2004 Yamaha Rhino 660 Long Travel Build

Dan_Goodwin

Birmingham, AL
Messages
36
Figured some of you might enjoy this build, so here goes.

After years of riding shotgun I decided to sell off several project Seadoos (I used to flip 90's 2 strokes and had a few sitting around) and bought what I could afford to get out in the woods - a 2004 Rhino. This entire build has been done on a shoestring budget and in my carport as I don't have a shop yet.

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This was the day I brought it home. It has a +6 HCR LT kit, 2.0 Kings, 686cc stroker motor, and a pile of other stuff. It was a solid foundation to start out, but had a lot of hard miles on it. The first trip out was to Top Trails and the thing did remarkably well, walking up everything I pointed it at. The trip went great until I clipped a stump at speed and broke my left wrist, leaving me in a cast from my knuckles to my shoulder for 12 weeks and only able to work on small projects. Power steering, new radiator and electric fan, new exhaust, radio, added lighting, water temp and fuel gauge were all added.

Once I was back to wheeling again a smoking deal on a set of 29" Bighorns came up, so off came the 26s.

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The larger tires made a dramatic difference in capability, but I added a .5mm primary clutch shim to gain back some of the lost bottom end, but my 35hp definitely could tell the difference. I wheeled it like this relatively unchanged for almost 2 years, having a few issues (some self inflicted stupidity), which were mostly axle related. Either my driving ability or the 29s made these axles able to break almost on command (to the tune of $250 per shaft). I ride with mostly RZR 1000s and, believe it or not, this Rhino has made just about every obstacle they have and done it with relative ease.

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And no, I didn't make it up Boat Ramp or V Notch. The last picture of me pulling cable was 15 mins into a ride and another broken axle, which almost lead to me selling this rig.

Since this is a build thread and ending there would be boring, you can guess I decided not to sell it.
 
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Dan_Goodwin

Birmingham, AL
Messages
36
That brings us up to today.

After a lot of thought and an improved budget (read: wife finished grad school), I decided to blow the Rhino apart and rebuild it with the goal to for it to be dead nuts reliable and equipped for Windrock level rides. Everything that moved was beyond worn out, so every bushing, bearing and rod end was replaced, along with downsizing tires to 27's to hopefully help the axles live, new steering rack, belt and all fluids were replaced. The issues with the axles stem from the use of factory CV joints, which severely limits the shaft size, so even stepping up to 300m shafts didn't solve the problem. I know custom axles that replace the factory CVs are inevitable, but that is a significant investment I'm trying to avoid if possible.

A note on the bearings: The OEM bearings are made by NTN. Below are some PNs for bearings that you can get from most any bearing supply store and avoid Yamaha's markup:

NTN
  • F: NTN 6006LLU
  • R: NTN 6206LLU
SKF
  • F: SKF 6006-2rsj
  • R: SKF 6206-2rsj
Timken
  • F: Timken 6006rs
  • R: Timken 6206rs


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With that nearly complete, I started on something I'd wanted to do since I bought it - a proper cage.

I picked up 120' of .120" 1.75" HREW (because not race car) and started bending tube. The goals were to lower the cage a few inches, have U4 styling, integrate a bed and proper doors and replace the front bumper.

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The start of a front bumper with a 5k badlands winch in it. The top tube will follow the contours of the plastics when I'm done with it.
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This brings us up to today. I wanted to get the main components roughed in then fall back and work on bracing and triangulating everything.

I'll post updates as I get stuff knocked out. Comments, sarcasm and criticism are welcome.
 

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felipecj

Well-Known Member
Messages
246
I've always been curious about the details of your Rhino. Thanks for posting up man, good luck with it and looking forward to more updates!
 

Lil ugly

Well-Known Member
Messages
444
Cool little machine, I was really hoping that this was going to have some good info on putting some better axles under this rig.
 

Dan_Goodwin

Birmingham, AL
Messages
36
Cool little machine, I was really hoping that this was going to have some good info on putting some better axles under this rig.
From what I've found, no axle using a stock/stock sized CV joint will work, 4130 or 300m doesn't matter. That leaves the only option to go custom, like Gorilla, Turner, RCV, Etc. Gorilla runs $450 per axle, last I checked.

I have some SATV Rhino brand stock length axles I have considered getting custom axles made for, but haven't pursued that yet.

Another option I'm looking into is the use of Type 1 VW axles. Back when R1 motor swaps were popular a lot of people used a Gear One kit that adapted allowed you to bolt up Type 1 axles. I happened to have one on my shelf.

axles.jpg

Since Facebook has all but killed forums (insert bitter comment here), finding some of this info has been tough.
 
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The-Boss

Well-Known Member
Messages
614
Glad you posted. I bought a Rhino a few years ago. They are good machines. Mine has a lonestar 6in kit with Gorilla axles. I dont beat on it too hard. Mostly a trail cruiser and backup rig. Look forward to your build and some videos if you have them.
 

jason burt

Active Member
Messages
35
I too love the rhinos and still wheel them currently. My first was a 04 model and after breaking several axles I learned that the 04 had smaller cv joints than the later models. After learning this I bought axles for 07 model and had way better luck with the axles. Also summer brothers sells just the shafts for +6 long arm for I think $175 each
 

Dan_Goodwin

Birmingham, AL
Messages
36
I too love the rhinos and still wheel them currently. My first was a 04 model and after breaking several axles I learned that the 04 had smaller cv joints than the later models. After learning this I bought axles for 07 model and had way better luck with the axles. Also summer brothers sells just the shafts for +6 long arm for I think $175 each
All my joints are 05+ and I'm running Summers Brothers shafts and those are what I can't keep together. I'll be the first to admit you've got to pay to play, but at $175 for 4130 and $239 for 300m axles that I can break pretty easy somethings got to change. The unfortunate part is I'm really not beating on the Rhino very hard - there's just not enough shaft to hold up.
 

Lil ugly

Well-Known Member
Messages
444
From what I've found, no axle using a stock/stock sized CV joint will work, 4130 or 300m doesn't matter. That leaves the only option to go custom, like Gorilla, Turner, RCV, Etc. Gorilla runs $450 per axle, last I checked.

I have some SATV Rhino brand stock length axles I have considered getting custom axles made for, but haven't pursued that yet.

Another option I'm looking into is the use of Type 1 VW axles. Back when R1 motor swaps were popular a lot of people used a Gear One kit that adapted allowed you to bolt up Type 1 axles. I happened to have one on my shelf.

View attachment 117409

Since Facebook has all but killed forums (insert bitter comment here), finding some of this info has been tough.

I never would have thought of looking to the old VW crowd for axles.
 

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