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Thread: Electric start of Viking vs. Skidoo WT in cold weather?

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    Default Electric start of Viking vs. Skidoo WT in cold weather?

    A decade ago I had both a Yamaha Viking and a Skidoo WT, both 2 cycles of course. (I still have the WT and it has been a gem.) At the time, I was trapping in the Nelchina basin and spent a lot of time in the deep cold. Always able to get 2 cycles started, even when the bottom dropped out on the thermometer. The electric start on the Yamaha didn't do it below about -20 but the Skiddoo still worked well even at much lower temps. I used all the standard tricks (sterno under the engine on the Viking, etc) and hand cranked at the really low temps but the electric start was still useful on the Skidoo. The comparison was with fresh batteries in both. I've been looking at both the new version of the Viking and also a Skidoo Wt, both 4 cycle. The price on the Yamaha is good and the suspension looks better ,but I don't want either one if it is a warm weather starting machine.

    Does anyone here have experience getting either of these going in -30 or -40 ? (and I am assuming that one is a long way from a electrical outlet and 110 V.)

    I am leary about using any of the 4 cycles beyond the reach of an extension cord since I recall the story of a couple out of Fbx that went on an overnight trip with a new Tundra 4 cycle and had a heck of a time getting it going the next morning at about -40. In that case it was an inconvenience, but in case of emergency having that much trouble starting a machine in cold weather would be just plain dangerous.

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    Member SusitnaAk's Avatar
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    Try,http://www.ty4stroke.com/viewtopic.php?t=50901,ski-doo snowmobile forums - DOOTalk.com, There is alot of stuff in these forms about that. My Buddy has the Viking,-15 after that you better plug it in,He got one of those 2cycle gen. just for that seems to work, so far so good.It is a Hassel like preheating an airplane.

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    Thanks for the references. What is clear is that starting the 4 cycles is really a chore at -40 or lower without a generator in tow. I haven't gotten used to the idea of lugging a generator around on a tow sled for overnight stays where 110 V isn't avaiable and I wonder if there isn't a more efficient solution. Even starting a 4 cycle generator is not easy at very low temps.

    What I recall is that 30 years ago in the logging woods in N. Minnesota, a common system used on skidders was a propane fired in-line coolant heater. It was very simple, just a small propane burner with an igniter. They must have been pretty common since I got mine from J.C. Whitney. I used it on my pickup (110 V was not available) and I fired up the propane heater a couple of hours or so before starting the truck. I used a 20 lb tank of propane but for occasional use for a snogo, a 5 lb tank should be enough for at least several hours of use. I don't know how difficult it would be to install one on a snogo or even if they still exist.

    Maybe an even easier solution is a weed burner and stovepipe with elbow,i.e., the standard system for starting a pickup in a remote location. I thought about doing that for the 2 cycles but couldn't figure out how to get the heat into the engine compartment efficiently. For the old Vikings, there was just the right amount of room to put a can of sterno under the engine. That trick worked like a charm, even in record setting low temperatures.

    Whatever the case, it is clear that cold weather starting of a 2 cycle is a heck of a lot easier. Also what is clear is that depending on a 4 cycle machine to start in cold weather in case of emergency is not a good idea. Of course what is also clear is that my experience predates cell phone and sat phones so that making a telephone call for help was not an option.

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    Member SusitnaAk's Avatar
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    I Remember those propane things, Trouble with that I have been out to my cabin -38to -45 and the propane wouldn,t work,even lighting up inside time walked out over to machine it would go out. I have all 2cycles myself, and they would start but getting the track to roll over without smoking your belt. I use a ready heater now works great, plug er in go back in have a cup coffee, ready to rip 15-20 min,s. The Gen, We bought a couple a piece at shucks 99.00 They are 2cycles He use,s it for truck and viking. Big Ford 7.3 power stroke, Get to trail head fire up the gen plug it in, go suit up load your stuff its about ready to fire by then. On the return same for the truck , time load machines unsuit get ready to go home the truck about ready, It is a pain but anything you do a -40 is, There is allways a way, My truck i use a Little pekII cook stove packpack Mod. It uses unleaded fuel, pc. of stove pipe under the oil pan, that works too, Now adays i just won,t go if going to be that cold anymore, Just takes the fun right out of it,I,m just getting to old to deal with it. Things go down hill fast if you have trouble, Remember mother nature has no forgivness for stupity,

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    Default Remote Start

    I am getting the new Bearcat Z1, and what I was getting ready to install is a remote electric start.

