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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey everyone. So, I just found out some really bad news. I was cleaning up my rig from the last trip out and found some damage. Didn't think much of it at first, just broken tabs on the radiator housing mount that attaches to the shock mount. I saw many rigs with the same issue at the Sand Sports Super Show a couple weeks ago. But then I started to trace down to see why this happened. Now, I had some scuff marks on my front skid plate, but don't remember hitting anything that jarring. Well, apparently whatever was hit was enough to bend the frame where the lower a-arms attach, the front bumper, and crunch the radiator and fan.

I took it to my local dealer to have a look at it as their service department is pretty good. They gave it a run down and confirmed that the frame was bent, informed me that my lower right a-arm bent slightly, radiator crunched and fan housing broken. I spoke with the service manager and explained that I would like to salvage the rig if possible and not go through insurance to replace the frame (this would cost about $7K-$8K for them to swap out the frame for all parts and labor). I explained that I was looking at putting a gusset kit on the rig, but I have not yet got around to it. I wanted to know if I put one on, will it be ok and salvage the frame and be safe to drive. Well, he talked to one of his techs that race these, and are very familiar with them. He said that he thinks that putting the gusset kit on will solve the problem for now. He said that the a-arm is bent very slightly, so would be ok to run with it, but it may not track exactly straight. Front bumper is bent back as well, so will need to replace that. He said that I could probably run the current radiator, but suggests replacing it. Oh, and even though the fan is ok, just the plastic bracket that holds it on is broken, you have to replace the entire fan as it is one assembly. Geez, talk about lousy engineering on the part of CanAm! The housing and fan should be two separate pieces! Especially considering the amount of rigs I saw that had broken ones at the SSSS.

Anyway, dealer quoted me $1,538.67 to install the gusset kit and front upper shock mount (already purchased from CT Race Worx), replace the fan, radiator, bumper, a-arm, ball joint, and various small hardware to go with it all. I really didn't think that this was a bad price considering how difficult it is to put one of these kits on. Right now I declined as I would love to do this myself so I get more familiar with the rig and how it goes together. That way when something happens in the future, I can hopefully work on it myself. So I got it back home and have it sitting in the garage. Below are some photos that I hope I was able to capture what I am talking about.

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So this is the first thing I noticed: The marks on the back of the "hood" looked like they hit the bolts on the front of the shock brace. I then took a closer look and took the hood off.

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With the hood off, you can see the plastic fan housing brace better. I was looking at the bolts on the shock brace and at first could't figure out why they were not holding anything.

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Once I examined the fan bracket more closely, I could see that it was broken. Then I thought to myself, geez, it seems like it should be in front of the shock tower brace, not behind it (as you can see in the photo). So I did a quick internet search for photos of these rigs and the shock tower brace, and found that the bracket is supposed to be in front of the shock brace and connects via the two rubber grommets on the front!

So now I really started to freak out and began tracing everything down the rig. That's when I noticed that the front of the frame appeared to be bent where the lower a-arms attach and that there was some stress cracking to the frame. Looked like the main bolt that holds the bumper on was bent as well. Now, this was before the SSSS, so I knew I wanted to take a close look at the rigs there to confirm my suspicions. Sure enough, I found many with the broken fan housing (one exactly like mine that was broken AND resting behind the shock brace), but none that had the frame damage like mine does. I don't know if I got a bum unit or I really hit something that hard. Either way, it sucks. Here are some photos that I tried to take to show the damage:

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So this is a photo of the skid plate. No scuffs to a-arm skids, just center plate.

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Another photo a little further back to show no other crazy damage from a hit.

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It's hard to see, but you can see a few things in this photo. 1. bent tab where the a-arm was pushed back and bent the tab up; 2. dented lower skid from impact; 3. the front of the frame is pushed in where the a-arms attach. It's hard to see, but look at the two bolts between the a-arms, you can see that it is not straight.

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This is a shot from the opposite side. You can see the center bolt that holds the front bumper is cupped from the force of impact, and can see cracking to the paint where the tab is on this side from frame being pushed in where a-arm is located.

P1020187 (2).JPG
Another angle from same side. You can see how bad the bolts between the a-arms are tweaked in this photo, as well as the main bolt for the front bumper. Highlights the cracking to frame around the front tab as well. The far bolt (the one next to the passenger a-arm) is severely off angle due to the a-arm pushing the front of the frame inward toward the rear.

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Photo showing stress cracking to frame and tab passenger side.

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Photo showing stress cracking to frame and around tab drivers side.

