It is one of the first quads to showcase several brilliant features like the Electric Shift Program and Electric Power Steering. Its SUV styling and mechanical components further enhance its maneuverability and ultimately add to your sport riding experience. So what else is there to know about the Honda Rancher 350?
One of the most durable ATVs ever made, the Honda Rancher 350 boasts of sophisticated technology and eats up grunt work like nobody’s business. It is a no-frills utility vehicle that combines durability and function and is what riders would consider as one of their best purchases.
From specs and features to tips on how to keep this bad boy in mint condition, this guide will cover your most requested information about one of the world’s best and most versatile all-around vehicles.
About Honda Rancher 350
The Honda Rancher 350 was a follow-up model to the FourTrax 300™ and belonged to the same lineup of multipurpose quads believed to be among Honda’s most significant ATVs. It may not have garnered the “world’s best all-around ATV” title, but the Rancher surely does not fall behind in brawn and versatility.
Often confused with a Foreman, the more compact Rancher brings together a perfect balance of size, handling, power, and capacity. This mid-size brute is very practical and handy and is a clever substitute for a tractor that costs exponentially more for farmers to procure and maintain.
Honda Rancher 350 Specs & Features
- Engine – The engine is powered by a four-stroke, single-cylinder OHV engine, which is mounted longitudinally, making more room for the rider and reducing power loss for the drivetrain. It has a bore of 78.5 millimeters and a stroke of 68 millimeters. The engine displacement is 329 cubic centimeters delivered by a 32-millimeter Keihin carburetor, and its compression ratio is 8:7:1. Fuel tank capacity is 3.4 gallons/12.9 liters.
- Drivetrain – Power is transferred via a five-speed transmission inclusive of a reverse gear. It is available with the Electric Shift Program (ESP) that allows its part-time 4WD system to switch on and off with push-button ease.
- Ignition – The Honda Rancher has an electronic Capacitor Discharge Ignition (CDI) with an electric start system and auxiliary recoil pull starter for backup. Should you have a broken Honda Rancher 350 starter, you can replace it with Bernard Bertha Starter Honda 350 Rancher 2000-2006 (view on Amazon).
- Tires – The front wheels are equipped with Bridgestone® 24 X 8-12 tires, while the rear wheels with Bridgestone® 24 X 9-11 tires. You can go faster with bigger tires like ITP Mud Lite AT Mud Terrain ATV Tire (view on Amazon).
- Brakes – Triple-sealed hydraulic drum brakes at the front and single-sealed mechanical drum brake in the rear handle stopping duties.
- Suspension – The front suspension features a fully independent double-wishbone with vertical upper and lower control arms that boost the negative. It allows 5.9 inches of travel and provides for more stability and consistent wheel alignment. The rear suspension utilizes a swing arm with a steel finish and a single shock absorber that allows 5.9 inches of travel.
- Dimensions – The quad offers a sealed, water-tight trunk and front and rear cargo racks. The overall length is 78.12 inches, and the width is 45 inches. Its height is 44.3 inches; ground clearance is 7.2 inches. The vehicle wheelbase is 49.1 inches. The seat height is 32.4 inches. Dry weight is 524 lbs.; GVWR can go up to 1,034 lbs. Not to mention that the turning radius of 10.8 feet makes for smooth handling and great spins.
- Exterior – It is composed of a steel frame and plastic body material that is strong, light, and easy to clean. It also comes with full floorboards (driver side). Want to baby your quad? You can get a Weatherproof ATV Cover (view on Amazon) to protect it from too much sun or snow.
- Lighting – Two halogen lights mounted on the front fenders and a 45-watt handlebar light all use multi-reflector lenses for superior light distribution.
- Electric Shift Program™ – this innovative feature allows push-button shifting, making it convenient for the driver to upshift and downshift whenever needed.
Youtuber Anthony walk, who bought a 2002 Honda Rancher 350 ES, did the review. He expressed how pleased he was with the vehicle (which was in mint condition and pure stock when he bought it), calling it a never-say-die machine and even deemed it better than the Yamaha Grizzly that his father owned. He covered most of the Honda Rancher 350 parts and shared newbie tips and mods that he did with the quad in the latter part of the video.
