Shock and suspension maintenance and what I look for and recommend:
I first find out how many miles are on the RZR, and this one is just over 2900 Miles.
Next, I measure front and rear ride height – this helps me understand where this UTV is at currently with this suspension set up.
The tire size plays a role in our ride height. For this example, it had 31” tires and this is 2” taller than stock tires, so I will add 1” to our stock height of 13.5”. So, for our XP 1000, I want to be getting 14.5” ride heights.
The measurements came in at 12” front and 11” rear ride height. Polaris spec with the larger tires would be 14.5” +- 1”, so this UTV is 3.5” low on the rear and 2.5” low on the front – well below the manufactures specification.
What this means to me is the suspension geometry is never in its sweet spot from the very beginning of any ride. Not only will it be bottoming out constantly, but the suspension feel will never feel as good as it should, even from the factory.
With this amount of miles, the shocks should have been ready for the second rebuild, and they have never been rebuilt. So, my recommendation was to rebuild all 4 shocks and upgrade the spring package to a better dual-rate spring kit from Schmidty racing suspensions, and this is the package the customer chose.
These Walker Evans shocks are what we call the 2nd Generation (they are a cheaper model).
When I was rebuilding the rear shocks and released the Nitrogen from the cylinder, the Nitrogen cap would not come off because of pressure created inside the shock fluid. This was because the IFP valve seal had gone badly, and the IFP valve was pushing against the cap, making it very difficult to get the Nitrogen cap off to get ready for rebuilding.
What this will cause in the shocks’ performance is cavitation. With tons of bubbles from the Nitrogen in the fluid, there will be a very little dampening effect.
After rebuilding all 4 shocks and setting the Nitrogen at 125 lbs., they were ready to get the dual-rate spring kit installed.
When I changed out these springs, I made sure to run a complete spring rate check on the stock springs vs the new Schmidty Racing kit with Eibach springs. (See complete video).
The spring rating on the stock springs off of the Walker Evans shocks was:
Front 150 lbs.
Rear 200 lbs.
The dual-rate springs came in at:
Front low-speed 172lbs. High speed 300 lbs.
The rear low speed 136 lbs. High speed 300 lbs.
Now that the dual-rate springs will be working on this UTV, it will have the advantage of basically two spring ratings working on a single stroke of the suspension – something that a single spring just can’t do.
This Polaris should feel like a whole new UTV now. It will have the ride height to clear many obstacles, and, it will also be handling the bumps and g-outs with suspension that will make you and your wife happier driving this thing all day long.
Now that the shocks have been rebuilt, they will be ready to properly do their job for the next 1500 miles of bouncing up and down and eating plenty of dirt.
Until we ride again…