The SEMA Show isn’t always about rolling out new products or vehicles. Sometimes, a company is there to showcase a concept or gather intelligence. In the case of Auburn Gear, their booth showcased a lifted, mud-ready UTV built by Jeff Stroud of Pocket Change Fabrication in Longview, Texas. Auburn Gear was gauging the showgoers’ interest in the company branching into UTVs, and the Can-Am Maverick X3 at their booth was part and parcel of that mission.
We spoke with Stroud to get some more information on the build. “We wanted big, loud, and bold,” he said. “So we gave the X3 an eight-inch lift, a set of portal axles, and a ton of other modifications.”
The build was done entirely in-house at Stroud’s facility, from the wheels and tires to the lift and the wrap. “We installed the Warn winches, Bubba Rope recovery ropes, and these big tires,” said Stroud. “These are 49-inch BKT agricultural tires, scooped and grooved, on 24×9-inch custom forged aluminum wheels that we made.”
The portal axles on the UTV give it an additional 45-percent gear reduction. “The portal axles help with the massive lift and getting the power to the ground,” commented Stroud. “We also souped up the power a bit. Advanced Fuel Dynamics did some tuning on the engine, and we did a full catalytic converter bypass and custom exhaust system as well.”
Where Auburn Gear came into the picture was as an interested party. “We’re really interested in the UTV market,” said Auburn Gear’s Sam Shirley. “We’re thinking of developing products for these Can-Ams. There seem to be a lot of problems with them. People are breaking them left and right, and they want a performance upgrade.”
Specifically, the problems arise from the front locking differential. “A lot of these guys are racing these new X3s, and really upping the horsepower,” said Shirley. “The differential can’t keep up and it fails. The front axles are getting so strong that the new failure point is the front differential. We want to focus on that and see if we can upgrade it, providing something for the market that can withstand more horsepower and bigger tires.”
For the time being, things are still up in the air for Auburn Gear’s UTV product rollout, but it sounds promising. Be sure to check out Auburn Gear’s website and Facebook page to see what’s coming around the corner.