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Which Tires Should You Buy for Your Off-Road Vehicle

December 1, 2018 174 Views No comments

Tires are one of the most important aspects of the automotive combustion engine because all the power in the world won't make a block of metal move. With ATVs, UTVs and Bikes there are just so many tires out there to choose from. In this blog we'll look at the choices out there and help decipher what tire’s right for you.

When looking at tires you’ll see three different numbers which state, in this order: The height, width and the size of rims these tires can be mounted on. For example let’s breakdown “25-8-12,” the 25 would mean these tires are 25 inches tall, the 8 inches wide and can be placed on a 12 inch rim.

Vehicle manufacturers match their OEM tires with the specs of the new vehicle; the engine, gearing and handling. This is why most people recommend you stay at the same size they put on. But not everyone likes to do that, some people like to buck the trend and go the performance route, really do anything, especially go against those “manufacturer suggestions” to go a little bit faster.

If you're looking to go outside the OEM's tire size then it's important to know size impacts your vehicle’s abilities. Larger tires will increase your top speed and make for a softer ride; however there are some down sides. Larger tires will limit your ability to burst right off the starting line and if you go too big, the engine can be overloaded because it’s trying to produce the energy needed to push those mammoths, and ultimately the frame, the shocks and a number of other parts will wear out early because of the size.

Going smaller is basically just the opposite of going bigger, it'll pick up speed faster right off the starting line, but you won't be performing as well during the race and if you go too small you'll have less control and risk damaging your vehicle.

The Different Types of Tires

Other than size, there are a variety of different types of tires that are better suited for the different environments you may find yourself in, whether that’s on a trail, gliding through mud, skipping on sand or racing down a closed track.

Tail Tires (or All-Terrain)

These tires are the jack of all trades and master of none; they are decent for any terrain; however they don’t exactly excel on one particular terrain over another. These tires are used when you don’t want the maintenance of switching out your tires all the time, which makes up for them not being as good. If you’re looking to spend most of your time in one particular environment these are not the tires for you. We suggest looking at the more specialized tires we’ll be discussing below.

Mud

These tires are great for that wet and sloppy terrain whether that be mud or sticky snow. Mud tires are made to drive through the thick muck and typically have wide spaced, irregular and wide treads that disperse the mud and dirt instead of keeping it inside the tread giving you better traction in the mud. It’s possible to use these tires on other terrain, but it’s a rough ride and these tires will wear much quicker than in their intended environment

Sand

When riding on the sand it’s easy to find yourself in a situation where you’re driving up a sand dune, see the light of success, only to find your vehicle sliding on back down. Lack of traction is a crappy feeling and one that will likely replay itself over and over again until you pony up for some specialized tires. Sand tires are also referred to as paddle tires because of the paddle looking ridges on the back tires. These paddles make for a more stable ride taking away that feeling of having no control.

Racing

If you’re looking to scratch that competitive itch then you should take a look at racing tires. Racing tires come in many different shapes made specifically for the medium to hard packed terrain found on most tracks. Each track is made a little different and veteran racers will know what kind of racing tire they’ll need, for beginners it will take some time and some effort to figure out which tire works best for you on whatever track you’re racing on. Once you get to that point you'll really appreciate the different kinds of racing tires.

Tires are not cheap and you’ll want to keep them maintained, keep them full of air, and check them for tread or other damage. Damaged tires will fail and that could leave you stranded with no way to back. Also, remember that how you ride definitely affects the life expectancy of your tires, going fast and hammering the breaks will wear them out much faster than a slow gradual stop.

There’s a lot of thought that goes into picking a set of tires and we hope this blog gives you a bit of clarity when making your decision. We may not sell tires at partdiscounter.com, but tires will have a massive effect on the parts we do sell. Their life and their performance are greatly influenced by the tires you put on your vehicle.

Have any questions about tires or want a place to inspire others to make a monster machine then leave a comment below.

Sources:

  1. The ATV and UTV Tire Buyers Guide: http://www.bikebandit.com/blog/post/the-atv-and-ut...
  2. The 5 Tire Types that Help You Get a Grip in different Terrains: https://www.rockymountainatvmc.com/rm-rider-exchan...
  3. How to Choose New ATV Tires: http://www.atv.com/features/how-to-choose-new-atv-...

Don’t Let Your Vehicle Hibernate This Winter, Add Tracks and Defy the Season

November 1, 2018 347 Views No comments

Most riders know before winter comes that they have to begin the process of storing their vehicles for the long cold interlude between riding seasons. This involves emptying their fuel, doing one last clean and maybe a little maintenance before its stored away; however, there are some people who still brave the winter on an ATV/UTV. In this blog we’ll talk about the benefits and drawbacks of using to tracks to make your vehicle an all season machine.

