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Beaxch 01-12-2016 03:20 PM

Brand new Summit 600 ETEC died first weekend
Time for a sad story! After ten years of riding, repairing, and modifying old obsolete snowmobiles (which I loved and took me on amazing adventures), last week I went in to the local Ski-Doo dealer and bought a brand new 2015 Summit SP 600 E-TEC. I've been running the same old sleds for over 5 years now and the newest is 15 years old, I felt I had paid my dues and deserved a new modern sled. I went with the Ski-Doo for reliability. Reliability!!

First the good, it is an amazing rig and the power is stunning at the ~4000 foot altitude areas that I ride in. It has more bottom end pull than my 800 and is a match for my old 700 on top end. It just goes where you point it and is a lot easier and more fun to ride than the old tub chassis sleds. Incredible fun bouncing through powder pillows. Basically it is the sled I always wanted. And the computer is still in break-in mode...supposedly the performance will improve after that's over.

Except it died. 3rd riding day of it's first week, at about 70 odometer miles, going slow down a powdery trail that had a lot of fallen tress in the way. Coolant temp was below half, I give a touch of throttle and feel it start to die. It starts beeping, the check engine light came on and the display said "check engine" and then it shut off. And that was it, completely dead as if it had lost electrical.

I was riding with one of the dealer's shop mechanic who had done the dealer setup. He was riding my old 800. He looked over everything and could not find a problem. So we had to tow out of a very powdery situation for 15 miles. Luckily my old 800 was up to the task, despite a broken torque stop, and we towed it back to the trailer without issue.

And I just dropped it off at the dealer SK Northwest for warranty service. I guess we'll see how it goes. I am afraid it will drag on for weeks and I'll miss prime mid-winter riding time, but I'll report back either way. So far this is definitely the worst reliability of any machine I have ever owned!

Beaxch 01-12-2016 05:36 PM

A few hours after drop off I was told it was a shorted coil and should be an easy fix. We'll see! The new coil is supposed to be in Friday morning.

BCDan 01-12-2016 05:51 PM

Sorry you had problems, but I'm pulling for you that it's an easy fix! The 600 E-Tec has a great reputation, it would be sad for your sled to soil it. ;)

Beaxch 01-18-2016 01:13 PM

The PTO coil was sitting on some kind of metal clip that worked its way right through the soft bottom of the coil until it shorted. So they replaced the coil and reassembled it to avoid that. Got the sled back Friday (didn't have to pay anything for the work), and although we had terrible weather this weekend we put on about 40 soaking wet miles. It was a lot more fun than it should have been and we splashed around on some seriously heavy untracked snow and got stuck a couple of times.

So I love the sled over all. My big complaint is the recoil starter sucks, and if you get an E-start model then you don't get a recoil starter. You have to choose one or the other, which seems ridiculous. I can't rely on a battery, that's just not ok for me. The only way to get both is buy the recoil model and add the e-start kit. That also sucks. It costs about $700 to add E-start to the recoil model, which is getting close to an additional 10% over the purchase price (I got this 2015 model for $7,677 base price). That seemed crazy, but every day I hate the recoil starter. Getting the e-start model with no recoil is $500 more than base.

I could get the e-start kit for $500 but dealer install is $200. I am not sure if i can install it myself without voiding the warranty..and I'm not sure if I want to spend another $500 on this sled anyway.

Specifically, the recoil starter is fairly easy to pull but you have to pull it an extremely long distance to get it to start. It is about twice as far as you have to pull my old 700 and 800. So you have to stand way back, lean in, do the first half of the pull with your back and then the last half with the full reach of your arm. Maybe I'll get used to it. It does start on the first pull when you do it right, but if you are tired you might find yourself pulling several times trying to get enough juice into that last two feet of rope.

At any rate, the sad story appears to be over and I am definitely enjoying my new sled. It was time. Now I need to learn how to ride this chassis because right now the 600 is all the power I can handle...I feel like I would have already crashed if I got the 800! Very happy with the 600 and the 146" x 16" track - this is the exact sled that I need at this point in time. And then when I factor in how much sled I got for the money, this thing was a slam dunk.

BCDan 01-18-2016 10:27 PM

It's always awesome when you're happy with a new sled! Congrats!

