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HomeFeaturesEverything You Wanted to know about the Arctic Cat C-TEC2 8000 Engine

Everything You Wanted to know about the Arctic Cat C-TEC2 8000 Engine

Arctic Cat C-TEC2 800 engine for 2018. Photo at

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.


Arctic Cat C-TEC2 800 engine for 2018. Photo at


Arctic Cat C-TEC2 800 engine for 2018. Photo at

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.


Arctic Cat C-TEC2 800 engine for 2018. Photo at

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.


Arctic Cat C-TEC2 800 engine for 2018. Photo at

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.



Arctic Cat C-TEC2 800 engine for 2018. Photo at

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.


Arctic Cat C-TEC2 800 engine for 2018. Photo at

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.


Arctic Cat engineer Ryan Hayes programs the 800 C-TEC2. Photo by

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.


Testing the Arctic Cat C-TEC2 800 Engine. Photo by

Arctic Cat engineers Greg Spaulding and Roger Skime with the C-TEC2 800. Photo:

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.


Arctic Cat personnel with the new C-TEC2 8000 engine in Jan. 2017. Photo by

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.



  1. Be nice if someone would refine the mapping on the current 800 HO engines, but beautiful work for all the rich people who can afford to jump into a new sled every other year.

  2. What are the HP claims with this new engine? Is it a Doo 850 killer? If I knew this sled was coming out, I would not have purchased the ZR 6R XC race sled.

  3. Sounds pretty sweet, although I didn’t get the impression that it was crazy fast…i guess I would have expected it to be 850 killer but maybe not. We’ll see

  4. Ditto on what George said… for those of us who just bought 17’s, it would be nice to address the fuel mapping and oil adjustments.

    But bravo to you guys… new technology does NOT have to be overly complicated – just well designed.

  5. Engine is about 1 lb. lighter than Suzuki.

    Like Arctic Cat has done for many years, they’re not claiming HP figures. Just saying “160-hp class.”

    This engine has been in the works for several years, and what we have now is in no way a response to the 850…time schedules required to design/test/build an engine would make that impossible. The bigger point is, however, that from my experience with all recent 800/850 class engines, is that the significant differences in terms of who’s fastest/quickest has everything to do with individual sled sled up, the best line/surface, etc… No one engine is a clear winner every time, they’re all within a handful of hp of each other.

    So the big area of improvement from the Suzuki to the new Cat engine is all the areas of refinement.

    Mike F. hit the nail on the head: if it’s as good as the 600 C-TEC2, we have a winner.

  6. I am glad Cat has finally released the new motor. Reading between the lines on Johns post I expect the new 800 to be better in terms of fuel, oil consumption and throttle response but I think the sled will still have top end issues because cat has done nothing to address the drive line and clutching. I am hoping to be impressed when I drive one but something tells me top end wont be any better then my 2016 800. I hope i’m wrong but this guy wont be buying one until it proves itself to be fast and able to hang with the competition all the way across the lake. The current Suzuki is supposed to be a 160 class motor and the OLD 800 E-Tech eats its lunch. Cant imagine the 850 wont do the same to this new motor. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer but we waited 5 years for the same HP we had with the Suzuki? Anyone else feeling a little let down?

  7. Wanting an 800 to beat an 850….if you want the fastest buy a thunder cat and it won’t be close. I’d bet the chassis can take a rock and the chain case will hold up. Now If you want the fastest clutch it for drags and make it transfer so you can’t turn and you have a winner. If checkbooks bought the fastest sled there would be no reason to race. They have to build these things for everyone have realistic expectations. If it was possible for the almighty rotax to be so unreal in hp why did they go 850. There not much left in this engines to meet the reliability that is required to get 13k for a sled and a big advantage in hp. Why don’t you chide the rotax guys for there revolutionary engine not being able to make revolutionary hp at 800cc

  8. Bulldog, I could care less. I love my ZR7000 and would probably never go back to a 2 stroke for everyday riding. For the type of riding my wife and I do pulling up to the pump and fueling with 87 octane is a big savings.
    I guess I kicked enough ass with my 03′ F7 over the years that I’m good with just problem free riding. ; )

  9. That Suzuki 800 was worthy of Tractor Pull torque at farm days — it just keeps pulling, hard. I also have an 850 that is not broken in yet– that has mid range responsiveness that is unsurpassed. I am not splitting hairs here but this kind of power from both Mftr’s — is sick . You can not feel this kind of thrill on black top. Grab what you like, while you still can !
    God bless blue smoke combustion engines,,,

  10. I honestly expected an 850 to match or bigger once the release was held off. I hope this Powerplant proves us all wrong.

  11. Cat is only saying 160hp class . Just like the 9000 is 180hp class. Except the 9000 dynos over 200. im sure once dynotech gets a hold of the new 800 well see more like 170hp. Im happy with 160ish hp. it is after all a 794cc engine not 849cc like ski doo. Better run quality ,Better efficency, one pound lighter, more durable. Sounds great to me. And cat not only said this engine was coming for 18, but has been giving away their dealers current old stock of suzuki 800s

  12. Exactly Stephen. Then you read Johns analysis and he says the motor is quicker and faster but not by enormous amounts and you already don’t feel good about it. Then he says you can see speedwerx if you want to be the fastest on the lake and you really feel bad about buying one. So what cat is saying is come spend 13,000 on a brand new 2018 800 and if you want to beat the competitions offering in the class go see SPEEDWERX and spend another 1,800 to be first. That is unless the other brands went to SPEEDWERX too. Then just smile and be happy you are on the slowest 800 in the group but at least it starts easy and is good on fuel if you keep her under 7000 rpms. And don’t even bring up the 9000 because the Yamaha is faster with better clutching and it is a heavier sled then I care to drive. Really disappointed in this release unless this motor is way better then they are letting on.

  13. Also from the pics, It looks to me that this engine is not designed with electric start. If it comes with a bolt on motor and shaft to a ring gear on the clutch I will loose it. I love my 13 800 rr and have waited for this new motor expecting state of the art tech, that I would buy as soon as it came out. Add in that color scheme, same cc and ec i’m not excited.

  14. I really hope Arctic Cat is watching this thread. I love Arctic Cats and want them to thrive. First impressions are everything in an instant gratification economy!

  15. I’m sure it’s going to be a great engine. Cleaner than my Suzuki and better on fuel. Will it go by my 2014 ZR 8000? I am feeling not. As Cat riders we want to run ahead of everyone, be first and be the undisputed leader. We have waited for this engine and finally now have it. I believe Cat took last year to try to increase the displacement, couldn’t make it work in time and due to the pressures of shareholders and the faithful gave us the original 800 saying it outperformed the bigger prototypes. I don’t want to hear if you want to beat the Bombo 850 go to Speedwerx…I would expect that already in my new Cat. “160 class power” that’s too politically correct and a marketing spin for mediocrity…that is the rating my current 800 has now and has been dynoed at DTR countless times at 153-155 HP. The detuning of the 800 Suzuki is well documented. The future of Arctic Cat rides on this engine. Not good enough for this guy as I expected lots more from Arctic Cat IMHO.

  16. That’s why I got a new 16 turbo sp 137 last spring when I saw Doo had a 850 and knew that there would be a couple in our group this winter. We all ride 800’s and I’m always out front. It rides very nice and is crazy fast with the mods I did but it’s heavy and not as fun as my 800. I just like the sound,feel and smell of a 2 stroke better.

  17. Dan Leonard offers some interesting remarks. In light of the recent announcement regarding the aquisition of Arctic Cat by Textron, Dan’s comment about pressure being applied by shareholders could be a valid one. Two days ago I had a phone conversation with Ryan Hayes about an entirely different subject but we did discuss the then, yet to be released information, concerning this new 800 DSI engine. He didn’t mention any horsepower numbers but assured me that I would be impressed with this new engine. My hope is that he will be right. After all the time the boys have had to bring this engine to market, they had to have known that it must go to the head of the class. Arctic Cat has always prided itself on having the quickest, fastest sleds among their competitors. Will it be as quick/fast as the 850? Only time will tell. I only hope that financial pressures were not the reason that this engine couldn’t be all it should have been. In closing, I’d like to mention that I found it curious that Greg Spaulding was not part of the group picture for the introduction of this new engine. Greg, where are you?

  18. A lot of good points brought up on the New C-Tek 800. Only thing I’ve got to Say is I’ve had about 20 new cats now. Something went wrong in 2004, I had a 2003 ZR 800 EFI The BEST, Maybe they can rebuild some of these. Id buy one. I had a 2011 F8 snopro and always on temp light,Computre re-flash & retard key, with no fix it sight I dumped it as the prevous owner did at 400 miles. Kept it a yr 475 miles, then got rid of that to a 2014 ZR 800 rr, with 490 mi on it. That runs ok but top end is sick & snaps belts in half. Cat has a nice product but trusting what is put out there Id wait a yr on that buying. Thinking is It’s a lot of $$$$$ and they don’t work good is a Door stop at times & not worth much.The more you ride and ware it out the better you feel and buy a replacement. Slow down Arctic Cat and build not good product but the best product & smell the roses. Hope these new motors work as they say. Hope the clutches or whatever is needed to make the chasey role easy is fixed .

