Avoid Getting Your Wires Crossed!
Story By: Keith Hook
Photos By: Brandon Bunch
Taking on any project these days requires a serious amount of preparation and organization. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with options or mentally prepare for the unexpected. Sometimes it takes a miracle to help you get through what should be the simplest of tasks.
Today’s UTVs are far superior to their predecessors, and it seems each year they continue to see drastic improvements to their performance and convenience. All that being said, we just can’t leave them alone, we bolt-on gadgets and gizmos galore. Whether it’s for safety, performance, entertainment, or just simply just to outdo our friends…. It’s all justified.
When it comes to 12V accessories, the days of adding a light or two are long gone. Now we outfit UTVs with everything from practical products like winches and communications to fun-factor items like dancing whips and stereos. No matter the connection’s purpose, our dashes and hidden compartments are beginning to look like something we need to call an electrician out for. In some cases, it resembles more of an aged plate of bright spaghetti.
Call it laziness or call it convenience, or hell, even call it overkill. But wire management is a must, and thankfully the crew over at XTC Motorsports stumbled upon a great idea in 2015. What started as a simple question of how to integrate factory tail lights into an aftermarket turn signal kit without cutting the harnesses turned into an eventual full lineup of vehicle specific solutions. The company quickly evolved from basic turn signal kits into a solution of harnesses, adapters, switches, street legal kits and power control systems.
We’ve known Chris Leaming, head wire nut over at XTC, since the beginning and have used their products on a variety of projects. Until this most recent Polaris Pro XP 4 build, our requirements were very simple. On this one, we needed help. This car would have more power requirements than we had ever had before.
With one simple phone call to answer a few questions about what we were installing, an order was placed and we waited for its arrival.
When the package arrived, we really had no idea just how complete this solution was. The kit essentially had everything we needed and all with clear precise step-by-step instructions. This UTV was to have six powered accessories, which may not seem like much, but it was more than anything else we had tackled to date. Most importantly we had very little time and even less space to make it all work. We knew this car was going to head to far off distant places, so electrical problems were not an option.
We opened up the Turn Signal / Street Legal kit first. This particular system was one of the newer models with self-cancelling signals and a horn. All wire leads were cut to length, loomed and pre-terminated with weatherproof connections that integrated into the factory harness flawlessly. They even supply hardware and zip ties and instruct you where to be certain to avoid loose wires. They use legit real-deal lighted Carling switches with laser-engraved indicators. Easy install. Easy connection. Easy Use.
To show just how forward thinking these guys are, they also include an auxiliary power out. The lead is intended for a lighted license plate frame, as that is a DOT requirement to be street legal. Once the necessary panels were removed from the car, the entire install took just 45 minutes, and most of that was to drill the front fenders for the small but mighty LED turn signal indicators. If we didn’t have a slew of 12V accessories to install next, we would have been done in plenty of time for a full day ride afterwards.
The next task, and the one we were not looking forward to, was the Power Control System. Our technician admittedly informed us that electrical is his least favorite requirement of the job. So we dedicated ample time for this. Again, we opened the box and found joy in seeing very organized pre-terminated harnesses and blocks. There were definitely more pieces to this kit, but they were all there for a purpose.
The most common fear in wiring is damaging expensive accessories, or worse, causing a fire to the entire car. Caution has to be used, but this kit makes it so much easier. With proper circuit breaker and fuse block, there is redundancy built-in right in the kit. Follow the instructions and you won’t burn it to the ground.
As previously recognized, the same amazing attention to detail in the connections and assembly was present throughout. Everything is designed to make your life easy. The fuse block is truly 100% prewired and there’s a single barrier strip to connect all your 12V+ accessory leads to. The system allows for (1) 30 amp, (3) 20 amp, and (2) 10amp direct wire circuits, yet regulates a combined 50 amp draw since that’s all your UTV charging system puts out. That’s why you listen to the professionals, more power only leads to more problems.
As we continued to progress through the install, our confidence in the project’s success grew. We had to make decisions on how and where to run the wires for the accessories, but we had one location as a destination. This made the install incredibly clean, leaving the top of our Full Throttle battery to be free of wires and fuses. Everything was managed behind the dash, and accessible through the top dash storage removable pocket, again, just too good to be true. We opted for the lighted switches just to ensure that the user integration was as clean and organized as the wiring itself.
There’s little room for error in these kits, that’s the whole purpose. The intention of all XTC Power Products kits is to minimize install time, ensure wiring safety, and to avoid hacking into factory harnesses. Not everyone out there is an electrical guru, and even worse, some people think they are when they are far. We see electrical fires all too often, and a majority of the time they are owner-induced. Wiring is not something to take lightly, and XTC surely doesn’t. They take the burden of doing it right off your hands.
These kits only set us back $389 for the Street Legal Kit and $299 for the Control System (plus switches), but saved us hours on install, heartache on wiring, and the fear of failures. Our head has remained clear on the trails that when we push those switches that nothing bad will happen.