Featured UTV's Polaris

TMW Off-Road Werewolf

TMW Werewolf
TMW Off-Road Werewolf

TMW Werewolf
LS V-8 Powered RZR XP4 by TMW Off-Road

Text by Cody Hooper

The name paints a pretty fierce mental image, does it not? Project Werewolf spawned in the creative mind of Jon Wolf, graphic artist extraordinaire and owner of the vinyl artisan business dubbed Wolf Designs. Do you see the pattern here?

Doug Tyler of TMW spoke to us about how the project started:

“He [Jon] came to us with the idea of putting a full-sized LS V-8 engine into the frame of the Polaris XP1000 4seater. We knew that this had never been done before, so naturally we were all over it! As we sat down and began to look at the possibilities of this project, we realized there were many obstacles- first of all, we had to find a transmission that would hold up to the 432 hp provided by the stock LS2 V-8 engine.”

With four times the horsepower and nearly six times the torque of the XP 1000’s engine needing to be put to the sand, TMW turned to McMullen Racing, who set them up with a mid-engine Mendeola 2-D transmission/transaxle. If you think your UTV accessories are expensive, how about spending $7,500 on a transmission alone?

LS2 V8
LS2 Mated to a Mendeola 2D Transaxle

TMW set this car up with 934 full-size sand car CVs and axles. Their friends at Gear One provided 934 center board hubs for the rear, and 2 inch hollow spindle front hubs. With that much torque and a direct drive transmission, the factory axles would have splintered fairly quickly.

Doug Tyler of TMW:
“Then we decided we needed a chassis instead of trashing a complete, brand new car, so we hit up Mark at AZ Cycle Parts. They came through with the XP1000-4 frame and all the factory parts we needed for this project. They have everything you need in the way of factory Polaris parts, at great prices. We stripped the frame to a skeleton, and began to cut the engine compartment off the back of the frame. This just barely made it possible to move the LS V8 engine and transaxle into place.”

TMW quickly realized that their biggest obstacle was going to be creating a full rear suspension setup from scratch. The stock RZR rear end was never made to have a giant aluminum V8 and full-sized four speed transaxle hung off the back, and the trailing arms wouldn’t accommodate the larger CV and hub diameters they were using.

Thankfully, TMW has some talented engineering power in-house. Using Solidworks (a powerful CAD-based computer software), the team drew up an entirely new front and rear suspension system. Using an in-house CNC waterjet cutter, TMW was able to cut the pieces, and then TIG weld their own chromoly suspension kit together for the Werewolf.

TMW Werewolf

Doug speaks on the project further:

“We not only wanted to install a V-8 engine, but we wanted the car to remain a true four seater. In fact, we wanted to make the rear seat a bench for three people, so it would be a five seater. I guess you can say we’re a little nuts…”

To accomplish this, TMW enlisted some special help from Mark Clark at Speed Sports, who provided the engine wiring harness and cooling parts, such as an electric water pump to conserve space at the front of the engine. No TMW build would be complete without a comfortable place to sit, and Herbie at Triple X Seats flexed his creative talent with a hand-tailored, one-off seat package.

Triple X Seats

After the engine and transaxle were installed, TMW had to figure out how to shift it. Jon at Outfront motorsports came up with an incredibly elegant, custom mid-engine shifting mechanism that allows the driver to shift the Mendeola like a sequential transmission, just as in the new Yamaha YXZ1000R.

Doug again:
“We knew this car, being as fast as it was going to be, needed some extra special light. Rigid Industries stepped up with an SR2 30 inch light bar, Dually D2 pods, and even a Rigid Capture light that incorporates a GoPro into the light bar.”

The next obstacle was the shocks. Justin of Shock Therapy fame helped TMW determine the valving and spring rate that they needed to help the Werewolf function perfectly with all the added weight over the rear end. TMW and Wolf wanted this car to handle well through the whoops and in any terrain they might throw at it. Shock Therapy set the car up with 2.5 inch Walker Evans shocks on all four corners, accompanied by Walker Evans 2.5” triple bypass shocks in the rear.

TMW Werewolf

Putting the power to the ground are a MASSIVE set of Sand Tires Unlimited Comp Cut paddles wrapped around gorgeous Raceline 17” forged aluminum wheels, undoubtedly the largest paddle set to ever be bolted to a UTV. The hookup came courtesy of the talented staff at Fullerton Sand Sports, or the “traction magicians” as we call them.

TMW Werewolf

With all of these things going on in this XP4 1000, they needed more real estate in the dash, so a call was placed to GlazzCraft. A full carbon fiber custom dash allowed TMW to mount a 7″ Lowrance GPS, Auto Meter gauges, an array of switches, a Rugged Radio and intercom, and a full stereo system. Rockford Fosgate’s new PX-2 full-function Bluetooth stereo receiver allows occupants to completely control the tunes, free of wires.

Wolf Designs

Being that the car was dreamed up by an artist, Jon and Amy at Wolf Designs came up with a breathtaking full metallic custom graphics design to really tie the project together. Billet Equipped dressed up the car with a plethora of custom billet products to complete the interior motif.

TMW incorporated their beautiful XP4 Dune Edition roll cage with a full safety glass windshield, and Sidewinder 4seater doors. They also added a 5-way, curved rear running brake and turn signal light. When it came to the exhaust, they ordered up some stainless tubing and built their own 4-2-1 custom headers, topped off with DynoMax bullet mufflers.

Mr. Tyler once more:
“The headers really turned out better than we could have imagined, and I think it tied this whole project together visually. To help us with the finished look, Paul at Precision Powder Coating laid down the candy blue powder coat, and mixed with some black pieces, the car really came alive.”

To take care of the loose wiring provided by the engine swap, TMW turned to XTC Motorsports. With all of the accessories added to this build, they needed a clean, simple, and reliable wiring install that wouldn’t leave them stranded.

TMW has officially crossed the UTV/Sand Car barrier. It’s the first UTV frame to ever be graced with a big American V8 to our knowledge (correct us if we are wrong!). The great thing about squeezing an LS2 into the XP4 1000 chassis is that you get the best of both worlds- all the accessories, comfort and function, and small size of a UTV, but you also get the massive horsepower and control of a full-size car.

TMW Off-Road

Doug and Jon would like to extend a special thank you to all the TMW employees who stepped up and made this project possible:

“We built this vehicle from start to finish in only a couple of months. It was a mountain of work, and we are blessed to have the greatest group of fabricators and mechanics who love what they do and can tackle monster projects such as this.”

It is named project Werewolf and rightly so- TMW has unleashed a wicked beast, with the most raw power ever stuffed into a performance Side by Side.

For more information on how you can spice up your rig, visit www.TMWOffroad.com.

TMW Werewolf

TMW Werewolf

TMW Werewolf

TMW Werewolf

TMW Werewolf

TMW Werewolf

TMW Werewolf

TMW Werewolf

TMW Werewolf

UTV of the Month Archive

How to submit your UTV

Send and email tojon@utvguide.net with specifications and images. Images should be about 800×600 and less than 100k each.  Make sure you include a list of modifications along with manufacturer info.

You Might Also Like


Leave a Reply