  19. Excited to see what the new c-tech 2 800 brings! The only thing I’m not liking about what I see with the 2018 cats are the still the same handlebar configurations. ARCTiC CAT we want console mounted controls. Many of us back country and aggressive trail riders like to switch out handlebars for personal preferences. I my self would rather have the fewest possible items mounted on the handlebars. It’s time to move away from the control blocks mounted on the bars and go towards console mounted switches. Competitors are all doing it for several years. P.S make the the RR great again. People who buy the RR want a real bullet proof race chassis with the 800 motor. I feel the RR has taken the back seat and is about as similar to a zr sno pro as it gets. We want the real suspension, real race rails, and for gods sakes the real sno cross track. (Gearing also) A race replica to me should be tailored more towards the riders that want a snowmobile thats going to bang the ditches and catch air not about the plush smooth ride. I still can’t wrap my head around why an RR should ever come in a 137″ model. I think an 800RR should be a race chassis with an 800 or 600 c tech 2 engine. Trail friendly race sled. Bring it back Arctic Cat.

  20. I hate the dash mounted switches but I am a trail rider and I love the handlebar mounted switches the way they are now. Easy to get to without having to stop and search. Don’t ever change that on the trail models. Best switches EVER!

  21. Some guys on here will be complaining no matter what comes to market. Same guys out there whining on every website… On the displacement thing, a little history lesson. Arctic had a 1000 twin. Guess what, the 800 outsold it, eventually it went away. Anybody remember the Polaris 900 Fusion? F7 would outrun it. Fusion went away. Suddenly Ski-Doo builds a 850 and they are genius? An 800 could never compete with that? Or wait, if a 700 can compete with a 900, maybe there is a “replacement for displacement”. If this thing is better than the current 800, as they say it is, I have little worries about how competitive it will be. But if I do lose a length on the lake, I’ll make up 10 in the trail. When I lack the talent to do that, I guess I’ll buy the turbo and make up 10 on the lake. Nice to have options.

  22. Hey folks who live in the USA, with Trump now in power and saying the EPA should go BYE BYE, will the triple triples come back now LOL?

    You wanna make the new 800 Ctec 2 engine into a rocket, AC should add production twin pipes like the old 1994-1995 ZR 700 had LOL

  23. working on a 2003 Arctic cat 50 trying to find out what the normal compression is on this unit and what the min can be . The test I did was 120 to 125 is this ok. thanks

  24. if the new 8000 engine is like the suzuki800 there will be no problems. my dealer sold 1500 arctic cat snowmobiles with Suzuki 800 & only had 2 breakdown much better reliability than polaris & ski-doo my 800 polaris was towed out 3 times in 4 yrs but no warrenty after 1 yr. my friend has new ski-doo 850 the second ride this yr he seized it polaris & ski-doo have very poor reliability.

  25. I ordered a ALPHA 165 with the new engine can’t wait to see it and try it,4 yr warranty can’t go wrong, have a 2017 thundercat also 4 yr warranty no problems, cat does have trust and backing, thank you A/C

  26. 2018 ctec 800 is a dogggg!!! Hard on fuel. Hard on oil overheating issues itā€™s embarrassing!! Slowest sled on the lake! Flames out the exhaust melted the bellypan. Dealer has no fix??? ??

    I’m shocked most people don’t know the entire top end needs to be removed to service the new design Power Valves. Its not like the old 800 Suzuki. MY dealer says Arctic Cat recommends,..Inspect & Clean every 3500 miles. The gaskets and PV cables alone are about $400 not to mention labor.
    I’ve owned 6 800’s, 10K on most of them, do all my own work but this PV design is out to lunch.
    I’m trying to get a price to have it done before I decide to buy the new 800.

  28. 2018 ctec2 8000 – 225 miles on my first outting and having temperature sensor issues and on top of that, flames out of the exhaust pipe. Temperature sensor reading -43 degrees and yes that’s minus. Had to ride back in limp mode for 15 miles to a place where I could get trailed back to base camp. Prior to the problem engine temperature was reading 133 during the ride.

  29. I have a 2019 zr8000 That I paid $12,000 for , took it for a lake run and exhaust caught fire and burned the side of the sled up Iā€™ve called Arctic cat on this they say they have no fix for it and will not let me return the sled with 200 miles on it ….they just give me advice on how to drive it so it doesnā€™t catch fire
    …… Arctic cat will not stand behind the product and if this catchs fire and they will not warranty it whatā€™s the point of having a warranty

  30. Iā€™m so pissed I would love to talk to someone else who is fed up and wants to take action against arctic cat. Why wouldnā€™t arctic cat recall the sleds that catch on fire….. 5188796700 Tim m

  31. My 2018 ZR8000 Limited will not idle down and back fires upon shut down. I’ve talked with a couple dealers that have no answer. Is Cat still building sleds like this?


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