Thursday, June 18, 2015

Restoration Project - 2007 Yamaha Rhino 660

I really didn't like side by sides (sxs). I thought they were a new money grab that the industry was trying to push on us. Why change the traditional quad? But that all changed last fall.

Restoration nearly complete, looking good with beadlock wheels and Bighorn tires

We have a family tradition with some of our extended family that on the Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, that we head up to a place called Elkridge Resort in Northern Saskatchewan and rent a cabin. The cabins are gorgeous and very modern, not roughing it at all. It's also been a tradition that we bring the quads up because we are in the middle of lake country and its a great place to ride. The resort is ATV friendly and you can ride right up to your cabin.

It's a long story but what ended happening is that I only brought one quad and my riding partner, my brother in law Eugene wasn't able to bring his quad. Ride alone? I couldn't not ride while in lake country with a machine at my disposal. So I rode....alone.

I hate riding alone, for me riding is a social activity and I was not willing to take the risk of doubling up on a single person machine. As I rode along the trails by myself,  I kept encountering other families out and about on the trails. I really wished I had someone else to share this experience with.

Back at the resort I noted another cabin with a sxs in the driveway, it was a Can Am Commander. Being a Can Am fan, I absolutely love the Commander. But this one was different. In the cargo box area he had a seat and a roll cage that attached and extended the main roll cage over the rear seat. He loaded up his family and all of them headed out to the trails.

A Can Am Commander with rear seat and roll cage similar to the one I saw

 This was brilliant!! I was very inspired and in that moment the resistance to buying a sxs was gone and I was on our classified site looking to buy one.

The prices were ridiculous. There was no way I could afford a Commander. They came out in 2011 and even the oldest ones were not very old and hadn't dropped in value. I was looking at at least $14,000 and another $2000-$3000 for the roll cage and seat. I did not have that kind of money.
So I started researching other sxs's and began looking for the oldest one, one I might be able to afford. After a bit of research I found out that that sxs would be the one that started it all, the Yamaha Rhino.

I can't say the Rhino was my first choice in this endeavor , really it was just what I could afford but I've owned other Yamaha's and knew they were great for quality and reliability. It was late fall (October) and the rush for hunting ATV's was over and winter prices were settling in. I finally found one in a town around four hours away from where I live. The owner was only asking $4500 which was almost affordable for me. He said it didn't look the greatest, but it had low kms (2600) and ran and drove great. The only caution I had was that it was snorkeled, which is something that would usually turn me but the low kms helped me to over look that.

These are the actual pictures the owner sent me
It was rough, but it was all I could afford and I figured I could fix it up. I did some research and found I could get a rear seat for is as well as a roll cage and that there were a couple used ones available.

I was warned about the damage to the box but told it was just the plastic

You always take a risk when you buy used. And in retrospect I probably should have passed this one up but when I have an idea in my head and a goal I want to accomplish I can be pretty stubborn.

This machine was abused by the previous owner and it looked it. I kept telling myself it only has 2600kms on it, and I have seen these machines with over 16,000.

Here are just some of the issues I had to address:

-The rear box was bent and plastic fender damaged
-It had been crudely snorkeled and interior plastics were cut up to accommodate them
-It had put on an aftermarket pipe which would have been a very expensive accessory but the new pipe had almost no baffles in it and the volume of it was deafening
-The snorkel and aftermarket exhaust caused the jetting to be out of whack and the idle was rough
-It had temperature and air\fuel gauges and hacked up the plastic in the center of the dash to accommodate them.
-The camo color was faded badly
-The roof and hood had holes in them from various lights and light bars
-The frame was caked with mud
-The winch line was fraying, kinked and rusted and had to be thrown out.

Looked like just the plastic was damaged but the box itself had been tweaked badly

The restoration process started with buying replacement fenders, at the time I thought that the box was fine but realized it took heavy damage. Even the pivot for the dump box had been knocked off the frame and had been shoddily re-welded back on.

Luckily I had heated storage over the winter that I could start the restoration process in

A friend helped me straighten the box, I got fenders that didn't match they others and decided to paint everything. I started the search for a factory exhaust system that ended up costing more than the aftermarket one it had. Removed the gauges and extra wire and cleaned it real good.

In this pic you can see it starting to come back together in the background.
In the foreground is my Dad's Rhino that he bought after being inspired by mine.
In the end it turned out pretty good. I was happy with the look, the bedliner on the hood and fenders turned out great although the durability is still in question.

Nearly complete. But this is as complete as it will get.
The final step was to get the rear cage installed which was unfortunately not an easy task as the damage from the the accident on the right rear box and the shoddy repair put everything out of alignment.  

The lesson that I hope I've learned here is that I should have just waited until I could have afforded what I really wanted. At the very least I should have waited until a better Rhino came along, one that I didn't have so much work to undo issues from the previous owner. 

As of the date I am posting this I have abandon the Rhino family hauler project. I never did install the rear seats, will be removing the rear roll cage and the Rhino will be posted for sale in the coming days. I will also be selling my 2012 Outlander and will be replacing the two with this machine...the one that started this whole thing.

My new-to-me 2012 Commander 1000XT

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