how to convert a race snowmobile into a trail sled

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Why ride older race sleds?
So what is attractive about these now 9- to 13-year-old warriors? A few things to note about these past racers are their excellent ergonomics, light weight and rarity. They still have somewhat of a “cool factor,” even when compared to modern muscle. For example, Polaris is still using updated versions of the 2005 racer as their current 600cc competition model, although Cat and Ski-Doo are a generation or two past their ’05 versions. None of the 2003-2007 racers were built in any large quantity (I’m guessing in the 300-400 sled range). The mods were even scarcer. And some guys just like building custom sleds, or maybe preserving their race history.

So where would a guy find one of these sleds? I would definitely recommend some of the large swap meets like Hay Days, held in North Branch, Minn., in early September; Princeton, Minn., held two weeks earlier in late August; the A-1 Show in central Michigan in early November; or one of the many local swaps held in Maine, New Jersey, the Dakotas and in locations further west. These swap meets are also great places to find new factory clearance or used parts.  

The barn-fresh 2005 Arctic Cat 440 Sno Pro featured here was sitting untouched since her last race in the winter of 2009. This particular example was raced for five tough seasons in and around the East Coast in the former BEST and RMR circuits. The goal of this conversion was not to restore the sled to like-new condition, but to trail-convert her while trying to preserve some of her racy character and history.

Fortunately for us, the cottage industry supporting trail conversions is pretty well established. Trail Tank sells larger gas tanks for the Cat and Polaris 440s that are nearly double the size of their original five-gallon tanks. Custom heat exchangers can be purchased from several sources, like Fabcraft. Jetting and clutch tuning parts are readily available, as are shorter lug tracks. It’s more than possible to give these dusty old “Barn Cats” a new lease on life.
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