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

August 1, 2018 1778 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 1435 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 1310 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.

The Materials Used in Aftermarket Parts, Part 2

December 1, 2017 2407 Views No comments

Cast Iron

Iron is a wildly popular and prolific metal used in many different industries and while it’s not quite as popular in the aftermarket parts market, we still use it a lot. Cast iron is not pure iron, pure iron will readily combine with the air which then causes the metal to corrode and rust very quickly. This is why almost nothing is made of pure iron.

Cast iron is iron combined with carbon, usually around 3-4 percent and poured into a mold. After that it’s allowed to cool and harden into shape.

Cast iron is easily poured into molds and it doesn’t shrink as much as steel, meaning it takes less material to fill the mold. This kind of iron is also relatively cheap compared to other metals and is fairly wear and corrosion resistant. But most importantly, cast iron absorbs vibrations, making the parts forged from it and the parts that work with parts made of it sturdier and more reliable. Without vibration damping, especially in places like an engine, vibrations can lead to squealing and broken parts. Most of the famous buildings and structures made of cast iron are from centuries past, back when steel wasn’t invented, but the benefits their makers looked for in a metal still remain today and is why we still use cast iron in some of our parts.

2618 High Tensile Forged Aluminum

2618 High Tensile Forged Aluminum is a fairly popular aluminum that contains both copper and magnesium. Copper has good strength, formability and corrosion resistance and magnesium has some of those same benefits and more as we discussed in more depth in Part 1.

This type of forged aluminum is commonly used for making pistons and rotating aircraft parts because it can take the punishment found in high temperature situations. Aftermarket parts, specifically pistons use this metal because of its ability to handle the heat coming from the higher horsepower generated from various performance parts.

If for some reason this metal is put in an extremely hot situation and this is a big IF, then it will melt rather than explode. Melting can damage some of the surrounding parts, but exploding will send shrapnel flying all over the place.

Nikasil

Nikasil is short for a Nickel and Silicon Carbide composite that was developed and trademarked by MAHLE (a company that offers innovative mobility solutions) in 1967. This composite binds together very tightly and provides a strong surface that can withstand the force coming from a piston. This material is extremely hard and is used to line engine components.

Nikasil is lighter, thinner and harder than iron and is often used in aluminum cylinder bores. Iron may be the cheaper option, but you’ll need to replace it more often compared to Nikasil because it’s easily chipped. Nikasil takes some finesse however, because it has to be applied very thin in cylinders. As Nikasil gets thicker, it loses its elasticity and strength, which are some of its best benefits.

As time goes on, new and innovative materials will be invented. The landscape is ever changing and aftermarket part suppliers will continue to provide amazing parts made of the most complicated sounding materials well into the future. That continued march forward will keep going until we find something that just doesn’t break.

Do you have any questions about all these different metals or some insight you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.

Sources

  1. Cast Iron Vs. Cast Steel: http://www.reliance-foundry.com/blog/cast-iron-vs-...
  2. Aluminum 2618: http://www.aircraftmaterials.com/data/aluminium/26...
  3. Rotating Assembly 101, 4032 vs. 2618 Aluminum Alloy: http://dsportmag.com/the-tech/rotating-assembly-10...
  4. Cylinder Electroplating: http://www.electrosil.com.au/news3.htm
  5. The Flexhone for Nikasil Engine Cylinders: http://www.flexhoneblog.com/2012/11/the-flex-hone-...

The Materials Used in Aftermarket Parts, Part 1

November 1, 2017 2593 Views No comments

Aftermarket performance parts are made from a wide variety of different metals compared to stock parts because they’re designed to stay in the vehicle longer, withstand the different pressures of other new aftermarket parts and usually to improve performance. Part websites always sell parts by naming the metal they’re made of, but don’t define what it is or why it’s important. In this blog post we’ll explore a of couple different metals such as, Chrome-Moly, Billet Aluminum, Magnesium Aluminum and Forged Steel seen on Partdiscounter.com and other aftermarket websites.

Chrome-Moly

Chromium-Molybdenum , otherwise known as Chrome-Moly is an alloy steel made for high temperature and high pressure services. It’s used because of its overall strength combined with corrosion resistance and its ability to retain strength in high temperatures. Chrome-Moly isn’t as light weight as aluminum alloys, but the corrosion resistance and strength make it well worth the added weight.

Chrome-Moly is called many different things in different markets, which can make it hard to figure out what people are talking about. Some call it Cro Mo, others call it Chromoly, but no matter what they call it, everyone is talking about a strong, corrosion resistant metal.

Billet Aluminum

A billet is a bar of metal and a billet of aluminum is a solid block of aluminum with its size dependent on your needs. Billet parts are created by removing the excess material from around the billet; basically the part is carved out of a solid chunk of metal. Think of whittling, you shave off pieces of wood until you have your shape; it’s the same with making a part out of a billet.

Billet Aluminum is created with a high degree of precision and structurally it’s stronger than cast aluminum. Billets do have one drawback, they can be expensive because they need to be computer cut and since they’re not folded or molded, the left over pieces are discarded and recycled.

