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Discussion Starter #1
What do you think?

What determines what a snowmobile will look and act like in ten or twenty years?

I was just looking around on the 'net today to see if I could find any legislating structures that will force the return to sled dogs (which start regardless of the temps or whether there is an electrical outlet handy.)

I guess my concern is that we might be forced to ride heavier machines (four-strokes)- which would almost certainly be liquid cooled, they'll be heavy and harder to start - not conducive to use on overnight trips away from amenities.

I also wonder if making engines cleaner has to come at the expense of reliable operation. (Is the Polaris 550 fan leaner and cleaner than the 440s and 488s at the expense of reliability?)

With gas a $5 /gallon, I don't mind burning less of that stuff, but I'm still willing to pay more if it comes with reliable performance which doesn't break my back.

I'm thinking they're just dabbling enough in clean technologies to keep the EPA at bay. Otherwise it's all about "cooler, faster, and higher."

Whatchathink?
 

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Good topic.

If you were asking what drives snowmobiling R&D the answer is $.
This would be the same for any industry.

But I understand your point with increaseing money being spent on 4 stroke motors to meet EPA requirements there has been little to no technology being spent on light weight fan cooled motors.

I guess the two points above are kind of tied together.

If you had the choice to buy either of the sleds below would you?

A Polaris 550F with CFI ($800cdn to upgrade the 600 HO to a 600 HO CFI -off 07 list price)

or Skidoo 550F with SDI or PowerTEK?

or 570 Arctic Cat with fuel injection?

or a Yamaha turbo Bravo :wink:

Given the base price of these sleds the price of the upgrade wold be too much to justify not only to the bean counters but also to the consumers.

Also, a lot of people who drive these sleds are somewhat old school and are greatfull for the fact that they don't have to worry about all of the new technologies currently being used to meet EPA requirements.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My initial thought about a Polaris 550 fan injected is, "Are you nuts?" Then again, however, if they did go with an injection system with the myriad of needed sensors to get things right, perhaps they wouldn't have the lean spot problem, overheat issues, and other things that seem to lead to breakdown with that motor. The carbed 550 Pol is not a motor that can be cured, I don't believe, by something as simple as the new Nic cylinders. At this point - and especially if I am correct about the new cylinders- Polaris needs to either do something drastic to that motor to save it or else they need to start over. I know some of the 440 fans were mighty stingy on fuel even carb fed. If they can't "cure" the 550 and start over with a smaller platform, something between the 440 and the 488 might be the right balance. By giving it a batteryless injection system of some kind, they might be able both to boost HP output as well as make the engine burn very clean and efficiently. I'm sure there are still untapped ways to recirculate oil in the crank as well which could both improve the life of components bottomside as well as keep things cleaner in the exhaust.

Another possibility is to develop a passive liquid cooling system - at least one not requiring loose snow to cool by- coolant might still be pumped. The real trick would be to design it in such a way that it added no more weight than existing liquid cooling systems have, and ideally even less. I wonder if there might even be the possibility for a "hybrid" fan cooled "liquid," an axial fan cooled liquid jacketed engine with a passive coolant system. Cooling fins on the exterior of the jacket would still draw heat out but that heat would be tempered and kept more stable by the static coolant.
 

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What yr is this post from??

2001?

Your 4stroke comments WTF?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What yr is this post from??

2001?

Your 4stroke comments WTF?[/b]


<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(63November)</div>
I guess my concern is that we might be forced to ride heavier machines (four-strokes)- which would almost certainly be liquid cooled, they'll be heavy and harder to start - not conducive to use on overnight trips away from amenities.[/b]
Not sure I understand what it is or why you have a question. Based on what I currently see, "clean" still seems to point toward "4," or at the very least some rather cumbersome technologies. And very few machines not expressly made for utility can be easily adapted anymore.
 

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<<<<Not sure I understand what it is or why you have a question.>>>>

My take is that his question was regarding the huge advances made in 4 stroke technology recently, that you may not be giving them credit for. You can debate this if you like, but it's kinda hard to argue when looking at what has happenned to the bike and quad markets over the last several years. The bikes and quads both are just as sensitive to weight as sleds might be.

I think what might be holding the sleds back a little (for the moment anyway) is the demand for lightweight motors that are well calibrated for colder weather. Obviously, the 4 stroke has some very stiff competition because of the sophistication of the 2 strokes it's competing with. That's going to go without argument.

The point is, if there is a 4 stroke avialable to do the job competitively with a 2 stroke, many, if not most, will go for the 4 stroke (as witnessed by the current demand for them, even with their current/quickly diminishing weight disadvantage). I think that's also been proven now with the quad and bike markets...... -Al
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think what might be holding the sleds back a little (for the moment anyway) is the demand for lightweight motors that are well calibrated for colder weather. Obviously, the 4 stroke has some very stiff competition because of the sophistication of the 2 strokes it's competing with. That's going to go without argument.

The point is, if there is a 4 stroke avialable to do the job competitively with a 2 stroke, many, if not most, will go for the 4 stroke (as witnessed by the current demand for them, even with their current/quickly diminishing weight disadvantage). I think that's also been proven now with the quad and bike markets...... -Al[/b]
Thanks for the comments. Those are some of the concerns I have for sure with the newer motors: light, cold friendly, as well as simple, reliable, etc. I really don't want to see the technology taking as back 30 years or so to where "four go out and three return" as with the old Evinrudes and so forth. Machines work reliably or can be repaired readily under poor conditions are desirable.

I do like the idea of cleaner less expensive to operate technologies. If that means staying in the backyard though, what's the point? What I see are still heavy machines, often incredibly cluttered inside, and undoubtedly difficult to start manually especiaally at -20 F.

If someone builds an engine that it very reliable, cools easily, doesn't weigh gobs, and can still put out half of the typical 140 horses the turbos are making, then they might be onto something as far as I (we) are concerned. We need neither lots of ponies nor great speeds. Torque is a good thing for sled pulling though. There is hope. However, in looking at where the utility end of the market is going, I don't have lots of it at the moment.
 
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