Specialty Tools: The Right Tools Make for Correct Repairs (Jul. 2015)
A knowledgeable home mechanic or professional technician can carry out the majority of their work with basic hand tools. A major dividing line appears when the service manual calls for the use of a special tool.
The professional technician should have a large selection of specialty tools for handling specific jobs. Even a crafty shade tree mechanic can be stonewalled without the correct tool.
Toe In Adjustment (Sep. 2015)
ATVs and SxSs live hard lives crawling over rocks, hauling loads, and crossing trails no other man-made vehicle would dare. One of the most basic services these vehicles call for is the adjustment of the toe-in of the front wheels.
Toe-in specifically refers to the amount the front wheels are pigeon toed. At axle level the center of the front tires are closer in the front than in the back. Most ATVs and side-by-sides call for the front wheels to be slightly pigeon toed to parallel.
Keeping the toe-in aliment in specification and adjusted correctly is important for performance, safety, and tire wear. If the front end of the vehicle is in a toe-out position, duck footed, the tires will wear more rapidly and the vehicle will be inherently unstable. In addition, if the toe-in adjustment is in specification but it has been improperly adjusted it may put excess strain on the steering components.
CVT Tuning Part 1 (Nov. 2015)
Manufacturers like CVT transmissions for ATVs and UTVs because they are cheap and simple automatic transmissions. The CVT often gets a bad rap from users because the transmission doesn’t deliver the power how the user wants. Like stock suspension settings, the manufacturer is shooting for a middle-of-the-road approach that will function fairly well under a wide variety of circumstances or feel good with a quick test ride. Often this results in a set up that is optimized for quick acceleration or economy, but may have poor initial engagement, slow back shifting, poor engine braking or a poorly matched shift curve to power output.
The good news is many CVT systems can be tuned. The service manual will usually include information on CVT tuning based on altitude similar to carburetor jetting changes. At a minimum the service manual will include an altitude chart with spring and weight options to optimize performance at specific altitudes.
Beyond factory CVT tuning options, popular models have excellent aftermarket support in this area.
Check out Tech Tips in 2016 for more on CVT tuning information.