The winter, especially up here in Canada can be a cold and cruel that you don’t want to be trapped in. There are less people driving around outside and a lot of places are much harder to get to if something does happen. Now you’re probably thinking “okay, I don’t want to be stuck, so what can I do?” Well one thing you can do is buy tracks.

Tires and tracks are made differently and are meant for different utilities. Wheels absorb the hits they’re given because of the air inside; however tracks don’t have that same luxury. They’re made of a bunch of links that don’t have the cushion like tires do, which means they won’t take as much and are easier to break depending on how and where you ride. The reason we switch to tracks in the winter is for gaining surface area, so we can grip the snow and plow on forward where tires would otherwise be left in a rut. Tracks can also work well in the sand and mud for this same reason as well. Now, if you’re goal is a winter powerhouse, tracks are not for you because they take away a lot of your middle and high-end torque, but gives you in return lots of low-end power, perfect for a winter workhorse.

There is another significant negative to tracks and that’s their cost. Tracks cost so much money; some are in the high $3000s while others climb into the higher $5000s with some even higher than that. At such a price you’re basically paying for another ATV or more likely if winter riding is important to you, a snowmobile. For speed there’s no better alternative than a snowmobile in the winter, they basically own the season. If you’re looking to keep moving loads back and forth or have an unbridled love for your ATV, then tracks might be right for you. These are really for the explorer at heart, the kind of person who wants to go where others have gone before, but get there in a more stylish manner in a season best tackled by a warm cup of coco.

The title for this blog is “Don’t Let Your Vehicle Hibernate This Winter, Add Tracks and Defy the Season,” but you don’t necessarily need to take off the tracks depending on the brand you have and how they were designed. Tracks are great in mud like stated before and can move unstable loads because of their inherent low centre of gravity. You’ll still lose a ton of top speed no matter the season, but if you want to forgo tires and just use tracks you can.

Tracks are one solution to the winter problem, another being a good winch to pull your vehicle out of the deceivingly deep snow. There are other solutions out there, tracks though are quite distinctive and merge tank with recreational machine. If tracks are good for the army when they go into foreign lands with varying environments, then they can be good for you too.

Sources:

  1. 5 Awesome UTVs that Traded Tires for Tracks: http://www.atv.com/5-awesome-utvs-that-traded-tire...
  2. Buyer’s Guide ATV Tracks for the Snow: http://dirtwheelsmag.com/home-page/home-features/b...

The Rise and Fall of the Three wheel ATV

October 1, 2018 562 Views No comments

Three wheel ATVs were in their heyday back in the 70s and 80s with around 80% of all ATVs in use being three wheeled. With 20 years under their belt you would think they would keep making them well into the future but that ended up not being the case. In this blog we’ll discuss the most popular three wheel ATV and why they fell from grace.

The most well-known model of three wheelers was Honda’s ATC, which stood for All-Terrain Cycle. A term first patented in the 1970s by Honda. One of the most popular three wheelers was Honda’s ATC90. Now this baby was quite the powerhouse. The ATC90 was powered by an 89cc four-stroke single-cylinder engine that pushed out a staggering 7 horsepower and was sold for $595 or around $3651.77 today. That’s inflation for you.

So why did Honda or any other manufacturers decide to make these three-wheel vehicles? Basically, Honda tasked one of their engineers, Osamu Takeuchi to create a new product dealers could sell when motorcycle sales fell off during the winter.Looking at this from a purely economic point-of-view it’s an obvious move any company would want to make, a move other manufacturers quickly followed. Unfortunately, their motives would soon come to be questioned.

Three wheeled Death Machines

By the time the 1980s were in full swing, three and four wheel ATVs were being largely produced by Japanese companies and marketed in the US. Sometimes that marketing took the form of less scrupulous dealers targeting children. This, as it probably should have, caused a public outcry about and against these vehicles. People.com said from an article dated in 1987,

“In the past five years ATVs have claimed the lives of 644 Americans and injured 230,000 more, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The fact that nearly 50 percent of them have been kids 16 years old and younger has prompted the American Academy of Pediatricians to call for a moratorium on ATV sales in this country, which reached 500,000 last year.”

Since the most popular ATVs at the time had three wheels, they took the brunt of the criticism. The critics, when talking about three wheel ATVs, point out that they lack the mechanical shock absorbers and rely on their oversized tires to handle bumpy terrain. They also say that three wheeler’s have a solid rear axle making it tricky to handle, especially when turning, when you need that control most of all. These vehicles also lack a differential between the two rear wheels, making the wheels turn in unison rather then moving at slightly different speeds giving the driver greater control.

These problems led to the bike’s centre of gravity moving to the inside forcing the rider to shift his weight into each turn to avoid tipping the bike over. This means these vehicles required a certain level of skill to use and even then they were seen as pretty dangerous by researchers. The average person though walking around the show floor thought these vehicles looked perfectly harmless.

Men would look at these three wheelers thinking they were weak compared to what they were purchasing and perfect for their spouse or child. When you look at them it’s easy to understand that thought process, they look like tricycles, the kind made to protect children from falling off their bicycles, except they are just as dangerous as their more powerful, four-wheel cousins.

After all this bad press the government made their move and sued the manufacturers of these vehicles leading them to be banned in 1988 in order to reduce injury and death. Now people could still buy and sell used three wheel ATVs, it wasn’t illegal to own them because they weren’t recalled, but manufacturers could not continue to sell them. The manufacturers blamed user error, saying that people were acting unsafe especially on three wheel ATVs though relented to the pressure and agreed to stop selling them. This all culminated in the Consent Decree that was effective for 10 years and required manufacturers to:

  1. Stop selling new three wheel ATVs and repurchase unsold stock from dealer inventory.
  2. Promote and sell four wheeled adult-sized ATVs (i.e. those with engines of more than 90 cc or cubic centimetres)
  3. Promote and sell youth-sized ATVs (i.e. for-wheeled machines with engines between 70 and 90cc) only for the use of riders 12 and older.
  4. Provide free training to all ATV purchasers and their immediate families.
  5. Conduct a nationwide safety public awareness media campaign
  6. Adhere to guidelines for advertising and promotional materials.
  7. Include specified warning on labels and in the owner’s manuals
  8. Develop a voluntary ATV industry standard.

Initially injury and deaths went down because of the disappearance of three wheelers; however, that was short lived. Four wheel ATVs grew in popularity filling in the gap left by their three wheeled cousins and so did ATV related injuries. The government doesn’t seem poised to step in again despite numbers being as bad as they were before the Consent Decree, but there are great classes out there that teach ATV safety and they’re one of the most important tools to have when driving ATVs.

Interestingly, three wheelers haven’t totally gone away. ATV manufacturers like Can-am have developed the Spyder, a kind of motorcycle instead of an ATV which they say “has unmatched comfort for two riders and luxurious styling.There are also a number of three-wheel street legal cars, like the Campagna T-Rex.

We hope this goes to show that ATVs, no matter how many wheels they have, might not seem overly dangerous just by looking at them, but can be in the wrong and untrained hands. It’s important to make sure you’re operating them safely and not underestimating what they can do.

Have any questions about three wheel ATVs or still holding on to one and want to share your experiences, let us know in the comments. If this blog inspired you to act a little on the safer side why not look at some of our aftermarket parts made and tested to last longer than any OEM part at partdiscounter.com.

Sources:

  1. Trouble on Three Wheels: http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20...
  2. Deceptively Dangerous: Why ATVs Keep Killing: http://blog.oregonlive.com/oregonianatv/2007/05/de...
  3. Handbook of the Economics of Risk and Uncertainty, pg 586-587
  4. The ATV Under Fire Critics Manage to Get the Three-wheel Off-road Vehicle Off the Market: http://articles.philly.com/1988-02-14/news/2624101...
  5. All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Crisis: America’s Children at Risk: http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/Final_ATVReportLin...
  6. Honda ATC90 Picture: http://atc90.tripod.com/hondaatc90/id5.html

Hail to the Two-Stroke King, Yamaha Banshee 350

September 1, 2018 591 Views No comments

The Banshee YFZ 350 or just Banshee 350 is a very well-known vehicle in the ATV community because of its incredible powerband that can make the rider fly right off the seat while holding on to the handlebars. The Banshee was first introduced to the US market in 1987 and sadly, for those living in the United States, regulations killed the Banshee in 2006 while it was still being built in Canada until 2008 and Australia until 2012.

At the 350’s core resides a two-stroke engine, a kind of engine mostly extinct these days. They’ve almost been entirely replaced by more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly four strokes, but for those looking to know more about two-strokes, we wrote a blog post about them a little while ago.

Essentially, two stroke engines have two strokes, the compression stroke and the combustion stroke or power stroke, and because it only has two strokes it has a great power-to-weight ratio. This allows the rider to find the wider powerband on this vehicle very quickly.

Is This Vehicle for Experts Only?

