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Discussion Starter #1
I am having trouble in very cold temperatures(-30to-40C). My machine will rev up to 6000 before things will start moving. I have the track lifted before I take off, I can get engagement at around 3600. After things have been moving for awhile everything is fine. It is not a clutching problem. I changed chaincase oil, it was very grey looking. This has helped some, but I am still having problems. Track tension is fine. Any suggestions? Maybe a bearing? I am in an isolated community in Nunavut, Canada, so I have to do all the work myself, and I know just enough to get by. I usually speak to my mechanic down south. The last we spoke he said start with the chaincase.
 

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Just starting off with something simple.... when is the last time you changed your belt?  I can remember I had a worn belt that slipped and when it wasn't under load (suspension off the ground) it ran fine, but was a dog to get going and finally let loose going across a lake at 3/4 throttle)  Since then I replace my belt every season whether it needs it or not and move the belt from the previous year to the backup belt in case the new one is defective, just my $ .02
 

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When you lift the track do you warm it up while it is in the air? This works wonders to get everything broke free and warm. Just run the track for 1-2 minutes at slow speed . Makes a big difference. Make sure your usin a track stand though.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input. Yes I put on a new belt. I checked to see if the secondary was swallowing the drive belt, but it is not. the belt sits just above level on the sheaves. Of course I use a stand when warming it up(haha). It does work wonders. The problem is I use it to go to work, and at diner time everything is froze up again. I have to inch my sled back and forward until it starts to engage better. If i just try taking off the engine gets to much fuel, burns the belt up, and carbons up and stalls. Then the plugs are fouled. I have the only cat here in the community. Its hard to say "A wolf amongst sheep" when they all take off before you. I talked with some of the Inuit here they say it is normal with these temperatures. It is just hard to believe. On the bright side I always get sure starts.
 

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Pantera an EFI, unless you have the 1000CC T cat motor in it.  And by the way it sounds (sure starts) you have an EFI, so you shouldn't be carboning up and fouling plugs with an EFI, not unless something else is wrong.  I would find a mechanic who knows all the little intracacies (spelling) of cats and have him go through the sled (might cost some $$$$ but you can be assured that its running right)....
 

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Discussion Starter #6
stevecz, it is an efi. There are no mechanics here. I am in Nunavut, it is a fly-in community, so I have to do all the work myself, and I am not much of a mechanic, but I am learning. This forum helps. The machine may not carbon up, but when the engine is reving 6000 trying to move the machine it will seriously bog and backfire if the sled doesn't take off right away. The only way to prevent this is to have the chassis off the ground and spin the track for a half minute or so. Then it works fine.
 

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jtsnowshark,

I have a Panther 550 which nearly identical in terms of the way in which the machine, aside from the engine, is set up. You description sounds very typical for this rig. It is much more difficult to get moving than the Polaris fans I've run for years. Two things I've found to be helpful when the temps are lower than -20F: 1, warm the machine for at least 15 minutes. I'm not sure why this helps but I suspect there is some radiant heat which helps to loosen up the belt and other related drive parts. 2, rev the engine just until it engages the clutch and watch the track for movement. It should show some movement after a few seconds. If not, give the clutch and belt a rest; pull the track  loose from the rails and, if you can, move it forward or back a bit to help it get a headstart. Getting the 'set' part of the track moved off the the sharp radius of the rear wheels seems to help a lot. A final thing you can do is to remove the belt if you won't be driving the machine for awhile and take it indoors so it will be warm when you're ready to roll again. It won't help prevent the track from taking a set but it will give better grip against the clutch than will a very cold, rock-hard belt.

On a final note, it seems to be a good idea to buy the same stuff the locals use when you're in a remote place like that. They drive and use what they know will work - they've already done the testing
, and besides it gives the locals less things to laugh at you about. I'm sure you're capable of generating enough on your own, especially if you're new to the area
.
 

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Did your sled just start doing this or has it done it since you got it?  How many miles are on it?  Efi or carb it is always a good idea to warm your sled up for about 5 minutes, 15 minutes seems a little extreme but safe.  I wish I could ride my sled to work everyday!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thanks for the reply guys, the info has been useful. I do bring my belt in, it helps very little, but some. I also let it warm up about 5 min. The temps are very extreme here. After changing the chaincase oil, it seemed to help some. The locals say it is normal in this temp, so I will go by that. It works alot better if I just inch it back and forth before trying to take off hell bound for nowhere. I will wait until march when the temps warm up more before I start checking my bearings. Everything works great once I get it moving. Thanks again for you help. When you are sleding in -25, don't ##### just remember me up here in -45. I only dream of -20 weather now, that would be a nice day here,(haha)
 

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One other method I sometimes use (and failed to mention) is to warm the engine, then, with the engine running tip it onto the side enough so that the track is clear of the snow surface it rests on. This, in a way, works like using a stand without the need to lift the back end by hand. This is still quite a chore with a machine of this size but it is a bit easier than lifting. You should be able to clear and loosen the track when it is laid over like this.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Golsovia, just a couple of question. Is this normal behavior for all machines or just cats in these extreme temps? Should I start looking at other possible factors? Thanks for the tips, it eases the mind some.  
 

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Sorry for the delay. I did write a reply a couple of days ago but them our power failed and everything went wherever they go when power goes out. (Sound familiar?) Anyway, to answer your question, no, I don't think this is just a Cat problem. It is, however, probably related to the design of the suspension so it is undoubtedly somewhat a cat problem. Some types of suspension seem to have a "slipperier" contact with the track than others. The old Polaris Indy suspensions seemed very good in this detail. I have an loder Indy Lite GT which turns its track very easily at just about any temp. A newer Polaris with XTRA-10 suspension is more difficult to move even a much higher hp engine. My 550 Panther is by far the most difficult track to turn of the machines I own when it gets cold.

There are two other things worth exploring: you might consider changing one of the sprockets in the chaincase before it gets too cold. Dropping one tooth on the upper sprocket is the most bang for the buck and will make the drive train just a bit easier to turn which might be handy when things are stiff. It will lower your top speed a bit but that won't, I assume, pose a serious problem when the temps are so low anyway. A second detail that you might explore is the possibility that you are getting some ice in/on one or more of the rolling parts of the drive train. If your conditions are anything like ours- "hard snow", your heat exchangers probably get a bit warmer than they're supposed to especially - and ironically, when it's very cold. I've noticed that sometimes they create quite a bit of ice as the machine sits and cools off. I have never determined for sure where it binds but I do know that on more than one occasion I've had a chunk of ice get stuck in the front of the tunnel when I've tried to get a cold machine going. That's a guartanteed way to lock up the suspension and fry a belt and more. Hope these ideas have helped.
 
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