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Wildcat XX first ride review

ArizonaKevin

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As many of you know my wife and I picked up our first toy couple weeks ago and we finally got a chance to play with it this past weekend.

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https://www.riverdavesplace.com/forums/threads/hey-lam.201912/

We decided to go out to the Rolls OHV by Saguaro lake because we knew it would be hatefully hot so we could jump in the lake and cool off. In an effort to beat the heat, we were up at 5am and rubber on dirt at 6am.

Wife took the wheel for the first section (I earned major brownie points for that one) and took us north out of Rolls OHV to get up to trail 13 (called srv rd 403 on google maps). When you're a control freak like me when it comes to driving, sitting in the passenger seat is really hard. But I have to learn to be open to her line choices because she is making the decisions she feels the most comfortable with. Obviously I won't let her put either of us in an unsafe position, but I can't nit-pick her driving.

Halfway down 13 until our turnoff she lets me take over. I take it easy for the first few minutes to get my bearings for how the car feels beneath me and how I think it will react before I start getting after it. My background in this world is with my parents old rhino, their '15 XP1K Desert Edition, and miles of exploring Northern Arizona in my truck while President of NAU4x4. I am no professional by any means, but feel I can push a little harder and have a bit better feel for a car on dirt than most of the general population would.

Right off the bat, everything feels different from the RZR. Driving position, the way the suspension reacts, the way the engine makes power, I have to re-learn it a bit.

Those of you who have driven RZR's before know that it feels a bit like you are driving a truck, you feel on top of everything which is great for visibility, but doesn't always inspire the most confidence when you start pushing things. This car has a much lower driving position to where I feel like I am sitting in the car, I can feel it move around my hips through corners. Drawback for that is it is really hard to see over the front when cresting hills. You have to just trust that the trail is there and the car can handle whatever bump might be on the other side.

The suspension in this car is the main reason that I bought it, I didn't want to deal with radius rods. In comparison with the RZR, everything feels tighter and quicker to react. When i am driving in tighter trails and sandier conditions, my parents RZR feels a bit more wallowy and has more overall body roll than the XX. The XX also has great soft and mid-sized bump compliance, we didn't get beat up over that stuff. However, when pushing it over the bigger stuff, I felt like we could use a bit more spring rate on the lower spring because we were starting to get into the harsh bump zone and actually bottomed out the car twice. This actually reminds me, I need to try my parent's RZR again now that they got the shock therapy dual rate spring kit, my dad said it is a game changer.

Engine wise, this thing doesn't come alive until you are over 6500ish on the tach, then she starts to scream! It is really a jeckyll and hyde type of powerband which is actually quite pleasant. While my wife was driving she kept it below 6k and we were cruising along at a comfortable pace, engine was relatively quiet. When it was my turn to drive I tried to keep it above that as much as possible, the sound that this engine makes at full noise is addicting! Power wise compared to a RZR is, once again, different. This engine gets all the way up to 9k. RZR doesn't have a tach but it feels like it signs off somewhere around 6kish? Drawback of an engine that screams this high is that it doesn't feel like it makes near as much low end torque that the RZR produces.

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Back to the ride, after cruising down 13 for a while and checking google earth at every turn, we turn off at the one that will take us down to the coves. It runs down a great ridge with panoramic views of the lake, the surrounding mountains, with 4 peaks behind you until dropping down into the wash that goes to cove 2.

Driving in a wash is probably my favorite sort of driving with a SxS. Hard acceleration, hard breaking, trying to find every ounce of speed through the corners is one of the ultimate thrills for me behind the wheel. In compared with the RZR, I love the way this car feels under braking, not nearly as much pitching sensation when you get into the pedal hard. The most surprising part of the chassis of this car is the turn in, it feels like it has an extremely quick steering rack so the nose just darts wherever you're brain thinks it wants to go. On corner exit, as soon as you get into the throttle she takes a nice squat and hooks up on the way to the next corner. The only drawback I was feeling through these is that, because the engine makes such good power up high in it's rev range, I felt like I had to 2 foot the car to keep the engine, for lack of a better term, on the pipe. I feel like if I was racing a RZR, I would be able to out brake, and out corner them, but the torque of the RZR powerplant would even things back out on corner exit.

