1. Wash your bike after every ride, as you dry it off inspect all the fasteners and levers; ride the bike for a minute to dry out the brake pads. Apply WD40 to all the pivots, levers and exhaust pipe to prevent rust and premature wear.
2. Invest in an ATV stand or lift if you plan to do your own chassis or engine work, your back and your wife will thank you.
3. Eat lunch or dinner before working on your ATV, concentration and patience diminish as hunger increases.
4. Use the proper tools for the job at hand, wrenches ratchets and hands do not make good hammers nor do screwdrivers make proper pry bars or gasket scrapers.
5. If you plan to do your own engine work invest in a good quality torque wrench, your engines will last longer and run better when properly assembled with the correct torque on the fasteners.
6. Scotch-Brite pads are effective for removing stubborn gasket remnants as well as rust from exhaust pipes.
7. Old toothbrushes make good small parts cleaners and detail brushes for small nooks and crannies.
8. Save the plastic caps from aerosol cans, these make good containers for sorting parts and small quantities of chemical for dipping and cleaning.
9. Cut the top off the plastic oil bottle to make a funnel.
10. Use a small metal baking pan for dirty jobs that need to be contained; this will keep your work bench clean.
11. Save your 35mm film containers, these make good containers for small parts to be carried on the trail or in your field box, and the price is right.
12. If you are unfamiliar with metric wrench sizing or have trouble reading the marks on the wrenches and sockets you can color code the tools with vinyl tape; black=10mm red=12mm etc.…
13. When removing bearings from cases use a propane torch to heat the case or housing, this will make the housing let go of the bearing. Freeze the new bearing prior to installation; it will easily drop into its bore.
14. When removing axles, pins or other shafts, wiggle them as you pull them out, avoid banging them out as you can mushroom the end of the shaft and ruin it.
15. I f it becomes necessary to remove the flywheel from your machine, you must use the proper threaded “inside” puller, do not use a three jaw outside puller as this will crush your flywheel and cost you much more than the proper tool would have.
16. If your machine has white plastic you can clean the stains off with an SOS pad, this won’t work on red, as the pad will leave white streaks.
17. Use Mop’n Glo or other floor polish on the plastic to keep it shiny and slick so mud will fall off.
18. Buy an extra air filter for each machine in your garage keep them cleaned and oiled in a zip-lock bag.
19. Maintain air filters regularly and have clean ones ready to go for long rides, the harder you work at maintaining the air filters the longer your engine will last.
20. Check your tire pressures for every ride, ATV tires are inherently leaky.
21. Run higher tire pressures for rocky conditions or for high speed riding.
22. Check the coolant level before every ride, sometimes you don’t know if the bike overheated until you look into the radiator.
23. Check the gearbox oil before every ride, sometimes the missing coolant can be found in the gearbox due to a water pump seal failure.
24. Check the battery connection before each ride, if you spot any corrosion you can neutralize it with a mixture of baking soda and water.
25. If your water cooled machine is now a race bike, remove the overflow catch bottle and zip-tie the overflow hose so that it dumps onto the exhaust pipe, if the radiator pukes you are likely to see all the steam and will know that the machine has overheated.
26. Check the cables for proper free play before each ride. Clutch cables (2-3mm) which are too tight will cause the clutch to slip and then fail. Set the throttle cable free play at 1mm, too tight is dangerous and too loose will not open the carburetor all the way.
27. If your throttle spring tension is too much, you can grind down the edge of the spring on a grinder to make the wire thinner, don’t cut coils from the spring this can actually make it stiffer.
28. On TRX250R you can replace the clutch perch and lever with a ’98 CR250 unit for easier clutch pull.
29. On hydraulic brake models, put a dab of grease on the front brake lever push pin where it contacts the master cylinder piston, this will improve the feel of the front brake as the push pin drags across the piston.
30. Replace the hydraulic brake and clutch fluid once each year to prevent gum and deposits from fouling the system, corroded calipers sometimes cannot be rebuilt, only replaced at a high cost.
31. When bleeding the hydraulic system, push the pistons in the calipers or slave cylinders back in their bores, this will push any trapped air out into the bleeding cavities.
32. Replace the stock rubber brake lines with braided stainless lines for better braking performance and less hand fatigue.
33. Don’t leave your machine in gear to keep it from rolling in the back of the truck, this will damage the gearbox in a hurry. Utilize your parking brake or put a zip-tie around the front brake.
34. To simplify your life, remove the parking brake cable and mechanism. Install a brake block off plate for a tidy look.
35. Use anti-seize compound: on all the brake caliper mounting bolts, axle nuts, hub nuts, and anything which requires a torque wrench for assembly this will make the torque readings accurate. Use anti-seize compound on any fasteners that will run in water.
36. When servicing your top end, put anti-seize compound on the dowel pins around the studs, this will make the job go much smoother next time around.
37. Service the rear suspension linkage and swingarm pivot bolt once a year, the factories don’t put enough grease in when they build the machine, and these parts are expensive to replace if they wear out.
38. Suzuki LT250 85-90, remove and grease the upper shock rocker arm bolt annually, this part bends easily so look at it closely.
39. Grab the tops of the tires and pull outward on them to check the condition of the ball joints and wheel bearings.
40. Lift up on your front bumper and watch the front suspension arm pivots as the suspension tops out, you may see some free play at the pivots indicating wear.
41. Remove the axle on a regular basis, check the bearings by hand, if they feel crunchy or stiff then replace them, failure to replace the axle bearings will cause the machine to handle poorly.
42. When replacing the axle bearings, heat the carrier up with a propane torch first, this will loosen the housings grip on the bearings and they will come out much easier than cold.
43. Use anti-seize compound on the axle nuts, don’t over torque them as this will side load the bearings and lead to premature wear, tape the nuts to seal the water out.
44. To check the condition and wear of the chain, try to pull the chain off the sprockets at a point where the swingarm would intersect the back of the sprocket, if you can pull the chain off the sprocket more than ½ the length of a sprocket tooth the chain is shot.
45. Lube the chain just after a ride while the chain is still warm, the lubricant will penetrate better.
46. If you ride aggressively or are bottoming the rear suspension regularly, have your shock re-valved by a professional. You will go faster, safer and your machine will last much longer.
47. When assembling your machine, look for dots or arrows on the handlebar clamps, axle clamps, brake and clutch perch clamps. These dots or arrows are to be oriented up or forward, the marked end (dot) is to be torqued first and then torque the other end of the clamp.
48. Water proof your electrical connections with dielectric grease, available at your local electronics shop.
49. Use black electrical tape rather than zip-ties to bundle any electrical wires to the handlebars or other moving surfaces, zip-ties can chafe the wires and eventually cut them.
50. When replacing the spark plug use an exact replacement, the spark plug is an electrical component just like a coil or CDI box and any deviation from standard could burn out other components.
51. When you replace the clutch friction plates, scuff the metal driven plates on flat concrete or sandblast them. This will give the clutch more bite and extend the friction plate life.
52. If you have stripped a 12mm oil drain bolt (TRX250R) you can simply re-tap the hole to 14mm X 1.25 and replace the bolt with a Suzuki LT250R drain bolt.
53. If you have painted your frame it is important to file the paint off all the mounting points for any electrical components in order to maintain a good ground.
54. If you have painted your frame, tap all the threaded holes with a thread tap before you cross thread any bolts. File the paint off the motor mounts, so that the engine doesn’t loosen up prematurely.