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John Stewart

Steering - bump steer after a lift

The 4x4Wire JK recently underwent a slight transformation - from stock to gears, lockers, and lift. That change included new (larger) tires. But, that change did not include replacing the steering damper. Extended road driving pointed out the need to upgrade the steering damper in order to reduce vibration caused by the larger tires on certain sections of road.

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John Stewart


The cross members are built from ¼” steel plate and have integrated differential mounts that work with the new provided differential mounts to properly reposition the front differential for optimal CV and front driveshaft angles. The whole package is protected by a new belly pan skid plate that runs from the front to rear crossmember and allows integration with the factory front skid/splash guard. The factory front struts are retained with the kit utilizing top strut spacer and preload spacer to gain the proper lift height.

To lift the rear, BDS supplies multiple lift block options with 3” and 4” sizes available as well as longer u-bolts, 5500-series shocks, and all the necessary brake line/wire relocation brackets. This system allows for up to 35×12.50 tires to be installed on 18×9 or 20×9 with 4.5” backspacing.

In addition to the  6” system, BDS is proud to also offer a complete 4” system as well. For more info on this product and to find the distributor nearest you, check out BDS Suspension or call (517) 279-2135.


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John Stewart

Consumers Digest Names Five Yamaha ATVs to Best Buy List

Featuring the best power-to-weight ratio among sport ATVs, the 686cc fuel-injected engine and overall performance of the 2012 Yamaha Raptor 700R impressed the Consumers Digest team in a variety of terrain.  Also noted was that the 700R can be customized with a choice of 11 different graphic options at no additional charge, which is an industry first.  The 700R Special Edition was selected as a Best Buy for its addition of a wave-type rear disc and unique graphics to the 700R’s design.

Earning its second Best Buy award since 2008, the 2012 Yamaha Raptor 250 was commended for producing the kind of performance that riders might expect from a higher-end model.  Consumers Digest cited the Raptor 250’s light weight and low seat height as features that help make it “… a fun machine for riders, regardless of their size.”  The 2011 Raptor 250R also received a Best Buy for the addition of upgraded shocks, LED taillight and adjustable front-brake lever to the 250’s construction.

“Yamaha has injected real world value into the all-new Grizzly 300 and offers class-leading performance throughout our Raptor line of sport ATVs, and we couldn’t be more proud to have an impartial, third party like Consumers Digest recognize this with Best Buy awards,” said Steve Nessl, marketing manager for Yamaha’s ATV/SxS group.  “Receiving a Best Buy is exciting, but earning five Consumers Digest Best Buy nods this year in both utility and sport ATV categories is a unique and exclusive honor that symbolizes Yamaha’s dedication to excellence and leadership in the ATV industry.”

About Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A.
Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., (YMUS), a leader in the motorsports market, makes the toughest, most capable and versatile ATV and Side-by-Side vehicles. The company’s ever-expanding product offerings also include motorcycles, outboard motors, personal watercraft, snowmobiles, boats, outdoor power equipment, race kart engines, accessories, apparel and much more. YMUS products are sold through a nationwide network of dealers in the United States.

Headquartered in Cypress, Calif., since its incorporation in 1976, Yamaha also has facilities in Wisconsin and Georgia, as well as factory operations in Tennessee and Georgia. For more information on Yamaha, visit www.yamaha-motor.com.

ATVs with engines greater than 90cc are recommended for use only by riders age 16 years and older.


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John Stewart

OPTIMA Batteries Announces New Power Play Text-to-Win Promotion through September 30, 2011

ìThis Text-to-Win program is designed to demonstrate OPTIMA Batteriesí commitment to supporting the lifestyle of performance automotive enthusiasts, and drive a two-way conversation between the brand and our customers while theyíre shopping the category at our retail partners,î said Cam Douglass, director of product development and marketing for OPTIMA Batteries. ìWe like to reward people who spend time learning about batteries and our product in general. We know that the more time people spend educating themselves on the differences in batteries, the more likely they are to choose the Ultimate Power Source.

