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Worthwhile Tweaks for the Sno Pro 500


(1/29/2010)

With a half-season of testing, riding and racing the Sno Pro 500, improvements have been discovered. Based on what cross-country racers have learned and changed – particularly during the I-500 – I’ve made the following tweaks to my Sno Pro 500 and can verify the improvements:

 

Front limiter straps on the Arctic Cat Sno Pro 500

To reduce the inside-ski lift during cornering, reduce the travel of the front arm on the rear suspension. There are three holes in each of the two front limiter straps... the sled comes stock with bolts in the middle hole. Pulling up the arm to the third hole will improve cornering. I drilled a fourth hole in the straps and like this position the best. After pulling up the straps, I backed off on the front arm shock preload, to the point where the spring is just barely preloaded.

 

Rear arm mounting holes on Arctic Cat Sno Pro 500

There are two mounting holes for the rear arm of the rear suspension, with the stock position in the lower hole (shown here). Moving the arm to the top hole will further improve cornering.

 

Arctic Cat EFI specialist Terry Anderson

Arctic Cat EFI specialist Terry Anderson was a busy guy at the I-500, reflashing the ECUs on all the Sno Pro 500s. Terry reflashed my sled’s ECU, and the result is great: no more overly-rich bottom end during the initial take-off and slightly crisper mid-range. There will be a reflash for all Sno Pro 500 owners coming soon.

As a side note, the 500 EFI engine is calibrated to run on 87 octane fuel. Don’t use higher-octane fuel than 87.

 

My personal Arctic Cat Sno Pro 500

It isn’t as stylie as the stock windshield, but the new tall windshield (P/N: 5639-500) is absolutely the ticket to move wind over and around the rider. It’s roughly 6.5 inches taller than the stocker. I’m an NBA-ready 5’8” tall, and the top of the tall shield doesn’t affect my view of the trail at all. Some racers cut the tall shield down a couple inches. Not me.

 

Bent front bumper anyone?

The front bumper only weighs a couple pounds and is an excellent piece of insurance, as racers in the I-500 proved each day.

The rear storage bag (P/N 5639-433) is fits excellent. I’ve filled my with the stock tool kit, my extra tool/parts kit, belt, siphon, beef jerky (regular and sweet/hot), some rags, handlebar gauntlets, tow rope and extra foam.

 

Headlight tweak on the Arctic Cat Sno Pro 500

As was mentioned in the arcticinsider.com forum, the headlights are pointed too high from the factory and don’t have enough adjustment to lower them to the ideal position. I bent the plate against which the adjustment screws attach to effectively allow more adjustment for the adj. bolts. Worked perfectly.

 

Arctic Cat's Joey Hallstrom hams it up for the photographer

Below are the set-up notes offered by Arctic Cat Product Manager Joey Hallstrom (shown here stylishly hamming it up for the camera on day 2), who raced his Sno Pro 500 to a fifth place finish in the I-500:

- Ski Springs 0703-744 (set 3/4" to 1" preload from contact of spring to the retainer. More, for rougher conditions). These are 120-lb. rate springs vs. the 145-lb. rate that comes stock. The stock springs are a bit stiff for cross country but good for snocross racing. The 120 lbs springs let the front end feel a bit softer and easier to drive.

- Front arm - Shorten to the 1st hole on the limiter strap. This shortens the travel of the front arm.  If you still need flatter cornering, drill another hole in the strap the same distance as the holes are now. There are 3 holes in the strap from production. (Set preload on the spring to 3/4" from touching the retainer. More if rough conditions).

- Rear arm - Put in the top hole in the tunnel. It comes in the lower mounting hole. Rear springs can be set per the rider weight.

- Coupling blocks at #5 setting, which should be stock.

- Overall this will lower the sled and make it better for cornering and overall handling. It won't feel as stiff and "twitchy."

- Stock clutching, stock belt.

- Engine should run 7800-7900RPM. Watch the belt deflection, if RPM drops 100-200 RPM the belt may be loose and you will need to adjust the driven clutch by bringing the sheaves together slightly.

= 6" to 8" round rod carbide runners

- 1/2 to 3/8" toe-out.

- 2 studs per bar in track

- 87 octane. DO NOT use any fuel higher than 87 octane.

- Tall windshield cut down 2" in the center only.

- Heat shield on throttle bodies needs to be secured better.

- F-series tow holds bolted to foot rests.

- Re-glue side pod and hood foam.

- Check and tighten spindles bolts after 300 miles. Same with skid frame bolts.

- Aftermarket 4-wheel rear axle setup is a good idea.



Comments (33):

Rob says:
1/29/2010 1:28:00 PM

Great article
jd3 says:
1/29/2010 1:42:00 PM

Thanks so much for sharing this info ! I am enjoying this sled for so many reasons and one of them is the passion and info I get on this site. I am into it and this just makes it better. I had already figured out my straps and am starting to look at making some more adjustments. When going to the 120 front springs from the stock 145 how much does rider weight come into play ? I weigh 215 dressed could I use the 120's for trail riding and enjoy the benefits too ? Also I find the rear just a bit stiff and I am wondering which rear spring to back off a little first. Thanks !
hugh says:
1/29/2010 6:45:00 PM

Do we take this with a grain of salt when the the "EFI specialist" is wearing a cap straight off a Cross Country skier?






Nhuskys says:
1/29/2010 7:54:00 PM

Thanks John. This will shorten the learning curve when I get my SP500. Great info!
bernie says:
1/30/2010 7:49:00 PM

can anyone tell me what was done to the 600 snopro to improve it for the i 500 ? things like clutching , gearing , and any thing else that could improve it,s speed and performance .
jeff says:
2/7/2010 1:19:00 PM

i have a 2008 arctic cat 600 sno pro that my son sno crosses,inside ski lift is a problem for us will this work on the 600 as well? thanks
Rusty says:
2/13/2010 2:21:00 PM

I'm 6'/215 lbs dressed to ride, stock suspension settings are fine for me save for the rear torsions getting increased after break-in time

I've also come up with a different mount for the heat shields, use a 6mm x 1.0 pitch stud (25mm long) with blue loc-tite in bodies, lock down the injectors and fuel rail with nylock nuts, add flat washer, rubber washer, heatshield, another rubber washer and flat washer, finish off with a nylock nut. This isolates the shield from harmonics that cause fractures

While shield is off, lightly touch front right edge with grinder to just remove enough to clear steering stem in full right turn locked position

Brian says:
3/5/2010 12:41:00 PM

I've been riding an 01 440 SP for 6 seasons and am wondering how the power of the 500 SP compares? I know it has about 10 less peak HP but is it torquier? Do you miss that 10HP? How is the fuel milage?
Rusty says:
11/26/2010 9:16:00 PM

Brian,,, I do not missthe addt'l 10hp one bit! The addt'l torque makes up for more than the difference and is (IMHO) 40-50% snappier
dean says:
1/3/2011 9:33:00 PM

was wondering if i can run my sp 500 without the heat shield above thhe injectors? mine is broke and not sure if i should bother replaceing it?
taperk600 says:
1/6/2011 1:06:00 PM

Dean...it's a simple update. Most dealer should have one. They replace the metal shield with a heat-resistant wrap that snaps around the injectors. Takes no time to do it.
Steve Piper says:
1/8/2011 6:08:00 PM

I had the heatsheild break off of my injectors also and will do the update. That problem is simple compared to this..... I had a very long sustained straight, about 4 to 5 minutes wide open. when I stopped the sled was smoking very bad from under the hood. I removed the hood (as we all know this is not a quick task) and found the foam and plastic at the forward lower area under the muffler burning/smoldering. Now I will admitt that I was in it for a long time but I know Actic Cat would not allow this condision to exist on a race sled. It melted some of the right side lower cowl. I will be calling and finding a fix. Please dont respond by telling me to back off a bit, if anyone was on this sled on the same trail you would do the same. Has anyone else experianced this problem?
william says:
1/12/2011 10:10:00 PM

In response to the smoldering plastic. I have 2010 sp500 and i was hamming down the power lines near my house when i came to a tree line i grab for a lot of brake and felt a vibration and terrible noise so i removed all the body parts and took it out rode it what i noticed is when you brake hard it throws sparks everywhere and the brake rotor glows bright orange this is a fire hazard and i am going to my local dealership to find out whats up with this.
Bf says:
2/3/2011 8:23:00 AM

Does all the above apply to a 2011 son pro 500? Gas....suspension etc?
John Sandberg says:
2/24/2011 10:57:00 PM

BF: The suspension stuff doesn't apply exactly, because Cat recalibrated it for 2011. I'm actually going to try running w/o the swaybar, tightening up the coupling blocks and letting a bit more front arm out. But as for the fuel, yes, stay w/87.
Blake Tiedeman says:
3/3/2011 12:27:00 PM

i watched an episode of sledhead 24/7 and they said to run it on premium fuel. i run mine on premium, why do you say run it on 87? does it improve the performance?
Blake Tiedeman says:
3/3/2011 12:31:00 PM

steve piper: i have experienced the same problem 3 times! yes my sno pro 500 has caught on fire 3 times. arctic cat has fixed it every time
Greenfertryz says:
7/3/2011 9:34:00 PM

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Cody Shafer says:
1/19/2012 1:06:00 PM

I was wounder what kind of arctic cat oil I should run in my 2010 sno pro 500?
Conrado christianson says:
1/25/2012 3:07:00 PM

I have a 2012 sp500 and when I brake I get a chatter if I brake hard it doesn't do it.... What's up with this anyone have the same issue...
Conrado C says:
1/25/2012 3:10:00 PM

