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Discussion Starter #1
I know this is an old topic. Short version, my wife gets nervous sidehilling (even though she always does fine). I know a lot of mountain sleds (like my 99 RMK) had the sway bar removed by modders. I've heard this hurts your trail handling although I've had no problem with the RMK at over 100mph, it handles great.

Wife's 92 SKS has the sway bar installed. This sled has been modded to be essentially a wedge chassis RMK 500. We ride trails of course, but the purpose is to get to a powder spot. Since the trails are all high mountain, sometimes there is extensive and scary sidehilling. It seems that the benefit of removing the sway bar would be better or easier sidehilling. Because, I think, your uphill ski can dig in without forcing the downhill ski off the snow.

So is this this case? If not, why do people remove the sway bar for mountain...or is there any other reason besides "you don't need it and it's lighter without it". She doesn't like to go too fast on trails so I don't think the sway bar matters that much, but if removing it will not help sidehilling then I'd probably just as well leave it in.

Any general info on what the sway bar does and does not do, pros and cons, would be great.
 

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Sway bar transfers load from the loaded(compressed) side of the suspension to the unloaded side to maintain flatness throughout corners. I would explore ways to disconnect one side for side hilling. The new mountain sled use a quick disconnect one one of the end links.
 

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i run so swar bar and love it, makes sidehilling a dream, a little more tippy around corners but with and old wegde like that i dont think it will make near as much difference. take it out and try, if she doesnt like it you can always put it back in
 

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I agree. If she's not pushing the sled in the corners, the bar isn't doing her much good. From what you say, sounds like she's better off without it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Awesome feedback. You guys rock. I'm going to try to remove it tomorrow either before or after work because Monday we'll be riding it. At this point I get how the sway bar works and what it's for, and I'm all for taking it out. Like I said, my wife fears sidehilling probably more than anything in snowmobiling and we have to do it all the time even just trail riding. I have a feeling it will help at least some, and I'll just put it back if necessary. Thanks again.
 

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I also run without a sway bar on my indy, I like how it rides. If you really want it to side hill good, maybe find a kit to widen the stance? I think I heard somewhere a kit was once available for the polaris sleds. I just made my own, widened it out to a 45 inch stance. I've rode on the sides of culverts and I fell off before the sled tipped :D


 

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Discussion Starter #7
I also run without a sway bar on my indy, I like how it rides. If you really want it to side hill good, maybe find a kit to widen the stance? I think I heard somewhere a kit was once available for the polaris sleds. I just made my own, widened it out to a 45 inch stance. I've rode on the sides of culverts and I fell off before the sled tipped :D
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Yeah I just got it out 5 minutes ago. Cut a full 3 pounds from a sled that is already extremely light for an LC. The issue of ski stance width is interesting...I've noticed that in general, mountain sleds do not have as wide a stance as a trail sled, or say a summit compared to a renegade, the renegade has a wider stance. That's my understanding, correct me if I'm wrong. I don't know why but it seems to be a design decision, so I figured the narrower stance of the SKS would be appropriate for its configuration. I don't know what the tradeoff is, why one would want a narrower stance for a mountain sled, so if anyone can comment on that I'd appreciate it but that's probably the topic for a new thread. I was thinking this sled could use a wider stance in general and it probably would help more than hurt....so I'll look in to that...but in the mean time any comments on stance width would be appreciated. Another factor is the rear suspension was dropped so the sleds center of gravity is higher than stock, which may call for a wider stance.

I also took the stabilizer bar out of the Vmax today too...that was actually easier. It was bent and rubbing against the frame anyway, making the steering more difficult and possibly restricting the front suspension travel. I'm riding both tomorrow and I suppose I'll post my after thoughts about the performance changes. It snowed a couple inches where we're going so the snow should at least be mostly white, and it's going to be 56 degrees and mostly sunny. Hopefully some pics will follow.
 

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most cases the sway bar in deep snow is not needed, but on hard packed trails they are rock . They are for fast trail riding. And again the wide ski stance is for fast trail
 

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Dropping the rear of the suspension normally will increase the potential for trenching. Doing that transfers weight normally carried on the front of the skid, to the skis and rear of the skid. In short, it doesn't have the flotation it would normally have. Dropping the rear generally not a good move for deep snow.

Wide front ends want to keep the sled flat on the surface of the snow. When you are sidehilling, you are trying to pull the sled over on it's side a bit. The narrower front end of the RMK's make this easier. To my knowledge, the SKS front is the same as an XC (wider than the RMK).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Dropping the rear of the suspension normally will increase the potential for trenching. Doing that transfers weight normally carried on the front of the skid, to the skis and rear of the skid. In short, it doesn't have the flotation it would normally have. Dropping the rear generally not a good move for deep snow.

