ATV Modification: Adding a Recoil Starter to the Arctic Cat DVX 250

The Arctic Cat 250 utility model comes with a recoil starter, in case the battery dies and the electric start doesn’t work.
The Arctic Cat DVX 250 model does not.

It’s the same engine, and the recoil starter isn’t terribly heavy. It might add two pounds. So why didn’t they include it? Having a cheap, lightweight backup system is always a good idea.
Maybe they didn’t add one because the DVX is more likely to be spending its time at high RPM in the sand than hopping logs in the forest.

Anyway, I ended up with a DVX 250 that I intend to use deep in the forest. We never ride alone, but a dead battery would still be a big pain in the butt.

So, I went down to my local Arctic Cat dealer and spent some time looking at the manual and the fiche with the parts guy. Here’s what I came up with:

Purchase these parts:
3303-643 – Recoil Starter Assembly – About $65
3303-828 – Plate Ratchet – About $28
3303-643 – Gasket, Crankcase Cover, Left – About $35
3303-101 – Gasket, Starter Cover – About $6
Total Parts Cost: About $135 (plus sales tax)

Here are the parts lists in case you need to look at them:
Arctic Cat 250 Utility
Arctic Cat 250 DVX

Installation is fairly straightforward, and should take you about an hour (90 minutes if you’re the cautious type). There’s just one tricky spot. I’ll go over the whole process here:

1. Remove the black plastic outer crankcase cover on the rear of the crankcase.
2. Remove the intake hose from the front of the crankcase cover.
3. Remove the exhaust hose from the rear of the crankcase cover.
4. Remove the small aluminum cover that goes where the recoil starter would be and clean the old gasket from it.
5. Remove the crankcase cover and clean the old gasket from it.

6. Here’s the tricky bit: Make yourself a holder to keep the pulley compressed using one of the crankcase cover bolts and a few large diameter fender washers. Screw this into the top-left-most hole in the crankcase cover, with the fender washers overlapping the drive pulley. Tighten this down so that the drive pulley cannot spring out when you remove the flange nut from the crankshaft.

7. Using an appropriate holder to keep the drive pulley from rotating, remove the 14mm flange nut that holds the drive pulley onto the crankshaft.
8. Remove the small spacer between the flange nut and the pulley. This spacer does not show up in the parts fiche, so don’t lose it! If you ever go back to not having a recoil starter, good luck buying one! You’d have to use washers instead. I suggest using a zip tie to attach it to the old recoil starter cover, and then store them both in a safe place.
9. Put the plate ratchet in place, making sure that the splines on the plate ratchet engage the grooves on the crankshaft. This is why you need to hold the drive pulley compressed, so that the grooves are visible.

10. Put the 14mm flange nut back on (without the spacer you removed in step 8 ) and, after making sure that the splines of the plate ratchet are still in the grooves on the crankshaft, tighten the flange nut to 72 ft-lbs of torque.
11. Put the crankcase cover back on, with the new gasket, and put a couple of bolts in hand-tight for now.
12. Put the recoil starter in place, with the new gasket, and put all of its bolts in hand-tight.
13. Make sure the recoil starter works. Assuming it does, proceed. If not, take it back apart and figure out what you missed.
14. Put the rest of the crankcase cover bolts back in and tighten all of them to 8 ft-lbs.
15. Tighten the recoil starter bolts to 8 ft-lbs.
16. Re-attach the intake and exhaust hoses to the crankcase cover.
17. Put the black plastic outer crankcase cover back on.

That’s it! You’re ready to ride, and you have a backup recoil starter!

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