ATV, UTV & 3-wheeler advice

— By Winston “Boss” McKannick —


Dear Boss,
I am wanting a “modern” three-wheeler. I have looked at the kits where you can convert a dirt bike to a three-wheel- er, but I was wondering, can you go the other way? Say, take a Honda 400EX four-wheeler and make it a three-wheeler? Which do you think is easier, better or just more practical?

Clyde Forman
Dallas, NC

Well, it is easier to convert a two-wheeler to a three-wheeler mainly because there are kits available. Better? That is debatable. I kind of like the idea of a 400EX electric-start three-wheeler. There are two routes to that end. One is to stuff a 400EX engine in a 350X chassis. It has been done. The other is to cut the front end off a 400EX and graft on a 350X front end. That has been done also. Practical? Well, probably as practical as any home- made machine. You certainly will need a decent shop and welding/fabricating skills, but I always enjoyed building my own machines. You get satisfaction blow- ing away a factory machine on one that you created in your own garage.

Dear Boss,

I have an ’11 RZR 900, and the trails I ride are getting to the point where I am high-centering. I thought about a mild 2–3-inch lift and larger tires. My riding buddies are trying to dissuade me from purchasing a lift kit because they say it breaks axles. I kind of believe them, but not enough to stop thinking about the lift kit and the problems it would solve for me. So, I am turning to you, Boss. What is the straight skinny on lift kits? Do they break axles or not?

Dennis Countryman
Cooper Valley, TX

Well, son, your riding buddies are both right and wrong. Most lift kits are installed with the addition of larger,
more aggressive tires. It is these larger, more aggressive tires that put the most increased strain on the axles and CV joints. If you just install the lift kit, there will only be a slight strain on the CV joints at the extremes of the travel. Twisting an axle is a feature of horsepow- er. Exploding a cage is a feature of the lift kit. Now if you are smart, you would also consider aftermarket heavy-duty axles like SuperATV, thus allowing you to go with more aggressive and larger tires.

Dear Boss,

We have a 2006 Yamaha Rhino 450 that we use for work around camp. Over the years it has hauled cut-up wood, dragged logs, carried elk and many bow hunters to their favorite spots. My dealer has been pestering me every time I am in for service to install the 2-inch rear spacers and remove the rear sway bar from the CPSC recall. However, I find the Rhino to be very stable for the riding I do, and it is already scraping by as far as width goes for the trails I ride or make for hunting. And, I am undecided if I want to have them remove the rear sway bar, because there obviously was a reason it was placed on the machine in the first place.

Dean Anderson
Liberty, Utah

Well, if you are scraping the sides of the UTV now, then adding 4 inches to the rear will definitely be a problem. I cannot legally tell you not to, due to the Federal Safety Recall, but if your Rhino can’t fit down the trails, then it’s because it sounds to me like most of your driving is sub-15 mph on tight trails. In that case, I can suggest it might be beneficial to not install the spacers. And because of the slow speeds and tight conditions, I would suggest removing the rear sway bar. It will make the machine use more rear suspension travel for a smoother ride. But it will be more squirrelly at speed in turns, which I doubt you experience where you drive. You can test out the handling by removing the sway bar’s links, leaving it attached and go for a test ride.


Dear Boss,

I really want a “knarly”-looking (SP) bumper for my XP 570, but there are so many. I kind of like the Pure Polaris unit, and I know that it will fit if it is Pure Polaris. Do you have a preference?

Charlie Bockman
Harlan, KY “Knarly”

Eh, okay, so you prefer looks over function? I’m sure those Kentucky trees are very soft and forgiving! Seriously, in my opinion, the Pure Polaris unit is more of a brush guard than a true bumper. In fact, their own advertising states it is merely a brush guard. The way most 570 bumpers (or brush guards) are built is, they rely on the factory upper mounting point, which is also the radiator mount plate. See anything wrong with that? I would suggest looking at an RT Pro bumper that mounts directly to the frame, bypassing the weak radiator mount. See here: model/rzr-570/rzr-fb3-rigid-mount-front- bumper-new.html. Note the lower section is a crumple zone and can be replaced if needed. It is not a bolt-on unit, though. You must be able to drill four holes and have a 25/32-inch bit. I think this unit will serve you nicely because these are the old Racer Tech people, so they might know a thing or two about crashes! ❏


Send your questions to Dirt Wheels “Dialed In,” P.O. Box 957, Valencia, CA 91380-9057. E-mail us at [email protected], and include your name, city and state. Also, make sure you see Boss McKannick’s advice every month in Dirt Wheels magazine on the DIALED IN page.


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