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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I'm looking to purchase a used snowmobile, but I'm starting to have some serious misgivings about this venture, the more I research. The reliability on these things appear to be downright AWFUL. The ones that I've seen with over 2500 miles have had the top end rebuilt. I am seriously wanting to know: What other engine on this entire planet can't survive 2500 miles on a new engine, and why do people put up with this? I'm really leaning towards believing this is the worst money pit, and most unreliable machine on the planet!

I'm mostly looking at used 2008-2015 Ski Doo Summit 800s, but if my car, or motorcycle, blew up every 2500 miles, I'd either pawn it quick, or take it out back with Old Yeller...

I want one primarily to do back country skiing, but I'd rather hike for 2 hours then sink $6k into a yugo engine, strapped to a trash can.

Anyone have thoughts on this? I was minutes from pulling the trigger, when I decided to look closer at the offerings.

"Rebuilt top end at 2500"
"Rebuilt top end at 3200"
"Rebuilt top end at 1500"


SERIOUSLY?
 

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Get a four stroke problem solved. But yes I totally agree 2 strokes only lasting xxx miles in 2020 is totally unacceptable. But mountain sleds are like motocross bikes they run wide open, so they are put under a lot of abuse. But if you want a motor to last and can deal with the weight get a 4 stroke.
 

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Welcome to the world of 2 strokes! Yes 2 strokes can go higher than 2500 miles without issues, I have a 16 Renegade 600 with almost 9000 miles on it and only thing engine related thats been touched is the Raves cleaned around 6500 miles. If engine reliability is your biggest concern get a 4 stroke.
 

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Thank the EPA ... that's the reason 2-strokes don't have the longevity they should. If you're not set on SkiDoo, the Suzuki powered Cats were the most durable 2-strokes over the past decade (thanks to NOT having to be EPA compliant). If you're truly set on SkiDoo ... pick the one you like the most and roll the dice.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank the EPA ... that's the reason 2-strokes don't have the longevity they should. If you're not set on SkiDoo, the Suzuki powered Cats were the most durable 2-strokes over the past decade (thanks to NOT having to be EPA compliant). If you're truly set on SkiDoo ... pick the one you like the most and roll the dice.
Honestly, I don't even care which one I get, but reliability is going to be a huge deal. I just need something that's going to take two people up in the back country, so one can ski down, then swap, rinse, and repeat...

Speed, jumps, whatever is pretty much secondary to being able to navigate the deep pow, go up the mountain, and not have to leave the thing stranded in the wilderness because it blew a gasket...
 

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since your new to sledding allow me to paint a little broader picture of the disease us addicts have succumbed to.
1) sled, used and probably needing work, or new for stupid money
2) engine reliabilty is only part of the equation, you have skis that get pushed through whatever conditions, little bearings in the suspension that spin a million miles an hour, springs, shocks that take a ton of abuse, tracks that take a ton of abuse and wiring harnesses that shake rattle and roll the whole time the machine is running
3) warm clothes to wear while riding, even more expensive if you want to look cool
4) insurance and registration
5) gas, oil, spare belts
6) truck and trailer if you dont live near a trail
7)dependable friends who will actually will ride when theres snow on the ground instead of making excuses to go to their wifes cousins daughters birthday party
8)basic mechanical knowledge in case you do have a problem on the trail
9)food and drinks wherever you ride to
10) club memberships, trail permits, trail maps, GPS etc
11) now you're into it and want to upgrade your sled....( cha-ching)
12) or you got a new sled (cha-ching) and you want accesories like tunnel bags, LED lights or heated face shields ( extra cha- ching)
Shall I continue? just dont ask why I love it so much
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
since your new to sledding allow me to paint a little broader picture of the disease us addicts have succumbed to.
1) sled, used and probably needing work, or new for stupid money
2) engine reliabilty is only part of the equation, you have skis that get pushed through whatever conditions, little bearings in the suspension that spin a million miles an hour, springs, shocks that take a ton of abuse, tracks that take a ton of abuse and wiring harnesses that shake rattle and roll the whole time the machine is running
3) warm clothes to wear while riding, even more expensive if you want to look cool
4) insurance and registration
5) gas, oil, spare belts
6) truck and trailer if you dont live near a trail
7)dependable friends who will actually will ride when theres snow on the ground instead of making excuses to go to their wifes cousins daughters birthday party
8)basic mechanical knowledge in case you do have a problem on the trail
9)food and drinks wherever you ride to
10) club memberships, trail permits, trail maps, GPS etc
11) now you're into it and want to upgrade your sled....( cha-ching)
12) or you got a new sled (cha-ching) and you want accesories like tunnel bags, LED lights or heated face shields ( extra cha- ching)
Shall I continue? just dont ask why I love it so much
Sounds like being a part of the Harley club...

