Last year I had three grandchildren. This year that number will double. That’s a lot of pressure on this grand dad because it’s three more grandchildren that I have to try and buy their love by providing them with ATVs as they reach the “appropriate age”. Out growing an ATV is like outgrowing clothes, when a child out grows something, they get a bigger size and their smaller size is handed down to a smaller child.
A few months a go I found a good deal, $120, on an ATV that I thought would be a good size for my oldest grandson. His little brother was showing interest in riding, so I wanted to be prepared to…, buy his love. The guy that sold it to me thought it was a 70cc, but after I got it home I discovered that it was actually a 90cc. A little larger than I wanted, but, you know, gift horse.
The ATV ran, but it had the wrong size air mixture screw in the carburetor. There were other things wrong with the bike; there was no seat, no foot platforms, no hood/battery cover, the back fender was cracked in a couple of places, the plastics were very oxidized, the air filter was missing and it was ugly.
I started by making a seat platform out of a piece of a plastic barrel from a paper pattern I cut and fitted. The platform had to have two small tabs at the front and one larger one at the back that would clip into the frame brackets to hold the seat in place.
I next made the hood/battery cover and two foot platforms out of plastic from a barrel.
After the seat blank was finished I started with the cosmetics. The oxidation on the plastic had to come off, so I attached a circular wire brush to my drill and went to work. It took some time, but the spinning wire brush took the loose plastic off and I was happy how much better the plastic looked.
For years my boys and I have experimented with different ways to repair cracked plastic fenders and other plastic parts of bikes and ATVs. Nothing we tried really worked. I knew that had to be something that would work so I scratched my head and looked around the shop for a better idea. My youngest son had left a can of plastic dip in the shop several months earlier. Plastic dip is liquid plastic that you dip handles of tools in, like a pair of pliers, to coat the handles. The can was half empty and when I opened it and found that the plastic dip had started to stiffen, but was still useable. I felt like I would need something to reinforce the repair before applying the plastic dip and remembered that I had a roll of fiberglass tape used for taping drywall joints. The tape is 1-1/2” wide, woven so there is 1/8” gaps between the strands of fiberglass and is sticky on one side. Perfect. I taped the cracks in the plastic from the underside and slathered the plastic dip over the tape. On the topside I filled the cracks with paintable silicone caulk and smoothed it out. After it dried it was very strong and flexible. So far, after a summer of riding, the repair has held with no evidence of failure.
The next step was to cover the seat with foam and black vinyl and to paint the plastics.
Many years ago I learned the importance of having an air filter on motor. I bought a Fiat when I was seventeen that had no air filter. I tried to retro-fit different filters onto the carburetor, but nothing really worked. I finally gave up and ran it without an air filter. It wasn’t long before the motor loss power and started to burn oil. So lesson learned and the last item of business was to make an air filter for the ATV. I discovered, after much trial and error, that an 1-1/4” PVC coupling fit snugly over the carburetor’s throat. Then all I needed was some foam, something to hold the foam in and to epoxy it to the coupling. I used a sippy cup to hold the filter foam. I cut slots in the cup to allow for air-flow and assembled it.
I put it all back together and the end product turned out pretty sweet. Someday I’m going to have to get the proper air mixture screw because the motor loads up with gas if it’s ran at full throttle, but for now the throttle governor is set at the slowest setting possible and will stay there for a few more years