TS (JulAug15) - Lift Kits

By: Matt Vallez
This article originally ran January/February 2014.

Today we will talk about lift kits, not just any lift kits but the new breed of lift kits known as the “Double A-Arm”. But first let’s go back in time to how this style of lift kit came to be. The first lift kits were simple axle lifts on E-Z-GO’s and “Z” bar lift kits used on Club Car (the one’s requiring the frames be cut in half). There were also many simple block lifts with U-bolts & blocks on both Yamaha and E-Z-GO golf cars sitting on many dealer lots around the country. Eventually we all became more sophisticated and Jake’s brought out the spindle lift kits for E-Z-GO, Club Car and Yamaha. This made installation a lot easier and you ended up with better results. A lifted car you could feel good about selling and with a solid modified suspension you felt good about selling to your grandmother.

Finally, the ultimate in lift kits came out just before the side-by-side UTV market took off. It is the long travel lift kit. These kits were a complete re-engineering of the front suspension, to be a true independent front suspension. These were most popular before the Razor and Rhino were available, these kits allowed golf cars to be used as dune buggies and for other off road purposes no one had tried before. The Double A-Arm kits are the little cousin to the long travel lift kits for golf cars. They have many similarities to the long travel kits without the cost.

The Double A-Arm design provides a rugged off-road, long travel look without the cost of a true long travel suspension. The double front leaf springs provide a more heavy duty suspension than the stock single leaf spring. This spring also provides a more stable ride. In addition the Double A-Arm design is not as wide as the spindle kit which allows for a tighter turning radius allowing you to maneuver the car better in tight areas. If you are starting with a car with well-worn suspension components the Double A-Arm lift kit is a better choice than a spindle lift because these kits come with new leaf springs, new upper and lower A-Arms, new spindles and all the bushings, basically replacing all worn out front suspension components. These are just a few things worth noting when considering a Double A-Arm kit over other types of lift kits.

Another consideration for these Double A-Arm kits is the reason we put lift kits on golf cars in the first place. The number one reason to lift a golf car is to fit that premium set of tires and wheels on the thing. The design of the sub-frame extends the wheelbase allowing for larger wheels/tires than the spindle kit. Where the 3″ spindle kits allow a 20 x 10 x 10 wheel/tire the 4″ Double A-Arm kits allow up to 23 x 10.5 x 12 wheel/tire. Where the 6″ spindle kit allows up to 22 x 11 x 10 (DS) & 23 x 10.5 x 12 (Precedent) the 6″ Double A-Arm kits allow up to 25 x 10.5 x 12 wheels/tires. In addition the upper and lower A-Arms use heim ends which allows the camber to be adjusted. This is very important with the different style wheels having different offsets. The adjustability of the A-Arms will allow the customer to achieve the alignment they desire.

Now that we are aware of the differences between Double A-Arm kits and other styles of lift kits, there is one more important point to make. Not all Double A-Arm kits are created equal. The Jake’s Double A-Arm kits come with the same Jake’s quality you have come to expect from Jake’s, a Nivel company. The spindles in a Jake’s Double A-Arm kit come with extra support gussets making them the strongest Double A-Arm kits available. So once again Nivel and Jake’s have what you need in the lift kit department covered. We have the spindle lifts with the ease of installation and now the best Double A-Arms on the market when you are looking for something with improved suspension and adjustability. We’ve got you covered.

ATG (JulAug15) - Bench Testing Solenoids

QUESTION: Can you tell me how to bench test solenoids?

GURU: You know, I guess that is something I should cover. It seems no matter how I write it; some people just do not get it. So maybe this is a better way to approach this. I think where people get confused is understanding how the solenoid is activated. So let’s simplify that a tad.

A solenoid, contactor, relay or whatever you want to call it is nothing more than an electrical on/off switch. When you flip your light switch on at your home that is a switch. A mechanical switch activated by physical force. When you turn a key switch on your automobile to the start position you are sending a voltage signal to the car’s solenoid. You are electrically activating a solenoid to start your car. Solenoids have all sorts of configurations, all sorts of voltages and sizes. But they all do the same thing they make and break an electrical circuit for a on or off mode.

