Buildup: Polaris "RockCrawler" RZRProject Rigs

Holz Racing Skid Plate and Pre-Runner Bumper upgrade

South Dakota, BHCC, Calamity CanyonAs we all know, OEM skidplates are lacking in true protection on any rig.  The plastic skids that come on the Polaris RZR are likely adequate for the casual user, but if you play at all, you’ll find them getting scarred and damaged quickly.  Serious protection and function means upgraded materials and an integrated system…Holz Racing Products does just this when you combine their Pre-Runner Front Bumper with their Skid Plate Kit.

The Holz system adds that serious protection for the underbody of the RZR by utilizing a combination of UHMW and aluminum.  The UHMW is 1/4″ thick and countersunk to use the stock mounting hardware and effectively mimics the stock skid, but adds the advantage of a slippery surface, no ridges to get hung on, and much greater durability.  Combine this with the solid protection of the 3/16″ marine grade 5086 aluminum wrap-around rockers, rear skid and integrated pre-runner bumper/skid and you’ve effectively covered all of the important parts of your RZR’s belly from expensive damage.

Installation of the Pre-Runner bumper does require trimming your front plastic…not a big deal, but if you intend to return to stock at some point, plan accordingly.  The instructions noted use of a jigsaw for cutting…I used an angle grinder with a thin blade.  This essentially cut and melted the edges…made for a nice straight cut and with a little knife work, a clean finished edge as well.

Cutting and removing the stock plastic adds important strength to the prerunner mount.  The last thing you want should you contact an obstacle is movement in the prerunner.  For those of you familiar with the offroad 4×4 scene, bumpers that mount only at the bottom are considered ‘damage multipliers’ since the top frequently flexes into expensive sheet metal.  The Holz Pre-Runner does NOT have this issue, and offers solid protection.

The aluminum front skid is then installed…instructions are clear, be sure you follow them so everything lines up the first time.  Do NOT install the 3 bolts/cup washers at the bottom skid plate edge just yet, the aluminum Pre-Runner skid overlaps these (less hangups) and also helps the UHMW skid be a one-person install.

The rocker skids are installed next.  If you’ve driven your RZR as hard as I have, these will be BY FAR the most irritating.  The plastic OEM rockers on my RZR were trashed…torn, bolts bent, nothing flat or straight anymore.  (see the pic gallery below…obviously, I should have done skids MUCH earlier…)  Remove the OEM bolts from the plastic and position the Holz aluminum rockers into position – I used a floor jack and gentle pressure to align them.  Holz intends for these to be installed using the OEM 1/4-20 bolts…in my case, the OEM bolts were hardly worth using anymore.  Additionally, I run primarily rocks, where ANY edge seems to catch and get hooked/destroyed.  I opted to order a box of 1/4-20×1″ Flange Button Head Cap Screws (p/n 65366809) from – about $35 delivered for 100.  I’m experimenting with these on one side of the RZR rocker skids to see how they survive.   (Note: the RZR frame holes on the drivers side are not yet threaded/tapped…the OEM bolts utilize a self-tapping thread, so if you choose to change hardware like I did, you’ll need to tap those two holes first using an OEM bolt)

RockCrawler RZR, Holz RacingWith the plastic trimmed and the front/side skids mounted, the next step is mounting the new Holz UHMW center skid.  One thing to note is a lack of drain holes.  I consider this a positive to their design.  First, less openings to get caught on, and less openings/edges to damage.  Two, it forces you to remove the skid for maintenance.  Considering the amount of mud/sand/etc that collects on ANY skid, dropping it to clean is a smart idea at every maintenance cycle.  This allows for inspection of critical RZR components instead of just doing fluids and skipping the visual.

Despite the thrashing my OEM plastic skid had endured, most of the bolts and cup washers were usable.  Holz does provide a few necessary longer replacements however, and you don’t use all of the OEM cup washers, so keep those as spares for the future.  Installation isn’t difficult…slide the UHMW skid under the RZR, and hook the front edge under the aluminum Pre-Runner skid plate.  I started with the center-bolts, then the front and rear, and finally the sides.  Be sure to get everything threaded into place before you tighten down…makes alignment much easier.

The final step is the rear skid plate.  Honestly, this is the only one that requires two people.  Holz provides a nifty aluminum slug for two of the bolts, but contorting yourself to hold the slug in position, set the washers and nuts inside the frame opening, and align the bolts from below was an exercise I don’t want to repeat…I brought in an assistant and it was much easier.  Drilling the two holes for the final two mount points is simple enough once you’ve aligned and tightened the two initial bolts…DO align the skid to the rear of the RZR before tightening/drilling however.  It would be easy to be a little mis-aligned if you don’t.  Also, I added pressure with a floor jack to ‘tweak’ the skid tight…it interfered slightly with the ATR chassis bones..nothing major, but the rear roll assumes a stock frame.

Now, destructive testing…as Matt and I both agree, my level of RZR use falls into a 1% category.  My testing grounds were the Black Hills of South Dakota, specifically the 3+ rated Calamity Canyon trail (and no, NOT the road next to it) and the 5 rated Kong trail.  I had run both of these trails the previous day in my FJ40 Land Cruiser and was one of only two rigs to NOT winch.  The RZR performed excellent, and the Holz skid plates and Pre-Runner did their job of protecting the vitals.  The UHMW was so much nicer than the stock plastic for sliding over rocks and the aluminum rockers were perfect for pivoting around.  I did end up winching once on Kong, but only because the ‘launch’ I attempted up one stairstep pushed the front drastically to the side, and I opted for the cable versus a possible 3′ drop onto the passenger side.

Both the front skids and the rockers sustained some solid dings and bends.  However, trying to ‘bunny hop’ over a three foot rock ledge that you simply cannot get around will do that…so does getting sideways on the trail, pinning the rocker into a boulder, knowing the front end needs to slide a foot or more downhill to not roll.  But more importantly, the mechanicals of the RZR were untouched, and the skids made sliding over and around the obstacles significantly easier.

Suggestions for a ‘RockCrawler’ version:

  • Available button head hardware for the rockers
  • 1/4″  aluminum for the Pre-Runner and Rocker skids
  • extended protection for the full length of the OEM rocker plastic

Well done Holz Racing…this isn’t the least expensive product out there, but how many of you would choose the cheapest bullet-proof vest?

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