Stuck Metal

What to do when a piston sticks to the cylinder

October 2007 Feature Jacob White

The biggest storm of the season just blew through town this week and you're unloading Saturday for the best day of virgin powder riding in the history of snowmobiling. Two miles up the trail your sled spits, sputters and dies. You grab the pull rope and give it a tug, only to have your arm nearly ripped from the socket. A seized engine always happens at the absolute worst time.

A little too much heat, not enough lubrication, a lean spot in the rpm range, too much compression-all of these problems can eventually lead to a scorched or seized piston and cylinder. What's the first step in getting the sled back on the hill after a cylinder and piston get a little too friendly under your heads?

Millennium Technologies of Plymouth, WI, specializes in cylinder replating, which is a cost efficient way to get back and running with very little downtime. With the cost of replacement cylinders and the usual, "We'd have to order it in," response from the parts guy, replating your scorched cylinder may be your best and cheapest option.

Millennium uses new Nickel Silicon Carbide composite plating that will restore your cylinder to better shape than it was new.

Millennium Technologies describes Nickel Silicon Carbide (NCS) as a composite made up of very fine nickel and silicon carbide particles that are evenly dispersed to form a coating in the cylinder, making for a very strong and durable liner for the piston to slide against. Silicon carbide is used in the process because of the very fine and consistent particle size as well as its hardness. Another reason to use silicon carbide is because of its oleoific characteristics. That simply means it has a natural tendency to absorb oil, which helps retain the oil in the cylinders.

Electroplating is used to adhere the coating to the aluminum walls of the cylinder making for a permanent bond that's actually stronger than the actual aluminum. The honing process is a little different then most out there due to the hardness of the coating. Diamonds are used in the initial honing because they are the only material strong enough to smooth out the nickel silicon carbide. Special honing tools and machines are used to bring the honed cylinders into within .00025-inch tolerances.

When you consider that an OEM replacement cylinder for a 600 Rotax is around $540 and the average cost to replate a used cylinder around $225, you may want to look into this as an option if the need ever arises.

Contact Millennium Technologies (920) 893-5595 or

  • Like what you read?

    Want to know when we have important news, updates or interviews?

  • Join our newsletter today!

    Sign Up
You Might Also Be Interested In...

Send to your friends!

Welcome to Snowest!

Have a discount code on us.

Discount Code: