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High-Speed Snowmobile Does Just One Speed Well

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Walt
User Rank
Gold
Re: KAWASAKI INVADER 340
Walt   10/25/2011 11:47:02 AM
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Sorry about going on about this.  I believed the picture...

I wondered if there was some information disconnect - buying a modified sled, but talking about the manufacturer...

 

benmlee2
User Rank
Gold
Is Fair
benmlee2   10/25/2011 5:18:02 PM
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To be fair, snow mobiles are not the only vehicle with that issue. Don't know about snow mobiles, but try buying a motorcycle if you don't know what you are doing. Out of college, I got a XT250 dual sport that is freeway legal thinking is going to go on the freeway to the trails. No way in Los Angeles!!! Thinking that was too old, got a newer XT225. No way on the freeway. Engine was reving at >7000rpm!! Then got a DR350. That was better until a long trip. No way, the buzz gets to you. Finally realize you need at least a 600cc for freeway and 900cc for touring.

Realize there are many types of motorcycle out there, each one is very specific to doing one thing well. Some of them are so specific you can't even ride a 1,000 miles without an engine overhaul! Those information are never posted. You are suppose to "know".

Now that was before days of internet. If you do the same thing now, you are a fool for not doing even a google search that will tell you all you need to know in an hour.

jmiller
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Safety concerns
jmiller   10/25/2011 10:26:36 PM
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I think when it comes to safety it's often buyer beware.  However, more and more states are requiring licenses or lessons to operate snowmobiles or 4 wheelers.  Often high speed sleds are better for river riding or trail riding in the northern states.

However, to buy a sled that requires a certain amount of speed to keep it cool would be rather frustrating.  In some cases the temperature might be 25-30 degrees and having to wait until it gets colder than that might be a little frustrating.

At least if you have kids bugging you for a ride.

OLD_CURMUDGEON
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Safety concerns
OLD_CURMUDGEON   10/26/2011 8:28:31 AM
To JMILLER, etal.:

I'm NOT sure how the concern for "safety" entered into this forum discussion about the KAWASAKI snowmobile, but for me, as the owner, it was never really an issue.  My total disappointment w/ this vehicle was in the fact that I could not enjoy it to its fullest, since the engine would overheat while riding trails.  And, I'm NOT talking about marginal snow or ambient temperature conditions.  I'm talking about daytime temps that hovered in the low teens, with nighttime temps near 0ºF!!  As I previously mentioned in other posts, this INVADER was a replacement for a RUPP NITRO 340, also liquid cooled.  The RUPP featured an external rubrail/bumper of aluminum (extrusion).  The center of this extrusion was hollow, and the outside was finned.  Cooling liquid ran through it.  The RUPP also had a tunnel radiator which recieved "splashed" snow from the revolving track.  In the 1970s, liquid-cooled snowmobile engines were becoming more popular since they provided more power, and were more likely to run better under more diverse weather conditions.  In all the years I had the RUPP, I never once had an overheating situation, whether it was during the peak of the winter season w/ ambient temperatures hovering only in the teens, or in March, when daytime temps were in the low 40s, and snowmobiling was limited to the evening / nighttime when the cover would refreeze.  This WAS definitely a design deficiency w/ the KAWASAKI machine, and it turned out to be a very annoying and disappointing experience.

As an aside, I had several KAWASAKI motorcycles in those years, and never had any major design and/or handling issues w/ any of them.  For the record, I've been riding motorcycles in the mid 1950s, so I've had considerable experience w/ them from several manufacturers, including BSA, TRIUMPH, NSU, HONDA & KAWASAKI. 

UMT_Tech
User Rank
Iron
Lets be fair
UMT_Tech   10/26/2011 10:56:37 AM
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The sled in the picture is a Factory Kawasaki Sno-Pro ice oval racer, it has only 2 modes, idle and full throttle. I have owned and raced several different sleds from that era and each had their own problems. As for the Invader sleds, they had a radiator without a cooling fan which meant they had to be moving faster to get air flowing through the rad. These sleds were marketed as lake runners and not trail sleds. I have ridden a 440 Invader for 1 season and it is an excellent sled for it's intended purpose. To make it a trail sled you had to add a cooling fan. Some Arctic Cat sleds that used the Kawasaki engine had the same problem but, after the first or second year Arctic Cat added the cooling fan. Yamaha's SRX had the same setup but, had a cooling fan. As for snowmobile safety are you kidding me, what about motorcycles, ATV's, Jet Ski's, PWC's, or even boats. Safety is on the onus of the operator. As for the most dangerous snowmobile it has to be the factory Yamaha SSR. On a ice lake you could get 120 mph or more out of it, problem was this little sticker on the dash that read "Warnig operating this vehical at full throttle for longer than 6 seconds can result in injury or death to the operator", motor explosion.

