Trail Armor – Dual Battery Holder, Brake lock, Skid Plates, Steering Stabilizer – Another in the Borneo Series

| December 16, 2009 | 0 Comments

Where do I start? One quick browse of and you know that Andre Turner gets it.  Trail Armor is all about improving your experience on the trail.  It’s hard to stop adding things to your shopping cart.

I first met Andre bouncing around the rocks at the first UTV Rally in Moab.  It has been great watching the breadth and depth of products that have emerged to the point that we just had to tap into it for our Borneo Expedition build.

stabilizerSteering Stabilizer

Sometimes the best safety devices are actually quite simple.  I seem to be able to snag more than my share of tree roots and rim grabbing rocks.  I’ve learned over the years to keep my thumbs up and out of the inside of the wheel just for those occasions where its suddenly jerked out of my grip.  Trail Armors steering stabilizer seems like a simple concept but it performs an important function.  It really limits that sudden jerk and the ensuing loss of control.  During normal driving you really don’t notice the stabilizer at all. It doesn’t make steering any more difficult.  It simply dampens any really sudden attempts to move the wheel a long way, like when you clip a rock with your rim edge at a high speed.  It’s  a simple fix to a real and serious problem.  I like the control it gives and a feeling of safety.

batteryboxDual Battery Holder

One of our requirements for participating in the Borneo Equator Expedition 09 is a dual battery configuration.  When you think about this, it is a no brainer if you are planning a lot of winching.  The stock battery is frankly not much in the way of amp storage.  In fact it is not particularly good at keeping your stereo running for very long.   I found the Oddysey PC925 battery some time ago and upgraded from stock.  It happens to fit in the stock location okay and gives a pretty big amp cache.  One of the issues with setting up a dual battery configuration is that the batteries should match.  In order for the batteries to function as a unit during the discharge process, like when you’re winching, they need to match so that there is an even discharge or one of the batteries will be stressed.  This will lead to premature failure of one of the batteries and the system will need to work overtime trying to keep things in balance.  That process can damage the other battery and even the entire system.   So, obviously I wanted another Oddysey PC925, but where exactly do I put it?  A quick glance at the battery box under the seat looks like the thought of stuffing another in there is a lost cause.  As it turns out with a bit of plastic trimming to remove the stock battery box and Trail Armors precision built battery box you can in fact fit two Oddysey PC925 batteries in the stock location.  In fact I had enough room to install an accessory fuse block in the space along with the batteries.  The batteries are connected using WARN’s dual battery management system (that’s another article).  Now I have all the juice I need for a long day of winching through the jungle without worrying that I won’t be able to get the rig started.  Even if all you want is a long running stereo setup, this is a great way to make sure you can still get back to camp.

brakelockBrake Lock

Don’t even get me started on the RZRs lack of any sort of parking brake.  If you have ever stopped on much of hill and put your RZR in park then found out how the transmission binds up you know what I’m talking about. The steeper the hill the more severe the bind to the point I’ve been genuinely afraid of busting something trying to get it out of park on more than one occasion.   Trail Armors slick brake lock is just the answer I was looking for.  It’s a simple solution.  An electric solenoid is inserted inline near the brake line distribution block behind the drivers seat and a switch on the dash is used to actuate the solenoid.  You step on the brake, hit the switch and the solenoid essentially acts as if the peddle is still pressed by keeping the pressure in the line after you release the peddle.   When you are ready to roll again flipping the switch off will release the brake.  It’s perfect for stopping on the trail when you really need the rig to stay put.  It’s a solid stop, no wiggle or slipping, it simply keeps the RZR exactly where it was when you pressed the brake.  Understand this is not an emergency brake that you might use in case the brakes fail.  It depends on your brake system working correctly.  If your are sick of wrestling the tranny to get it out of park you need one of these brake locks.  Installation is simple and quick.  The kit comes complete with everything you need, no cutting of existing brake lines is required, just use the supplied pre-bent short piece of brake line to put the solenoid inline and run the switch to the dash and power from the battery and you are done.   The dash switch is the same Carling brand as the stock RZR dash switches like the light and 4WD switch.  It lights up bright red when it’s set so you know it’s on.

centerskidSkid Plates

After running polymer skids for some time I have to say they are a no brainer.  Some people think that Aluminum plates are tougher, I think that’s an old wives tale.  The fact is that the tensile of both products is similar and the deflection is nearly identical.  Neither of them makes a particularly good bash plate.  Hit something hard enough and you may still get some damage.  Where polymer plates shine is in the UTV application.  Unlike an ATV where you can shift your weight around when you get high centered a UTV makes that nearly fruitless.   Aluminum is famous for binding up on obstacle rather than “skidding” over them.  Polymer plates are great skidders, they practically lube the contact point and let you slip right over nerfskidsobstacles that would stop aluminum plates dead in place.  That’s particularly problematic when you are trying to climb an obstacle. It’s bad enough that you have gravity working against you, you really don’t need your skid plate fighting you as well. Trail Armors latest skid plates are made of a full 1/2″ thick high density polymer that can take a hell of an impact and still let you skid over the obstacle.  Coverage is very complete and actually wraps up around the rocker panels below your doors to help keep you from ripping up your rockers when you get jammed on your side in a crevice.  Install is easy using the same cup washers as the original factory skid plate.   There are plenty of drain holes to keep mud from building up and access ports let you get to drain plugs.

Give Andre a call, he is great just to shoot the breeze with and compare notes.  He loves this sport more than most and it shows in his products and knowledge.

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Category: Borneo Excursion, Polaris

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