Generally, the Banshee 350’s power is why most people in forums suggest beginners avoid the Banshee and go for something like the TRX 400EX. The incredible power of the Banshee comes from something called a powerband. This means finding the sweet spot where the engine is working at its best. Four-stroke engines have a powerband as well, but they’re not as distinct as a two-stroke’s let alone the Banshee’s. This power then makes it very easy to get hurt. This is an ATV that could pop-a-wheelie with very little trouble. Since this power is a little bit unpredictable to those who are used to riding four stroke engines it can be a dangerous jumping on one of these expecting to go out and blast through everything in your path.

It’s too bad that Banshee’s are no longer manufactured though it’s not like a new release every year stops anybody from taking their Banshee apart and remaking it anew. Countless Banshees have been reworked into various different shapes and sizes. Some people have made their Banshee more of a drag racer which means elongating the vehicle with the wheels far out in front. Others make theirs even more powerful then it started off as with a big bore cylinder.

Why Some People Hate the Banshee

There are people out there who are not as interested in pure power as Banshee lovers are and they tend to look for a more overall experience than just the power the Banshee 350 can offer. Some of the problems people dislike about the Banshee are:

  • In life people always say don’t judge a book by its cover, well the Banshee 350 looks all around primitive though that doesn’t mean the engine inside is old and tired. There’s hardly anything attractive to see on this beast with its relatively flat surfaces. Makes sense since they’re based off a design created in the 80s, even the newer ones, the 2000s keep that ugly look.
  • The Banshee has no oil injectors, meaning you’ll have to premix your gas. This can really turn people off because it requires another step to getting your ATV out and riding. Also by premixing your own oil you can potentially put in a mixture that will damage the engine. It’s not hard to premix gas there’s a learning curve sure but you can also look at is as part of the experience. You can tweak the mixture until it runs exactly the way you want it to.
  • The Banshee’s stock air filter tends to gobble the dirt and let it into the carburetor. This can be problematic because dirt leads to internal wear, which is why many people opt for aftermarket filters and some go so far as to put pre-filters on their vehicles. This way they have as much protection from dirt and grime as they possibly can rather than throwing gunk into your carb, then your engine.
  • Suspension is lacking. Suspension is important in any environment ATVs roam, but for trails; hitting the rocks and bumps require good suspension to protect not only the driver but the vehicle too.
  • Not as fuel efficient as its four-stroke cousins. More power, more fuel. It’s definitely a trade-off that buying and mixing fuel will become a kind of well-oiled habit. Depending on how long or hard you ride you’ll likely need fuel after every ride.
  • Finally, the Banshee has no reverse. Of course this more of annoyance than anything else. Don’t let this stop you if you think you can handle this beast.

Who Typically Uses Them These Days

There are a lot of people out there still building and rebuilding these machines for a few reasons: It’s a quirky bike which people love to adjust and modify for how they ride, the fun of the powerband and many still use these on dunes. ATVRider.com says “sand kills horsepower. And this machine has corralled horses in spades.” This is probably the best line describing why Banshees have found a new life in the dunes.

Have any questions about the Banshee 350 or have one with some crazy mods you’d like to share, let us know in the comments.

Sources:

  1. 2003 Yamaha Banshee: http://www.atvrider.com/2003-yamaha-banshe

Here's Why the Honda TRX 400EX is Still Popular

August 1, 2018 1121 Views No comments

The Honda TRX 400EX is a well-known entry level ATV. The kind that leads to the harder, scarier ATVs able to make tears run down your cheeks in the first second, and dry them all up in the second. You won’t find that kind of power on a base model TRX400EX, but it’s perfect for a beginner or someone graduating from a lower class of bike with less cc’s. Now, just because some see it as an entry level ATV it doesn’t mean the 400EX doesn’t have lots of low end power to whip anyone around the trails and have tons of fun. In many ways though, it’s a jack of all trades but master of none. People might then ask, if it’s not powerful or one heck of a performer then why is it still so widely remembered in the ATV community? In this blog we’ll explore that status and the 400EX’s history ending with it taking a permanent place in the hearts and minds of ATV riders everywhere.

Why the Almost Mythical Status?

Word of mouth is what gives something mythical status, a status that is either good or bad; no one cares or remembers about the all-around average. Generally, we remember the bad easier than the good, which means the good we do remember has to be pretty darn great.

The 400EX is one of the greats, up there with the Yamaha Banshee 350. Where the Banshee has an extraordinary powerband that can almost suck the vehicle right from under your hands, the 400EX has reliability and ease of use. There is no ATV forum online that doesn’t have countless topics about the 400EX and this just goes to show how popular the machine still truly is. It is without a doubt one, if not the best vehicle for longevity and user-friendliness.

