The CFMoto ZForce 950 is currently the highest-performance option among CFMoto’s line of sport side-by-sides.
The ZForce 950 has gotten some major upgrades for this year, which now have it in the conversation with some of the best sport options out there.
And when you factor in its reasonable price tag, it’s no wonder this model makes for one of the best cheap side-by-sides options.
But the ZForce 950 is not without its drawbacks, some of which are in the form of six common problems that still seem to affect it.
These problems include:
- Jerky ride at lower speeds
- Throttle Position Sensor fails and causes Limp Mode
- Stock seat belt issues
- Gear shift sticking
- Squealing brakes
This guide will detail each problem, along with proven ways to prevent and overcome them.
Jerky Ride At Lower Speeds
The most common issue in the ZForce 950 is poor throttle response from the gas pedal leading to a very jerky ride at lower RPMs and speeds.
This jerkiness happens when initially moving forward or in reverse at a slow speed and continues up until around 10 mph.
This poor throttle response and resulting jerkiness are likely the result of a combination of flaws with a couple different components of the ZForce 950, including:
- Stock clutch system
- Stock electronic control unit (ECU)
Cause: Clutch System
The stock clutch system in the ZForce 950 is one of the main causes of jerky riding, especially when accelerating from a stop.
It leads to this model reaching its top speed a bit slower than it should.
This issue can be overcome by upgrading the primary clutch and re-clocking the secondary clutch.
Fix: Primary Clutch
Upgrading the primary clutch with new weights and a new spring will help alleviate the issues the stock clutch causes.
Owners can purchase an aftermarket clutch kit that contains an upgraded spring and weights for the primary clutch, along with an upgraded helix for the secondary clutch.
You can also purchase and install these parts on your own to save some coin.
Upgrading to 18g weights and a 200-1600 spring is ideal, and should match or closely resemble the parts provided in some clutch kits.
This upgrade should result in a smooth takeoff and ride, along with better overall performance.
Fix: Secondary Clutch
There’s an adjustable spring in the secondary clutch with multiple settings that affect the speed, power, and jerkiness.
This spring has three letter settings: A, B, and C.
It also has four different number settings: 1, 2, 3, and 4.
The ZForce 950 is factory set at B1, which makes for jerky acceleration at low speeds but offers good top-end speed.
To fix the jerky aspect, re-clock the clutch to either A1, B3, or C1.
C1 is going to give you the best blend of power and speed without the jerkiness, which helps make the ZForce 950 one of the fastest side-by-sides in the industry.
Cause: Electronic Control Unit
The stock ECU in the ZForce 950 is known to cause issues and is another likely culprit of this poor throttle response.
It is recommended that owners whose machines suffer from jerkiness have an aftermarket company flash and reprogram the stock ECU.
Main Street Cycle is one of these aftermarket companies who offer these services.
They’ve done extensive testing using a DynoJet to map out the ideal settings for the ECU in the CFMoto ZForce 950.
Fix: ECU Tune
You can send in your stock ECU and have them fully tune it with with these ideal settings, then have it shipped back to you.
This tuning of the ECU results in a dampened throttle and much smoother ride, while also increasing the horsepower and torque for better overall performance.
Having the stock ECU tuned will run you around $400 and usually takes one or two weeks, but it will relieve the jerkiness in your machine.
Throttle Position Sensor Causing Limp Mode
Another common issue found in the ZForce 950 is with the throttle pedal dropping signal and forcing the vehicle into Limp Mode, where it won’t go over 25 mph or 4,500 RPMs.
This happens due to the throttle position sensor (TPS) in the throttle pedal getting water in it, which will fry the circuit board and cause it to stop working.
When this happens, you’ll likely see error code P213829 on your display.
CFMoto should cover the replacement under warranty but your ZForce may sit for weeks waiting on the part.
And if not under warranty, you’ll likely be told the only fix is to replace the entire throttle pedal for almost $300 as they don’t offer a replacement sensor separately.
But the problem may just happen again, as it turns out this problem happens because the throttle position sensors in the stock throttle pedals have a tiny hole in them where they plug in, which is where the water gets in and ruins them.
When you replace your throttle pedal, you’ll want to be sure and seal the sensor plug properly so this problem doesn’t happen over and over.
The TPS is on the side of your throttle pedal. You’ll just need to remove the three bolts and unplug the sensor, which should come right out.