When consumers enter the text-to-win code (or scan the QR code that is also provided) they can instantly win prizes from highly-sought-after brands like Superwinch, Red Line Synthetic Oil, K&N Filters and Holley. The promotion will run through September 30, 2011.

To learn more about OPTIMA Batteries and to find your nearest retailer, please visit http://www.optimabatteries.com/. You can also visit OPTIMA on-the-go using your iPhone, Android or Blackberry device for helpful tips on charging, battery care and maintenance and product information at http://www.optimabatteries.com.//

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John Stewart


3.  Most forests have a separate map for each ranger district. On the map, roads stop abruptly at district boundaries. When a trail crosses from one district to another, it is very easy to get confused or lost. A prime example of this is Moon/Gamble Gulch and Pickle Gulch (See both of these trails in our new Northern Colorado book coming in May.) In the real world, these trails are intertwined. Unfortunately, the Forest Service has a different map for each area. To maintain our sanity, we found it necessary to piece together the two maps like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
4.  The maps are very large and hard to handle. They tear easily and fall apart quickly.
5.  The maps are updated every year. Make sure you have the latest version.
6.  Some of the mapping was done with aerial photography, not actually tracked with GPS on the ground. We found a few roads on the maps overgrown and impassable. One example is F.S. 413.1 in the Moon/Gamble Gulch area. It narrowed to a single-track trail even though the MVUM showed it as a 4WD trail. The south end of F.S. 252 in the Miller Rock area had the same fate (see our new Northern Colorado book).
7.  If and when the Forest Service finishes placing new route markers in the field, the numbers are still not likely to match the MVUM exactly. For example, often on the MVUM the Forest Service puts a decimal point on a primary route, e.g. 413.1. 8.  Newly placed route markers often do not include the decimal fraction and appear simply as 413.
9.  Seasonal trails are highlighted with a wide gray line. A separate chart listing each seasonal trail shows the exact dates each trail is open. If a trail is not highlighted it means the trail is open all year. No chart is used if all seasonal dates are the same. In this case, you have to look very hard at the bottom of the map to find a single line stating this.
10.  Seasonal opening dates are not always adhered to. Sometimes wet weather or trail damage can delay opening, as happened on Kelly Flats in 2010. Often these closures are listed on the respective Forest Service Websites. If you have a long drive to the trail, look online or call ahead to be sure the trail is open.
11.  MVUMs do not show every existing road, just legal forest roads. It is very confusing to encounter roads not shown on the map. County roads are shown with a light gray line, making them appear less important, when in fact they are usually major roads.
12.  Laws for county roads are usually enforced by the local sheriff and not forest rangers. Typically, unlicensed vehicles are not allowed on county roads, but in some cases, enforcement is minimal and violations are common. Don’t assume since others are riding on a particular road that it is legal.
13.  Some very famous 4-wheel-drive trails (like Pearl Pass near Crested Butte) are county roads, not forest roads. Learn to recognize county roads when reading a MVUM, since different laws and closure dates may apply.
Some forest roads, like Gillespie Gulch in the Boulder Ranger District, are shown as open on the MVUM. The Forest Service doesn’t mention that gates on private property block entrance to the trail at both ends. Apparently, you are allowed to drive Gillespie Gulch if you drop your vehicle in by helicopter.
14.  Long before a MVUM is published, the Forest Service usually maps out other alternatives. Typically these are available online for public review. At some point, the Forest Service may share with you the alternative that is most likely to become final. FunTreks is sometimes forced to use the best alternative to select trails for upcoming books. For example, we’ve been using “Alternative G” for trails in the White River National Forest. This alternative shows that Lime Creek and Wearyman Creek trails will be closed when the new MVUM is published. Therefore, we did not include these trails in our last Colorado book, despite the fact that the trails remain open at the present time.
15.  Printed MVUMs are free at ranger district offices and most can be downloaded from ranger district Websites. A full size map is too large to print on a standard printer, but you can screen capture smaller areas and print individual trails.

Click here to see a listing of all National Forests that have issued MVUMs.

Visit FunTrek to see a complete listing of all Colorado MVUMs by Ranger District.

Visit FunTreks Guidebooks for more 4x4 and SUV Trail Guides

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