History

When the 400EX first came out it was considered a really good vehicle; however, the powerful two-strokes usually kept them out of major races. And yet, whenever someone goes on a forum and asks “what vehicle should I get if I’m a beginner.” The forum is always full of 400EX responses because it was made tough and durable so new riders didn't have to worry as often about costly maintenance beyond the basic oil and filter changes.

The Honda TRX 400EX is also well-known because of when it launched. It was the light at the end of a long and dark tunnel that stretched for 10 years until a new sport ATV came out. Sure the Banshee and Blaster were still being made, but there was no other competition, at least not until the 400EX came out. In many ways sports ATVs were smeared as dangerous toys, manufactured by companies that cared little for human life and less still for children. The biggest factor in this dark period was the Consent Decree of 1988 which held numerous requirements that immensely affected those “evil” manufacturers. Three wheel ATVs were completely banned from being manufactured and although nothing explicitly banned sport ATVs in the decree, no one really had the needed willpower to fight for their place in the industry.

Then we jump 10 years to 1998, It was a good year for the sport ATV enthusiast because the Consent Decree finally came to an end and sport ATVs had their sudden resurgence with the launch of the TRX 400EX.

In the car world, Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas are seen as invincible lackluster cars that will get you through the years from A to B without many stops at the shop and in the ATV world, the Honda TRX400EX is exactly that. They’re not often raced these days because there are many more powerful vehicles out there, but that also means many of those being sold today are OEM or close to it. The 400EX also has no shortage of aftermarket parts either and aftermarket manufacturers have made it so that if you want to change something on your vehicle, you can, from big bores to suspension and axles to coolers. Nothing needs to be original if you so choose.

It does have a couple weaknesses, putting in mods that generate additional power means putting increased stress on the gearbox and the clutch, which have been noticeable weak points with the machine. But no machine is perfect and the benefits of owning this one outweigh the negatives.

With the 400EX you can truly customize it to your likes and needs. If you’re looking to add some aftermarket parts to your 400EX and keep it just as reliable as before, take a tour of our 400EX section on partdiscounter.com where we have numerous OEM replacement and high performance parts waiting to make it purr or howl, depending on what you’re looking for.


Sources:

2008 Honda TRX400EX: http://www.atvrider.com/2008-honda-trx400ex-change...

Picture: http://dirtwheelsmag.com/home-page/the-life-and-ti...

What the Heck is a Servo Motor and Why is it Important?

August 1, 2018 444 Views No comments

Servo motors can be found in a variety of different devices. Toys have them inside, so do DVD players, even the robotic arms used in assembly lines have them. Some servo motors are less complex than others though in the end they’re all essentially the same thing; a self-contained electronic device that rotates or pushes parts of a device with precision.

In ATVs, servo motors take on the role of enabling a driver to turn their 4x4 on and off. The servo motor engages and disengages based on the position the 4x4 switch mounted on your handle bars is in.

Unfortunately, when a servo motor breaks the driver can run into some big problems like getting stuck in whatever mode the rider left it in before it broke. The broken motor makes it impossible to switch without some sort of repair. Likely, this repair would be replacing the entire servo motor however, there’s a small motor inside an assembled servo motor that can also be replaced. This can give you back your control, but if it doesn’t then you’ll have to replace the entire motor.

Is Your Servo Motor the Problem?

It’s very easy to automatically blame the servo motor when you’re stuck in either 2x4 or 4x4 mode except, the servo motor might be perfectly fine and left as a scapegoat for another part. Electrical connectors, connecting to the servo motor and elsewhere can get dirty, which can cause it to malfunction, break down and ultimately break. If you’re still suffering the former, a simple cleaning with some electrical contact cleaner can do wonders. Then you can add some dielectric grease to keep this problem from happening again anytime soon.

Another problem that can affect the servo motor’s performance is having fuses blow in the fuse box. If this happens enough then you can be sure the servo motor will burn out too. In this case there’s likely some underlying issue with the electronics that are keeping them from working as intended like frayed wires, broken connectors or other problems that would require more advanced diagnostics to find and fix.

Now, servo motors have a wide range of different prices, assembled, apart or relying on the failure’s old bolts to still be in good condition. For example, an OEM Yamaha servo motor can cost as much as $500 and if you add labor into that it goes up even more. At partdiscounter.com we sell identical servo motors to what Yamaha sells for the Grizzly 600 and 660, but for less than half that price. We also know what our customers and those who will join us in the future are likely thinking; that OEM parts are always better because you know right away they’ll fit, but we sell direct replacement servo motors. This means they follow exactly the same specifications and you won’t be able to tell the difference. Our servo motors are also made to fit your factory differential and wiring harness so that you don’t have to take apart too many things to get back out there.

