With the popularity of mud racing heating up these last few years, we were inspired to build a mud competition-worthy race monster. We are suffering from a newfound love for the sport of deep mud racing and a fascination for clawing our way through the deepest bogs we could find. We didn't just want another mild mudder, but rather an extreme machine that could tackle almost anything that Mother Nature could throw in our path.
So what can you say when the challenge of building the most competitive mud racing quad is thrown your way? Oh heck yeah, let's get 'r done! But wait, where will we get the parts needed to make this boat swim and not sink? That's easy, Gorilla Axle. Gorilla Axle is a fast-growing and leading manufacturer of aftermarket lifts and axles that has taken the mud racing and utility ATV world by storm. After we met with Gorilla's Greg McMullen and Brandon Broussard, our project was underway. With the success that Gorilla race teams have had on the Can-Am Outlander, we decided that this would be our foundation for the build. Using a tired 2006 Outlander 650 as our base, we started tearing into the plastics to get an idea of just how much prep the quad needed before we would begin installing race equipment. Much to our surprise, the Outlander was in really good shape.
"Getting the machine up into...
"Getting the machine up into the air would mean that we could go into the mud and where most couldn't follow."
Located in the hills of Northern Georgia at the Georgia ATV Project Laboratory our "One Bad Mudda" was born. We wanted to accomplish several goals for our mud build. First, we had to make sure that our Outlander didn't take on any unwanted water and mud, so we needed to lift it up out of the depths and into the air. Gorilla supplied us with its massive seven-inch lift kit, and so it began.
Gorilla Meets Outlander
Gorilla lifts aren't for the squeamish, and most definitely require some mechanical knowledge to install right the first time. Getting the machine up into the air would mean that we could go into the mud and where most couldn't follow. The ground clearance was amazing, and that's just the beginning. With the extreme angle lengthened axles, the mud monster would claw through the slop without any hesitation. We also had the steering system beefed up and lengthened, so we were off to a good start. This kit gave us the shock relocation mounts for both front and rear that allowed us to keep our stockers on and for good reason. The shocks on a mud machine needed to be stiff and strong because if the machine gives any height away due to shock compression, it's giving up ground clearance along with wasted power and the ability to get the monster tires to the hard surface below the murky waters. Let's face it-this isn't a pleasure cruiser, it's a deep-bogging race monster!
Digging deep into the wild...
Digging deep into the wild backwoods can get you stuck in a hurry, so this XT30 winch by Warn was our safety net.
We capped off our lift with large 28-inch Gorilla Silverback tires and had them mounted on trick SS108 14x6 ITP wheels. We chose the Silverback tires because of their huge success at the Mud Nationals competitions. The lugs on these tires are massive, and with a sweeper lug on the sidewall of the tire, we were sure to get the grip we needed to get through the toughest bogs. The reason for using the 14x6 wheel instead of a wider one like a 14x8 was because it seemed the narrower wheel gets the tire taller in the center and adds to the bite of the tire while assisting with ground clearance. ITP has been producing the SS108 wheels for a while now, and although I think the solid black version would've looked great, we had been warned that the coloring would be gone after the first run. So we opted for the machined wheels.
There was nothing to stop...
There was nothing to stop us with the aggressive tread on this Gorilla Silverback 28-inch tire.
Relocating the radiator on a serious mud machine is a must. Especially when it's in its stock location, the radiator can catch anything you throw in its path, which includes mud and any other debris. The fins on the radiator will get clogged, which could result in a boiling radiator. Obviously, that wouldn't be good for your engine. So Gorilla has come up with a complete fix for your radiator's safety and its fan as well, and this was a mandatory modification. The kit comes with mounts, hoses, wiring and complete instructions on how to relocate your radiator to the front rack and out of harm's way. Another must for the deep stuff is the snorkel system. Putting a snorkel on the intake of the CVT as well as the exhaust is going to keep your CVT or drive belt from getting wet and creating slippage. This snorkel kit also includes the airbox, as sucking water into your motor would end your day quickly and perhaps permanently. These snorkels are easy to install and can be routed out of the top of the front fenders to whatever height you should need.
Beefing Up The Power
When we started this project, we knew that we needed to drastically increase power to help propel those large Silverback treads. We then made a visit to Can-Am factory racer Mike Penland's shop. Although I couldn't tell you what Mike had done to the heads of our machine, I can tell you that in combination with the head work and a set of the top-secret cams he had installed, our machine went from mild to monstrous. The power had been transformed into much more than we had expected. With new Can-Am 800cc cylinders and all the goodies Mike had thrown in, we had quite a powerful beast on our hands. But we couldn't leave well enough alone, and like a kid in a candy shop we had to have that little extra oomph. Adding 16 new ponies was easy with the wet spray of the genuine NOS fogger system. The NOS was the final boost we needed and is not for the squeamish. We managed the fuel system with a great new Power Commander system from Dynojet, and this kit is for twin-cylinder engines and has many combinations for grabbing more power. What we really liked about this system is that it's waterproof, so no worries about getting it wet. We added a purge kit for clearing the throat of the NOS line and a bottle pressure gauge to monitor how much fun was left for our throttle in the bottle. The Power Commander allows us to adjust the amount of fuel being delivered at certain rpm and throttle positions. The Power Commander also has a new LCD programmer screen that costs a little extra but is well worth the cash, as you can get a better view of all the Power Commander's data and you can even change the EFI mapping on the fly with this device. We needed EFI adjustability and that's what we got from Dynojet.