As far as oil ... You can't go wrong with amsoil interceptor...
KJ says:
3/5/2012 11:49:00 AM

I was wondering why my 2011 sno pro 500 starts lagging at times w top speeds at 40 mph then itll come outta it from time to time. I am running 91 and I read in previous forums to use only 87? Will this be causing my troubles? It seems to start doing it more so after running in deeper powder.
Ken says:
7/3/2012 10:12:00 AM

I have the 2012 sp 500 with no brake chatter. But I do have an intermittent brake light. Going to dealer soon for fix.
I put on 540 miles on mine in my only trip last year. 280 miles in one day witch is a record for me. I mostly ride in NH mountain trails. But only snow in the NE was far north where the wide groomed trails are. Great sled. I made a lot of skid adjustments after getting it back home. Haven't ridden sinse the changes. I did most of what was suggested here and will post my impressions on it next season.
Wish it had more top end but that's not why I picked this model.
Tight trails says:
7/3/2012 10:27:00 AM

In response to Blake's octane question:
I believe in the video your talking about the had done a timing key mod. Witch requires the higher octain. Anytime you mod this sled your better off with higher octane.
If yours is stock stick to 87. That's what most experts have said that I have read. that's what I use. Plus it's more widely available. Higher octane doesn't mean more power. Just let's you tune for more power safely. That's why hot motors require high octane.
Chris Barendredgt says:
8/8/2012 5:42:00 AM

Good Day,

I have a 2010 SNo Pro 500 and have done of your mods to date. But I have one problem with this sled and it is a small bog about 1/8 throttle. We have check everything from the throttle cable settings,all wiring, belt deflection and everywhere in between. The ecu has been updated....if you ride it like a motocross bike it doesn't do as your one and off the throttle all the time, but if your cruising on the trail and get down to the 1/8th throttle mark it will cut out and dye. One pull and it starts right back up! Any idea's

Thanks Chris
Duane says:
11/17/2012 12:09:00 AM

to everyone who is wondering about the brake chatter. I have the same problem i took it in and they said its the wave rotor transferring vibration. They say its nothing to worry about but it still bugs me
Chuck says:
1/26/2013 10:41:00 PM

I just picked up a used 2010 sp500. I like it so far except for a jack shaft bearing going on my 2nd ride. Was wondering if there is any auxiliary port for a heated windscreen/visor for a helmet. I tried splicing into the hand grip neutral (off) position wire as that seemed to have constant voltage with no luck. Any ideas? Great sled, nice and nimble. Everyone thinks I am crazy standing up nonstop, but first sled besides a lake sled and they all look at me in envy for beating everyone in the woods. Kudos to 21 years of Dirtbike riding.
Thanks.
db says:
8/26/2013 3:36:00 PM

chuck right by the voltage reg
McKenzie says:
1/1/2014 6:23:00 AM

Got a 2010 SP500. Keeps bogging down on me bad. Throttle is unresponsive. Once it gets going it's fine but whenever I have to come to a stop or slow down its a tough time to get back going. Anyone know any thing on this? Thanks
Travis Pierson says:
1/10/2014 11:30:00 AM

Does anybody have any suggestions on how to lower the headlight farther on a 2011 sno pro 500? It's all the way down but is still too high. Any ideas?
charles says:
1/11/2014 12:44:00 PM

Just bought a used 2012 son pro 500 with about 1000 miles. When the thing runs it runs great but the thing keeps shutting down while riding. May happen after 5 mins or maybe 60 mins but eventually it just shuts down and will not start back up. First time I checked for spark on the plugs and there wasn't any. Removed wires from what I think is the CDI box in the front of the sled. The thing started back up. When it stalls I unclip these wires and sometimes it starts sometime it doesn't. I unclipped the tether that wasn't the problem. Found out today from the previous owner that this happened to him once, which I wasn't told about until after I bought it, brought it to the dealer and no codes came up and they could not reproduce the issue. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. The thing is stuck in the middle of a field as I write this!
Dan says:
1/17/2014 11:43:00 PM

Hi will these mods work on a 2013 sno pro 500 For the ski lift and should I be running 87 too or 91 I've been running 91 and it runs great besides backfiring when I shut it off unless I let it idle for about 35, 40 seconds

I've been thinking about changing the gearing on it too any suggestions there I'm looking for a little more top end but don't want to lose a whole lot of bottom either.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks Dan H
chrisottaway says:
2/8/2014 10:53:00 PM

I have a 2011 sno pro 500 and ive had the same problem that was mentioned earlier about the foam heating up and smoking real bad. It melted some of it. When it did this i had been held wide open for about 3 minutes straight. And i also have the issue with the headlight being to high. Up top in these posts someone said bend the metal the screws are in so ill try that but is there any other fixes for that? The headlights arent very bright compared to my other sled which is an 08 f8, are there aftermarket bulbs that are brighter that anyine could suggest. Love all the feedback and tips on here guys. Thanks

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