Magnesium Aluminum Alloy

An alloy is a mixture of metals or a mixture of a metal and another element, in this case magnesium and aluminum. Magnesium by itself is a very light-weight metal, even lighter than aluminum, but it can be soft in its original state. When you put the two metals together you get a strong and light metal.

Many automakers are adopting magnesium alloys because of the increasingly strict environmental standards being handed out by various governments across the globe. The automotive industry is being forced to make vehicles lighter to get better fuel economy, and Magnesium is seen as one of the ways forward. “Magnesium is 33% lighter than aluminum, 60% lighter than titanium, and 75% lighter than steel,” according to Lillian Wong from CD International Enterprises, INC, a company that sources and distributes industrial commodities in China and the Americas. Because of those market conditions, we’ll definitely be seeing more Magnesium alloys in the future.

Forged Steel

When something is forged, it’s physically forced into a shape while remaining in a solid state. Forged steel is generally stronger and more reliable than cast steel and plate steel due to the fact that the grain flows of the steel are altered, molding to the shape of the part. Forged steel has a high initial investment for the design and construction of the die to stamp the parts, but after that, it has a fairly low ongoing cost for every part made afterwards. Forged steel is three times stronger than aluminum, but is also much heavier and largely used for parts that need an incredible amount of strength.


Those are only some of the metals you might see on part websites, they’re all found on ours. We hope this information helps you choose the right parts to buy. Stay tuned for our blog next month for more information on aftermarket parts materials!

Are you really passionate about one metal over another? Let us know in the comments.

Sources:

  1. Chromium-Molybdenum Alloys: http://www.eastcoaststainless.com/Exotic-Alloys/ch...
  2. Cast Vs. Billet: http://info.cpm-industries.com/blog/bid/283266/Cas...
  3. Magnesium is Called the Metal of the Future for a Reason: https://cdiichinadirect.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/m...
  4. Forging Vs. Casting Which is Better: http://blog.cmworks.com/forging-vs-casting-which-i...
  5. The Difference Between Casting and Forging: http://www.atcgroup.com.au/CustomCastingForging/Th...

Dangerous Engine Heat: 3 Prevention Tips After Installing Performance Mods

July 25, 2016 7675 Views No comments

Engine performance mods add more speed and make your vehicle accelerate quicker. It’s fantastic and exciting, but the extra performance comes with one major downfall; engine heat. Vehicles tend to perform sluggish and lose power when they overheat. When there's too much heat, parts also become more vulnerable which can cause them to warp and even break. We know that’s not exciting to hear, but there are a number of ways to prevent this like changing your oil cooler, adjusting your jets and even looking at using different oil.

Take a big bore cylinder for example an engine performance mod that would require more cooling after it's installed. A big bore gives your vehicle enhanced performance through power. More specifically, “when you increase the cylinder’s bore you increase the surface area on top of the piston…” which “… spreads the fuel/air mixtures workload and produces more power…” (Motocross Action Magazine). Now that we have an example, let's explore the different ways to keep the engine cooled after it’s installed.

Here's an example of a Big Bore Kit that fits Honda TRX400EX & XR400R

The first way you can improve your vehicle’s cooling is by changing the oil cooler. An oil cooler is a type of radiator already inside your vehicle if its liquid cooled. It helps cool surplus engine heat, but after new mods are installed the stock version might not be enough. If you're a one and done kind of person, a good fan placed in the oil cooler can do the trick. If you're looking to add tons of different mods then you might want to replace it entirely with a bigger version or even install two.

Another way you can help cool your engine is rejetting. After an engine performance mod is added, your engine will likely run lean. Running lean means your air-to-fuel balance is off and too much air is coming in and too little fuel is forcing the engine to work harder. This requires changing out the jets in the carburetor and making sure it has access to all the fuel it needs to properly power the new and improved vehicle.

Now if you finish that and you’re still having problems cooling your vehicle, can we suggest you make the change from regular oil to synthetic? Synthetic oil as the name suggests, is a lubricant consisting of chemical compounds made artificially and has been proven to handle the high temperatures coming from performance parts that would otherwise break down regular oil. It’s not a cure-all, but it certainly makes a difference. Synthetic oil is more expensive, that's true, but it also has a number of advantages to make it worth your while if you’re still on the fence.

  • Synthetic oil flows easier in cold weather and is highly resistant to viscosity breakdown (the ability of the oil to flow easily in all temps) from heat, friction and chemical contaminants. Synthetic oil also better lubricates the engine in very cold weather, meaning if your engine is having trouble starting, synthetic oil can help.
  • You don't need to change synthetic oil as often as regular oil.
  • With less oil changes you'll be helping out nature by lowering the amount of oil you dispose and let’s be honest we all use nature a ton so it's good to do what you can to keep it around.
  • Synthetic oil will increase an engine’s life because it protects against crud forming in engine hot spots and burns off less oil with reduced clogging in oil passageways, limiting potential damage.

We hope these tips help overcome engine heat and make your new mods work how you want them to. If you have any other tips or tricks to keep an engine cool please share them in the comments below.

Sources: