Whether you’re riding for fun or using your ATV for work, it’s frustrating when it doesn’t want to work. I’m literally having this issue with my Chinese-made ATV. It seems like every time I need to use it, it doesn’t work like it’s supposed to. There always seems to be a different issue when I fix the previous one.
Chinese ATV transmission has been known for issues including worn linkage gears, broken clutch cables, not shifting, bad bearings, and worm EBS washers. All of these minor issues can cause larger ones for the transmission itself and it’s not easy to find the parts.
If you think you’re having difficulties with your Chinese ATV transmission, I’m here to help. I’ll go over all of the most common issues with these ATV transmissions, how you can test it, and where to find parts.
Common Problems With Chinese ATV Transmissions
Owning an ATV comes with its own set of issues. Here are some of the most common ATV transmission problems.
1. Engaging Too Soon or Improperly
If your clutch is engaging too soon or improperly, it could be an issue with the drive belt, or the transmission isn’t tuned correctly. There are a couple of reasons why this could be happening.
The first cause of this issue is that the clutches are dirty. If the primary clutch is loaded with dirt, it won’t open enough or bind to release the belt. You would have to pull the clutches for pepper cleaning and service.
The next cause would be that the clutches aren’t aligned or that’s a loose engine mount. If the motor mount is bad or has come loose, it will put things out of alignment. You can use a pry bar to lift the engine. If the engine doesn’t lift at all, it’s not the mounts. If it does lift, you need to tighten or replace the mounts.
Lastly, there could be an issue with the clutch spring. It could be getting weak, which happens over time. This will prevent the clutch from functioning properly. They’re replaceable, but you’ll need special tools to disassemble the clutch.
2. Clutch Engages On Its Own
This isn’t to be mistaken with the gear shifting normally with the engine off. This is actually where you should begin troubleshooting. If you can shift gears with the engine off, you know that the gearbox and gear-shifting mechanisms work fine.
If the clutch engages on its own while the ATV is in use, it means the idle is too high. Your ATV should idle around 1100-1200 RPM.
If it idles higher than that, you need to address it. If your ATV has a carburetor, there’s an adjustment screw to set the idle. You will have to refer to your user’s manual. This will give you the correct setting for your ATV. If your ATV is fuel-injected, this is usually a job for an ATV mechanic.
3. Won’t Shift Gears At All
If you find that your ATV won’t shift gears at all, it could be a variety of problems. The first is that the gear linkage is worn out or out of adjustment. If the gear linkage is adjustable, it needs to be adjusted. Here’s how to inspect it:
- Put the ATV in neutral
- Remove the linkage from the shift box
- Check the bellcranks to ensure they’re not stripped or split
- Check the ball ends for wear
- Replace damaged components
- Set the gear shifter to neutral
- Adjust the ball ends until they drop straight into the shifter
If you have a manual clutch, here’s how to check for issues:
- Inspect the handlebar-mounted lever to ensure it’s not damaged
- Inspect the cable for breaks
- Ensure the cable doesn’t need to be adjusted
If you think it may be an internal gearbox issue, you can test it without splitting the case. Here’s what to do:
- Turn the engine off
- Remove the belt cover
- Remove the drive belt
- Put the ATV into gear
- Try to rotate the primary clutch manually, the ATV should move. If it doesn’t, it’s likely an issue inside the gearbox
Lastly, it could be a worn or bent shift fork, especially if you notice your gears are slipping. This is the most common issue with a gearbox’s internals. The shift fork is what shifts the gears into place. If this is bent or worn, the gears can’t be pushed completely into place.
Which ATVs Should You Get
1. Zhejiang Apollo
Zhejiang Apollo has been manufacturing ATVs since 2003 with the first headquarters being an old factory in Wuyi city. Since then, they’ve been sending out high-quality machines to the United States. Each ATV model’s patent is state of the art and the best tools are always used to add premium finishes to the four-wheelers.
Some of their most popular models include:
- 125cc Commander
- 200 ATV Commander off-road
- 110cc Mini Commander
CFMoto has been around since 2002 and its headquarters are in Plymouth, Minnesota. in the United States, but the engines come from Hangzhou, China.
The company builds durable ATVs with power and agility to help take on any task you throw at them. They all have premium features that come standard such as the 3,000lb winch and custom paint.
Some of their most popular ATVs include:
- CForce 1000 overland
- CForce 600 touring
- CForce 500
- CForce 400
- CForce 800 XC
It wasn’t until 2006 that Coolster began its rise to popularity. This Chinese company has been manufacturing ATVs for decades. It all began with four men who loved to thrill-seek and wanted to create their own ATV. They have two distribution centers in the USA that serve over 500 dealerships.
Some of their most popular ATVs include:
- Lander-XD 125UF
Since 2006, IceBear has been manufacturing ATVs in China. They offer unique product lines such as Trikes and Maddogs. The Maddog products are US patented or patent pending. They also carry ATVs, pit bikes, motorcycles, and scooters. Their manufacturing plant is in China and their product development center is in Japan.
They only have a handful of ATVs available which include:
5. Linhai Machinery Group
Linhai was founded in 1956 and has successfully developed a variety of types of two-stroke and four-stroke gas engines for ATVs ranging from 26cc to 700cc.
They are one of the leading UTV and ATV manufacturers in the power sports industry. It’s also the largest of the enterprises exporting ATVs with moderate displacement in China.
They also only have a handful of ATVs available which include:
6. Tao Motor Company
Tao Motor Company is well-known in the overseas market. They have a reputation for producing quality ATVs at affordable prices. Tao Motor Company has been manufacturing motorsports since 1985 in Jinyun County, Zhejiang Province of China. They have become the premier Chinese motorsports vehicle manufacturer and distributor in the world.
Some of their most popular ATVs include:
- G125 Cheetah
- T125 TFORCE
- Rhino 250
- Bull 200S
- F125 ATA125F1
- 2022 TFORCE
- 2022 D125
- 2022 Boulder
X-pro is one of the best Chinese 4-wheeler brands out there. They manufacture their ATVs in high-end facilities, which helps their products stand out from the crowd. The brand is well-reputed for producing some of the most premium-looking 4-wheelers. Since there are so many premium features, the price tag is naturally going to be higher. They also have the best-performing engines on the market.
Their most popular models include:
- X-PRO 250cc ATV
- X-PRO Eagle 125cc ATV
8. Yongkang Bayoing
Yongkang Bayoing has widespread recognition around the globe. They’ve been producing 4-wheelers with high-end designs for decades.
They have some of the best electric ATVs in the world and manufacture them in state-of-the-art facilities in China using some of the most advanced machinery. Fortunately, they keep their price tags low so average families can afford them.
Their best-selling models include:
- 50cc Mini ATV
- 110cc/125cc 4-stroke off-road 4-wheeler
As you can see, various issues can come with being an ATV owner. A lot of Chinese ATVs have transmission issues, but I think this can come with all transmissions, whether made in the USA or China. Most of the time the issue can be fixed on your own. However, certain issues may need the hands of a professional, especially if the whole transmission needs replacing.
If you can do the job yourself, you can use websites such as Amazon and eBay Motors to find parts for your specific ATV. If your ATV is still under warranty, then you will be able to get it fixed at no cost to you.
I’m William Guzenski, ASE certified master automobile technician & automotive expert. I love to attend race events and car shows throughout the country. I also loves to travel 40-foot motorhome, exploring abandoned mines and ghost towns. I’m currently building another car for Bonneville Salt Flats and will be campaigning a drag car at several events.