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2013 Arctic Cat Snowmobile Updates: E-start, Tunnel and More


(4/9/2012)

Here are some additional updates to the 2013 line of Arctic Cat snowmobiles, focussing on 800-model electric start; wheel placement in F-model rear suspensions; the new "flat top" tunnel on ProCross machines; and gearing changes to XF models.

 

2013 Arctic Cat Electric Start for 800 snowmobiles

Yes, electric start will be a reality on 2013 models equipped with the 800 2-stroke engine, as well as an accessory option for all 2012 800 models.

By utilizing a decidedly robust system that incorporates a secondary support bracket (shown in yellow), a high-torque starter motor, larger pinion gear mass (with stiffer pinion spring), Arctic Cat achieved the durability they targeted in addition to producing quieter operation.

 

2013 Arctic Cat ProCross Flat Top Tunnel

In some snow conditions the 2012 "concave" tunnel on ProCross models delivered outstanding engine cooling because of its ability to capture snow. But in other conditions, that same design increased the formation of ice build-up.

For 2013 Arctic Cat is incorporating a flat top tunnel design like that on its ProClimb models.

 

2013 Arctic Cat ProCross Flat Top Tunnel

2013 Arctic Cat ProCross Flat Top Tunnel

In addition to the flat top tunnel, a new flat rear heat exchanger mates flush with the bottom of the tunnel, whereby heating the tunnel enough to restrict ice build-up.

I know some riders have questioned if there will be some time of optional kit or solution for 2012 models, but at this time I don't have an answer. If something becomes available, I will absolutely post the information pronto.

 

2013 Arctic Cat snowmobile top speed gearing chart

By their very nature, XF model snowmobiles aim for a middle ground between trail and back-country performance. On the 2012 models, Arctic Cat opted for gearing ratios that corresponded to boondocking and back-country riding, which produced better slow-speed "crawling" but that limited top-speed.

For instance, the 2012 XF800 was geared for a theoretical top-speed of 92 mph at full shift. Of course, it's capable of a lot more speed than that and, as it turned out, more owners wanted higher top-speeds than they did deep-snow or boondocking performance.

For 2013, Arctic Cat has geared-up the XF models for higher theoretical top speed. And yes, owners of 2012 models can update the gearing on their machines.

 

2013 Arctic Cat snowmobile F rear suspension wheel placement

To improve hyfax wear on all ProCross F models, a set of idler wheels in the rear suspension have been relocated from below the front-arm shock to behind where the front arm mounts to the rails. This too is something that can be updated on 2012 models.

Thanks for reading.



Comments (55):

Rob says:
4/9/2012 1:43:00 PM

Can you tell us if the 2013 F's require tunnel wearstrips when installing studs? I have looked in the 2013 accessory catalog and there are none listed for them.
JimR says:
4/9/2012 2:04:00 PM

Third picture from the bottom there Rob. Should answer you're question.
stevo says:
4/9/2012 2:07:00 PM

Try fourth picture there buddy
Kevin Hooper says:
4/9/2012 3:05:00 PM

Thanks for the updates - I look forward to hearing what will be done with the tunnel icing for the 2012's.
John Sandberg says:
4/9/2012 3:49:00 PM

Rob: Yep, the 2013s require tunnel strips when installing studs. And you're correct, the wearstrips weren't included in the printed catalog, however, they are featured in the online catalog viewable at ArcticCat.com (P/N: 6639-075 p. 138).
Greg Hallstrom says:
4/9/2012 5:40:00 PM

I will not be gearing up my XF. I have no need to go 116 mph but do have a need to climb a wall (or a mountain). I might even gear it down more yet so it is comparable to a M series.

While I did not experience any problems with icing, the flat tunnel would be nice for accessories. Now I will finally be able to add a Fuel Keg and Powder Keg (www.powderkegllc.com).