Servo motors are not as interesting to deal with as performance parts that can change the entire character of your bike when installed. They are still pretty important, especially if you enjoy 4x4 driving. Getting into a tricky situation like being stuck in a rut or slippery ditch can take out any 2x4 but with a working servo motor you can just flick the switch and cruise on out of there, leaving the less fortunate in your dust. This isn’t the part you want to forget about or ignore if it breaks, make sure to fix it or replace it; otherwise you won’t have access to all the features that made your vehicle so enticing when you bought it in the first place.

If you have questions about servo motors please let us know in comments.

Sources:

  1. Introduction to Servo Motors: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-project...
  2. Servo Motors: http://www.engineering.com/ProductShowcase/ServoMo...

The Shafts That Keep a Vehicle Running

July 1, 2018 733 Views No comments

There are three very important shafts that make a vehicle work; Camshafts, Crankshafts and Driveshafts. They’re not equally important but with or without them working properly, vehicle failure is a forgone conclusion.

Crankshaft

The Crankshaft, also known as a crank works just the way it sounds by cranking. This cranking converts the reciprocating (back and forth) motion of the piston into rotational (round and round) motion which then empowers the vehicle to move forward.

A Crankshaft is not the strongest part in a vehicle and can break because there’s not enough lubrication, leaving it weak for debris or heat to destroy it. Crankshafts can be fixed depending on the damage, but it’s pretty difficult and shouldn’t be attempted by a novice mechanic. Unfortunately, Crankshafts can be really expensive, add labour into the equation and it’ll make you pause to consider all of your options going forward.


Camshaft

A Camshaft, like a Crankshaft is part of the internal combustion engine and works to open and close the valves found inside. The Camshaft uses lobes or cams to push the engine valves open and the Crankshaft returns them to a closed position. The two shafts are directly coupled so the opening and closing of the valves can be timed accordingly. The Camshaft is a rotating cylindrical shaft used to regulate the injection of vaporized fuel in the engine. When a Camshaft wears out it can cause problems with idling, low compression and make your vehicle bog down (making it slower than it normally would be).


Driveshaft

The Driveshaft is the main shaft connected to the transmission on the bottom of a vehicle. The Driveshaft, sometimes also known as a propeller shaft was made to replace a chain that performed a similar function. They replaced this chain because Driveshafts are more reliable and don’t require tightening to keep working their best.

The Driveshaft takes the torque produced by the engine into a usable moving force to propel the vehicle. Driveshafts don’t commonly fail, but when they do you’ll be left stranded unless your vehicle has 4x4, then you can still limp your way home. Not ideal, though it’s better than being alone deep in the woods. A Driveshaft breaking can also cause other parts to break and sometimes cause important things like brake lines to be ripped or shredded depending on the make of vehicle.

Adding on huge tires can put massive strain on many different parts of your vehicle and the Driveshaft happens to be one of those parts. Without upgrades, the new tires will wear the Driveshaft down in very little time. The splines in the Driveshaft can be worn down and if they’re worn too much they’ll make it so the Driveshaft stops spinning. This can be very dangerous so make sure to check for wear and listen for noises because it could be your Driveshaft failing.

Who would’ve guessed three shafts were so important to the inner workings of a vehicle, but without them the vehicle would be a massive rock, only able to be moved by winch and another vehicle with those three shafts working together. Either way, the three shafts are essential to producing and utilizing the power generated by the engine. These three shafts are the frame of which your adventure is built on.

Have any questions about these three shafts please let us know in the comments. For those of you looking for one of these shafts, why not stay a while and take a look on Partdiscounter.com

Sources:

  1. How a Crankshaft Works: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-a-crankshaft-...
  2. What is a Camshaft:http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-camshaft.htm
  3. What is a Driveshaft : http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-drive-shaft.htm

Why Aftermarket Parts Exist?

June 1, 2018 646 Views No comments

When we buy our vehicles new they come with original parts, made specifically for that machine and when they break, we generally want to replace these parts through an authorized dealership with authorized parts; however there is another option, one that if you’re reading this has already crossed your mind. Aftermarket parts are built to the specifications of the original part or built to exceed those original specs. Depending on what you need or are looking for they can also be made of a variety of different metals and compounds for added strength and performance.

Unlike a dealer who sells you an entire vehicle which works because of a collection of parts, Aftermarket dealers find success from the parts you buy. Repeat business and word of mouth matter to the big guys too (your Yamahas, Hondas and Polaris’ to just name a few), but the vast majority of them have diversified portfolios (ATVs, UTVs, Motorcycles, Snowmobiles and sometimes Cars), while Aftermarket dealers specialize in certain vehicle types.

Generally, aftermarket parts exist as an alternative to dealership parts for 4 reasons: Cost, quality, convenience and performance. Without these 4 reasons dealerships would have a total monopoly on these new parts.

1. Cost

Those original parts you’re looking for, they are usually grossly overpriced. Manufacturers make scads of money off parts at your expense, but they’re coming from a brand name. The brand name gives you the peace of mind and feeling that this part will definitely fit in your vehicle. Basically, it’s no different from buying jeans, you can spend $20 or $100 and the $100 ones should last for as long as 5 pairs of the $20 ones should, usually that’s never the case. The name, like with any product, is usually what ends up being the most expensive component when buying parts.

The added value gained by buying aftermarket parts can also make it cheaper to diagnose problems. Parts often wear down prematurely because there’s something else out of whack in the vehicle and with these cost effective parts it can be economical to buy two, sometimes three of them before they cost the same as a dealer’s part.

2. Quality

Parts can break quick or slow depending on the environment they’re in, the way they’re maintained and finally how they’re used or abused. If you’re parts keep wearing out because of how you’re driving then it may be time to look at something built a little bit more solidly. We talk about the various aftermarket metals and their benefits in this post. (link) Basically, these metals move against the old adage that aftermarket parts are cheap, poorly produced and likely to fail more quickly than the manufacturers’. Just because something is less money doesn’t necessarily make it cheap.

3. Convenience

We can only speak for Partdiscounter.com on this, but when we say we have the part, we do. Dealerships are not as predictable and don’t always have every part you need in stock and ready to go, which can lead to ridiculously long wait times leaving you angry and jealous of all your friends who are able to ride. We make parts, that’s what we do, and they’re in stock-ready to ship.

4. Performance

Dealers sometimes offer big bores and some other performance parts, but there’s no comparison between the variety aftermarket part sellers offer and a dealer. Aftermarket parts truly make any vehicle customizable from look and power to utility and stability, tailoring your vehicle to your needs. Farmers will likely need more power in the bottom end to tow and drag around cargo, where as a racer will likely need more medium and top end power depending on the kind of race. Based on which modifications you want, this can drastically change the performance of your machine which is sometimes vastly different from what the manufacturers had in mind.

In the end the choice is yours. Don’t fall prey to the idea that if parts are more expensive it will save you headaches down the road. Have any favourite aftermarket modifications you’ve purchased or any questions about aftermarket parts? Please let us know the comments.

Tools Every DIYer Should Own

May 1, 2018 703 Views No comments

Mechanics are very expensive, the parts they use to repair the vehicle are too, but almost nothing is more expensive in repairing a vehicle than the man or women fixing it. It’s for this reason so many of us like to tinker around and try to fix the problem first, and when we go to tinker we need a variety of different tools.

Opinions on which tools every off-roader should own to service their vehicle are like snowflakes, there are millions and all of them different. In this blog we’ll be discussing our opinion on the tools you need to keep your vehicle going for the long haul.

Torque Wrench

Most bolts you’ll find have specific torque settings to make sure they’re tightened down fully and properly. Engine bolts, especially need very particular torqueing or these bolts will begin to warp the part.

There are three styles of torque wrenches, click break and slip. The click ones are the most popular of the three and basically each describes the method in which they tell you you’ve achieved the pre-set torque you dialed in.

Drive socket set

6 point sockets are good because they grip a little more closely and will make stripped heads less likely. A socket’s “drive” refers to the square that it uses to drive the socket. A 3/8” drive socket is the most common, but a ¼” will get you into those tight and hard to reach spaces.

Get a metric drive socket set and go a little on the small side. They’re fantastic and easy to use with one hand. Of course it’s more for small jobs, but general maintenance is just a list of small jobs. With these sockets you can exchange body plastics, adjust handlebar controls and remove jets from the carburetor. Plus, because it’s smaller you’ll be less likely to over tighten and destroy threads.

Screw Extractor

We’ve all been there, tightening or unscrewing something only to have the head snap off. It’s so infuriating to have it happen, but with a screw extractor, figuring out a different way to get the bolt out or scrapping the part entirely are thoughts best left to the past. These threaded drill bits cut into the broken bolt and drills a small hole. After drilling in you need only pull the bolt out. This is so much better than destroying everything else around it.

