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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Background:
1. I know that the ACE is often not adjusted correctly from the factory and I have straightened mine.
2. I'm familiar with a couple of alignment/toe adjustment methods and I use one that works for me.
3. I have re-adjusted my toe a few times. I know how to do it.
4. I had my toe adjustment set the way I like it before this ride.

I have, more than once in the past, smacked the control arm really hard on a large rock, and bent it slightly.
I can actually see the impact points, and can see how the control arm changes angle, and I understand why that would change the steering geometry and affect the toe adjustment.

So last weekend I was out on a trail, and this time instead of a rock, I hit a stump with my left front tire.
I wasn't going that fast, maybe 8 mph, and I bounced off the thing so it wasn't a dead stop scenario.
I hit the stump with the tire, not the control arm or tie rod.

I swear I heard some sort of metallic crack noise, like the sound you hear when you break loose a nut that's really on there good.
But when I stopped and inspected the front end, everything looked normal.
I continued to drive and everything still looked good.
But when I came off the twisty trail onto a straight service road, I found that my steering wheel was rotated 45 degrees to the right.

Back in the garage, I set up my preferred alignment method, the one that works for me (Don't start, Rockman, I don't wanna hear it. :) ).
My measurements indicate that the left side is now toed out by about 3/8", and the left side is toed in by about 3/8".

So WTF happened?? Did I skip a tooth in the steering rack?
If I reset the toe adjustment with the wheel straight, and still get the same steering wheel rotation left and right, am I all good, or is there something else I should consider?
 

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bent tie rod ?

bent/ broken bolts for steering gearcase ?

just some thoughts .................something moved for sure.
possible it's as simple as the u joint connection to gear case from steering wheel jumped a tooth
seeing as both sides seemed to have moved the same amount .
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Checked the tie rods with a straight edge, they look fine.
All four gear case mounting bolts are still in place.
I can see that it might have shifted just the tiniest little bit (less than 1mm) based on the clean line around the base of the bolt head, but that's nowhere near enough movement to send the alignment off 3/8".

View attachment 2156
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
After I started the thread, I turned the wheel full lock left and right, and noticed that it did turn just a little more to the right than the left.
I then turned it full left and put some pressure on it. Not so much that I thought I might break it, but way more than I normally would.
It did give a little, and made a little noise, but did not affect the toe adjustments.

So I also went ahead and did the tie rod adjustments.

My right tie rod didn't have much adjustment left in it (threads) when I started, due to previous rock hits bending the A-arm, but I seem to have smacked something on the correct side to even that out a bit, because now that I have set my toe adjustment again, I have more room on that side. It almost matches the left side now in terms of amount of threads left. So it seems that my situation has improved.

I also did a couple of measurements suggested to me on RZRForums, and I didn't find anything out of square.

Anyway, my wheel is straight, my buggy drives in a straight line, I have equal amounts of wheel turn lock to lock, and I cannot see any new visible damage, so I think I'm good and don't really need to understand what happened anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was actually surprised that it changed things at all, because it was a low speed glancing blow.
I've hit stumps hard enough to throw me against the seat belt in my RZR without messing up the steering.
Seems to me that the front suspension on the ACE is a little fragile.
 

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I had the same thing happen when my better half hit a stump with her Sportsman with strut suspension. I never found any damage and lined it back up and it is still fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Hey, a little topic drift here but what the hell, it's my thread: What do you think about the highlifter curved control arms?

The curved control arms are supposed to reduce rock hits significantly (won't help me with stump hits unless they're tougher than stock).
But more to the point, they move the front wheels 2" forward increasing the wheel base and making room for taller tires without rubbing.
Can you see any down side to that?


Can you see any issues with those control arms combined with their 2" lift kit (spacers under the front springs and below the rear ones)?
 

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Scoundrel, I will follow up on the topic drift. I recently rode at Hidden Falls and decided that I need a lift kit and solid skid plate before I ride there again. I climbed a lot of limestone ledges and scraped up the bottom of the ace. I was thinking of the UTV Inc skid plate and A-Arm guards. I wonder if the A-Arm guards would fit these Highlifter curved control arms. I could find no information on the internet. I like the idea that the wheel base would be 2" longer. That should soften the ride a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't think the A-arm guards will fit the Highlifter curved A-arms.
If they do attach, they won't follow the curve and will therefore defeat the purpose (and probably get torn off).
I figure it's a trade-off: I can either put A-arm guards on to spread the impact so that the A-arms don't bend when they get hit by rocks, or I can get A-arms that won't get hit by rocks anywhere near as often.
Note that putting guards on the standard A-arms will bring them even closer to the ground and you'll hit them on stuff more often unless you go with taller tires.
 

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My cousin has 2" forward arched A arms on his Ranger and he says it steers the same as before so no down side there, but we did have to bend the 'skirt' around the upper strut mount on the front side to give some clearance around the spring so it would clear. Sometimes you have to do this and sometimes you don't.

I didn't know they made forward arms for the Ace. I will have to check them out.

Oh, as far as the lift kit, lots of people just use PVC pipe for the rear and PVC couplers for the front and put them at the bottom of the spring. The couplers are a little bit thicker wall and they are the right diameter to fit around the front strut. That is what I used on my Ranger. Just cut them to whatever length you need. The front is a 1/1 ratio but on the rear you get more lift than the height of the spacer you use. I don't remember what that ratio is but it would be easy to figure. The pvc seems to hold up fine and the price is right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I never would have thought about using PVC components for a lift kit.
Can you post up a picture of that?
I'm not above taking the cheap route once in a while for simple, low risk stuff.

You're not pulling my leg, are you?
(Haha I told that dude on the internet to use PVC spacers on his ORV to make a lift kit, and he actually fell for it! Snort!)
 

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No, not pulling your leg. I learned that trick over on PolarisRangerClub. I just got a smartphone and am learning how to use it so I will try to get some pictures on here. Probably be next week because we are planning to ride tomorrow.

I cheated a little on my front spacers. I cut them to the height I wanted and split them with the hacksaw and then pulled the springs tight with some tie down straps and jacked the front up and then expanded the pieces and slapped them on under the springs. LOL. They are still working fine. Even if one were to pop out all it would do is settle back down to where it was originally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
expanded the pieces and slapped them on under the springs
This was done with a strut? That would be quite a stretch. I could see doing this if you only had to make a 1/2" gap for a narrow rod to go through, but the front on the ACE goes around a tube that is at least 1.25" diameter. Seems like a PVC coupling would crack in half before it expanded that far, or if it did expand, then it would not go back together.

I could see doing it that way with the rear, but not the front.

But if I buy the curved control arms, it's not too many extra steps to try some PVC couplings during that installation.
But on the other hand, spending $99 on a set of metal ones that I KNOW will work is more the sort of thing I tend to do.

Lift kit installation instructions
http://www.highlifter.com/pdf/installpdf/PLKACE-00.pdf
 

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If the control arm increases your wheel base by 2" than your caster will also increase giving more high speed stability but less low speed responsiveness. Something to consider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If the control arm increases your wheel base by 2" than your caster will also increase giving more high speed stability but less low speed responsiveness. Something to consider.
Good thing I've got EPS on there! Since it's not progressive EPS, I could do with a bit more high speed stability.
I dunno though, increasing the wheel base is good for uphill/downhill stuff, but maybe not so good for maneuvering through tight trails.
Maybe I'll just go with a 2" lift and UHWM A-arm guards.
 

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When my buddy rolled mine i noticed mine was off. It turns out that the tiny metal the steering rack was on actually bent instead of the tie rod. I straightened it out with a hammer. It is super thin piece of steel that has no gussets and with the force pushing on it the whole rack made the metal tweak. IMG_2222.jpg
 

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I dont think this caused the steering to be off much. It definitely needs beefed up. it's probably 1/8 inch steel . It was minor but i noticed it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
OK, so I have been cogitating (obsessing?) about this, and I want to lay it all out and get some thoughts/opinions about it:


I have a problem with my ACE. Not enough ground clearance. A-arms get smacked by rocks and it throws the steering off until I can adjust the tie rods. Seems to happen every damn time I go to Walker Valley ORV Park (this was not what happened at the beginning of this thread but has happened multiple other times).

There are three things I can do to affect this for not too much money. I am thinking of doing two of them. There is a fourth thing that I can do later, but cannot justify right now.

Modification Option A: Two-inch lift kit
With this mod, I install spacers that compress the springs, adding pre-load. This makes the suspension stiffer, effectively lifting the ACE, but making the ride less cushy. It is also worth noting that the lift kit lifts the CENTER of the vehicle the most. The A-arms are not in the center, and only half of their span will be improved at all. The outer ends will not gain any benefit. As you look inward on them, the benefit increases.
Increasing the lift affects the camber which affects tire wear and might change handling characteristics.
I can do this mod one of two ways:
1. Purchase and install a kit that goes between the springs and their seats, for $100.
2. I am told that I can use PVC couplers/pipes instead of the fancy kit to accomplish the same thing, and that they do not break. I could also cut them shorter so I don't lift a full 2 inches.

Modification Option B: A-arm guards
I can buy A-arm guards for $230 which would absorb and spread the impact, so the A-arms would not bend. But this also reduces my ground clearance by another 1/2" - the thickness of the A-arm guard.

Modification Option C: Curved A-arms
Special aftermarket A-arms for $260 are tougher, and they are curved upward, so they might pass right over rocks that normal A-arms would hit. But there are three problems with this option:
i. I cannot install A-arm guards on these because they are not flat.
ii. These also bring the hub 2" forward, increasing the wheel base. They do this intentionally so that people can install taller tires without rubbing. But this is a problem because a longer wheel base makes me less able to handle tight twisty trails. Also taller tires might be wider, which makes me less able to handle tight twisty trails.
iii. Moving the hubs forward increases caster which makes me more stable at high speed in a straight line but resists my turning more at low speed. This would be OK for sand dunes or service roads, but not great for tight twisty trails, which I ride a lot of.

Modification Option D: Taller tires
The stock tires are 25x8x12 (front). The next size up is 26x9x12. I have tested the 26" tires and they do not rub. They do reduce my acceleration slightly, and they do increase my width slightly. Right now I am at 50" exactly. Some of trails I want to ride have 50" width restrictions. The 26" tires would put me out a little wider, though I cannot find a recorded measurement from when I tried it.


One other thing I can do is inflate my tires more than normal, which makes the ride stiffer too, and has only a small effect on ground clearance - mainly when coming down off of a bump, it will not let the vehicle sag as much.

So it seems to me that if I want more ground clearance and steering damage resistance with minimal negative side effects, the best combination of things to do is put in the lift kit and put on the A-arm guards.
Within the A-arm guard modification, I just need to decide which option to go with. I could try the PVC on the cheap and go for a ride, and if I like the results, I could buy the steel ones for longevity and peace of mind, but then I would do the work twice. On the other hand if I buy the steel ones first and don't like the result I still do the work twice (removal) and lose money (might be able to sell them to cut the loss a little).

It is possible that the lift kit will offset the width difference between the 25" and 26" tires, because as the vehicle is lifted the width decreases. So I might be able to get away with 26" tires and stay at 50".
I can test this without spending any money. I just have to borrow a pair of wheels/tires from the RZR for measurements, and put a jack under the vehicle.
It is also possible that the 26" tires, being squishier (more sidewall), will offset the stiffer ride.

Thoughts?
 
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