My New (well new to me) 4 Wheeler

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Jason74, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. Jason74

    Jason74 New Member

    First thing yesterday morning I checked Craigslist (a fairly normal routine). When I checked the motorcycle section I saw that a guy was selling a 1988 Honda 300TRX 4x4. He said that he believed that the motor and transmission were good but that it has some electrical problems and he couldn't get it to run. He wanted $200. I emailed him and gave him my number and a little later he called me back.

    Now apparently, when he got around to checking his email, he had several responses of interest that were sent before mine. However, no one else left their phone numbers and I did. So instead a taking the long route of replying to emails and waiting for replies, he took the quickest route and called the first phone number he came across (which is a lesson for me, from now on if I am seriously interested in a good deal, I will make sure I leave a number instead of just an email address).

    At first, upon seeing the four wheeler I was intimidated. The wires in the battery box appeared to be in a mess, and he showed me a pan of bolts that he had removed as he had started to tear into the transmission.

    This guy had several projects going and he was ready to get rid of this one. He bought it for $200 with hopes of getting it going, but he was not successful. He could not get spark. Since the reverse light was always on, and since the wheels were always locked, he believed that it was stuck in reverse and that it needed a little bit of serious tearing into.

    My first instinct was to walk away. I told him that it was more that I wanted to mess with and that I would leave it for someone else to mess with. However, as I started to leave, it dawned on me that even if I couldn't get the thing to run, I could still have the fun of messing with it and then get my $200 back by parting it out or selling it outright. And with that realization, I changed my mind and bought the four wheeler.

    Now I must be honest, at first I didn't really have much of hope of getting it going. Since the guy I bought it from was in the process of restoring a 66 Mustang, I figured that he knew what he was doing. And so I believed that if he couldn't get it going, it was unlikely that I would be able to (apart from my motor bike, it has been a long time since I have dived into any serious mechanical projects). However, once I got the atv home and unloaded (which was a booger of a job with the wheels locked) I made a discovery that gave me a little bit of hope. I discovered that it was not locked into gear, but that in fact the rear brake was locked. Now as to why the reverse light would not go off, I did not know, but I at least has hope that the problem wasn't as serious at I thought.

    So with a little hope, I went and bought a new battery (pricey little things). However, as I started to put it in, I drew sparks even though the key was turned off. Also all the indicator lights lit up even though they should have been off. It was then that I realized this thing was definitely wired wrong.

    Though I wasn't positive about my ability to wire it correctly, I used a little common sense and a little bit of guessing and rewired it. I then crossed my fingers and hooked in the battery - no sparks this time. With finger still crossed I turned the key - and wa la - indicator lights. Next I pressed the ignition and the engine began to crank. This was all good because the previous owner couldn't get the ignition button to work, instead he had to crank it by jumping the solenoid.

    Finally, it was time for the moment of truth: I grounded the spark plug against the engine and cranked and saw the most beautiful spark I have ever seen.

    And so it happened, after a good cleaning of the carbruator, and after unlocking the back brakes, I became the owner of a $271 ($200 for the atv and $71 for the battery), strong running, Honda 300 4x4 four wheeler.

    I must admit, as enjoyable as it is to own the four wheeler, I am already anxious to sell it so that I can have the cash to look for another fixer upper and do it all again. It's honestly not the money that excites me, it simply the enjoyment of taking something broken and making it useful again.

    Thanks for listening!


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  2. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Heh, great little story. Gotta love the satisfaction of reclaiming cast-offs.
    I snagged an AC unit this summer that was being thrown away as useless and all it needed was a new plug on the cord.
    Now with your 4x up and running, you should be able to easily parley that into your next project.
  3. Hawaii_Ed

    Hawaii_Ed Member

    Awesome! I love stories like that! I have had a few myself. Last year, there was a CL ad for a 1994 Camaro - FREE! It was close to my house too. I emailed and said "I know you must have gotten 100 emails by now, but I'd be happy to at least pay salvage value for the car." That got a response.

    The story was 2 years ago, he was driving home, all the lights faded, and the car shut off. I know camaros pretty well, and was sure it was the alternator. He pushed it to his car port and let it set, never even put the windows up. One owner, he had all the maintenance records. I told him I could prob fix it for cheap, and he said "no, it has sat too long, I just want it gone. Give me $50 for it."

    I went and got an alternator, battery, and starting fluid. 15 mins and I had it running. I offered to let him keep it, but he kepy his word (I had the title too). But then his wife came out and asked: "How long did it take to fix that?" I said "15 mins." She then asked, "and how much?" I answered "about $150." You could see the steam rising, and she stomped off!

    I polished it up, cleaned the carpets, got it registered, and sold it for $3500 two weeks later! It was a nice car, but I have too many already!
  4. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    nice find nice simple repair -- you got a deal on that THING


    enjoy the ride if kept
    or if not
    should bring you some good money

    always a good THING -- hard earned monies