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Project M-80

SnoWest's 2008 Project Sled

Published online: Sep 18, 2007 Feature Ryan Harris
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Tell us this has never happened to you: You're 12 years old in a field behind the neighbor's house with three of your friends. You're holding a matchbook; the kid next to you is holding an M-80 that his older brother got from his friend. The other two kids watch as you light a match, hold it to the fuse and throw the M-80 on the ground. Your ears ring as you watch a plastic bucket fall back to the ground. Two of the other kids are still running. Your friend's mom is standing on the back step yelling at him. But he can't hear her either. Instead, he looks at your and mouths the word "awesome!"

That's the general idea of what we expect when we light the throttle on this year's SnoWest project sled-a 2008 Arctic Cat M8 162-which we'll ignite with a few aftermarket power parts.

We picked up the new sled at Mountain Magic Sports (208-852-0400) and we'll come back to Mountain Magic for Kevin Hubbard's help with final setup tuning.

M-80's explosion of power will come from a turbo charger system from Boondockers (208-542-4411). This low-boost setup should give us all the power we need without compromising the sled's rideability and reliability. A Boondocker EFI control box will adjust the sled's fuel curve to tune the turbo to its maximum potential.

We'll pull out the factory rear suspension and replace it with a complete skidframe from Fabcraft (406-777-1200). The lightweight mountain skid will feature tipped up rails for easy handling of the 162-inch track and Walker Evans shocks. Fabcraft switched to Walker shocks this year for what it claims is an improved ride.

Front suspension work will be left to Zbroz Racing (435-753-7774) and its line of ARS-FX parts. The A-arms feature a unique bend for increased ground clearance and the ARS-FX shocks offer top-notch handling for what the turbo is going to throw at it.

A float plate from Skinz Protective Gear (320-243-8771) will give us a little insurance and help keep the front end up on the snow . not that it will be an issue with the turbo.

To protect the innards of the M8 engine, we'll run high-performance oil from Torco Advanced Lubricants (800-649-5722).

We'll run SLT skis from Starting Line Products (208-529-0244) and a couple Flow-Rite kits. The SLT skis are a perfect match for the M8's chassis and will give us just the right amount of control with the turbo's speed.

To give it a custom look, LB Designs' Shane Landon (208-390-9331) will paint the hood with an explosive M-80 scene.

While we expect an explosion of sorts with Project M-80, we don't want things to get too hot. We'll use R&M Lightning Products (801-467-2442) side panel vent kits to flow cool air into the engine compartment.

The stock M8 seat is decent, but we're looking for less weight and more height for our style of riding. Mountain Mod (250-866-5278) will hook us up with a lightweight tall mountain seat.

Some of the finishing touches will come by way of a Cobra windshield from Powermadd (952-400-0101), along with a set of hand guards and a 3-inch handlebar riser.

With the M8 being in its second year of production, there will be plenty of goods to make it burst onto the scene this winter. You might even see it on a mountain near you. Just look for the little bits of red cardboard .