We've been asked to repeat some information we first ran on snowest.com Feb. 8, 2008, regarding some issues with the Ski-Doo Summit 800. This is for those who might have missed this the first time around.
We've been hearing the rumblings about the issues some Ski-Doo Summit 800 owners have been having with their drive belts so we went to our contact at Ski-Doo and asked what was up.
Yes, there is a problem with the drive belt on the 2008 Summit 800. Actually, Gordy Radke, Ski-Doo Product Quality Specialist, said there are three areas that could be of concern with regards to the Rev XP, but the majority of the issues Ski-Doo has been seeing this season have to do with the belt itself.
Radke said 80 percent of the belt issues are with the belt itself. To solve the problem, Ski-Doo has gone to its belt manufacturer-Mitsubashi-and asked for an improved belt for the Summit 800. Those belts are now available.
Radke explained what was going on with the belt that comes stock with the Summit 800. He said riders who go out in deep powder or are boondocking at slow speeds, those are the ones who could possibly have belt problems. "The belt couldn't handle the temperatures" being generated by those conditions, Radke said. "We hit the wall with that belt; we were to the limit of that belt."
With the heat that was being generated, the belt wasn't blowing apart, but rather a cord was coming out. As the belt got hot, it would soften and belt deflection increased so the sled would then start out in second gear.
Even Ski-Doo's belt manufacturer admitted the belt was overstressed in those riding conditions. Radke pointed out that riders who don't ride in deep powder or boondock at slow speeds might not ever experience a belt problem.
The new belt-part number 417-300-377-is from the same manufacturer and is 4mm shorter and 1mm wider. It also uses a different compound. The PBO compound now used in the new belt is one Ski-Doo has used before, back in the Mach days.
"This belt's resistance to compression and high temps is much better than the old belt," Radke said.
It's the same PBO compound material Arctic Cat uses in the drive belts for the M1000.
The good news for Ski-Doo Summit 800 owners is that Ski-Doo is warranting the belt. Keep in mind the warranty only applies to the Summit 800s.
On a small number of Summit 800s there has also been a clutch alignment issue. Radke said it's a small percentage of sleds experiencing this but there are "some out there."
The solution? "As with any vehicle, clutch alignment should be checked but you should go to your dealer," Radke said.
Most riders won't be able to tell if their clutch alignment is off-the sled will just eat a belt, so that's why you head into the dealer to have it checked out.
The third solution to any issues revolving around the drive system is to gear down, Radke said. He said those who are hardcore boondockers or deep powder riders should definitely gear down.
Sleds with a 146-inch track (stock at 23/45) should go to a 21/45 gear ratio. Sleds with a 154-inch track (stock at 21/45) should go to 19/45 gearing.
Radke pointed out that once you gear down you'll lose some top-end speed, but the benefits outweigh that minor issue.
However, the good news is Ski-Doo will also warranty swapping out the gears.
Radke had one more piece of advice for Summit 800 owners. Depending on the altitude you ride in, your sled might be overrevving. It should be shifting out at 8150 rpm (plus or minus 100 rpm). If it's not shifting out at that rpm, turn the TRA clicker down one.
The new belt will lower the shift rpm, so keep that in mind.
For more information, contact your Ski-Doo dealer.