Keldawwg
User Rank
Gold
Re: KAWASAKI INVADER 340
Keldawwg   10/26/2011 5:56:55 PM
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I had to laugh when I saw your comment about not knowing who the person was that submitted your rant... The same thing happened to me after I left a story about Bosch Spark plugs in my Mercedes...

My story was edited and submitted with some other guys name...  :-)

My name is Kelly Williams, and I approve this message

OLD_CURMUDGEON
User Rank
Platinum
Re: KAWASAKI INVADER 340
OLD_CURMUDGEON   10/27/2011 8:12:27 AM
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To KELDAWWG & UMT_TECH:

Please understand that the time frame I'm referring to was the early 1980s, FULLY 30 years ago, and so it is not relevant today.  However, the PLAGIARISM issue IS very relevant, and I have voiced my concern about that w/ Rob Spiegal, editor of this forum.  My original contribution dates back several months ago, as I previously stated to input my comment in commiseration w/ a fellow tech person who had entered a post regarding a problem w/ a vehicle he owned.  I do not remember the exact details of that post.

It IS most disconcerting to me that the forums presented here are in the main submitted by accomplished technical people, engineers, technicians, scientists, etc., and not your typical "Dear Editor" comments one would expect to receive from an editorial submission in a newspaper which is more widely distributed.  That someone would stoop so low to extract someone else's contribution to seek 30 seconds of fame, claiming an incident to be their own is absolutely unconscionable to me!  It makes me wonder HOW many of these solicitations have been forged by others in the name of notoriety.  PATHETIC! is all I can say.

Finally, the snowmo that I owned was the INVADER 340, NOT the 440 version.  In those years, KAWASAKI also had a companion model series, called the INVICTA, but these sleds featured a fan-cooled engine, NOT liquid-cooled.  Also, the main reason I purchased the INVADER 340 was because the brochure specifically detailed it as a "family" fun machine, showing several photos of women (presumably, wives & / or girlfriends) and children operating it.  And, when I discussed this aspect of this model w/ the salesperson, I explained that I would be using it MOSTLY for trail riding.  Based on the answers AND the photos in the brochure, I purchased it.  I still have the sales brochure....... I keep all of them (cars, motorcycles, etc.) as memorabilia. 

The MOST disappointing aspect of this experience was that the KAWASAKI factory representatives would NOT address this issue at all.

 

bob from maine
User Rank
Platinum
Manufacturers responses
bob from maine   11/2/2011 1:01:05 PM
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Snowmobiles and motorcycles were often sold by the local garage, lawn mower dealer, or avid hobbiest (been there!). The ability of those people to communicate with the manufacturer was limited. Most sold just enough machines to get one or two free ones for their own use and maybe make some winter money doing repairs. Outright warranty repairs for faulty manufacture could take months, if ever. Further, Kawasaki made outstanding 2-stroke engines but not necessarily good snowmachines, finding it difficult to translate successful motorcycle experience into snowmobiles. You can't guarantee your new purchase is well engineered or repairable, but if you buy from a reputable dealer your chances of a favorable outcome are greatly enhanced.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
High Speed Snowmobile
William K.   11/5/2011 6:02:25 PM
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Interesting that the machine could only runnat full speed without overheating, Of course, that is the only way that I have seen them run. Going slowly on twisty trails never did seem like what they were made for. I tried going slowly on a borrowed snowmobile once, and discovered that I was overheating the "torque converter " drive mechanism. That mechanism does seem to be optimized for drag racing and other full throttle activities. My solution of choice would be to install a motorcycle engine and transmission, with a manual clutch, so that the vehicle would be useful at other than full throttle. 

Some of the very early snowmobiles actually did have 4-stroke engines that could pull a load of firewood, or passengers on a sled, at speeds of a fast walk. But along came market surveys and "product improvement" and now they all seem to have more like a "firing pin" arrangement instead of an actual throttle. 

Of course, handling at lower speeds is sort of exciting, as well. 

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