The best heat exchanger design ever was the Polaris XLT's of the '90's. They were located under the running boards. That made for no snow buildup and kept one's feet warm in the process. Funny how great designs fall by the wayside. And they call that progress?
John Zanon says:
4/9/2012 6:37:00 PM

Greg, no disrespect to Polaris, but I remember riding in the 90's with XLT's that would over heat and the temp light come on, in Upper Michigan at -27 below zero at night because the trails were hard packed and there was no snow dust to come up and hit the heat exchangers. Might not have been a common problem, but I heard it happened more than once!
Dan says:
4/9/2012 7:29:00 PM

John, I know there is no "problem" with the TCL on the 800's, but has cat explained why the sno pro as a TCL with 2 mounts and the consumer 800 version with more HP and Torque only has one? I'd love to know the reason why. I hope there is a revision in the works for 13' that us 12' guys can get a hold of. Thanks
Greg Hallstrom says:
4/9/2012 8:03:00 PM

John Zanon,

I own 3 of those old XLT's and at one time also had a XCR. Never had a problem with any of them overheating. Now when I go riding on the new machines I have to get out the BFH and beat all the ice off the tunnel, track, and skid frame before I can ride because it is locked up solid.

Dan,

There is a solution available now. It is called the Bradley Torque Arm. You can buy it from Grip N Rip Racing (www.gripnripracing.com) or from the inventor (White Rad on www.snowestonline.com). No need to wait until fall.

Greg Hallstrom says:
4/9/2012 8:07:00 PM

Looks like we owners of 2012's will be doing some major sheet metal work next fall. Time to stock up on Clecos, Cherry Max rivets, and drill bits. Sure glad I bought an air rivet gun a few years ago.
jeff says:
4/9/2012 9:04:00 PM

i'm just as hard core a Cat guy as all of you, but this whole deal with heat exchangers is a joke, every year or so since they went to the first tunnel mounted ones back on the 88 Wildcat, they seem to have a different design.
Something that seems so simple they keep changing. I dont know how many of you looked under the tunnel of the various chassis Cat has had over the past few years,
I can remember back when my 91 wildcat had major icing problems too.
Seems to me like the firecats had the best combination.
JimR says:
4/10/2012 8:21:00 AM

Stevo. I said third pic FROM THE BOTTOM. Forth from top.
Ryan Teach says:
4/10/2012 8:47:00 AM

Can you get a trailering arm option for 2013? Or a leaf spring?

... these and a 600 two stroke, carbs. I'd be on that like "white on rice".
Dan says:
4/10/2012 10:36:00 AM

Greg,

Yes, I've seen the bradly product, but I wanted to know if Cat has acknowleged that there is an issue? also why teh sno pro's is different. I know many of parts from the sno pro is different, but the TCL serves only one purpose so why the difference. I will be getting a bradly for next year, unless cat supplies a fix.
Bob M. says:
4/10/2012 1:40:00 PM

Did they make any changes on the gusset that goes between the back of the tunnel roll and the tunnel? We broke 3 of them on the last trip to the mountains. It sure would be nice if they used the same design that they are using on the race sleds, much beefier.

I will have to agree with Greg, my XT1100T was plenty fast. With almost all of my riding this year in the mountains I may be looking at gearing it down like an M. The XF 800 High Country was geared about right. Cat needs to find a solution for the belt eating 800s. The first belt made it 90 miles and the so called "new & improved" 084 belt made 30 miles.

1992 was the last time I had to be towed home when riding an Cat. This year both my XF 1100T and my XF 800 HC had to be towed in. Both of them had less than 90 miles on them and failed on the first day they were ridden. Needless to say I did not have any warm fuzzy feelings about Cat when that happens 900 miles from home. The boys selling sleds up the road from TRF will get a serious look before I buy another sled.
John Sandberg says:
4/10/2012 8:11:00 PM

An answer to the question of why there's a different TCL on the 600 Sno Pro vs. the 800: The 600 motor is dimensionally smaller than the 800, so Cat moved the engine as far rearward as possible (to centralize mass). Thus they couldn't use the 800's TCL, so they made a new one.

