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Old 03-21-2009, 05:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Liquid Cooled Snowmobile Engines (general info)

Hello all, this is my first post here so I'll briefly introduce myself before getting to my inquire for direction and recommendations. I am a 34 year old engineer who grew up on Yamaha Bravo 250s, Enticer 300s, and Enticer 340s. After all these years I have finally acquired my dream machine of a Yamaha Phazer (two of them actually). I keep them in Utah with my family and drive them when I visit. Of course they use them also, hence the reason for not owning something very expensive. Maybe someday ...

Anyway, I would like to design and build a small, one person, mini dune buggy (something like this) powered with a snowmobile engine and CVT. I would expect that this will require a liquid cooled engine, 500cc or bigger, with an over sized (car) radiator. I would also expect that the most economical way to acquire all of the part I will need would be from a running, and perhaps wrecked, snowmobile. Something that is very common would increase the likelihood of finding cheap initial and replacement parts from old, wrecked and broken machines from sources like eBay, classified ads, and craigslist. I searched the internet for some comprehensive information about what engines are used in various machines along with some basic information about each engine such as displacement, number of cylinders, horse power, weight, method of cooling, ect. but I have not come up with anything useful.

So I am asking for your help in finding this kind of information and for your own personal recommendations. I remember when we began to retire our old machines that the Polaris Indy was getting a lot of attention for its innovative design features such as being liquid cooled so I looked there first but have not found anything very helpful. I look forward to any information that you can share to help me out. Thanks.

Also, EFI would be REALLY cool but I am guessing that will be prohibitively expensive.
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Old 03-21-2009, 09:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum!

Sounds like a fun project. The 500 size sleds deliver 70-80 hp, depending on pipes. Bigger HP engines make bigger heat, the heat may be a problem for you to get rid of, even with an oversized radiator. Bumping up to a 600 gives you a huge increase in hp (Polaris Edge 600's are in the 110-120 hp range) which is a TON of power for a wheeled vehicle. Figuring out the pipe routing may be a challenge as well! The Polaris 500 (Fuji) liquid is probably the most dependable engine Polaris ever made, and they made a ton of 'em. The Polaris 600 (Liberty) also has a good rep for holding together over time.

There are lots of wrecked sleds with bent tunnels that would make for nice cheap donor parts. With a bent tunnel, most insurance companies total the sled and put it to salvage. You may find everything you need in one donor sled. That will give you the clutches as well as the engine and wiring harness. You will have to fab air filters; there's not much need for filtered air when you ride in the snow. There are manufacturers that make pod filters that may meet your needs for clean air.

EFI is nice, but I am wondering if the program goes lean enough to handle the hot air of summer time. You may have to have the ECU reflashed for your summertime needs to be able to run efficiently. Carbs will be a LOT easier for ease of tuning...

Keep us posted!!
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Old 03-22-2009, 08:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Actually, you would not need to use a larger radiator than is used by a 'wheeler.
A small radiator and a thermostatically controlled electric fan would be more than adequate.
An EFI equipped engine would be capable of running well in warm temps as you would not have to be worrying about jetting for temp and elevation.
The only concern would be getting the clutching right for the weight of your machine and the performance curve that you desire.
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Old 03-23-2009, 07:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You may want to look at an old golf cart made by Yamaha for some ideas. They used a 215cc 7port reversible AIR cooled motor. Same clutching theory as a snowmobile (weighted primary , ramp secondary). It has a secondary gear reduction system that may give you some ideas for final drive system. It also uses a starter/generator system which starts and reverses the engine. The power is way low but it may give you some direction.
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Old 03-23-2009, 06:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I like the "mug" shot!
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Got plans to do the same thing! I had one made with a 750 Susuki motor cycle engine! And yes a Geo radiator works great with the fan! Electric start and rev and EFI would be perfect! BUT The biggest challenge is going to be the rear axel! I had a straight axle and if you are drag racing or out in the sand dunes is perfect! But to turn or corner you would want some type of differental! May be a Golf cart????
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Old 03-26-2009, 09:06 AM   #7 (permalink)
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What I am working off of is a Geo traker! At any rate, what I see is if you take an old axle and cut it off and have a plate welded on to the end and a bolt pattern drilled, you could bolt it right to the input flang of a rear end! Then put on a chain case! With Rev too! Then it's just a mater of shrinking the jack shaft and mounting it all! This will give you everything!
Im using the Geo Tracker front pumpkin with CV joints and independant suspension!
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