Tire Gauge

Tire gauges for ATVs don’t work any different than for cars, but they’re just as important. Tires take the energy from the engine to propel the vehicle forward and without the proper amount of air in those tires your vehicle will run sluggish. With under inflated or over inflated tires you’re rapidly increasing their wear bringing them closer to failure. Manufacturers will usually give you one with their supplied toolkits, but there are other, more expensive kinds that just feel better. And on the off chance you don’t have a tire gauge at all, wellwhat are you waiting for?

Blow Gun

When you’re bouncing your vehicle around in the mud, collecting all that dirt and grim it’s something you’ll want to invest in. Dirt, grime and salt are the precursors to failure, because they slowly wear down and eat away at parts.

Flashlight

This one’s a little on the obvious side. Whether you’re just quickly looking at your vehicle at night or closely analyzing it for wear or damage, a flashlight is going to help. Don’t be one of those people that say “if I can’t see it, it’s not there.” Problems don’t just go away when you ignore them, sadly. So take our word for it, there’s no better diagnostic tool than a flashlight for working on an off-road vehicle or in life.

Gloves and Rags

Like the flashlight, gloves and rags are essential for any repair or maintenance. Gloves can help with a number of things. They can take the heat your skin can't, be a barrier to sharp objects, give you better grip for pulling and twisting wrenches or parts and finally keep your hands clean. Rags on the other hand are used to wipe down everything. There are so many different liquids, fluids and greases that go into a vehicle, and they all have a place they need to be; however they tend to splash around and get into or on other parts they shouldn’t. You can’t leave it like that, so keep some rags around and wipe off the excess.

Screwdrivers

Chances are you have a screwdriver or two kicking around somewhere; they have so many uses around the house, the same can be said for a vehicle. You’ll be using screwdrivers a ton over the years so it’s worthwhile to spend a decent amount of money on one. Also, if you can find a screwdriver with a hex bolster, then all the better. With this you can use a crescent wrench to get any super stuck screw out.

Those are some of the tools we find most important, what about you, what tool sits on top of your toolbox ready to go? Tell us in the comments below.

Sources

Top 10 Tools for Wrenching Your ATV or UTV: http://www.off-road.com/atv/tech/top-10-tools-for-...

Tool Time-The Dirty Dozen: http://atvillustrated.com/content/tool-time-dirty-...

EBS Vs. Non-EBS Clutches

April 1, 2018 3470 Views 1 comment

Not long ago we had a question from a customer asking us what exactly the difference is between EBS and Non- EBS clutches. In this blog we’ll answer their question and explore in more depth the benefits and weaknesses of both.

EBS stands for engine breaking system and Polaris is the exclusive user of EBS’ for better or for worse. That’s not to say they’re the only ones with vehicles that have engine braking, lots of other vehicles have systems that use and take advantage of it. Engine braking is great for vehicle longevity because it saves the regular braking system for those times when you really need to use them, and saves the tires from the wear that comes from traditional braking.

The EBS is a special type of clutch made to slow down your machine when you release the throttle. Non-EBS’ are the exact opposite. As soon as you release the throttle your machine coasts freely, otherwise known as “freewheeling” and relies solely on your brakes to slow down the vehicle. The EBS is especially impressive when you’re using an ATV to pull heavy loads, push snow or place the ATV under other heavy work because it makes the vehicle more stable under all that added weight.

Some people have problems with Polaris’ EBS because of how it slows down their vehicle when they let off the gas and in some cases the rear tires can seemingly lock up when going down steep hills making it feel like they’re out of control. There’s a lovely quote from a member of polarisriders.com that sums up this reality, “The first couple of times, you feel like you’re going to die. Then you get used to it and learn to control it.” Some people love this stopping power, because it takes away that annoying process of rotating through braking and adding power to get down the hill, others not so much.

A fairly loud noise also accompanies the EBS when it engages which can sound like something’s broken. It’s a weird quirk, but you will definitely get used to it. Those are a couple of negatives compared to a bunch of positives over the Non-EBS clutches, but as always you should try and get your hands on a model with EBS to see if it’s something you’re going to be okay with.

If you don’t like the way the Engine Breaking System works there are alternatives to it and ways to switch out the system, but it will cost you a good chunk of change. Just one word of advice if you’re looking to go down this route, replacing the EBS isn’t as simple as it might at first seem. Forums have numerous different ideas, different changes you can make to lessen the engine braking as well as some ideas for getting rid of the EBS, but the easiest route by far is buying a vehicle without it.

We hope this answers most of your questions about the differences between EBS and Non-EBS clutches, and as always if you any questions, let us know in the comments.

Sources:

  1. Polaris Drive Clutch: http://partdiscounter.com/polaris-drive-clutch.htm...
  2. Polaris Sportsman 400 Manual:http://www.manualslib.com/manual/817908/Polaris-Sp...