Nicholas Fluhart

April 3, 2012

Foreman Upgrades & Repairs Part 1: Brakes & Tie Rods

Filed under: Project: 475 Foreman — Nicholas Fluhart @ 6:11 pm

As I wrote here, few projects are ever really completed, and I’ve performed many upgrades to my 1998 Honda Foreman since I built it five years ago, so I thought I’d write a few posts to outline what I’ve done. I’ll start with the repairs I did after the 1st annual East Camden Expedition. As you can see there, I broke a tie rod end. Typically a tie rod will develop slack to let you know it is worn out, but this one gave no warning; it just flew apart. This was essentially the first time I had to lay a wrench on this ATV since I built it. So once I rolled it up in the shop I tilted it up onto the rear rack as seen below. This allows me to work on the front end while standing.

I removed the tie rod end from the steering knuckle, marked the threads on the tie rod, and removed the end. The aluminum ends are bad about seizing on the steel rods, so I painted the threads with anti-seize compound and installed the new end…then repeated the process on the other side. The inner ends were still in good shape, so I’ll squeeze more life out of those for now.

Applying Anti-Seize to Tie Rod

New Tie Rod Ends

So while I’m at it, I figured it would be a good time to go ahead and overhaul the front brakes. The brakes still had a good handle (like having a good pedal), but it wouldn’t actually stop. This is an indication that the drums are rough and without a good, smooth surface the shoes will not have enough to grab. That’s what my problem was here. I pulled the drums to inspect everything. The good news is that everything was still sealing good, so there was no mud. However, due to age I had one frozen wheel cylinder and a few adjusters as well. So I ordered new drums as seen below, and I went ahead and ordered all new wheel cylinders.

New Brake Drum Next to Old One.

Once my tie rods and brakes were squared away, I put the ATV back on the ground and proceeded to set the toe of the front wheels. The easiest way to accomplish this is to place the ATV on level ground and fasten the handlebars perfectly straight. You’ll see in the photo below that I use tie straps to hold the handlebars straight.

Then it’s just a matter of measuring and adjusting. First measure across the rear of the tires, center of one tire to center of the other, and note the distance. Then measure across the front of the tires, center to center. If the front measurement is greater than the rear, it’s toed out. If the rear is greater, it’s toed in. Some ATV’s require a certain amount of positive or negative toe, and some require it to be equal with no positive or negative toe. I don’t recall off hand what the Foreman required, but I set it appropriately and tightened the lock nuts on the tie rod ends and called it finished. It drives great, and with the new brake job, it threw me over the handlebars the first time I hit the brakes. That’s exactly what I wanted!

Stay tuned for the next round of repairs…

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