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Thread: How do you like your Side by Side with tracks?

  1. #1

    Default How do you like your Side by Side with tracks?

    So I've got a back injury and can't handle the mountain sled, thinking of getting a set of Tatou 4s tracks for the Rhino 700, I've read most of the threads on here so know the basics. Would consider adding powersteeering. Did you buy them locally or from ATVTracks.net? Sounds like the newest model has a stronger frame and easier track tension adjustment with some other upgrades.

    I know it won't go everywhere a sled will or as fast but how do they do? Don't need to go fast or steep, just need to get out, maybe haul another person and some gear for winter camping, trips to cabins, etc. Any trouble starting them in the cold, tracks freezing up, etc? Did you install an oil pan or block heater? Can you avoid getting stuck bad if you are careful? Any failures you couldn't limp home from or issues throwing tracks off? Do you run them in the summer at all?

    Thanks for any info, seems like they work fine for some people and not for others.

  2. #2
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    The tracks actually work and hold up well in the winter time. As is often the case, the more you spend, the better the quality and less frustration. They do have their limitations. Running a packed trail system they work great. Fresh powder snow, not so much. Arcticman every spring you see lots of folks running around with them. Most all sooner or later will find a soft spot and drop them 4 or 5 feet down to the ground. Then the work begins. Put if you are running a trail system to and from a cabin, or lakes ect it sure beats walking. Most of the modern wheelers start and run in temps pretty much like your car or truck will. And yes, go see your dealer and you should be able to get a inline antifreeze heater for it and just plug it in when temps really dip down cold. No doubt you will most likely get stuck a time or two as a learning curve. But you will figure out its limits. The tracks do make a huge difference of where they will go in the snow.

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    I love mine, T4S tracks, If their set up correctly and aligned correctly I don't see the need for power steering. They don't float as good as my argo did but still float great over marshy wet grass. I had them freeze up a time or two while moose hunting, but don't see it being an issue in the winter. I was able to pop them loose after a little while. Read the manual and learn what to do ifyou get stuck. you don't want to spin the tracks like you would a tire. Soft deep snow isn't the best for them but theyll do ok. I bought mine from The Outpost in Fairbanks when I bought my Pioneer. I got them for $4500 shipped.

    I got stuck the first couple days learning what they can and cannot do and popped the tracks off the frames when I broke through some ice and kept spinning the tracks. Their easy to get back on in the field if you have a Hi-Lift jack. I did tear my A-Arm tab off my frame but I don't think itwas related to the tracks. If I didn't have tracks I think it would have been impossible to limp out the 20 miles. Take the out close to home so you can get a feel for everything they can and cannot do. It would'nt hurt to get a backcountry repair kits form ATVTracks.net becuase nobody stocks parts up here.

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    Also if you plan on towing anything youll need to make or buy a hitch extension.
    youll need a extended push bar for a plow as well.

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the advice and the hitch and plow tips!

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    I have tracks for my Polaris Ranger 800 and would echo everything that gokorn said. Would certainly agree that if properly aligned and tensioned, no power steering is needed.

    Thoughts on use:

    - Deep deep mud will cause easier than usual spinning and dismounting (i.e. when the tires pop out of the track guides). lf it's "hot" outside, this just gets worse; a Hi-Lift jack is essential.
    - They are better for use on settled snow than fresh powder: I've used mine on untracked snow, but it is much better if it has settled for a week or so than if you're going out into feet of new fallen snow.
    - The few times I've dropped into a hole of fresh powder, snowshoes and packing an exit ramp was even more beneficial for the SXS on tracks than for a sno-go; I also had a couple of pieces of plywood that I carried with me in the cargo sled (if I was taking that) for help in getting out of holes in the powder.
    - Repair kits are good to have....
    - Although it's a bit more difficult with the SxS on tracks than with a sno-go, if one is traveling in deep snow, it is helpful to circle and stop in your own tracks if possible.
    Back in AK

  7. #7

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    One more question for you guys, it seems like some areas maybe snowmachine only (Wildlife refuges, State parks (Eklutna, Byers Lake, etc.) any areas you've wanted to go that UTV's with tracks aren't allowed? Are they still allowed if you've registered them as a snow vehicle?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BQuad View Post
    One more question for you guys, it seems like some areas maybe snowmachine only (Wildlife refuges, State parks (Eklutna, Byers Lake, etc.) any areas you've wanted to go that UTV's with tracks aren't allowed? Are they still allowed if you've registered them as a snow vehicle?
    Many federal areas that have snowmobile restrictions that define a snowmobile as having a maximum width of 48" and a gross weight of 500#'s. The modern sleds have of course exceeded that 500# number and isn't strictly enforced if riding a sled. However the 48" is the big kicker there. Polaris had to do a recall of a whole line of sleds in 95 and 96 that were 49". They put narrower ski's under them to meet the 48" rule cuz feds were ticketing owners of them. So I wouldn;t attempt to run a sxs with tracks in a federal designated snowmobile only area.

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    Not that it is terribly useful, but I got ticketed in a snowmobile only AK State Park for my SxS on tracks not being registered....no mention of "this is not a snowmobile" and I didn't ask, being generally po'd at the entire situation, i.e. my fault.
    Back in AK

  10. #10

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    Couple years back I had a Ranger XP on tracks and took it and wife's tundra to Nancy Lk to head back to Red Shirt for the weekend in a State cabin we reserved. Got stopped in the parking area while unloading being told it's a no no....I just wasn't thinking it would be any different than taking a sled in I spose.

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    I did some searching on usfw sights for something else last night and did stumble across THEIR definition of a snowmobile. Feds have up'd the weight to 1000lbs to match the modern sleds but the width remains at 48". Not sure what the definition is in state parks. Most everything on the peninsula is all federal land. I'm guessing the state Def will be very similar to the federal one.

  12. #12

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    Thanks again, found that Fed definition. Also found a federal definition for an Over Snow Vehicle which the National Forest Service is supposed to designate areas for use. It has no weight or width restriction.

    An over-snow vehicle is defined as “a motor vehicle that is designed for use over snow and that runs on a track and/or a ski or skis, while in use over snow”

    State is interesting because the definition of a snowmobile is:
    (26) "snowmobile" means a self-propelled vehicle (A) intended for off-road travel on snow; (B) having a maximum width of 50 inches and a curb weight of not more than 1,000 pounds; (C) driven by one or more tracks in contact with the snow; and (D) steered by one or more skis in contact with the snow

    But the DMV defines a snow vehicle as :
    A snow vehicle is a vehicle propelled by mechanical power, supported in part by ski's, belts, cleats, or low pressure tires and primarily designed to travel over ice and snow. ATVs with low pressure tires may be registered as snow vehicles.

    It only seems to matter in more controlled areas, (perhaps State Parks, Critical Habitat Areas, National Wildlife Refuges), general state lands and BLM lands that allow ATV's are pretty much open to larger snow vehicles also.

    Just didn't want to invest in something that I figured out I couldn't use as much as I'd hoped, but seems like there are enough areas to get out in.

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    Generally the places you would have issue is where atv's are banned in the summer, but snowmachines are allowed in winter. Ie most state and federal park lands and wilderness areas. For us on the Kenai peninsula, that is most of our winter playgrounds. A wheeler on tracks is not legal most of where I play. Now up north is a completely different story. Like you said, do your research before you bite the bullet and end up with an expensive toy that you can't use as much as you hoped too.

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    Since I just washed the tracks off preparatory to installing in the next week or so, a couple of last thoughts:

    - My primary use of the SxS on tracks or not is to get to my cabin and surrounding area...where there's no restrictions about general usage;
    - FWIW, if its on a packed trail, the SxS on tracks extends the use of my meat wagon on wheels through most of the winter, i.e. I can drag the trailer when the SxS is on tracks far longer than I can drag the trailer with the SxS on wheels.
    - In March (assuming a "normal" snow year), I need to put skis on the meat trailer or I get stuck at every soft spot;
    - Even when overloaded, my SxS on wheels always has plenty of power....I either go or the wheels break loose and spin; with the tracks, in certain conditions (heavy load, muddy/marshy areas, deep wet spring snow etc), I can get pretty close to the point where the engine runs out of "oomph"....it won't stall, but I often wish for a low-low range.
    - I put a full cab on the SxS two years ago.....a bit of a PITA in the summer (I generally take the doors off or it gets too hot), but that really helps this old man use the SxS more in the winter; even with the prior windshield, the 8-10 mile trek to the cabin was a bit cool in the winter.
    Back in AK

  15. #15

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    Thanks for those tips. Do you have trouble with the full windshield fogging up or getting muddy in the summer? I just have a half windshield that at least cuts the wind pretty well.

    As far as access I emailed DNR's SnowTRAC contact, their response was basically do not meet the State's defnition of a snowmobile, and some park areas have decided not to allow them. So it sounds like they may not be completely banned but it is up to individual managers to decide, sent an email back to clarify that. I also have emailed Chugach National Forest for their take, will post their response.

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    I emailed and talked to several people around the state and their. Response was if its steered by skis your allowed.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  17. #17

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    Is that for State Parks and Rec Areas or Chugach National Forest or both? In looking through the Chugach Notices, it appears Chugach National Forest's definition of a snowmachine is: snowmobiles and all motorized over snow vehicles, including off highway vehicles. So they should be allowed anywhere snowmobiles are but some of the regular trails may be too narrow.

  18. #18

    Default Access with Tracks

    Here's the summary of things I've tracked down:

    Open State Land: Probably? Generally allowed use allows includes recreational type vehicles up to 1500 Curb Weight. This is a little vague, Curb Weight generally means manufacturers weight with standard equipment and full tank of fuel. Accessories seem to be not included. Are tracks an accessory? I would argue they are. Some Side by Sides with tracks may be overweight. Argos with tracks or enclosed cabs (but those are accessories) would probably be over 1500, stock Ranger 6x6's and Honda Pioneers are also but don't seem to have any trouble that I've heard of.

    State Critical Habitat Areas: Probably not Generally limit weight to 1000lbs Dry Weight

    State Park and Rec Areas: Generally not in winter, maybe in summer.
    They do no meet the State's definition of a snowmobile.

    BLM Land: Open Land: Yes Special Areas: No or Maybe Some designated areas they are not allowed or restricted to trails, White Mountains, Tangle Lakes, Wild and Scenic River Corridors have specific weight/width restrictions, some of these are limited to 1500 Gross Vehicle Weight. Open Land has no weight or width limit.

    Chugach National Forest: Summer: No Winter: Yes
    In summer ATV use restricted to 50" width and specific trails, winter there are no weight or width restrictions, all areas open to snowmachines are opened to tracked ATV's UTV's. (There are restrictions for commercial permits, but not for private users.)

    Tough to sort out, hopefully this helps someone. Please chime in if you know something different.

  19. #19

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    Just for reference the Code of Federal Regulations definition:

    Curb weight means the weight of a motor vehicle with standard equipment; maximum capacity of engine fuel, oil, and coolant; and, if so equipped, air conditioning and additional weight optional engine.

    I wouldn't think that tracks, winches, enclosures, other accessories would be considered Standard Equipment.

  20. #20

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    Just for reference the Code of Federal Regulations definition:

    Curb weight means the weight of a motor vehicle with standard equipment; maximum capacity of engine fuel, oil, and coolant; and, if so equipped, air conditioning and additional weight optional engine.

    I wouldn't think that tracks, winches, enclosures, other accessories would be considered Standard Equipment.

    Also tracked vehicles up to 1500lbs Curb Weight and less than 2 psi ground pressure have specifically been allowed for use during certain dates in the Minto Flats State Game Refuge.

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