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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I'm new to sledding, and am looking to buy a mid to late '90s touring machine. I've been eyeing the Ski-Doo Touring SLE's and Grand Tourings, but haven't given much thought towards the various touring sleds from Arctic Cat and Polaris. I guess I was assuming since the snowmobile was invented by Ski-Doo, it would be the most reliable machine (I am not mechanically inclined).

I'm guessing most experienced sledders are brand loyal, and I'm expecting some biased responses, but I'm not bothered by that.

Please let me know your oppionions on the mechanical reliability of the mid to late 1990's Arctic Cat and Polaris touring sleds, compared to Ski-Doos.

Thanks.
 

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the most important thing to remember about buying a sled that is over 10 years old is the condition, not necessarily the make. (if you have no brand loyalty) your going to find quite a mixed bag at that age range. dont rule out yamaha either.
 

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ok... I am gunna talk about what little I know about touring machines...

Mid to late 90's in a touring machine, it is my honest opinion that Ski-doo Made the better sled... their fit and finish is great and they had great power and options. Just be careful because their bigger engine ones were very VERY finicky. their "DPM" system (i believe that is what is called no?) with all the air line hoses everywhere were very sketchy. Great Idea, however if you crimp even ONE of those lines it will starve the motor of SOMETHING and will blow up on ya... these were mainly on the triples... If you are going to go with a ski-doo I know that the 670 and the 583 were both very strong and solid motors... STAY AWAY from the 617 and the 780.

As far as cat is concerned, I dont really know much about the touring midels.. my buddy had the pantera and the motor was good but had nothing but problems with the reverse chaincase. and its seemed like all of the electrical was just failing one after the other... but was a very fast sled for a touring model.

Polaris... well... all I know is that they have very solid motors (ONCE THEY ARE BROKEN IN) never heard anything bad about their touring machines... but again... This touring stuff is something I am not TOO familiar with... unfortunatly polaris didnt get the PERC reverse system until way later from what you are looking for. The older reverse systems in both cat and polaris... arrrggg... they are just garbage...



Overall suggestion... Get a Ski-Doo Grand Touring 583 or 670 with RER reverse system... and you will really love your sled and have no problems.

but I would also wait until someone with a little more experience in the touring dept. jumps in here and gives their 2 cents.
 

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Yup ,you are going to get a bunch or brand loyal responses. I am a die hard A/C guy but I probably would not point you toward an A/C touring unless it was a T660. Great mileage, and VERY dependable.
I would probably tell you to look at Yamaha if you want 2 stroke reliability.

Your best bet, since you are not mechanically inclined, is to see what is the most reputable repair shop or dealership in your area. Go with whatever you can find the best service for.

And yes, Skidoo invented the snowmobile, but Yamaha is the most trouble free in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
MattyE, you mentioned the Grand Touring 580 and 670 engines were good. I'm not a speed demon, and not looking for fast machine. Just want to putt around the trails around the camp. What about the Grand Touring 500 engine? Some may say it's sluggish compared to a 670, but was it a good engine?
 

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yeah there was nothing wrong with the 500's they seemed to work okay... you will probably be more likely to find a 583 tho... Try to see if you can get one that has RER reverse system... I strongly urge that.
 

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go with the ski-doo if your not looking for a lot of power you can get an 380 for cheap money and it whoud be just as good if your looking at an older sled try to get one with under 5000 miles on it
 

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A friend of mine his dad bought a 2000 Touring 500 Liquid Cooled and it is an amazing sled he bought it bran new and he still has it and its never gave him any troubles. They are pretty fast to-boot. Should be able to pull 80-90 mph depending on conditions and if your alone or with two people. Nice Ride riliable all around good. But if you can find one with a 583 id go for that IMO.

Grant.
 

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from what i remember two guy's started building sled's in the early 50's was polaris they had a dispute and one lrft and started there own line of sled which is arctic cat i wok as a tour guide and i am a polaris junky there sled's are very dependable BUT so is artic cat i believe that is were i would look between them two that is my opinion
 

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The 500 Grand touring was an awsome sled for us. We had it since new and sold it after 7500 km a few trouble free years later. It you aren't interested in a lot of power this is the way to go, still has enough to pull you and a sleigh through slush but not too wild. 583 is also a good choice. Or if you go polaris then I would suggest the 488 fan. That is a bullet proof motor.
 

