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Here's a good article and video on the basics when it comes to ATV front end wheel alignments.
When you hear the words front end alignment what comes to mind? Automobiles and potholes may be the first thought. There are other four wheeled vehicles out there running over a lot more than potholes. ATVs and side-by-sides 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. The Suzuki Eiger LT-F-400F calls for this to be checked initially after 100 mi. or 1 month of use, and every 600 mi. or 3 months for the rest of its operational life. Be it a Yamaha Banshee, 50cc mini-quad, or Kawasaki Mule this is a periodic maintenance item that is essentially the same no matter the scale of machine.
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.
The first step in checking the toe-in is to check the tire pressure. Make sure the tire pressure set correctly in all four tires. The air pressure in the front tires should be as close to the same as possible. Place the vehicle on a level surface and position the steering straight ahead. Be sure to check with the appropriate service manual to see if there are any extra specifics for the vehicle. The Suzuki Eiger for example calls for the vehicle to be weighted as to simulate the rider.
Make a chalk mark on the front, center of each front tire at the height of the front axle. If available set up a toe gauge so that the pointers line up with the chalk marks.
Measure the distance between the front chalk marks. Record this measurement as A. Rotate the front wheels 180° so the marks remain at axle height, but are now facing to the rear. Record the distance between the marks on the backside of the tires as B.
Subtract the front measurement A from the rear measurement B to calculate the toe-in. If the number is negative you have a toe-out condition. Compare your toe-in figure with the factory specification found in the vehicles service manual.
To adjust the toe-in loosen the lock nuts on the tie-rods. The outer tie-rod lock nuts often have left hand threads.
Turn the tie rods with a wrench at the flats to change the toe-in. Be sure to evenly adjust the left and right tie-rods for proper alignment. Check with the service manual to see if there are any specifications for the length of the tire rods or the amount of threads that should be showing. If the tie-rods are not adjusted according to the OEM specifications the proper toe-in may be achieved, but the vehicle will not steer correctly and it could be at risk of breaking a tie-rod.
When the adjustment is correct hold the tie-rod flats and tighten the lock nuts to specification against each side of the tie-rod. Take a slow test ride to make sure the steering functions correctly.
Check out this additional video on ATV wheel alignments:
When comparing dump carts for ATVs, you mostly find steel carts out there from various online retailers and places like Sears and Home Depot. My first choice a few months back was going to be to pick up one of those steel carts for my ATV, but then I was able to get my hands on Quadboss's Swivel Dump Cart that has this hardened "Structual Foam" body that is rust proof. This dump cart came in a large box which I snapped a picture of below. The contents of the box were the dump body, 2 wheels, frame, trailing arm, and hardware & pins. I spread the items out and followed the easy to read instructions. They illustrated every pin, nut, and bolt size, so that you know exactly where they are supposed to go. The steel frame parts of this cart are heavy duty 11 gauge steel, and along with the 1 inch axle, the load capacity is able to be set at 1,250 lbs. Assembly was pretty simple and took about an hour all together.
The longest part of the install was attaching the dump body to the frame with 10 bolts. It would probably go quicker with 2 people, one holding the dump body and feeding the bolts, and the other holding the frame, and screwing on the nuts on. Once that part was done, the rest was pretty easy. I was impressed with the fact that the wheels had grease fittings for the wheel bearings. Once it was all put together, attachment was easy to my ATV hitch receiver hole with a supplied pin. You can use a hitch ball, but it's not necessary.
Now it was time to test this thing. I took it out of the garage and around the property, over some bumps and a hill or two. It was very stable empty, so then I decided to do some work to fill her up. It was a nice day finally, most all of the snow had melted, and it was time to lay into some yard work. I had planned to dig out some dirt from one area and transport it to an area where I needed some more soil. I pulled up next to my mound of dirt and started digging. I filled the cart up with two loads and dumped them both in the area that needed the dirt. Dumping it requires you to step on the release mechanism pedal that has anti-slip spikes, and lift up the cart. I suppose if you fill it up with overweight stuff, it's going to be a pain to lift it on your own. The dirt all came out except for the last 10% that I used my shovel to get out. The sloped rear on the dump is nice. Another nice feature is the swivel, which allows you to turn the dump up to 100 degrees before dumping. So that was pretty easy, so I decided to load some other things around the property, like rocks, brush, twigs, and branches. This is where the optional fence attachment would have come in handy. I may need to get that next. I'm still waiting to take it up on the trails. I highly suggest this dump for anyone looking for a high quality work horse of a dump, as an alternative to the traditional steel carts.
QuadBoss Website QuadBoss ATV Trailer Product Video
Find ATV Dump Carts on Amazon
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