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Tips for Working On Your Argo’s Battery and Electrical System

Tips for Working On Your Argo's Battery and Electrical System

Argo’s amphibious ATVs are unique, and that uniqueness extends past what they can do off-road and on water. Even if you’re familiar with electrical systems on small engines, there are a few important differences you need to know when working on these machines. Here’s what you need to do to take care of your XTV’s battery, check the fuses and make sure the charging system can power your accessories.

Protecting Your Argo and Yourself When Making Repairs

– Don’t weld on your Argo. This may cause a short that will damage your XTV’s electrical system.

– When working on the electrical system, always disconnect the negative battery terminal first and reconnect it last.

– Don’t use jumper cables or a jumper pack on your Argo. This can damage the ignition system.

Batteries: Three Types with Three Methods of Care

Charging and maintaining the batteries in an Argo isn’t much different than caring for batteries in ATVs, motorcycles, and lawnmowers. However, there are a few differences you need to be aware of.

In the Aurora and newly updated Frontier, the battery is in the engine compartment next to the right side of the firewall. On all other XTVs, the battery is below the front passenger’s seat next to the fuel tank. Depending on your model, your Argo comes with a Yuasa absorbed glass mat (AGM) battery, a sealed Optima battery or an unsealed Exide battery.

Check electrolyte levels in unsealed batteries every 50 hours of operation. Add distilled water to each cell until it reaches the fluid level marker. Overfilling may cause the cells to overflow during use. The resulting acid spill will damage nearby components.

If you have an unsealed battery outputting less than 10.5 volts, it needs to be replaced. However, Optima batteries with a low output can still be recharged by connecting a good 12-volt battery in parallel with the charger. There are two ways to wire the battery in parallel:

Connection Type 1
Charger negative to Optima negative
Optima negative to charged battery negative
Charger positive to charged battery positive
Charged battery positive to Optima positive

Connection Type 2
Charger positive to charged battery positive
Charger negative to charged battery negative
Charged battery positive to Optima positive
Charged battery negative to Optima negative

If the Optima battery is still below 10.5 volts after an hour of charging, it’s bad. If the battery reads between 10.5 and 12.55 volts, connect it directly to the charger and charge at 5 amps for 5 minutes. A battery that accepts this charge can now be charged normally. Check the side of the battery for charging instructions.

A new AGM battery has a 70-80% charge after adding the electrolyte. Let the battery stand for 20-60 minutes if it’s rated at less than 18 Ah. High-performance batteries have an “H” in the part number. Let these batteries stand for one to two hours. After this period, use a charger that outputs at least 12.8 volts to bring the charge up to 100%.

Clean the terminals on all batteries every 100 hours. Clean the top of the battery every 250 hours with a mixture of baking soda and water to neutralize any escaping battery acid.

Checking Fuses

All Aurora XTVs and 2020 and later Frontier XTVs have a fuse box next to the battery. All other Argos have a fuse block in the engine compartment just in front of the steering system.

Argo uses standard automotive fuses, which have metal contacts on the top next to the amp rating. Using your multimeter’s continuity mode, you can touch these contacts to check for blown fuses without pulling out and visually inspecting each one.

Do You Need an Alternator Upgrade?

All recent Argo models use a 40 amp alternator. While small by automotive standards, this is more than enough to power high draw equipment, including winches and work lights.

If you have an older model, there’s a good chance it comes with a 20 amp alternator. This unit doesn’t charge at idle and doesn’t make enough power to keep the spark plugs firing until the engine is running at ¼ throttle. Winches have to draw from the battery, even while the alternator runs at full speed. You can upgrade to a 40 amp alternator if you have one of these Kohler-powered models:

– Avenger 8×8 models including the 750 EFI, Pro, and Responder
– HD 700, HDI 750 and HDI-based HuntMaster 8×8 models

Some late model Avengers came with a 40 amp alternator from the factory. You can find out which one your vehicle has by checking the specifications in the owner’s manual.

The kit includes a new drive pulley, support bracket, wiring, and the alternator. Installation only requires common hand tools.

We Have Everything You Need for Your Argo

Shank’s Argo is one of the largest Argo dealers in the East, and we have over 35 years of experience with all types of outdoor equipment. Want to add some accessories or upgrade your current amphibious ATV? We have the parts and service you need. Visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA, or check out our website,


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