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Moon Lake Refuge

What size wheeler

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Looking into possibly getting a wheeler next year.  Summer will just be runs to the dumpster, but winter would like something that can pull the ice house out.  What size/ kind of wheeler do you use?  Also, do you need a ski for the tongue?  Seen a few of them with tow bars attached and they look easy enough to put together.

Thanks,

Also, assume I know little to nothing about ATV's...

Edited by Moon Lake Refuge

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I would suggest at least a 500 machine not saying the others can't do it but the 500+ machine will do it better generally a wheel house has a fair amount of tongue weight so either a solid axle or some suspension blocks will help out if you don't use a dolly or ski unit all makes are good but sometimes a manufacturer can have some problems, bigger tires adds stress to axles but will help with clearance and the aftermarket tires are heavier which gives u a stronger tire and sidewall for towing some factory's are subject to a max weight for the import process so tires are a way to save weight I.E. Yamaha Suzuki Honda there machines are generally bulletproof but there are a lot of Polaris and Arctic Cats out there too best thing is to sit on a few and see which one feels the best for you I don't think u can really go wrong with any of them

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We have an older Honda Rancher 350 that pulls better than our newer Polaris 500.  Biggest factor is solid rear axle vs independent suspension.  Tow ratings for ATVs are kind of a farce, specially for an ice shack.  The biggest constraints are tongue weight and stopping, not the actual pulling power.   I'd get whatever has a solid axle and fits conveniently in whatever you are going to haul it with (pickup box would be ideal for me). 

 

Dolly's are great but wheels are better than skis in my opinion.  Skis just become plows whenever there is a lot of snow.  Independent axles don't really need a dolly.  If you do decide to buy/build one I'd get one that is adjustable and has the ability to transfer some tongue weight to the rear tires for extra traction (like picture below). 

 

full-36535-29722-5thwheel.png

 

 

Edited by YettiStyle

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2 hours ago, YettiStyle said:

We have an older Honda Rancher 350 that pulls better than our newer Polaris 500.  Biggest factor is solid rear axle vs independent suspension.  Tow ratings for ATVs are kind of a farce, specially for an ice shack.  The biggest constraints are tongue weight and stopping, not the actual pulling power.   I'd get whatever has a solid axle and fits conveniently in whatever you are going to haul it with (pickup box would be ideal for me). 

 

Dolly's are great but wheels are better than skis in my opinion.  Skis just become plows whenever there is a lot of snow.  Independent axles don't really need a dolly.  If you do decide to buy/build one I'd get one that is adjustable and has the ability to transfer some tongue weight to the rear tires for extra traction (like picture below). 

 

full-36535-29722-5thwheel.png

 

 

where did you pickup that dolly set up?

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Not so sure I agree that a solid axle is better than independent. Have you ever looked at how much flex is in that axle under load when the tongue weight is applied? Before I got a Ranger I used a Polaris 600 and had no problems at all. I installed a chain system to limit the amount of travel in the suspension when loaded while still allowing some travel when not loaded.

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automatic vs shifting makes a big difference as I learned fist hand years ago . We had 3 bikes out on an overnight fishing trip about 10 miles back in the bush on an old portage trail . On the way in it was easy going for all 3 bikes ,snow was hard and traction was good , but overnight things went south ! The weather changed and the temps warmed up as the snow fell .  My buddies had big bikes (at that time 500s where big ) and I had a 2 stroke 350 but mine was automatic and theirs where both manual sifters . I had to break trail and tow the manual bikes because they couldn't get going them self's. The manual bikes would get going in first gear but then as they shifted to second gear they lost all momentum and got stuck . With my automatic bike I could run circles around the and I was loaded with all the heavy gear as well .  

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12 hours ago, dj2quick35 said:

where did you pickup that dolly set up?

 

Not mine, this was from another forum but I saved the picture as a reference for when I build one. 

