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Dear Ralph: I own a 2002 Polaris Classic with the M-10. Now I have the update kit installed with the new coolant bottle, a...

Dear Ralph:
I own a 2002 Polaris Classic with the M-10. Now I have the update kit installed with the new coolant bottle, a longer snow flap, a third extrusion, and what disturbs me the most is that they changed it so the temp light doesn’t come on until the coolant reaches a higher temperature than before (went from something like 186 degrees to 212 as far as I know). So, if adding all of the updates was truly effective then why are they changing the temperature the light comes on?

Therefore, I would like to add on a water temperature gauge, but no one seems to be able to tell me what temperature it should be running at or maintaining so it’s not entering one of the timing retard modes that occurs before the temp light even comes on!

So, what is the ideal water temperature to maintain? At what temperature does the ignition start to roll back the timing? When does the fail safe kick in?
Bob Knutson
Amery, WI

We’ve had several M-10 EDGEs over the years, and never once experienced overheating of any sort what so-ever. However, many owners of these sleds did in fact experience some form of “inadequate cooling”, whether it was due to snow conditions, improperly set rear preload (many M-10s are set too stiff and riding too high decreases cooling efficiency), insufficient extrusion surface area, poor quality plastic puke bottle seal, or slow operation that didn’t allow enough snow to get thrown up into the coolers (also due in part to taller lug tracks that throw more snow out the back and less up into the tunnel.)

Therefore, Polaris took several steps to ensure better cooling and overall consistency in these “marginal” conditions or somewhat “non-standard” situations. Based on the feedback on the 2004s I tend to believe the steps taken pretty much eliminated consumer complaints.

We have long advocated the need for an actual water temp gauge on every snowmobile, and continue to do so. In the case of many of these newer Polaris engines that can begin to retard the timing with no indication at all to the rider, it would be nice to know when you’re at or getting close to a water temp that is going to affect performance.

As for the desired water temp, I’m of the old school that says colder is better for a denser intake charge and thus more power, within reason. I’d say ideal is about 120 degrees, with anything between 110 and 125 degrees for maximum power output, but anything between 100 and like 140 should be OK, within reason. Over 140 and I’d be looking for relief, and when you get up to 175 I’d start to get excited! This is around the time the ignition takes steps to reduce the heat being generated by the engine until the coolant gets some relief. When we do dyno testing we don’t want to see temps over 130!

Remember that four-strokes will run slightly hotter. What we’ve been talking about is traditional two-stroke temperatures. Most all of these new sleds incorporate some form of ignition variation in response to water temperature being outside of the desired parameters, and you don’t get a warning unless it becomes a major issue, so don’t rip on Polaris like they’re hiding something from you.

Those fighting cooling issues on any sled should go over the basics. Is the coolant system properly sealed (pressure caps and bottle seals). Is the coolant level topped off? This is a critical item on many sleds, especially Ski-Doo 800s. Is the rear ride height properly set? Is there air in the system? Remove any ice that forms on the extrusions at the start of the day, as ice can block snow from contacting the extrusion yet isn’t contacting it good enough to do much cooling. And last but most importantly, be aware of how much snow is going up into the tunnel. If the rear suspension is pretty empty of snow, you should get the idea. If the air temp got above freezing the day before, then the snow is going to be harder and there will be less moving around to contact the extrusions and perform the cooling function. Just because you’re riding around on tons of snow and ice doesn’t mean enough of it is getting up to and contacting the extrusions.

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