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What mods/upgrades have you done that were worth the bang for the buck?

510 Views 5 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  MagnoliaHunter
I have a 2009 Rhino that I bought from a friend (he's STILL a friend) that was "upgrading" to a 4 seater Polaris Ranger...I don't have the heart to tell him what my ATV repair guy said about Polaris :( because he gave me such a great deal on the Rhino.

The Rhino came with about $1000+ of aftermarket upgrades, including 1/2 windshield, metal roof (strong enough to stand on), double gun rack w/ 2 Koplin gun boots, 4 halogen PIAA spotlights (2 on bumper, 2 on roof), OEM Yamaha Rhino seat covers, an OEM Yamaha Rhino UTV cover and aftermarket LED stop/reverse lights.

One of the first things I had to do was to clean the radiator due to overheating. It was really gunked up with mud, seeds and caked on road grime and took a week of soaking and flushing (with a garden hose sprayer (DON'T use a pressure washer) before I could see through the radiator fins again (someone had a great suggestion to my previous post about using A/C cleaner as a preventative measure that I will definitely take to heart). Since I had to remove the radiator to clean it, I also took the opportunity to upgrade the original cooling fan to a more powerful (and noisier) aftermarket fan and haven't had any further overheating issues.

I think that a windshield and roof are "must have's" and while I would have preferred a 2 piece fold down full windshield, the 1/2 plexiglass windshield has a curve on the top edge that does a great job at directing most of the wind and dust away from the cabin. I can ride without my hat blowing off, except when I tilt my head back to take a sip...LOL! I love the metal roof because I can stand on it when filling feeders or cutting limbs so I don't have to drag a stepladder around with me.

I wasn't crazy about the 4 halogen PIAA spotlights (2 on bumper, 2 on roof)...not bright enough, so I swapped them out with a 32" Nilight Combo (spot/flood) light bar under the roof (to prevent snags) and two 4" Nilight Combo (spot/flood) lights on the front bumper using the PIAA wiring and switches...what a difference they made, really light up the night. For an added measure, I also swapped out the original (halogen?) headlight bulbs for LED bulbs...big improvement.

The LED stop/reverse lights are a great addition too because I can keep the Rhino in reverse when I'm closing a gate behind me as they provide plenty of light to get the job done so I don't have to break out a flashlight. As an added bonus, I was able to sell the PIAA lights on Facebook Marketplace for $50 a pair which more than paid for the LED replacements with plenty left over for beer money!

The original seats were in great shape so the seat covers weren't necessary so I wound up selling them too...more beer money. I will keep the OEM Yamaha Rhino UTV cover though, in case I ever have to store my Rhino outside. It is currently parked in a cargo container at the lease. I did buy a $15 solar charger at Harbor freight , put it on the cargo container roof and fed the wires through a small hole in the side so that I am able to plug it into the 12V outlet on the dash when I park the Rhino. That way, the battery is always fully charged in case I don't get back to the lease for a while.

I haven't used the gun rack/gun boots yet. They should do a great job at protecting my gun(s) from the weather and road dirt/mud but they are mounted back behind the driver/passenger compartment so are not readily accessible. I like to have my rifle and/or AR-15 handy in case "Muy Grande" or a herd of pigs put in a surprise appearance. Anyone have any suggestions or experience with what works for them in that department? If so, pictures might be helpful ("one picture speaks 1000 words").

I did see a post where someone rigged a bed cover for their Rhino and can see where that might be useful when it's wet and messy out. I would expect that it would need to be easily removeable though so I wonder how he attached it to the front of the bed against the cab?

So does anyone have any mods/upgrades they have done that were worth the bang for the buck?
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Adding a secondary muffler was the best thing I've done.

As for your solar charger....does the outlet have power when the key is off? If not, the charger isn't doing anything.
Any benefits from the secondary muffler besides it being quieter? What kind did you get and how much did that cost you (ballpark)? I wouldn't mind my Rhino being quieter but I think the next thing I do (besides maintenance and repairs) will be to upgrade the CDI box. My Rhino max's out at 38 mph but I've seen some YouTube videos where some guys get up to 50 mph out of a Performance CDI upgrade...but we're probably talking at least $200 (or more).

Thanks for the heads up on the outlet. I will check it out next time I am at my deer lease...maybe it's just a coincidence or luck that I haven't had a dead battery yet :). I have used the same solar panel on Ford pickups at a previous lease where we only got there once every month or two (except deer season) and were always dealing with dead batteries until we started plugging the solar panels into the cigarette lighter receptacle...but that was Fords and a cigarette lighter and this is a Yamaha Rhino and a power outlet, so I will check. Thanks!
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radiator shroud,

Full folding windshield.

Rear vinyl rear window is an ABSOLUTE MUST when riding in dusty areas with a front windshield, even with it folded down or dust will circle back into the cab. I am about to build a frame over the rear bed and put a vinyl rear window on the back of it. It will sit over the tailgate and this will keep dust from circling back into the bed.

fuse block so that all accessories can be attached there instead of straight to the battery.

Electric Fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator.

LED Light bar. I did the following to seal it, except I used clear sealant. I used the 20' NiLight.
This has worked great so far. Its been over a year. and no water in the light, which is a big complaint of the cheap lights. I am probably going to re-seal it this summer. It only takes about 20 minutes.

This summer I'm adding
1. a battery separator. One that has the wire that when grounded allows you to use both batteries to start.
2, 2nd battery
3. winch
4. Oil pressure and temp gauges. Water temp and pressure gauges.
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ARRRGH!!! I opened the link to your post and pecked out a long response to your last post on my phone but lost everything when it made me try to log in to be able to post my reply...I hate when that happens! Back on my laptop now.

Anyway, my Rhino already came with a radiator shroud and is fuel injected so I haven't experienced the need for upgrading the fuel system (yet?). Also, I think I will stay with my 1/2 windshield for now as it doesn't get that cold here for long although the heat from the engine is welcome when it does...the rest of the time, not so much.

Please post something on the pressure/temperature gauges when you accomplish that as I can see where they could come in handy instead of relying on the idiot lights on the dash. The fuse block sounds like a good idea and sealing my lightbar too.

By all means, you should get yourself a winch. That's one of those "better to have and not need..." items plus they can be useful for other things besides getting unstuck. I always carry a 50' length of heavy duty rope with me and it has saved my butt a couple of times when there wasn't any trees within reach of my winch cable.

Good luck with your summer projects!
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I'm going to do the battery separator and second battery first. That way, I can run everything else off of the second battery. When I add the second battery, I'll redo the fuse block to run off of the second battery too. The only add that will be running off of the main battery will be the electric fuel pump.

I plan on using a sandwich plate adaptor. It goes between your engine and the oil filter. It has ports that the oil pressure and oil temperature sensors screw into. This way you don't have to worry about hose splices leaking or coming undone.

I know several people who have used glowshift sensors on their vehicles and/or utvs and have had good results.

When I do the mods, I'll post links to videos of them.
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