When it comes to Can-am Defender heaters and aftermarket heating kits, there are a few options riders can choose from. The most basic UTV heater is the standard factory Can-am heater. This heater is nice, but you might want to consider the heater upgrade kit and the cold air infiltration upgrade if you live in very cold areas. If you have a 2016 or 2017 HD10 Can-am Defender, you may be eligible for a heater improvement kit that is free of charge under the standard warranty. With this service upgrade you’ll get the firewall sealed up, the heater gets re-piped, and you get a bra for the radiator; It’s a night and day difference in cab comfort. One caveat is that the vents of the stock Can-am Defender heaters are at foot level, and are not made to handle mud or water over the floorboards. So if you want to mud run, an aftermarket UTV heater may be a better option as they are higher on the dash.
One aftermarket Can-am Defender heater kit option is the ICE Crusher UTV heater. It a bit hard to install — with the core going up behind the cubby on the left side of steering wheel — but once it’s in it cranks out the heat. You can’t really compare it to a car or truck, but it blows enough hot air to feel in the cab. When installing this Can-am Defender heater kit, be sure you take the one nipple out of the core inlet, and also throw away the heater hoses that come with the kit and buy a better, stiffer quality hose as it is nearly impossible not to kink them in the guard above the floor plate. You also need to make sure you have no air bubbles in the system. If you’ve done everything right with the install — or had a professional mechanic do it for you — it will move more than enough air to keep you warm and will definitely help keep your side-by-side’s windows and windshields defrosted.
Another aftermarket Can-am Defender heater option is the Stratos UTV heater. This aftermarket heater comes with two large blower fans that have a total of 600 CFM output and works wonders with or without a cab enclosure. Be it the Stratos, the ICE Crusher, or the OEM heater, running a Maxstat will help on those extra chilly days. If you’re experiencing issues with your UTV heating unit with a Maxstat, make sure the heater inlet hose is connected in the engine compartment after the joiner Y adapter from the cylinder heads — that would be before the original thermostat. Also, check that your outlet hose is connected to the 1" radiator hose on the passenger side of the firewall riser tower. That is the hose that comes from the bottom radiator outlet and goes directly to the engine water pump. If somehow your outlet hose ended up being connected to the top radiator inlet connection, your results from adding a Maxstat to your Can-am heater would be marginal for sure. Other than that, unless you have some restriction in the core reducing the flow, you should be golden!
If you look hard, you’ll always find places where air can leak in/out, regardless of the UTV brand. In the 2018 HD10XT there are two large air vents, one on each side under the trim panels in front of each door, that let in a huge amount of cold air. We’ve seen Can-am Defenders drill a small hole behind the front tire and about eight inches above where the straw from a spray foam can fit and fill them up.