Rock crawling a UTV has become very popular. Some argue that a UTV is not designed to crawl, others say UTVs can crawl better and easier than full-size rigs in the rocks. Realistically, these machines can be modified to do just about anything well—if you have the right aftermarket parts.
First thing you’ll want to do is upgrade to a larger tire, 33s and 35s have become the most popular in a crawler type UTV build. However, there is a lot more to running an oversized tire than bolting it on. So what do you need?
Oversized Tires Require Other Parts Upgrades
Usually, most people address strength concerns first. Larger tires will put increased stress on axles, ball joints, and other suspension components. Steering especially can see some unwanted failure with larger tires. Binding up your machine in the big rocks with big tires is not something you want to do with OEM parts. Check out our UTV axle article to learn more about upgrading that part of your rig.
A larger tire will effect performance more than you might think—performance of your machine will suffer without addressing the additional rotating mass. Gearing and clutch performance will make a night and day difference in spinning out and breaking parts, or efficiently putting the power to the ground and crawling over rock obstacles.
Regear or Clutch Upgrade?
Gearing for a Polaris XP1000, XP Turbo, or Pro XP, or Turbo S machine is almost a requirement when going larger than 32” tires in the rocks. However, Canam machines seem to be much happier turning big tires in low range. There are many ways to modify the Polaris transmission gearing using a combination of OEM gears out of the Ranger, Ace, and other Polaris machines to a lower ratio to help performance. That is an entire article in itself though. For now, one of the easier than more common modifications for larger tires is clutching.