Should be noted, however, that the 800's TCL does have two mounts. The "forward" one essentially bolts to the bottom of the motor.

As for the heat exchangers... I believe that engines are subject to operate at potentially higher temps (because of lean-burning emissions requirements) that in certain conditions truly challenges cooling systems. So Cat has tried hard to engineer heat exchangers that work better. I think they've seen improvements in certain conditions, but obviously the ice build-up was an unwanted consequence.
Greg Hallstrom says:
4/10/2012 11:10:00 PM

John,

The 800 engine is the same one that was in the 2010 and 2011 models. I haven't heard of anyone having overheating problems with those machines; at least not on the Crossfires anyway. Besides, that is what ice scratchers are for. Much faster, cheaper, easier, and simpler to install (yes, I have a pair on my machine) than having to retrofit a flat tunnel and new heat exchanger.
GregW says:
4/11/2012 10:32:00 AM

What is really funning about the idler wheel placement??
If you look at the pre-production pictures of the 2012 F sleds, the "new 2013" placement is EXACTLY where they were in the photos of the 2012s!
What genious decided to move the idlers on the production 2012 F sleds?

I think this change will help, but it will not solve the problem completely. My hyfax are badly worn on the outside edge only. I think it's going to take idlers on the outside of the skid to correct the problem.
-OR-
Did an engineer forget about the height that the "quiet track" adds to the relief between the idler wheels and the hyfax? This would cause the track clips to ride more on the outside edge of the hyfax as opposed to flat against them. Since the idlers are the same size as past years, could this be an issue with the placement of the idlers on the rails?
JimR says:
4/11/2012 12:24:00 PM

Greg Hallstrom:

Every year Cat tweeks there fuel map. I am betting the 2012 is almost in compliance with the EPA and quite a bit ahead of the 010 and 011 motors. This is going on constantly.
Greg Hallstrom says:
4/11/2012 8:10:00 PM

JimR,

That could very well be. However, the domed tunnel and curved heat exchanger obviously was not the answer either as it created more problems than it solved. It probably would have been simpler and cheaper if Cat has just given everyone a free pair of ice scratchers.

Why did they not forsee the problem of ice buildup while testing the machines? The winter of 2010-2011 was a long one in the Thief River Falls area with lots of snow. The season lasted way into summer out in Island Park. Were the bean counters pushing to get the new models out early?
JimR says:
4/12/2012 7:33:00 AM

Greg: Why did Polaris not anticipate all the problems that plague there 800 motors? Why does Ski-doo not anticipate there bearing issues? Different riding styles are very hard to duplicate. Stuff happens. Wait until you see what Cat is willing to do before you run off to the aftermarket for alot of wasted $ spent on repairs by a guy who to me anyway is out to make lots of money off of scare tactics.
John Sandberg says:
4/12/2012 10:49:00 AM

Arctic Cat didn't see the same ice build-up issues during testing that eventually played out for some people this past season. And lets be clear: not everyone experienced problems, and those who did, did so in some conditions. Not all conditions.

The world (including snowmobile design) is ripe with examples of the Law of Unintended Consequences.
tony botticello says:
4/12/2012 11:58:00 AM

john do you know what the gears will be in the 2013 i believe the 2012 had 21/38..
daniel f says:
4/12/2012 4:41:00 PM

Hi JOHN ,on the sketch of the "new wheel placement for 2013" the front wheels are placed behind the center shock and on 3/16/2012 in your test "comparing an f to an xf " in the picture of the rear suspension assembly the front wheels are in front of the center shock...what is good and if there is any relocation of the center shock itself and the front set of wheels on the 2013 f because on my 2012 the hyfax wear was between the two sets of front wheels and it has been fixed by installing another set of idler wheels outside just between the two inside sets....wondering and hoping for my 2013 f1100t sno pro ! thanks !
Greg Hallstrom says:
4/12/2012 5:42:00 PM

