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Discussion Starter #1
I know some of this is determined by personal preference and needs/use. Now that I have addressed that...

I just got a used 2019 HD8 6 seater from a rental company selling machines at the end of the season. My brother got one from the same place a couple years ago and had an awesome experience. This one had 2 seasons worth of use just this summer from people not traveling due to covid and just stay-cationing. I thought about passing and waiting till next year, but really wanted to get a machine and get out using it.

Its got 4500 miles. They supposedly maintain them really well, but I think with all the use, they just made them road worthy so there was no down time between rentals. I found a bent tie rod. Ordered a kit. I will replace both tie rods and tie rod ends. I greased all the bushings front and rear. Computer said its had 38 hrs of use since last service. I was going to change oil, but was thinking about biting the bullet and taking it into the shop and having a full service done so everything can be looked over and then I'll maintain it from there. Worth it? or just replace fluids on my own and run it?

Looking online at DIY roofs and different mods. Wondered if the 2" lifts I see that are just brackets to raise the shocks are worth it or if they mess with suspension because it puts everything at a different angle?

Its pretty much bone stock other than a cheap Amazon street legal kit.

What would you do first? I plan to use this for hunting and to take my family on mountain rides.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Just to pitch in a couple pennies:

I wouldn't "trust" your local dealer to give your machine the same attention to detail you will. You're apparently pretty mechanically capable, I don't see why you wouldn't handle the service yourself. I like to think you crawling around under your machine dealing with diffs and oil and such, will allow you to check your CV boots, brake pads, that kinda stuff that might otherwise get overlooked.....

The bracket lifts, if there is a downside to them, they give the bike the ability to "overstroke" the CV axles plunge capability, and you could pull an axle out of a diff, if you ever encounter a full droop situation. Pretty rare combination of occurrences, but it's a possibility. There's no effect to the suspension otherwise, just due to the nature of the arm geometry. Upside to bracket lift is it doesn't mess with the spring/shocks "working" design.
 
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Personally, I would prioritize the things that are necessary and forgo the stuff that changes the machine’s drivetrain/suspension/engine purely for performance upgrades. Your stock machine is more than capable of taking you places without all that extra stuff....for now. Maybe down the road....Personally, I’ve kept my machine stock in regards to all moving parts and so far in 3 years, all is good. Knock on wood. I’ve just seen friends break things after all the performance upgrades to suspension, drivetrain, engine enough to steer me away from stuff like that. Hell, I won’t even change the tire size beyond factory spec! Lol

That’s not to say a stock machine is bullet proof, but I’ve noticed a lot more problems with machines that have deviated from stock.

All my mods have been cosmetic....roof, mirrors, doors, windshield, bumpers...etc. Its really just a personal choice and all of us are different. You just have to decide what’s important.

So with that said, and your stated use, here’s where I’d look: Looking at your miles, a new set of tires is probably in your future. I think a roof is must. Check out YouTube for some DIY ideas. A winch would be nice. LED light bar.

I’d just go slow and add things when you can and just enjoy your new machine!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the response. I do always have concerns about trusting a dealer to be as thorough as I would...especially one I don't have experience with. My biggest concern is that I don't know what everything is supposed to look like when its the "right way." I found two tubes dangling above the air box and worried they were supposed to be connected, but with the help of people hear, got confirmation that they were breather tubes.

I'm curious...what are people doing to get enough clearance to get underneath the machine to work on it? Drive the front wheels on ramps and put jacks under the rear end? My truck is lifted, so I have plenty of space. My minivan is no where near high enough to get under, so I have to take that one to a shop. Extra clearance on a trail would be great, but the main reason for the 2" spacers/brackets I was looking at would be to give more clearance when loading/unloading. I bought a trailer off a guy and was impressed to see it had upgrades like flush mounted LEDs, but unfortunately that turned out to be a bad thing because they are mounted in a square tube welded to the frame under the back ramp. That tubing is hanging down to the point I can't get my trailer up my driveway because it scrapes on the back when the tires are in the gutter due to the slope. I may have to flip the leafs so they are mounted on top of the axle to give me the clearance I need, but I worry then I won't be able to make it up the gate/ramp without scraping the bottom of the machine. Too bad that lucking out on a nicer trailer than I thought actually turned into bad luck :(
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Personally, I would prioritize the things that are necessary and forgo the stuff that changes the machine’s drivetrain/suspension/engine purely for performance upgrades. Your stock machine is more than capable of taking you places without all that extra stuff....for now. Maybe down the road....Personally, I’ve kept my machine stock in regards to all moving parts and so far in 3 years, all is good. Knock on wood. I’ve just seen friends break things after all the performance upgrades to suspension, drivetrain, engine enough to steer me away from stuff like that. Hell, I won’t even change the tire size beyond factory spec! Lol

That’s not to say a stock machine is bullet proof, but I’ve noticed a lot more problems with machines that have deviated from stock.

