One Bad to the Bone LTR
Dave Barton's GNCC Suzuki LTR450 QuadRacer
November 29, 2010
By Dave Barton
I chose this particular quad to build for a few reasons. Besides loving the look and roomy ride that the Suzuki offers, my main sponsor Greg McNemar (Greg's ATV and Cycle) is a wiz with Suzuki's LTR machines from the motors to the suspension. I also got a good approval from Hans Luenger (HMF). Hans was confident that I would like the Suzuki just as much if not better than my Honda, and he was sure I would love the exhaust he had for it. Lastly Tom Skladzien (ATV Four Play) gave me the thumbs up on switching to the Suzuki. He had a set of A-arms, a stem and soft bars all ready to bolt on to the Suzuki. I have been working with these guys for a few years now not only are they great sponsors, but great friends. They are the reason I won my first class championship last year in the GNCC and continue to race today.
Some people ask why would I give up a perfectly good TRX450R, especially after winning a national championship on it, to the switch to the Suzuki? Well as I said above I didn't go blindly into this. Greg, Hans and Tom said that I would be pleasantly surprised. Plus to be honest I was getting a little bored with my Honda and needed something different to relight the fire.
For the build I mainly relied on my sponsors but included a few other components from some new companies that I've have been wanting to work with. As I go over the build I will be honest and point out likes and dislikes. In other words, like my personality, I'll say it like it is.
I left the frame pretty much untouched except we did weld three gussets in a few spots that have been known be a little weak. With some help from a good friend Glen McConnell we took care of the frame strengthening phase within a few hours. Gussets were added to the footpeg area as well as between the lower A-arms to join the lower frame rails. This added strength is nice insurance in case of a collision with a tree.
Powder coating the frame was left to the only person who I trust and that is RH Cox from Capital Powder Coating in Suffield, OH. We went with a royal blue with what RH describes as shattered glass overlay. In the sun it pops with all kinds of color in the flake, I think it was a great choice. It's not overwhelming but still lets you know there’s something custom going on with the quad.
I saved some money and purchased a well-used 2007 machine so a complete tear down and inspection of the engine's bottom end was deemed necessary. Lucky for me I had the best engine guy in the business by my side in Greg McNemar of Greg's ATV and Cycle. Of the many engines Greg has played with the LTR is probably his favorite.
The complete dis-assembly revealed a very tired looking crankshaft, a warn cam chain, a fatigued looking cylinder, sloppy intake valves and third gear showed visible wear in the tranny. The crankshaft was rebuilt with updated OEM Suzuki parts from the 2008 LTR450. The updated connecting rod utilizes a bronze bushing in the small end to increase reliability. Third gear was replaced, as well as the shift forks. The cases were flattened on a surface plate to ensure a quality seal. The bottom end was then blueprinted and reassembled using OEM Suzuki Parts including a new cam chain and gasket set. While we were waiting on the Nikasil re-plated OEM cylinder to return from Powerseal USA, we decided to finish up the cylinder head.
The former owner was running heavy stainless steel intake valves with OEM valve springs, which are meant for much lighter titanium valves. The result of this improper setup was severely worn valve seats from the heavy valves bouncing off the seat erratically. We replaced the intake valves with OEM titanium valves and also replaced the valve springs and valve seals. The valve seats were resurfaced with a three angle grind on the intake side and a radius cut on the exhaust side. Flow-bench testing revealed that we could improve flow with very little effort. Greg performed what he calls his mild motocross port on the cylinder head and followed that up with a final flow-bench test. He was able to gain a healthy 10% flow. Once the Re-plated cylinder arrived from the folks at Powerseal, the top end was assembled using a 13:1 CP Forged Shelf Piston. Greg installed one of their billet intake camshafts at a 107 degree lobe center for increased bottom end.
A Barnett clutch basket with a Rekluse Pro automatic clutch finished up our engine mods. I have used Rekluse products for many years. The Rekluse clutch system is almost like cheating if you ask me. For those of you who run one you know what I mean. The Rekluse clutch system is basically a bulletproof weapon that allows you to tackle technical terrain with both hands firmly on the bars and no worries of needing to feather the clutch to get at your powerband. There's no slip or loss of power and you can constantly put superior traction to the ground which allows you to ride harder, faster and longer. Rekluse doesn't cut any corners either. Nothing but hi performance billet parts are used for superior durability and oil flow. Plus, if needed, you can squeeze the lever at any RPM for a full manual override. All this is great but my favorite part is the ability to quickly hop off the quad and get it unstuck without trying to find neutral. All in all the Rekluse Z-Start Pro Clutch System is an amazing revolutionary product to say the least, and so is my freshened up LTR engine. Let me tell you this baby packs a mean-mean punch!