Mechanic: Brandon Burmeister
Shop: Alaska Mining & Diving Supply Co.
Contact: 3222 Commercial Drive, Anchorage, 277-1741,
Dear Mechanic’s Minute: How do I adjust the suspension on my sled so it fits me best?
– Need a smooth ride
Dear Need a smooth ride: It is important to understand the basics of your snowmachine’s suspension and to have your suspension adjusted to your weight and riding style. A properly adjusted suspension can make the difference between a good and bad day of riding. It is important to keep up on the maintenance of your suspension.
Be sure to grease the fittings on rear suspension arms and check for excessive wear on shock bushings. The first step you need to take to achieve a well-working suspension is making sure your shocks are working correctly. You can do so by removing your shocks and removing the spring off your shock body. Next, fully compress the shock and make sure it operates smoothly and returns to its fully extended position, while doing so be sure to listen for any air or fluid that may escape the shock. It is recommended that shocks be rebuilt every 1,000 miles (depending on riding style).
Almost all suspensions have some sort of adjustment. The most common and important adjustment is the suspension ride height. Having the correct ride height will give you better handling and positive weight transfer throughout your snowmachine’s front and rear suspension. When setting up your suspension, always make sure your snowmachine is on a flat surface. We measure ride height by measuring from the rear bumper to the ground. To achieve the correct ride height, you will need to adjust your torsion springs. Pull up on your rear bumper and then let go; you want your machine to drop back down 1 to 2 inches. If it drops down more than that you will need to adjust the torsion spring adjuster blocks. The block has five settings with 1 being the softest and 5 being the stiffest.
Next we will adjust the limiter straps. Limiter straps control ski lift, distance the center spring can travel, and the weight the center spring has to carry. With the machine sitting on the garage floor, your straps should have a little bit of slack. Once you have that adjusted, your machine is ready to take to the trail to adjust your compression dampening which is your top adjuster on your shock body. It is best to start out around 0, then stiffen until your shocks don’t bottom out. This adjustment can take some time, but the end results will be worth it.
Your owner’s manual shows great pictures, step-by-step instructions and charts showing which setting is best for each riding style.