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Thread: snowmachine engine won't turn over at -30

  1. #1
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    Question snowmachine engine won't turn over at -30

    I had a 1996 Artic Cat fan cooled 440 that had cold weather starting problems. It's not that it would'nt start, you could'nt pull the engine through to get it to start. It ran fine all the time, untill it sat overnight at about -30 or more. Removing the spark plugs and drive belt did not help.

    Usually this happend when I was ice fishing north of Glennallen in March. We would tow the machine to the lake, open the hood so the sun would hit the engine and pour a little gas down the spark plug holes. After it warmed up a bit, several hours, the engine would little by little start to turn over. Once you could pull it through a couple of times it would fire right up. I was using Heet in the fuel and Amsoil in the oil tank.

    I sold the Cat and bought a new Polaris wide track, 500 liquid cooled. Made a run from Wasilla to Farewell Lake two years ago. Guess what, it does the same thing. Everyone elses machine in our group started just fine. This included an old Polaris tripple, and a new Ski-do super wide track. Polaris dealers have been no help. Anybody have any ideas?

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    Default

    I never expect the first few pulls to start the engine when it's below zero. I start slowly in order to loosen the pistons up. After a few pulls to get everything moving, I'll put some speed into the pull to try to start it.

    Whenever the temps go below zero and I'm shutting 'er down for the night I'll kill the engine by pulling the choke and leaving it on. This will prevent the chokes from freezing, and should dilute the oil on the cylinder walls a little so the next morning's pulling chores are a little easier. The following morning I throw the choke off and on a couple of times again to verify the cables aren't stuck. I've done it this way for a long time and my machines always start.

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    Default Thing to do

    If your battery is good at -30 below and you canít turn it over with the pull rope. It sounds like the engine is too tight and needs to be bored out. Personally, I would do one or several of the following things.
    1. Do what Mr. Pid said to do.
    2. Start your engine several times at night.
    3. Carry a torch with Meth gas (yellow) to warm the engine.
    4. Remove the sparkplugs and belt, use a pipe to turn the engine over to see how tight it is and loosen the engine.
    5. If you are able to turn the engine over using a pipe, add penetrating oil to loosen the cylinder.

    I also have a Polaris WT and never had a problem. I donít know if any of my advice will help you.

    Good luck.

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    Default Try this

    First I only ride skidoos so I dont really know about cats. The guy who said dont try to start right off is correct. At those temps I just lean on the rope and bump the engine with little pulls untill it gets loosend up. In my opinion a more practical method in a pinch would be remove the spark plugs, then turn the engine over to loosen it up. This will remove the compression and let you turn the engine over with much less force being required. When it turns free, reinstall the plugs and start normally. If you keep pulling 200% one of these days your rope is gona let go. If you dont have a backup, your walking.

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    Carry a can of ether and spray some inside the spark plug holes. If this doesnt fix it nothing will.
    I would make sure you are using Heet in the fuel. Even the smallest amount of water can cause ice inside the carbs compounding the problem.
    Tennessee

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    Default Yall are missing something

    Quote Originally Posted by watanacreek View Post
    It's not that it would'nt start, you could'nt pull the engine through to get it to start. ?
    Now im gonna guess that he means he couldnt get the engine to rotate even to attempt to start it. I dont know a whole lot about snowmachine engines as mine has gremlins im trying to figure out but could it be possible that at these temps the oil in his crankcase has thickened up too much to allow a pull on the cord? Could there be some other fluid that has made its way in there that has mixed with the oil causing it to freeze? just my guess I have found over at www.snowmobilefanatics.com there are quite a few knowledgeable people who know a whole lot about sleds and love to talk about it and help whenever they can.
    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "HOLY **** WHAT A RIDE!!!"

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    2-strokes don't have fluids in the crankcase. The only oil that can stiffen up is residual fuel and oil from when it was running.

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    Default Ahhhh

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    2-strokes don't have fluids in the crankcase. The only oil that can stiffen up is residual fuel and oil from when it was running.
    Thanks for pointing that out to me I learn something new everyday
    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "HOLY **** WHAT A RIDE!!!"

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    Default

    duxhuntin was right in one respect, the enigne is just to stiff to pull through. Guess I am going to have to drag my old butt out of the sack at 2am and run the thing for a while. I still can't figure out why none of my fishing buddies have problems like this. The polaris dealer in Tok has no idea either. Thanks for the replies.

  10. #10

    Default New One

    Boy this is a new one to me. I've started sleds at 50 below and they were horrible to get started pulling over but they did. The secret is slow steady pressure and they will start to turn. Turning the track over at really cold temps is a different story. They new thinner tracks are much better than the thick track of yesteryear. I had a 340 Yamaha Enticer when I was a kid (this was the sled to have in those days) and it would start at any temp but it took and act of god to turn track over.
    I really don't think you have a problem. Just get ahold of rope and pull hard and steady...no jerking. I guess if this is not working have someone twist the drive clutch at the same time.
    Oh yea.....always carry about 6 to 8 feet of old 1 inch strap with you. When that starter rope break in the middle of nowhere it is surprising easy to strap start a WARM engine.....never tried it with a cold engine. At 30 below that would be a chore but you could do it. Oh yea....when you strap start the motor (off the drive clutch) make sure you spin in the right way...

  11. #11

    Default

    Also, Make sure the drive belt is the correct one and the engine and clutches are properly aligned and the distances measured and confirmed. If the drive belt is too short or if the engine and driven clutch are spaced too far apart, it can give you the same effect. In some rare instances, I have taken the belts off and warmed them up, as well as putting on a longer belt than the book calls for. My experience has been, that liquid cooled engines are most prone to being too tight to turn over, after they are cold soaked. If you think you have trouble with these, wait until you experience a 4 stroke at -30. All but impossible without pre-heat.

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    Question Sea Foam

    Anyone use Sea Foam instead of 2 cycle Heat? I put some in my sleds this year, no need to but though since I just purchased them used (1999s Polaris) it wouldn't hurt, anyway they started at -27 and run like camps.

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    Default check throttle cable and--

    had this problem long ago on my 440 RUPP,anyone remeber them?anyway turn out to be the throttle cable was freezing and learned a trick to inject antifreeze through the cable houseing,also i would be leary of dumping ice gone stuff down the carbs,better to take carbs off and clean,drive skandic 500's now and once in a while have trouble with snow getting into air intake which will make the carbs freezeup.another thought for cold weather starting is to pre-heat engine.one may think of carrying a few extra hand warmers in the back country,have used the to wrap around my carbs.

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    Question cold weather starting?

    I don't know if this will help but will the Syntic. oil make a differance? what I asking will the type of oil that you use in the 2 cycle make any differance in a cold weather start? any input to this SID

  15. #15
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    Smile Try It!

    Hey Sid I have got a 96 Bearcat 440 fan with 14000 miles on it. All I ever used in it was castrol 2 stroke in it. It was a ***** to turn over at 50 below but it started. Now getting to move was a differnet story, you park it on a down hill and hope to hell you got it moving with that big old track! But trying syn. met help. GOOD LUCK! Trail Boss

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