JimR,

I did not have any problems with icing on my own machine; at least not while riding anyway. My '09 Crossfire was far worse as the heat exchanger was much farther forward because of the shorter tunnel. If I retrofit my XF with the new flat tunnel and straight heat exchanger from Cat it will only be to make it easier to add accessories. I'll wait until September and see what kind of service bulletins they come out with.
Greg Hallstrom says:
4/13/2012 6:05:00 AM

JimR,

Wasted $? The ice scratchers were from Arctic Cat out of their 2012 Accessories Catalog. They work and they work well. I recommend them to anyone regardless of the track length and lug height on their machine. Just don't back up with them down.

I checked the online parts catalog and the curved heat exchanger is over $400. The domed rear tunnel and end cap is about $150. Then there is installation for those who are unable to do the work themselves. Assuming the new flat tunnel and straight heat exchanger are similar in cost, do you really think the bean counters at Cat are going to give us all that free?
JimR says:
4/13/2012 7:31:00 AM

I do not think you are going to get a new styled heat exchanger nor a different tunnel part. You probably will get a plate that will go between the dome and the exchanger to deal with the issue if you had one. I am talking about this Frank Guy who acts like he is the only knowledgable sled person on the planet as far as aftermarket goes.
GregW says:
4/13/2012 3:41:00 PM

John - I really can't believe AC didn't experience the ice buildup during testing. The "some conditions" you refer to are riding in 10*F or lower on groomed trails with snow. Now, if they were only running the 4 strokes, then I could buy that. I also wouldn't discount it as "unintended consequences" as the sleds are designed to be ridden on trails at or below 10*F.
This is the same attitude of tolerance that nearly destroyed the US automakers. While Toyota and Honda... well, you know the rest.

Personally, I think the 2012s are suffering from "post-production" changes that were made - for whatever reason - after pre-p[roduction testing. The idler wheels are a prime example.
Maybe a better terminology would be "Unintended Breakage"... As a programmer, I can attest to "fixes" that commonly (and unintendedly) break something else.
Chris B says:
4/14/2012 7:15:00 AM

John,
Concerning this statement you made on 4/10/12 @ 8:11

"Should be noted, however, that the 800's TCL does have two mounts. The "forward" one essentially bolts to the bottom of the motor"

The Sno Pro 600 still has an extra mount (total of 5). One on the mag side, two on the bottom of the motor and two built into the TCL.

The 800 has total of 4. One on the mag side, two on the bottom of the motor and one built into the TCL.

The two on the bottom of the 600 have the same part number which is the same as the bottom PTO side on the 800.
The bottom mag side of the 800 has a different part number. Not sure what the difference is.
My point is it sure seems the little 600 is held in place a lot better than the high HP/torque 800

Woody says:
4/14/2012 10:41:00 PM

The 800 has a total of five also. It actualy has 3 on the bottom of the motor, 1 in the TCL, and 1 on the mag side of the motor. I do believe the TCL needs to be redesigned. Even clutching that was a mile off and the cheapest sourced clutches possible would not create the heat the 800 F4 chassis machines are creating. I am confident Arctic Cat will provide a better production unit for 2013 and viable service bulletin repairs for 2012 models. It is hard to watch last years and this years marketing videos/campaigns talking about the benefits of the ADS/TCL when actual results are the opposite. The current facts are undisputed somehow a machine that provided excellent belt life now makes an M1000 look easy on belts.
Chris B says:
4/15/2012 7:08:00 AM

Rocky, My bad.
The schematic I was looking at only shows the two mounts on the bottom of the motor but I see “quantity required” indicates three.
Thanks for the correction, I’ll have to take a look at my sled tonight and check them out.

