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Thread: Anybody have experience with a 95-2000 Bearcat 340?

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default Anybody have experience with a 95-2000 Bearcat 340?

    I've been eyeballing one of these that a friend up north owns. I don't have too much experience with Arctic Cats but always admired the Bearcats. I've noticed that some of the most competent mechanics and experienced folks I know usually go for Arctic Cats, but I'm not brand-loyal. I noticed when I was looking over a 98 Bearcat 340, the fan cooled motor had the same size carb as my son's 250 Tundra. The motor was made by Suzuki and I have great respect for anything with the Suzuki name on it. What is the fuel mileage on these older Bearcats? How tough are they? Are they reliable?

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    I've been eyeballing one of these that a friend up north owns. I don't have too much experience with Arctic Cats but always admired the Bearcats. I've noticed that some of the most competent mechanics and experienced folks I know usually go for Arctic Cats, but I'm not brand-loyal. I noticed when I was looking over a 98 Bearcat 340, the fan cooled motor had the same size carb as my son's 250 Tundra. The motor was made by Suzuki and I have great respect for anything with the Suzuki name on it. What is the fuel mileage on these older Bearcats? How tough are they? Are they reliable?
    Mainer--
    I have a 98 Bearcat 440F... (with reverse)... It's an 80 mile round trip ride to our Cabin off the Yentna.. the Bearcat is the more comfortable ride of the 4 machines that we have... I can't quote you MPG - all I know is that we can run to the cabin, run around and play a little, ice fish, and ride home on the same tank of gas.. Can't say that for my 04 Ski-doo Skandic 550f... Big Lake Arctic Cat has had to fix a couple things for me over the years, but considering that kids and grandkids also ride it, I don't think that's too bad.. It has never failed to start, and I can't say that for another machine we have...

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    Member alaska4ever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    I've been eyeballing one of these that a friend up north owns. I don't have too much experience with

    Arctic Cats but always admired the Bearcats. I've noticed that some of the most competent mechanics and experienced folks I know usually go for Arctic Cats, but I'm not brand-loyal. I noticed when I was looking over a 98 Bearcat 340, the fan cooled motor had the same size carb as my son's 250 Tundra. The motor was made by Suzuki and I have great respect for anything with the Suzuki name on it. What is the fuel mileage on these older Bearcats? How tough are they? Are they reliable?

    This was my old Bearcat 340 before I sold it and now, I wished I still had it. This machine is a workhorse. I don't remember exactly but, I got good gas mileage that I can remember
    122.JPG
    JOHN

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    I have a 96 440 bearcat very reliable! Does a great job in deep snow lacks a bit of power in the mountains.
    Tim

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaska4ever View Post
    This was my old Bearcat 340 before I sold it and now, I wished I still had it. This machine is a workhorse. I don't remember exactly but, I got good gas mileage that I can remember
    122.JPG
    Could you possibly share a little more of your knowledge on your old 340? Was there any Achilles heel parts? How does that wide ratio clutch work? Did you take it off trail? It's not too heavy of a machine from what I saw, do they have reverse? Hand/thumbwarmers? How many miles did you put on the machine?

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    Member Hunt'N'Photos's Avatar
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    I have a 99 440 long track that takes a licking and keeps on hauling. I aquired it in a trade and decided to keep it as a beater and loaner, but it continues to be the one that the family wants to ride when we head to the cabin. I dont know exact numbers either, but I can tell you it gets by far the best mileage between it and my Tundra 550LT or my wifes 550 trail RMK.
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    Member alaska4ever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    Could you possibly share a little more of your knowledge on your old 340? Was there any Achilles heel parts? How does that wide ratio clutch work? Did you take it off trail? It's not too heavy of a machine from what I saw, do they have reverse? Hand/thumbwarmers? How many miles did you put on the machine?

    First of all, I have no knowledge of the technical mechanical stuff. Mine was a 96 and no reverse or warmers of any type. My machine was kind of heavy. Yes, I took it off trail and hauled logs out. Don't remember how many miles, didn't keep track. I bought it for $800 ran it for 3 years sold it about 3 1/2 years ago for just what I paid for it. The person who bought it is still running it even though it looks like crap now. Sorry I can't be more help. But, it's a helluva machine.
    JOHN

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input folks, it certainly won't be as nimble as my son's Tundra, but we don't bomb through the woods much anyways. I think I'm gonna set him up with a Bearcat, and sell the Tundra to help curb the cost. It's good to learn mechanical knowledge of all the notable utility machines anyways. From what I gather, the Bearcat 340 is about 100 lbs heavier than our Tundra, has almost twice the horsepower, but the same sized carb. I don't understand the Wide Ratio clutch, but I'm thinking it must work good at low speeds. The double wishbone front end looks tough as nails, and the green color looks good. Most folks who run Bearcats seem to have good things to say about them (the older ones anyways).

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    We used to run 2 matching 95 440 bearcats. We never cared for the 340 because of the short track but then again the motor wasn't going to turn the 156 track of the 440 either so kind of biased. Over the course of 10,000 miles there were many breakdowns and surprisingly when something broke on one the other machine would break the same thing within the next two trips. Now that's consistency! Everything from suspension springs to throttle cables to the jackshaft mount ripping off the frame behind the secondary clutch.

    The wide ratio clutch was supposed to make up for the lack of a 2 speed transmission. It did okay, but when we switched to ski-doo widetracks we didn't look back. We rebuilt the primary clutch frequently and the most frequent problem was the left side drive axle bearing. It was a lock collar style and would tilt the bearing when installed and the result was constant flexing of the frame and loosening of rivets. This was finally fixed with a set screw, wide collar bearing that polaris uses. That cured the problem.

    Overall the 340 bearcats were a fairly popular machine and should hold up well for most people and tasks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaska4ever View Post
    First of all, I have no knowledge of the technical mechanical stuff. Mine was a 96 and no reverse or warmers of any type. My machine was kind of heavy. Yes, I took it off trail and hauled logs out. Don't remember how many miles, didn't keep track. I bought it for $800 ran it for 3 years sold it about 3 1/2 years ago for just what I paid for it. The person who bought it is still running it even though it looks like crap now. Sorry I can't be more help. But, it's a helluva machine.
    I ended up selling my son's Tundra and got him that 1997 Bearcat 340. Although the Tundra was a great machine, the little guy's back got sore on these 60-80 mile runs. When we got out there to our ice fishing spot, it got down to 25 below zero and stayed that way all night. The little twin motor started just as good as the Tundra would in the morning. What I liked about this machine is that it has a choke, and a primer. The suspension was very soft and my son could actually keep up with me on the trail. After about 36 miles (maybe a gallon), it burnt about the same amount of fuel as the old Tundra would, but we were going about twice as fast. I attribute this to good clutching. If I could describe the bearcat clutch as opposed to the tundra, it would be the difference between a 3 speed bike and a ten speed bike, combine that with some very low gearing in the chain case, and it rings every bit of power and torque from the 340 Suzuki motor as you'll ever need for what I do. I've never found a two stroke motor/gearing combo/cluthching that's as good on fuel as this suzuki 340 motor, yet produces such stout torque.

    I took it into the woods and broke a small trail, hooked up to a 30 ft. long Spruce log, and pulled it for about 10 miles of crusted lake with no trail. I could still lift the front bumper of the machine and chuck it around like a tundra The low gearing and clutching are much better than the Tundra, and it did pretty well in the woods too. We moved an ice house floor around the lake to a better spot which weighed about 300 lbs.

    Overall.....it's a good little utility machine that's still relatively light and easy to throw around. Whatever happened to these fuel sipping machines?! Arctic Cat needs to make another small fan cooled utility machine, they'd rule the market if they did with only Yamaha making the bravo If anyone should see one of these used, I'd buy it up quick, they're darned good machines.



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    Here's one more picture of my son after a three days of fun......he's all worn out now.