All my mods have been cosmetic....roof, mirrors, doors, windshield, bumpers...etc. Its really just a personal choice and all of us are different. You just have to decide what’s important.

So with that said, and your stated use, here’s where I’d look: Looking at your miles, a new set of tires is probably in your future. I think a roof is must. Check out YouTube for some DIY ideas. A winch would be nice. LED light bar.

I’d just go slow and add things when you can and just enjoy your new machine!
Thanks for your thoughts. I'm mostly thinking cosmetic for now. Unless there was some "must do" mechanical mod, I wasn't planning on doing anything in that category. i really want a roof. I want side mirrors (already has a rear view). I think a winch and light bar would be cool, but obviously not as necessary for the every day ride as the roof. I saw someone comment on a 3 mode button. I haven't been able to see if that is really needed or beneficial. I wish there was a way to DIY some half or some solid door over the nets. I imagine that would require quite a bit more fab that I am capable of.

From what you are saying, sounds like stock gear is good to run on, so I need to:
-replace tie rod end that is bent
-go through all the fluids (find a way to get enough clearance under the machine)
-roof and mirrors
-then go from there with winch and light

Does that sound reasonable? Are the tires that come on it good ones to keep using? I'm referring to brand and model, not size. I plan to keep the same size. Are there better all around tires or are those good to keep buying as I need to replace them?

Anything I'm missing? Sometimes you don't know what you don't know.

Thanks guys! excited to get this thing out there.
 

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I think your decisions are reasonable.

Assuming the current tires are stock, there are much better tires out there. Just depends on how much $$$$ you want to spend. There are many quality tires out there!

Good luck and enjoy your machine!
 

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I have the Battle Armor 2" bracket lift kit on my machine. No complaints. My toyhauler sits kind of high. So I needed the little extra clearance to crest over the doorway when pulling in. I'm sure not needed with that lift (as they don't include) but I installed round spacers to fill in the gap in the middle so it was more solid when bolting down. I'd have to double check the size. I'm pretty sure I have spares. I'll have to look for them. I can take pictures if needed. I figured it would be easy to go back to stock if I ever needed.

 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have the Battle Armor 2" bracket lift kit on my machine. No complaints. My toyhauler sits kind of high. So I needed the little extra clearance to crest over the doorway when pulling in. I'm sure not needed with that lift (as they don't include) but I installed round spacers to fill in the gap in the middle so it was more solid when bolting down. I'd have to double check the size. I'm pretty sure I have spares. I'll have to look for them. I can take pictures if needed. I figured it would be easy to go back to stock if I ever needed.

what do you mean by spacers? do you mean something the bolt slid through just so it was more solid in between the edges of the bracket? I asked the parts guys at the local dealer if a 2" bracket lift would have any negative impact on the suspension. He said raising the body changes the angle of the control arms, sucking the tires slightly closer together and would make the machine more top heavy because distance between tires is more narrow. I have a hard time believing a 2" bracket could make that much difference, but I'm not an engineer. I need to take the trailer and defender to a flat spot, drive the trailer up on blocks to simulate how high the deck would be with a leaf flip and try driving the machine up and see if it would scrape. If so, maybe put a 2x4 underneath to see if that helps or try to imagine what an extra 2" of clearance would do if I put those lift brackets in.
 

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First mods we completed were the roof and windshield. After that rear view mirror and rear windscreen, to keep the trail dust from being sucked into the cab. Added gun racks, winch, 3 mode switch and now the wind deflectors. Brake assist is on order and I'm calling it quits for now on the accessories. I use the rig primarily to hunt big game and waterfowl, it performs well on the trail (Sierra Nevada Mtns.) and in the gumbo rice fields.
 

