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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking on picking up a used cat to try out next year, was either thinking on a ZR580 twin the year with the all green hood....96
?? or a 96 ZRT600 is there any thing to whatch out on these sleds when buying used?
? mostly trail ride and bang the odd ditch, how differnt is the triple over the twin....BETTER WORSE?
?? what are the pros and cons for these sleds??? any help would be great as I have necer owed or rode a cat just yamaha!!!!!
 

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The ZR580 with the green hood is a '97.  It seems like Cat tried too many first year things with this sled (ETT, BEFI, Clutching, etc.) I know a few guys that swear that this was the best sled they ever owned.  BUT, they got rid of the sled between 2500 and 3500 miles.  I've talked to many guys that have had a '97 beyond the 3000 mile mark and it was nothing but trouble.  I've heard from many sources that the top end of the 580 should be rebuilt at about 3000 miles.  That should take care of most of the 580 horror stories you hear about.  I have a 95 580EFI and it's a great sled.  The only problem I've had is a leaking water pump gasket (common) and a minor electrical problem.
I also have a 96 ZRT600.  There were some first year issues with the 96ZRT, the main one being the motor mounts were known to break along with some other nagging little things.  I haven't had any problems with mine.  The only thing I've done is re-clutch it.  This sled is a blast to ride!  It's smoother than my twins and it has all the power I need.  It's not as good a jumper as my ZR's, but it's a great trail sled.  
You'll hear alot of negetive comments on both sleds but this is my experience.
 

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I love my 97 ZR580EFI but had a piston let go at 3800-4000 miles. the dealer said it was the timing sensor went bad cost me 1200 to repair.
then after only 400 miles on the new piston it blew again, this time it was a faulty piston pin, it also took out the cylinder Arctic Cat coverd the cost this time.
I have not had a chance to ride it again due to no snow but I hope my troubles are over because I really enjoy riding this sled.
 

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With the zr if it also has a green seat it is then a 97 but i have a 96 with a green hood that was a mid season release. No real problems so far with it thou the water pump seal is starting to leak. The only bad thing is that it is a gas hog like 7mpg.
 

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Check this out, I used to ride this sled. I painted it and copied the graphics off of a 2000 snowmobile cover (they are upside down on the sled) (and reflective) Now I have a 1998 ZRT600, awesome sled, Powerful and fun.
 

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Yes, I forgot to mention that Cat did have a late season release in '96.  It had a green hood w/ '96 graphics and ETT.  Sharp sled if you find one.
 

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If the sled is a 97 580 stay away from it.  Im sure there will be a few people on this sight that disagree but i got a lot of experiance with this sled.  

The connecting rods are weak in this sled causing the piston to let go.  I have done one of these my self and its not pretty.  

The starter motor almost always brakes along with the speedo cable.  

The revearse gears are weak and if you shift in and out with just a little to much RPM you will strip it.  

And the newest thing that happend was the recoil broke jamming the engine.  We had to tow it back.  

I would go with the ZRT.  I know nothing about it but i see a lot of them with high milage so they must be ok.  

See ya.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all your input guys, I was really going to go for the 1997 ZR580, but I think I will reconsider and mabey go the ZRT600. I was just thinking the 580 would be a little less heavy for some drift bangin. Hey ZRT600MtnCat where did you get your seat recoverd?
is it like factory original job?
I still am going to keep my SRV as it has given me 4 years and 8500km
of trouble free riding.
 

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Well I have the 97 580 EFI powder special since new and it has run excellent since day one no problems runs great.
As well, it still beats all the new 600's at the drags this year  
 

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I own a '97 ZRT 600.  It has been re-clutched, geared down, jetted, shimmed & shaved.  This sled is GREAT for the trails & the lake.  Has provided me with 6000+ painless miles.  Never cracked a gasket on the triple - flawless - new plugs at the beginning of the season & it's all set.  I have had to revalve the shocks in order to swallow moguls but other than that the suspension is stock.  I have found that the rear-rear shock needs to be rebuilt every 500- 700 miles if you frequenty ride the moguls. This is not the type of sled for ditch banging as it is a little heavy on the front. It is no secret that this is a heavy sled & requires quite a bit of steering effort.  But, it goes right where you put it, no bumpsteer or scrub through the corner.
Generally speaking the triples are known for there mid to top end power, they do not have the throttle responce of a twin.  Whereas the nature of a twin is low & mid-range power.  I clutched & geared down the ZRT to get the power down to a more usable range for me.  The gas mileage was not the best @ 10-12 miles/gallon
but I never ran it out of gas.
Hope this helps.!~    
 

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And let's face it, there is no sweeter sound than the crack of a ZRT!
 
 

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From my expierence and my son in-law, do not buy the 96 600 ZRT, major problems, they had a few recalls, but it is all the little things that keep you leaving on the sled, and coming back on someone elses. 96 was a bad year.
My son in-law was so dissapointed this year with it, he is going to try out a Yamaha. he bought it over the summer with only 2400 miles on it. Never made a ride more than 60 miles.
My old 96 was the same way.
 

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Agreed, the '96 did have some problems but they usually showed up that 1st year and were taken care of.  In my area if you see a ZRT6 on the trails (and I see alot of them), it will more times than not be a 96.  Granted Cat sold a ton them that year, but my point is that after the hick-ups were taken care of, they usually turned into a very good sled.

And to repeat Bilbat, "There's no sweeter sound than the crack of a ZRT".
 

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Almost every model has a problem or two.  Don't let a few sleds taint your opinion.  My 96 has been great.  The only problem I have had is when I used it as a chain saw.
 

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I bought a 1996 ZRT back in 1996. Rode it for 10000 miles before I sold it. The only problems I had with it were:

the back clutch side motor  mount
the driveshaft bearing on the clutch side
Leaky exhaust pipes
Ignition switch failure

That's very few problems for 10000 miles if you ask me, and haaa the sound...  
 
 

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This is a no brainer.
The triple is the way to go. I have owned twins, triples and quad cylinder machines.
A triple is the best performing motor out there.
Twins are great for ditch banging and 600' runs after that it gets old.
Don't let anyone tell you that there 500, 600 or even 700 twin will smoke you.
A triple anything from any brand sled will always blow away a twin!!
That is a fact! Not even the new A/C 900 twin will hang with a well tuned "T-Cat" and
be as smooth at the same time.

The triples do weigh more than the twins and they do need more driver input.
You need to decide what you want.
Do you want a quality ride and power or do you want nible and quick?
No mater what you choose your choice will be a Cat!
Good luck

 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for the info TaxiCat....I hear ya on the triple issue.....My friend has a 95 RXL650 and that puppy sounds sweet with the tripple pipes he has on it and it hauls ###!!!!! But 1 question? how much weight is the ZRT from the ZR???????? from what I have heard I wil go with a 1997-98 ZRT!!!
 
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