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Old 12-02-2012, 12:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Suspension Setup 101

You guys have any advise for someone trying to setup their suspension for the first time? Bought a 2004 Polaris Switchback last year from a guy that is quite a bit heavier than me. Was only able to ride it one weekend last year due to lack of snow. When I took it through the woods it was a workout. I know that it won't whip around like my little 500 Indy, but I hope that it can be made better than what it is.


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Old 12-02-2012, 03:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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If you download the service manual it should tell you all about it. Good luck!
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You need to release some of the preload on the rear shocks so you have a smoother ride and the sled handles better with your weight on it.
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The skis may have too much preload also!
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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here this should help.

FRONT SAG

PLACE SLED FLAT ON LEVEL GROUND AND NOT ON DOLLIES OR A LIFT OF ANY SORT. SET THE SPRINGS AT FULL SOFT IN THEIR ADJUSTER, #1 ON MOST HPG, OR BARELY LOOSE IN THE RETAINER ON THREADED BODIES. LIFT THE SLED OFF THE GROUND, SKIS JUST TOUCHING OR NO MORE THAN 1/4" GAP BENEATH AND HAVE SOMEONE ELSE QUICKLY MEASURE FROM THE GROUND TO THE FIXED POINT OF INTEREST ON THE FRONT BUMPER. LET THE SLED DOWN EASY OR WITHOUT DROPPING HARD. REMEASURE & SET SAG AS FOLLOWS
-2" FOR SEMI AGRESSIVE RIDERS,MORE PLUSH SETUP BUT BODY ROLL MAY OCCURR -1" FOR VERY AGRESIVE RIDERS ,EXCELLENT FLAT CORNERING
IF YOU NEED TO RUN THE SPRINGS AT MAX PRELOAD FOR PROPER SAG YOU ARE A CANDIDATE FOR HEAVIER SPRINGS AND/OR PROPER VALVING

tuning note **if you have the springs too soft you will blow thru the stroke and it will feel stiff, even though its actually way soft and bottoming hard and fast.

CENTER SAG/LIMITER STRAP

THE TAIL OF THE MACHINE MUST BE ON A SUITABLE SAFE STAND WITH NO WEIGHT ON THE REAR SUSPENSION OR TRACK. COMPRESSING THE TENDER SPRING IN ANY DUAL RATE SET-UP TOO FAR WILL CAUSE HARSHNESS ON THE washboard terrain AS YOU HAVE NOW COLLAPSED THE TENDER SPRING AND NOW ARE RIDING THE MAIN SPRING
**tuning tip, a slightly stiff feel here and there but not often while riding is a good setup. You know that it will handle most anything else you throw at it!
TIGHTEN/LOOSEN THE SPRING PRELOAD UNTIL YOU ARE ABLE TO MOVE THE SPRING WITHIN ITS RETAINER, OR ADJUSTER, WITH MODERATE FORCE. IF ITS VERY HARD TO GET THE SPRING TO SLIP BY HAND THE PRELOAD IS TOO TIGHT. IF ITS VERY EASY ITS TOO LOOSE. THIS IS YOUR BASELINE RELATIVE TO YOUR LIMITER STRAP SETTING
LIMITER STRAP SETTINGS MUST BE ADJUSTED WITH CARE. THIS ALONE WILL CAUSE TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE SKI PRESSUE RESULTING IN LOSS OF CONTROL OF THE MACHINE OR TOO HEAVY STEERING.

RIDER WIEGHT, STUDS, ETC ALL PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR STEERING and limiter settings.

in general, with the front ski's on the ground, lift the rear of the sled so the track about a 1/4 inch off the ground. the track should consistently 1/4 inch all the way. not front high, or rear high. this will give you a true neutral set up. not to much ski pressure, or to little. just a nice balanced setup.

REAR STATIC & RIDER SAG

TO SET STATIC SAG THE MACHINE MUST BE FLAT ON THE GROUND WITH NO RIDER ON MACHINE. LIFT UP ON THE REAR BUMPER UNTIL IT LOCKS, MEASURE TO THE BUMPER FROM THE GROUND, LET GO. THE MACHINE SHOULD SAG NO MORE THAN 2" UNDER ITS OWN WEIGHT.
IF IT GOES 3 OR 4, GO UP 1 CLICK ON THE REAR TORSION SPRING ADJUSTER, REMEASURE. 1" SAG TO 2" IS GREAT! NOW SIT ON THE MACHINE, THE MACHINE SHOULD SAG NO MORE THAN +4" OF YOUR INITIAL MEASUREMENT. IF IT’S MORE THAN THAT THEN INCREASE SPRING PRELOAD TO ACHIEVE PROPER SAG WITH RIDER SITTING ON MACHINE.

