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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, it's underway.
Taking a 2009 Baja XTZ and setting it up for some serious running in the desert Southwest. A local off-roading shop will be fabbing up the cage (8 inches shorter than stock cage), beefing the frame and lowering the seats.
Some of the goodies going on are Twisted Stitch Vortex Seats (replacing the Arctic Cat Seats without harness holes, 5 point Crowe Harnesses, ITP SS312 Wheels (Beadlocked by ORM) with ITP Baja Cross 8-ply tires. Oversized radiator (built locally by a shop that handles custom radiators and understands performance). Suspension mods will be kept simple, beefing the A-arms, custom built gas racing shocks with shock towers (machine will have approx 13 inches travel and 13 inches ground clearance). Internally, the engine will get some warming over and the clutch will be set up for quicker take off.
Along the way we'll incorporate some other goodies too.
It'll be used primarily for desert running, race pre-running and maybe some light competition in the modified stock desert classes around here.
As it progresses, I'll post pics and any info on what we run into along the way.
 

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I like that green on the Baja. Keep us posted on the project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, UTVCrap shipped my upper frame tube reinforcements today, my fabrication guy (he's a builder of professional rock crawlers and rock racers with many of his designs competing in National Championships) looked over the XTZ also today and is set to lower the seats and build the cage. He's also installing a 60amp alternator. It'll be in the shop on Monday. I'll keep posting build photos as we go.

The cage will have an adjustable angle light bar (with VisionX LED Lights) on the header of the front. The cage is also being designed to be able to use some of the factory type windshieds (removable for racing and cut down in height though since the cage will be a full 8 inches shorter at the front). The more factory or aftermarket pieces that we can use will keep the cost of crash repair down. The bed area of the cage will have dual spare tire mounts as well as a mount for a speed-wrench jack.

We looked at putting in Twisted Stitch Vortex Seats, but another manufacture (one of the majors) has asked that we allow them to mockup a set of full suspension racing seats in our machine. So we're going to see what they come up with. If they turn out good, you'll see them on the market soon.

Right now we are looking at both a custom set of King Coilover or Fox Coilover Shocks. We don't want to really widen the machine any further, so we are working with stock dimension A-Arms that have been beefed up. The shocks should bring our ground clearance up to about 13 inches with increased travel. Dual rate springs will be used.

We've decided on testing ITP BajaCross 8-ply tires mounted on ITP SS312 Rims that are being converted to beadlocks. This setup does widen the track by a couple inches, but that's as wide as we want.

Up front will be a dual battery setup, mounted where the storage tray is. There will still be some storage up front too.

The idea of this machine setup is to build one that is capable of running semi-stock classes in local desert races as well as being able to take it out on trail rides for fun. That being said, also to keep the cost down to a reasonable amount. Plus, we just want to go out and kick some RZR's and Teryx's a**es.

If this project goes well, look for us to build a 4-seater pre-runner.
 

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another compliment on the cage! almost a radius
 

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If you can, show some detailed pics of how you lower the seats. I'd really like to do this to mine before the cage is built.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If you can, show some detailed pics of how you lower the seats. I'd really like to do this to mine before the cage is built.
I will, it's amazing how much AC stuffed down into that area. But we are doing the only sensible thing, removing most of the seat mounting area and rebuilding it back up. I have some "before" pics so far, I'll post those with the progress pics as I get them.

One thing we've noticed is just how narrow the seat area is on the Cat. AC designed it with only 20 inches width for the seats. Most PRP and other brand seats are 22 inches wide. The Twisted Stitch Vortex is 20 inches wide, so it is a good choice. But another major seat company thinks they can build a seat that will fit and be as good or better.

By moving the battery up front to the storage compartment area, we open up a lot of room for adding an alternator and installing the bracing for the seat mounts.

On the fuel tank side, the neck of the tank is being shortened and a Jeep fill neck with inset pocket will be used. The Jeep unit is a smaller version of what AC is using on the Prowler and offers enough space savings for fitting the lowered seats.

Chance, UTVCrap in Mesa, AZ is a great choice for having the cage built and the seats lowered, they've already pioneered it and from what I've seen of their work, it's first rate. Keep in mind, if you lower, the distance for the legs to fit in gets shorter too. We are moving the seats back a couple inches and tilting them up at the front to support the legs better.

