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Discussion Starter #1
F7 Review
My Firecat standard was one of the last builds. I picked it up 2 days before Thanksgiving. Maybe that’s why I have not experienced many of the problems others have had. I would like to think my dealer did a great job burping the coolant and making sure there wasn’t air in the oil lines. It has 525 miles so far.

ENGINE: The engine has the power and noise level of my 01 800. The power is always there even at 20 mph unlike the 800 that snapped better at 30mph. It really feels like it has a snappier mid-range than the 800. Fuel and oil use is excellent. Fuel has been steady at 14-15 mpg ant the oil ratio is at approximately 60:1. I pulled a power valve and it was real clean and both operated real smooth. I pulled the exhaust to take out the power valve and peeked in at the pistons and no scuffs. I have heard horror stories of cold seizes.
It starts 2 pulls on below zero mornings and always starts 1 pull when warm. I did the pull cord update. It was a metal rod to keep the rope off the chain case cover. 2 screws 2 minutes. This engine has big balls power wise.

CHASSIS: I didn’t know how I would like the narrow tunnel when I laid down the cash in April so I took a chance. I am very pleased so far. The steering is very tight and my steering shaft did not hit my motor like some early builds. The front AWS sticks the corners real well after lightening up the front ski preload to basically nothing and loosening the front skid shock to no preload as well. I have the fat boy springs but have not installed them yet. I have tried taking out the coupling blocks and its pretty good cornering but I think I will put them back on the #1 set so I don’t wheelie for a mile. The ACT shocks seem to be very much improved for 03. No fade! The new and longer skid is a plus over the ZR because it does take the big hits better. It really sucks up the washouts. Riding this sled is way different than the ZR. You are a vital part of the way it handles. It is very receptive to any body movement and is very light. Once you get used to it is really easy to throw around. The fun thing about it is you can drive the sled real easy tipped up on 1 ski.

ERGOS: The bars are the best on this sled like the ZR. The digital tach speedo is real nice you can see the numbers clear and the max RPM recall is real cool too. The brake high beam switch really works well too. The 3 speed bar warmers work well too. They should split them up and put the bar warmer switch on the left and thumb warmer on the right again. The narrow seat feels no different to me than my ZR. I thought the toolkit would be a pain in the balls (literally) but it is handy right in front of you.

LOOKS: It’s growing on me. I don’t buy sleds by the looks but for the function.

F&F: Cat can always use more attention to details at the factory. They are much better than they were but always could use more improvement. I had a missing spacer in the front skid mount. If you ever removed a Cat skid they fall out but they have been using those spacers since 97. I didn’t have any oil lines rubbing or wires chafing, smart valves collapsing like some others did but it was a later build so maybe that’s why.

OVERALL: Overall I would give it an 8. It is a completely new sled and motor. Most of the problems with the motors have been cold piston seizing. This sled has the reverse cooling system and Cat added the rear cooler. It takes a good 15-20 minutes of idling in the morning to warm up this sled completely and you still have to baby it for the first few miles. The coldest coolant hits the headfirst but that’s what gives it its power. After it’s warmed up LOOK OUT!!! If you have not tried a F7 ask someone you see it’s a pretty dam good 1st year sled even with all the issues. Cat likes to take chances and so do I. Cat has been extra responsive to all the problems with the sled and has even let owners have a new sled if they are not satisfied.
THE END………..SO FARJ
 

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Mainecat, VERY nice detailed report! Thanks a bunch for taking the time to do that, as so many others have done as well!

Just one question -- how many inches of threads do you have exposed on the front ski shocks now that you loosened the springs up? You think that improved the handling/cornering? That must've lowered the front-end ride height a tad, but you didn't notice too much body-roll after loosening them? I'm just trying to get different ideas and feedback from different things people have tried. At least those people that have enough snow to go out and play with settings!

Thanks for any additional feedback you can provide! -- Roy
 

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roy , if you want to ride you have to go to mancelona, there is a shit load of snow out there , we road sat&sun, close to 2 feet of snow in some
spot's, as far as setup for the standard f-7 mine had 2 1/2inches of
thread showing on front shock's-and 1 inch on rear ( front)shock
i did notice a little inside ski lift on sunday's ride, so i changed the
front shock's to 2 1/4 threads showing.
we are going back up to mancelona wed , afternoon for another ride
if you want,.... i can let you know the result's.
or just load up meet us there. mark. B)
 

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Mark (Alleycat), who are you? Do I know you? Where you from? Where do you meet and/or stage in Mancelona? And what time? -- Roy in Empire (damn near ZERO snow yet!!!)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Roy not sure of how many inches of thread are showing. My sled is in Maine. I lifted the front end off the ground and loosened the front springs until there was almost no pressure. Like Rob has suggested. There is more roll but you just control it more with your weight shift. I may add 6" carbides next.
 
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