Snowmobile engine to be used in a experimental aircraft, seeking advise - HCS Snowmobile Forums

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Old 09-02-2008, 09:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi all, first post on the board, looks like you guys have a good time here!

I live down in the south where we are lucky to see any snow at all, and in my 36 years of life I have yet to see a snowmobile in person in the Carolinas...

I have alot of hobbys and interests and my main one is building and flying experimental home built airplanes and gyroplanes. You can find several videos of gyroplanes and even a few of me flying gyros on youtube if you search for videos of " GyroRon " or " Ron Awad"

There is another gyro pilot/builder out in colorado who has converted a modern four stroke Yamaha sled engine to be used on his gyroplane. Of course the most popular engines we use are Rotax 2 stroke aviation engines which are loosely based on sled engines, so converting a yamaha sled engine wasn't too crazy....

Rotax aviation engines have gone crazy with the pricing of new engines and parts. The popular engines common on small planes and gyroplanes are the Rotax 582 ( 2 stroke ) that runs about 7500$ new for just the engine and a prop speed reduction unit, and the stuff needed to make it run such as the muffler and carbs. This engine makes 65 HP. Another popular engine is the Rotax 912 and 912S. These are four cylinder four stroke engines, the 912 is 80 HP and the 912s is a high compression version making 100 HP. These are extremely expensive, the 912s goes for about 20 grand just for the engine and that does not include the exhaust system which typically runs another 600-1000$ or several other key bits needed for installation and making the engine run. Parts are also ridiculous, pistons are over 200$ each for the 582 for example, and parts for the 912 engines are threw the roof.

Most people aren't comfortable flying a 2 stroke engine and most prefer a four stroke if possible. Not only for dependability but for better fuel milage. Rotax doesn't make a 2 stroke with more than 75 HP and that engine is discontinued, the largest now produced is the 582 at 65hp. The four stroke Rotaxes are simply too much money. So the appeal of using a new or used sled engine is certainly valid.

My friend in Colorado was able to buy a used Yamaha sled and he took the engine out ( a 120 HP four stroke 3 cylinder ) and all the stuff needed to make it run.... the wiring harness, the starting switch, the instrument cluster, etc... and he sold what was left of the ski to someone for use as spare parts and he ended up with a 120 HP four stroke engine for well under 3000$. He still had to machine up adapter plates to be able to mount a Rotax gearbox ( the prop speed reduction unit ) and he had to make some plates to mount the engine onto his gyroplanes frame. But all in all it has been a successful conversion and so far he has not had any serious issues or bugs crop up. I don't know how many hours he has flown it so far but hopefully he will continue to have good luck with this engine.

I have a 2 seat gyroplane powered with the 75 HP discontinued Rotax 618 2 stroke engine. The gyro is built very light and the engine has just enough power to fly myself solo very nicely and has enough power to fly a passenger too so as long as the passenger is somewhat lightweight. If I put a 180-200 pound passenger in my machine the performance is marginal, and if the passenger weights much over 200 lbs the engine really doesn't have the power needed to fly on a hot day. I plan on getting my flight instructor rating this winter and plan to offer training in my gyro and in order to be able to safely train most student pilots, I need my gyro to be able to fly safely and with reseve power with passengers up to 225-245 pounds. I figure I need at least 100 hp to do this and even better would be 120-140 hp.

My friend in colorado is willing to machine me all the parts needed to convert a yamaha four stroke sled engine for my gyro. But first I need to find a donor sled.

So I guess my purpose of this post is a few things....

1. What do you guys who know alot about snowmobiles think of the Yamaha four stroke sled engines?

2. are there other brand four stroke engines I should also be considering?

3. Where could I find a good deal on a used sled, one that hasn't been abused or has too many miles, but maybe body or frame damage?

4. would it be somewhat easy to sell a sled for parts if I bought one that was still in great shape and took the engine and all the stuff needed to run the engine out of it?

5. what do you think generally of the idea of using a sled engine at all?


I look forward to seeing some good discussion here in this thread. I have seen snowmobiles in action on the TV and on videos on the internet and they sure look like a blast. Thanks Ron
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Old 09-02-2008, 09:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Are these plane like Ultra-Lites, I heard they run Rotax
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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1. they seem to be solid and good performing engines, and very reliable
2. not many sled companies have made them for a long time like yamaha, but cat doo and polaris have them, polaris-750 turbo(140hp), the Z1 not sure on displacement, but 120hp, and the new 130 horse 1200cc 3 cylinder rotax. but for the money the yamaha would be the way to go.
3.look on hcs classifieds and other forums, ebay, u never know what you'll find, but other than that just search around( not locally of course)
4. some things might be easy to sell but for the most part(not sure) but id say it could be difficult to get rid of
5. at first i was thinkin 2 stroke and in my mind 2 stroke and flying dont mix, i wouldnt feel safe, but i think this is a cool idea and the sled engines are putting out much more power than the engines you mentioned.
also
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFZ08JLD5gQ
Wow you got to have balls to do that!
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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With all of my mechanical adventures i think i will stick with ground transportation.
Gravity sucks......
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It looks scary but it isn't! It is the most fun you can have with your clothes on....

Thanks for the welcome and hope to read more comments.

I am leaning towards Yamaha for two reasons, one my friend already converted one and he has experience with the Yamaha, and two, I also do alot of jet skiing and I know Yamaha is pretty much the best mechanically as far as jet skis go, especially their four stroke models.
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFZ08JLD5gQ
Wow you got to have balls to do that![/b]

Did you see this one? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvGu2hU4jZE it's kinda cheesy, but maybe you will like it. This one was taken about 2 years ago with my last gyroplane, it is like the one I have now, just it is a one seater with a nose pod and a smaller engine. I added a smoke system to it as well just for the hell of it.
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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i would consider a gsxr 1000 motor or a cbr 1000 motor. I think those are around 140 hp and they are fuel injected and probably will like running in the warmer weather a little more than a sled motor will. also if you find a busted up bike you will get the radiator and other parts that you would have to find otherwise.
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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You should look into the new Arctic Cat Z1 turbo with over 180hp. It would be somewhat expensive though. If you want to stick with Rotax then they make some badass sled engines. The 1000cc 2 stroke is 170hp and the 800R makes 155hp and gets better fuel mileage than the 150hp 4 stroke Yamahas. All the Yamaha 4 stroke engines are reliable and can easily handle 400+hp turbo setups.
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:27 AM   #10 (permalink)
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motorcycle engines don't work well due to the fact that you can't disconnect the transmission from them.

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