97 Sportsman 500 starter spins, won't engage - ATVConnection.com ATV Enthusiast Community



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Old 03-10-2017, 11:56 PM
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Default 97 Sportsman 500 starter spins, won't engage

Ok! This is driving me nuts...I go to start the engine with the electric start and the starter winds up, but it does not engage the engine. I tried pulling the recoil rope, but it acts like the engine is seized up and will not let me even pull a tiny bit. I pulled off the plastic housing of the belt cover and tried to rotate the primary clutch, which initially gave me a little bit of resistance, but it did rotate fairly easily afterewards. This told me the engine was not siezed up in a bad way. I hit the electric start, and this time, it started up like nothing was out of the ordinary! And for the rest of the day, it will start without incident. The next day, it may or may not repeat the same behavior of not starting...


The history of this problem starts after the drive belt got shelled out and created a small fire inside the plastic housing this last December. It warped the outer cover and the inner cover to a tiny degree. I replaced the belt and the outer cover, but not the inner cover. There doesn't seem to be any rubbing of the inner cover on the clutch. The battery is not the best, but I keep a trickle charger on it, so it's usually mostly fully charged.


I'm not sure where to begin on solving this problem. It is a little aggravating to have to take off the foot rest platform and unbolt the housing...
Thanks!
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Old 03-11-2017, 06:20 AM
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Replace rhe battery if it fails a load test. The starter gear shaft(bendix) is more then like the culprit,but if the battery is weak,it may not have enough power to kick it in.Starters and gear shafts are cheap enough to replace both. Sportsman 500 starter and bendix | eBay
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:02 AM
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But the problem is that when this happens, the recoil rope won't even budge the engine. After I rotate the clutch, it will then pull over just fine with the rope. And it'll turn over with the electric start as well.
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:09 AM
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Probably because the bendix spring is worn and sticking,binding up the bendix to the flywheel. When you rotate the clutch the bendix will retract back,then it may be able to kick out to engage the flywheel.Sounds like a typical problem when a bendix needs to be replaced. Cheap part and fairly easy to replace.
NEW STARTER DRIVE BENDIX POLARIS ATV SPORTSMAN 500 3087030 3084403 3085393 751 | eBay
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Old 03-11-2017, 11:15 PM
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So weird thing is that if you blow the knipco heater on it, and get it kind of warmed up, it'll turn over,but not consistently. Is there a possibility that the oil might be a bit thick? I think it's 10-40 in there. It's been in the teens for temps.

If it's the bendex, at what point would it get bound up in the flywheel? Does it happen the first time I hit the electric starter? Maybe I try the ripcord first before hitting the button?
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Old 03-12-2017, 05:09 AM
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Oil weight doesn't have anything to do with it. It's not rocket science on this mechanical device. It get worn,dry and weak,just cheaper to replace it. When worn they can spin out to engage the flywheel but can stick when using the electric starter. That's when the recoil starters lock up also. Not that they use the bendix for starting,they don't,but with the flywheel locked up,the recoil is useless until the bendix retracts. Again load test the battery.https://www.batterystuff.com/blog/ho...ry-is-bad.html If a good battery doesn't help,pull the recoil cover,wiggle the old bendix out and replace it.
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