WHAT PROS SAY
After our experience with these cars,
we decided to see what pros had to
say about setup. We contacted Reid
Nordin at Walker Evans Racing (WER).
Nordin has the credentials for the job.
He has been a specialist at Walker
Evans Racing ( walkerevansracing.
com) for several years, but he has 30
years’ experience at Kawasaki starting
as a pro three-wheeler race mechanic
for Jimmy White. During his time at
Kawasaki, he was involved in testing
most of Kawasaki’s off-road products.
You will want to work on a flat surface when adjusting suspension, so
we met up with Nordin in the desert.
He spread a tarp on a flat section of
terrain, but he says that you can check
these settings in the driveway before
you load up or even on the deck of
your trailer. Before you start, make sure
that all four tires are set to your normal
pressure. You will need a tape measure, a floor jack to lift the car and the
proper tools to move the preload rings
on the shocks. You won’t be lifting the
car much—just enough to take the
weight off the suspension, so as soon
as you see light under the wheels, you
are good to make adjustments.
Begin with the car ready to roll with
everything you normally carry. It is a
good idea to have the fuel tank near
full as well. We started with a 2017
Polaris RZR XP 1000 with the Ride
Command option and 30-inch Tusk
Terrabite tires installed. The basis of all
UTV suspension settings is ride height.
You find your car’s ride height by measuring from a chosen point at each
end of the machine to the ground.
On a RZR XP-series machine, WER
measures from the rear A-arm mount
bracket in the front to the ground. In
the rear there are two open-frame
tubes near the radius-rod mounts.
Measure from the open edge of the
tube to the ground.
What should the measurement be?
Nordin explained that most machines
are delivered at the correct ride height,
so the job is to keep the machine
at that height. So, if you have a new
machine, pick a spot and measure
the ride height when the car is stock
without any aftermarket parts that add
weight. WER has ride heights for most
popular machines. Any of the sales staff
at (888)-WE-RACE should have the
numbers you need For the stock XP,
the ride height should be 13 3/4 inches
in the front and 13 1/4 inches in the
rear. Since our machine had 30-inch
tires in place of the stock 29-inch tires,
we were looking for 14 3/4 front and 14
1/4 inches in the rear. Once you have
the ride height for your machine set,
measure how tall the stock tires are so
you will know how much new or different tires affect the ride height.
In our earlier example with the RZR
800 S models, the owners had added
weight, but the spring will also sack
out over time. For those cars, the ride
height was over 2 inches too low, and
we weren’t surprised by that. Our XP
1000 is all stock except for the tires,
and it has only 300 miles on it. The
ride height was a half-inch low at
both ends after 300 miles. Use a tape
measure to find the distance from the
preload ring to the top of the shock.
Walker Evans Racing shocks use
a single preload ring (no lock ring)
with holes around the circumference
to insert a tool in. After jacking the
machine up, Nordin was able to spin
the shock spring by hand. Make sure
that the preload ring is turning with
the spring and that you are tightening
(Top left) For A-arm cars, the A-arms should not be
straight. They, too, should have a downward angle
when the car is sitting, especially if there are no
passengers in the machine.
(Bottom left) Walker Evans Racing’s Reid Nordin
says a quick-and-dirty check is inspecting the
radius rods. They should have a slight downhill
angle on the lower ones. If those rods are straight,
then the ride height is way off.
(Top right) Coil binding is when all of the coils touch. That basically
turns the spring into solid steel. If that happens, you will limit the
machine’s travel and put excess load into the chassis. Coil binding
leaves marks like these on top of the coils. This is a sure sign that
you need a stiffer or longer spring. (Bottom right) Reid Nordin adjusts
customer suspension constantly, so he cut a Harbor Freight Tools
round-shank screwdriver to use as an adjusting tool. On some
machines with limited access to the spring preload adjusters, it may be
easiest to simply remove the shock to adjust the spring preload.