 

10 hours ago, eagle_3464 said:

Not so sure I agree that a solid axle is better than independent. Have you ever looked at how much flex is in that axle under load when the tongue weight is applied? Before I got a Ranger I used a Polaris 600 and had no problems at all. I installed a chain system to limit the amount of travel in the suspension when loaded while still allowing some travel when not loaded.

 

Better to have some axle sag then not be able to steer at all with independent suspension IMO.  When I drop my shack on our Polaris I can barely even steer on concrete because the suspension compresses too much and the front end just floats.  If I can barely steer on concrete there is no way I'm making a turn on ice.  Not arguing that having that much tongue weight on an ATV is not good mechanically for either solid axle or independent suspension but I'll stick to the one that I can actually steer with.  A load shifting dolly like I posted above with a solid axle is the perfect ATV setup in my personal opinion (chained tires would be better, tracks would be ideal). 

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I have a Kodiak 400 with a solid rear axle and although it does everything I ever ask it to do, I would not buy another. I would definitely go with independent rear suspension and a larger motor, wheels and frame.  

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Thanks all!  Gives me something to look at.  Likely be good with any decent wheeler if we're running a dolly.  Not sure on our shack weight yet but its a pretty typical furnished 8x16.

 

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Don't get me wrong Moon Lake, if you're just getting a wheeler for towing purposes and to dink around with, I would go solid axle.  If you intend on doing trail riding and longer rides I would consider independent suspension.  Solid axle's definitely are a little rougher ride for pleasure activities, that's where our Polaris shines.  The Honda is a true workhorse. 

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15 minutes ago, YettiStyle said:

Don't get me wrong Moon Lake, if you're just getting a wheeler for towing purposes and to dink around with, I would go solid axle.  If you intend on doing trail riding and longer rides I would consider independent suspension.  Solid axle's definitely are a little rougher ride for pleasure activities, that's where our Polaris shines.  The Honda is a true workhorse. 

Probably next to 0 trail riding aside from quick rides around the gravel road at the cabin in the summer.  less than 1/4 mile.

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I agree on getting a solid rear axel as well. As for size, 500cc is plenty. Honda make a very nice FM500TRX that has a bullet proof engine, easy maintenance, and is a manual which is great for the extra power in low gears....all that said, "if" you ever decide to trail ride, it's rough but tolerable.

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I run a 04 Honda Ricon 650.  Its a stump puller.  Its a bigger machine than most but rides very nice and has a lot of power.  Only thing I don't like is its cold blooded and takes time to warm up but I think thats the way Hondas are.  Manual or auto 3 speed, Independent rear axles and suspension.  I think book value is around $2200 now.  Mine was $6400 new.

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I love Polaris independent susp., but it will kill you when loading on the hitch. Get yourself one of these and you'll be happy! I know I am!

IMG_2043[1].JPG

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ill say it most cases while pulling on the ice you will run out of traction before you run out of power. Chain and studded tires will help more than a more powerful motor. 

 

Buy a machine you can afford and get it setup for ice fishing.

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I've got a 05 450 Yamaha and does the trick.  I run chains on the rear, its got Independant rear suspension, hi & lo automatic transmission and a front differential lock so all 4 can pull.

 

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Honda 450, chains on all 4, no tow ski.  It'll go through a surprising amount of snow.  Momentum is your friend in drifted conditions.  There are only two issues with this setup.  

-Things get hairy VERY quickly going down a steep access ramp with Honda's crappy brakes.  You'll only make that mistake once!   

-Getting the house moving if you've banked around the wheels can take some rocking.  Last year we figured out that starting with the wheeler turned (rather than trying to tow straight ahead) pivots one side of the house off the banking, and you'll have no problems getting going.  IMG_5117.JPG

 

 

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I use a 1992 Yamaha 350.  Diamond studed chains on the back.  Agree that going down ramps can be hairy!!

IMG_3183.JPG

Then there was a time two years ago where we needed to get the heavy equipment out.  2 feet of snow on top of 6 inches of slush.

IMG_3532.JPG

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