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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I am hoping I did not just make a big mistake. I bought my dad a used big bear 454 with about 4000 miles on it for use around the farm. It has a blade, runs well.

My only concern is that it smokes for the first 2 minutes when you start it up.

Will this hurt anything? I bought it from a Arctic Cat dealer...he seemed to really know AC ATVs. Maybe he knew them too well and took advantage of me.

The other things I notice is that once in awhile at idle it will literally "stop" running, then continue. He told me this was "normal" when I asked him about it.

Finally, when I shut it off, the engine kinda "clangs" 1 time when it quits.

Anyone that can tell me what is going on?

Thanks in advance for the help.
 

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I'm not sure of how close the 454 is to the 500, but the 500 has an issue with the dowels that the starter gears ride on. The dowels go into the case directly and wears the case. The 2003 was updated with a wearable bushing that slips into the case and then the dowel rides inside that bushing. Mine has made the clank for years. When it finally grenades I'll put a new set of cases on her.
 

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it's not "normal" for a machine to just suddenly and randomly quit running.

What color is the smoke? Could just be rings getting worn. As they heat up and expand, they will ride closer against the cylinder wall and the oil that was seeping past them will stop.

Does the smoke smell sweet? That would indicate a coolant leak (head gasket likely).

My money is on the rings, given the age and miles on the machine. Your plug will foul quicker with this condition, which could cause the sudden stops (if at idle). Try a new plug and see if that helps with the stopping.

If you just bought it, I would talk to the dealership....they were not honest with you. I would deal with the owner/manager of the place as the salesman you dealt with was deceptive.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the answers! Will it hurt it to just let him ride it as is? My guess is a slow leak around the rings that allows oil through when it is sitting for awhile. In fact, the sales guy did say it had a slow oil leak...I thought he met from the machine to the ground. He must have meant in the engine.

Sounds like you know about the "clank" I mentioned when I shut it off. Hopefully it will run for years with that as well. I paid $1325 for the machine and the guy was clear he was selling it "as is".
 

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At that price, I don't think you got ripped off at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well...glad I did not get ripped off...I appreciate you saying that... makes me feel better.

I guess I will just run it until it stops. Since I bought it for my dad, I just wanted to make sure nothing dangerous was going on.

It really seems to have a lot of power for pulling etc. That is what I wanted in a farm machine.

It must just be leaking some oil around the rings and then when it heats up expands and closes the leak. It does not smoke at all after 3-4 minutes.
 

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Change the plug out, and keep checking the oil. It isnt much to do a top end rebuild on these bikes when they need it. for 1350 you done your self a good job getting it. It will do a good job on the farm for your dad.
 

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smoking only on startup is a sign of bad valve seals not rings.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
what is involved in a "top end rebuild"?

OK, some follow up info for everyone to consider. First of all, let me say how very much I appreciate the help on this post. Very impresive community you have here.

Spent a couple hours on it Sunday...following my dad around as he was driving a new horse on the wagon. He wanted some backup in case the horse spooked. We traveled down a lot of mud filled roads with water 1.5 ft deep in places. Here are some things I noticed:

1. Sometimes the vent hose on the radiator was outputing anti freeze...could it be they just over filled it at the dealer?
2. I checked the oil a lot...noticed it is above the F mark...appears they over filled this a bit too...could that cause the smoking?
3. I think the idle is set too low...so it dies whenever you let it sit for a couple minutes. Where can this be adjusted? If I keep the choke on, it does not die...but it races the engine too much after it warms up.
4. It will do about 52 mph wide open
5. I need some new tires...what do you recommend for best value for a farm unit?

Thanks again for all the help. This is the first ATV I have owned...it is nothing fancy, but I really think it will serve our needs.
 

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Well, here's what I have for opinions for ya. Tires...for farm tires, Kenda Bearclaws wear like iron and give you great traction and are not expensive.

If you are spitting out antifreeze out the vent, I would ensure that your fan is working properly and that the radiator is fully clean. You can have mud between your radiator and fan shroud, which is hard to see unless you remove the radiator and shroud. That can cause overheating. I would look at installing an overflow bottle to catch that stuff. Any bottle will do really...buy one off Ebay or something like that.

What does your exhaust smoke smell like? Is it sweet? If so, it's coolant. If it smells gassy, you're running rich. My hunch is that is smells like burning oil.

