So you just bought a brand new Axis 700 UTV and are excited to hit the trails and dunes. But soon after the honeymoon period wears off, some annoying issues start popping up that hinder your off-road adventures. What are the most common Axis 700 UTV problems owners run into and how can you diagnose and fix them?
The Axis 700 is a very capable and fun recreational side-by-side, but like any machine, it can develop faults over time. In this detailed guide, we’ll cover the most prevalent Axis 700 problems owners frequently face across key systems like the engine, transmission, electrical components, brakes, and more. For each issue, we’ll discuss the likely causes and solutions to get your UTV running smoothly again.
Table of Contents
Overview of the Axis 700 UTV
Before diving into common problems, let’s briefly overview what the Axis 700 UTV is about. Introduced in 2014 by Arctic Cat, the Axis 700 is a sporty two-seater side-by-side featuring a punchy 700cc single cylinder fuel injected engine, independent double A-arm suspension, hydraulic disc brakes, EPS electronic power steering, and seating for two.
The Axis platform was designed as a more affordable mid-sized utility UTV option compared to Arctic Cat’s more premium Wildcat models. It’s built for recreational trail riding and light-duty work use around the home, farm or hunting camp. Key specs include:
- Engine: 700cc single cylinder with electronic fuel injection
- Horsepower: 48 HP
- Transmission: Automatic CVT
- Suspension: Double A-arm independent front and rear
- Brakes: 4-wheel hydraulic disc
- Towing Capacity: 1,000 pounds
The Axis 700 delivers good acceleration and off-road capability at a more budget-friendly price point versus the 1000cc class sport UTVs. It’s a great choice for recreational riders looking for a solid mid-sized two-seater that can still muscle its way through some mud or over rough trails.
Now let’s get into the nitty gritty of what problem areas Axis 700 owners commonly run into.
Common Axis 700 Engine Problems and Repairs
The engine is the beating heart of any UTV, and like any motor the Axis 700 powerplant can run into its share of issues. Here are some of the most prevalent engine problems and how to diagnose and fix them:
Excessive engine heat is one of the most common grievances from Axis 700 owners. Typical symptoms include the temperature gauge creeping up into the red, engine losing power, steam/vapor coming from the front of the vehicle, or a coolant leak.
- Low coolant – Check reservoir level and top off if needed. Look for any external leaks.
- Radiator fins clogged with debris – Use compressed air or water stream to blow out dust/mud between fins.
- Damaged water pump impeller – Impeller blades worn or broken. Needs replacement.
- Stuck thermostat – Thermostat should open at 190 F/88 C. Replace if stuck shut.
- Cooling system leak – Inspect hoses, reservoir, radiator, water pump for leaks. Pressure test system.
- Top off the coolant reservoir to proper level. Use a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and distilled water.
- Clear any packed mud or debris restricting airflow through the radiator by carefully blowing it out with compressed air or water. Avoid damaging the fins.
- If the water pump impeller is damaged or worn out, it will fail to efficiently circulate coolant. Replace the water pump.
- Replace thermostat if it’s not opening at proper temperature. Stuck thermostats are a common cause of overheating.
- Inspect the entire cooling system for leaks – hoses, connections, radiator, water pump. Perform a pressure test to identify any external leaks. Repair or replace any faulty components allowing coolant to escape.
Backfiring and Misfiring Issues
Backfiring on deceleration and erratic overall engine performance is another common complaint with the Axis 700 powerplant. Symptoms include sputtering acceleration, loss of power, black smoke from exhaust, and loud backfiring pops when closing the throttle.
- Faulty spark plug – May have fouled/damaged electrode or insulator. Inspect and replace spark plug.
- Clogged fuel injector – Accumulated dirt/debris restricting fuel flow. Remove and clean injector.
- Blocked air filter – Dirty filter restricting air intake. Replace air filter.
- Vacuum leak – Damaged/loose intake components allowing unmetered air in. Inspect and tighten connections.
- Incorrect fuel mixture – Clean fuel injector, check for dirty carb (if equipped).
- Start by inspecting the spark plug. If it’s oil fouled or the insulator is cracked, fit a new OEM spark plug gapped to spec.
- The fuel injector may be clogged with dirt causing poor atomization. Try removing it for professional ultrasonic cleaning.
- Replace the air filter if it’s very dirty. Debris can block airflow reducing power.
- Carefully inspect the intake path between airbox and throttle body for any vacuum leaks. Tighten up any loose clamps or damaged components.
- If equipped with a carburetor, inspect jets and fuel passages for dirt and properly adjust fuel mixture screw. Fuel injected models may need professional injector cleaning/testing.
Loss of Power
Over time, the Axis 700 may start to feel underpowered, especially when climbing hills or carrying heavier loads. Some potential causes for power loss:
- Clogged air filter – Restricted intake reduces power. Replace filter.
