Yamaha Rhino 450


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Yamaha 450 Rhino Ready for Work & Play

The Yamaha Rhino 450 is the "little brother" to the Rhino 660 model.  Only thing is that it's not really "littler".  In fact, the Yamaha 450 Rhino is almost identical in every way except for the smaller engine.  Same chassis, same body, same suspension, same running gear...  it's basically the same machine except for a smaller engine with a little lower overall gearing.  The result?  The Rhino 450 tops out at around 36mph, while a stock 660 tops out around 42mph.  

Yamaha 450 Rhino Hauling Hay

Yamaha 450 Rhino Doing Farm Duty

The "450" is actually a 421cc liquid cooled, 2 valve engine.  It is a tried and true Yamaha engine design that has been around for many years.  It is reliable, adequately powerful, and a good match for the Rhino.  For those wanting maximum power and speed, then the larger engine of the 660 might be of interest.  But, for those wanting a machine with a rock solid engine and don't mind a little less top speed, then the Yamaha 450 Rhino is definitely worth considering.

Yamaha 450 Rhino

Choosy Cattle Prefer the Yamaha Rhino 450!

A smaller engine does not mean smaller work capacity.  In fact, the towing specs are identical at 1212 lbs, and the cargo bed rating of 400 lbs is the same again.  So, there is no compromise in the ability to work.  In fact, because of the slightly lower overall gearing of the 450, some have said that it has better low end grunt and pulling power.  So, if you are looking for a good work machine and don't mind a top speed of 36mph, then don't be afraid to choose the Rhino 450.  

    421cc Engine

Yamaha 450 Rhino Engine

The engine comes with an integral Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) that is similar in design to what you find on snowmobiles.  The transmission ratios automatically adjust based on engine speed and torque.  Yamaha calls their CVT the Ultramatic.  One refinement to the Ultramatic design that is not found on all CVT's, is that it incorporates a one way clutch that provides downhill engine braking.  Some other CVT's allow the machine to coast and freewheel down hills.  The Yamaha Ultramatic controlled engine braking can come in very handy when descending hills.  In addition, the Yamaha Rhino 450 comes with dual disc brakes up front and a disc brake mounted to the rear driveshaft that slows down both rear wheels.  A very convenient and effective 4WD system helps keep the Rhino going under extreme conditions.  Under normal conditions, the rear wheels are locked together for efficient 2WD mode.  When the going gets tough, a push of a button engages the front wheels with limited slip differential action.  When the going gets really tough, the push of another button engages full 4WD lock - with all 4 wheels locked together for maximum traction.  The Rhino is very capable in difficult off road conditions.

Under the hood you will find the front mounted radiator with electric cooling fan, and also an engine oil cooler.  Cooling system reservoir, brake master cylinder, rack & pinion steering assembly, rectifier, and various other electrical system components also reside under the hood.  Flexible, strong polypropylene plastic is used to make the hood and other colored plastic body panels.  The rear cargo bed is made out of sturdy stamped steel, with plastic side skirts and a nice rubber mat for the bed.  The Rhino is well thought out, well designed, well built, and an outstanding machine!   

Radiator, Oil Cooler, Brake Master Cylinder

Under the Hood of the Yamaha Rhino 450

As mentioned earlier, the 450 is more than capable of working.  But, that's not all.  It is also capable of some extreme off road adventures!  In fact, because of it's lower overall gearing, some people that have driven both the 450 and 660 say that the 450 has better low speed climbing ability.  Some have also said that it spins larger tires in the mud better because of the lower overall gearing.  In any case, both models are able to climb hills and traverse extreme off road conditions that are surprising indeed!  Fuel economy seems to be close to the same between the 450 and 660 - perhaps because of the lower gearing of the smaller engine.  However, there is a savings going with the 450... depending on the dealer, you can often save you around $1500 - $2000 over the cost of the 660 model.  So, if you want to save some money and don't mind a little lower top speed, then the Yamaha 450 Rhino is a great choice to consider!  UPDATE:  Unfortunately, Yamaha decided to discontinue the Rhino 450.  Too bad because it was a great machine.  Below you can see a short video showing a Yamaha Rhino 450.

Accessories for the Rhino

This page deals with some examples of Yamaha Rhino Accessories and ways to customize a Rhino for specific purposes.  In this example, a 2007 Yamaha Rhino 450 is customized a little for use on a farm.  Many of these ideas will work for hunting and other applications.  Also, the Rhino 450, 660, and 700 are almost identical with the primary difference being the engines, so many Yamaha Rhino accessories are interchangeable.  One of the first things that was done to this particular Rhino was to install a trailer hitch ball mount.  This is one of the easiest Yamaha Rhino accessories that you can add, because the Rhino comes equipped with a standard 2" receiver.  You just plug in a hitch ball mount and attach whatever size trailer ball you need.  This particular Rhino in the picture below got an inexpensive hitch ball mount along with a 1-7/8" trailer ball to pull a small box trailer around the farm.  It is used for many tasks including just getting around while irrigating and making repairs around the farm.  It is used to haul hay to feel cattle.  It is also used to pull a 60 gallon trailer sprayer to apply weed killer and other chemicals.  By far, the Yamaha Rhino equipped with various accessories is the most used piece of equipment on the farm, and it's hours of use each season far exceeds even the tractor which is a backbone of most any farm operation.  All that to say, the right accessories can make the Rhino an invaluable tool for accomplishing necessary work.    