As for the cage, we are already considering a design change for being able to use an aluminum roof. Instead of kickup bars on the very top of the cage, we may have to go with flat bars. If we can get a good transition for the kickups to the side of the machine, keeping the cage completely outside of the head room, then we will go with that, but overall it might be easier to go with a flat tube rather than the kickups. And keeping with the Prowler theme of "Bigger is Better" the main tubes will be 1.75DOM/.120wall tubing. Of course that's what happens when you have one of the country's best rock crawler fab guys build it, it's STOUT.

Also, we are thinking about half doors that open instead of quarter panels that we step over. The reason being, we want to be able to run this machine in the mountains of Colorado, which means being able to keep the rain out on those July afternoon monsoons. If we make a openable half door, we can easily add an upper half made out of Polycarbonate Lexan.

Today we ordered the VisionX HID headlights and the VisionX LED Xmitter for lighting. Whew, between the 2, another $1200 gone..
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
this thing is going to be fun ..... sounds great
Just trying to build what Arctic Cat should've built in the first place. If they would've made the seats lower in the chassis to begin and put a sportier cage on the XTZ, I'm sure they would've been giving RZR-S's a run for their money from the start.
SideXSide Action Magazine just did a test between the XTZ, RZR-S and the Teryx 750 Sport with the XTZ only winning by a door length. Their biggest complaints were the top-heavy feel of the XTZ in the corners and the suspension needing to be able to run the rough stuff a little better.

Johnny, have you given thought to building a kit that would lower the seats and put a lower, sportier cage on togther. I'd be all over your cages and having you do some work on this machine if you weren't almost 400 miles away. I think a kit that has a replacement engine cover that allows lowering the seats and widens the seat area a bit as well as a "cut out and replace bracing" type kit to lower the seats would be awesome.
 

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looks like that is going to be one sweet ride when it's done
 

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Just trying to build what Arctic Cat should've built in the first place. If they would've made the seats lower in the chassis to begin and put a sportier cage on the XTZ, I'm sure they would've been giving RZR-S's a run for their money from the start.
SideXSide Action Magazine just did a test between the XTZ, RZR-S and the Teryx 750 Sport with the XTZ only winning by a door length. Their biggest complaints were the top-heavy feel of the XTZ in the corners and the suspension needing to be able to run the rough stuff a little better.

Johnny, have you given thought to building a kit that would lower the seats and put a lower, sportier cage on togther. I'd be all over your cages and having you do some work on this machine if you weren't almost 400 miles away. I think a kit that has a replacement engine cover that allows lowering the seats and widens the seat area a bit as well as a "cut out and replace bracing" type kit to lower the seats would be awesome.
Good question. Johnny, can you give me a price on what it would cost to have my seats lowered? I really want to have it done before I build a cage. PM me if you'd like.
 

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to lower the seats would be low side 1500.00 hi side around 2000.00 depends on how many hour it takes us
 

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to lower the seats would be low side 1500.00 hi side around 2000.00 depends on how many hour it takes us

Johnny

That is a fair price. Mine are lowered 4" and we fit some BAS (Big ASS Seats) in between the engine cover and roll cage supports. I can say after seeing what is involved to make it happen $1500-$2000 is not that bad considering the time involved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Johnny

That is a fair price. Mine are lowered 4" and we fit some BAS (Big ASS Seats) in between the engine cover and roll cage supports. I can say after seeing what is involved to make it happen $1500-$2000 is not that bad considering the time involved.
The real point is whether it was worth it. I think the lower CG and sportier feel is. What have you seen different with your machine flying121, does the lower CG seem to help quite a bit.
 

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The real point is whether it was worth it. I think the lower CG and sportier feel is. What have you seen different with your machine flying121, does the lower CG seem to help quite a bit.
I wish I could tell you. I have not seen my XTZ in months and have never driven it since the long travel and with the seats being lowered. It is supposed to be done for the Sand show in CA. I will report my findings after I get some time on it. I believe Johnny made some comments about how nice the XTZ handled with the seats lowered.
 

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it was a tractor it is now a sports car ..... i love the feel and the look
 
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