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Elka Shocks on Wildcat

2015 Arctic Cat Wildcat Limited with Elka Stage 5 Shocks

A client came to me about rebuilding his Elka Stage 5 shocks on his Wildcat,

and I was eager to take on this project. If nothing else, it got my curiosity going about these style shocks.

What I did find was a lack of information about the Elka shocks, and very limited specifications on the internal settings and rebuild process including:

  • IFP Measurement Setting
  • IFP Removal Tool
  • Complete rebuild instructions
  • Seal head removal tool

When I am rebuilding shocks, it is a habit of mine to have the service manual right in front of me. If you own any of the service manuals for most of your name brand UTV’s, you will find they usually have a full shock rebuild section that is thorough and illustrated.

But the Wildcat Limited with the Elka shocks seems to be one of the exceptions. I own the service manual for the Wildcat, but most wildcats came out with Fox shocks, and again it has the complete shock rebuild process and specs. It does show the limited edition and has information on how to take off the springs and adjustments for the Elka shocks, but that is all.

After getting online I only found one video of the rebuild process. It was not what you would call a quality video and did not go into any details on any of the important specifications.

You first find no way to get the IFP valve out of the cylinder other than pushing the shock shaft all the way down and blowing it out the end. After looking at it, there is a small threaded hole that a long screw can be threaded into it. So, off to the bolt center to find my first tool – Accomplished!

Elka Stage 5 ready for rebuild

Elka Stage 5 ready for rebuild

 

Elka Stage 5 Shocks

Elka Stage 5 Shocks

 

Then get the shock shaft out and turned down to get ready to replace the seals. This is when I find out the end of the seal head is a threaded piece that needs to be unscrewed to expose the seals and be able to replace them.

Let’s go watch the only video one more time, and see how they are removing this cap. Of course, theirs unscrews with no resistance what so ever, and the Elka shocks I’m working on will not budge.

Next, a trip to my friend’s shop to have him help me figure out how I am going to get these end caps apart. After a while of trying different ways, he decides the only way they are coming out is to make a tool that can get into the endpin areas and have enough leverage to unscrew them off.  When they finally break loose, that made me happy.

Eventually, I have the tools and all the parts necessary to finish rebuilding the Elka Stage 5 shocks. Everything went well, and I have to say, I am almost jealous of these shocks with all the adjustments you can change on them including:

  • High-Speed Compression
  • Low-Speed Compression
  • Rebound Setting

When rebuilding the Elka shocks you can see and feel the quality of these shocks, especially in the adjustment knobs and the quality Heim joint rod ends. They come with dual-rate springs and collars for a true dual rate system. I measured all the spring ratings and that looks to me like the biggest downfall of these shock/spring combinations.

The table has the springs on how they are from the factory. The rears might as well be one spring because the rates are so close to each other there would be no difference once the lower spring came into play.  Also, I have never been a fan of a high rate front 4” tender spring.

 Total Weight
1681 lbs
 
Left front
900lb Tender spring
200lb Lower spring
Front Weight 43%
Right Front
900lb Tender spring
200lb Lower spring
Left Rear
410lb Upper spring
440lb Lower spring
Rear Weight 57% Right Rear
410lb Upper spring
425lb Lower spring

But you can always change the springs out for a better ride to match the style of riding you do.

If you own these shocks and are not constantly changing adjustments and spring collars, you will be simply missing out on what these shocks are capable of. So, please learn why and how you would adjust these shocks for the different rides you go on. I believe there is a lot of change that can be tailored to your liking.

Once you rebuild your shocks and have all new seals and fluid, they are as good as new. This is why it is so important to rebuild your shocks according to manufacturer recommendations.

They can outlast the UTV they came on.

So, if you own one of these UTV’s that came with the Elka shocks, I hope you realize what a quality shock you have and make sure you get the most out of them.

Until we ride again.