I initially was going to go with the TMW gusset kit, but in doing my research, it looks like the only gusset kit that will work on this rig (with the smart lock and winch) is the CT Race Worx kit. I am not sad about this as I already have their radius rods and pull plate and they seem to make a decent product. Since I have a damaged a-arm, I figured that I may as well replace those as well, so I ordered a pair of CT Race Worx 72" boxed High Clearance Lower A-Arms, as well as the shock brace. If I am going to tear into this thing, I may as well replace as much as I can afford right now. I spoke to Dave at CT, who was very helpful, and informed me that they would normally recommend a new ball joint and bushings, but since my rig only has 315 miles on it, I should be fine to re-use the factory for now until they wear out. Nice to see that someone is not just after a buck these days, but really wants a long standing customer.

So, moral of the story: don't hit something with your front skid plate; and INSTALL A GUSSET KIT!!! I truly feel that all this damage could have been avoided if I had a gusset kit installed already. Oh well, live, learn, and have an empty wallet!!! I'll post a review of the kit once complete. Thanks for reading!
 

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yup, thin frame metal, thin bulkhead and you have a weak front end. I personally don't think ANY bolt on gusset kit is going to fix your issues. Once you disassemble you will find cracks that need welding and possible oval bolt holes that need plated and welded. Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No doubt Mega. Welding is a skill I definitely need to learn! I am out here is So CA, and there is a shop out here called Doctor John's Motorcycle Frame Straightening. I was thinking of taking it to them to have a once over. Anyone on here familiar with their work?

yup, thin frame metal, thin bulkhead and you have a weak front end. I personally don't think ANY bolt on gusset kit is going to fix your issues. Once you disassemble you will find cracks that need welding and possible oval bolt holes that need plated and welded. Good luck!!
 

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No doubt Mega. Welding is a skill I definitely need to learn! I am out here is So CA, and there is a shop out here called Doctor John's Motorcycle Frame Straightening. I was thinking of taking it to them to have a once over. Anyone on here familiar with their work?
I would find a race team who races an X3 and see if they would do it. A guy who straightens a motorcycle frame might not know what and where to strengthen a Canam frame.
 

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Well first of all, your radiator mount is installed wrong, its supposed to be in the rubber mounts in front of that blue piece, that is probably part of your problem right there. Bent frame is another story. Who installed your fan mount like that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well first of all, your radiator mount is installed wrong, its supposed to be in the rubber mounts in front of that blue piece, that is probably part of your problem right there. Bent frame is another story. Who installed your fan mount like that?
Well mgrotel, that's the thing. It was not installed like that. The photo is fuzzy, so it's hard to see, but in the side photo, you can see that the tabs that install on the rubber mounts are broken off, and the radiator mount was pushed from the front of the shock support to behind it! Crazy, right!?

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You should do the work yourself. It's a weekend project. And you will learn a lot about your machine.
 

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I would do new A arm bushings while you're at it. You'll regret it later when you have to pull them all the way back out to replace them. Just get CT's, good product. What's another $100. Lol.

Ball joints are easy later on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You should do the work yourself. It's a weekend project. And you will learn a lot about your machine.
No doubt Mike. That's exactly why I passed on the dealer doing the work. The price was not bad, but knowledge is priceless! Of course, once I tear into it, my motto may change. Lol.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I would do new A arm bushings while you're at it. You'll regret it later when you have to pull them all the way back out to replace them. Just get CT's, good product. What's another $100. Lol.

Ball joints are easy later on.
I think you are right DuneFreak. I will call tomorrow and have it added to the order.
 

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I broke two fan shrouds put on the CT gusset frame kit and the CT shock mount kit have not had any problem since. Everything went on with no problem but the frame kit took a few hours.
 

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No doubt Mega. Welding is a skill I definitely need to learn! I am out here is So CA, and there is a shop out here called Doctor John's Motorcycle Frame Straightening. I was thinking of taking it to them to have a once over. Anyone on here familiar with their work?
I used Dr. John's many years ago on a bent Banshee frame and was very pleased with his work, timeline, and price. Back then he required everything be removed and the frame delivered by itself. Not sure if things have changed. Give him a call to see if he has evolved into the SXS market, and if he still requires tear down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I used Dr. John's many years ago on a bent Banshee frame and was very pleased with his work, timeline, and price. Back then he required everything be removed and the frame delivered by itself. Not sure if things have changed. Give him a call to see if he has evolved into the SXS market, and if he still requires tear down.
Thanks Troy! Glad to hear that they do work on these things. Holy cow though, to bring in a frame by itself would be tough! I will be in my garage for a month straight, lol!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quick update everyone...

