2003 Outlander 400 4x4 Timing issue? - Can-Am ATV Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-15-2019, 07:56 AM Thread Starter
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2003 Outlander 400 4x4 Timing issue?

Good morning all!

I recently inherited a 03 Outlander that was in non running condition. Previous owner (friend of mine) had stripped a few parts from it after it quit running. They stated that once they ran it dry, they were not able to get it started again. I immediately purchased a carb for it ($17 new off ebay) and started work. What I found was that it was pushing air out the carb/intake, and sucking air through the exhaust pipe. I figured that it had probably skipped a tooth timing wise. After removing the valve cover, I found the chain had what seems like excess slack in it (almost able to jump a tooth).

I do have a concern that the valves made contact with the piston. Prior to removing the valve cover, I would crank it over via the starter. It didn't seem to have any resistance (especially with the spark plug removed). Once the valve cover was removed, I turned it over by hand using the CVT input (removed the cvt belt cover and turned the input). What I found was that at TDC, it was hard to turn over. Once past TDC, it spun pretty freely.

I ended up removing the cam gear (leaving both intake and exhaust in a closed position), and the motor was able to spin freely. I intend to replace the timing chain regardless (only $70 on Amazon), but am worried that the skipped chain may have damaged a valve/piston. I did not check the valve clearances.

Lastly I bought the service manual, but could find anywhere to help identify TDC for the crank. The manual shows this for cam alignment:

https://i.imgur.com/IFgmf8h.png

My assumption is that the lines (marked "1") need to be horizontal. Removing the crank sensor, I am able to see two elevated notches, one 1/4" wide, and the other about an inch.


So to recap, is it worth pulling the head to check for damage on the piston / valves? How do I identify TDC for the piston? Do the timing chain guides need to be replaced?

Last edited by nateleduc; 05-15-2019 at 08:01 AM.
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post #2 of 5 Old 05-15-2019, 10:45 AM
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welcome to the site, gotta love "free" bikes

I don't know exactly how to identify TDC for the crank/piston, but I'm sure someone does. I'm surprised it's not in that service manual somewhere, pretty sure it's an easy thing to do

https://www.can-amforum.com/forums/c...ml#post1172734

Did you happen to find that link yet? Lots of manuals there, I downloaded all of the ones for my bike and put em in binders for future use.

I'd advise yes, pulling the head and getting a good look at the valves, they're usually on the losing end of the fight between them and the piston. It wouldn't surprise me if that minor "bind" you encountered close to TDC was the piston pushing against one as it wasn't closing fast enough due to that skipped tooth. If you're going to replace the timing chain I'd do the guides too while you're there. The piston/bottom end SHOULD be fine, and any "damage" limited to maybe some bent valves.

The cam gear, yeah, those two marks #1, need to be parallel to the cylinder head, before wrapping your chain around it. Once you've got the crank at TDC, it should slip right onto the appropriate tooth.

The timing chain tensioner isn't exactly a "wear" item, it should be fine to re-use. I've sure enjoyed my little budget build 400, hope you eventually can too

"Barn find" 05 Bombardier 400 MAX XT - stock
Upgrades:
12" Beadlocks and 28" S/W Outlaws
WildBoar Radiator Relocate
D2 Fender Flares
OPT7 C1 Lightbars 14" and 22"
SYATV Snorkels

Previous bikes:
07 Brute 785
07 Renegade 800
08 Outlander 800 Gorilla edition
08 Outlander 800 Max XT Gorilla lifted
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post #3 of 5 Old 05-15-2019, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BombardierBomb View Post
welcome to the site, gotta love "free" bikes

I don't know exactly how to identify TDC for the crank/piston, but I'm sure someone does. I'm surprised it's not in that service manual somewhere, pretty sure it's an easy thing to do

https://www.can-amforum.com/forums/c...ml#post1172734

Did you happen to find that link yet? Lots of manuals there, I downloaded all of the ones for my bike and put em in binders for future use.

I'd advise yes, pulling the head and getting a good look at the valves, they're usually on the losing end of the fight between them and the piston. It wouldn't surprise me if that minor "bind" you encountered close to TDC was the piston pushing against one as it wasn't closing fast enough due to that skipped tooth. If you're going to replace the timing chain I'd do the guides too while you're there. The piston/bottom end SHOULD be fine, and any "damage" limited to maybe some bent valves.

The cam gear, yeah, those two marks #1, need to be parallel to the cylinder head, before wrapping your chain around it. Once you've got the crank at TDC, it should slip right onto the appropriate tooth.

The timing chain tensioner isn't exactly a "wear" item, it should be fine to re-use. I've sure enjoyed my little budget build 400, hope you eventually can too
Thank you for the reply!!

Yeah, this "free" bike isn't as free as I'd hoped. Needs a lot of parts to get whole again. I bought the manual online, it was $10 and is kinda a PITA to navigate.

I'm going to pull the head tonight and see how it looks. Hopefully the valves are not damaged, but worst case, I can replace them. I'll order the guides and gaskets after I get everything checked over. I'm thinking I'll see about tightening the tensioner with the current chain temporarily, just to make sure it runs and that I don't have any worn bearings or rod knock. Once I know the bottom end is good I'll replace gaskets, chain (on it's way), and guides. I made the mistake of ordering the [completely] missing coolant system without knowing if the bottom end was okay, so I'd like to wait before I invest more money into an ATV that might need a new engine. So far the guides are looking about two weeks out, so if the test goes okay, then I can work on other parts of the bike while I wait on shipping.

After thinking about it, since I'm retiming the valves, I can turn the piston to TDC (visually looking through the spark plug hole), then re-time the cams. I don't see a need to find wherever the timing mark for the crank is.
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post #4 of 5 Old 05-15-2019, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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I have great news! I was able to get it running and verified everything. The carb needs major tuning, and I need a proper fuel system, but I was able to get it to idle after setting the cam timing. The valves did make contact with the piston, but it was extremely minor (carbon worn off). I verified they still sealed by pouring gas into the exhaust and intake. Still need to adjust the valves, but I'll do that after my parts come in.
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post #5 of 5 Old 05-16-2019, 07:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nateleduc View Post
I have great news! I was able to get it running and verified everything. The carb needs major tuning, and I need a proper fuel system, but I was able to get it to idle after setting the cam timing. The valves did make contact with the piston, but it was extremely minor (carbon worn off). I verified they still sealed by pouring gas into the exhaust and intake. Still need to adjust the valves, but I'll do that after my parts come in.
Cool!!

If it helps at all, both myself and Jungleman have recently done some intensive fuel system repairs on our two 400's, the threads should have some useful info in them for you.

"Barn find" 05 Bombardier 400 MAX XT - stock
Upgrades:
12" Beadlocks and 28" S/W Outlaws
WildBoar Radiator Relocate
D2 Fender Flares
OPT7 C1 Lightbars 14" and 22"
SYATV Snorkels

Previous bikes:
07 Brute 785
07 Renegade 800
08 Outlander 800 Gorilla edition
08 Outlander 800 Max XT Gorilla lifted
BombardierBomb is online now  
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