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hello,

so I I just recently purchased my 1999 sportsman 500. I been reading that the 4x4 wont work unless the speed gauge is working., Well my speed gauge is working, all lights are working. I also checks all wiring under the front plastic and all wiring is connect with no sign of anyone trying to cut wires, although for some reason the negative wired to the circuit from the hour gauge is disconnect, and the post wire to the hour gage is not connected. I think they did that to stop count of hours on the bike. I lifted the bike up to where all four tires are off the ground. I then started it, and placed it in 4x4 awd with the push button. the back tires spun, although the front tires did nothing. well they spin a little bit but I can grab them and hold them back. the 4x4 drive line spins. im lost guys and need help before I take it into the shop. does the awd only kick in when the back tires slip and that activated the front tires to start spinning? when pushing in the awd button should u hear the awd system engage? do u need to be in neutral to engage the awd or can u also engage on the fly. I also tried getting the bike on a incline with only two wheel drive and getting stuck, I then pushed in the awd button and nothing engages. help please!!
 

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Check the front diff fluid. That fluid can get really dirty an cause issues with the coil and plate in the front clutch. Find the wire pair that runs down to the front diff and probe it with a volt meter with key on ,in forward gear, and AWD on. you should have 12 volts or more. This will tell you if you have a problem with wiring or an issue with the front hillard clutch. The front diff has a magnetic coil that locks the clutch when current is applied.
 

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Yes check the front hub oil...actually take the covers off and clean the inside with a cleaner like brake clean...get all the gunk out ..put cover back on and refill it demand drive fluid from the little plug on the side..put plug at about 1 oclock fill it..then rotate tire to 4 o'clock..let drain till stops..insert plug...do both sides...see if it engages then...also check the connections to the hub magnets and clean and dab a little di electric grease on them...if the oil was real dirty in hubs it may take 2-3 cleaning to get all back to normal in there...you can also check connection with a meter to see if you have power going to magnet...also does the AWD light come on at the switch..i believe that the older models the light was part of the circuit and the bulb may need to be replaced if you have power to the switch...
 
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