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Gator Slayer

Honda Rancher

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Looking at a new ATV, mostly I want it to tow a fish house (~2000 lbs) and my portable for early ice. The tag on the rancher (2006) I looked at says max tongue weight of 30 lbs. I think the polaris I looked at said tongue weight of 75 lbs. Now most guys I've talked to said a straight axle will tow better than a IRS. What gives? Is the attachment the "weak point"? Also thinking of waiting for a 2007 as it appears to be an improved unit. Anyone using a rancher for a tow vehicle?

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Strait axles make better tow atv's because the IRS squats so bad when you hook up anything heavy. Having your suspension bottomed out(or nearly) is very poor for performance while trailering that load..and could be very hard on the machine. Dont get me wrong, you can still damage a strait axle machine by hauling too much weight.. but its far less likely. The rear tires take most of the extra stress if your load(tongue weight) is half way within reason.

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I own a 2004 350 Rancher ES. It is a great machine but there is no way I would consider pulling that kind of weight with it. I have pulled a thousand pounds with it on dry land with a trailer but personally feel thats about all the strain I'm willing to put on it.

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I have a Foreman, and it's a workhorse of all trades. I've launched big boats in the 3K range, hauled unbelieveable loads in all sorts of terrain with ease. If I couldn't go over 30lbs of tongue weight, and other lower towing restrictions I'd buy a lawn tractor instead. lol

With the fishhouse, my only concern would be traction. I've seen many four wheeler haul big fishhouses, but snow is the big issue.

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My concern with over-loading will always be braking... That's why I have never launched a boat with mine. On the other-hand, my neighbor launched my 24ft pontoon with his Mule.

I bought a straight axle specifically for this reason (hauling my heavy gear).

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With IRS you aren't putting weight on the CV shafts, you're putting the weight on the shocks, frame, and a-arms. With a solid axle atv the weight goes onto the axle. The rancher 350 is a good entry level machine but if you're looking to haul big trailers I'd get a bigger machine, something with low range would work very well compared to the rancher. Also, the rancher, like any honda, has fairly poor brakes compared to the other manufacturers.

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With IRS you aren't putting weight on the CV shafts, you're putting the weight on the shocks, frame, and a-arms. With a solid axle atv the weight goes onto the axle.


True, but technically speaking the weight ends up at the same place on both. That place being where the wheel bearings meet the axles on either machine. With equal loads, each axle whether straight or CV will have the same "weight" on them. The difference is the hitch weight is "unsprung" on a straight axle machine, whereas on an independent suspension machine it is "sprung" weight. Ultimately, the same amount of weight is going to end up at the same place, where the axle meets the bearing. That being said, a straight axle is preferable for towing because it won't squat the suspension which changes the axle shaft angles, which can cause more strain on the cv joints and change handling characteristics adversely.

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True, but technically speaking the weight ends up at the same place on both. That place being where the wheel bearings meet the axles on either machine. With equal loads, each axle whether straight or CV will have the same "weight" on them. The difference is the hitch weight is "unsprung" on a straight axle machine, whereas on an independent suspension machine it is "sprung" weight. Ultimately, the same amount of weight is going to end up at the same place, where the axle meets the bearing. That being said, a straight axle is preferable for towing because it won't squat the suspension which changes the axle shaft angles, which can cause more strain on the cv joints and change handling characteristics adversely.


The less angle that a CV shaft runs at the stronger it is. There's no reason to ever tow something fast enough that you need to worry about how the machine will handle. There is no weight being put on CV shafts while towing. The weight goes into the hubs and frame. When you put weight on a strait axle atv you're putting the weight right onto the axle tube and axle shaft. I'm not saying one is better than the other I'm just saying that an IRS atv is no less capable of towing than a strait axle atv. The camper me and my friend have for ice fishing has well over 100lbs of tough weight and either of the polaris sportsmans I used to have pulled it no problem without to much squat. If you look at any atv sled pulls an IRS machine always wins.

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The less angle that a CV shaft runs at the stronger it is.


That's true! Because it then becomes more like a straight axle. But, CV axles have more moving parts (that can wear out) than a straight axle which has none. In over 30 years of being a mechanic I've replaced countless CV style axles that were either worn out or broken at the joint. This is on all types of vehicles not just ATVs. In that same time frame I've done far fewer straight axles. Most were simply damaged by a bad bearing, not wear, and only a few were actually broken.

Quote:

There's no reason to ever tow something fast enough that you need to worry about how the machine will handle.


No matter what speed you tow, handling means everything. At any speed, if your hitch is mounted in a sprung location, it can take weight off the front wheels especially when you accelerate. Thats not the case with a straight axle. Put all the weight you want on it and it will affect the front end very little if at all.

Quote:

There is no weight being put on CV shafts while towing. The weight goes into the hubs and frame.


Incorrect. The stub shaft (part of the CV axle) that splines into the wheel flange is subject to the identical loads as would be a straight axle (assuming the ATVs weigh the same). What I'm saying is the end result is the same on either. The weight, whether sprung or unsprung, is tranfered to, and ultimately supported at the point where the axle and bearing surface meet. It just gets there by a different route. Its also true that when you put weight on a straight axle atv you're putting the weight right onto the axle tube, but it doesnt result in any different amount of weight on the axle itself than it would on an IRS machine.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that an IRS atv is less capable, just that it affects them much differently than it does a straight axle. When an IRS machine squats it generally takes weight off the front wheels causing lighter steering. Putting an equal amount of weight on the hitch of a straight axle machine will result in little or no change to the front end weight. Also, when pulling a trailer with an IRS machine if you put additional weight on the rack it will exascerbate the condition leaving less suspension to support the rider, possible passenger and gear on the rear rack. On a straight axle machine even when pulling a trailer you will still have the full suspension available for those extras.

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And if you put 100lbs of tongue weight on a wheeler with IRS, it is gonna squat alot!

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[quote

Incorrect. The stub shaft (part of the CV axle) that splines into the wheel flange is subject to the identical loads as would be a straight axle (assuming the ATVs weigh the same). What I'm saying is the end result is the same on either. The weight, whether sprung or unsprung, is tranfered to, and ultimately supported at the point where the axle and bearing surface meet. It just gets there by a different route. Its also true that when you put weight on a straight axle atv you're putting the weight right onto the axle tube, but it doesnt result in any different amount of weight on the axle itself than it would on an IRS machine.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that an IRS atv is less capable, just that it affects them much differently than it does a straight axle. When an IRS machine squats it generally takes weight off the front wheels causing lighter steering. Putting an equal amount of weight on the hitch of a straight axle machine will result in little or no change to the front end weight. Also, when pulling a trailer with an IRS machine if you put additional weight on the rack it will exascerbate the condition leaving less suspension to support the rider, possible passenger and gear on the rear rack. On a straight axle machine even when pulling a trailer you will still have the full suspension available for those extras.


Yes I guess the weight goes into the stub shaft, but that is the only location that a CV shaft recieves weight. The axle shaft in a strait axle does recieve weight from a load though. No matter how slightly, you are bending the axle tube if you put weight on it and that transfers to the axle shaft. This is more noticable on an atv than a truck since the atv hitch is right on the axle tube. I've replaced my share of cv shafts in my lifted trucks and on my atvs[never broke an atv one, just ripped boots] though.

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