Area 51 Project - Pietro's 1996 Fourtrax 300:
1996 Honda Fourtrax 300 4x4
300cc Single Cylinder Air Cooled
5 Speed Manual Shift Transmission
Front: Double Wishbone
Rear: Swingarm Single Shock
25" ITP Mudlite Tires - Stock Wheels
Drum Brakes Front & Rear
Aluminum Skid Plates
1.5" EBay Lift Kit
A few years ago Andrea went on the hunt for a reliable 4x4 bike that would be easy for his father Peter to ride on our annual Moose hunting trips. This 1996 Fourtrax was once owned by NL Hydro as a supervisors unit and was very lightly used and in fantastic shape and even sported the original tires. The only repair necessary at first was painting the bottom of the metal gas tank, years of riding caused the paint to wear through.
A Windshield was installed at Peter's request to protect him from cold during our annual November Moose Hunts.
Stock Suspension & tire height.
New 1.5" Lift kit installed and ready to ride.
Andrea installed a 1.5" EBay Lift kit which measured up to its advertisement. Another inch or so was gained after the stock tires were swapped out for larger 25" ITP Mud Lites.
Rear lift bracket bolted in place.
New Tire Day. The stock Good Year tires were swapped out for a set of 25" ITP Mud Lites which give more ground clearance and much better traction in mud & bog. They were a very welcome upgrade!
Honda's Fourtrax 300 is a long proven reliable workhorse and this one has lived up to that reputation. Having hauled out a number of moose over the last couple years, it certainly earns its keep.
Peter's Fourtrax has been working very well, never letting us down on any of our Moose Hunting trips, which is really the only time it gets used. Last year we noticed the bike seemed down on power so we figured it was time for a thorough maintenance.
WE started with the carburetor which was slowly seeping gas from the bowl gasket. A rebuild kit was purchased at Honda One. We found the mid range jet plugged almost completely full of gunk. All the jets, needle, float and gaskets were replaced with those from the kit.
The original fuel line had been replaced at some point with aftermarket clear line which was hard as a rock. We picked up a couple feet of Honda Fuel line installed and trimmed to length.
Next we did an intake & exhaust valve adjustment as they were worn out of spec. Valve adjustment is very important on Honda Bikes to keep them running their best.
After the valves were adjusted we replaced the spark plug, adjusted the clutch, and changed the engine oil & filter.
With the bike running well it was on to the front brakes which were lacking in stopping ability. It doesn't appear they had been opened up in the last 20 years, but surprisingly weren't too bad. Far from perfect, they just needed a thorough cleaning and lube.
The drum was in decent shape, the brake surface was sanded with course sandpaper and cleaned thoroughly with Brake Clean.
The brake shoe adjusters were very stiff but were quickly freed up, cleaned up, and coated with anti-seize and high temp brake grease before being reinstalled in the brake drum.
Much better after a light cleaning. Although I forgot to take more pictures, the backing plates were further cleaned with brake clean & a stiff brush and finished with steel wool, they looked brand new when finished. The hold down kit was cleaned and coated with anti-seize, the pads were cleaned and sanded with course sandpaper and wiped down with brake clean. One very important step with Honda drum brakes is to clean, then repack the outer drum rubber seal with grease. The factory uses a white lithium grease, I prefer the same water resistant marine grease I use in ATV wheel bearings.
Adjusters cleaned and ready for reinstallation. Once the brakes were reassembled they had to be adjusted. Since this bike is 4wd I hung the back of the bike from the ceiling and kept the front jacked up as you need to rotate the wheels to adjust the brakes. With the wheel installed I removed the red plug from drum and rotated the tire to access each of the two adjusters on each side. I tightened the shoe until they dragged then backed off one click. This gives a great brake feel without causing any premature wear of the shoes.
Once the bike was put back together Bassan and I took it (and project Foreman) for a test ride. The bike now runs really well and stops better than it ever has since Peter picked it up a few years ago.
Copyright © 2011 Michael Smith