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Skandic SWT V800; overheating issues with the V800 4 stroke
Topic Started: Jan 3 2011, 08:46 AM (3,602 Views)
mt groomer
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Some of my experiences w/ using the 2009 V800 4 stroke these last 2 winters.
I'll try not to make this too lengthy.

At the end of last season I began to have overheating problems w/ the sled. By overheating, I mean the orange and red lights would flash and the alarm would go off. I attribute this to warmer springtime temps. and grooming on hard pack w/ no new snow to kick up to help w/ cooling. Seemed like any time it was over 32 and the sun was out, it would overheat. My solution to this was to stop, turn it off, pop the hood, and let it cool for a few minutes. I also noticed that putting it in neutral caused the flywheel to spin and the drive belt to turn, which I thought would help w/ cooling. One thing I noticed after reading the owners manual - the fan should remain on for a minute after shutting down. This sled never did that, and I wondered if maybe the fan wasn't working properly, while it was running.

So this season I started having overheating issues again, but temps have always been cold, below freezing. One day when a volunteer was grooming, he had a complete breakdown on the trail, and could not restart the sled. He had to place the battery on a charger to get it to start. It was taken to the dealer for repair. What they found was the voltage regulator was shot. Even after replacing that, there was still a problem that they couldn't diagnose. After way too many days, they finally determined it was the stator, and ordered and replaced that. I won't even go into the frustrations we've had dealing w/ the local dealer. We also asked them to check out the fan situation.

Our club had purchased another used '09 SWT last spring to use at another trail sysem, so we hauled that sled up there to use while #1 was in the shop. Again, it overheated going up the climb. Temps were in the single digits. I figured it was because I was on hardpack, and wasn't picking up any new snow to help w/ cooling. With this sled (#2), the fan did stay on after turning off.

So now, here's what I do when it overheats:

Put in neutral, turn off engine, the fan should continue to run. I pop the hood and pack snow in front of the radiator. Let it sit for a few minutes. Restart. Sometimes the yellow 'check engine' light will come on. Wait till the fan comes back on, turn off ignition to reset the computer, then restart. The yellow light should now be off.

We finally got sled #1 back. First day, the fan never came on. When I finished grooming, I checked all the fuses and relay, which were OK. When restarted, the fan did come on, so maybe something was loose. But in the 3 days of use since, the fan rarely comes on, the 'check engine' light stays on, and the fan does not run at all after shutting down. It did not overheat, but it has been very cold here.

One observation I made- if you look at the air intake (radiator) grille on the front, just below the bumper- it is very small in relation to the radiator. I think there's not enough fresh air getting to the radiator. After punching through 2' of new snow the other day, it was totally snow packed and frozen. I removed the mesh grill cover so the airflow isn't restricted. I had thought about adding scratchers to help w/ cooling, but someone who knows way more than me about snowmobiles said it wouldn't help because the radiator is up front, rather than underneath.

I know, we could add an auxiliary radiator, but you would think SkiDoo could design a heavy duty utility sled that is designed to go slow and pull heavy loads without overheating.
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semntrails
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Interesting the problems you're having with your 800's. Thankfully we've had very little overheating trouble. Could be smaller hills or different snow types are helping us. I know up at ABR they have a big external radiator mounted on the back of their 800.

It sounds counterintuitive but I wonder if having the hood open helps it cool or not. I don't drive that one often, I spend more of my time on our older 550, but the one time I had the 800 overheat was when I was driving around slow with the hood off, which much have disrupted the airflow to the radiator.

I've never had that check engine light (overheat) come on while driving, but I have had it come on if I've been going slow (5mph) pulling the Ginzu, the stop to mess with the groomer, tree, whatever and leave the engine idle, then decide to shut it off after a few minutes. If I start it back up a few minutes after that the light will come on, shut it down start it up again and the light is off.

One thing I'm not sure about, I'll have to reread the manual, but I thought it said - if you use the kill switch the fan will keep running - if needed - but if you pull the safety lanyard then the fan won't run, not sure how you are shutting the snowmobile down. A lot of times ours doesn't keep running when I shut it down but I have heard it for about 15 seconds a few times.
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air19
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I have a different sled - Yamaha's VK Pro which I have had overheating issues for a long time with. I did install a second radiator.

I also did something that you might want to consider for the Skandic. I re-wired the primary radiator fan so that it is not only turned on by the thermostat, but also by a manual switch I have now. That means I can run that fan all day long if I want, and with the VK Pro I am usually running the fans for both the primary and secondary radiator the entire time.

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tttpolaris
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Our 09 swt 800 overheats too, I beleive the fan has never worked since new, we checked everthing, fan runs when jumped out, relay is good, sending unit is good, but fan never comes on, of course ski-doo won't stand behind it, dealer out of business. We assume that the computer is the problem. For now we wired the fan direct with a toggle switch. Now we need more snow to try out. I thought the 4-stroke was the ticket, but now I wish we had a fan cooled swt becouse they never overheated. :letsnow:
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mt groomer
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air19
Jan 3 2011, 01:15 PM
I have a different sled - Yamaha's VK Pro which I have had overheating issues for a long time with. I did install a second radiator.

I also did something that you might want to consider for the Skandic. I re-wired the primary radiator fan so that it is not only turned on by the thermostat, but also by a manual switch I have now. That means I can run that fan all day long if I want, and with the VK Pro I am usually running the fans for both the primary and secondary radiator the entire time.

air- yes, I've read all about your trials and tribulations w/ your vk.

We have talked about rewiring the fan also, but haven't done it yet.

sem- I use the kill switch, and never mess w/ the safety lanyard. Also, if you leave it running too long, it will shut off automatically. I wish it could be that smart about turning it's fan on.