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At the end of the wash we made it down to cove 2 where a boat and a few people looked like they were finishing up breakfast so we parked off to the side to stay out of their way and listened to some music and hung out in the great shade that cove 2 produces. We then went back up the wash and up the hill to get to the peninsula between cove 2 and cove 1 and took some pictures, watched some of the skiers, boarders, and surfers capitalize on the early morning glass.

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On the way back out, instead of taking the wash back up to 13 we decided to find some more technical trails to go up and over the ridges and found some great climbs and rain ruts to let us test the 4wd, the low range, and the front locker. In one instance I had front right tire climbing a ledge the same time back right tire was dropping into a rut so we got front left off the ground a good amount and that front locker really came in handy. This section of trail is where the visibility issues really reared their ugly heads. The best solution i found in these situations was to swim my shoulders out of the harnesses while keeping the waist strapped so I could look out the side and see what was happening. Hopefully the waist strap can keep my in if we roll in a situation like that.

All in all we were off the trail at around 830 right when things started to get stupid hot and had a great ride. We love the car and it was the perfect purchase at the right time for us. The only drawbacks we had were the visibility issues, the fact that the car puts off a lot of heat so the cab area got quite warm, and the fact that the steering wheel is really far away so my wife struggled to reach it but we already have an Assault Industries hub and NRG deep dish wheel on order to help alleviate that.

This is the first long form write up/car review I have done please feel free to give me some feedback!
 

RiverDave

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I’m for a 2 seat Sxs for the desert (not dunes) I think they are the best thing going.
 

ArizonaKevin

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I’m for a 2 seat Sxs for the desert (not dunes) I think they are the best thing going.
Yeah we have no plans to go to the dunes, we spend most of our time in Ocotillo Wells. I wouldn't want to try to maneuver a 4 seater through some of the tighter stuff around AZ.
 

LargeOrangeFont

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Glad you enjoyed the car.

That sounds about like what the design team wanted to get out of the car, vs a RZR. My good friend was one of the engineering leads for Textron on the Wildcat XX development.

But yes, go try your parent's RZR with the suspension, it is amazingly better than stock.
 

ArizonaKevin

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Glad you enjoyed the car.

That sounds about like what the design team wanted to get out of the car, vs a RZR. My good friend was one of the engineering leads for Textron on the Wildcat XX development.

But yes, go try your parent's RZR with the suspension, it is amazingly better than stock.
Tried not to make it sound too much like a "hate on RZR" thing in my write up. I like their car, but think this one is a bit better overall. It was so weird seeing their car without the collapsed rear springs
 

Ziggy

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Excellent write up Kevin.
I agree, a bigger car is not as easy to maneuver on trails.
.
Lol, for some reason I was expecting to see a new Cheetah boat.
 

LargeOrangeFont

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Tried not to make it sound too much like a "hate on RZR" thing in my write up. I like their car, but think this one is a bit better overall. It was so weird seeing their car without the collapsed rear springs
Agreed. The thing is way more capable and equipped out of the box than a RZR.

If they had a 4 seat version I probably would have done that instead. The RZR kicks ass with the revised suspension though.
 

jb600

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Might have missed it, but what engine does it have in it? I’ve always been a Artic Cat guy. This one followed me home a few weeks back.
 

LargeOrangeFont

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I see you are running 32's Kevin. Has any clutch work been done to the car?
 

LargeOrangeFont

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No clutch work, but a speedwerx clutch is on the list.
I've wondered how they work with the bigger tires, since the Yamaha comes stock with 28s and the XX comes with 30s. I bet the clutch will help get some low end back.
 

ArizonaKevin

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I've wondered how they work with the bigger tires, since the Yamaha comes stock with 28s and the XX comes with 30s. I bet the clutch will help get some low end back.
I'll plead ignorance on that. As far as I know, CVT's still run on magic and a rubber band.
 

LargeOrangeFont

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I'll plead ignorance on that. As far as I know, CVT's still run on magic and a rubber band.
The clutch kit woke up my RZR nicely. I just run 30s on it though and got the appropriate kit for them.

