'm sure glad I got it for $700. That's even better. $900 was his original price, but he accepted $700. Believe me, it's got enough going on with it that it will take some coins to make it right. I'm committed, so it's just a matter of time...and coins.

No, I don't write for a living, I just like to write...especially about fun projects. Thanks, though. I really liked your statement about working on quads. You are absolutely right...but more and more, rather than do it myself, I tend to hire someone else to do the work who does exactly what you advise.

@racer37l: Thanks for the triple nod. Sorry to hear that you can empathize with my geriatric issues. They may slow us down, but we can't let them stop us. I'd rather have slow fun than no fun.

I'm sure my querying will begin, in earnest, when I begin having to locate parts for QuadMan to install. We are not to that phase yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Repairing the Seat.

I decided to patch the seat, in lieu of getting a new seat cover. A new one will eventually happen, but I wanted to make it look better now, instantly, so to speak.


Before Repair:

This was the only physical damage to the seatcover, so it makes sense to fix it first and get a replacement later. I trimmed the edges of the seatcover material and looked around for a patch material that would be close to the original. I found the answer in an old cone-shaped 'e-collar' your dog would wear to keep him from licking a wound on his leg. It was just the right thickness and flexibility.


Patch Insert Cut to Fit:

Once I had cut the piece I needed, I warmed it up with a flame so I could shape it to fit the contours. After I had shaped it to basically fit the place I was installing it, I applied some spray adhesive and lightly stuck it to the foam rubber of the seat. That was to hold it in place while I applied the cover layer.


Applying Gorilla Tape:

The cover layer of choice was Gorilla Tape. Good stuff. I applied strips in a symmetrical fashion, working from both sides toward the center. After that I tore a one-half inch strip and covered the exposed edge of the repair. Then, I covered the same edge with a full-sized strip. All cut ends were folded under the seat, trimmed to about three-quarters inch, and attached to the seat with an electric stapler.


Stapled Tight:

This system for covering the seat is very secure. I was surprised that the staples would drive into the seat, it looks like metal to me. But, it's extremely hard plastic. The stapler had a mega setting and would hit the staple multiple times like a hammer, leaving it nice and tight. This should last a while.


Repair Complete:

Not a bad looking repair job, if I do say so myself. If the Gorilla Tape lives up to it's reputation, meaning that it stays put and doesn't curl up or come loose anywhere, I might cover the rest of the seat with it. The seat itself looks like it was originally the color of the bottom of a swimming pool. Pieces of Gorilla Tape got stuck to it a couple of times and pulled the black off when they were removed. I really don't want an aqua-blue seat.


Seat Repair on the ATV:
 

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You are one heck of a guy. A writer,comedian,mechanic,painter, and an uphostery repairman. The gorilla tape is the best tape money can buy. Farmers around here use it on poly pipe(for irrigation of crops) to hold the plastic poly to PVC pipe. Most of it is around 15" diameter and has some pressure to it. Moma always said "If duct tape and bailing wire can't fix it it can't be fixed."
Glad to see you are making progress on your project. Good Luck.:)
 

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great job on the seat! I have to say that I really enjoy reading your posts and look forward to hearing more. above all else remember to have fun and as I read in another post, "riding these things is addictive".
 
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