TUNING NOTES OF INTEREST TOO MUCH SKI SPRING PRELOAD WILL CREATE A HARSH RIDE THROUGH THE HANDLEBARS,TOO LITTLE AND BODY ROLL WILL OCCURR

TOO MUCH CENTER SPRING PRELOAD AND THE RIDE WILL BE HARSH IN YOUR MIDSECTION,TOO LITTLE AND THE FRONT END WILL BE HEAVY TO STEER AND THE SHOCK MAY BOTTOM OUT. THINK OF YOUR CENTER SHOCK AS THE FULCRUM POINT OF A SEE- SAW.

TOO MUCH REAR TORSION PRELOAD AND THE RIDE WILL BUCK YOU OFF THE SEAT! TOO LITTLE AND YOU WILL BLOW THROUGH THE AVAILABLE TRAVEL IN YOUR SUSPENSION

IF YOU HAVE SAG SET CORRECTLY, AND YOUR STILL BOTTOMING OUT, YOU DO NOT NEED STIFFER SPRINGS. ALL SPRINGS DO IS HOLD UP YOUR WEIGHT. YOU WOULD NEED TO GET CORRECT VALVING ON YOUR SHOCKS FOR YOUR RIDER WEIGHT AND RIDING STYLE.
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for all of the info Treetrimmer. I set the sag for the front and back (needed to soften the front and stiffen the back). Made a pretty big difference. I can actually get through the woods without wearing myself out. I still think I need to turn up the damper a touch though. When I'm standing on the back and I hit a big dip I bottom out a little. Or is it okay to bottom out a little on the really big dips (like dropping into a ditch)?


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Old 01-02-2013, 10:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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that is a very trick question, and should only be answered by you.

you need to take into account the kind of riding you do, and how often you find yourself doing it.

if you only bottom out once every great while, then i would say to leave it where it is, as it is set up for the 95% of what you ride. it doesn't matter what/who's/how much money you have in your suspension, it will always bottom from time to time, as there will always be that one dip in the trail, or that new place you went, or you hit it way different than you did last time scenario.

all of which can be accounted for next time you ride, to keep it from happening again.

if you find it happening more often, then you need to adjust something. for instance. if your always ditch banging, and most of the time you are dropping in and bottoming out, then for your riding style/conditions, you would need something a little stiffer.

i will also say, don't set up your suspension for the 10% of the time of something you might do. the well, every now and then we go over here, and there is this one big jump that i hit every now and then. if you set up your suspension for those conditions, for the other 90% of the time you ride, it will be to stiff, and not as enjoyable as it could be.

i carry around a wrench, in my trunk, that allows me to adjust my spring tensioners out on the trail, for just this reason. it takes all of 2 mins, to hop off, get wrench, turn tensioners, put wrench away, and go hit jumps.

the trick is, making yourself want to do that. most people don't. the just run their stuff a little stiff. i prefer nice and cushy, proper suspension when i ride. i don't like a little stiff when it doesn't have to be.

the only time i personally run to stiff intentionally, is when I'm going on new trail, or places i haven't been yet, as i don't know what to expect. you would be suprised at how many G-out situations you can come across when your exploring.

also, that small write up, is made for general suspension setup. everyone will need to tweak it a little for themselves. say if you have real aggressive ski's, or a lot of studs. or depending on what your rider position is when you ride, are you more rider forward or backward. do you sit more, or stand. even things like do you carry alot of weight in your trunk. if you have a tunnel extension for a long track, do you put anything on that when you ride. all those things, and alot more, will change how your suspension acts when out riding.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You laid it out there exactly how I needed to "hear" it. Thanks for the great info.
While we are talking about suspension, I have another question. I see people in the forums talking about having their shocks rebuilt on a lot newer machines than what I have. How do I know when my shocks are worn out and need rebuilt? And can any shock be rebuilt?



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Old 01-02-2013, 02:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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When you start to get a lot of rebound rather than plushness in the ride.
Also if you see signs of fluid leaking around the shock rod seals.
If your sled bottoms out a lot and turning up the spring loading does not fix it.

The shock in the M10 should be a rebuildable gas shock.

