RCV Axles- Our Thoughts and Review on a Can-Am X3 UTV
UPDATED MARCH, 2022
This is the only axle that lets us drive the car to its absolute potential. Period. We’ve failed nearly every other axle on the market except these. Look, they’re not bulletproof- nothing is when your racing- but the RCV axle for your UTV is as good as it gets when it comes to staying in the game and keeping your drivetrain alive. In this article, we’re going to tell you what we like and what we don’t when it comes to the RCV UTV axle.
What you already know:
- 300M Axle Shaft- Intended to Bend/Twist Instead of Shear
- 300M CV Internals, Chromoly Cage
- 2.25″ CV Plunge to Reduce CV Wear
- 2 Times Stronger Than OEM
Are your axles good enough? The answer varies for everyone. If you drive aggressively, it’s only a matter of time before you end up with the dreaded signals that suggest an axle has given out. For us, the topic of axles really hits home. Way back when we started racing, the predominant factor in our axle selection was price. To say the least, we ‘learned our lesson’ numerous times before we actually learned our lesson and did what needed to be done, installing the absolute ‘top-dog’ axle in our Can-Am X3. As you may imagine, racing is expensive but in a different way than most would expect- the traveling, the race fees, the gas, the food, etcetera, you get the idea. When our silly $250 made-in-china axles, or the semi-acceptable OEM axle, let go it was a devastating failure with repercussions far greater than that MSRP we mentioned. Of course, it’s not just racing where a crappy axle is the worst thing ever. Things like this can very quickly ruin a trail ride, especially for the unprepared. Without an electric impact, proper sockets, a handful of ratchets, wrenches, and a jack- swapping axles can be impossible on the trail for some. We’re not going to sugar-coat things anywhere in this article- we’re going to tell you exactly how we feel and what you need to know. The cost of entry is ridiculously high (for the RCV) but the peace of mind is beyond worth it. Seriously.
There is no comparison on strength between RCV and other brands’ axles- the innovation comprised within RCV axles is vastly superior to any other axle on the market.-Team Draco Motorsports
Don’t waste your money on anything else. Please.
We want to inform you, not bore you so let’s get to the big point and then you can read on from there. We feel that almost all, not all but A LOT, of the ‘chromoly’ axle replacements out there (insert brand name here) are overseas garbage. Cheap, yes- better than stock, no and not like you may think. What many folks don’t discuss is that the OEM Can-Am axles are actually very well built. In fact, our first season of racing with the Can-Am X3 XRS was ran entirely on stock axles. Believe it or not, we blew the front viscous-locking differential before the OEM axles ever let go. The Smart-Lok OEM axles did not last nearly as long and they are actually really bad (sorry Can-Am). Our stock Can-Am rear axles far outlasted the two other (NON-RCV) aftermarket axles. If you think about, the reasoning may not be so cosmic after all: Can-Am likely has highly sophisticated computer models that allow for superior engineering as opposed to just using superior materials. Of course, as we alluded to previously, don’t let the fancy material claims distract you- we believe that the ‘chromoly’ in alot of the common axle replacements out there is likely MUCH different than the chromoly from your favorite US Steel Mill.
Anyhow, we’re not advocates of the OEM axles on these UTVs but they’re not as bad as many people make them out to be. THAT BEING SAID, they are still painfully limited in ability. Not bad but not good , once we started running the Ultra4 series (big jumps, big rocks, fast sections, everything) the OEM axles began to fall short.
Plain and simple, the RCV are designed to last:
We feel that there’s two things at play where the 300M (RCV’s claim-to-fame material) is a monstrous advantage. For one, these axles are pretty darn good at resisting shear on the shaft. Secondly, offroading and offroad racing is harsh- the severe vibrations, the level of steering, the constant articulation, and rotational torque and will quickly destroy most axles at the constant velocity joint. We love the 300m in the RCV joints because it absorbs many of these forces that would otherwise shatter most other CVs. Experience tells the whole story and from the past two years, we have yet to lose an RCV axle. There not unbreakable- we’ve seen our share of broken RCVs- but plain and simple, we love these things and think that you will too.
RCV stands behind it:
RCV warranties their axles with a 1-year limited warranty- you break it, they’ll replace it. Outside of this timeframe, all of their axles are fully rebuildable and serviceable. They’re easy to reach by phone and are happy to help with any questions or concerns that may arise.
Ok so what do we not like:
The service is great but the business, not so much. IF you order a set of axles, it’s painfully likely that you will be waiting on these for at least several weeks. Given that these parts are made for the most common side-by-sides on the market, namely the Polaris Turbo S and the Can-Am X3, you would think that they would have these stocked like candy. Instead, these UTV axles are stocked at RCV like toilet paper during the COVID-19 pandemic. When you finally receive your order, however, rest easy knowing that the wait was entirely worth it.
Bonus items (for the folks that have read this far):
If you’ve looked into at all, you probably know by now that most of those other aftermarket axles are non-rebuildable. You break it, you buy a new one. We love that the RCV axles are fully rebuildable. The cost is pretty reasonable, all things considered, and servicing these axles is really simple once you get the hang of things (much easier to rebuild than OEM). For example, if you need to rebuild an inner CV the cost is about $125. By the way, those inner cups get HOT so the ability to rebuild is a huge plus.
Installing RCV axles on your UTV is well worth the investment. It’s outrageously expensive but the headache-minimization is worth it in the long run. Finishing races and finishing well is an incredible feeling made all the more likely by a robust driveline that you can depend on.
Greg Torney View All
Driver of the #428 Draco Motorsports Polaris RZR. Co-Driver for the #804 Can-Am X3 during King of the Hammers. Ultra4!!
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