Partzilla Live Q&A with John Talley – May 29, 2020

John Talley is back live from the Partzilla garage, after an entire week of working tirelessly helping out at the warehouse to help ensure your orders ship out. 

Mr. Talley worked overtime to lend a hand to our warehouse staff to get orders shipped out that experienced delays due to coronavirus restrictions, but still made time to answer your live questions once again. (Thank you John!). Honda ATV repairs were the hot topic this week, particularly Honda Rancher 350 repairs. Some of those questions and answers are highlighted below. Check out the highlights from John Talley’s live Q&A session, and tune into our YouTube and Facebook channels every Friday at 3pm Eastern for the next Partzilla live Q&A.

Partzilla Live Q&A John Talley 05-29-20

Partzilla Live Q&A Highlights – Honda ATVs

Honda Rancher TRX 350

I have a 2006 Honda Rancher 350 and I just put a new top end in it because it was smoking pretty bad. About a week later, it started smoking again. What’s wrong with it? 

John Talley: When you said you did the top end, did you just do the piston and rings, and did you take a look at your valves to see if there was any slop in the valve guides? Did you check your valve seals? … We did a video on how to break in a top end or an engine rebuild. … the first cycle, you just want to heat cycle it without running it too hard. After that, I would go ahead and hammer it. That way those rings get heated up, and you get a lot of compression built up and they start expanding out, cutting into the walls and the walls cutting into them … Also, if you did do just pistons and rings, are you sure that you went in and gapped your rings appropriately? Because if you didn’t, then the rings don’t have enough room to expand and contract and they actually push into each other, and that causes them to wear prematurely. 

I go trail and mud riding on my 06 Rancher 350, so what should I check for when I get back each time? 

John Talley: Well, first and foremost the air filter. That is the #1 thing to look at. … Sometimes I’ll do an oil change after every single weekend because we run our machines pretty hard. Oil is also a lot cheaper than rebuilding an engine, so why not keep it as fresh as you can? On the 350, especially if you’re in the mud a lot, you need to keep an eye on your rear brake, that housing going around your brakes. Over time that O-ring will break down … as well as that seal which your axle goes through … and if water gets in there, it makes a mess out of your brakes.

Honda TRX400/TRX350

My 400EX is smoking pretty bad and my top end was done not too long ago. Any thoughts?

John Talley: I would give you the same advice I gave a previous person about their 350. Are you sure that you gapped your rings correctly, and did you break them in? The way I break them in is, I run it kind of soft for the first heat cycle, which is usually 5-10 minutes. After that, I put the coals to it for about 30-45 minutes, maybe an hour, and then let it cool down and at that point, they should be seated in. If you did that and it’s still smoking, I would be suspect of the valve guides or more than likely, the valve seals. 

Want to see more live repair questions answered? See all of John’s Live Q&A sessions here.  



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