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Old 01-02-2013, 04:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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generally 12-1500 miles is rebuild time on shocks, depending on how you ride it. if you jump alot and are real aggressive, you might need them rebuild sooner. if you ride mostly trails, and just "cruise with the family" kinda riding you can probably get alot more miles out of them.

before you say so, yes, there is still probably a lot of miles left on them before their shot.

notice i said start to get tired.

when you run a shock past the time it starts to get tired, it can potentially get more expensive than just a seal kit, and a nitrogen charge, the longer you run it. wear on components inside the shock itself starts to happen. if the nitrogen leaks out, as that is usually the first thing to go, then the oil getting out is also a possibility.

but its not really what can get out, that's the big deal. don't get me wrong, it is, but not as much as, if the oil can get out, water and condensate can get in.

and your shocks live in the snow, which is water. you cannot get away from it.

also, i'm with RJ, Hygear is among the top shock companies in the country. they know their stuff.

and where you send them, really depends on what you want done to them. if your just after a stock rebuild, take them to your local dealer, or a local guy. it doesn't take much brains to simply rebuild one. takes some special tools, but not much know how.

it's when you start getting into valving them for your weight and riding style that Hygear really shines. it makes a shock designed for your sled, and turns it into a shock designed for you.

if your going to keep the sled a while, i highly suggest having a valve job done, not just a rebuild.

i was quoted about $7-800 for 4 shocks rebuilt/revalved, 2 of those shortened 3/16", a pair of their triple rate front ski springs, a dual rate front skid spring, including return shipping. this including all seals and parts to do a normal rebuild. would not include things like if i have a dinged/rusted shaft or tube, things like that outside of a normal rebuild.

that also gets you free valve changes for the first few rides, if you need them tweaked. say you need them a tad stiffer or softer, or the first part of the stroke is nice and plush but you want the last part stiffer. you send them back, they will tweak them for free.

then, a year or two down the road, if you send them back to them to get rebuilt, it's free valving changes at that time as well. say you get 2 years older, and put on 30 pounds, you just got a free valve adjustment. their also a great company after the initial sale.

hope that helps.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:23 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Let me put it this way, when I first put the new skid under my Wildcat, it was a huge difference in ride and handling. Then I needed the rear shock done as it had pitting on the rod and was showing signs of leaking.
I took it to them [only 10 miles from me] and had it fixed.
Valved for my weight and riding style along with a new molychrome rod and it was still under $100.
I'm going to have the frond shock done at the end of this season and I expect it to come in under $50 as the rod is in good shape.
I's also considering adding the reservoirs to them to eliminate heat fading when I ride it hard.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:56 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Suspension Setup 101

I have a 1997 Polaris XLT (not SP) with Xtra-10 front and rear suspension. After trail/ditch riding for about 75 miles, the rear rides so low that the snowflap drags. This weekend I performed all the sag tests using my Polaris service manual, turned the rear spring tension to high, and gave the rear shock's adjustment screw 2 full turns to increase compression; none of these adjustments made a bit of difference.

Any advice on what to tweak next? I'm sure both rear shocks need rebuilding but would like to wait till summer or fall to do them. Would an increase in the front preload help?

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Old 02-03-2013, 10:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
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if you did 2 full turns, and didn't notice a difference, their shot. period.

tweaking anything to accommodate shot shocks, will throw the suspension that much farther off, when you do actually rebuild them.

much larger headache than needed.

if your just after a rebuild, schedule it with your dealer, and you can simply wait for them, or come back same day, allowing your internals aren't just trash.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:42 PM   #14 (permalink)
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though, i suppose i should ask if those are clickers your talking about, or preload.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:49 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I too have had problems with xtra 10 rear suspensions. They were too soft from factory for me. I had to get heavy duty springs for them to hold the machine up after oly 1500 miles. Mine had fox shocks that were nice. It's just light duty factory torsion springs. (I'm 200 with gear on)
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:41 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evansmatt View Post
You laid it out there exactly how I needed to "hear" it. Thanks for the great info.
While we are talking about suspension, I have another question. I see people in the forums talking about having their shocks rebuilt on a lot newer machines than what I have. How do I know when my shocks are worn out and need rebuilt? And can any shock be rebuilt?



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If you press hard on the rear, you should feel resistance - not springiness. Same as you lift the rear - it should go slowly, as if there's resistance keeping it from just dropping. Skis would be the same - the shock should resist movement in either direction (up/down). Think about it - there's oil squishing through tiny openings to give the damping effect. You should feel the damping. If not, the shock is N/G.
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