The wait is over! Arctic Cat has an all-new 8000-series C-TEC2 800 2-stroke engine for 2018. Arctic Cat is saying it’s for the 160-hp class, and that it has more power than the Suzuki engine that it’s replacing.
I’ve ridden this new engine several times over the past couple of seasons and I’m pumped to report that it’s excellent. Three words that best describe it: Powerful, crisp & refined.
“The new C-TEC2 800 sets a new standard in overall engine performance in the category while expanding the success of our domestic engine program,” says Erik Nelson, Arctic Cat Snowmobile Vice President and General Manager. “It’s more powerful than the engine it replaces, with far cleaner and crisper performance, yet with the same durability that Arctic Cat riders have always enjoyed.”
The C-TEC2 800 with DSI will be produced at the Arctic Cat Engine facility in St. Cloud, Minn.
Read the details here, and my riding impressions at the end.
Dual-Stage Injection: The industry-exclusive DSI design injects fuel directly into the combustion chamber, on top of the piston, at lower engine loads. At higher engine loads the fuel is also injected into the crankcase area and then through the transfer ports, improving the fuel/air mixture time for added efficiency while also lubricating vital engine components.
Slotted Piston: The unique open-window/slotted piston design allows fuel/oil mix to be injected into the crankcase area and then into the transfer ports as part of the Dual-Stage Injection design. The piston also features a frictionreduction coating for optimal performance.
APV with Side Valves: The Arctic Power Valve (APV) exhaust valve system features an all-new, Arctic Cat-designed side valve design that delivers control to the primary and auxiliary exhaust ports, rather than just the primary port on previous designs. The result is more responsive and crisp engine performance, especially in low- and mid-range levels. The multi-stage valve movement is controlled electronically by the engine management system and works in concert with pipe temperature, engine RPM and barometric pressure for optimized performance and efficiency in all conditions.
Laydown Architecture: Arctic Cat continues to utilize the stiffest and most robust crankshaft-capture of any engine design because of the laydown engine architecture. The laydown design directs combustion forces in a different directional plane than the horizontal plane of the crankcase halves. Finite Element Analysis produced a case that’s lighter than previous engines, yet retains the same level of stiffness.
Electric Oil Pump: Controlled by the engine management system, an electric oil pump delivers precision oil injection based on engine demands rather than throttle position. The result is precision oil management from engine idle to full-throttle, with compensation varying from sea level to high altitude, providing exact usage in all conditions. Oil is injected into the air intake flanges and the fuel rail for full engine lubrication including the pistons. The system offers reduced throttle pull effort and requires no adjustment.
Optimized Oil Injection: For maximum bearing life, a small amount of oil is delivered to the fuel rail and mixed with the fuel prior to injection. When the fuel is injected and travels through the piston skirt slot, the piston pin bearing receives added lubrication to ensure optimal bearing life even in the most extreme situations.
Knock Sensor: An engine knock sensor detects detonation due to fuel octane, quality and/or ethanol content. Based on information from the knock sensor, the engine management system adjusts ignition timing and fuel delivery for optimum performance and combustion. If fuel quality is such that the combination of reduced engine timing and a richer fuel/ air mixture can’t prevent detonation, the engine goes into safe mode until fuel quality improves. For optimum performance, riders should use 91-octane non-oxygenated fuel, however the Knock Sensor system will compensate for 87-octane fuel blended with 10 percent ethanol.
EPTS: Designed and patented by Arctic Cat, the Exhaust Pipe Temperature Sensor (EPTS) system uses pipe temperature information as an input for the engine management system, helping to control fuel/air delivery, ignition timing and the APV opening stages.
Stainless Steel Y-Pipe and Muffler: The Y-pipe and muffler on the 8000 engine are made from 400-series stainless steel for improved power and resistance to corrosion.
Fuel Injectors: Lightweight, low-pressure Dual-Stage injectors feed fuel into the combustion chambers, crankcase, and cylinder port through the cylinder wall. Integrated with EPTS and APV exhaust valves, this clean-burning design helps the C-TEC2 800 achieve cleaner emissions. The cylinder-mounted fuel injectors are supplied with 4-bar fuel pressure and are controlled by the fuel management system using variable injection timing and duration.
