We broke our brand new RZR on the second Ride!

Rugged Terrain's Polaris RZR Pro R Broken Ball Joints

*More photos below

Let me start with saying, I had an awesome weekend wheeling with my buddy Chris at Crossbar Offroad Park in Davis Oklahoma and I wouldn't change a minute of it. After all, if it went smoothly I wouldn't have this story to tell! We set out for a guys weekend to have a little fun and do some riding. This was our second ride in our RZR Pro R, and going into the weekend, it only has 20 hours on it so we were pretty confident the trip was going to go well. Wrong! The weekend went great until we broke the RZR at 11pm on Saturday night and were forced to leave it overnight.

We had just stopped to help a Ranger that was struggling with a trail just a few minutes prior, helped them winch the rest of the way and met up at rock face. While there, we decided to climb a few of the trails on Rock Face. It was going well until we came down the center, a pass that we have driven 1,000 times before, so I was well aware of the quick descent that laid at the bottom of the train. We came down a little hard and ended up breaking both ball joints on the drivers side and bending the tie rod in a 90 degree angle. We were stuck facing almost straight down with no way to move.

The guys in the Ranger that we just helped were kind enough to help winch us off of the ledge and onto moderately flat ground. With no other solutions we called the park office and surprisingly they answered, and graciously sent Jon Smith out to help. He showed up about 30 minutes later with a trailer to help get us back to camp, but the width of the PRO R was underestimated, and would not fit on the trailer. We ended up having to leave the car overnight and try to figure out a solution Sunday morning.

We were unable to locate any ball joints in the morning so we headed to town and bought some bolts to allow us to mount the tire. On our way out of the park we passed Blake Strickland, a complete stranger at the time, but a fellow Pro R driver, so I did what any normal guy in a crunch would do, and offered to “rent” his control arms. He understandably wasn’t fond of this plan, however, having been in some sticky situations before himself, he was gracious enough to allow two strangers to borrow his very nice car hauler and tow it through the trails to recover our rig.

We headed to town to get the bolts so we could load it on the trailer a bit easier. When we got back we called John, who showed up with his Kawasaki Mule to tow the trailer out to Rock Face. John tells us that while we were gone he and a few other guys went ahead and jacked up our rig and disassembled the drivers side A Arms so all we had to do was install the bolts. Let me tell you, Jon is one hell of a guy! He went WAY above and beyond to help us out over this two day recovery.

We made it to the last hill, headed up towards rock face when John's Mule completely lost power and was dead on the trail! After some troubleshooting, we determined it was an electrical issue and didn't have the tools to diagnose the issue. Seeing the commotion and obvious issues, Randal Callaway and David Potter stopped to check on us. Randal hopped in his X3, hooked a strap to us without hesitation and pulled the mule as well as the trailer the rest of the way to Rock Face. Mind you, this was no easy task, it was a lot of weight to pull up a very steep hill.

Now faced with a new problem we rolled up to the base of Rock Face. We approached a group of Jeepers and asked if any of them would be willing to pull the trailer back to camp for us after we got the Pro R loaded. Chris Warden with Axcel Off-Road & Performance was gracious enough to offer his time and Jeep Gladiator to tow it for us. Little did we know we were far from being done with this adventure.

Our bolt idea to try and reconnect the A Arms to the spindle in order to get the rig rolling enough to get on the trailer didn't work as planned. Once we dropped it down off the jack, the wheel was at an angle and forced the bolt into the wheel. After a few attempts to adjust it we were out of options and just had to press on. With the weight of the bolt head on the wheel and it unable to roll, we throttled through the resistance to get to the trailer knowing this decision was going to destroy our brand new Alba Racing Baja Crusher wheel.

We only had about 10' to go so we thought it would go smoothly. However, once getting to the trailer, which was positioned in the middle of the river because that was the lowest point we could get the back end without damaging Blake's trailer, we found we were unable to drive on the trailer with the wheel not moving. Another Jeep jumped into action, hooked up a snatch block and helped winch us on the trailer. Remember Jon? Without hesitation, he jumped into the knee deep freezing river to help steer the drivers side tire by hand because obviously the tie rod was shot and the only way to steer it was by hand.

We finally got the Pro R on the trailer and started our very slow trip back to camp with around 15 jeeps and multiple more SXS’ following us to make sure we got back without any additional issues. After getting back, we still had the challenge of getting it into our enclosed trailer. The Pro R is so wide it barely fits in the trailer as-is, and one tire has to ride on the wheel well on one side, so getting it in wasn't going to be simple since we were unable to steer.

Admittedly, this went smoother than anticipated. We backed the car hauler up to our enclosed trailer and dropped the ramp down onto the back of the car hauler. Unable to steer, we backed it up slowly and when we needed to reposition the RZR, we had to jack it up and push it in the direction it needed to go. With a lot of help we were able to get it into the trailer and strapped down.

Ultimately, we met lots of amazing people and made quite a few new friends. We are so grateful for the generosity of the offroad community and to be a part of such an awesome group of people. We’ll be out on the trails again soon enough and are always willing to help, if you ever need anything, just ask.

Don't let our experience happen to you.  If you have a Polaris RZR Pro R or Turbo R we highly recommend replacing your OEM ball joints as soon as possible with some quality aftermarket solutions.  There are several to choose from, we recommend either Sandcraft RCR's Lower Ball Joints or Keller Performance's Upper & Lower Ball Joints.  If you have a different model SXS, we still highly recommend upgraded ball joints since it's such a difficult recovery when one breaks.  It's also a great idea to carry a spare ball joint, this will make the recovery much easier, having a spare would have saved us several hours and many favors.  

Rugged Terrain's RZR Pro R 4 Ultimate Rock CrawlingRugged Terrain's RZR Pro R 4 Ultimate Rock Crawling Broke Down Polaris RZR Pro RRugged Terrain's Broken Down RZR Pro R Can-Am X3 Towing Kawasaki Mule & TrailerKawasaki Mule pulling car haulerPolaris RZR Pro R Broken Ball Joint Loading Polaris RZR Pro R 4 on Car HaulerRZR Pro R 4 loaded on car hulerJeep Gladiator Pulling Polaris RZR Pro R 4
Jeep pulling Polaris RZR Pro R Loading RZR Pro R 4 into Rugged Terrain's TrailerTransferring RZR Pro R 4 from car hauler to Rugged Terrain's enclosed trailer.
Kory supervising, Chris working the jack. Polaris RZR Pro R 4 with Broken Ball Joints
Steering RZR Pro R by hand Finally loaded

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