    From what I understand is that once the outside temperature gets so cold this thing will start by itself at regular intervals, run til warmed up, and then shut itself automatically.

    I was assuming that this feature would fix the cold start problems.

    What do you guys think of this feature? Would something like this work, and if so do they make this for either the Yamaha or Ski Doo?

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    My Yamaha 4-stroke friends have had no starting problems to -30 or so. Yamaha just replaced their 5-30 semi synthetic motor oil with 0-40 fully synthetic oil and that should help with cold starting. Remember, at least with Yamaha, the engines are dry sump, so there's no oil in the crankcase. If you choose to preheat focus on the cylinders.

    FWIW, my 2-stroke Viking has never failed to start down to -45. I always pull it through with the recol rope a few times to loosen it up, and after that there's no problem.

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    I've had no problems starting my T660ST at temps between -20 and -30. I also considered the remote start truth2ak mentioned, and I think it would be a great addition. Not to mention really cool!

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    Mr. Pid and others,

    Thanks for all the information and advice. My '93 or so Viking was a great machine but the electric start had a lot less torque than the '96 Skidoo WT and also that of a '99 SWT. I just didn't use elctric start in the -40 range. Hand cranking with the sterno preheat was the trick for that one. The Wt and SWT were much easier and I didn't depend on the electric start but it was nice to know that it would work for my wife who is a small woman who just couldn't hand crank anything except an Elan at any temp.

    The reason that I am concerned about cold weather starting is for winter trips to remote places. (I still have a cabin that is a long way off the road system.) Given the fact that the the 4 cycles seem to be much harder to start in extreme cold, I am in no hurry to get one. Sooner or later I will and maybe by then, I'll stay inside if there is any chance of a cold snap with the -50 below stuff possible. I am getting to be an old guy and those temps are less than fun now. I stopped going on the trail in extreme cold several years ago but I don't want to be stuck 50 miles out in the woods with a machine that I can't start until the weather changes.

    So far from the comments on the forum, starting the 4 cycles is just the same problem as starting a pickup and that means carrying a pretty good source of heat. It also looks like the best solution for a long trip is to carry a generator. I've only used a weed burner on a pickup and don't know what size generator would be required and recommended and also as light as possible.

    What wattage is a block heater? (battery warmer pads are about 60 watts?)

    With a block heater and a generator, it should be a failsafe stlarting system, at least until the newer diesel snogo arrives.

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    I hesitated on the 4-strokes for the past few years, but the Nytro XTX is just too cool to not make the jump. I've ridden the rest. I'm 100% blue again. I'll let you know what the cold weather starting is like after I find out for myself. Like you, I try to avoid the seriously cold temps now. -30 is wifey's limit. I'll let her think she's the boss, but I have little intention of heading out when it gets colder than that!

    Batteries Plus and Interstate now have a good selection of AGM batteries for 4wheelers and snow-gos. I haven't looked to see what the stock Nytro battery is but if it isn't AGM I'll be replacing it very quickly. AGM batteries work better in the cold!

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    Default cold start

    AC has a new wide track with a 2 cycle air cooled that should take care of your cold starts in the realy cold weather just a tid bit

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    Another trick to start a really cold snogo is to pull the plugs and warm them up first.
    Works on my 800 rmk.

