141 high country unstable off trail

Jun 22, 2019
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I have a 19 high country and this is my first dedicated off trail snowmobile and I'm a little disappointed because so far it's been the worst handling sled I've ever rode off trail. I'm hoping there is an adjustment I can make the will make it better. I kind of think I should try pulling up the limiter strap but I'm not sure, I've never adjusted a snowmobile for off trail handling.
I ride in northern MN back country. Here are the issues I have.
In deep snow with uneven ground like a swamp or woods, on tight slow trails I cannot go straight. Every uneven part the sled wants to completely tip over on its side. I often end up zig zagging at 45 degree angles constantly back and forth on these narrow paths I'm trying to follow, literally jumping back and forth constantly to keep from tipping over completely. It's a ton of work and I'm the only one doing this and having this problem in the group. It's like one ski dives way under the snow and I end up damn near standing on the side of the tunnel to keep from rolling, and I'm doing this back and forth constantly. Other guys can pretty much stay sitting in the same conditions and be fine.
The other symptom is the when riding some forest roads in this spot that recently had some rain so there is about an inch of hard crust on top of 2-3' of snow.. when going along at any speed and turning, the outside ski breaks through the crust, the whole front corner drops and ski dives down and sled wants to roll, it high sided me a couple of times and at higher speeds is downright dangerous. My buddy on his old stretched crossfire can ride around with one hand on the bars and I'm sweating and working the bars hard because every time the ski dives down then it catches all of the suspension on that corner and just wants to dive down more. I have been riding for 25 years and have rode in crusty snow before and have experienced this before in a MUCH milder way. This again is very extreme and the sled is borderline unrideable if you're not very fit and stay on top of it.

Again another symptom that I think is all part of the same issue, this isn't as bothersome but in nice deep powder like on forests roads it is sometimes very hard to just go straight, like in the 10-30mph range, you can feel the sled kind of wants to turn one way or the other, the slightest leg weighting really wants to make it carve to one way. This isn't a huge deal but I mention it because I think it is part of the other issues.

I compete in motorcycle enduros and am not a squid or a lazy rider or something like that. This thing really isn't handling right it is pretty unrideable in these condoitions for most people I'd say for sure.
I am kind of thinking the limiter strap needs to be pulled up and front track spring softened.. I think it is maybe teetering way too much on front of track. But I'm not totally sure, I haven't ever needed to adjust things for offtrail. I bought this new and haven't touched anything on suspension yet besides moving skis to inner position and removing sway bar but the problem was the same before that also and also don't have experience with these style of mountain skids.
The sled is great when on the gas and front end is high.
I also if I didn't know better would think the skis are garbage but I think everyone else would be having same issues.

Sorry for the long post but wanted to give the most info, I really hope somebody has experienced this or knows what I'm talking about and can help. Thank you.
The sled is a 2019 8000 high country 141
 
Feb 28, 2016
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Do you have air or coil over shocks? I know that with air if you dont have enough in the front shocks the sled will handle like crap. I usually set my can side at 70 and clutch side at 75. The more air you add the more stable your front end will feel
 

kidwoo

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1. What you're describing is riding in natural snow

2. Snow is not dirt

3. It's not the sled


Keep at it, you'll figure it out. You already know motors and throttle control. Generally speaking, it's the same as hard pack in that acceleration helps you straighten out, and slow down to turn, then accelerate out, just do the turning by leaning more so than steering in the direction you want to turn.

The sled is going to dip a little side to side in real snow. That's just the way it is. Feel it dip right, stand a little on your left leg. You'll learn to habituate the motions after a while.
 
Jun 22, 2019
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I've been riding in these same conditions my while life and this is the first sled that has been anything like this. I've owned around 10 sleds and rode many others all in these same exact conditions and this is not normal, I know it probably sounds like it's just a person that doesn't know how to ride but you'll just have to take my word for it.
 
Last edited:

Coldfinger

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Make sure you dont have a bent wear bar
Make sure your ski alignment is good
Make sure a front shock is not bent, both have approx equal damping, spring tension the same
Does it have a sway bar and is it totally connected or not, is it bent

Check your ski saddle rubber because maybe one is letting the ski tip up too far

I was thinking stiffen up front track shock to remove pressure from skis if it is diving, and maybe let the limiter strap out if it is adjustable.

Make sure front track shock has damping or hasnt lost oil.

When riding deep snow, when following another track, it is very hard to go straight. Sometimes best to make your own track. When in deep snow, you do steer much more by weight placement on left or right running board and doing it while standing is the easiest way.
 

sno*jet

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I think I know what you're talking about. ive experienced it coming down our single tracks in wet heavy snow. the skidoo behind me could sit and go wherever he wanted, the cats are a handful there. its the only bad part of their handling imo. happens a lot when you're going down hill in soft snow. I don't think sucking up the limiter will help but go with your gut. the skis ARE garbage. Gripper skis have like 100% good review when compared to stock. I find myself going down hills on one ski a lot more often then needed because the chassis just more controllable that way.
 

summ8rmk

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What skis are on the HC? Are they the same as the Alpha? If so, they are the best ski cat has ever made for the mountain. If they are the same as the 16-18 M's, they are garbage.
Run the skis in the wide setting.
Reduce pressure in the FTS.
Increase pressure in the ski shocks

Sent it
 
Mar 7, 2017
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West Bend, WI
What skis are on the HC? Are they the same as the Alpha? If so, they are the best ski cat has ever made for the mountain. If they are the same as the 16-18 M's, they are garbage.
Run the skis in the wide setting.
Reduce pressure in the FTS.
Increase pressure in the ski shocks

Sent it
Same skis as the alpha proclimb g2
I second the thought of reducing pressure in fts
I’ve got a 19 hc 141 myself not the limited. My skis are in the middle setting and I’m able to sidehill/hold an edge while sitting even. I think it handles well so something must not be set up right..
 
Nov 24, 2008
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SK, Canada
I have the exact same sled but haven't had alot of off trail experience with it yet. Coming off a 2013 High country 800. I noticed the same concerns with a ski breaking through on crusty snow. Not sure if it was just the poor spring conditions, or a set up issue. Had grippers on my 13 which I loved. These 19's G2 skis look nearly identical in profile as the gripper, just a little stiffer and a little more aggressive. Going to try the stock skis on better snow this winter for a few rides before I decide to try the grippers on this one.
 
I have a 18 high country 153 and it does the same thing. I've gone all directions on the set up. running the rebound at the lite setting helps a bit. I rode my 2010 m8 yesterday and it is fun to ride and handles much much better. I am trying to figure out witch after market ski to try. I think the hi country is a zr with the long track not the tru mountain sled.
 
Nov 24, 2008
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SK, Canada
I did some closer looking on the weekend and found the right hand ski was toe'd in slightly. This would definitely contribute to ski grab/dart. I adjusted the toe and went for a quick rip yesterday. We hardly have any snow yet where I live, but it seemed good on the test ride. Going on a little trip this weekend to see how it handles.
 

Frostbite

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Being from Two Harbors originally, I understand. Having ridden out west since the early 80's I think I may know part of your issue. The front track shock pressure sounds like it could be too high or extended too far. The sled is like it's balancing on the front of the track and your sled will follow any changes in the levelness of the ground by tipping toward the low side. Increase your ski pressures(I run mine around 60 PSI) and lower via limiter straps and drop the pressure on the front track shock. It's a fine line because you still want the front end lively but not tippy. You might try widening your ski stance too. I have found 37" work fairly well for me out west.
 

aphoric

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I ride both a 2016 m925 big bore and a 2018 high country 600. Both are good off trail. Main problems with the HC are ski stance is stupid wide, and sway bar links need to go. I rode the HC a bit last year while my other sled was getting work, it was fun with the short track, once I dumped the links and softened up the front track and ski shocks and moved stance narrower. Before that I was getting stuck a lot.

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Betterview

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You have too much weight on the skis. It may be caused by too much air or spring in the ski shocks, but is often caused by too much air or spring in the rear track shock, and on occasion not enough air or spring in front track shock. With the rather narrow skis on the High Country too much air in either the front or rear of the sled will make the sled dart and the skis dive. Taking air out of the front track shock will always put more weight on the skis and make things worse. Make sure the limiter strap has not been shortened. Often the High Country comes tuned for good trail handling and the first time in crusty or deep snow the skis diving with the wide ski stance make for a scary ride and numerous stucks until both ends of the sled are softened enough to allow for rather easy ski lift in good traction. With the shorter track that balance is harder to achieve and far more important then it is on a longer track.
 
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