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The CT & Dirt Launch X3 Knuckle Upgrade / Snap Ring Fix- E.O.S UPDATE

The knuckles on the Can Am X3 are notoriously weak, due in part to the failure of the OEM circlip that retains the wheel bearing. The other half of the knuckle dilemma is in the failure of the lower ‘pinch’ portion of the knuckle that often breaks off. Double shear knuckles fix both of these issues but at a cost of nearly $4,000. For the budget minded racer, you can fix the circlip dilemma, solving half of the knuckle issues, on all four corners of your X3 for about $1,000.

-Team Draco Motorsports
Knuckle Solution Cost
CT Race Worx-
Snap Ring Mod + Bearings + Bearing/Radial Joint Install
$240 EA
Dirt Launch Knuckle-
Circlip Retainer Mod + Bearings/Radial Joints (You must install yourself)
$300 EA
CT Snap Ring Mod

Knuckles. On your Can Am X3, this is likely one of the top items on your mind if you race aggressively. When the circlips pop out of their grooves, which takes nearly no effort given how limp the OEM circlip is, the wheel bearing will begin to rock within it’s housing. Once this occurs, your knuckle is essentially trashed and will fail shortly into the event. Sometimes you get lucky and can replace the circlip before carnage ensues, most of the time you won’t. So really you have three options to postpone this reality. You can upgrade with the CT kit, the Dirt Launch Kit, or cash out your 401k prematurely in order to afford the double-shear ZRP, Hess, or Fortin kit. We’ve seen a fair quantity of breaks on these double shear knuckles as well so they’re still not a 100% exception to the postponement of your knuckle woes. There may be some others but you get the idea. Anyhow, let’s talk about options 1 and 2. *************END OF SEASON Update at the end 😉 ****************************

Option 1- The CT Snap Ring Modification

  • Cheapest
  • CT will install the wheel bearings (easy) and radial joints (total PITA) for an extra $20 or so per.
  • Replaces wheel bearing circlip (radial circlips get swapped too) with a monstrous snap ring.
  • The circlip groove is machined for additional thickness of the snap ring.
  • Works excellent.

Car #428 is running the CT kit. We love it for the affordability, simplicity, and the fact that CT sent us these bad boys ready to mount up. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Option 2- The Dirt Launch Circlip Retainer Modification

  • ~30% more costly than the CT kit once you factor in the cost of new wheel bearings (~$50 per) and new radial joints on the rear set (~30 per).
  • Super structural- an aluminum retainer plate forces the OEM circlip into position.
  • Two M8 bolts are drilled through the knuckle body to hold the retainer plate into position.
  • Maintains structural integrity of the snout.
  • You will need to install your own wheel bearings and radial joints- shop press and an abundance of sanity needed.

Car #804 is running the Dirt Launch kit. We love it for the insane strength that it offers. Requires a little more effort in order to mount up, however (you have to set up your own knuckles).

Which One?

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with a set of either the CT or Dirt Launch knuckles. We haven’t experienced a single- complete– failure on either of these, so far, and feel tremendously more confident over the stock circlip garbage. Obviously you’ve read this far because you’re looking for a determination (and that delicious end of season update) so here it is:

The Dirt Launch Powersports knuckle is structurally superior, by far. The CT knuckle claims that material is not taken off the snout- unfortunately, this material is taken out of the backside of the bearing housing. The new snap ring is certainly thicker than the OEM circlip so, as you may imagine, strength is being reduced at some region of the knuckle. After two Ultra4 races (notably the Black Hills Throwdown in Sturgis, SD as well as the Crandon Ultracross track in Crandon, WI), it has become apparent that the CT knuckle on Greg’s #428 Can-Am is beginning to warp the backside of the knuckle. Essentially, the inner portion of the bearing housing is weaker than the OEM configuration due in part to the snap ring install and will eventually allow the bearing to pull through the backside instead of push out wheel-side.

So here’s the catch- the CT modification is worlds better than stock but certainly weaker than the Dirt Launch version. As a catch, the OEM rear knuckles fail much more often than the fronts: if your on a budget, as I am, try running the DLP in the back and CT up front.

We Can’t Leave This Part Out…

The 2022 Can-Am X3 rear knuckles have a double-shear toe connection as well as a substantially thicker snout with a snap ring. They essentially combined ZRP’s design goodness with CT’s snap-ring idea: not good for aftermarket sales but great for your wallet. As of January 2022, good luck finding these! But if you can, this is by far the best of all worlds. The strength you’re looking for with a price that will blow ALL of the above options out of the water.

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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