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    Anyone have any experience with a 1995 liquid cooled 550 Bearcat? Any known issues?
    "When the time comes for a man to look his Maker in the eye, where better could the meeting be held than in the wilderness?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by tailwind View Post
    Anyone have any experience with a 1995 liquid cooled 550 Bearcat? Any known issues?
    there is 2 of them here...both at the dump...one looks like it got detonated to ****...the other one is blown on the pto side...

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    Quote Originally Posted by tailwind View Post
    Anyone have any experience with a 1995 liquid cooled 550 Bearcat? Any known issues?
    Don't have experience with that particular bearcat, but we have the 2000 model 440 ll and the 1998 340. Both really nice smaller machines. The 340 will go 25-30 miles on a gallon of gas.

    A neighbor of mine has a 96 Arctic Cat two seater that has that 550 liquid. The entire machine was actually new, only 300 miles on the machine, bought from an older fella. I hopped on that machine and opened it up a bit, never felt power like that from a 550. It was fast. Don't know if I'd go for a 95 model, as that was the first year. They might have made a few changes to the design with the 98-2000 models. Anyhow, that motor is powerful, somewhere around 80 horsepower. I think that machine will weigh 675 lbs, not bad for a big widetrack. The rear suspension is really soft, and is the front, good riding for long trips. The suspension is better than my Polaris Widetrack with both our Bearcats. The tunnel aint as strong though, lotta flex in the runner boards, and the steering is too short, really needs a riser for standing. I REALLY like the wide ratio clutch. It runs the motor hard in the lower RPM's, but still has good top end speed. Clutching and gearing was perfection with the 95-2000 bearcats. Lithium spray grease is your best freind with the bear cat clutches, or you'll be rebuilding it if you don't use it.

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    Thanks Mainah!
    "When the time comes for a man to look his Maker in the eye, where better could the meeting be held than in the wilderness?"

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    I had a 340 for just a short bit. Kept it at my cabin on the Yentna in case i ever flew in. Nice little machine but not quite enough power for me. I LOVE the 550 wide-tracks, however and know about all there is to know about them. It was 160 mile round trip to my cabin from the Deshka landing. I put 15,000 miles on it. It was a 1996. I bouhgt a used 2000 model from wasilla artcic cat that had a broken drive shaft. Only had 2000 miles on it. They gave me the parts, took me about an hour to fix it and was intending on keeping it as a second machine. WARNING: the 550 engine WILL break the crank shaft at around 7500 miles. Even the dealer will tell you that. I remember Bill at big lake artic cat telling me that, i thought he was full %$#@ but sure enough it happened. Mine went out on my '96 at 7800 miles. I bought a new engine, ran it for 500 miles and the 15,000 miles just caught up with it. I competley stripped my '96 and got rid of the body. Have all the parts including the new engine. On my 2000, i order a 2004 skid frame. Now this is a machine. I sits up like a rice rocket, has 9 inches more play in the back and will tow what ever you can get on the freight sled. I spent 5 years hauling 2500-3000 pounds at a time. With the 15 gallon take, even hauliing, i could round trip on a take of gas. If any one needs parts for a 550,let me know, i am selling them off.

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    Member RainGull's Avatar
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    Anybody know or can look up the Engine specs on a '95 Bearcat 340 (Suzuki oil injected air cooled). Specifically max and idle rpms and hp rating?
    Science has a rich history of proving itself wrong.

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    don't why you'd need max rpm's and idle rpm's but the 340 motor produced 33 horsepower.

    idle is easy to adjust. I like my idle to be right at (or slightly above) 1000 rpms, helps with quick clutch engagement and cold weather starts. My father on the other hand, would foolishly adjust idle around 600-700 rpm's, that's hard on the motor.

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    Member mod elan's Avatar
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    '95 BC 340 specs:

    Idle- 1500 RPM
    Clutch engagement- 3800-4000
    Peak RPM- 7000

    '95 BC 440 specs:

    Idle- 1500
    Engagement- 3200-3600
    Peak- 7000-7200

    Mainer- Watching rpm will show you signs of when the clutches may need cleaned or rebuilt. A tachometer on a sled is a great tool to have out on the trail.

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    Thanks ever so much!
    Science has a rich history of proving itself wrong.

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