Nicholas Fluhart

September 29, 2012

Foreman Upgrades & Repairs Part 5: New Tires & Lift Springs

Filed under: Project: 475 Foreman — Nicholas Fluhart @ 2:50 pm

I recently ran across a deal on a set of tires I’ve been wanting to try for a while now. They are Maxxis brand OEM tires for the Kawasaki Teryx side by side. They are brand new dealer take-offs. What caught my eye is that they are 26″ tall, which is somewhat taller than most OEM style tires, and that’s the exact height I want on my Foreman. Also, the tread is fairly aggressive for a stock tire yet they offer a much smoother ride than my Dirt Devil XT’s.

While I’m at it on the tires, I decided to fix a slight problem that’s been long over due. After almost 16,000 miles, the rear shock springs began to get weak. At times when the rear suspension would compress, the springs weren’t quite strong enough to bring it back up. And when carrying a passenger, I noticed it setting low in the back. I could replace the shocks with a factory set, but given that I’m always winching, pulling, and hauling with this thing, I decided to take a different approach. I chose to install a set of STI lift springs on my factory shocks. Not really looking for an actual lift as much as added capacity, I chose the 100 pound added capacity spring, which advertises 1 or 2 inches of lift. I used my homemade spring compressor to install the new springs on my shocks.

Here’s the finished product with the new tires and springs.

In conclusion, the tires worked out great. I was able to shave 35 lbs of weight from the factory setup by using these tires with my aluminum rims. It has a very smooth ride as well. Performance in mud and soft terrain really wasn’t hurt. These tires bite good in mud and do well in wet sand when climbing out of creek banks. So far, I’ve been able to go everywhere I went with the XT’s. Overall, I’m very happy with these and will probably run them on this quad for the duration.

The lift springs solved my squatting problem. It maintains the proper ride height, and from what I can tell, they didn’t compromise the ride quality.

Until next time…

May 24, 2012

Foreman Upgrades & Repairs Part 4: Aluminum Rims, LED Reverse Light

Filed under: Project: 475 Foreman — Nicholas Fluhart @ 8:04 pm

So I finally ran across a good deal on the type of rims I’ve been looking for. They are a set of OEM Honda aluminum rims from a 500 Foreman. My goal was to reduce the weight of my tire and rim combination. The Dirt Devil XT’s I’ve been running are a relatively heavy tire, and mounted on steel rims makes the combo even heavier. I wanted an OEM aluminum rim because the aftermarket sets are very thick and actually weigh as much as steel rims, which for my intentions, defeats the purpose. I found the rims I wanted on eBay and installed them just before a big ride. I weighed the old combo and then used my manual tire changer to switch out the rims. I then weighed the new combo to see the difference.

Conclusions: Well the new rims are each about 4 lbs lighter than the steel rims, which only saves me about 16 lbs on the total. That’s better than nothing, but I’ll be installing a new set of tires soon so we’ll see what that gets me. Another thing to note if installing 500 rims on a 450: the lug studs on the 450 are a little shorter. It still works, but there are no threads to spare.

As you can see in one of my previous Foreman posts, I run an auxiliary light on the rear…comes in handy when winching or reversing at night. This is one of the single most handy items on the ATV, so I use it often. However, if you’ve seen any of my riding posts on this site, you know it’s not uncommon for my machine to see service in deep water. The poses a problem for the incandescent light. As seen below, the light I’m using is not a sealed beam, it has a small, replaceable bulb. When water is introduced to the hot bulb, the result is failure. Subsequently, I found myself replacing bulbs regularly.

Solution: After having found and installed some LED work lights on the headache rack on my truck, I decided one of these lights would be the perfect solution. The LEDs of course are sealed and the components are water resistant; all I’d have to do is drill a small drain hole in the bottom of the rubber housing. Furthermore, the light is brighter and only pulls about an amp and a half draw.

April 14, 2012

Foreman Upgrades & Repairs Part 3: Hand Guards & Grips

Filed under: Project: 475 Foreman — Nicholas Fluhart @ 6:53 pm

I primarily ride my Foreman in the woods and often find myself making my own trails. It’s times like that when a good set of hand guards are needed to protect the operator’s hands from branches, thorns, vines, and the like. While going through some boxes of parts that I purchased at an auction, I found a set of new universal hand guards for utility ATVs. They showed no maker’s mark but appeared to be strong, functional, and they looked good. I decided to install them on the Foreman.

Later, I also decided to upgrade my hand grips with a set of ODI Rogue Lock-On Grips. I had bought an old Foreman for parts a few weeks before and it happened to have these new ODI grips on it, so now was a good time to transfer them over to my machine. Everything worked out great. I love the soft grips and the hand guards are awesome.


April 4, 2012

Foreman Upgrades & Repairs Part 2: Clutch Basket

Filed under: Project: 475 Foreman — Nicholas Fluhart @ 7:18 pm

So after many years and almost 16,000 miles of service, the main clutch began to rattle. Specifically, it’s the ring gear on the clutch basket for the main clutch. The ring gear is riveted to the basket and over time this riveting (along with the dampener springs) becomes worn and allows the basket to rattle (it sounds much like a rod knocking). Fortunately, I had another basket assembly on the shelf, and since all of the plates were replaced when I built the engine, they were still like new. If you are not familiar with this, below I have posted a picture which shows the ring gear on the back of the basket.

Main Clutch Basket & Ring Gear

I begin the repairs by draining the engine oil, putting the ATV up on a jack, and removing the front mud flaps and other plastic components that may be in the way. Then I remove the oil lines from the engine to the oil cooler. And finally, I remove the clutch case cover and expose the internals of the engine. Note in the picture below, the centrifugal clutch has to be removed prior to removing the main clutch. Sometimes it requires a special puller to remove the centrifugal clutch center before the clutch drum will slide off, however, sometimes you can use a rubber mallet and lightly persuade the drum to push the center off of the shaft which is what I did here.

Clutch Cover Removed

Centrifugal Clutch Removed

Once the centrifugal clutch is out of the way, you can remove the main clutch by first removing the springs and outer portion. This exposes the main nut, and once it is removed, the basket will then slide off the shaft. The whole thing goes back together in reverse order.

That covers my repairs to this thing. Next round of posts will be the upgrades!

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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