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Discussion Starter #1
After reading Suspension 101, front arm basics, I feel like I've learned a substantial amount about how the rear suspension works. I've been trying to make my 02 ZL SS handle properly with very poor results so far.

One question I have is how to go about setting the suspension without adjusting the skid spring. On my ZL, it is non-adjustable, so I don't have the luxury of loosening or tightening the spring over the shock. All I can do is play with the torsen springs, rear arm & coupling block position, limiter straps and of course the ski springs.

Right now the suspension is box stock except that I moved the rear arm back one hole, which caused the sled to ride worse and still bottom on me (I weigh 250). I'm getting stiffer torsen springs ASAP, and putting the rear arm back to the stock hole. I have a TON of ski pressure right now. It steers very hard, and even when I sit all the way back and lean as back as possible on the sled, it still steers fine. Since I can't do anything with the front skid shock, I want to loosen the straps to get some pressure off the skis. Is this the correct approach?

I apologize for posting in the Firecat forum, but I was hoping to get the attention of A_G and rob.
 

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I saw your post before it was moved.

It's really hard for me to say, because I'm unfamiliar with the ZL suspension, other then I did ride one last year and I found it very soft with light steering. I have to question why the steering is so heavy if all the settings are near stock? are the limiter straps in the stock position? If yes, then I'd leave them alone and look for other reasons. Make sure the front arm shock is not broken. Let the ski shocks down to lessen ski pressure. The stiffer torsion springs will just add even more ski pressure. There HAS to be something wrong somewhere, because the ZL is normally very light steering..
 

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My 99 ZL has light ski pressure, I cranked up the limiter strap again, due to the front of the hyfax is wearing out too fast, this gives me great ski pressure but loosens up the back end due to the .75 inch track. The smart ride suspension acts differently than others. Did you add more carbide up front than what was stock? You can put stiffer rear torsion springs on and get new spring blocks that have 15% more preload built into the design, That will help with the rear, otherwise like Rob says loosen the preload on the front ski springs, I am afraid that if you loosen your limiter strap the front of the skid may wear your hyfax prematurely.
Brad
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The ZL SS has a suspension that's unique to the sled. The rear suspension is exactly the same as the ZR except that it's got the smartride shocks and a non-adjustable front spring. The front suspension is different than the rest of the ZL sleds too. The sled has had a lot of ski pressure from day one, and now that I'm finally taking the pluge and starting to adjust & modify the rear suspension, I want to get rid of the pressure. My shoulder muscles are getting so huge that my coats don't fit. :p

Everything on the sled is currently 100% bone-stock including the carbides.

The ZL SS also came with a 1" track as opposed to the .75 on the other ZLs and the .85 on the ZRs.
 

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Im talking out of my hole here as i dont know the SS. Did you check if they have a stiffer spring for the front shock? If they dont you can make some spacers out of some washers to put under the spring to bump up the pre load. 3/8 to 1/4 inch should work. If you have a hole in the slide rail in front of where the shock is mounted now you can stand the shock up more making it stiffer. Letting the straps out takes weight off the skies but only if your on the gas. Jack up the front end and see if it turns easily or is stiff theres two grease fittings on the spindles for greasing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I did find one stiffer spring available, but jumping from 110lbs to 170lbs might be a bit extreme. I may try the shim deal. It bugs me that Cat couldn't make the damn thing adjustable. With no weight on the front skis, they turn very, very easily. The difficulty in turning is because of the ski pressure.
 

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I have an '02 ZL800SS. It has 144 1.075" studs and ACS Pro (7.5" cutting) carbides. I run the most coupling on the blocks and mid pre-load on rear springs. I weigh 220 infull dress. Straps are adjusted to pull the shock in about 1/2-3/4" from full extension or so the skid sits flat on the floor (unloaded sled with 1/2 tank of gas) with the skis and rear springs adjusted the way I like them. BTW, do not over extend the straps as front arm shock damage can (will) occur.

I like the sled soft as I am getting too old for the stiff spring launch. :blink:

The sled turns fine with these carbides. You can run less ski and still turn OK. I actually think I would prefer less front arm pre-load as the sled is quite darty, more so when braking.

The key is with the coupling. If you adjust for early coupling, you are combining the front and rear spring forces earlier. On coupled cats the front arm spring tends to be less stiff because each spring compliments the other.

BTW, how is the front arm spring fabric boot doing. I am on my second one and it only lasted 50 miles. Blows up like a sausage with snow and ice, then explodes.
It is pretty useless.

BobCat
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My fabric boots seem like they're ok, although I admit that I don't pay much attention to them. Last time I was under there, the boot was still there, but the spring was still covered in snow.

As for the coupling... by moving the rear arm back a hole, the sled couples VERY soon. When I'm seated on the sled, the rear arm is almost touching the coupler block. The result is a stiff ride but the sled still bottoms, and I have NO traction now.

I really hope that I can get some weight off these skis, because like you noticed, this sled is VERY darty when I jam the brakes. Well, the front doesn't dart, but I'm constantly chasing the rear of the sled.
 

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I made a few small adjustments to eliminate darting and maybe these will help.

First thing I did was check all the bolts, idler wheels, anything that had a screw or bolt, to be sure it was tight. Sometimes the simple things are the problem :wub:

Next I let out the front springs (ski ) by three turns. I also turned the springs around so the tabs on the springs fit into the adjusting collar.

I then used Rob's illustrated guide on track tension and alignment ( found on this very website )

I let the front limiter strap out so that five threads are showing on the adjusting bolt

I set the rear spring preload on the medium setting both sides ( I weigh 172 in street clothes)

This last Saturday I rode 200 miles and never bottomed or felt the sled get squirmy running behind other sleds. I had no pain at all Sunday. The sled handled beautifully with 96 studs and stock 4" carbide. If I do any thing more to help the handling it will be dual runner carbides.

I hope this helps but keep in mind the conditions now are super cold and hard pack trails. The settings will need to be changed if the conditions change ;)
 
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