- Dirty fuel injector – Impedes proper fuel atomization. Clean or replace injector.
- Too much valve clearance – Causes loss of compression. Adjust to proper spec.
- Low compression – Indicative of worn piston rings or leaking head gasket. Major teardown to access internals needed.
- The air filter is a common culprit. Replace it with a fresh OEM spec filter to allow full airflow into the engine.
- Fuel injectors can get clogged over time, reducing fuel spray efficiency. Try professional ultrasonic injector cleaning first before replacing the injector.
- Using a feeler gauge, check the valve clearance (space between camshaft and valve stem with camshaft rotated). Adjust clearance to 0.003-0.005 inches cold.
- If valve clearance is in spec but power loss persists, low engine compression may be the issue. Compression testing can confirm this – anything under 110 PSI could indicate worn piston rings or head gasket failure. The cylinder head will need to come off to inspect and replace failing internals. A machine shop can handle this major repair.
Stay on top of routine maintenance and operating your Axis 700 within its limits will help minimize major engine issues. But over time wear is inevitable. By knowing the common failure points and troubleshooting systematically, you can isolate and repair any problems that arise with the Axis powerplant.
Diagnosing Common Electrical Problems on the Axis 700
Like any side-by-side, the Axis 700 relies on a complex web of wiring relaying power and signals throughout the vehicle. With time vibration and exposure can cause annoying electrical gremlins to pop up. Here are some to watch for and how to fix them:
Battery Not Holding Charge
If the battery seems to drain quickly, won’t hold a charge for long, or dies unexpectedly, the charging system should be inspected.
- Faulty stator – Not outputting sufficient AC voltage to charge system. Test stator and replace if out of spec.
- Defective battery – May have a shorted cell or be sulfated. Load test battery and replace if faulty.
- Loose/dirty battery connections – Clean corrosion and tighten connections.
- Worn alternator bearings – Causes high internal resistance. Replace alternator.
- Using a multimeter, test the stator output while running – should show around 60-100 AC volts peak. If low or zero output, the stator needs replacement.
- Have the battery tested at an auto parts store. If any cells are shorted or the battery won’t hold charge, replace it with an OEM spec UTV battery.
- Make sure the battery connections are tight and free of corrosion. Clean any dirt or oxidation and re-secure connections.
- If equipped with an alternator, bad bearings can inhibit charging ability. Replace the alternator if excess bearing play is found.
Lights Not Working
Driving after dark without proper lighting can be hazardous. Lights suddenly cutting out is likely an electrical issue:
- Burned out bulbs – Replace any failed incandescent bulbs. LEDs last much longer.
- Loose wiring connections – Especially at switch, relay or wherever wires join.
- Faulty headlight switch – Mechanically worn or dirty contacts.
- Blown fuse – Find and replace the bad fuse protecting lighting circuit.
- Methodically check each light housing for any failed bulbs and replace as needed with spec OEM replacements. Upgrade to LED bulbs where possible for longer life.
- Gently wiggle the wiring harness while lights are on to try and reproduce the problem. Then inspect any connectors or splice points that cut out for loose, damaged or dirty contacts. Clean any corrosion and reconnect wires securely.
- The headlight and tail light switches take abuse from vibration and wear. Test switches with a multimeter and replace any that show high resistance when toggled on/off.
- Find the fuse box and check all fuses pertaining to running lights with a tester. Any blown fuses must be replaced with the same amperage OEM fuse to restore protection to that circuit.
Starter Not Engaging
When you hit the key and only hear a weak click or nothing, there’s a problem with the starting system:
- Weak battery connection – Loose or dirty battery cables cause voltage drop.
- Dead battery – Low charge prevents sufficient cranking current.
- Blown starter fuse – No power to starter solenoid/motor.
- Damaged starter solenoid – Not engaging starter motor.
- Bad ignition switch – Fails to activate starter relay and motor.
- Try jump starting the UTV. If it starts, there’s an issue with battery power – either low voltage or bad wiring connections.
- Verify battery voltage is over 12.5V. Load test the battery and charge fully or replace if it’s worn out.
- Check the starter fuse and replace it if blown. Use the proper high amperage starter fuse.
- Bypass the solenoid with a screwdriver to rule it out. If starter engages, replace the starter solenoid.
- If battery/cables/solenoid test good, the ignition switch contacts may be faulty. Confirm power in and out of switch using a multimeter.
Electrical problems can be frustrating to diagnose. But with some basic troubleshooting know-how and testing each component systematically, you can isolate and fix the issue.
Troubleshooting Common Brake Problems
Safe, responsive braking is a must for controlling your UTV on rough trails. But the Axis 700’s brake components are subject to plenty of abuse. Here are some common issues owners experience:
Brake Pedal Feels Soft/Spongy
A squishy brake pedal that sinks to the floor indicates air or fluid leakage in the system.
- Air trapped in brake lines – Bleed lines to purge any air bubbles.
- Leaking brake caliper – Damaged caliper piston or seals allowing fluid loss.
- Leaking brake master cylinder – Worn seals/cups allowing fluid to escape.
- Low brake fluid level – Check and top off reservoir.
- Bleed the brake system starting with the caliper farthest from the master cylinder. Refill with DOT4 fluid when done.
- Rubber caliper seals wear over time and need replacement if a caliper is leaking. Rebuild or replace the bad caliper.
- The master cylinder uses rubber cups and seals that may need replacement if it’s leaking. Rebuild or replace master cylinder.
- Ensure brake fluid is filled to the “Full” mark on the reservoir. Low fluid can introduce air into the system.
Squeaks, squeals and grinding noises while braking point to issues:
- Worn out brake pads – Friction material glazed or worn thin.
- Grooved brake rotor – Needs resurfacing or replacement.
- Dust/debris in brakes – Needs cleaning.
- Bad wheel bearing – Excess play causes rotor wobble.
- Inspect pad thickness – they should exceed 2mm minimum thickness. Replace pads if worn, glazed or contaminated.
- Check rotor runout and thickness specification. Resurface or replace rotor if out of spec.
- Thoroughly clean caliper assembly and brake shield of any built up debris using brake cleaner.
- Verify no play in the wheel bearings by jacking up each wheel and checking for up/down and side/side looseness. Replace bad bearings.
Pulling to One Side
The UTV pulling left or right under braking indicates uneven pad wear:
- Uneven pad deposition – One pad wearing faster than the other.
- Sticking caliper piston – Not fully retracting.
- Restricted brake hose – Reduces fluid to one caliper.
- Inspect pads for uneven wear and replace entire axle set if they differ significantly in thickness.
- Sticking caliper pistons prevent even pad contact. Free up sticky pistons and lube caliper pins.
- Twisted or restricted rubber brake hoses can isolate one caliper. Inspect hoses and replace any that are swollen, cracked or leaking.
While the brakes are fairly simple mechanically, damage and wear is inevitable over time. Stay on top of inspections and service to keep your Axis 700’s brakes performing safely.
Diagnosing and Fixing Common Transmission Problems
The transmission takes quite a beating constantly shifting and transmitting power from the engine. Several issues can arise:
Clunky gear engagement indicates transmission problems:
- Low fluid – Insufficient lubrication damages components.
- Damaged shift fork – Bent from debris or improper shifting.
- Worn shift hub splines – No longer smoothly meshing.
- Check transmission fluid level and condition. Refill if low or do a complete drain and change if dirty.
- Inspect the shift fork to ensure it moves freely and engages smoothly. Replace bent forks.
- The shift hub splines gradually wear and may need replacement if they no longer slide easily into gear.
Slipping Out of Gear
If the transmission pops out of drive unexpectedly, it could stem from:
- Worn shift hub dogs/collars – No longer able to engage gearset.
- Damaged gear teeth – Chipped/broken from debris.
- Stretched shift cable – Failing to hold gear position.
- Disassemble the transmission and inspect the shift hub assembly. Worn shift dogs will need replacement and possibly the hub itself.
- Debris can damage output gear teeth sometimes necessitating replacement. Inspect carefully before reassembly.
- Adjust shift cable to remove any slack. But overstretched cables may need replacement.
Oily drips underneath usually indicate compromised seals or gaskets.
- Leaking input/output shaft seals – Hardened, cracked or torn seals.
- Damaged gasket – Gear cover or side case leaks.
- Loose fittings – Allowing fluid to escape.
- Identify origin of the leak and replace any damaged seals and gaskets allowing ATF to escape.
- Carefully inspect and re-torque any transmission fittings that may have vibrated loose.
The automatic CVT transmission of the Axis 700 is robust but still wears over time. Routinely checking fluid level and being gentle with shifting will maximize longevity. But eventually seals, bearings and other components may need replacement.
While the Axis 700 UTV is generally a reliable machine, it can experience issues – especially as mileage piles up. We’ve outlined some of the most common Axis 700 problems owners report across the major systems. Vibration, debris and normal use puts stress on components causing them to eventually fail.
The good news is most Axis 700 issues can be repaired with routine maintenance, inspection and replacing individual parts as needed. Following recommended service intervals, operating the machine within its limits and cleaning it regularly goes a long way toward minimizing problems.
But when issues do pop up, understand the most likely causes and methodically diagnose. Whether it’s overheating, electrical gremlins, braking problems or transmission troubles, you can troubleshoot the specific issue based on symptoms and repair it to get your trusty Axis 700 back on the trails where it belongs.