RZR XP 1000 - The #RZRdigger Trail Rig Build: Part 2Posted in Project Vehicles on February 11, 2015
If you’ve ever seen an ad for a side-by-side, it’s likely they showed it going fast, jumping sand dunes, and carving corners. While side-by-sides are really fun to go fast, they do have a low-range. It isn’t crazy to look at these machines to do moderate to difficult recreational trail wheelin’. They have locked differentials front and rear and respectable suspension travel, and are very nimble. Sure, you could have a used Jeep or Toyota for a fraction of the cost, but you really have to drive a side-by-side to fully understand the ride quality and the fun factor they offer. With a few upgrades, you can turn these go-fast machines into reliable, capable, and fun trail wheelers.
Believe it or not, the Polaris RZR 1000 actually makes a fairly capable rockcrawler. It comes factory with electronic power steering, and the CVT (continuously variable transmission) acts just like an automatic transmission in a fullsize rig. A little two-foot driving controlling the brake, and you’re good to go!
RZR rockcrawler and trail rig? Really?
However, the vehicle does have a few disadvantages that one must overcome in order to navigate the rocks in a RZR. The main thing is a RZR 1000 only has about 13 inches of belly clearance on 29-inch-tall tires. This means the skid and rockers get hit a lot. This really wouldn’t be much of an issue if the skidplate weren’t made of 8-inch plastic. Not only is the skid thin, but it leaves the plastic floorboards exposed too, which is actually a bit of a safety concern. The solution we came up with is Factory UTV’s full-coverage UMHW skid. It covers every inch of the underside, protecting from the front differential to the rear of the motor. We also went with Factory UTV’s rocker guards, which installed with ease.
No trail rig is complete without a winch. Now that getting into the big rocks isn’t a concern with the skid, we are going to need recovery. No better winch to choose from than a Warn. Warn winches have been a stable in off-roading for decades. The rig weighs about 1,300 pounds dry, so figure an estimated 200 pounds more for cage and accessories. We went with the Warn 3500-S ATV/UTV winch, with a Super ATV mount plate that tucks the winch inside the front of the chassis, nearly hidden.
Finally, if you’re going to spend the day on the trail you need to prepare for it all. Tools, food, and drink. Super ATV just released a cool (no pun intended) cooler and toolbox combo that bolts in the bed of the RZR 1000. This is the perfect solution for hauling everything you would need on a trail ride, while keeping it securely in the bed and away from the elements.
With these few upgrades, we are yet another step closer to the ultimate side-by-side trail machine.
Factory UTV’s skidplate is made from 3⁄8-inch-thick UMHW plastic, a dense plastic that has an extremely low coefficient of friction. This allows it to slide over rocks, whereas an aluminum skid would dig into the rock and be more likely to get hung up.
Notice the exposed floorboard not covered by the Polaris skid. If you look closely you can actually see a stick wedged between the floor and the skid, just illustrating the dangers of it. Wouldn’t take much for a stick or sharp rock to push through the plastic floor into the passenger area. A full skid is a must.
The front differential skid probably sees more abuse than the belly skid. The suspension dives when you hit the brakes, which makes it very likely to bounce off any random rock on the trail. Because of this, the front skid is made from 1⁄2-inch UMHW. A bit of drilling is involved in the installation, but the included self-tapping bolts make quick work of it once you get it lined up with the main skid.
We also opted to run the additional 1⁄2-inch UMHW rock sliders. These sliders work with or without the skid and are attached with four self-tapping bolts. With the skid, we have a combined 7⁄8 inch of protection running from wheel opening to wheel opening at the rocker area.
The peace of mind that comes from a quality skidplate like this thick UMHW skid is great when playing in the rocks. Because of the relatively low ground clearance on the RZR, this is a must-have addition for riding one on the trail.
The Warn Provantage 3500-S is a lightweight ATV/UTV winch rated for 3,500 pounds. It came with 50 feet of synthetic winch rope, a hawse aluminum fairlead, and mounting hardware. The winch, fully ready to use, weighs under 20 pounds, so it won’t affect the suspension performance much, if at all.
At the time, Warn did not make a winch plate for the Polaris RZR 1000. We sourced a winch mounting plate from Super ATV that installed with ease. The plate mounts with all included hardware and tucked the winch inside the chassis out of harm’s way. No need for a bulky winch bumper!
Super ATV included a cool cover that replaces the factory plastic grille with one that allows the winch rope to pass through. However, the Warn fairlead looked so good we chose to show it off. Without seeing the fairlead, the winch would be all but hidden.
One of the coolest features with the ATV/UTV kit is the mini control switch that we mounted to the dash. No need to dig out the winch controller from the bottom of your console or glovebox. Also included was a wired remote that can plug into the control switch when you need to winch from outside the vehicle.
The Super ATV trail box is a cooler and toolbox in one. You can use the two interior sections for tools and other dry storage, or as coolers, or one of each. The box installs using existing bolts in the bed.
Some spare parts we suggest bringing along in your RZR to be prepared in your trail riding adventures are tire plugs, a small compressor, metric wrenches up to 19 mm, a 19mm socket for lug nuts, a spare CVT belt, and of course duct tape and zip ties.