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Why do Grizzly’s have opening in the plastics about shin/knee high? Water and mud are constantly splashing just over the top of my boots.
 
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Why? I would say for airflow to help keep the engine cooler. Maybe you're going through too much mud and having too much fun?

Getting dirty while having fun goes hand in hand.
 

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The openings are there for cooling purposes. Airflow.
And that's the way it's going to be. The cylinder and cylinder head are at that level, and the bottom of the gas tank or storage box (depending on what model you have) is at that level. This will trap air in this area without the vents in the plastic.
 

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My buddy on his 09 made some deflector shields out of a some thin sheet metal that he says work great and he said his temp don't run any hotter than before.
 
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