Yamaha Rhino Accessories

2007 Yamaha Rhino Doing Farm Duty

One of the things that I read online about the Rhino was a weak point in the rear differential mount.  Some Rhino owners had problems with the rear differential mounts breaking and the differential being destroyed as well as wrecking the rear subframe where the differential was attached.  Some people reported that the damage was extensive and that it cost around $1,000 to repair.  It seemed that this failure occurred on Rhinos that were driven hard.  Even though I didn't plan to do any extreme off-roading with my Rhino, I decided to buy a rear differential brace from CRB as cheap insurance against future problems.  This brace simply attaches to the rear subframe and also the differential, and it gives some additional rigidity to the differential.  It was very reasonably priced (around $60) and it looked to be quite strong.  My particular brace did not quite line up perfectly, so I shimmed it with some thin washers to make sure everything lined up properly.  I didn't want to tighten the brace down when it was not perfectly aligned and introduce additional stress on the differential.  In any case, at the time this is being written, I've had this differential brace on for around 6 years and I've had no problems with my differential.  Perhaps I would have had no problems even without the brace, but in my mind it's cheap insurance.

CRB Differential Brace

CRB Differential Brace

In additional to the differential brace, I also got a set of the Strong Made Stick Stoppers from Savant Manufacturing.  These A-arm protectors bolt onto the bottom of the front and rear a-arms.  This helps prevent damage to the CV axle boots from sticks and trail debris.  Since some of my riding would be through areas with sage brush, I decided to invest in the A-arm protectors to preserve my CV boots.  In a similar way, I also bought a radiator guard that was another inexpensive addition to help prevent expensive repairs  The guard that I bought was made out of steel and it bolted on in front of the radiator.  Again, because I would be driving through areas with sage brush,  I decided to get the guard to help prevent a branch or stick from puncturing the radiator.  The way the Rhino is set up from the factory, the chance of the radiator being punctured is probably not very likely, but once again it was cheap insurance to protect against an expensive repair (even if it was unlikely).  I upgraded some other areas of my Rhino.  I ordered a set of high intensity HID lights and fit them in the factory headlight housings.  They are really bright and make a big difference on those dark nights.  I also bought a sealed Kinetik AGM battery because it offered additional cranking power and power storage capability.  I knew that I would be using my Rhino to tow a trailer weed sprayer with an electric pump, and so I wanted a better battery to deal with the additional electric load of that pump.  

ENM TachA small programmable ENM tachometer and hourmeter gauge was also added to not only keep track of hours of run time for maintenance purposes, but also to keep an eye on engine speeds.  Another category of Yamaha Rhino accessories that was tested on this 2007 Yamaha Rhino was a performance CDI.  There are a couple of aftermarket CDI's that are marketed to work on both the Rhino 450 and 660.  The CDI that was tested on this machine was specifically made for the Rhino 660, but it seemed to work OK on the Rhino 450 as well.  Testing showed a gain of around 3mph in top speed with an aftermarket CDI because of the increased rev limit.  The stock Rhino 450 rev limit appears to be set around 7400 RPM.  The aftermarket CDI rev limit is supposed to be set to around 9000 RPM, but when the engine reached around 8400 RPM, it felt as if the engine valves were starting to float.  It was like a soft rev limit was hit, and it felt different than the stock electronic rev limiter.  Another possibility why the engine would not rev past 8400 RPM could be that the 450 (actually it's 421cc) engine's powerband does not make enough power at higher RPM's to be able to rev up any more than 8400 RPM.  In any case, the factory rev limit of 7400 RPM on the Rhino 450 seems pretty high.  So, if you don't mind getting where you are going a little slower (just 3mph slower), then you might want to consider spending your money on other accessories.

Some of the other items purchased for this particular 2007 Yamaha Rhino include: a rear view mirror, soft top roof, under hood storage box, and an under seat storage box.  After testing a couple different CDI's, I finally settled on the Dynatek CDI which advances the ignition timing a little more for some extra power.  As mentioned earlier, the rev limit of the engine is raised to increase top speed of my Rhino 450.  I also installed a Dynatek high performance ignition coil on my Rhino.  I'm not sure if that really made any noticeable difference.  In the quest for more power, I even went so far as to send my Rhino 450 carburetor to a shop to have them bore it out and install a larger throttle butterfly.  In this case, I also didn't notice a very big difference.  I bought a stronger aftermarket steering wheel, and I also did other things to my Rhino.  As you can probably see, it's easy to find lots of fun things for the Rhino.  The list of fun Yamaha Rhino accessories that you can buy is almost endless... as long as your pocketbook is also endless!