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    Default 4 stroke cold starting

    I have an 05 Yamaha Vector, 3 cyl. It's an excellent machine for everything but cold weather use. It won't start at -25 or colder. Too much resistance to turn over. IF I were to venture out in the cold weather with the Yamaha, I would bring my 2 stroke generator with me. Schucks has them for $100. 1200 watt capacity. Until the manufacturers figure out an alternative starting method for 4 strokes, a good 2 storke is the answer. I know when I go out winter hunting I take my Ski Doo SUV 550 Fan cooled. Always starts.

  13. #13

    Default Arctic Cat auto start

    Two Machines used to break trail on the Yukon Quest this year had the A/C auto/command start system on it. We left Fairbanks at -44 for Central. The machines were being trailered and fired up 3 times on their own after that you had to use the key fob. The auto start function failed for the rest of the trip. When over-nighting, every 3-4 hours the guy would roll over in his sleeping bag and touch off the key fob for another 20 minute run time while I roped my 700cc two cycle at -55.

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    These last two replies illustrate the problem with 4 cycles in extreme cold weather: when you need them, they may want a warmer day whether one is in the cards or not. When the weather takes a turn ,and it can happen fairly quickly, running for a 110 outlet may not be feasible.I appreciate the information and I intend to stick with my old 2 cycle Skandic WT until a more dependable "Interior" cold weather 4 cycle snogo comes along. Given the fact that the size of the market for extreme cold weather demand is so small, it may be that I'll have no choice except hauling a generator around or a partner who is willing to get up every three or 4 hours, start up the machine, and wait 15 or 20 minutes while it warms up. Even thinking about that possibility is painful!
    .

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    I disagree! You are missing the point. The rolling over in the warm sleeping bag to only start your machine from the comfort of a warm remote cabin is a thing of beauty! Try roping that 2-cycle machine for 20 minutes with several breaks to get it started at -55. I am not Bulls***ing about these temps!

    The trail boss, once he finishes the Quest trail, runs from Fairbanks to Nome as much as twice as year. He has plenty of time on both two & four strokes alike. His qwote ""Alaska is a gas game". He would get as much as 17 miles a gallon to my 9 MPG. His 1049+ cc four cycle. Mine 700 cc two cycle. We both towed 20 gallons of fuel and our survival gear in a skimmer (Canadian for toboggan).

    It's all about preperation. A can of Sterno as all thats needed. 30 foot home made lite-weight jumper cables is an idea if running two 4-strokes. Alaskans are ready for the 4-stroke challange. We will adapt and overcome. We allways have.

    ARCTIC CAT COMMAND START>>>>>>>>>>>>
    After 20 minutes the machine shuts off automaticlly. Arctic Cat has some work to do to refine the auto start system. Heck, they may have already figured it out. I will let you know. We start from Whitehorse this year and run towards Fairbanks.

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    For a pocket pre-heater? Start with an Esbit. I have one of these in every machine anyway. This little stove costs under $10.00 and is 100% reliable. Closed it's the size of a deck of cards. A little piece of collapsible flex or some HD foil to direct the heat and you should be off and running.

    In any case I can imagine being faced with starting a snowmachine in extreme temps I'd be holed up in with facilities adequate to plug the machine in. If not I'd certainly have some pretty good gear with me including a white gas stove. Take a round duct reducer and a piece of flex hose and I can make a darn good preheater from an MSR stove. If I was going extreme camping I'd have my little heater shroud anyway, 2 stroke or 4 stroke.
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    Default Yamaha 0w-40 synthetic

    I have the Yamaha VK Pro referenced by SusitnaAK, I am replacing the 0w-30 synthetic blend with the 0w-40 fully synthetic this week. I have been running fully synthetic now in my diesel truck and have not plugged it in since I started mid winter last year. Also, I run 0w-40 full synthetic in my Polaris Ranger (2003) model and have "never" had an issue with starting. coldest was -30 so far but I have to believe it'll work at -40 too, but as my back up, I do have the $100 2cycle gen referenced. Just haven't needed it yet...

    Good luck.

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    I've had my V800 SWT for two year now and I haven't had a problem starting it at -35 -40 Celsius, haven't had it much colder that that though so can't comment on it.

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