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The CT & Dirt Launch X3 Knuckle Upgrade / Snap Ring Fix

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.

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 are required 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 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 so here it is:

If we had to take a guess on which knuckle was structurally superior, we would pick the Dirt Launch. The CT knuckle claims that material is not taken off the snout but clearly the new snap ring is bigger than the circlip so something somewhere is getting reduced. Not to say that the CT is a weaker knuckle, but if I had to pick one over the other on snout strength I would hedge bets on the Dirt Launch. To reiterate, the Dirt Launch retains the OEM circlip but uses a monstrous plate with bolts to force the circlip from moving out of it’s position.

BUT! The ultimate caveat is that the CT knuckle is a fair amount cheaper ($1,000 vs ~1,300 for all four) AND can come assembled, ready-to-go. If you’re in a hurry, the Dirt Launch product will ship much faster (call before ordering to confirm) than the CT.

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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