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Yes another "Best Ever" thread, but with categories!

Gotta be the Most Reliable, can't be broken down on the trail or deep in the bush.

Structured Groomed Trail Riding, light pow riding
Overall Mountain Riding
Mountain High Topping
Deep Deep Snow Riding
Work Rig
Breaking Trap Line Type Riding
Racing
Overall for your kind of riding! I know there are too many variables.
Overall Value Rig
Overall If You Were A Millionaire Rig
 

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Best racing sled probably vmax 4 or xcr 800 or thunder at best mountain sled I’m my opinion probably 2000s rmk best for riding trials the new vipers maybe or something like that
 

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Yes another "Best Ever" thread, but with categories!

Gotta be the Most Reliable, can't be broken down on the trail or deep in the bush.

Structured Groomed Trail Riding, light pow riding Pantera 600/800EFI
Overall Mountain Riding M9000
Mountain High Topping Again perhaps the new M9000? Polaris 850 or Summit 850
Deep Deep Snow Riding SAME
Work Rig Bear Cat
Breaking Trap Line Type Riding Bear Cat
Racing ARCTIC CAT!
Overall for your kind of riding! I know there are too many variables. 04 AC Pantera 800EFI High Mod!
Overall Value Rig 89 Yamaha Ovation
Overall If You Were A Millionaire Rig
Cat 9000 turbo
 

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Reliability is subjective. Of course the Yamaha 4 stroke motor is going to be top of everyone's list for reliability. We've only just begun with the 900 ACE motors from Skidoo.

But overall, you're going to find your small engines are extremely reliable. Have 12,000 miles on a 380. Own a 33 year old Tundra that the only reason I rebuilt the motor this time was because the compression was on the low side. It still ran and would get from point A to point B.

#1 selling trapline machine is the Tundra. Even now, with the ACE 600 or 900 or the Etec 600.

The Skandic SWT for breaking trail, grooming trail, and hauling anything and everything.

I'll say this about reliability of mountain machines. Just about every year I go down to Arctic Man, which is about 8000+ mountain riders gathering to watch a race and have a good time. The sleds that break down the most are the Polaris's. The Arctic Cats tend to have suspension or track issues or just start running bad, which usually can be fixed fairly easily. The Skidoos are the ones towing the Polaris's back to camp. Most of the Skidoos I see getting worked on are wrecked. They didn't fail, the driver failed.

I ride a cross-over sled from Skidoo, the Renegade Back Country. Comparing it to any mountain sled of the 90's and it just makes them look like trail sleds with high altitude kits.

Often wondered what I would own if money wasn't an issue. I really like my renegade BC, but if I could upgrade it, I'd put better/adjustable shocks on it and probably go with the 800/850 motor (I have the 600). But then I would also have another sled for going to the cabin and back, probably the Skidoo Expedition WT with the 900 ACE Turbo with upgraded shocks. And adding to the dream... 2006 Skidoo Elite. hehe.

Yes, I'm a skidoo person. I've owned Polaris and own Cats. Have nothing against Cats. Don't care for Polaris. The few times I've ridden Yamaha they were okay, One was a huge trail machine that was extremely heavy and the other was a mountain sled. The mountain sled tended to trench a whole lot. I think it was due to the narrow track. The owner got it stuck and it took 3 guys about 20 minutes to get it out.
 

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The Bravo LT has been right up there as the classic trapper sled. In my neck of the woods, the Bravo is the standard trapline sled, and I seldom see Tundras. The guys that I run into who have more of a practical frame of mind almost always use Yamahas, and Yamahas are universally respected for reliability. I like Yamaha the best, that's my brand, although BRP has made some pretty decent machines and they are very popular. I wouldn't say no to a free Skandic SWT or Expy SWT. I'm not mad at Cats, hey a Pantera XT would be pretty beastly. Cat clutching has been iffy lately.

There are tons of old Yamahas from the 80s that are still running. Scads of them. Mind you, I'm looking for them.

Lots of VK540s out there for the type of work that they do, and they are a high sales volume unit for Yamaha.

I agree with BearAK about Polaris breaking down. I am not a fan of Polaris engineering, build quality, QC, business strategy, or really anything at all. Probably half the reason Polaris is even around is that they had Fuji building their motors for many years. They ram huge numbers of highly discounted machines into the marketplace and are constantly dealing with recalls and service. The levels of maintenance service on Polaris are totally insane from what I have seen. But that's my highly subjective opinion. I am not the guy who wants the big dick fast toy. I want the bulletproof machine that I can trust out in the middle of buttfunk nowhere.
 

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Well, Let me tell you a story. I had an old 71 Polaris Mustang with a 488 cc engine in it. About 35 tears ago I used to belong to the Bradford Snow Snakes in VT. A group of us rode for Unicef. We went into N Hampshire from Bradford VT. It was going to be a 100 mile ride. About 1/4 of the way I lost spark in one jug so I thought. I had spark and fuel but figured out had no compression. I kept going with the group all the way to Lake Winnipesaukee. I may have slowed down a bit but the machine did not fail me. I have always bought Polaris snowmobiles after that and never looked back. When I took the motor apart I found that a cir-clip came out from the wristpin and scored the cylinder wall on the lower half of the jug and the rings were damaged. I put new rings in and honed the cylinder a bit, put it back together and fired it up. Checked compression and it had a little bit more than when brand new. So I have no qualms about Polaris.
 

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pre-1980's sleds are a whole different breed. My dad had a Polaris Charger and the only thing that ever went wrong with that is the square clips falling out of the track. Single driver in the middle where those clips went on, so you lost the clips, the track would skip.

Friend took the sled and let it sit next to his cabin for nearly 30 years. Pulled it out, changed the track out, cleaned it up and just flushed out the tank and carbs (on the machine!), threw some mixed gas in and it fired up. He rode it in the Tired Iron race that spring.
 

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As a matter of fact my machine had a 24" track on it. It was on it's way out and you could not find one. So, what we did was make a slide frame and adapted it and kept most of the boggie wheels, had to change the cog wheels and made it a 15" track that you could find anywhere. Also had to change the top gear in chain case. It was a steel kleet track so that machine would pull the front end off the ground in the snow. It worked great.
 

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Hmmm, while I won't say Polaris stands above any of the other manufacturers, it's pretty unfair to suggest that they're generally inferior. It's true you can't credit them for the great motors Fuji built, but then you also can't fault them for the Fuji motors that broke down. Then, when it came to building their own motors, they came out swinging with the Liberty twin. You could say they went wrong when they got to the 800, but they're hardly the only company to make a big twin that had issues. The 600 VES, to name one Polaris product, is as good a two-stroke as anyone's ever built. Yamaha riders might have a point about build quality, but that's generally come with a price and weight penalty. You've also got things like the P-85 clutch – something good enough that it's fairly common to adapt it to other makes' sleds. Now, when it comes to recent sleds, there's no question Polaris is increasingly using global suppliers to lower costs (ie, your "Made in USA" sled has plenty of bits and pieces from China or wherever), but I'd bet you'd find similar components under just about any new sled.

Ultimately, I think every current manufacturer has built several class-leading sleds over the years, without having to make major concessions for durability. In some cases you might be able to point to another sled that was somewhat more durable/reliable, but that's not the end-all. Anyway, I nominate the Polaris Gen II and EDGE sleds – excepting the 800s and 550 fans. In the case of my 600RMK, in the nine years I've had it, I had a driveshaft bearing go out and a belt start to disintegrate – nothing that left me stranded. I've done lots of other stuff, but it's been wear items (carbides and hi-fax) and upgrade and/or "while I'm in there" items. They're great sleds; you can probably find sleds that'll last longer with fewer repairs, but I'd bet we're talking small percentage points here.
 

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A coupla years ago I went to Cat factory tour, as well as down to the motor plant too.(when the new Cat 600 came out)
They are just assembly plants!
 

