ATV / UTV Mud Build Tips

Bring Your Muddy Dream Machine to Life!

ATV / UTV Mud Build Tips

Companies like Highlifter, Gorilla Axle, and S3 Powersports are great resources for heavy duty and specialized parts to help bring your muddy dream machine to life!ATV Rider've been bitten by the mud bug and want to transform your current ride into the most bitchin', mud-slingin' beast this side of the Mississippi. With some time, effort, money, and patience, anyone with a decent understanding of turning wrenches can complete the job. Companies like Highlifter, Gorilla Axle, and S3 Powersports are great resources for heavy duty and specialized parts to help bring your muddy dream machine to life!

Start With an Appropriate Machine:

The heart of a great mud machine is horsepower. Slinging big, heavy mud tires will suck the life out of even the most powerful ATV or UTV. Therefore, you want to start with a big-bore machine with plenty of power in stock form. case it isn't completely obvious, you want to choose a machine that is also four-wheel drive.ATV Rider

Mud Tires:

If you wanna play in the mud with the big dogs, you better have a legit set of mud tires. Back in the day, there were very few options or companies making them. Now, finding a set of mud tires is as easy as finding a set of cross country (XC) tires. Do your research, find out what tire will work best for your particular ride, and make sure they will fit the wheels you plan to use, as well as the clearance on the machine. Bigger isn't always better, especially if your ATV or UTV doesn't have the power to turn them or it requires you to lift the machine so high that it becomes a detriment to the handling.ATV Rider

Install a High Quality Winch:

If you're gonna potentially bury a machine that could weigh 1500 lbs, you better invest in a high quality winch. We've always had excellent luck with Warn winches. They're reliable, easy to install, and they have an excellent availability of replacement parts if they ever need to be serviced.ATV Rider

Install a Clutch Kit:

One of the simplest, least expensive, and best performance modifications added to any mud build is a clutch kit. Usually comprised of heavier springs and tiny clutch weights, these simple parts provide ATV's and UTV's that rely on CVT's (Continuously Variable Transmissions) to build revs quicker, and bite on the drive belt harder. Heavy mud tires will eat a stock clutch setup for breakfast and will certainly cook the drive belt. For less than the cost of most belts, a clutch kit is a worthy investment.ATV Rider

Extend Differential Breathers:

One very important step that can be easily missed is extending the front and rear differential breathers. The ability for the diffs to "breathe", rather than drowning in muddy water is the key to their longevity.ATV Rider

Consider Aftermarket Axles:

Do your research and find out if your stock axles are strong enough to survive mud tires. On our Can Am Maverick build we did a few years ago, the stock axles are exceptionally we kept them stock. However, many of the machines out there will require replacement axles. Some of the best come are the chromoly axles from Gorilla Axle. They're expensive (about $800 per pair), but they come with a one year replacement warranty for breakage.ATV Rider

Save your Pennies for Beadlock Wheels:

I usually run very low air pressure on my mud machines. The low tire pressure allows the tire carcass to bend and curl around the slippery terrain. However, the low air pressure can also cause the tire bead to break on a normal wheel, flattening the tire and causing the wheel to spin inside the tire itself. A beadlock wheel (dual beadlocks are even better) makes it impossible for the tire bead to lose contact with the wheel, while also preventing the wheel from spinning inside the tire.ATV Rider

Dielectric Grease your Connectors:

If the electrical connectors are exposed to water, some safe insurance is to smear them with dielectric grease. The stuff is cheap, you could train a monkey to smear it on the connectors, and it could certainly be the best decision you've ever made if you plan to take your ATV or UTV swimming.ATV Rider

Install Beefier Tie Rods:

Stock tie rods are meant to handle stock sized tires. If you super size the tires, you better also opt to increase the size of the tie rods. The tie rods certainly won't increase performance, but the will allow you to more safely operate your mud machine.ATV Rider

Relocate the Radiator:

If hard-core wheeling is in your future, relocating the radiator up, out of the way of mud and muddy water will help to keep the engine running cool. On ATV's, the radiator is typically mounted above the front rack. On UTV's, the radiator can be placed behind the cab.ATV Rider

Pull the Trigger on Snorkels:

An engine needs clean, dry air to atomize and mix with fuel. CVT's also need clean dry air to cool the clutches and belt, and they also require a way to vent the hot air out of the CVT to help keep the clutches from eating the very expensive belts. The only way to accomplish all these tasks is to retrofit your rig with snorkels for the engine intake, CVT intake, and CVT exhaust. Snorkels keep the water out and the air flowing unimpeded in and out of your rig.ATV Rider

Do Your Homework When Shopping Lift Kits:

Here's great advice. If you buy the cheapest lift kit you can find on eBay, you'll be disappointed. Check out Highlifter, Gorilla Axle, or S3 Powersports for some great options to lift your rig. At their website, you'll find whatever you need to make your lift mild or wild!ATV Rider