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Moon Lake Refuge

Atv for towing shack

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Hey all, so my new house has a driveway that wraps around the house, my mother in law also lives less than a mile away and does daycare for us.  All of this is adding up to a lot of snow blower time!  Looking into picking up an atv with a plow, and hoping I can find something that can pull the house out too.  Trips would likely be 1/4 to 1/2 mile out(don’t need it for trips to red) and we would have a dolly to distribute the weight on the shack.  Am I able to find anything in the 2-4K range that will last more than a year?  Any recommendations on wheelers that have worked for you?

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That shouldn’t be to tall an order.  It’s a reasonable price range for a used machine.  I’ve only owned a 2000 Honda Rancher 400 and a 1997 Polaris Sportsman 500 and would use either one for that purpose.  

 

The Honda was cold blooded but a work horse.  Manual shift, solid rear axle.  A great machine but that cold blooded nature made it a little bit of a pain in the winter.

 

The Sportsman has a independent rear suspension but that shouldn’t matter since you have a dolly.  Better clearance in the snow and better ride.  Goes through a lot of snow with chains.  The automatic makes it nice for snow plowing.  The low gear range pulls a lot and as long as you don’t submerge it, the belt drive is solid.

 

Pick one that’s been taken care of is all.

 

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If towing a fish house is high on your priority list, I would begin and end my search with a Honda manual shift.  I agree with Wanderer's take on the Honda being a bit cold blooded.  Once I realized that there is a manual primer built into the carb, that problem went away.    We've pulled up to 27' houses with our 2004 450.  Chain up all 4 and go!

Edited by Lip_Ripper Guy

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one important thing to note is you will run out of traction before you run out of power. LRG mentioned chains and they will help.

 

if you have a dolly than solid rear axle or IRS is kind of moot but they each have their pros and cons.

 

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Yes the Honda is a little cold blooded and usually needs a little warm up time in cold weather but they just run and run with little to no problems. I have a 300 4 Trax I bought in 1999 and the only thing I have done to it is replace the battery. I have a plow on it and plows great even with no chains on it. Depending on how big of house you want to pull you might want a little bigger machine. When I bought mine they sold Hondas and Polaris. I asked the mechanic which one would you buy. He told me when the Hondas leave they don't come back for repairs.

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How big of a house will you be pulling? If it's smaller I'd figure out what your tongue weight is and whether you could tow it without the dolly in between. I'm not a fan of dollies. With them your placing the coupler and tongue of the house onto something with pretty much no suspension. Models with tires you get whatever "flex" there is in the tires, a ski model you have no suspension at all. That can lead to quite a bit of stress on the tongue/coupler over time depending on how rough the ice is your pulling it over. Cold/brittle metal and hard jarring ride over the ice can lead to failure over time IMO. I know I've personally encountered 2 individuals out on the ice who were trying to figure out what to do with their house when the tongue snapped off when using a dolly.

Perhaps someone has come out with one incorporating some sort of mono shock designed into the pillar holding the ball, but I haven't seen one.

 

As for brand, I think you will find a lot of Chevy is better than Ford type stuff. Personally I'm a Honda guy. Most all of my stuff from the outboard on.my boat, to the engine in my power washer is Honda. Have had zero problems with any of them. As for size, it depends again on size of the house, but I think anything 450cc or bigger you should be ok. If you found a 450 that's in better shape, better cared for etc than a 600 for the same $ I'd buy the 450.

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This is what I use to pull mine on thinner ice 6 - 13 inchs.  After that its a pickup.

 

 

I also have tracks for it.  There is no need.  I have had many 4 wheelers and nothing compares to the 6x6. 

20170702_203012.jpg

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On 1/23/2018 at 8:28 AM, Walleyehooker said:

Yes the Honda is a little cold blooded and usually needs a little warm up time in cold weather but they just run and run with little to no problems. I have a 300 4 Trax I bought in 1999 and the only thing I have done to it is replace the battery. I have a plow on it and plows great even with no chains on it. Depending on how big of house you want to pull you might want a little bigger machine. When I bought mine they sold Hondas and Polaris. I asked the mechanic which one would you buy. He told me when the Hondas leave they don't come back for repairs.

I would not buy anything but a Honda either. Like mentioned with the primer on carb models it will start. Plowed for 10 years with a 350 Rancher. Use a Rubicon now.

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59 minutes ago, PRO-V said:

I would not buy anything but a Honda either. Like mentioned with the primer on carb models it will start. Plowed for 10 years with a 350 Rancher. Use a Rubicon now.

 

Meh, Don't get caught up in brand wars. I'm sure Honda's start great, just like every other brand. I have a 2000 Yamaha that I've had since almost new and I plowed with it all the time until a year ago. Guess what? It never failed to start when I needed it. My buddy has a Polaris and plows with his. To my knowledge his has never failed to start when he needed it. I have another friend who has multiple Arctic Cats. You guessed it, they start all the time.

 

Get the wheeler you like that has the features you want at the price you can afford. 

 

For pulling a shack and plowing only you could get one that is at least 400 or larger with a straight axle but if you think you may ever want to go trail riding with it, think hard about independent rear suspension.

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for the price range ($2k-4k) the original poster isnt going to get much machine if looking for a honda because it will be an older unit.

 

Hondas are great quads and they recently over the last few years started to offer modern features all the other competitors do. But on those older years hondas the ground clearance is terrible and I never was impressed with the 4wd  system (3wheel wonder). The Honda's even came with drum brakes but people would still buy them because of the wing on the tank.

 

The ATV market is in the gutter and you can get lots of good deals if your patient. Seems all the manufacturers have shifted focus to sxs's. If it were me I would try to up my budget just a bit higher and get a efi machine with powersteering. Plenty of used and slightly used to be had out there for any make and model that are all good.

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I've seen a few of the newer Polaris 570's for sale around 4-4500 range. I own one myself. The only issues I've had is the stock battery is junk and a cold non start issue that's been fixed with GM relays.

Edited by vtx1029

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Actually a decent machine can be found for that price range. A year and a half ago I purchased a 2005 Polaris 330 magnum (4x4). The machine had about 500 miles owned by an older couple that rarely used it. I paid $3k for it with tax and a new battery from a dealer I’ve known and done business with for my whole life. It took me about 2 years to find a machine that had low miles, what I wanted and in my price range. Now don’t be turned away this things got power. Sure it won’t keep up the 500 sportsmen but who cares. I’ve found in low range it will pull way more than the 500. Now as far as suspension it has the straight rear axle it rides amazing and probobly would tow a fairly decent wheel house if I had one. Now owning it for so time I’d take the magnum over the sportsmen any day. Just me 2 cents.

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