Improvements Post 2004
As if the original specifications and features of the Rancher 350 were not enough, Honda made further improvements to the 2004 model, as follows:
- Driveline options give the rider the ability to choose between lighter steering (2WD) and maximizing available traction (4WD)
- All-new reverse lever for ES-equipped Rancher models make changing directions simpler and is helpful for various activities such as plowing snow and doing farm work
- Improved manual-override capability for DCT models which allows better control and handling
- New shift map for DCT and ES-equipped vehicles monitors engine RPM in real-time and before shifting, enabling smoother transitions from gear to gear
- The absence of a CVT belt is in response to customer feedback and intended for better riding, and lesser maintenance and slip risk
- Neat cargo racks and accessories that are compatible with Honda’s Pro-Connect™ feature
- A 1.9-liter utility box with weatherproof cover is added to the front deck and designed to store personal and off-road essentials or your favorite cold drinks
- New guards that extend the full length of the lower suspension, intended to cover the driveshaft and CV joints
The Good and the Bad
A lot of positive things can be said about the Rancher 350. Its reliability, shiftless transmission, and SUV-inspired styling make it an all-time favorite among farmers, hobbyists, and sports enthusiasts. It has smooth handling, and its ergonomic design fits almost all weights and sizes. The footpegs make for a comfortable yet sound safety measure. The Honda Rancher 350 requires virtually no maintenance. It’s fun to ride, very predictable on the road, and convenient to operate. It’s also fantastic on and off-trail, and its traction and stability more than compensate for the width of its tires.
But despite being reliable, the Honda Rancher 350 has its fair share of hiccups. For one, owners warn about steering problems when riding along at 5-10 mph – the vehicle takes off in the desired direction too quickly that it can wreck the rider if not cautious. This issue can be easily solved either by adjusting the tie rods to give a lot of toe-out and prevent the steering from being touchy, or checking lower ball joints and uppers for damage.
Another problem is that it cuts out at half throttle and engine blubbers in the process. Some drivers have removed the air box to solve the issue, but veterans advise against this. Not only is this a Band-Aid fix, but doing this will also pose a risk for your vehicle as water can get in the carburetor or worse, the motor. Veterans recommend replacing the spark plug instead of taking off the ATV’s breather. Other reported issues are ticking/tapping noises, wiggles in the piston, and smoking.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What kind of oil does a Honda Rancher 350 take? You can fill up the engine with any 10W-30 motor oil. It takes a little over two quarts to fill up so you can start by pouring in two quarts first.
- Do bigger tires give my Rancher an advantage? It depends on the use of your quad. Stock Honda Rancher 350 tires are already efficient as is as they allow you to do a lot of work and have a bit of racing fun. But if you think your tires are not up for deep mud and snow, tire mods will do the job. The downside is you may lose some low-end torque and flashy spins.
- How long does a Honda Rancher 350 battery last? The average life span of a Rancher battery is around two to three years. It depends on whether you got your ATV with stock battery and how well the previous owner maintained it. Good practice on how to prolong the battery life would be to use a battery tender whenever you are not riding – it goes through maintenance cycles and repairs damaged cells in your battery.
- What is the top speed for a Honda Rancher 350? Rancher 350s run up to 45mph on a level road. However, some users were able to bring it up to 53mph (but according to them, it took forever to get there). If you want to reach optimal speed, their advice is to check if the air filter is clean. Likewise, adding a jet kit does wonders and can gain you 5mph more.
- How much weight can a Honda Rancher 350 pull? It has a 66-pound front rack capacity and can heave or tow up to 850 lbs. Despite this capacity, towing at a maximum weight too often can cause misfires, which may require valve de-clogging or replacing your entire Honda Rancher 350 carburetor.
- How much does a Honda Rancher 350 cost? The original price of the 2004 model was $4,899; its ES version was worth $200 more. Secondhand buys via online auctions and trader sites range between $1,999 to $3,995 for the year 2005 units and $2,500 to $4,599 for 2006 models.
- Should I buy a Honda Rancher 350? Apart from driver skill and personal preferences, your intended use for this quad should help you decide whether to buy one. If you’re searching for a compact utility vehicle that gets the work done but can also run for recreational trail rides, I recommend that you get the Honda Rancher 350!
Honda Motor Company Ltd. has been the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer since 1959 and is the maker of Honda Rancher 350. It is a world leader in energy solutions, AI, robotics and mobility, and continues to produce commuter and dynamic sports models. Soichiro Honda founded the company in 1946. Since then, Honda has succeeded in pioneering a wide range of high-caliber automobiles, multipurpose engines, and power equipment.
Conclusion – Honda Rancher 350
In summary, the Honda Rancher 350 is one hardworking machine that is sure to meet your work needs and still provide a good trail riding experience. It is light on the budget compared to larger ATVs and has a rugged and reliable style. It sports advanced technology, ingenious features, and everything you need from a utility vehicle. Need I say more?