The rumor was that the 1000 RZRs worked a little better with 30s. The Turbo cars can run 32s with the extra punch.

I just went with that, I didn't want it to be a dog. With the revised suspension it has plenty of ground clearance.
 

jb600

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Glad you enjoyed the car.

That sounds about like what the design team wanted to get out of the car, vs a RZR. My good friend was one of the engineering leads for Textron on the Wildcat XX development.

But yes, go try your parent's RZR with the suspension, it is amazingly better than stock.
I know Kirk Hibbert was part of the chassis development on the sled side. Do you know if he had anything to do with this?
 

ArizonaKevin

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I do know that CVT's tolerate bigger tires better than the yamaha and the talon which is why the gear reduction kit for the yxz transmission is such a common mod when bumping tire size.
 

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I know Kirk Hibbert was part of the chassis development on the sled side. Do you know if he had anything to do with this?
I don't believe so. My friend has since left Textron. When they closed here in OC, He didn't want to move to Georgia.
 

LargeOrangeFont

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I do know that CVT's tolerate bigger tires better than the yamaha and the talon which is why the gear reduction kit for the yxz transmission is such a common mod when bumping tire size.
Yea I could see that. And the taller tires make it even harder to get it up into the powerband without a gear reduction.
 

Havaduner

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Nice write up, your description of the seating position in the RZR and the way the suspension works is spot on! Even though I had Ed the Suspension Guy do my RZR, I couldn't get over the feeling I was sitting on top of the front wheels. I moved over to the Can Am (again Ed did the shocks on this one too) but I've been intrigued by the Wildcat and its trailing arm rear suspension. Keep us informed as you put more miles and any upgrades you do!
 

ArizonaKevin

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Nice write up, your description of the seating position in the RZR and the way the suspension works is spot on! Even though I had Ed the Suspension Guy do my RZR, I couldn't get over the feeling I was sitting on top of the front wheels. I moved over to the Can Am (again Ed did the shocks on this one too) but I've been intrigued by the Wildcat and its trailing arm rear suspension. Keep us informed as you put more miles and any upgrades you do!
What made you choose Ed over some of the other options? Once these stock springs get sagged out, going to respring the car and would like recommendations
 

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FWIW, I lowered and reclined the front seats in my RZR. It helped driving comfort quite a bit. Still not a Can Am or Wildcat driving position though.
 
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LargeOrangeFont

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What made you choose Ed over some of the other options? Once these stock springs get sagged out, going to respring the car and would like recommendations
Change the springs ASAP. They suck. The kits to do so are overpriced, if you can figure out the size and rate, buy them yourself loose and save some cash

Ed is great to work with. Didn’t notice much difference going from Shock Therapy to Ed’s setup. Sorry me people don’t like Shock Therapy because of the owner’s past.
 

ArizonaKevin

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Change the springs ASAP. They suck. The kits to do so are overpriced, if you can figure out the size and rate, buy them yourself loose and save some cash

Ed is great to work with. Didn’t notice much difference going from Shock Therapy to Ed’s setup. Sorry me people don’t like Shock Therapy because of the owner’s past.
I've heard grumblings of people not liking ST because of the owner, but never heard the actual story. Would you happen to know it?
 

LargeOrangeFont

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I've heard grumblings of people not liking ST because of the owner, but never heard the actual story. Would you happen to know it?
No I don’t. Other members do however. Ed is close enough to drive to for me. No shipping made it an easy decision.
 

ArizonaKevin

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No I don’t. Other members do however. Ed is close enough to drive to for me. No shipping made it an easy decision.
Shock therapy is close enough for me to drive to as well but if there are legitimate concerns with their business ethics I may choose not to support it. Same reason why I tend to choose PCI over Rugged.
 

rivrrts429

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FWIW, I lowered and reclined the front seats in my RZR. It helped driving comfort quite a bit. Still not a Can Am or Wildcat driving position though.

