If you enjoy driving UTVs in deep mud, then no doubt big tires and perhaps a lift kit are part of your list of modifications. Well, both are a huge strain on your machine’s engine and drivetrain. It’s a struggle for any engine to turn the extra 50–60 pounds that each of the tires add, plus the weight of the extended axles and A-arms, and not to mention the added stress of the huge 1–2-inch tire lugs clawing at Mother Earth. High Lifter, one of the leading aftermarket parts suppliers, has seen this firsthand for decades and has now come up with a solution called the Gear Lift. Basically, the Gear Lift is a bolt-on gear reduction box that connects to the outer edge of your UTV’s A-arms or trailing arms and goes between the axle and wheel hub. The box itself has a number of built-in advantages. The first is that by reducing the gear ratio before the wheel, the engine can run at a higher rpm and turn the wheels at a range where the engine is producing more horsepower and torque.
It’s like using a real low gear in the transmission, but the engine won’t rev out as quickly. Another advantage is that it easily gives the vehicle more height and width. In fact, the Gear Lift will give an extra 3.5 inches of width and a full 4 inches of height just by bolting the units on.
The box itself is made of 6061 aluminum surrounding precision-cut, heat-treated, 4140 chromoly steel gears. The ratio is a 1:1.4 setup, which translates to like gaining 30 percent power at the wheels. The box is fully sealed from mud and water and is lubricated with standard transmission gear oil. The kit also comes with new aluminum wheel hubs and brake rotors. So far, the High Lifter Gear Lift is available for Polaris Ranger 800, Polaris Ranger 900, Polaris RZR 800, Polaris RZR 1000, Can-Am Commander 1000 and Can-Am Maverick 1000, with additional models coming in the future. Kits start at $3295 and can be purchased at www.highlifter.com or by calling (800) 699-0947.
GIVE ME A LIFT
Each Gear Lift takes a little under an hour to install, and the first side goes on a little slower than the second. Basically, the gearbox replaces your stock spindle and wheel hub. So, in most cases, you remove your spindle at the end of the A-arms by disconnecting them at the ball joints or pivot bolts. You will reuse all four of your stock axles. Some machines may require a little re-routing of brake lines, but should not require longer ones. The Maverick we tried the Gear Lift on did not. The Gear Lift is pretty much the same for every model, but it connects to a steel mounting plate that differs from machine to machine. The Gear Lift comes with its own brake caliper mounting bracket and spindle.
High Lifter supplies step-by-step photo instructions, so anyone can do the install at home. We suggest doing it home and not the day you want to ride; it’s a little more complicated than that. Other than the height benefits, we noticed the machine actually steers very close to the stock geometry and rides as smooth as stock. In the Can-Am Maverick we tested the Gear Lift on, you could tell the engine was running in a perfect rpm and the motor wasn’t straining, and more important, neither was the belt. Suspension action was predictable, and we were still able to pound bumps and drive like normal. The only change was getting used to the bigger tires and added height. Since there is added height and width, the machine does not become top-heavy. Top speed is reduced about 20 percent.
At $3295 per set, the Gear Lift is priced very competitively with a typical lift kit. However, it is much easier to install, and it only adds about 75 percent of the weight. If you are considering a big 4-inch lift kit or larger, consider the High Lifter Gear Lift first. Actually, the Gear Lift works with lift kits, too, so if you already have a lift kit but think gear reduction at all four wheels will help, give High Lifter a call. Tell them Dirt Wheels sent ya.