I've ridden with a few guys that have the same engine/track, and it's pretty amazing how well that sled stays up on the snow. The extra width seems to climb better than a sled that is longer but has the same footprint. I was impressed.

Beaxch 01-20-2016 03:30 PM

Yes, my friend the sled mechanic and I have been riding for a very long time on these old Polaris 151" RMKs. We had the same initial reaction to the new sled: "I can't believe how good the traction is". The increase in precision maneuverability is also stunning, although that was more expected. You take lines that would be stupid on the old sleds, and you just know you are going to make it because you feel the increased level of control. It's going to be a while before I learn the full capabilities of this thing, as it keeps surprising me with what it can do.

My girlfriend loves it possibly too much, she is jacked to go sledding every weekend now. Last Sunday it was full-on raining and she knew we would get soaked, but she wanted to go anyway - and was happy about it afterwards. It has made her a true sled addict in a very short time, which is priceless. So I don't really get to trail ride it very much, but that's ok, I get plenty of quality time off trail where it really matters. The old 800 is still a blast on trails with it's superior top end power and top speed, so everybody is happy.

Oh and I got 14 mpg last weekend riding fully rain-soaked slop, about as heavy and sticky as it gets. It used 2.25 times less fuel than each of the old sleds, which also got fewer miles since they were often parked while we took turns riding the new one. And the engine computer is still in break-in mode after 125 miles, so I haven't even experienced the full power/efficiency yet. Pretty sweet.

BCDan 01-20-2016 03:52 PM

It's definitely night and day different from the Gen II Polaris RMK to a new Summit (or a new RMK, or a new Cat, even!) I felt the same way going from a 2005 800 RMK 151" to my 08 600 155"... I got stuck a LOT less than in the older sled. Now I'm lusting for a new RMK with the AXYS suspension... spendy little suckers, though!

It's awesome that your girlfriend likes to go riding. I haven't had the wif out in 3 years... she doesn't do hills and doesn't like cold, and.. and.. and... Oh well.. enjoy it while you can!!

Beaxch 01-21-2016 05:16 PM

You said it, I am definitely taking full advantage of the current situation. I was looking at the AXYS RMK (really I want the SKS) but I got such a killer deal on this Summit and I have wanted to try E-tec for quite a while. Once I saw how cheap I could get one, that was it. My old 700 just gets terrible mileage, 20% worse than the 800, and riding range had become a real problem. I almost ran it out of gas nearly every time out this year. The Summit 600 just seems like the right sled for right now, considering all the factors. Most of my riding is the Mt. Hood area which you probably know is fairly low altitude, 4000 to 5000 feet most of the time. I want to branch out to Adams and St. Helens, but those areas are all new to me, and at Mt. Hood I know exactly where everything is and where the best destinations are on a given day. One of these weekends I just have to go for it. I have never ridden Bachelor or Eastern Oregon either. Do you have any suggestions?

TheBearAK 02-02-2016 08:37 PM

Love my 600 Etec Renagade BackCountry.

A friend has a 07 Cat 800 and took mine for a test ride and he was impressed with the responsiveness as well.

I've stopped on hills that I would have never been able to stop on (going up) with my old Summit 583. The old Summit would have just trenched. Just pull the trigger on the Gade and it picks right back up where it left off.

As for the starter. I agree. I've heard about people getting the E-start and putting on the pull start to the tune of $300. (rope and pulley?? really BRP?)

I have the electric start. After I've seen how easy it is to start using a rope on the clutch, I'm not worried about the battery going bad. They start on first pull ever single time. A friend cold started his 800R at -20F with the rope around the clutch. Fired first pull.

BCDan 02-09-2016 12:40 PM

There's a lot of good riding around Mt. Bachelor with a well marked trail system. Lots of different terrain from steep hills to boondocking through the trees to open meadows. If you want to go east, the area around Baker has a great rep, too.

I'm in Southern Oregon, and we have tons of snow in our riding areas this year. I share my time between Pelican Butte, Brown Mountain, Medicine Lake, and Annie Creek. All are great places to play.

If you head down this way, I'm sure someone would be available to show you the good spots. It's nice to have options on where to ride this year!!

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