1. Veteran technicians have the knowledge and experience to perform the operations of day-to-day service jobs in their sleep. If you give a good tech a list of service items and a vehicle he has never seen before, he will be able to work out how to perform the procedures on his own. However, without the service and torque specifications for that particular model, his valuable skills will be wasted. When it comes to service settings and adjustments, a good tech doesn’t want to put it in the ballpark; he wants his work to be done to factory specifications.
2. Engine oil capacity and tire pressure specifications are often printed on a sticker, which is placed on the vehicle for quick reference. Beyond these two specifications, you better have a model-specific service manual or access to a specification guide if you want to get some real service work done. A quick Web search may get you an answer, but do you really want to trust the reputation of your shop to an enthusiast’s forum post?
At Cyclepedia.com, we have been working with professional technicians since 2006 to build a specification database that includes capacities, periodic maintenance settings, service and torque specifications. We speak daily with techs at independent service shops and large dealerships alike. This has given us valuable insights into changes taking place in the powersports
service industry and the specification sets that professional technicians need most.
For instance, over the past year we’ve encountered many shops that have branched out into new service areas. Automotive service centers are following customer demand and moving into powersports repair. Shops that once specialized in certain brands or vehicle types have been forced by a slow economy to open their doors to a wider variety of machines. The service managers and techs know they will need a new set of information to utilize their skills for this new customer base.
3. Fluid type and capacity specs have been very popular with our professional techs. ATV and utility vehicles often require multiple fluid types and capacities. Engine, transmission, primary drive-case, front differential and rear final drive systems may all take a separate fluid, and they have a specific volume specification for each. Often, non-engine oil fluid levels can’t be checked. These items must be filled with the correct quantity of fluid or you risk damaging the parts, or at least accelerating wear.
A veteran technician began working on Polaris ATVs and utility vehicles after many years of servicing Japanese machines. His experience with servicing and repairing ATVs was already there, but he was a rookie in dealing with Polaris fluids. After all, how different could they be? The proprietary Polaris fluids he needed angle drive fluid, AGL plus gearcase lube, demand drive plus fluid and 2W-50 synthetic engine oil were all new to him. With access to a specification database, he was able to access the specs he needed to identify the appropriate fluids and capacities required for his customers’
4. Fork service specs are also in high demand. Fork oil seals fail regularly, and fork oil changes are a common periodic maintenance item. Most forks are very similar for a technician to service. The tech needs to know four things to finish the job: the required fork oil, the fork oil volume, the fork oil level and the associated torque specs. If these specs are not available, the fork may be reassembled but it risks hydro locking, poor damping or dangerous installation with incorrect torque specs.
A motorcycle is a motorcycle, a scooter is a scooter, and ATVs and utility vehicles are all variations of a similar mechanical theme. Be it a Suzuki, Harley, KYMCO or Polaris, the designs might be different but the components and service procedures are related. It’s not that hard to figure out how to service related components, but it’s impossible to know the factory specs without a solid resource. Providing your technicians with accurate service information makes their work quicker and delivers a better result for the customer.