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what do you mean by spacers? do you mean something the bolt slid through just so it was more solid in between the edges of the bracket? I asked the parts guys at the local dealer if a 2" bracket lift would have any negative impact on the suspension. He said raising the body changes the angle of the control arms, sucking the tires slightly closer together and would make the machine more top heavy because distance between tires is more narrow. I have a hard time believing a 2" bracket could make that much difference, but I'm not an engineer. I need to take the trailer and defender to a flat spot, drive the trailer up on blocks to simulate how high the deck would be with a leaf flip and try driving the machine up and see if it would scrape. If so, maybe put a 2x4 underneath to see if that helps or try to imagine what an extra 2" of clearance would do if I put those lift brackets in.
Yes. Metal spacer to fill in the gap between the brackets where they bolt to the a-arms. The top gap is filled in by the shocks. The bottom hole was hollow (which I didn't really care for). So I measured what the gap is between the oem a-arm tabs (brackets go outside of the a-arm tabs). I want to say it was like 1" but I could be wrong on that.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
First mods we completed were the roof and windshield. After that rear view mirror and rear windscreen, to keep the trail dust from being sucked into the cab. Added gun racks, winch, 3 mode switch and now the wind deflectors. Brake assist is on order and I'm calling it quits for now on the accessories. I use the rig primarily to hunt big game and waterfowl, it performs well on the trail (Sierra Nevada Mtns.) and in the gumbo rice fields.
where did you put the gun racks? I picked up a padded 2 bow case that attaches to the roll cage. Bow hunt is over, but I'll be ready for next year. Looked into something similar for guns, but don't want to pay price for new. Was thinking about just getting a hard plastic case and strapping it down in the bed. I've seen the 3 mode switch mentioned, but not sure what its for. When would someone use those modes?

What are the wind deflectors you are referring to?

Mine has a plastic half windshield. Was thinking maybe a folding one in the future. For sure some sort of roof...most likely a DIY project of some sort. Trying to figure out what would be the best route to go. Looking at the different aftermarket side mirror options and trying to find a good deal. The ones for round tube are much cheaper (by half the cost) than the ones I see for the formed frame on the defender.
 

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Yes. Metal spacer to fill in the gap between the brackets where they bolt to the a-arms. The top gap is filled in by the shocks. The bottom hole was hollow (which I didn't really care for). So I measured what the gap is between the oem a-arm tabs (brackets go outside of the a-arm tabs). I want to say it was like 1" but I could be wrong on that.
Did you use any rubber between the spacer and the brackets to reduce squeaking of metal on metal or is that much of an issue because there isn't much movement there? do you, as I suspect, not have concerns about the wheels being slightly more narrow due to the changed angle from the spacers?
 

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I went with the Kolpin gun boots double rack mounted in the bed.

The wind deflectors are new and available from BRP. They deflect wind around the cab, thru the cab or clean the moisture on the inside of the windshield, area real problem during duck season. (There is a thread on here)

The 3 modes switch changes the performance and speed availability based on 3 settings. The Defender in 2019 was wired and programmed for the option but you had to buy the switch.

We added the Solid Scratch Resistant Windshield and the roof at the same time. In the rain or crap weather I didn't want to mess with a windshield.
 

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Did you use any rubber between the spacer and the brackets to reduce squeaking of metal on metal or is that much of an issue because there isn't much movement there? do you, as I suspect, not have concerns about the wheels being slightly more narrow due to the changed angle from the spacers?
I didn't put any rubber there (since the brackets install on the outside). The bottom is more fixed. Most of the pivot is the upper part of the mount with the shock. I haven't noticed any issues with it, but I can go take a closer look at it. It did make it a little more narrow, but not anything that I really worried about. My machine is for trail riding and hunting. Not screaming around turns at 60 mph. At full droop it didn't hit my stock wheels, but I ended up getting aftermarket wheels that moved the width back closer to stock (not for that reason).

It isn't allowing me to upload pictures at work. I'll upload when I have free time at home.

Curious, where are you roughly located? I remember rental companies in UT (when I lived there) were always selling leftover stock..... I was close to buying on some occasions, but usually they wanted too much money for what they had.

Don't waste your time taking it to the dealer. Like was already mentioned, nobody is going to put more time and effort into your machine than you. Do your own work, and change your own fluids. I have this same DIY mentality with my vehicles as well. I don't trust shops or the quality of work at shops. But that is just me.
 