I agree with the clutch heat. My left foot never gets cold.
Scott Lewis says:
4/15/2012 8:26:00 AM

I own a F1100 na 50th and have never rode a sled that eats a set of sliders so quick and in such a bad way. There is a pressure point that basically cuts the hyfax in half and eats one set of idler wheels. My first set including two idlers were done on first large ride when odometer hit 260 miles. I'm interested to here if there is going to be a legitimate fix for this.
russ says:
4/16/2012 8:21:00 PM

Funny, my F1100 na 50th has 2,400 miles and the hyfax look like new. And we had a low snow season in Maine. The ice build up is really not much more than most other sleds I've owned, but I find myself always messing with it.
Karl says:
4/18/2012 7:52:00 AM

Some dealers are talking about 50+ improvements on the 2013 sleds!!!! Someone also stated production on the new sleds is scheduled for July. My question is whats the secret??????? Why are updates for the 12's not happening until Sept?? Why keep us out of the loop Arctic Cat your making a bunch of angry mushrooms out here!!!!
Brian Hennel says:
4/18/2012 9:00:00 AM

Funny, my F800 50th had hyfax issues just like almost everyone else. And is it just me, or does that one guy out of ten that doesn't have a problem seem to make it sound like the rest of us are idiots?
russ says:
4/18/2012 8:10:00 PM

Gee, I'm sorry my hyfax are still good, now I wish they were burnt off. If it makes you happy, I do have a dent in my heat exchanger.
Ken says:
4/19/2012 3:26:00 PM

I have six idlers on my skid....still have the same hyfax issue. Been through 5 pairs of hyfax in 1100 mi.
Brian Hennel says:
4/20/2012 10:28:00 AM

Sorry Russ. This winter made me grumpy.
Lance says:
4/20/2012 7:24:00 PM

I guess I lucked out. Never had any breakdowns, no blown belts, hell, I didn't get enough miles on or enough snow to make ice build up on my sled this year!

oh yeah, i didn't even put on 5 miles on the new sled.

this winter sucked balls.
Vince says:
4/22/2012 9:29:00 PM

I had the icing problem on my F1100 Turbo in sub zero conditions, and when the suspension compressed it forced outie dents in my tunnel. You also have to be careful beating the ice out because you could damage the heat exchanger.
The other concern is a huge ice chunk breaking loose and locking up the track or taking out the front heat exchanger.
For years we had heat exchanger tubes that also worked as tunnel protectors, if it's not broke don't fix it.

Other than that I had 2,800 trouble free miles on my Turbo this season.
JimR says:
4/23/2012 7:22:00 AM

What is harder there Vince. Ice or the heat exchanger? Ice will not lock up you're track unless you are barely moving. Ice will also get ground up by the track and tunnel as it falls and goes up into the tunnel.
Greg Hallstrom says:
4/23/2012 9:35:00 AM

I checked some of the 2013's yesterday that RV Sports in Thief River Falls has on display. It looks like the heat exchanger is the same as the one on the 2012's. If that is truly the case, we owners of 2012's would only have to retrofit the new flat rear tunnel. That would not be real expensive or much work. Anyone heard more on the issue?
snotcicles says:
4/23/2012 4:04:00 PM

JimR, what's harder, the steel hull of the titanic or ice?

Greg, scroll right up to the top of this page where the list of improvements are and it shows new style heat exchangers. Lots of times the sleds you see as next years models are really this years with new graphics just to get bodies in dealerships. Someone posted that a show they was at the sled still had the chamfered tunnel.
JimR says:
4/23/2012 5:26:00 PM

Snoty:

You have an iceburg that is about a half mile deep in the ocean that is hitting a ship with brittle steel. Bad comparison. Very bad. My old ZL 600 grinds ice like it is making a margarita and no damage to either the exchaner or tunnel. Same with my F-6.
Greg Hallstrom says:
4/23/2012 5:35:00 PM

Snotcicles,

Yes, the ones at RV were probably just pre-production machines for show. While they did have the flat tunnel, they also had the curved heat exchanger. Obviously if a person was going to retrofit it would be best to go all the way. Not too difficult a project but will take some time. And about $750.
Vince says:
4/23/2012 7:44:00 PM

"JimR says:
4/23/2012 7:22:00 AM

What is harder there Vince. Ice or the heat exchanger? Ice will not lock up you're track unless you are barely moving. Ice will also get ground up by the track and tunnel as it falls and goes up into the tunnel."