Whatever I buy (or if I buy), it will probably:

1. End up going out 6-10x per year MAX.
2. Be used mostly as a 2-person taxi to the backcountry hill tops for some fresh pow skiing for me and the guys, to cut down on some hiking, and increase the number of turns per day.
3. Be driven around in the back of a pickup (short bed), either strapped in tight, or on a bed stand (debatable, but a trailer is a whole other hassle as well - especially when you've got an HOA).
4. Be stored under a cover for the rest of the year...

It sounds like I could have more fun with it than that, but that's the gist of why my buddies are telling me to get one. The problem is justification of the expense, and hassle, for just that. Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree, but I guess that's what I need to decide. I was 5 seconds away from purchasing a 2016 Ski-Doo Burton 800R Summit, along with an enormous drive-off trailer (no clue where I'd store that), when I started reflecting on this particular life choice.

I bought a sports car, a motorcycle, and a Jeep in the past year, and so far those toys haven't been mistakes (knock on wood). Don't want to ruin my winning streak I've got going...

Edit: And as I'm looking, I run into this: 2020 Ski-Doo Summit® X® With Expert Package 850 E-Tec® Ss 165 Pow For Sale in Richland Center, WI - Snowmobile Trader

"Short block warrantied 120 miles ago"

oof.
 

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ok maybe your not understanding the basic design of a two stroke motor, I don't think there are many in any form that are made for HIGH miles,
your chain saw sure is, nor is your weed wacker, or like things with two stroke motor's

NOW get away from the concept of MILES< and its a Hours thing when talking 2 stroke motors!
there designed again to have wear in moving parts so as time ticks by from running the motor , so do tolerances!
MOST folks rebuilt things WAY sooner than needed, but the MAIN reason they do is, that well, snow mobile season is short, and who wants to risk down time in the middle of the season if something happens,
SO since there is 7 months or so of DOWN time, folks do a top end rebuild, as they are (well used to be cheaper) all that costly and that also helps ensure a solid motor for the up coming season!

you can be a more risk taker, and run them till things FAIL , which might be several thousand miles down the road, but some times when you wait too long, when things do DO< they take out more costly and harder to replace parts!

top ends basically are wear and tear parts on ANY two stroke motor!
most do rebuilds based on a combination of things, like Motor compression reading, miles on them, and mile expected in the up coming season, as again trying to save down time

NOW you cannot comp[are your car/truck, street bike, to a snowmobile\

there not even in the same league when you look at the HP per LBS< and the way things are driven, I highly doubt you drive any steel legal vehicle, at the speed we run snowmobiles OFF ROAD like, and at full throttle often and jumping over things, and heavy ON throttle and OFF and repeat all day long while traveling!

if you did drive your steer vehicle like this, I bet they wouldn;t last near as long as they do now!

I am gathering your a younger guy here, and DON"T recall the ways of the world a few decades back, when most all off road dirt bikes and even many ATV';s that had performance to them, ALL were two strokes, and well, rebuilding wa s a normal thing, back in the race days, many would rebuilt after races, and not even adding 25 miles to thing IF that if you wanted top performance on things the next race and so on!
, many might say other wise but I all BS<


and NO one cried about it!
its the nature of the design!

NOW< one thing I will fully agree with is, well, snowmobiles are NOT low maintenance vehicles
there just too many HIGH wear items on a sled over most any other vehicle
track run on sliders(hyfax) meaning FRICTION< means WEAR
needing lucubration to help slow wear, Meaning, snow or likes when traveling! and even then there is still friction, its a wear item designed again to be replaced! and NOT in tens of thousands of miles either, some maybe replace every yr or other yr!
next, clutches take a beating on sleds, (also belts)
think again of the HP to LB ratio and then you start to get the picture of HIGH performance means COSTS
add in shocks that again take a beating due to again HOW we travel on them and the punishment we out to them!
few folks are again driving atv's and dirt bikes at the speeds we travel OFF road on sled, or the extremes the average idiot can put on a sled over other things!

the price tags of NEW sleds has gotten crazy HIGH, making used, one that well, already seen better days, still HIGH
and risky to buy even!, all the more so if you DON"T Know what to look for, or how to fix yourself!
if your taking a used sled to a dealer to get basic work done, the costs can get HIGH very fast!
add in full coverage insurance, on something that again only gets used a few weeks a yr IF your lucky!

snowmobiling is NOT a cheap sport, been it off and on for 40 yrs and change now
but like all things in life, TOYS always cost extra, and the faster the Toy the more costly they are to buy, own and UP keep!
 

