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Thread: liquid vs. air cooled

  1. #1
    Member walk-in's Avatar
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    Default liquid vs. air cooled

    Any preferences or advantages to one or the other? The Arctic Cat 400 is air cooled, the 500 is liquid cooled. Can't make up my mind.

  2. #2
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default

    An air cooled engine is lighter and has less things to go wrong but lacks in power compared to the same size liquid cooled engine. The liquid cooled is nice if you are pulling heavy loads really slow on hot days. Other than that, there is nothing wrong with an air cooled engine.

    I ran the tires off an old Suzuki LT250 (air cooled) and never had any problems. I got it really hot a few times (working it hard on those rare 80* days) and it would simply shut off until it had a chance to cool off. Then, it would fire right back up and we were off again.

    I currently have a '92 Honda 300 which is air cooled and have never (knock on wood...) had a problem with it even when working it hard.

    My 6x6 is liquid cooled which entails a coolant system and electric fan. When I am going slow with or without a load, the fan kicks on and off quite frequently so I think I will have overheating issues if the fan quits. Also, if a stick gets poked through the coolant tank, radiator, or one of the hoses I will be in bad shape.

    I guess it is a tradeoff, but you probably won't find anything bigger than that 400 you are looking at that is still air cooled. All the larger engines are going liquid and more complicated.

    Don't know if any of that helped, but thats my experience with wheelers. The power difference between an air cooled/liquid cooled engine is much more noticeable in a two stroke motor but still exists in the 4 strokers.
    AKmud
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    Default simplicity and mileage

    I'm a mechanic, so I'm a big fan of simplicity, which is one of the reasons I've been leaning toward air cooled. I had problems with the cooling system on my old AC 454 a couple times, and a friend has overheated his Polaris 500 several times. That probably has as much to do with his riding style as anything, though. I also expect to have a bit more range with a 400 than a 500, although I don't know that the difference in mileage would be enough to really make much of a difference.

  4. #4

    Smile I have both

    I have both Arctic Cat 400 and 500 ATV's. The 400 is a good strong runner, it has a electronic fan on a large oil cooler. I think it holds almost 4 quarts of oil. The 500 does not have a oil cooler only water/antifreeze. The 650 H1 uses both oil cooler and liquid radiator for engine cooling. You can't go wrong with Arctic Cat ATV's they are great off trail work horses.

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    Default how much difference?

    Diggerdik,

    How much difference do you notice between the 400 and the 500? Mileage? Power? According to what I've seen, they are both rated the same for towing and have the same rack capacities. Everything else being equal, I'd be willing to trade a slight amount of power for increased range.

  6. #6

    Default Power difference

    I think both machines have good powerbands and do well. The 400 works harder it has less torque, but still does fine. The new 400's have 4.0 gears in the diff's. so it is geared lower than the 500. Both of mine are manual shift and are easy to use. The 500 has a low range forward and reverse, the 400 does not have low range in reverse only forward. The CVT models have low range reverse though. I think fuel economy is almost equal while normal riding. The 500 may do better under extream riding, because it does not work as hard. We had 400's for $5000.00 new at Northern Power Sports last Fall. The 500's were $6200. Hard to beat Arctic Cat for value.

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    Default prices have gone up

    I was into North Power Sports last week just looking around. They offered me a "deal" on a 400 w/winch for $6100.
    Although I like the idea of an air cooled machine, I'm beginning to think that perhaps the 500 is the way to go. If the mileage is more or less the same, then the main advantage I was hoping to get from a 400 isn't a factor.

  8. #8

    Default Thats too much

    You should be able to find a 500 manual for about that much. I got a 2006 last August for $ 6200.00 with winch (not installed). The manual models cost $300.00 less than the cvt. auto's. Best to shop around tell them how much you want to spend, if they want to make a sale you should be able to work something out. Try Delta Arctic Cat see what he can do. Good luck, hope to see you on the trails.

  9. #9
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    Default

    I prefer air-cooling in the areas I ride my ATV. Mine is a '94 Big Bear, and it has the oil cooler tucked out of the way. Where I hunt, it's very easy to run into a stick at night, which could puncture a radiator or oil cooler that is up in front of the machine. The oil cooler on my wife's Wolverine is up in front, but very small in size. Even so, I cut to size and installed a sort of stick stopper in front of it. I used a type of mesh that has diamond-shaped 1/4" holes. It's very strong, and I bolted it at the four corners on the frame above the bumper.

  10. #10

    Default Depends on the riding!!!

    I've ridden both air and liquid cooled machines. Basically it all comes down to what you are going to be using the machine for mainly. If you are just going to be riding on trailer for short afternoon rides or an overnight trip with not too much gear then I'd say a 400 air cooled would be more than enough.

    However, if you plan on going 20 miles back in off a trail with racks full of gear and pulling a trailer then I'd spring for the extra power and get atleast a 500 liquid. I've ridden with a buddy that has a 400 Arctic Cat and it rides really nice but lacks the power when alder crashing especially when loaded down with a trailer. It also is just about worthless when it comes to backing up. If there is brush or slightly inclined you gotta get off and push as well as run the throttle. Being there is no reverse over ride on that model. I ride a AC 500 and it has all the power i've needed being loaded down alder crashing with a full moose in a trailer.

    Hope that helps

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