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Only you can decide your priorities on add-ons. But word of warning, it gets addicting and adds up quick. I primarily use my machine for the same things you mentioned (hunting with buddies, and trail riding with family).

My machine is a 2018 HD8 Max DPS model, but has been pretty much converted to the XT model with even more add-ons (minus the upgraded seats and painted plastics).

I've installed:
  • XT Dash cluster and storage bin (Nice, but not needed. Really more cosmetic).
  • XT full roof (gotta have IMO, at least some roof) SuperATV or others
  • XT winch (purchased harness and Superwinch winch without the CanAm decal / cheaper way to go, but have to do a little research on required parts. There is a thread on this that we have details). The winch is nice. I've already used mine. I think for as much as these machines weigh it would be good to have just in case
  • XT bumper only because I added a bumper light bar. I like the extra brightness of the light bar.
  • I purchased Beamtech H11 (I think it was) led bulbs. These are a must IMO. Brighter than stock and a bright white light, not yellow like stock. https://www.amazon.com/BEAMTECH-Headlight-8000Lumens-Extremely-Conversion/dp/B06XHDYTGL/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=H11+bulbs&qid=1600125124&sr=8-4
  • SuperATV front and rear windshield. I would prefer the glass oem, but they are so dang expensive. The SuperATV are nice to have for those cold hunting situations. And nice regular driving not to get beat up by wind in the face all the time.
  • oem Gun Boots and mounts. Very nice, but also very expensive.
  • oem rear cargo light (very nice to be able to see your gear in your bed on those early or late hunts)
  • Seizmik pursuit side mirrors (aluminum, nice and cheaper than oem)
  • oem rear view mirror (nice to have, but my gun boots block a lot of the view. So mostly side view mirrors now)
  • Battle Armor 2" bracket lift. Nice for a little extra clearance
  • XT full underbody skid plates. (just a little more protection)
  • oem Under Seat storage bins (nice to have)
  • front center seat Kolpin gun mount. Nice to have to hold a rifle in the cab on the hunts. There is some write ups on doing it yourself or you can purchase the kit pre-assembled from a company in Texas.
  • oem bed rails (really more of a cosmetic thing)
  • horse mat cut to shape of cargo bed (just helps to save the bed a little bit, but yours is probably already beat up)
  • aftermarket wheels (more of a cosmetic thing but it did bring the width back to normal due to the lift)
  • UNI filter in place of airbox vent tube (figured it would help reduce some of the dirt getting to primary filter / I run it dry)
  • cargo nets in front of rear passenger seats (cheap)
  • cargo nets on dash (cheap)
  • oem front aluminum skid plate (found a good deal)
  • oem 3 mode switch
Might be something I'm missing, and I'll add if I am.

Things I still want is primarily doors, but they are super expensive. I'm looking at options that have half doors, but could potentially convert to full doors. Would be nice on those cold hunts.
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I don’t even want to list what I added....💰💰💰💰.....I store all my receipts in an office file and refuse to add up the total money spent so far! 😮
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The unit has 4500 miles on it! Seems its performing well being in stock forum!
I hope so. It was a rental, so probably ridden hard with no regard to th machine. Based on scratches on the cage, it took a dirt nap. Had a bent tie rid. I replaced both the other night. Checked all the brake pads. Rear is squeaking real loud, but all pads look near new. Not sure what a new belt looks like, but checked the belt and it looks good to me. Brake fluid has done life left. Next up will be replacing air filter (blew it out for now...got one on order) and oil. May do differential fluid as well. Hopefully it'll run for a long time. Having trouble getting things aligned just right after the tie rods. Initially pulled hard right. Corrected tire pressures and slight adjustment on one side and it was rolling straight-ish. Wife took it a mile on the street to pick up the kids from school and said it was pulling again. Hopefully I get it all dialed in so i can ride without worry.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Not all upgrades installed at time of pictures.....
So that's pretty much what I want. Looks like you've got the 2" lift brackets. What do you think? Worth it? Does it change the stance enough to worry about odd wear or instability?
I want a roof (will probably just cut some plastic and u bolt it on for cost).
Love the winch, light bar, and both gun racks. I may be able to rig up the underseat on for a reasonable price, but those hard ones in the back are money. Figured I'd just get a hard case and lay it in the bed cause that'll be what i can afford. I love the setup.
 
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