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I am definately brand loyal.... but not an idiot. lol. As far as reliability and dependability goes.... you'll never beat a Yamaha. That being said... thier suspension has always been a generation behind the competition. so if you're into touring, then I wouldn't go with any yamaha older than say a 2000. The Doo touring models, are probably the cheapest as far as parts and repairs go, because they're so common. They're a VERY tippy sled though, and if you're putting the Mrs. on the back, she may not like the way the inside ski will come up with just about every corner you take. As far as the Polaris.... don't know. Never ridden one. Can't say. Arctic cat makes a nice touring (Pantera), all the bells and whistles, however, stay away from the (340?) It's a big sled and the engine is just too small. I've also been told by an Arctic Cat FANATIC, that the 580 engines are not that reliable (but I don't know about that for sure. He's owned nothing but Cat's and sais he would never own the 580 or the 550 engines.) So my opinion, though I'm a Yammi man at heart, would be to go with the Doo. Mainly for cost purposes.
 

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He's owned nothing but Cat's and sais he would never own the 580 or the 550 engines.)[/b]
he is absolutly right... the 550 motor is just garbage and the 580 efi is the biggest fuel pig ever. if you are going with a cat touring sled you need to go with the big motor.

aI am tellin ya... the 583 grand touring is the best all around machine for you... and I am a cat guy! the 583 is probably the most fuel efficient engine they made until these sdi's came out.
 

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I used rebuilt- often from the ground up- Polaris tourings for years. Those were 488s mostly, but all fans. They, and slightly earlier machines were quite simple and very sturdy machines if not the fanciest rigs on the snow. 'Cat, with its Panther/Pantera line had a good machine going. We presently have two, a 99 and an 01 in the yard in 550 and 440 versions. They do not handle as nicely as a shorter machine does, but are a decent ride and, with the fiberglass overload springs one can use for two-up riding, they are a more comfortable ride ridden double than others I've been on. We don't see a lot of 'Doos around these parts due, I suppose, to the rough conditions we have. My experience around one is that the ride was good but the machine - a 583 I think, was heavy and not especially rugged in some of its parts, especially in the forward suspension. My experience with Yamaha goes back to ten years previous so it's not fair to use that I suppose. They were reliably powered alright and had some very good design ideas. I was very pleased by my switch to Polaris, however, in the '90s.

BTW, I don't know who was building the machines, but Shackleton used British built (I presume) snow-machines nearly 100 years ago. Since 'Doo is Canadian (which is almost British :D ), perhaps 'Doo should get the credit. Then again Ski-Doo is (or was) based out of Quebec, a place where many people speak a funny language sounding an awfull lot like French, so who knows! :D :D
 

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I currently own a 99 grand touring and a 96 polaris indy trail, both have proved very reliable, the polaris has the 488 fan which is somewhat sufficient but can be underpowered at times, the gt se with the 800 is plenty quick, both are equal on fuel consumption (supprisingly). The Gt is very tippy and will scare the socks off everyone who rides it out until you get used to it, especially coming out of a turn and giving it too much gas before its straight, the polaris is much lighter/ smaller but comparing these two is really apples to oranges(gt being a higher end compared to indy trail at Polaris bottom end touring. The indy corners amazingly well and will almost never scare you or your passenger. Both these machines can be found for $1500-3000

I agree with versatileman, and go with one that you can get the best service on.
 

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I have had great luck with my XLT. It's been 6 years and all i have done is put gas and oil in it. The 93-94 are the best of the XLT engine because they don't have the crank problems like the 95 up do.
 

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I recently bought a Polaris Ultra 680 Touring -97(hence my name) and I must say that I am very pleased with it. I really like the triple and it has 100hp, more than enough for a touring brick. ;)
 

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As one of my ice fishing sled i have a 1998 ski-doo touring 380 good allround sled i find. Good motor for putting around on and is great on gas. put 4000 hard miles on that motor till i blew it up pulling a cedar boat into a friends camp, rebult it and it runs like new.
 

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what is your reason for a touring sled? cause if your on the trails and they have some tighter turns you might find a touring to be a pig, and you may get stuck in deeper snow, and overall the weight may be a problem. last year earlier in the year me and my dad were on the lake driving side by side (he has a 97 indy touring 500) and i was watching his sled and it broke through slush alot and it really slowed him down. i would look back at my tracks and you could just see a bit of wet snow, i stayed on top of it.
 
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