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All snowmobiles are pretty much crap. They are way more reliable than they use to be. 4 strokes still break the same parts as the 2 strokes
 

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2 strokes are higher maintenance no doubt. But with normal maintenance "something most dont do". You can get lots of trouble free miles on some 2 stroke engines. For example. Im a 30 plus year snowmobile mechanic, and i maintain my machines religiously. I have a 1980 polaris txl that has over 17,000 miles on it. I put over 11,000 of those miles on it.Never failed me once. I had a 2002 polaris 500 xc sp that bought with 800 miles on it, and when i sold it. It had 6,800 trouble free miles on it. All original. I see many sleds come through my shop with many miles on them, and all original. That said the most highest mileaged sleds and all original at the time are the polaris 500, and 600 liberty carbed engines.I've witnessed 18,000 miles on those in the past. Many people do top end rebuilds around 2,500 miles as preventative maintenance. If the sled has a good quality crank pistons and so on, you shouldn't have to touch the engine for thousands of miles. That said sleds made today might need top ends every 2,500 miles. I miss the years of the polaris carb engines. They lasted thousands of miles, part due to the fact they had good quality cranks and Elko pistons the best pistons in the industry. I dont rebuild based on mileage. When you get to know your engine, you will know when there is something wrong. At least i can.
 

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I sold 1 of my 2 stroke rentals sleds with over 16,000 miles on it, it never was rebuilt, guy still runs it but compression is low now.
Exactly what im saying. I bet it was a 500 or 600 liberty.
 

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Insane Madcatter
06 F7 EFI / 00 MXZ 600
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So I'm looking to purchase a used snowmobile, but I'm starting to have some serious misgivings about this venture, the more I research. The reliability on these things appear to be downright AWFUL.

SERIOUSLY?
Buy a Viper.
I've seen 20K on a stock one, 18K and 14K on others.
The Genesis 130 is one of the best snowmobiling engines ever made.
Did they update the tri-hub? Hmmm.. don't recall, been awhile.
 

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I'm 30 years old and have been riding for 25. To be honest. Ive never had to rebuild any of my engines on my sleds. Some day I will... Its going to happen. Well I did buy a 13 pro r 800 that ibknew had a destroyed engine. But I built myself a long rod 800 for that. I knew what I was getting into there. I've had 3 different sleds with over 12,000 miles. No engine issues. But I spend alot of time in off season doing alot of maintenance. Alot. My sleds usually aren't ready in a weekend. Its usually a few week process per sled. I store them very well too in the summer. A process my dad taught me. Down to packing all electrical connections with die electric grease. Keep in mind. People come on the internet for help. So rebuilds are greatly exagerated compared to real life.
 

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I agree. Snowmobile quality and resulting reliability is poor. This is surprising when one considers the application. Longevity (a different thing) is also low but it meets the needs of the average consumer. Most snowmobiles do not see 10,000 miles before they are perceived to be obsolete.
 

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I used to keep my sleds a long time. I have had two 2 strokes that went 15k miles before I sold them. Zero engine work other than water pump belts and cleaning the valves. One was a ZL600, the other was an Edge 700X. Now I have been buying new every other year, but I recently went 4 stroke and I may keep this one for a few more years. But it still needs to be maintained. I enjoy my maintenance so I do it right and my sleds almost never let me down because of it.
 

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Have to keep in mind a rebuild at 2500 miles on a sled does not mean thousands of dollars like a 4 stroke. This is a 2 stroke motor. A top end rebuilt is cheap and is just part of maintaining them. These are also high performance machines. On motocross dirt bikes they need a top end rebuilt very often and people accept this. Just cost of performance that the market demands

Another point. When you do research on forums, facebook groups, ect you will always find the negative. Most people don't get on every day posting they have no problems. But 1 person out of thousands that have something have issue and post about it and it seems like everyone has it. Doesn't matter sleds, trucks, washing machines, whatever lol
 

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2k used to be the standard on how long a sled could last. Now 10k is nothing. But not without maintenance. Tons of fast moving and wearable parts. We’ve kept all our sleds in the last 25 yrs >10k(before that not so much). Still liked them when we moved on. Had one 2 stroke drop a piston at 12k. 4 strokes never an issue. Even clutches can last, just replaced one on a ‘07 with 13k. We don’t abuse ‘em but don’t baby ‘em either.


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