When you pull out the TPS, you’ll see a very small hole in the plug. Put some sealant over this hole and apply some dielectric grease, which should prevent water from frying it moving forward.
Additionally, it turns out that there’s a much cheaper throttle pedal replacement available, which is meant for the Polaris RZR but fits perfectly in the ZForce 950 as well.
Stock Seat Belt Issues
One of the top complaints with the ZForce 950 is with the seat belts.
For a sport side-by-side made for off-roading and trail riding at high speeds, the latch seat belts leave much to be desired when it comes to riders feeling secure inside of the vehicle.
Aside from the feeling of a lack of security some owners get when wearing them, the stock seat belts are susceptible to wear from the elements and are known to retract and lock up fairly often.
This can usually be overcome by blasting out the latching areas with air and then spraying them with a dry lube, but the process may need to be repeated every so often.
For added security and to overcome the tendency for the stock seat belts deteriorating, many owners choose to replace them with four point harnesses.
Gear Shift Sticking
Another recurring issue in this model is the gear shift sticking, especially when attempting to shift from a complete stop when parked on an incline.
When this happens, you’ll also often hear a grinding noise when trying to shift, and the gear indicator light won’t come on.
The shift linkage is usually at fault here, with the locking nuts that hold it in place known to vibrate loose over time allowing it to move out of its correct position.
You’ll need to adjust it back into place when this happens.
Locate the shift linkage cable to do this, and then loosen the rear nut about 2 turns and shift it to the right.
Then tighten the front nut in the same direction to lock it in place in its newly adjusted location.
Overheating is another common problem in the ZForce 950, and it becomes more frequent as your rack up the miles.
The display in the ZForce 950 will show you your engine temperature by displaying a number of different colored bars.
Staying in the two to three bars range, and you’ll be just fine. Get up to the fourth bar where it turns red, and you’re in danger of overheating.
Causes & Fixes
The engines in these models are just fine, so most of the time other components are to blame for this, including:
- Radiator is dirty
- Coolant lines
- Sport Mode
- Fan not triggering in time
Radiator Is Dirty
One of the more common causes of overheating is that the radiator becomes caked with dried mud, sand, dirt, grass or other debris from the off-road riding these models excel at.
The radiator in many of these models needs to be almost spotless to prevent overheating.
Be sure and clean out your radiator fins after any ride through muddy or wet terrain, which will help prevent this.
Spraying on some HVAC coil cleaner and then hosing it off will really remove any of this gunk from the radiator, and is perfectly safe.
And even if your radiator appears clean and you’re hitting the red bars, remove your grill and soak it in a cleaner like Simple Green.
You’ll be surprised at how much debris can cake up without you even being able to see it when the grill comes off.
The stock coolant that comes in these machines isn’t all that great, so if you’re experiencing overheating in a new unit, replace it.
Flush the coolant lines out with purified water and put a stronger aftermarket coolant and potentially some Water Wetter to help prevent you from reaching the danger zone heat-wise.
Fan Not Triggering In Time
The radiator fan in this model is another common cause of overheating, as sometimes it won’t trigger in time to keep the engine within safe temperature ranges.
You can overcome this by having your ECU tuned, which will reprogram the fan to kick on at lower engine temperatures of around 190 degrees, giving you more runway to keep the engine from hitting the danger zone temperature-wise.
You can also run a toggle switch to your fan relay so that you have the ability to turn it on as you please, essentially bypassing the ECU.
Sport Mode Vs Eco Mode
Sport Mode offers a more aggressive ride, but riding in it for prolonged periods will really send those engine temperatures up quickly.
If you’re engine temps are up in Sport Mode, go back into Eco or Normal Mode for a while.
The brakes in the ZForce 950 are known to squeal loudly while riding, even with not using them.
For new machines, this issue should subside on its own around the 300-mile mark as the brakes fully break in.
If you don’t want to wait on that, or are getting the squealing on a well-used vehicle, there are a couple ways to overcome it.
Dry weather and dusty settings seem to exasperate the squealing.
If you drive often in these settings, hose down your brake pads and clean them up some if you’re hearing this squealing.
Using soapy water or a good brake cleaner to really clean them up is a good idea, and should help to alleviate brake squealing that’s happening due to the accumulation of dust or dirt over time.
The ZForce 950 seems to get better and better each year as CFMoto makes upgrades based on owner feedback.
So hopefully these common problems will begin to fade in newer models.
For more on CFMoto side-by-sides, check out the following guides before you go: