Dear Ralph: I am looking for technical help with an ongoing problem on my ’05 Renegade 800 HO. Since new I’ve had problems with...

Dear Ralph:
I am looking for technical help with an ongoing problem on my ’05 Renegade 800 HO. Since new I’ve had problems with my drive belts disintegrating, with anywhere from 500 to 1500 miles on them. I’ve tried both Bombardier and Ultimax belts. I’ve had two dealers check the clutches and alignment and have been told there is nothing wrong. I currently have 6000 miles on this and at $150 CDN per belt it takes away the ‘fun factor’ in sledding. I have removed the black plastic side cover off the clutch cover to allow better cooling and have the same problem. I am thinking that there may be a heat issue, but don’t see anybody having similar problems. Any ideas on resolving this?
Bruce Jacobson

We would first want to analyze your riding conditions and calibration. Are you running the OEM clutching calibration, or have you made modifications? Since two dealers have looked at the sled, one would believe the springs, ramps, rollers and pins have all been inspected and verified, that the center-to-center is good and the offset is correct. And, the clickers are set so you are spinning at 7850 RPM.
Next would be the riding conditions. I can visualize conditions where 1000-1500 miles on a belt is about right; that would be low speed, high RPM heavy load pulls that heat soak the clutches and drive belt, typical of deeper snow, wet snow and off-trail riding. If we’re talking packed trails, then 500-1000 miles is pretty much unacceptable.
Also, what kind of track is on this sled? Belt life can be increased by gearing down in the chaincase, something that truly makes a difference with the taller lugs and longer tracked sleds. Stock gearing, like stock clutching, is always a relative compromise. It can not, by nature, be optimized for all riding styles and snow conditions. Renegades are still clutched and geared to give maximum performance across the widest variety of conditions. This means they will accelerate hard and give respectable top end while on hard pack trails, at the expense of belt life under slower going and deeper snow riding conditions. With that being said and hopefully understood, if your riding style and conditions are more concentrated in deeper snow areas and boondocking type riding it is very likely that gearing down the chaincase ratio will reduce the belt temperatures and the life of the drive belt increased, sometimes quite dramatically.
Ski-Doo has since added a note to their calibration specs that reflect this, recommending a lower gear ratio and possibly a better cam angle for deep snow applications or slower boondocking type riding. These changes may or may not affect the overall top speed capability on hardpack, but they will increase belt life by reducing belt slippage at lower speeds.

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