Yes, if you have too much oil in your case that can cause it to smoke because the crankcase vent is likely routed to your airbox, and it'll spit it up there if it's too full. That oil could be getting sucked into your carb and causing it to smoke. However, given that it stops smoking a short while after you get it running, I doubt that is your issue.

To adjust the idle, look for a little knurled nut that's hanging off the carb. Turn it clockwise to turn the idle up a bit.

As for a top end rebuild, that really involves removing the head and cylinder, installing new piston rings, having the cylinder honed (or if it's too worn, then bore it and get a new piston and rings), then also have your head inspected. You need to ensure your valves, valve seats and guides are all good. Then put things back together.
 

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I have dealt with many 454s, My grand father bought a 1997 454 4x4 new, I have a 97 454 2x4 and my brother has a 98 454 2x4, the biggest issue with these when they spit out coolant is the cooling fan relay does not come on enough, they will run hot and the dealers were acutally bypassing the circuit to make them a constant run fan. The over heating issue on the 454 was very very very common. My 97 has been bypassed since I got it, my grandfathers 98 4x4 will over heat when plowing as i found out, the temp light will come on and she gets hot, but the fans do not run long enough on them to cool them down. bypass your switch and you should be good. as far as it smoking, my 97 454 has over 17,000 miles on it of the hardest abuse you could ever think of and the only time it ever smoked was when it needed a new needle and seat, both my brothers 98 and my 97 smoke just a tad on start up but its only because they are running a little rich at first, after they warm up they clear out, but the smoke is not oil and its only there for a little bit and you can barley see it. the other issue people are having with these as they get older is the rectifier will take a **** and will no longer charge the battery, my brothers did this, my dads fix for it was he added an additional car battery lol, he is cheap and hates spending money, but it lasts for a long ass time, it lasts for months. as for it dieing, they dont do that, to turn up the idle its on the right side under the side panel, stick your head back there and you will se a little tube like thing sticking out to the side with a big dial on it and it has a Philips head in it, turn that clockwise to turn up the idle, as for the noise, I have never heard a noise, some times it will give a little kick back noise and make a sound you could be describing but thats only when you shut it off and its pretty much dead but it makes a little hiccup almost, but thats usually only when the idle is up and its shut off in gear, or if you are slightly moving and you shut it off in gear.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, sounds like that is the tire of choice from all I have read. Thanks for the recommendation for my application. What it the best place to buy them?

What size would you recommend I go with on front and back?

Romp, thanks for all the info. I think you are correct about the fan...I will check that and bypass. Also correct on the battery not charging...how do I fix that?

I think I just need to pick up the idle a bit so it won't quit...so hopefully I can find that. Looking around in there I thought it would be obvious, but so far it is not.

That is really a lot of miles. If I only have 4,0000 on it I should have another 10k or more to go right?

Any other pointers...I am all ears! All in all, it sounds like this was a pretty well made quad for the time huh?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
BTW....I went through some pretty deep water on Sunday...12-15 inches...how deep can you go and still be ok?

Thanks again,
 

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for tires i reccommend checking out motosport.com. They have some pretty good deals and they sell kenda tires. I would say if you are just planning on using it around the farm stick with or close to the stock tire size.
 

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the 454 was the biggest best quad for the time, and the 5 spd trans is still thest thest imo. back then they really over built them, they dont make the new ones as reliable or problem free as the old 454, that should be a great atv for farm use, i love itp titan 589 tires, never found a better tire then that for the 454, the quality of those older cats is unmatched, they were the best back then, and imo i still love them, that old 454 will still out do most of other brands new atvs
 

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rockeymountianatv.com has good prices on bear claws. Where i got mine, mine do an amazing job on the farm.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
thanks so much!

I got to thinking, I am always starting my machine with the choke full on...perhaps this contributes to the smoke at start up?
 

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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (oldmachine @ Nov 20 2009, 02:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
thanks so much!

I got to thinking, I am always starting my machine with the choke full on...perhaps this contributes to the smoke at start up?[/b]
If they choke is full on it will run rich, the longer you keep the choke on the longer it will run rich and it will smoke a little bit, I had an issue with my 97 454, if you stay at one rpm to long and give it a little more gas it would puff black smoke worse then any diesle I have ever seen, the needle and seat needed to be replaced., but a little smoke on start up with the choke full on will happen some times, it will happen a lot more when its warm out, when its cold out they will not smoke as much, but full choke and being warm out its normal on the 454 to see them smoke a little from being rich.
 
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