So I took apart the front end to put the gusset kit on, and found some additional paint chipping at the frame joints. I got real worried and submitted an insurance claim and had the rig back at my local shop again. The insurance adjuster allowed for a full frame replacement, but not due to the cracking of the paint (therefore stress on the joints) that I was worried about. The pushed in front plate was what they allowed the frame replacement for, but again felt that a gusset kit would remedy it. He said that the paint cracking at the joints is 'normal' for these machines and have denied frame replacement requests based on this type of damage alone. They only approved mine due to front end damage.

Well, I never wanted to place an insurance claim in the first place, so I called my shop and spoke to my contact there, he said that the tech was pretty adamant that the frame does NOT need to be replaced and that it would be a waste of an insurance claim in his opinion. He felt that the gusset kit would remedy the issues with the front end. He recommended a gusset kit that uses a full one piece gusset that bolts to the bulkhead (such as TMW or CT Race Worx smart lock kit). The tech apparently has an X3 and is an avid racer/enthusiast of the machine and has a TMW kit on his. Based on this information, I canceled the insurance claim and will be putting the gusset kit on and hope for the best. By the way, a full frame swap (with new front bumper, radiator, fan, and some other small various parts) came to $7,800! I am glad that my shop was at least honest with me about the need for a frame replacement.

I will hopefully get the gusset kit on in the next couple of weeks. The next big trip out is Thanksgiving weekend, so I will update after that trip and let you all know how it went. I hope I made the right choice! I am on my laptop and don't have a photo of the additional damage I saw, or I would post those pics. I will post later when I am back home on my desktop.
 

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Aj,

We have 2 cars here in the shop with front end damage similar you yours. Both very low mileage cars. Alex was able to repair and reinforce one and the other is a complete chassis swap. Both drove in. Wanting to do this and learn a lot is definitely understandable. At the very least I would separate and label EVERY thing, and keep hardware from each component in it's own labeled bag. That way IF you get to a place during disassembly that you realize you may need to enlist the help of a fab shop you are not that customer that brings a pile of parts in a box and is missing all the hardware... You will go down in the LEGENDARY HERO customer lists for that. If you don't need help from outside sources it will definitely help you with the install as you are going to have most of the front end apart. If at all possible do NOT drain the radiator as bleeding all the air out of the system is not fun. Having an extra set of hands or 2 will be very very helpful.

If you get stuck and need some help give us a call and if we can help we definitely will. We also know a good amount of shops and people out there that would help you as well.

Good luck Brother!!!
 

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Aj,

Thanks for this information. Do you know if the frame damage may have been caused by desert or dune riding? Would one be harder the machine than the other?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Aj,

Thanks for this information. Do you know if the frame damage may have been caused by desert or dune riding? Would one be harder the machine than the other?
I ride desert. I must have hit a whoop the wrong way. Again, I feel that this damage was only caused by an impact at the front bumper and not from regular driving over whoops where the front end would not ever touch anything. It's just scary that I was not able to tell what impact caused all the damage. Of course, I was not the only driver the trip this occurred, and was not always in the vehicle, so who knows. I sure don't feel that I personally hit anything with the front end let alone with any sort of impact.

I don't know which would be harder on the machine. The desert is not very forgiving. I would think that dune riding would be less harder on the machine, but I can't say for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Aj,

We have 2 cars here in the shop with front end damage similar you yours. Both very low mileage cars. Alex was able to repair and reinforce one and the other is a complete chassis swap. Both drove in. Wanting to do this and learn a lot is definitely understandable. At the very least I would separate and label EVERY thing, and keep hardware from each component in it's own labeled bag. That way IF you get to a place during disassembly that you realize you may need to enlist the help of a fab shop you are not that customer that brings a pile of parts in a box and is missing all the hardware... You will go down in the LEGENDARY HERO customer lists for that. If you don't need help from outside sources it will definitely help you with the install as you are going to have most of the front end apart. If at all possible do NOT drain the radiator as bleeding all the air out of the system is not fun. Having an extra set of hands or 2 will be very very helpful.

If you get stuck and need some help give us a call and if we can help we definitely will. We also know a good amount of shops and people out there that would help you as well.

Good luck Brother!!!
Thanks Dave. I sure hope I made the right decision. I am trusting that my shop is correct and a full replacement is not necessary. I guess for now I will put the gusset kit on so I can still drive it. I can re-open the insurance claim if necessary within one year of my listed dated of loss. I would love some suggestions for shops in my area as I wouldn't mind getting a second opinion on the frame damage. Please provide some here in the thread or PM me. Thanks!!!

I don't plan on draining the radiator, just getting it out of the way like the instructions say to for now.
 

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After reading this and mega’s posts about these issues, I ordered a lonestar weld in kit for the front and rear. Seems to be the best overall fix. Lots of work for a guy who works a lot.


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