Back in 2008 (model year 2009) when Ski-Doo first introduced their 600 E-TEC engine platform, they also introduced a new semi-synthetic XPS injection oil at the same time. Since the E-TEC engine with its electronic oil pump was using so much less oil than previous engine designs, Ski-Doo strongly suggested the exclusive use of their new oil to provide the highest level of protection and performance.
Next followed the introduction of the more powerful 800R E-TEC engine, and not soon afterwards we were all instructed to be using the XPS full-synthetic XPS injection oil, as it was said to provide an even higher level of protection than the semi-synthetic XPS oil.
Now for the 2015 model year, Ski-Doo has discontinued their “black bottle” semi-synthetic XPS injection oil. Take a look at any of the 2015 Ski-Doo accessory catalogs and you will not find it. All that’s left is the “white bottle” mineral oil and the “yellow bottle” full-synthetic injection oils.
So, what is up with that? We’re hearing the price difference between the full-synthetic and semi-synthetic was so small that it simply made business sense to only have the dealers stock one product instead of two. This will eliminate some confusion as well, but what it really does is lead the owners of E-TEC engines to use the better oil – for better protection, better lubrication, and reduced service (and warranty) expenses. Ski-Doo tells us they invested over $3 million dollars and logged more than one million vehicle miles of field testing over a three year period to develop their two-stroke and four-stroke oils, so their decision to eliminate the semi-synthetic oil is based on plenty of science and hard data, not just simply economics.
We suspect there might have been a good number of 800R E-TEC owners using the less expensive black bottle semi-synthetic oil, and now that we have a few years on this engine platform we are starting to see the long term reliability data, specifically what happens when the lubrication is not as good as it could have or should have been. The 800R E-TEC is a very high output engine, with right around 160 HP for less than a litre of displacement! This kind of engine needs to be using very good (full synthetic) oil, it needs to be fed very good (non-ethanol premium) fuel and it needs to be fogged for the off-season (an automatic process using the electronic oil pump initiated through the instrument gauge cluster, but you might not believe how many riders don’t even do it!). If you want a high performance engine to take care of you, you must take care of it. One element is using the best oil possible, and not cutting corners.
What about the 600 E-TEC owners, wasn’t the black bottle semi-synthetic oil good enough for them? Of course it was, but the yellow bottle full synthetic is even better. For the minimal price difference between the two, Ski-Doo believes their owners will be better served in the long term by using the full synthetic oil. Of course, there will be some dealers who have stocked up on the remaining supply of the semi-synthetic oil, so you might be able to find it for a good while yet, but it will become increasingly more difficult.
From the September 2014 Issue of SnowTech Magazine (Aug 2014)
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