Finally, a path to better suspension By the staff of Dirt Wheels
Regular Dirt Wheels readers will remember that we built a modified Polaris Ace 570 for the August 2016 issue. The Ace has the security of a UTV but the size to go almost anywhere. For our project we wanted to take our Ace 570 from a good trail machine to one we could push harder. We accomplished that goal with bolt-on parts.
As happy as we are with our modified machine in many respects, we ended that project still looking for better suspension. We had installed stiffer FCR springs that certainly aided bottoming resistance, but sacrificed some slow-speed comfort and suspension flex for rock crawling. When we heard that Teixeira Tech and CT Racing were teaming up to build an Ace 570 with all-new Walker Evans suspension, we loaded up our machine to conduct a head-to-head showdown with the Walker Evans-equipped Ace.
HANDLING AND CONTROL
The weak link on the stock Ace is the suspension. Without having massive wheel travel, it’s easy to push the suspension beyond its limits. We had the stock shocks re-sprung on our last project, and while certainly an improvement, we knew there was more to be gained. The Walker Evans shocks are a massive improvement and arguably the star of the Teixeira/CT project machine. These shocks are sprung correctly and valved much better than stock. The rear shocks are compression-adjustable, and both shocks can be serviced or even re-valved for extreme duty. Compared to our project with just springs, we could push the Walker Evans-equipped car significantly harder than our project machine. The suspension stays up in the travel, offering a much plusher ride. You feel a lot less abrupt jarring through the seat and wheel, and that allows you to carry a lot more speed over rough terrain.
MORE SUSPENSION UPGRADES
Teixeira Tech builds some very popular A-arms for cross-country applications for both quads and UTVs. Teixeira/CT started the project with Teixeira’s XGC lower A-arms constructed with quality 4130 chromoly. They are TIG-welded in a precision-built jig, making them basically indestructible. The Ace has limited ground clearance, so changing out the arms makes a significant difference in how you can glide over rocks and ruts. The Teixeira arms use the stock ball joint, but Teixeira imports significantly stronger Frap ball joints from Italy. Frap ball joints press in from the back side and then have a clip retaining them. That way a built-in shoulder accepts the load. The stock ball joints press in from the front side, and the retaining clip is what holds them in position. Teixeira Tech also builds an A-arm brace that stiffens up the frame, and that was slipped on. The brace doesn’t cost much and adds a lot of strength.
PROTECTION & SAFETY
Teixeira built the Ace roll cage and roof as well. The Teixeira cage looked great, but we had an issue with it. The cage was fine with the stock seat, but when Teixeira/CT installed a Pro Armor suspension seat, it lost too much headroom, so learn from them. Teixeira will build the cage taller on request, or you can use a seat that doesn’t hog so much room. Teixeira/CT already had the G2 Pro Armor seats from a RZR build and have always liked them for comfort, so they just threw one in. Pro Armor may even offer a lower profile seat. Just make sure you allow for headroom on your build.
Teixeira/CT acquired some parts from the Pure Polaris line. They went with Polaris sport doors, and also added lower door extensions. They stuck on some of the sport door graphics while working on it. Teixeira made sure the cage fit those doors, and they open and close very well. They also grabbed up Pure Polaris’ low-profile line of bumpers. They have a very good price point and look great. The front has mounts built in for attaching lights. Teixeira powdercoated them so they matched the roof and arms.
While clamping on some cool parts, Walker Evans wanted to add some horsepower via a Big Gun exhaust system. Not only did the Big Gun EVO U-series slip-on exhaust add horsepower, it added a nice note—though louder than we like. The Ace comes delivered on the lean side to meet emissions. Adding the exhaust magnifies the issue and makes it too lean. The Big Gun exhaust comes with a TFI Power Box Fuel Management system. Teixeira/CT slapped the machine on CT Racing’s dyno just to check the fuel tune. They ended up running the medium and high settings on maximum fuel to attain maximum horsepower.
RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD
The Teixeira/CT car had a great-looking STI tire and wheel combo. With our build we went with a short-course tire and wheel combo, staying with a lower-profile tire. Teixeira/CT went with a more aggressive tire with added diameter for more ground clearance. The larger diameter was certainly noticeable in performance—or lack of. With the added diameter making for taller gearing, you will notice the engine builds rpm more slowly. The clearance may certainly make it worthwhile in climbing ability.
We felt the STI wheel and tire combo would be much better in the mud and in East Coast trail ruts, but we are trying to remember who was president when we last saw mud in California. In dry conditions we much preferred the tire combo on our project.
To get as much out of the little 570 as possible with the taller tires, Teixeira/CT had EPI set up a clutch upgrade. The EPI clutch consists of springs and primary weight. What the clutching does on a CVT vehicle is control the rpm the motor is shifting to attain maximum performance.
Teixeira/CT picked up some LED lights from Outlaw LED, so they could mob it at night. They went with a 12-inch front and a couple of 4-inch lights on the A-pillars. The A-pillar lights are pointed out and down, helping light up turns so you can see down drop-offs.
We were more than happy how well our project car held up to the Teixeira/CT-modified machine in pilot accommodations and ergonomics. We felt like we hit a perfect tire size and type that worked better for SoCal conditions as well. There is no question, though, that Teixeira/CT hit a home run with the suspension. Travel remains the same, but you simply feel less of the trail abuse. The difference is immediately apparent. Compared to some other suspension setups, this one is pretty affordable. Add in the fact that the suspension can be rebuilt and the conversion is looking attractive.
We appreciated the added clearance from the new A-arms and the taller tires, but the trade wasn’t worth the taller gearing that resulted. Unfortunately, they would have noticed if we slipped the Walker Evans shocks and strut cartridges onto our machine. The level of quality in the construction is apparent. Just the ability to service the shocks is extremely important.
The combination of the Teixeira arms and the Walker Evans struts makes a huge difference in the suspension. It matters when you can’t stand.
Our comparison also reminded us that a machine needs to choose a direction and stick with it. Not using an Ace-specific seat made testing the Walker car a challenge for taller test pilots. Looking around that obvious problem area, the rest of the machine was most impressive. We applaud the efforts to build an Ace that can handle mud. We may not have much mud out here in the SoCal desert, but we know it is out there waiting for riders to play in. On the other hand, virtually every riding area has rough terrain. If you have an Ace and have bumps and rocks to hit, you want Walker Evans’ shocks and the Teixeira suspension parts. You just won’t know how bad you want them until you get to ride with them.
PARTS & CONTACTS
Teixeira Tech: www.teixeiratech.com
Teixeira Ace frame/A-arm brace $35
Teixeira ACE stock replacement XGC lower A-arms $345
Teixeira/Frap heavy duty ball joints $35/ea
Teixeira Ace powder coated cage w/aluminum roof $1695
Walker Evans: www.walkerevansracing.com
Front mono-tube strut $600 set
Rear shock set with reservoir $789
26x9R-14 Black Diamond tires $162.19/ea
14×7 4+3 4/156 HD6 Matte Black/mill-cut wheels $132.27/ea
Pro Armor: www.proarmor.com
Polaris sport doors $499.99
Polaris lower door extension $299.99
Polaris sport door graphics $29.99
Polaris low profile front bumper $179.99
Polaris low-profile rear bumper $139.99
Big Gun: www.biggunexhaust.com
EVO U-series slip-on $354.99
TFI Power Box $289.99