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A coupla years ago I went to Cat factory tour, as well as down to the motor plant too.(when the new Cat 600 came out)
They are just assembly plants!
I suppose that's been true to some degree for a long time, but fewer and fewer of those parts are coming from other manufacturers in the US these days. Kind of makes me not want a new sled as much, and I have to wonder if the new sleds will outlast a well-maintained classic...
 

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I see this is an old thread, but thought i would chime in anyway. My own personal experience is this. My first sled was a 1994 Indy XLT Special with the 580 triple. Its now 2019, i still have the sled and have never done a thing to it. Never touched the carbs, clutches...anything other than regular maintenance (chain oil, bearings replacements, slides, etc.) The sled has 11,000 miles on it and it still starts on the second or third pull everytime. I use it as my tow sled. it pulls a toboggan with a cooler on it when we take the kids out in the woods for a winter picnic.

On the other hand i have a 2003 Polaris XC 600sp (liberty twin) that I'd like to throw in the dumpster and light it on fire. nothing but problems with it since i bought it in 2009. I have since converted to ski doo 600 etecs, just bought my second one.
 

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That's kind of funny, because the reputation of those sleds is generally the opposite! Now, the XLT has a bad rap mostly because of the high-performance versions in 95 and 96 that would eat their cranks, but I'd still put the 600VES as a better motor. That's partly because I've got a 600 RMK that I've also had since '09, and the only outright failures have been a belt and a driveshaft bearing. They're both good sleds, the difference is probably the one thing that's most forgotten when we talk about "what's the best sled" – the person who put it together at the factory. Could just be that XC was one that was started on Friday and finished on Monday. Either way, that's pretty impressive longevity on that Indy!
 

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MTsledder83. I agree on everything you say. My ex brother-in law had the XCR 600 of the same vintage as my XLT and as you probably know, the engine block was the same it just had bigger carbs. He blew that engine up three times before he gave up on it. I got lucky i guess, your probably right in that i had a monday morning guy working on it.

Regarding the VES 600, i also agree, the block is a good one but is not the issue for me, its everything else. It has a top end bog I have never been able to figure out. When it gets in the deep snow and you make the engine work, it falls on its face or in other words loses power at around 6000-7000 rpm. I have tried everything. Carbs have been cleaned and rebuilt, clutches rebuilt, VES valves cleaned and in good shape, intake reeds replaced (multiple times). I have had multiple mechanics look at it. I cannot figure out what's causing it. I just bought the Ski Doo, so the Polaris may be for sale:(
 

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Wow, that's too bad! I ride mine in deep snow quite a bit, and the only bogging issue I haven't complete exorcised is a bit of hesitation at times with big throttle inputs at lower speeds. I don't remember any big issues when I got it, but then I wasn't running it as hard, or at as high an elevation. I've also added Boyesen power reeds and an Holzmann ATACC, which I think have added some wrinkles to the tuning picture. I did have a pretty consistent problem last season and at the beginning of this one with a big stumble and bog off-idle unless you feathered the throttle, but bigger pilot jets got rid of most of that.

Anyway, the first thing I think of when it comes to a bog in deep snow is exhaust blockage. I'm not sure if they put exhaust deflectors on any of the XCs or that type of sled, but I know on the RMKs if it gets bent or falls off you can have all kinds of trouble with losing power once the snow gets deep enough. If it were me, and assuming the sled doesn't already have it, I'd definitely try adding one. You could take one off an EDGE RMK (or probably other sleds), or SLP sells an aftermarket one – I think it's $30. Worth a try after all that other effort!
 

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Thanks for the ideas...much appreciated. I am inclined to think its not an exhaust issue since it is consistent under load. It happens when its warm too when its pushing hard. I would think if it was an exhaust blockage issue it would be intermittent when the snow was deep. I ride in Minnesota on the flat lands where powder deep enough to block the exhaust is rare. It is a valid idea though because it acts like one or both of the power valves are sticking. I have had those things apart and cleaned and new diaphragms put on and nothing seems to make a difference. I'm not done yet but getting close.

Nice chatting with you!
 
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