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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-12-2007, 03:55 PM
Bayou Boy
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4-Wheelers and Water

Hey guys,

I'm brand new to this forum and I'm looking for some help/guidance/advice. I own two Honda 4-wheelers: A 2000 Foreman 400 and a 2001 Rubicon. I use them both primarily for deer and duck hunting down here in Louisiana. After several years of trouble-free service, last year, I took both of them in at the end of duck hunting season for annual maintenance, and the Honda dealer called to say the transmissions of both ATVs were full of water and had to be repaired - to the tune of around $600 each. A friend of mine told me that could have happened because I used to leave both of them parked in the flooded rice fields near my duck blinds, so they would sit in cold water -- at or above the level of the wheel hubs -- for a couple of hours. Well, I stopped doing that, but still run them both through water that runs between 8 - 18 inches every time I go out to the duck blind. Now, when I brought them to a different dealer for end-of-the-season maintenance, I just got a call from the shop saying the 400 has water in the differential, and they need to tear it down to see what damage has been done.

Is this common? Am I not supposed to be able to run these machines in water? (If so, they're absolutely useless to me, down here in the swamps, basically). Any thoughts, advice, ideas, similar experiences, etc., would be much appreciated.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2007, 10:41 PM
Posts: n/a
Re: 4-Wheelers and Water

If you are driving through water you need to keep an eye on your oil for signs of water making it's way into the oil. if your oil looks light gray or cream colored you need to remember to refrain from revving up your bike. When you get home you "need" to change your oil and filter as many times as needed until your oil is back to normal.
You can protect against damage by frequently changing your oil. Sound's like it might be too late for that this time around. But I you have not detected any drivetrain failures yourself you might want to make sure all oils are fresh and starts changing them each ride or so. You might be ok without additional work.
Another thing to think about is getting a lift and big wheel package. This will give you 4 to 12 inches more of grond clearence depending on what kit you get. Let me know if you are interested in something like that and I'll get you the details.

Good luck
post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-14-2007, 09:43 AM
Bayou Boy
Posts: n/a
Re: 4-Wheelers and Water

Thanks for the post. Since I posted originally I've gotten some more info from the dealer. (Oh, and I do have lift kits and 27" 589 ITPs on both bikes.) The service manager called and said the problem is that water has gotten through the seals, and unfortunately it sat for a long time because I didn't know it. He said when that happens, the bearings will eventually rust, and you wind up with a big problem, instead of a little one like replacing the seal. He said in the future to be sure to visually check the color of the oil in the rear end -- if it looks milky, change it and replace the seal - a small rproblem versus a big problem like I've got now.

So, I think I'm going to fix both bikes (the 500 has the same issues) and pay attention to the color of the oil from now on.

Thanks again for the post!
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