I just did the Rock Ready UTV lowering and reclining seat bases on my PRP seats and it made a world of difference.
 

manxman

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I've heard grumblings of people not liking ST because of the owner, but never heard the actual story. Would you happen to know it?
The owner of ST use to build buggys. His name is Justin. He screwed over several customers and there was some alleged insurance fraud for a theft that mysteriously disappeared from his shop. I guess there were deposits for cars as well as buggys being worked on when he shut his doors. There was a few judgements against him and his business that I don't think ever got resolved. You can find out more on Glamis dunes .com or google it.
He knows his stuff when it comes to suspension and fabrication, but it's hard to trust someone who knowingly took advantage of his customers.
As far as the OG post, I have a wildcat xx and a rzr xp1k4 seat. Night and day difference in build quality and suspension. You made a good choice!
 

Havaduner

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What made you choose Ed over some of the other options? Once these stock springs get sagged out, going to respring the car and would like recommendations
I met Ed a few years ago at Glamis. One of those things, I just liked the guy right off. Second, I needed to try to get the initial ride of the car to be soft, so it wouldn't kill my wife (she's got some neck/shoulder issues from a car accident years back) but I didn't want to get it so soft that all it would do was bottom out. He nailed it on the RZR!
When I switched to the Can Am, we did the same things, new springs, revalve etc... Again car rides great. He also does several ride and tune weekends in the High Desert and Glamis for his customers. He wants to make sure everyone is happy with their set ups. He can be hard to get ahold of, but I've never had any issues, everything was done on time and at price.
 

ArizonaKevin

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Let the mods begin, not planning on doing anything crazy just dialing it in to us. As I said in my review, my wife could barely reach the steering wheel even with the seat all the way forward so we bought an Assault steering wheel hub and NRG deep dish steering wheel to alleviate that issue.
Wheel1.jpg


Wheel2.jpg


I forgot to get a before picture so if any of you XX owners still have the stock wheel and want to show how flat it is please feel free to post one up!
 

DLC

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One of the best mods is the rugged radio or PCi headsets intercom, you can talk back and fourth in your car, voice activated, listen to music and have the ability to radio out to other people in the group.
 

ArizonaKevin

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One of the best mods is the rugged radio or PCi headsets intercom, you can talk back and fourth in your car, voice activated, listen to music and have the ability to radio out to other people in the group.
Oh nice red Jeep!!

LoL
Intercom is next on the list! Hoping to get some show deals from PCI at the UTV Expo in Scottsdale in December. I get a booth every year so I don't pay admission. Jeep is actually my mom's, keeping the SxS at their place until we find a trailer. I'm tired of looking at shitty toy haulers!
 
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LargeOrangeFont

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Looking good Kevin, Nice start.

Does it have 4 or 5 point belts up front? Looks like 4 points in the pictures.

Is the bed the only place for a spare tire, or are there other options out there?
 

ArizonaKevin

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Looking good Kevin, Nice start.

Does it have 4 or 5 point belts up front? Looks like 4 points in the pictures.

Is the bed the only place for a spare tire, or are there other options out there?
4 point belts, obviously 5 point is safer but for our needs I think the 4 point is sufficient for now. Although, admittedly, I'm not an expert on that subject.

Bed isn't the only option for tire but I think it is the best option, keeps the weight down lower and doesn't block rear visibility. There are options for a basket (think roof rack) that are designed to sit on top of the spare tire and use the same mount for the spare tire.

Edited to add the storage option: https://speedsxs.com/collections/speed-skid-plates-and-protection/products/speed-wildcat-xx-cargo-rack
 
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LargeOrangeFont

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4 point belts, obviously 5 point is safer but for our needs I think the 4 point is sufficient for now. Although, admittedly, I'm not an expert on that subject.

Bed isn't the only option for tire but I think it is the best option, keeps the weight down lower and doesn't block rear visibility. There are options for a basket (think roof rack) that are designed to sit on top of the spare tire and use the same mount for the spare tire.

Edited to add the storage option: https://speedsxs.com/collections/speed-skid-plates-and-protection/products/speed-wildcat-xx-cargo-rack
That cargo rack is sweet, but as with anything UTV related is triple the cost of what it could be :)

The 5 point will keep the lap belt across your hips where it is supposed to be, and not let it ride up as you tighten the shoulder harnesses, which is not good in crash. Also it keeps you from sliding too far down in the seat in a crash or “submarining”. Just something to think about. If you run without helmets especially, you want to keep yourself cinched down in the seat with roll bars around your head.