Air-Only Throttle Bodies: Two 50-mm new-generation throttle bodies flow air into the crankcase. In addition to flowing only air (and not fuel), these throttle bodies are shorter, lighter and larger in bore than the 46mm bodies used with previous engines.
Fuel Rail Damper: New on the C-TEC2 800, the fuel rail damper stabilizes the fuel pressure along – absorbing impulses along the rail – for more consistent calibration and performance of the two fuel injectors.
Automatic Decompression: The engine management system includes a reduced compression program for easier starting. The program is initiated when the engine is shut off, by automatically lifting the APV exhaust valves, which reduces engine compression. Once the engine is started, the valves sweep through the closed-to-open range before dropping down to their lowered position. The system is an improvement upon decompression holes in the cylinders, which reduce total performance. The new system eases both manual and electric starting.
Sealed Center Gear: The center water pump drive shaft and drive gear is sealed in an oil bath for optimal lubrication, reducing oil consumption.
W-Shaped Reed: W-shaped reed cages with 4-petal reeds optimize air flow into the engine for maximum performance and much improved durability.
Riding Impressions: I’ve experienced the new Arctic Cat C-TEC2 several times, and in several locations, over the past 2-3 years. From M Series sleds at Arctic Cat’s Island Park facility, to 137- and 129-in. ZR models in TRF and Warroad, Minn. and most recently at ERX in Elk River, Minn.
I’ve had and ridden dozens of Arctic Cat models with the Suzuki 800 twin, which remains an excellent motor. From a power and durability standpoint, I’d say the Suzuki has been unsurpassed in the 800 class for a whole bunch of years. I don’t care what other brand or model you put up against it (including the new Rotax 850), it will run even or better than anything else when it comes to acceleration and speed.
(Want another opinion? Check out what OSM magazine has said about comparing the 2017 800-class machines during last season’s Snow Shoot.)
Anyway, I love the Suzuki 800. But it does exhibit a few quirks that the new Cat C-TEC2 has addressed fully, namely a thirstiness for oil and fuel; more exhaust smoke than I’d like; and an ever-so-slight spooling-up in low- and mid-range power when you stab the throttle.
Arctic Cat has cleaned up all that thanks to new technology like its side-valve controlled APV system, Dual-Stage Ignition and the electronic oil pump.
I think that backcountry riders are especially going to appreciate the crispness of throttle response on the new C-TEC2. All riders are going to appreciate its miserly use of C-TEC2 synthetic oil. Fuel mileage will depend upon how you ride: if you’re always full-throttle, it’s probably not going to be a huge improvement over the Suzuki. But if it’s a lot of mid-range riding, we’ll see a nice difference.
In terms of overall power, my experience with the C-TEC2 is that it’s quicker and faster than Suzuki 800, but not by enormous amounts.
What it is, however, is REFINED. That refinement is exactly what I wanted in the old Suzuki, and precisely what the new C-TEC2 delivers. For those who want more than 160-hp class power that defines the stock 800/850 engine category, Speedwerx will take care of you.
The cool thing is, you can feel for yourself exactly what the new engine is like beginning Feb. 1, when your local Arctic Cat dealer will take delivery of the new ZR and/or M 8000 Sno Pro Early Release models.
I’m looking forward to your reaction.
Thanks for reading.
Spring 2016: Ryan Hayes fine-tunes the mapping program on the Arctic Cat C-TEC2 800 during spring testing. Hayes was a principal engineer on the new 800.
Arctic Cat engineers Greg Spaulding (left) and Roger Skime compare notes after comparing the new C-TEC2 800 against the Suzuki 8000-Series engine during a spring test session in Northern Minnesota.
Last week Arctic Cat personnel and others unveiled the new C-TEC2 800 engine along with information on all the 2018 Snowmobiles. From L-to-R: Pat Hanson, Kevin Thompson, Andy Beavis, Brian Dick, Kale Wainer, Ryan Hayes, Lars Matheney (FOX), Dodn Eide, Troy Halvorson, Rick Strobel (FOX) and Lynn Berberich.