In order to understand some basic things about bench testing let’s point out some of the major parts. Large terminal or lugs are used for heavy cable connections. Small terminals are used for solenoid activation. Footprint just means the size and shape of the mounting area or size. Inside the solenoid is a movable iron core. Inside is a wrapping of copper wires called a field. Hundreds of strands of wire make up a field. Usually, a solenoid based on application, will be a single pole - single throw or a single pole - double throw. This just means the number of contacts used between the large terminals or lugs. Most common are a normally open set. Some have a set of normally open and a set of normally closed contacts.

How the contacts make and break are based on the voltage being applied to the small terminals. That voltage passes through the fields creating a magnetic field. This magnetic field pulls the iron core downwards or upwards depending on manufacturer. This movement pulls the contacts together and causes voltage and current to flow. Once voltage is removed the field collapses and the contacts open. Very simple and efficient way of an electric on/off switch.

Bench testing begins with knowing what the coil voltage is. Most common voltages are 6, 12, 24, 36 and 48 volts. Some voltages are dictated by what the voltage of the car is. Let’s say we have a solenoid rated at 36 volts. We could just connect the solenoid to 36 volts and see if it “clicks”. While in a “clicked” position you should read continuity across the large terminals or lugs. If not the contacts are worn out. What if the solenoid did not “click”? Usually, that means the solenoid coil is open. Either way you have a loss of contact or coil activation, the solenoid is defective.

You can also test the solenoid coil with a VOM (Volt, Ohmmeter). On a low scale ohms say 200 connect across the two small terminals. You should see some sort of value in terms of resistance. 55-60 Ohms or 180-190 ohms. The resistance value is based on manufacturer, iron core size, and voltage rating of the car system. I cannot tell you an exact resistance value because of that reason. I can only say you will read a very low resistance value. It takes very low current to activate a solenoid. Usually, on the side of a solenoid it shows the manufacturers name and model of the solenoid. You can go on-line and find the exact values. But the bottom line is; if you do not read a resistance across the two small terminals the coil is open.

Large and small terminals usually are not polarity sensitive unless a diode is used between the two small terminals. For resistance values remove the diode. Sometimes you will see a resistor across the large terminals. Remove the resistor for testing.

If no problems are seen with the bench testing the problem is in the car.

CS (Jul/Aug15) - Nivel Parts

gcn-julaug15-fcNIVEL NOW OFFERS A SPECTRUM OF COLORS ON THEIR MOST POPULAR WHEELS

Nivel Parts, the world’s largest supplier of aftermarket parts and accessories for golf cars has added NEW colored wheels to their product line.

These wheels are available in 14″, 12″, and 10″ sizes with finishes of; gloss black with blue accent, gloss black with champagne accent, gloss black with red accent, gloss white with black accent, gloss white with blue accent and matte red with machined accent. Available in Storm Trooper, Tempest and Vampire styles.

Now there’s no better way to stylize your golf car than by pairing a set of our colored wheels with your favorite low profile or off-road tires. For more information visit www.nivelparts.com.

Industry News - July/August 2015

COLUMBIA PARCAR PURCHASES CERTAIN TOMBERLIN ASSETS

Columbia ParCar Custom Carts, Inc. announced today, an agreement to purchase certain assets of Tomberlin Automotive Group, Inc. Tomberlin is a recognized leader and manufacturer in the electric vehicle market with distribution throughout the United States and approximately 30 countries generating over 70 million in sales since 2007.

“The acquisition of Tomberlin enables Columbia ParCar to market additional vehicles and distribution worldwide, creating a larger and more agile sales and service network. This positions Columbia to be the leader in the Electric Powered Low Speed Vehicle (LSV) and Passenger Transport Vehicle (PTV) markets. This further leverages the considerable investment we have made manufacturing and distributing pure electric vehicles for the widest array of applications” said Todd Sauey, Chairman of Columbia ParCar.

“The combined product portfolios across multiple commercial and consumer based platforms will create the world’s leading privately held EV company and a very compelling message for our Dealers, Distributors and Consumers. The result will blend product innovation with superb branding into our heritage of customer care that dates back to 1946. A winning combination in any strategic initiative” said Scott Breckley, President of Columbia ParCar.

