Yamaha is one of the top ten UTV manufacturers and has had a hand in pioneering the Side by Sides we know now, especially when they introduce the Yamaha Wolverine. They have gone so far as to separate work UTVs from recreational and sport models. Even though they are a worldwide leader in UTV manufacturing, they too have their fair share of common problems.
The Yamaha Wolverine UTV has a few glaring problems associated with it. The exhaust can grow so hot it glows red. They also have problems with oil consumption, clutch slippage, and are often regarded as being grossly underpowered. There have also been two recalls; one for a leaking fuel tank, and the other related to breaking shock absorber mounts.
If you own a Yamaha Wolverine, or are thinking of purchasing one, read on to find out about these possible issues, how to troubleshoot them, and possible repairs. We’ll list the models related to the recalls and go into a brief Yamaha history, so stay tuned.
What is a Yamaha Wolverine?
The Yamaha Wolverine is a strict recreational Utility Terrain Vehicle. Many UTVs are both workhorse and play vehicles. Yamaha broke that mold by creating a model that’s meant for fun and recreation after a hard working day; enter the Wolverine.
UTVs are different from ATVs. Both have 4 wheels and are exhilarating to drive, but the UTV can carry passengers and drives more like a car while ATVs tend to operate much like motorcycles.
The Yamaha Wolverine is meant for the trail. It can take on muddy waters without getting bogged down and can climb steep terrain like a mountain goat. These vehicles are just pure fun.
Who Makes the Yamaha Wolverine?
Yamaha has been around since the late 1800s, but they didn’t start out making motorized vehicles. Their origins were in pianos and reed instruments. Have you ever noticed that the Yamaha logo looks like three tuning forks? That’s because it is.
It wasn’t until 1959 that Yamaha Motor Company was founded and the company started building motorcycles. Eventually, Yamaha started building 4-wheel ATVs in 1988, and in 2004 they broke into the growing UTV market.
Now Yamaha is a huge company that still manufactures musical instruments, but the motor company division is headquartered in Cypress, California. They have manufacturing facilities in Tennessee and Georgia.
Yamaha Wolverine Specifications
Although the Yamaha Wolverine may only have two base models, there are many different variations of those two. You can choose between two-seaters or four-seaters and add on a plethora of accessories to make the Wolverine all yours. Here are a few specs to choose from.
|X2 850 R Spec||X2 850 XT-R||RMAX 1000 R-Spec||RMAX 1000 XT-R|
|Engine||847cc parallel-twin, liquid cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valve||847cc parallel-twin, liquid cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valve||999cc liquid cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valve||999cc liquid cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valve|
|Transmission||Ultramatic V-belt with all-wheel engine braking; L, H, N, R||Ultramatic V-belt with all-wheel engine braking; L, H, N, R||Ultramatic V-belt with all-wheel engine braking; L, H, N, R||Ultramatic V-belt with all-wheel engine braking; L, H, N, R|
|Suspension Front||Independent double wishbone with anti-sway bar, fully adjustable KYB® piggyback shocks; 8.7-in travel||Independent double wishbone with anti-sway bar, fully adjustable KYB® piggyback shocks; 8.7-in travel||Independent double wishbone with anti-sway bar, FOX QS3 piggyback shocks; 14.2-in travel||Independent double wishbone with anti-sway bar, FOX QS3 piggyback shocks; 14.2-in travel|
|Suspension Rear||Independent double wishbone with anti-sway bar, fully adjustable KYB piggyback shocks; 9.3-in travel||Independent double wishbone with anti-sway bar, fully adjustable KYB piggyback shocks; 9.3-in travel||Independent double wishbone, FOX QS3 piggyback shocks; 16.9-in travel||Independent double wishbone, FOX QS3 piggyback shocks; 16.9-in travel|
|Tires||27” Dirt Commander||27” Dirt Commander||30” Dirt Commander 2.0||30” Carnivore|
Yamaha Wolverine Recalls
The Yamaha Wolverine has had two recalls so far. Only about 5,000 units were affected in both of these recalls. Here are both of the Yamaha Wolverine recalls:
- Rear shock absorber mounts can break. This poses a crash and injury potential as the driver may end up losing control while driving. Models involved in this recall include:
- 2021 Wolverine RMAX4 1000 XT-R
- 2021 Wolverine RMAX4 1000 LE
- 2021 Wolverine RMAX4 1000
- The second recall involves a damaged fuel tank that can allow fuel to leak out, which poses a fire or explosion risk. The models involved in this recall include:
- 2021 Wolverine RMAX 4 SE
- 2021 Wolverine RMAX 4 LE
- 2021 Wolverine RMAX 4
- 2021 Wolverine RMAX 2 SE
- 2021 Wolverine RMAX 2
- 2021 Wolverine RMAX 2 LE
Anyone who owns Yamaha Wolverines related to these recalls is urged to stop using them and get them checked by a Yamaha dealer.
