ATV front end alignment is one aspect that many enthusiasts may not take into consideration as they consider the handling or maintenance of their ATV, but this has a direct impact on the quality of the ride, handling and wear that an ATV can withstand. Through wrecks and multiple trail pursuits, the alignment can eventually be thrown off and need repair.
Front end alignment consists of Camber and Toe. Camber is the amount of “lean” in or out your front tires have. Toe is the distance that your tires face in or out. In most instances, camber should be somewhere between 0.2 to 0.8 inches and toe should be 1/8-inch.
1) Inspect all bearings, rubber gaskets and joints on the front end for wear or breakage. Now is the time to replace any worn or broken parts, which in itself could repair the front end alignment of your ATV.
2) Have your partner sit on the ATV and position the handlebars straight ahead. You will perform all of the adjustments with your partner on the ATV to simulate the “ride height” while the suspension is under load. This will allow you to more accurately tune the front end alignment for optimal performance.
3) Run a level straight down from the top edge of the inside of one of your front tires. Measure the distance between the bottom edge of the level and the bottom portion of your tire. If this distance is not within 0.2 to 0.8 inches, pull the lockpin out of the castle nut on your ball joint and loosen the castle nut. Use a crescent wrench to screw the ball joint in or out in order to change your camber to be within the recommended range. Repeat this procedure for the other front tire as well.
4) Use the ruler to measure the distance between the front of the front tires, then measure the distance between the backs of the front tires. The difference in distance is the amount of “toe” and if it is not within the specified range (1/8 inch in) needs adjusted. To adjust the toe, loosen the jam nuts on the tie rod shafts and screw the tie rods in or out with the pliers until the recommended toe is achieved.
*Spray WD-40 on all of the threaded parts you will be working with on the front end a few minutes ahead of time. This will help loosen up frozen or corroded parts.
*If you cannot achieve proper alignment utilizing the steps outlined above, a control arm could be bent and you should have your ATV checked out by certified technicians just to be safe.