Like a fish out of water,...
Like a fish out of water, the CVT and airbox need to breathe, so Gorilla had a custom snorkel kit for that.
Getting all of this new power out of the motor and to the ground required a few more pieces to the puzzle. We needed a good exhaust and decided to give the guys over at HMF a buzz to get their latest Swamp Series eco-friendly pipe. This setup comes with a low-noise spark arrestor and a snorkel for going in deep. We've seen many good pipes come out of the HMF stable, so we were confident in our choice. After the motor from our twin air filtered intake to our HMF exhaust had been finished, we needed to strengthen the CVT a bit, so we added a few parts from EPI. The crew over at EPI has developed a variety of springs for the CVT-style transmissions that not only allows for higher-rpm engagement, but also has belts that will take the added abuse. Installing the dual cog belt will keep the wheels moving forward with the least amount of slippage.
Throttle in bottle form came...
Throttle in bottle form came directly from NOS because the company knows it best.
A Few More Details
For the most part, our dream mudding machine was finished and ready to roll. Well almost. When getting into mud or wet conditions, you need to have total control of the machine. We installed a Terry Cable dual gasser throttle setup on our project to give the ability to twist or thumb it whenever we choose. Simply pulling a small pin under the cable housing changes the throttle option, and you can rock on from there. Getting a grip was our next priority, and here's where Spider Grips came into play. Spider Grips offers a series of extreme-condition grips that are called SLT with Traction Gel technology. Another slippage control feature had to be our Quad Works seat cover that has extreme written all over it. This seat cover fits like a glove and is made of gripper material that keeps you planted on the quad at all times.
Have we left out any important items? Well, if you've ever had one of these things stuck without a winch handy, then you know how frustrating that can be. Warn Industries has come out with a heavy-duty winch line, the XT or Extreme Terrain series. We chose the XT30 because of the weight it had to pull and the conditions that this quad was to be ridden in. Having a quad that is now heavier than most other ATVs requires a tough winch, so we decided to add this small but powerful feature just in case we encounter the big one! And you know we eventually will. The final touch was adding a really trick-looking set of custom-designed G4-Graphics decals to protect our plastics and give this machine a nice look. The material and coverage were great, and every piece fit like a glove. And to top it off, it appeared that the quality of these stickers would enable them to withstand all of the abuse of mud and water. Now we were set.
Sink It Deep
After riding this behemoth through the trails to reach our test bogging location, we quickly figured out why it isn't a wise idea to ride it on trails. Gorilla has a disclaimer in its packaging that states this isn't a trail kit but rather a competition-only lift, and for good reason. The shocks are tweaked into the stiffest position and there's virtually no suspension. Therefore it doesn't like hills going up or down at all. On inclines it's very unstable and awkward to ride. Trust us when we say it isn't like a monster truck hitting a 40-foot pile of cars. This is now a mud competition-only quad, and when in the deep, it roars and handles like a dream.
When we finally reached our destination, deep holes of mud and water, we found out exactly what makes this machine such a dream. The Gorilla lift paired with the Silverback tires allowed it to stand high above the depths, letting us to go into very deep bogs. Our newfound power Penland dug up, paired with the NOS system and HMF Swamp series exhaust, made this motor scream beyond belief. Popping up the front end in the deepest muck was made easy, as this engine possessed a vicious low-end grunt.
Keeping this raging machine...
Keeping this raging machine cool was important to our surviving the deep one, so relocation was a must.
Our Silverback tires also played a huge role in getting us through the thick marsh as they reached to the bottom of the bog scraping for hard ground. The enormous lugs would dig deep and propel our machine forward with an extremely aggressive-like manner. I wish we could say that we tested out our new Warn Industries XT30 winch, but we never got this beast stuck. I'm sure the day will creep up on us, and we'll report back with the results.
Putting It To The Ultimate Test
Yes, there will be a part two to this article. We didn't just build this massive monster to display it in our shop. We intend to get out to Round 3 of the CMR series at Creekbottom ATV Park in Warwick, Georgia, and compete with the open-class big boys of the mud racing sport. We'll relate detailed results of this machine's performance as well as our first experience at mud racing competitions. So stay tuned, it's coming soon.
|Can-Am Gorilla Mudder Project |
|Gorilla Axle: |
|7-in. competition lift: $3295; radiator relocation |
kit: $189; snorkel kit, includes AIR and
CVT: $249.95; Silverback 28x10-14 tires:
$152 ea. (front), $165 ea. (rear)
|SS108 machined wheels: $93.95 ea. |
|MPR Engine Works: |
|Mike Penland–modifi ed head, send heads: |
$250; performance cams: $400
|Dynojet Research: |
|Power Commander: $349.95; |
|Spider Grips : |
|SLT ATV grips: $16.95 |
|Nitrous oxide kit 03003NOS: $699 |
|Erlandson PerformanceInc.: |
|Springs: $NA; spring kit: $49.95; |
high-performance CVT belt: $76.95
|Warn Industries: |
|XT30 winch with remote feature: $675 |
|HMF Engineering: |
|Swamp Series exhaust: $399.95 |
|Terry Cable: |
|Dual gasser throttle: $149.95 |
|Quad Works: |
|Gripper seat cover: $59.95 |
|Graphics: starting at $109 |
"The power had been transformed...
"The power had been transformed into much more than we had expected."
"So what can you say when...
"So what can you say when the challenge of building the most competitive mud racing quad is thrown your way? Oh heck yeah, let's get 'r done!"