Jim you should see the huge chunks of ice I took out of that tunnel, the ice was also hard enough that it put dents in my tunnel.
Also the initial reaction when hearing an iceberg slamming through the tunnel and into heat exchanger is to lift on the throttle, it's not real hard to lock a track with a hard object like a chunk of ice.

Jim since 1987 I have owned 27 Arctic Cats and I ride 4,000 to 6,000 miles a year, now this season I only rode 2,800 miles because it was a short season. I will tell you that I have never had any of those sleds ice up the way my F1100 Turbo did, now with that said I am confident that Cat will have a solution for the 2012's icing issue.

Also the hyfax wear is more a symptom of track alignment and low snow conditions, you have to overcompensate the alignment to avoid the side
of the hyfax getting wore down from the track torqueing to one side.
Kevin Hooper says:
4/24/2012 6:15:00 PM

JimR:

Comparing the ZL600 and F6 grinding ice to the Procross is a bad comparison. Very bad. I owned both a ZL500 and an F7 -- neither sled combined made half the amount of ice my XF11 makes. I had to pour warm hot water on the tunnel to drop two icebergs that were two feet long and 6" across in the worst part.

It's true that a track will grind some ice, but the size of the icebergs being made by these sled are ripping track lugs off; bending tunnels; and, IMO too, easily have the potential to actually lock the track.
flintstone says:
4/26/2012 1:00:00 AM

dupont teflon snow and ice repellent works great on the inside of the tunnel..it also works great on your snow shovel!!! try it
Greg Hallstrom says:
4/26/2012 1:23:00 AM

At 2012 prices, the rear tunnel costs $99.95, the tunnel end cap costs $39.95, and the heat exchanger costs $429.95 for a total of $569.85. Assuming the 2013 costs are similar, that is what it would take to retrofit a 2012 with the new flat tunnel and straight heat exchanger. Plus put in a couple of all nighters next fall to get the job done before riding season. Certainly possible for some of us. Probably not for all though.
Steve B says:
1/10/2013 2:38:00 PM

Has arctic cat figured out the starter problem fix for the 2013 lxr f-8 yet?
LEO BENSON says:
1/13/2013 10:00:00 AM

BOUGHT 2 2012 M800-MANUAL START. To my surprise, I have two elect start ARCTIC CATS. The compression is so strong that I can not start them!
I can not find any ARCTIC CAT DEALER OR SERVICE MAN who will install the kit! Furthermore,the adds for 2013 indicate "improvements" in the kit..so, what advice is there to this problems..by the way I am 77 years old.
Thanks, Crazymoose
A.S. says:
1/20/2013 8:23:00 AM

Leo - just installed electric start kit on my 2012 F8 (which is to say my buddy did it for me while I mixed drinks). It's a 4-5 hour job for someone like him who's a mechanic. Dealership told me the same time required for them to install it.
Big job but nice once it's done.
E.W says:
1/23/2013 5:14:00 PM

I am new to cat have a 2011 crossfire 800 sno pro ltd 141 studs can't go under 80 mph on a hard packed trail without temp light coming on i love the sled i hope the ice scratchers fix it if not it will be goin down the road and back to polaris for me
E.W says:
1/27/2013 7:11:00 AM

Scratchers are worth their weight in gold . Now getting floats upgraded with the chris burandt backcountry package should be much better ride
scott says:
12/14/2013 2:43:00 PM

How do I find the right idler wheels to update my 2012 XF800?

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