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One Month With a Roxor

Update on our retrotastic UTV.

As you may or may not know, we bought this lightly used 2018 Mahindra Roxor LE to try to see what these little retro 4x4s are all about. Our plan is to use the Red Roxor, build it as things fail and or upgrade the areas where we want more performance. As of writing this, we've owned the Roxor for about a month (here is the article from the purchase), and we've put something like 90-100 miles on the thing. Since buying the Roxor we've jumped through the hoops to get the 4x4 registered (as a UTV) in Arizona, took it wheeling with a CJ-2a and a built Samurai, and tore the darned thing apart in hopes of getting a little more ground and tire clearance for the front. Truth is, we just got the Roxor back together as of a couple days ago, and a metal (non-temporary) UTV license plate arrived with an off-road decal and a UTV registration. So since a month has passed and we've put a few miles on this little rig (held back by taking things apart and getting registration all finalized), here are our impressions, what's worked, what hasn't, and what we plan on doing next. We're happy to say that we've had no failures yet, but some damage has occurred thanks to the heavy use we've subjected the rig to. But we'll keep on using the thing and finding its limits and hopefully raising them.

Roxor 1 Month Damage Report Part 1

Sometimes a special skill set is necessary to do a job. That skill set may not be very useful in all areas of employment, but our ham-fisted ways seem to fit in well with testing 4x4s. So far we've found the only real drawback to the Roxor is the relatively large and low center crossmember. It hangs pretty far down. While on a trail we hit it on a rock that was apparently cemented to the center of the earth. The crossmember bent (but we never noticed any driveline vibrations). Mostly the crossmember is at fault. It's there to create safe space for the passenger drop transfer case, but rather than just dropping down where the transfer case sits lowest, the bottom edge of the crossmember runs nearly framerail to framerail at this lowest point. We're not sure what the fix is just yet. Ideally you could clock the transfer case up a few degrees (we're working on a source for clocking rings), but that's quickly going to get very involved, reengineering several things. Even a stronger, tighter-fitting center crossmember with some better thought-out mounts would help a ton.

The other unfortunate low point of the Roxor is the 2.5L turbo diesel's oil pan. Ours came with this beefy-looking skidplate, but the skid and our oil pan are already damaged. Turns out, the skidplate isn't all that strong (it's made out of aluminum, and we are guessing not the strongest aluminum) and still transfers shocks to the oil pan, which is thin. There are a few other oil pan skidplate options in the aftermarket out there, but we haven't settled on one yet. Larger tires and suspension lift will help get this farther out of harm's way.

Verne likes to push the envelope when driving—he has little regard for paint and wheels. He likes to try to fit a Roxor with open differentials through holes that are probably too small for it. As a result Verne's otherwise nice Roxor now has some rock rash from its fairly limited trail use.

Updates to the Roxor

So since we tore the Roxor apart to trade parts with Ned Bacon, we've finally gotten the 4x4 back together. The front of the rig, with the fancy springs that Ned sent us, sits about 1.5 to 2 inches taller. The taller springs require longer shocks to retain the droop/compression ratio and will also require lowering the bumpstops (which will also help keep larger tires out of the sheetmetal). We're thinking that is just what we want. Course Ned sent us his fancy shocks, but for now we are running some cheap shocks we got locally that are a touch longer than stock. The rear wheelwell is large and easy to trim, so this should help us figure out what size tire we want to run. Right now we are contemplating 34-35s, which will also require regearing the axles.

So What's the Plan for the Roxor?

Bigger may not be better, but larger tires will help raise all the low spots on the Roxor and will make the rocks on the trails a touch smaller either that, or we will want to hit larger rocks. As of writing this, we just received a set of wheel spacers to widen the Roxors track width a bit. We used F-150/CJ wheel spacers from Spidertrax. These are the best wheel spacers out there, and that's what we want. We also have tires on the way (we will probably repurpose some old wheels we have) and a set of locking hubs from Warn for the front axle. We've also touched base with a pal in the differential industry for a set of locker (more to come on that later), so that means the Roxor will need a better center skidplate and crossmember rock sliders ... maybe a better cage gosh, then chromoly axles. It's a slippery slope.