Wide front ends want to keep the sled flat on the surface of the snow. When you are sidehilling, you are trying to pull the sled over on it's side a bit. The narrower front end of the RMK's make this easier. To my knowledge, the SKS front is the same as an XC (wider than the RMK).[/b]
I meant that the entire rear skid, both front and rear torque arm, were put lower on the tunnel (and farther back because of the longer track) so that the tunnel is higher up from the ground than before. I'm not sure if that was clear. I didn't do any of these mods any any of my rigs, I bought them that way. The idea was, I'm sure, that when you put a 136x1.75 on there you want to raise up the body so you can drive through deeper snow, same idea as a lifted 4x4 truck. Problem is of course the skis are in the same place, but I feel that the way I have configured the limiter straps the rear suspension is riding the way I want it, it's angled so that the skis have what I feel is just the right pressure and weight transfer. But the higher center of gravity is still a factor. This sled is really easy to jerk around and although my wife would probably like it a little wider, I think it's going to stay the way it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well both sleds rode great. You can't really give much of a fair comparison on different days but we both agreed that the steering and handling were very good, at least as good as before if not better. There was a lot of sidehilling to be done, the trails were worse than last time, but we had no problems. Probably our last day of the year, there just wasn't that much left to do except what we got in the video...watch if you dare...
 

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I meant that the entire rear skid, both front and rear torque arm, were put lower on the tunnel (and farther back because of the longer track) so that the tunnel is higher up from the ground than before. I'm not sure if that was clear. I didn't do any of these mods any any of my rigs, I bought them that way. The idea was, I'm sure, that when you put a 136x1.75 on there you want to raise up the body so you can drive through deeper snow, same idea as a lifted 4x4 truck. Problem is of course the skis are in the same place, but I feel that the way I have configured the limiter straps the rear suspension is riding the way I want it, it's angled so that the skis have what I feel is just the right pressure and weight transfer. But the higher center of gravity is still a factor. This sled is really easy to jerk around and although my wife would probably like it a little wider, I think it's going to stay the way it is.[/b]
If you lower the entire skid frame then you will also want to move it back as well. Simply dropping the skid out of the tunnel will increase the angle of attack at the front of the track which is not good for deep snow performance. Moving the skid back as well as down will restore the angle of attack, which you want to be a shallow as possible, but you will need to install a longer track.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If you lower the entire skid frame then you will also want to move it back as well. Simply dropping the skid out of the tunnel will increase the angle of attack at the front of the track which is not good for deep snow performance. Moving the skid back as well as down will restore the angle of attack, which you want to be a shallow as possible, but you will need to install a longer track.[/b]
Right, that's what was done by the previous owner. They had the right ideas, but some poor execution. There was some fine tuning to be done, it was a little light on the skis but we got that tuned out long ago. All in all I was shocked how poorly thought out the rolled chaincase and track upgrade was done on this sled. The secondary couldn't open all the way because it was being blocked by a speedo drive bolt. Also it was rubbing on coolant hoses at low speeds and spots were worn paper thin when I got the sled. So I had to "re-mod" quite a bit...the head bolts were not properly torqued after the previous owner's rebuild...a bunch of other stuff but frankly for what I paid the parts alone were easily worth the money (the 136x1.75" track was almost brand new), and it turned out to be a perfect ride for my wife. I honestly enjoy the challenge of a new used sled, figuring out how screwed up it is challenging myself to make it run well, but that's probably a mental ilness...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I wanted to update this topic with further results because I know for a fact people google these threads and follow the advice. The Vmax is awesome without the sway bar (stabilizer bar), it was the right move. Really I can hardly tell the difference except it seems to steer a little easier and more freely. My RMK came to me without one so I can't say before and after but I would say it's great without it. But I did end up reinstalling the SKS sway bar.

Basically I felt that the ski springs were really soft, and there is no adjustment on the sks. You could practically bottom one out just by pulling hard on the handlebars to one side while standing on the footwell. New OEM springs were cheap so I ordered new springs and some extra retaining rings so I could stack them up and give the front some overload. Well, even then I felt that the front end was far too soft. New overloaded springs made the front end ride a little higher but had little effect on how easily I could get one side to bottom out.

That's when I recalled one of the replies in this thread that stated the sway bar makes each ski have more spring pressure because it transfers some of the force to both ski springs. So, I reinstalled the sway bar and kept all the new stuff and I'm very happy with the results. I realize that there are aftermarket shock/spring setups that might have been an even better solution but I'm inclined to go with the cheaper solution.

I really am not sure why it's better with the sway bar on the sks and without the sway bar on the vmax and rmk, but here is what I think: 1. The vmax and rmk have much stiffer ski springs. 2. The sks has a narrower stance than the other sleds, so it is easier to "sway" or "roll" whether intentionally or not, no matter how stiff the springs. In other words, in my opinion the sks actually needs the sway bar where my other active sleds do not. So yeah, case by case basis. Since the work turned out to be pretty easy and we didn't lose any riding time over it I can just call it a valuable learning experience.
 

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My 97 RMK came without sway bar. The same machine from 98 had them. I prefer mine without. Since we never ride groomed trails, but rather have trails carved for eons into the tundra, they tend to be rough at times. Hitting a bump with one ski can throw the machine, especially with a sway bar installed since a sudden hit will lift both skis. It does, however, take some of the softness out of the "swaybar-less" machine which means the individual shocks do not get hammered quite so bad and probably last longer. I think the bigger, heavier-in-front liquid-cooled machines tend to benefit more from a sway bar, regardless the terrain.
 

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I've always thought of trying it with my gade as the sidehilling can be tough with the wider ski stance. If I could make the switch easily from day to day I would probably give it a shot on the big powder days.
 
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