Common Problems and Simple Solutions with the Yamaha Wolverine
The Yamaha Wolverine UTV has a few common issues, but not all problems affect the same models. Some complications can be model or year specific, while some may be problems related to any Yamaha brand UTV. Not all users and owners may experience these or any problems with their vehicles.
Glowing Hot Exhaust
This problem tends to go across the Yamaha board, as many Yamaha products tend to create such a hot exhaust that the pipes end up glowing red hot. Not only can red, glowing exhaust headers cause severe burns, but they can cause anything that touches it to ignite.
The problem is often because the fuel runs lean in the lower throttle range, while a clogged exhaust could also cause this problem.
Often, wrapping the exhaust header quickly and effectively fixes this problem. You can also get a fuel controller to keep the fuel from running so lean.
Over time clutch plates wear down as they constantly rub against each other. When this happens, the clutch springs can’t grab and you get clutch slippage.
To remedy this problem, check your clutch plates often and replace them when they get worn down. If you want to head off the problem ahead of time, you can get an aftermarket, premium clutch plate, and go ahead and replace it now.
Owners of Wolverine R-Specs have an overwhelming complaint regarding rapid oil consumption. Sometimes they get false readings, and then find out the engine is nearly empty of engine oil. To make matters worse, these owners also say they don’t see any signs of leakage or burning, and dealers can’t find the problem either.
The best thing to do in this case is to check the oil often. Make sure you check the oil after the engine has completely cooled and check the oil a few times a day to make sure you’re getting a correct reading.
Only fill the oil with the manufacturer’s recommended weight and brand.
Many users state that the Wolverine R-Spec is a weaker and louder version compared to the X2 which seems to have a night and day difference.
First, you should test drive these vehicles to determine what it is you’re looking for. While these machines aren’t going to break any speed records, they do have the power to get you wherever you’re going.
If you’re still looking for more power, there are plenty of aftermarket options you can choose from. Just be careful what you add on because upping the ponies can cause significant strain on the engine if it’s not able to cope with the extra power.
Header Pipes Crack
While this issue can occur on its own, most of the time it’s directly associated with the red-hot glowing exhaust issue. When the headers get too hot, the metal can grow brittle and crack easily.
If your exhaust hasn’t gotten glowing hot yet, you can head off this problem by wrapping the exhaust headers or coating them in heat-reduction ceramic. You can also add a power commander, or do an ECU reflash.
If you have driven your Wolverine often with the bright, glowing exhaust, you may have to get them replaced because the damage may already have caused the metal to grow brittle.
Flooded Fuel Tank
Another issue that can ruin your ride is water in the gas tank. Rainwater or running through large puddles can send water going everywhere. Sometimes water finds its way into the gas tank which can foul out spark plugs and it can damage fuel injectors.
By making sure the fuel cap is sufficiently tightened, and keeping your UTV covered during the rain, you can help prevent this problem. If you experience difficulty starting your UTV, or the engine hesitates during acceleration, check for water in the fuel.
Drain it quickly if there is any water inside and refill with a higher octane once all the old fuel is gone.
That does it for Yamaha Wolverine problems. While most of these problems aren’t catastrophic, no one wants to have to deal with any of them.
These problems include water flooding your fuel tank and a glowing hot exhaust header that becomes brittle over time. Other issues include mysterious oil consumption and clutch slippage, but all of these problems can be overcome without too much trouble.
By knowing what problems to expect related to the Yamaha Wolverine, you’ll be prepared for them. We hope this has helped inform you of potential Yamaha Wolverine problems.
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.