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Thread: Post a review of your Bearcat, Viking, VK, Tundra, Skandic, P. Widetrak, Bravo...

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default Post a review of your Bearcat, Viking, VK, Tundra, Skandic, P. Widetrak, Bravo...

    Hello folks....aren't you excited? Snow is right around the corner! My only intrest in a snow machine is for work/utility/fishing/hunting. I've always been a fan of all the work sleds but really only have experience with The Polaris Widetraks. I've been really eyeballin the bearcat 440's (used), the smaller bravos, skandics, and tundras lately. I've also considered the long tracked polaris 340's as a possible work sled too considering the 340's are light, good on fuel, and can be geared down. I would be interested in what other's think of their paticular work sleds. I hope this doesnt turn into a pissin contest because all sleds can break down. I'm quite fond of my Widetrak LX but I sure don't like it's cable powered brake......it's kind of scary when you try to stop this sled with a large load....could've really used a hydrolic brake. I guess they've fixed that issue with the later models as mine is a 2000 model. With that said.....the 488 liquid cooled motor is decent on fuel and has been flawless and tough as nails.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Big fan of the Tundra 300F. Light, simple and reasonably inexpensive. Good on fuel and hauls quite a bit for a small one lunger.

    I keep mine out of the deep powder as the narrow profile is "tippy" but through the trees or on trail its fantastic.

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    Member SuYentna Dave's Avatar
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    Default Skandic 550 fan SWT

    My SWT is a tractor, next to impossible to get stuck. Don't have worry about over heating in the spring, nice for spring bear. They run forever, Larry heater has something 14,000 or more miles on one of his machine, maybe more now.

    Downside it rides like a tractor and is fuel pig. I get 5 mpg when pulling a sled.

    The new 4 stroke are way better of a ride and excel in mpg. But they are pricey.

    Dave

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    Cool work sleds

    I have a used and abused 1996 440 bearcat with over 6000 miles on it. It runs like a champ and starts up on the 2nd pull. I have performed little to no maintenance on it. It's relatively light, has a large track and great flotation. It can haul too. It's a rough ride, though...people go flying past me on the trail- I feel uncomfortable going above 40mph.
    I just purchased a 2009 Yamaha Viking Professional and will let you know what I think of it once I use it. It stacked up well against the Bearcat, both machines have their advantages and disadvantages. The 17 gallon tank on the Bearcat sure would be nice to have. The deciding factor for me was the price - $8699 for the Yami 973cc 4 stroke.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    Big fan of the Tundra 300F. Light, simple and reasonably inexpensive. Good on fuel and hauls quite a bit for a small one lunger.

    I keep mine out of the deep powder as the narrow profile is "tippy" but through the trees or on trail its fantastic.
    I have a 2007 300F Tundra. I thought mine was tippy almost everywhere. It was the rider.... me. I just kept working on my skills. Now I blast up the powder and cut and turn. I hauled a bit of freight too. Only one load required the use of my 550F Tundra. It was a pallet of 10' 2X6.

    The 550F will boondock with the best of them. It was changed to a single seat. Of course, my buddy Ron grew up in Cantwell and can ride like the wind.

    They both seem to get the same or near the same fuel economy.

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    I had a Tundra II for several years and absolutely loved it. If I had to choose one machine to go 500 miles across uncharted country that's the sled I'd take. I have lots of miles and experience with Polaris Wide Tracks. In the early '90s they were the cat's meow for a heavy hauling work sled. But they rested on their laurels and fell behind. I switched to Yamaha's VK540II and that was a wonderful machine. Tough, comfortable, and air cooled so it didn't do the Polaris overheat. I liked that sled so much I bought a VK540III to replace it. The rear suspension on the gen-III sled was a treat beyond explanation. That sled is a heavy puller that rides like a comfy couch. I still have it today and have no intention of moving up. I have ridden the new Yamaha Professional and think it sets the bar for heavy haulers. Big power, comfy, and built well. But I don't need to go 90 mph on a wide track and that's the biggest advantage it has over my Viking. And it's heavy. I also have some limited experience with SkiDoo's Expedition series. That's the best all-around wide track out there, hands down. It's an adequate work sled that's still fun to ride for sport. As for Super Wides? I hate them. They have horrible suspensions, poor seating position, and what tractoring advantage they offer is unnecessary 99% of the time. But they're miserable to ride 100% of the time. I'll pass!

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    I have put many thousand of miles on my Polaris Widetrack, and love it. If you are going to run over hard pack (no soft snow) or temperatures in the 30* above you will have problem with overheating. Any water cool snowmobile will also have a problem, so it not the Polaris fault. The good news is the problem can be fixed.

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    Excellent info about your work sleds. There are def. some good used gems out there too. There were two Actic Cat bearcats that are of paticular interest to me. The two bearcats that I'm reffering to have a 136 in. track and either a twin cylinder 340 (single carb) or a twin cylinder 440 (single carb). The bearcat ll stepped up to a 156 in. track, had twin carbs, and weighed quite a bit more(has more hp. too). Those two bearcats that I'm describing must have amazing fuel economy and must be a gem to manuever through tight woods. I believe the weight for both was right around 475 lbs. Boy I tell you what.......if I could ever find a gem like that on craigslist....i'd be more excited than if I spent $6,000 on a new sled. I love my widetrak lx, but I need a "smaller hauler" for long range work, good fuel economy, and better ride. My widetrak is good for all the utility stuff......but I sure don't like to burn 500 cc. twin carbed fuel and try to manuever a 600+ lb. sled/w 156in. track through tight woods......I've been doing that for over 2,000 miles.

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    I had a Tundra II for several years and absolutely loved it. If I had to choose one machine to go 500 miles across uncharted country that's the sled I'd take. I have lots of miles and experience with Polaris Wide Tracks. In the early '90s they were the cat's meow for a heavy hauling work sled. But they rested on their laurels and fell behind. I switched to Yamaha's VK540II and that was a wonderful machine. Tough, comfortable, and air cooled so it didn't do the Polaris overheat. I liked that sled so much I bought a VK540III to replace it. The rear suspension on the gen-III sled was a treat beyond explanation. That sled is a heavy puller that rides like a comfy couch. I still have it today and have no intention of moving up. I have ridden the new Yamaha Professional and think it sets the bar for heavy haulers. Big power, comfy, and built well. But I don't need to go 90 mph on a wide track and that's the biggest advantage it has over my Viking. And it's heavy. I also have some limited experience with SkiDoo's Expedition series. That's the best all-around wide track out there, hands down. It's an adequate work sled that's still fun to ride for sport. As for Super Wides? I hate them. They have horrible suspensions, poor seating position, and what tractoring advantage they offer is unnecessary 99% of the time. But they're miserable to ride 100% of the time. I'll pass!
    My thought process (and chime in if you belive that I am wrong please)

    I can haul small amounts of freight to a short distance with a 300F (and still play with it in deep snow off trail) OR I can haul alot of freight short distance in shorter time and still have a trail machine that is comfortable.

    OR

    I can make some 5-800 (or less) LBS hauls with a 300F OR I can make one long haul with a SWT.

    I would guess that it would depend on available time, the terrain and the load.

    Mike

    P.S. ANC Yamaha had 2 VKs last fall that were like new. Not too cheap though.

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    I've had a 540 VK II since it was new. A decent machine for what it does. Rides like a tank. I really like poking around with it in the spring. Any other time of year off trail can be a tiring experience. I sold a skandic last year, wanted something a little sportier and better suspension and replaced it with a backcountry.

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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    I love both my Tundra's! The 1988 is like a bmx bike and will go anywhere! I have laterally taken it rock hopping up drainage's, the suspension however reminds me of every fractured bone or torn ligament Ive ever had. The 09 more comfy, quicker, and a better trail machine. I have also never be able to get it stuck. On a ride last year with my friend John he got stuck in a drift covered creek. When I pulled up behind him all I could see was his windshield and ski tips. I ended up in the same creek, only I pulled the newbie maneuver of trying to ditch when the machine bottomed out so I was buried and sideways in the creek. Thought we were in for a major chore but all I had to do was stand on the uphill rail and feather the throttle. The tundra popped out of the creek like I was unloading it from the trailer!
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    I just bought an '09 trail rmk,we'll see how it does on the tundra and the Kuskokwim river. There's all ready 1/2 dozen in the village and they are well liked. It's a 550 fan and I plan on using it for caribou hunting, ice fishing, and as my "car" up here in the winter.

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    2007 570 fan cooled Bearcat. 16" wide track 156" long. The only thing I would like to do to this sled would be install a taller lugged track, the motor has more than enough power to spin the track in almost any situation. I installed around 100 studs and it will still spin the track on ice. It is an amazing machine. And it cost me $7800 with electric start and reverse. All I added was the GPS. You cannot go wrong with these sleds. I've put over 5000 miles on my sled in two years, all I did was replace the chaincase bearings. Even on the original plastic sliders!

    The other sled I was looking at when I bought this was the Ski-Doo SUV.

    The new ones though, YUCK. There is much wasted space, and AC began doing what Pol did, make the sled so you have to buy their racks at overpriced prices.
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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Gents,

    Thankyou so much for sharing info with everyone regarding your work sleds. It's important to know the specific achillies tendon to watch for in each indivividual model of work sled. This thread has provided much in depth info that is pertinant stuff for fellow Alaskans to be aware of when they travel hundreds of miles deep into the back country. My speedo recently went out when pulling about 1000 lbs. of cargo. I did not know this.....but that means a bearing over heated on the driven shaft! I never even new there was a grease fitting on the driven shaft Thanks to an old fellow who lives on Lake Louise year round......he told me to pay extra close attention to the fact my speedo is not working! Thank goodness he told me about this before I tried to go on a remote trip this winter. This kind of stuff has great value for others to learn. Keep the info rolling.........

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    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    Mainer you need to pm me, i've got a buddy that does magic with those polaris widetracks. He makes a lift kit for them that gets their arses up and off of the snow. He's completely tore down and rebuilt many of them and knows them inside out. My email is at the bottom of this post, email me there and i can send you pictures of my machine.

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    He's a pic of my machine, its a widetrack GT but he's done the lift kit on it, notice the height of the arse.
    P4060001.JPG

    you can see the height of his machine here, we cut and hauled aprox 5000lbs of ice on this day
    P3080024.JPG

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    You have two bearings on the driven shaft, the speed-o-meter only go to one of them. I would not use the speedo as a reference. For anyone that has a lot of miles on any snowmobile, I would recommend they remove the track suspension. Check every bearing and hand grease all of them, look for cracks on the suspension, hand grease all shafts. This is the only way to prevent problems in the field.

    I have also found the wiring that moves then you are turning has a problem with breaking this needs to be replace with hi-quality stranded wire. The biggest problem is hand warmers. I also could not keep the running/brake light working until I replace it with a LED light on my widetrack.

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    The only speedo problem I ever had on Polaris sleds was the cable breaking in the drive housing. It happened to me a few times. I never had a drive shaft bearing fail while riding but I've never re-installed a removed drive shaft without changing the bearings and seals first. In every case the bearings seemed to be in rough shape.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by potbuilder View Post
    He's a pic of my machine, its a widetrack GT but he's done the lift kit on it, notice the height of the arse.
    P4060001.JPG

    you can see the height of his machine here, we cut and hauled aprox 5000lbs of ice on this day
    P3080024.JPG

    Potbuilder......that machine is wicked! I like it! I did notice when I had the rear suspension apart.....the only thing that I noticed that would hinder a lil more ride height........was the limiting strap.....so this thought has occured to me before. The front end seem to limit out at the length of the shock....im sure a one-inch space could add some height up front too. I'm pulling the stock track for a camoplast ICE WIDE here in a few weeks.....good info.

    Pid.....thanks for the info too.....BTW.....I saw a used vk 540 on craigs for 2,000.......might be a good back up ehhh?

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    Default 2008 Tundra 300

    I currently have a 2008 Tundra 300. I only have a few hundred miles on it (was busy building a house) but 90%+ of those mile were breaking trail, pulling logs, etc. so I've developed some opinions. Primarily I've compared it to the old Tundra II, since I completely wore one of those out over about 6 years.

    - In low snow conditions, the RF Tundras will turn much sharper. Very handy for working through thick trees and brush. I've done plenty of that in the short time I've owned it. There is also no comparison with the Tundra LT or other super long tracks. This thing is good for the tight stuff.

    - The new rear suspension is a vast improvement in ride quality. I can go all day and still walk upright.

    - The narrow ski stance will wear you out in a hurry when traveling at speed or breaking trail. No question this thing is tippy.

    - In very deep (5 ft) snow conditions, the Tundra 300 was almost exactly the equal of a Skandic 440 LT (156" track). Both machines dug in at about the same time. In the trees, the Tundra would slightly pull ahead due to maneuverability, but not by serious margin.

    - The stock skis are seriously cheap. Mine are all tore up already.

    - It's either over tracked or under geared, depending on how you look at it. I can smoke the belt when buried in powder, which I certainly can't say of the old machines. On the other hand, I've used it quite a bit in the mountains, and the extra grip blows the old version out of the water when climbing steep, drifted, nasty stuff.

    - Could use lower gears when used for logging or heavy pulling.

    - Rear suspension appears much more durable. I rebuilt the one on my old Tundra twice. I like this one better.

    - The front suspension looks questionable, but has taken an number of hard hits with no damage so far.

    Last weekend I broke 16-17 miles of trail in the White Mountains looking for cabin land. Lots of time doing circles through the thick trees and brush looking for that perfect spot. Got stuck exactly zero times. Love this machine for that.

    How's that for a review. update in another year or two!

    Yk

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