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HomeTechTipsExplained: C-TEC2 Automatic Engine Break-In

Explained: C-TEC2 Automatic Engine Break-In

Arctic Cat engineers comparing snowmobile top-speed and acceleration.

Buy a brand-new Arctic Cat 6000 or 8000 Series snowmobile and on it’s first ride you want to see how much wood is in the fire, right? So you slam the throttle to the handlebar the first chance you get, right?

Right. Which is why you’ll be rewarded with decidedly tame acceleration and top speed. In fact, your buddy on the 3-year-old 600 will blow right past you.

Arctic Cat engineers definitely understand our desire to pin the throttle to the bars. Consequently they programmed all C-TEC2 engines with an automated Break-In Function to protect us (and the engine) from such tendencies, and to ensure the best possible performance and durability for the engine’s lifetime. The downside is that we have to suffer the pain and humiliation of getting beat by our buddies for what seems like an entire winter, but is in fact just 18 minutes on the short end and less than six hours on the long end.

Arctic Cat 8000 C-TEC2 engine

There are two stages, or durations, that provide the optimal break-in controls.


Duration:    0.3 hours (18 minutes)

Controlled: 6500 RPM Limiter

                   4% additional fuel in the fuel/air mixture

                   10:1 oil ratio

This first stage is pretty obvious to most riders because of the RPM limit and the very rich oil ratio (the purpose of which is to drive out any air bubbles that may be trapped in the system from transportation, dealer prep, etc…).



Duration:    5.7 hours

Controlled: 2% additional fuel mixture

                   30:1 oil ratio

                   (There is no RPM limiter)

The second stage of break-in will be noticed by some riders, but not all.

After Stage 2, the engine automatically reverts to its full capabilities. That’s when you start beating your buddy.

Prior to model year 2019, throttle position was one of the variables that affected the duration of Break-In Function, which resulted in a longer Stage 2 duration for some riders. Arctic Cat removed this variable for 2019.

Ryan Hayes, Arctic Cat 2-Stroke Engine Powertrain Manager.

When I talked with Ryan Hayes (above), Powertrain Manager for 2-Stroke Development/Calibration at Arctic Cat, he said that testing done in the lab indicates that it’s possible for some engines to continue to “break-in” (meaning the time it takes for various engine components like pistons, rings and cylinders fully “seat” or wear) for up to 10-12 hours of operation, due to the natural variation in parts and duty cycle that any singular engine may have or encounter.

To be clear, the engine isn’t being controlled via the ECU any differently from 6 to 12 hours, rather it simply takes upwards of this many hours for the engine components to fully wear-in (READ THIS for additional background).

If you’re wondering, the 3000, 7000 or 9000 Series C-TEC4 engines that power Arctic Cat snowmobiles do NOT have an automated break-in function (owners should follow the recommendations outlined in the Operator’s Manual). Because of the increased number of moving components in a 4-stroke engine, most riders will see increased performance once these engines are fully broken-in.



  1. Bought an 18 6000 last year and never really noticed it but my dealer had put on 0.2 hours on it before I even had the chance to pick it up. I also have a 15 of the same and that motor in both sleds is by far the best 600 class sled ou there IMO! So smooth! The 18 clutches pushed it over the top for me.

  2. I have rode sleds since 73. I after that,have raced many of the Cats. The 18 XC is a monster sled that has a suspension set up that will tame any trail that you can give it, and that 600 motor is potentially the greatest 600 ever produced.

  3. Bought 2 brand new 2021 Riot R’s and I went north to break them in and took it easy on them the first day in the stage 2 mode and I kept getting 1324 codes. (Knock Control System Activated). This also limits the throttle until you cycle the power. Called my dealer and he informed me that there is many more people with this issue. He said I had to ride it harder. So I was in a wide part of the trails and I started laying into the throttle and both sleds had stumbles and bogs at full throttle. The codes kept coming and by the second day the stumbling and bogging got worse. I believe both engines are no good.
    300 Miles. Thank God for warranty. I am not a happy person. These are my first Arctic Cats. I was Yamaha for 15 years.

  4. I just bought a brand new 2021 ZR 8000 Limited with ATAC (1/29/21). Break in was interesting. I got through stage 1 with no issues. I am now through stage 2 with approximately 9 hours on the new sled. The engine does stumble while between 4800 to 5300 RPMs. When in a string of sleds and they are riding slow it seems to be a popular RPM speed in our group. Before 4800 and after 5300 RPM the thing is butter smooth. When you drop the hammer the sled rockets. Very powerful engine and it just keeps pulling. Fingers crossed that it just keeps getting stronger as the engine wears in.

  5. @Christian
    I just bought two of the new Blast sleds. One LT and one ZR. I’m experiencing the same thing. The ZR shows code 1324. I drained the fuel and replaced. No change. The LT doesn’t show the code but stalls/sputters at around 20mph and then if I open it up it’ll take off and around 50mph it’ll just bog down like someone hit the kill switch. Then at 20ish, it’ll come back to life. Replaced the fuel and plug in this machine as well – no change so far. In contact with my dealer but I’m also not very happy. These are my first new sleds.

  6. Bought 2021 Riot 8000 on February 1st. Day one after 32 miles on sled as someone posted above cruising about 50mph and sled quit like hitting kill switch. Tried to start and engine wouldn’t fire. Thought maybe I bumped the tether loose? Unplugged tether and plugged back in and engine fired up. Day 2 another rider approached me at a stop sign that bought the same sled and asked if I noticed an engine bog in the mid range. I stated that I hadn’t but only had 100 miles on the sled and riding pretty easy. Sunday was riding and running about 45-50 mph and sled again quit. Thought ok tether? unplugged replugged nothing. After 15 minutes finally restated but sled wouldn’t idle gave it some gas sled took off hit 5200 rpm and then engine seized with 472 miles on sled. This is my 10th Cat and my first disappointment. Dropped off at dealer yesterday my dealer said this is the third 8000 sled they have dealt with blowing up. One customer got engine replaced and 2nd engine blew up with under 500 miles on it. My dealer believes Cat has an issue with fuel mapping the mid range and motor leans out?? Waiting to hear back on what caused mine to blow up.

  7. Bought 2021 mountain max/alpha1.engine problems within 5 minutes overheating took it back to the dealer.water pump gear drive was faulty sending metal filings thru out the motor yamaha replaced the engine but I lost the sledding season.just getting sled back now after waiting 4 months for parts.bad experience.


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