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Discussion Starter #1
In the quest for optimizing the stock suspension (until I can afford a proper upgrade from AReed or RacerTech):

Has anyone tried this yet?
1) Add 3" lift kit (SuperATV etc). Stock wheels & tires.
2) Back off the preload on all 4 stock springs by the amount needed to reach same original ground clearance as stock (before lift).
3) Increase rebound dampening to max (close screw).
4) Starting at zero (screw/nut fully open), increase compression dampening if/as needed.

If so, how did it ride?

I don't have a lift, otherwise I would try it myself. I guess I could try it without a lift, but I would be worried about smacking the skids.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
True, it would change the geometry a bit (shock will be a little bit more vertical).
But the a-arms and axels would be at the same angles as before (due to reduced preload / stock GC setting).

I was mostly thinking to reduce the preload a lot more than practical without a lift, in order to get more plush ride and possibly bring the stock shocks into a useable range of adjustment.
The stock springs have a ton of preload (3-4 inches?) at the standard factory settings. Wondered if that could be part of the problem, somehow.

Worst case if it does not help the suspension, then I could crank up the preload again and at least I have a lift kit to try in the muskeg patch!
:)
 

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When you you upright the shocks it changes the leverage. You would need a softer spring to get the same ride as stock. Backing off the preload will stiff be firmer than stock.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Alex. That makes sense to me.

I now think I was mistaken about the stock setting having excessive preload.

I just checked the rear spring length on my XRS: 11 inches with fuel and gear, but no driver.
And 14 inches when jacked up to so the rear wheels don't touch ground.
I read somewhere that the free spring length is about 15 inches (haven't checked mine yet).

So then the actual stock spring preload is only 15-14= 1 inch (@190 lbs/inch?). Much better than 3-4 inches that I previously assumed by reading the manual.
Less room for improvement in that area, I guess......
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
So.... I just went ahead and did this anyway as an experiment.
I installed a 3" bracket lift kit, and dropped my preload to the minimum practical. And did max rebound / min compression dampening settings all around.

New preload as measured from top end of threaded shock body (just under black cap end) to top edge of upper lock ring: Front = 2.75", Rear = 3.75"
This gives me about 0.25" of preload onto the free spring length. Just enough to keep it from falling out at full extension.

Ground clearance just after all the mods at first was 14.5" front, 13.5" rear. But after a good solid 3-hour trail pounding ride and a wash yesterday, somehow it now sits at 13.5" front, and 12.5" rear. Odd?
That is WITH the 3" lift. Stock spec for GC is 13" supposedly, so the lift kit just basically made up for the ground clearance that I lost by softening the preload. And perhaps from extra weight of winches, spare wheel, rack, etc.
And maybe some other effect (spring weakening, or stick-tion?).

Bottom line: The handling is much better than stock now, and good enough for my riding style. And I still have decent ground clearance without stressing my CV joints. And about the same "tippy-ness" as before.
No "cloud of titties" perhaps, but lots of fun anyway.
 
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