UTV PROJECT: CAN-AM WAR WAGON X3
— Built for battling the elements, By the staff of Dirt Wheels —
Ever since the Can-Am Maverick X3 Turbo was released, we have been greedily awaiting the most trick builds to appear, and without a doubt, Steve Bechard built an X3 masterpiece. This machine was designed and dubbed the “War Wagon X3” after his daughter, who is a military crew chief and medic of a Medevac Black Hawk helicopter overseas. Every part that was involved in this build was chosen for performance, strength or durability—from the heavy-duty roll cage down to the beadlock wheels and heavy-duty tires.
BUILT FOR BATTLE
Steve started this build by tearing his 2017 Can-Am Maverick X3 X rs to the frame and pairing up with Pete Zink at Iron Environments Custom Fabrication. They installed an S3 frame gusset kit, double sheared the front-suspension mounting locations, built a custom front bumper, and installed the fully custom X3 roll cage and full doors. A custom-built CVT guard was installed on the Can-Am to protect the secondary on the clutch system from hard hits to the bottom of the machine. Iron Environments also custom-made an aluminum dash, console, floor and firewall for the X3 to remove as many of the superfluous stock plastic pieces of the Can-Am as possible. Commercial Powdercoat in Bend, Oregon, performed all of the drab-green powdercoating needed on this build.
Once all of the fabricated protection parts were installed on the X3, it was time to mount up the S3 Powersports HD high-clearance A-arm kit and the stock rear trailing arms. The stock axles were utilized on all four corners. Next, Steve installed Walker Evans Racing Velocity shocks that are high- and low-speed compression adjustable, have a dual-rate spring setup and are spring-preload adjustable. A set of WER Walker Links for the rear sway bar were also installed. A set of 15-inch GMZ Casino Beadlock wheels with 30-inch Sandstripper XL front and rear tires were installed to get the X3 back on the ground.
The Can-Am’s 172-horsepower, 900cc, Rotax Ace, turbocharged, triple-cylinder engine was installed back into the X3’s frame with some performance parts from Evolution Powersports. First, an Evo V-Flow air intake was installed with a reusable air filter. Next, a Stage 3 ECU tune helped boost the horsepower numbers while still letting the machine run 91-octane pump gas. Last, an Evo blow-off valve kit that included a new silicone charge tube and more was installed on the X3. The machine now pushes over 200 horsepower!
Steve had his buddy Johnny Suing custom-make him an exhaust system for the Can-Am to help the engine expel gas as easily as it breathes air. The last engine upgrade for the Maverick was a CBR Performance UTV Race radiator kit. The kit comes with a new radiator and a roll cage mounting solution that allows better airflow to the cooling system, and having the radiator mounted behind the seats to the roll cage helps keep mud and debris out of it compared to its original location at the front of the machine.
Steve Bechard works for Rugged Radios, which is one of the most impressive communication system companies around. He decked his X3 out with their new RM-100 VHF 100-watt radio that can reach up to 100 miles away. Next, Steve installed Rugged’s RRP6100 intercom kit, along with a WM1 Bluetooth module. The MAC 3.2 Pumper setup was the last RR kit that was installed to feed filtered air into the driver and passenger helmets.
The War Wagon X3 was built to race, as well as be a play car for Bechard. He wanted a lighting system that was impressive and bright, so he went to KC Hilites. A 39-inch Gravity LED PRO6 light bar was installed on the roof of the Maverick, a KC Flex 10-inch LED light bar was installed on the front bumper and a clear Cyclone LED light was installed as a dome light for the inside of the Can-Am’s impressive cockpit. A SP-8100 switch system from Switch-Pros controls all of the lighting systems of the machine. The last piece of electronic equipment installed on the Maverick was a Magellan TRX7 GPS system.
THE RUGGED RIDE
This Can-Am Maverick X3 X rs is more powerful, handles better and is more protective than it ever was in stock trim. Bechard designed it to race in the desert, shred the slopes of sand dunes and win any terrain battle he points the UTV towards. Once we slid over the fixed S3 high doors into the cockpit, sat in the comfortable PRP Alpha Composite seats and buckled the 5.3 harness, we felt extremely secure inside the Can-Am.
The increase of power was abrupt in the War Wagon X3. The bottom-end hit was a lot stronger than stock, and that carried through the midrange and was very noticeable through the top end. The sound of the new Evolution Powersports blow-off valve chirping every time you let off the throttle and mixed with the roar of the new exhaust was an excellent symphony.
In the handling department, an Assault Industries quick-release steering wheel helps guide the War Wagon X3 through the rough stuff with precision. The WER Velocity shocks soak up big hits, hard landings and slow-speed chop with ease. The WER Walker Links help stabilize the rear end of the X3 in corners and in all other types of terrain. The GMZ Sandstripper XL tires floated over the dunes, yet the fronts grabbed hard in turns and the rears had excellent traction at all times.
Talking through the Rugged Radios communication systems and having the ability to listen to music at the same time was great. If you need to speak to your co-driver, connect to drivers of other machines or back to camp, the music will automatically quiet when you speak or press the push-to-talk button. The connection was clear and precise as well. The Magellan GPS system kept us pointed in the right direction at all times as well, and the combination of these products is a must-have if you go off-road frequently or race.
Our first impressions of Steve Bechard’s Can-Am Maverick War Wagon X3 were that it looked like a tank that was built to win battles—and not necessarily to go fast in the desert and sand. We were dead wrong about the UTV. It is fast, it handles very well, and has products that are protective and impressive on it from the ground up. If you want to see more great project builds like this one, pick up the next issue of Dirt Wheels and go to our website at www.dirtwheelsmag.com.
ASSAULT INDUSTRIES: www.assaultind.com, (714) 799-6711 Tomahawk steering wheel: $194.99 Hellfire grill: $119.99 GT Shift knob: $99.99
CBR PERFORMANCE: www.cbr-performance.com, (951) 245-2900 UTV Race Class X3 cage mount radiator kit: $1349
COMMERCIAL POWDERCOATING INC.: www.commpowder.com, (541) 330-1141 Powdercoat: $2,600
EVOLUTION POWERSPORTS: www.evopowersports.com, (970) 680-3861 Stage 3 tune: $948 V-Flow air intake: $199 Blow-off valve: $209
GMZ RACE PRODUCTS: www.gmzraceproducts.com 15-inch Casino beadlock wheels with 30-inch Sandstripper XL tires: $1,700
IRON ENVIRONMENTS: www.ironenvironments.com, (541) 410-3771 Frame, dash and bumper, etc. fabrication: Custom
KC HILITES: www.kchilites.com, (888) 689-5955 KC Flex 10-inch LED light bar: $505.99 Gravity LED PRO6 light bar: $1517.99 Cyclone LED Clear: $104.99
MAGELLAN: www.magellangps.com TRX7: $499.99
PRP SEATS: www.prpseats.com, (800) 317-6253 Alpha Composite seats: $850 each 5.3 harness: $139 each
RUGGED RADIOS: www.ruggedradios.com, (805) 541-1696 RM-100 100-watt kit: $801.85 RRP6100 Desert Series 2-place race intercom: $499 MAC3.2 bundle: $544 WM1 Bluetooth module: $150
S3 POWERSPORTS: www.s3powersports.com, (855) 221-7097 Upper cage & solid doors: Custom HD high-clearance A-arms: $1050
SWITCH-PROS: www.switch-pros.com, (949) 581-2991 SP-8100: $499
WALKER EVANS RACING: www.walkerevansracing.com, (888) 933-7223 Velocity Shocks: $899.99 each Walker Links: $375
WOLF DESIGNS: www.wolfdesigns.biz, (480) 888-0202 Wrap: $1,200