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Thread: Cold Starting

  1. #1
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    Default Cold Starting

    Here's a little owner report for starting a couple of machines in -40 on Sunday morning.

    Sled #1- 600 Etec- Electric start didn't work at all. It barely budged the engine. Two long pulls on the rope to loosen and then a fast pull. It fired but quit. The next pull it fired right up and ran without a hiccup. The drive clutch was unusually noisy and tipping the sled to warm up the belt and track by running it up was absolutely necessary.

    Sled #2- Yamaha Professional (4 stroke)- The starter rotated the engine but no joy. Lots of guys will repeat rumors of how 4-strokes won't start in the cold. Fortunately I was near power and I've done this before. The engine did not need heat. The battery needed a boost. Like lots of sleds my 4-stroke needs cranking speed to start but really cold batteries are too weak for the task. Once I boosted the battery and got the rotation speed of the starter up to normal the engine fired right up. No heat needed. If I was going to heat something. I'd heat the battery. The big track was stiff but there's no tipping that tank to loosen things up. Some short bursts in low range followed by reverse got it moving. The clutch didn't seem to know it was cold. Anybody else changed a belt on one of these beasts? Dang the driven clutch springs are strong. Very hard to open the clutch. Must be a 4-stroke thing.

  2. #2
    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Mr Pid thanx for that starting info on your sled #2.. I can see right now, I'd be smart to take a stronger batt charger out to the cabin all I currently have is a trickle charger.. again, thankx

  3. #3
    Member Spookum's Avatar
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    I bought a jumper pack 1500 amps i think, it was only $120 at car quest. I like the ones that are ONLY a jumper pack, ie. no compressor or lights or... I just keep it inside and charge it when i need it. I have thought of putting the ATV battery on "wing" nuts so i can pull it and bring it inside so it does not get so cold it wont crank. I also noticed that when i stepped up to AMSoil full synthetic (two stroke) the motor cranked over easier. I think it is because the inside of the cylinders were "sticky". I also worry about how easy the oil "flows" at 40 below. I always add a hefty dollop of 2 stroke oil when fueling up. It fouls out plugs faster, but i know there is at least a little oil in the gas no matter what. if i had to guess i bet the mix in the tank is between 100 or 150 to 1. Good idea of warming up the belt Im going to have to try that!

  4. #4

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    At -40 I pull myself to the Outhouse after two cups of coffee, then recheck that it is still -40, next I find a good book, and pull over the book cover, and read.

  5. #5
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    It was -40 at our cabin this weekend and I have a 4 stroke bearcat. All we had to do is take out the battery and put it inside for an hour or so and after the re-install it fired right up. It definatly was not happy about having to run but after it got up to temp all was well. It was a great weekend for grooming trails.

  6. #6
    Member cjustinm's Avatar
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    thanks for the cold start info. I think a lot of people are interested in the extreme temps all these machines can handle both 2 stroke and 4 stroke. As far a winter camping and not hauling a generator 4 strokes still scare me expecially without a pull start. I've started my 2 stroke at 35 - 40 below without too much problems but i guessing many four stroke owners can't say the same. I would really like a four stroke but yikes i sure dont want to be out by myself with a dead battery and no way to start it. Thanks again for the info.

  7. #7
    Member Spookum's Avatar
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    I don't think i would ever go out with an ATV that only has electric start. How ever, in a pinch, You can wrap a rope around the clutch and give it a serious yank. But please be careful, and make sure when you are yanking it, it is turning the motor in the correct direction and you dont have the rope wrapped around your hand. I have also grabbed the spare set of spark plugs and set them in a pan, on the oven or wood stove. Just don't get them too hot.... i like them no hotter than a cup of coffee i cant drink. If they become over hot, the ceramic part of the plug (white stuff) will start to darken but still warm enough i have to wear gloves to handle them. It is also wise to add a 1/2 teaspoon of gas to the cylinder though the spark plug hole or a small squirt of ether with a lubricant (read the can). I usually carry some ether with me too... just be gentle with it!

  8. #8
    Member SusitnaAk's Avatar
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    My V-800 SWT wouldn,t go at -37 so out came the ready heater, two hours had it going. The next night i was on the 4hr plan, Get up put wood on the fire, go out and start machine up.It was a hassle but seem to work.

  9. #9
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    -41 at the cabin Sat. overnight.
    Both 2 strokes (a 700 polaris and a 550 ski-doo) were a bear to turn over. Pulled the plugs and warmed 'em on the woodstove. Pulled the cord multiple times with the plugs out to loosen everything. Install hot plug, full choke and they both fired right up in a couple pulls.
    Roll machines on their sides and run up RPM till drive system rotates to loosen everything. They ran fine.
    However, I got frostbit on my cheek where I had a small bit of wind coming through the visor I guess. Didn't even feel it happening!
    The generator needed to be warmed by the fire before she would start.
    Remember, don't get too aggressive with your equipment at those low temps, things break easily and then you have improvise or fix it. Alot of the cogs,wheels, gears, pulleys, etc... are made of plastic these days! They don't like extreme cold. My .02.
    BK
    BK

  10. #10

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    I've got a 4 stroke (battery and no pull start) and a 2 stroke (electric start). If it's really cold I get the 2 stroke running. Then I use jumper cables to get the 4 stroke running. Two snowmobiles are always better than one !!

  11. #11

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    I plumed in a 1500 wt. tank heater on my son in law's 03 bearcat 4 stroke and that sure get the heat all through the motor, It had a in line heater stock but this fixed it up first class. Just need power .

  12. #12
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    The local AC dealer started his 4-stroke Bearcat at -40F on Sunday. It lit amazingly enough, but it does have a brand spanking new battery. The warming the battery trick does work well on my ATV's.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

  13. #13
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    -32 and my Ski-Doo Tundra 550 wouldn't turn over with the battery. I pulled the starter rope about 12 or 15 times and finally got it to fire on full choke. It started every time with the starter after that during the day. Pulling the starter rope doesn't really spin the engine so it took a few more pulls than I thought I would have to do. It fired right up every other day at minus 20-25 but it had to sit and warm up for about 5 minutes. I only have 200 miles in the machine so it might do better once it is broken in more?

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