“We’re at the center of an exciting trend in a fast paced industry that this acquisition will capitalize on. Our teams are enthusiastic and while much work remains, the future is bright. Assets are being deployed to assure we have a professional and prudent roll out that meets the standards Columbia ParCar and the Nordic Group have delivered for decades. Our advisory group played a key role led by Marc Borrelli, Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. We’ll be in regular communication with our channel partners, suppliers and technology alliances regarding this outstanding opportunity. ” said Michael Tomberlin.

The agreement anticipates closing within the next 45 days subject to final approvals and certifications. Integration teams are working on exchanging information and developing robust market launches of new Dealer offerings and expanded parts & accessories programs. Until this transaction closes, the companies will maintain their separate business operations. No other details will be publicly available until closed.

For more information visit www.parcar.com.

CLUB CAR OFFERS NEW ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY SOLAR DRIVE CHARGING PANELS FOR ELECTRIC PRECEDENT, CARRYALL AND VILLAGER

Owners of 48-volt electric Club Car Precedent golf cars, Carryall utility vehicles and Villager LSVs can now capture, store and use solar power with the addition of Club Car’s new 100-watt Solar Drive Charging Panel Assembly.

“As the world’s largest manufacturer of small four-wheel electric vehicles, Club Car is offering this new accessory to help our consumer, golf and commercial customers decrease grid charging and increase range on these vehicles,” says Randall Crook, Club Car’s interim aftermarket marketing manager.

As a yearly average, the system generates 29 percent of the total energy required to drive eight miles per day in West Palm Beach, Fla. That reduces the energy needed to recharge the battery by 29 percent. Results may vary depending on area and usage. By continually transferring energy to the batteries, the panels limit how deep into the battery reserve a vehicle must go during a typical use.

Best-in-class Material, Performance and Technology: These high-quality panels are based on technology developed for the U.S. Marine Corps, which uses it to run communications equipment in the Middle East.

The panels are made in the United States of a lightweight, impact-resistant, photo-voltaic material with a Teflon-like coating that protects the cells. Measuring 40″ x 26″, the panels fit snuggly on the canopies or cabs of Precedent golf cars, Carryall utility vehicles and Villager LSVs. They weigh less than six pounds and are just .20 inches thick. Most solar panels are made in China, framed in tempered glass and weigh approximately 24 pounds, creating drag on the vehicle and limiting the benefits. What’s more, service and warranty issues can be a big problem with panels made abroad.

“The Club Car panels are designed with advanced power-harvesting technology that optimizes solar power during various weather conditions and rapidly converts it into electricity to recharge the batteries and power vehicles,” says Crook. “The system also features an intelligent microprocessor that allows a higher rate of charge and reduces charge time, without overheating.”

The panels come complete with a controller, connector to the vehicle’s power supply, all necessary hardware and installation instructions. They can be user- or dealer-installed in about 20 minutes.

In addition to the standard 100-watt panel for the above-mentioned vehicles, Club Car can configure solar panels for other types of vehicles through its Custom Solutions Department.

For more information visit www.clubcar.com.

YAMAHA NAMES TIM O’CONNOR DIVISION MANAGER OF DISTRIBUTOR SALES & MARKETING

Yamaha Golf-Car Company has named 25-year golf and manufacturing industry veteran Tim O’Connor as division manager of distributor sales and marketing, according to Yamaha President Tom McDonald.

In his new role, O’Connor will head up marketing efforts for the golf car division of Yamaha in North America. He will oversee three regional managers, while leading the effort to broaden Yamaha’s market share through 24 distribution partners in the United State and Canada.

O’Connor got his first taste of the golf industry in 1989 through positions in golf course maintenance and operations at the Oak Bridge Club at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl. With a career in golf in his sites, he then enrolled in the PGA Golf Management Program at Mississippi State University, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing in 1995.

After college, O’Connor worked as an assistant golf professional at several courses in the Carolinas. A gifted teacher, he then ascended to a golf instructor position at the Arnold Palmer Golf Academy at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa in 1997. He subsequently moved to the Palmer Academy at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, while also earning the rank of Master Golf Teaching Professional.