Question: I typically groom at a pretty slow speed when pulling the ginzu. Maybe 10kph avg. Do you think there is more effective cooling by driving at a higher speed (yes) or would it cause the sled to run hotter and negate the cooling effect? I tried driving a couple clicks faster on a day that it had overheated, and it didn't overheat going up the same climb (long, gradual forest service rd.)
Edited by mt groomer, Jan 3 2011, 02:49 PM.
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semntrails
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I think faster would help with the overheating of course that usually decreases the quality of how the trail looks so finding the happy medium is the tricky part.

If I'm just trying to scratch up the surface I'll usually be going 10-15mph (our 800 the main #'s are in miles the 550 they are in km's). When I'm trying to leave a perfect trail then I'm more in the 5-10 mph.

Our hills are short so that probably helps up a lot.
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Sherpa-man
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mt groomer
Jan 3 2011, 08:46 AM
I had thought about adding scratchers to help w/ cooling, but someone who knows way more than me about snowmobiles said it wouldn't help because the radiator is up front, rather than underneath.
Your V800 does have tunnel coolers in addition to the radiator. Scratchers will put more snow onto the tunnel coolers in hard conditions if installed correctly, they should help.

Also, when you shut down the engine you stop the coolant from circulating through the engine and taking away heat. An idling engine will lose heat faster than one that is shut down. But you've got to sort out the fan situation first... it doesn't sound like it cycles on correctly.
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yoopergroomer
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The Dootalk forum is a good one for the solution here on the V800.
We added a aux radiator in teh rear with a fan and disconected the bulkhead cooler to reduce the slush on the trail icing up the groomer. It works well.
The 2 hour $30 DVD from ABR Trails www.abrski.com called Selecting and Setting up your Snowmobile/ATV for Grooming does address the set up for cooling mods to this sled and others.
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couchsachraga
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I'll "second" the ABR video being a good one. Most of the items it references for the sleds I've looked at I've heard about on the internet, but having them SHOW you how / where / why is invaluable. $30 can seem like a lot, but it can easily save that much in getting it done quickly, and having less troubles in the future... and that's just one sled, not all the different groomers they go through (nice to see the minitruck in there too:) ).

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mt groomer
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Sherpa-man
Jan 3 2011, 05:33 PM

Your V800 does have tunnel coolers in addition to the radiator. Scratchers will put more snow onto the tunnel coolers in hard conditions if installed correctly, they should help.

Also, when you shut down the engine you stop the coolant from circulating through the engine and taking away heat. An idling engine will lose heat faster than one that is shut down. But you've got to sort out the fan situation first... it doesn't sound like it cycles on correctly.[/quote]


That's good to know - we'll look into adding scratchers.

I always leave the engine idling while stopping along the trail. I try to get in the habit of putting it in neutral, which seems to kick on the fan (in sled #2) and spins the drive belt.
The manual says to shut it off when it overheats. Should I try letting it continue to run to keep the coolant circulating?

Safety note: Putting it in neutral when stopping and after use is a good habit to get into. This weekend, the throttle cable was frozen and wouldn't retract when I started it up. Had it not been in neutral, the sled would've crashed into the steel wall of the storage container when I revved the throttle. I've also leaned over bars and inadvertently hit the throttle sending it lurching forward.

Great stuff guys, thanks!
Posted this to dootalk also - not 1 reply.
Edited by mt groomer, Jan 4 2011, 07:06 AM.
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Boldy
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Mt,

That fan should be running. I can't offer any insights into the reason it's not but we have a 2010 V800 and the fan seems to run pretty regularly. We've been running it for a year with no overheating. Our trails aren't really hilly so not that taxing. We're hauling an 84" ginzu. Wonder if there's a way to wire the fan so you control when it comes on?
Hope you find a solution, undependable machines can be a serious pain in the butt - especially when you're sending volunteer groomers out on them.
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mt groomer
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Stopped in at the dealer yesterday and spoke w/ the service guy, just to let them know the fan was still not working properly.
We talked about adding a switch that would bypass the thermostat/sensor to control the fan manually. I think a temp. gauge should also be added so the temps. can be monitored.
Of course, there's an accessory cooling package available for about a grand, plus labor. :banghead:
The sled seems to be running cooler having removed the front grill, but hard to tell. He also said there are aftermarket air grills that can be installed.
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semntrails
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Mt groomer your mention of the stuck throttle reminded me we had that problem once the first year we got the snowmobile. Operator started it and went to pull out of the shed and the throttle stuck open. He ended up rolling it around the corner - thankfully no injuries or major damage.

The cable had iced up and at the time we found a few other occurances of that. It hasn't happened again in the last year and a half but we tell everyone to start it in neutral and rev it up once to make sure before starting out now.
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yoopergroomer
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A mechanical temp gauge is an easy modification and it provides very useful information...like when to turn on the fan overide, speed up and get bulkhead cooling, or back off the groomer teeth etc.
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mt groomer
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Sherpa-man
Jan 3 2011, 05:33 PM

Also, when you shut down the engine you stop the coolant from circulating through the engine and taking away heat. An idling engine will lose heat faster than one that is shut down. But you've got to sort out the fan situation first... it doesn't sound like it cycles on correctly.
Sherpa- When I read your reply, the light went off in my head. Leave it running to keep the coolant flowing!

Yesterday it overheated going up the climb. I stopped, left it running, put it in neutral, opened the hood and packed a handful of snow in front of the radiator. The fan was running.
The warning lights shut off in about 30 seconds and I continued on.
If I had shut it off, chances are the warning lights would have come back on.
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