I actually find the 5 point belts more comfortable, because they stay where they are supposed to on your body.
 

HavaToon

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Kevin,
Nice ride! Look into Eibach springs first, that’s what all the pros use. For full shock tuning check out MTS over ST in Phoenix or for even better look at Gary Fries and Tom Morris with UTVshocks. When you look at their about us page and who they used to tune for you’ll understand...Robby Gordon is on that list along with other legends.

http://www.utvshocks.com/



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ArizonaKevin

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That cargo rack is sweet, but as with anything UTV related is triple the cost of what it could be :)

The 5 point will keep the lap belt across your hips where it is supposed to be, and not let it ride up as you tighten the shoulder harnesses, which is not good in crash. Also it keeps you from sliding too far down in the seat in a crash or “submarining”. Just something to think about. If you run without helmets especially, you want to keep yourself cinched down in the seat with roll bars around your head.

I actually find the 5 point belts more comfortable, because they stay where they are supposed to on your body.
Definitely agree that 5 points are more comfortable, I just checked PRP's website to see if I can add the 5th point to my setup but, with the automotive style buckle instead of the hook and latch, I can't do that. I have found that, when adjusting the 4 points, it's best to get the lap belt tight across your waist, then adjust shoulder straps to keep the lap belt from riding up. Also, we are the weirdo's that wear helmets all the time, I am 7 concussions deep through my various activities and don't mess around on that kind of stuff.

Kevin,
Nice ride! Look into Eibach springs first, that’s what all the pros use. For full shock tuning check out MTS over ST in Phoenix or for even better look at Gary Fries and Tom Morris with UTVshocks. When you look at their about us page and who they used to tune for you’ll understand...Robby Gordon is on that list along with other legends.

http://www.utvshocks.com/



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Definitely worth it to talk to them and see what they have to offer. My only concern with going with a smaller shop is, since the XX is a smaller volume production vehicle, the aftermarket shops have less experience with making them work where it seems like a bigger operation like ST has more data to draw from to dial me in.

We need to get out and ride at some point unless your X3 sold?
 

LargeOrangeFont

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Definitely agree that 5 points are more comfortable, I just checked PRP's website to see if I can add the 5th point to my setup but, with the automotive style buckle instead of the hook and latch, I can't do that. I have found that, when adjusting the 4 points, it's best to get the lap belt tight across your waist, then adjust shoulder straps to keep the lap belt from riding up. Also, we are the weirdo's that wear helmets all the time, I am 7 concussions deep through my various activities and don't mess around on that kind of stuff.



Definitely worth it to talk to them and see what they have to offer. My only concern with going with a smaller shop is, since the XX is a smaller volume production vehicle, the aftermarket shops have less experience with making them work where it seems like a bigger operation like ST has more data to draw from to dial me in.

We need to get out and ride at some point unless your X3 sold?
Good practice on the helmets.

Find the specs of the springs you want and order from PAC - racingsprings.com or better yet Summit Racing, etc. that sells PAC springs.

Then after that send them the shocks to re valve, if you feel it is needed. The springs are the larger improvement over the re valve. You'll save a bunch of money that way. The UTV spring kits are marked up heavily over buying loose springs.
 

ArizonaKevin

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Good practice on the helmets.

Find the specs of the springs you want and order from PAC - racingsprings.com or better yet Summit Racing, etc. that sells PAC springs.

Then after that send them the shocks to re valve, if you feel it is needed. The springs are the larger improvement over the re valve. You'll save a bunch of money that way. The UTV spring kits are marked up heavily over buying loose springs.
Where do I start to figure out what spring rates I need? I'd love to cut out the middle man on buying new springs but, unfortunately, the middle man has the knowledge on what springs I need.
 

ArizonaKevin

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Throwing this back to the top, 2500 miles in going to be taking the car in to get suspension rebuilt and valved by Ben Porter. He said that stock spring rates are pretty good, but that the back east mud-boggers got ahold of the factory valving specs and made it way too soft.

Ben Porter works through SinFab Racing in Phoenix area so they will send the shocks to him for valving and they will do the install and wiring of the lights that I am getting tomorrow from rigid.

Planning on a 10" white bar to go under the hood with an amber cover, white D Series SS pods for A-Pillars with amber cover, and amber D Series pods for C-Pillars firing rear as dust lights
 

Taboma

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Throwing this back to the top, 2500 miles in going to be taking the car in to get suspension rebuilt and valved by Ben Porter. He said that stock spring rates are pretty good, but that the back east mud-boggers got ahold of the factory valving specs and made it way too soft.

Ben Porter works through SinFab Racing in Phoenix area so they will send the shocks to him for valving and they will do the install and wiring of the lights that I am getting tomorrow from rigid.

Planning on a 10" white bar to go under the hood with an amber cover, white D Series SS pods for A-Pillars with amber cover, and amber D Series pods for C-Pillars firing rear as dust lights
Still digging our 19' XX. Haven't touched any mechanicals and the shocks on Medium have been working fine with a nice ride. Although we ride easy, so certainly not pushing it on whoops etc.
The best thing we had done was by an older retired guy "Don" in Havasu who did an awesome job of making snap-in covers to mitigate any heat or dust from the front or back. Now we can ride all day without our laps getting covered in dust and legs burning from the radiator heat blowing in.
 
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DLC

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Looking good! Have them add a domb / Interior light if you don’t have one already, makes buckling up easier at night, place the light slightly behind your shoulders so you don’t look at the light fixture.

Post up after pics
 

DLC

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Still digging our 19' XX. Haven't touched any mechanicals and the shocks on Medium have been working fine with a nice ride. Although we ride easy, so certainly not pushing it on whoops etc.
The best thing we had done was by an older retired guy "Don" in Havasu who did an awesome job of making snap-in covers to mitigate any heat or dust from the front or back. Now we can ride all day without our laps getting covered in dust and legs burning from the radiator heat blowing in.
Can you post a pic of the dust covers installed?

I have a 4 seat w/ a windshield and was thinking of making removable weather proof screens to block off the Frt seats from the back seats. I get dust coming up from below every once in a while
 

ArizonaKevin

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Also realized I haven't kept this up to date on other stuff. Haven't gone crazy with the mods. Have added a spare to the bed with the factory T-Handle mount (came in handy this weekend, cut a sidewall in Quartszite) and added a PCI Intercom+Icom radio.

After suspension and lights are done, I need to work on my wife to convince her on the pumper. She likes the idea, but gets claustrophobic in those helmets.
 
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Taboma

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Can you post a pic of the dust covers installed?

I have a 4 seat w/ a windshield and was thinking of making removable weather proof screens to block off the Frt seats from the back seats. I get dust coming up from below every once in a while
I don't have any pics of it on my phone etc., but heading out and I'll take a few.
In general, we plugged the large floor holes with removable plugs, as you could see dust swirling around your legs. In our previous RZR with the half windshield, we didn't have dust being vacuumed in from the wide open back, but when we had the full windshield, we had to have a rear window in place or be buried in powder.
To our surprise with the Wildcat, even with the half windshield, we had tons of dust coming in, covering our laps.
When I complained to AZ West, Jack told me about Don and to call him. He made us a velcro-strapped netting for the back, which he claimed would do wonders --- honestly, I had my doubts, but was happily proved very wrong. That netting worked wonders to break up that vacuum effect. Seems after some trial and error on his, he found just the right size mesh and he was right. I'll measure the mesh opening, in case you're going to make your own.
Between plugging the floor holes and the netting, that eliminated easily 90% of our fine powder dust problem. Although keep in mind, unlike many of you, we're ridding up around our ranch, so not with groups --- our dust problem, was our own creation.
The other snap-on items were for heat, insulating pads he stitched up. One for around the steering column, another around the center tunnel and one behind the seats which cut down on both heat and engine noise. Now I'm wondering with winter temps, if we'll be missing that built-in heater.
Without any doubt, the single biggest change came from that rear mesh.
 
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DLC

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Do you have Dons number still? I’ll send you a PM...
 
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