Problem (Mid November of 2010): I recently smacked into a huge rocky mass in the bottom of a creek just after winching two Rhinos from a sandy bar. The thrill of pulling those heaps out of their granular confines drove me into a beastly madness. Upon my success, I decided to splash some much needed victory water into the endzone! I hit the water well over 20+ mph and wham! A sudden stop! What sort of reward is this I thought to myself. I had collided with a rock on the drivers side wheel and shifted the lower front main tubes out of alignment by maybe an inch to the outside. My radiator sat crooked and the brush guard was way out of alignment due to their connections to the lower front frame. A sickening site for I had just purchased the RZR back in Sept.
Why?: This predicament came due to my rather cocky celebration and arrogant unsportsmanlike conduct, therefore qualifying me for the much needed slap to my man-pride and wallet for that matter. Lucky for me the incident occurred in mid November, therefore giving me plenty of time to ponder while in the penalty box of the winter months.
Thinking: After the whamming to the lower front tubes, I continued to drive the RZR until this cold weather set in. I visited many websites including our beloved Southern RZR Riders and that of the RZR Forums. I have found that this is a common problem mostly associated with stupidity and inability to drive due to inappropriate levels of inebriation. After reading, thinking, and planning, I had arrived at many solutions; develop my own solution to fixing this thing myself or turning it in to my insurance and pay the $1K deductible (probably better not). I decided to fix it myself. In deciding this, my options were to order a new frame and do a frame swap (an enormous undertaking) as suggested by many, or have the frame pulled back into alignment. I decided that having the frame pulled back into alignment would probably be cheaper. My next dilemma was if I should try to do it myself, or should I take it to a body shop. I chose to do it myself. I am like many of you guys on here and absolutley cant stand for somone to work on my stuff. For some reason I always feel like I could do better if I had the same tools. I devised my plan!
The work: Upon deciding to fix the insignificant but unsightly crooked jaw of the RZR, I began my work. I decided to pull the plasitcs from the body. I removed the entire roll cage, front plastic, cargo bed, and skid plates. I then removed all 4 wheels and entire suspension front and back. I lowered the naked RZR to the garage floor. This gave me unobstructed access to the frame from all sides. She was laying flat on her belly. To straighten the frame, I realized that the only thing to to hold it in place adequately would be the block and concrete foundation that runs about 1.5 feet high along the perimeter of my garage floor. My plan was to push the RZR frame all the way up against this garage wall-foundation to hold it laterally from the force I would subject it to at the front from the other side. From an earlier class on statics and deformable solids, I applied what I learned about moment. I realized that by pushing on the front from the opposite side would only cause the back to swing around. I knew that I would have to stabilize the back from moving while pushing the front back into alignment. For this, I made a trip to Lowes to (rent) 45~8x8x16 concrete blocks and 5 end cap blocks. These blocks would allow me to transfer the load for pushing the RZR frame from the opposite wall. I stacked a row of blocks from the side of the RZR (back toward the rear) to the opposite wall of the garage to stabilize it from rotating when pushing the front. I then ran a row of blocks at the front of the RZR (where I would locate a hydraulic press (rented) from Harbor Freight) to the opposite wall as well. So, the RZR was stabilized on both sides. One side was against the foundation wall while the other side was supported by the other wall and concrete blocks. I left just enough space to install my 10 ton hydraulic jack between the front lower RZR frame and the concrete blocks at the front.
Initial Setback: I decided that the best place to push the frame would be between the lower a-arm mounting points. I figured the lower gusset plate and vertical tube at this location would provide enough support for the push. I cut a piece of wood and put it into place at this location to distribute the load evenly. I put my jack into place and began the proverbial jacking (stop laughing and pay attention!) The thing would not budge! The lower gusset plate and angle gussets at the rear of the lower tubes into the main frame were not letting it move, The force was being directed through the main frame from the gussets. I decided to let off and try somehting else.
Round 2 (success): It seemed clear that if the lower gusset and angle gussets were cut that it may work. I removed a few of the support blocks and rolled her onto her side (I drained all the gas and oil before). I then cut the weld to the lower gusset at the main frame and then the weld on one side of the gusset completely. The lower gusset was now only attached to the side of one of the lower frame tubes. I also gut the angle gussets along the weld at the main frame. I figured this would make it easier to push. I set everything back up, but this time I put the head of the jack at the steel bracket that runs across the front and ties the lower frame tubes to the upper frame tubes. I figured this would provide more leverage in pushing the front into alignment since it would increase the distance the force would be applied away from the main frame. I performed the push and this time it went smoothly. It was awesome seeing the front go back into alignment! I watched as the middle of the bracket I was pushing on became centered with the plumb that I had hung from the upper radiator support mount. It was a great sight! I measured everything for plumb and straightness. Everything was good. I removed the blocks and put her back on her side to begin the re-weld. I welded the front lower gusset plate back as it was and then the two angle gussets where the lower tubes connect to the main frame. I brushed and sanded everything up and used black epoxy chassis paint to cover my welds. She looked great.
Conclusion: I have just ordered some lower front chassis bones from ATR and I am going to weld in some addition gusset plates to reinforce everything. I have mocked up the front plastics (hood, front and brush guard) and everything seems to fit perfectly with no pushing or forcing to reinstall. Even the radiator installed perfectly. I still await the chassis bones and hope that I am able to smack those things in there. A little worried about weld slag entering the tubes, but hopefully they will go in. I can tell you this, I will behave myself a lot more and not blindly celebrate after a successful rescue of the pretenders.
Definition of renting used throughout this topic: You probably guessed it. I returned the concrete blocks and the 10 ton hydraulic press that I purchased for a full refund. I guess I really am a bad person. It works though! I was probably out a few hundred bucks on supplies that I needed anyway (bigger floor jack and jack stands).