In 2000, O’Connor transitioned from golf into manufacturing and sales in Silicon Valley for a technology manufacturing company. He subsequently returned home to Atlanta and started a sales development and marketing consulting company that supported several national manufacturing brands.

In 2009, he became chief operating officer for Dang Chicks, a successful apparel and home décor company he co-founded with his wife, Stephanie. Dang Chicks has grown to 3,000 independent retailers across North America and Australia.

O’Connor most recently was director of sales and marketing for Southern Ground, a family of entertainment and manufacturing companies owned by Grammy Award-winning country artist Zack Brown.

Said McDonald, “We’re thrilled to have Tim as part of the Yamaha family. His passion for the golf industry and diverse background in marketing and sales will open new avenues for broadening the Yamaha Golf Car brand.”

For more information about Yamaha Golf-Car Company, call 770-254-4154 or visit online at www.yamahagolfcar.com.

CLUB CAR IMPROVES THE HUNTING EXPERIENCE WITH NEW LIMITED SLIP DIFFERENTIALS FOR XRT™800 AND XRT850 UTILITY VEHICLES

Utility vehicles used in hunting or work applications often cover wet, hilly and rough terrain. But this can cause problems with traction and steering for many two-wheel drive models. It can also damage lawns when the vehicles are used on grass.

That’s not the case with Club Car’s new XRT800 and XRT850 utility vehicles. They are available from the factory with an optional automatic limited slip differential. Further, they feature quiet overhead cam engines with electronic fuel injection, something rarely found in compact UTVs.

“Our innovative differential improves hill-climbing ability, traction and control, especially in the woods, rough terrain or wet weather,” says Consumer Marketing Manager Mary A. Sicard. “Add all-terrain tires and you’ve got a lifted vehicle with improved performance that can operate in areas that are inaccessible with open differentials.”

The automotive-style limited slip differential operates differently, and more effectively, than either locking or open differentials. Vehicles with locking differentials lock up completely and damage turf. They can also lock at the wrong times. What’s more, manual locking differentials require operators to pull a lever and lock the differential. “Yet you get stuck before you realize it,” Sicard says.

Open differentials, on the other hand, are simpler in design and function than limited slip differentials. But when these vehicles get stuck, the power is transferred to the tire with the least traction, so the tire just keeps spinning. “Our limited slip differential delivers true on-demand traction, without the driver having to manipulate locks or fight a steering wheel with a mind of its own,” says Sicard. When driving in a straight line, the system operates like a locking differential. Both tires are receiving power for maximum traction. But once you start turning, the internal clutches allow the tires to turn at different speeds, so the driver maintains control of steering.

“With this system, you can wind your way around trees, across gullies, through mud and over pine straw, logs and other debris,” Sicard says. The system was engineered and tuned to work both on turf and off-road. It locks and unlocks in a fraction of a second.

“Since the XRT 800 and XRT 850 are mid- or rear-engine vehicles, most of the weight is on the rear tires. That means the back tires get more ‘bite,’ so they climb hills with ease. Having weight in the back of the vehicle – like a big buck – only increases this,” Sicard says. Visit www.clubcar.com for complete information.

TROJAN BATTERY EXPANDS DISTRIBUTION IN MICHIGAN AND OHIO WITH THE ADDITION OF ENERGY PRODUCTS

Trojan Battery Co. LLC has added Energy Products as a master distributor, expanding its distribution network in the U.S. Energy Products will work alongside Trojan’s current master distributor WorldWide Battery Co., LLC to manage customer sales and support activities in Michigan and Ohio.

Serving as a master distributor for Trojan Battery ensures that customers in the region will have access to Trojan’s broad portfolio of deep-cycle battery products, and will benefit from the support of Energy Products’ knowledgeable team of experts. Energy Products offers Trojan’s complete line of deep-cycle flooded, AGM and gel batteries, to support Trojan’s key market segments, which include aerial work platform, floor cleaning equipment, golf and utility vehicles, marine/RV, material handling, and renewable energy.

“Expanding Trojan’s distribution network with the addition of Energy Products, enables us to readily meet customer demands in the region for deep-cycle batteries to power a variety of applications,” said Dave Godber, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “Energy Products also will provide the high level of service our customers have come to expect from Trojan Battery.”

For more information visit www.trojanbattery.com.

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