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May 18, 2011

Reverse and Turbos

I logged on this morning and was hit between the eyes with a couple of excellent questions, which when I began to answer, occurred to me I could base a whole post on my thoughts. So without further adieu…

I currently have 6 Yamaha snowmobiles and have just ordered 2-2012 Nytro XTX’s. I like these sleds but the reverse engagement lever is very hard to use. I have tried various ways of using it, including using a strap to pull on it but nothing makes it work any better including adjustment or a dealer working on it. My non Yamaha buddies get a real charge out this. Also Artic Cat, Bombardier, and Polaris have a factory turbo, but nothing from the leading 4 stroke manufacturer, this seems puzzling to me. Having owned at least 35-40 snowmobiles, 90 % Yamaha and 90% of those bought new I would appreciate and answer to these questions. Repectfully yours,  Murray,  Sask. Canada

Hey Murray, regarding the reverse gear system on the Nytro; it follows suit with every reverse gear Yamaha has designed to date. In a nutshell, it is ‘quirky’, which is odd when you consider the number of gear systems and transmissions to come out of our engineering group. I find it works best if you are left handed, reach across the saddle while looking over your right shoulder and sticking your tongue out of the opposite side of your mouth, simultaneously blipping the throttle. It also helps if Venus and Pluto are aligned… seriously, there is a bit of a ‘knack’ to it, sometimes the gears don’t mesh just right and a small amount of throttle to move the jack-shaft a bit helps, also having the idle speed set correctly as well as the clutch C2C and OE drive belt will keep the gears from being pre-loaded. If everything is set right it comes down to the angles and order of force exerted upon the reverse mechanism. Occasionally it works like a charm, effortless, then the next time I’m in need of some reverse thrust it can be a real struggle. I will pass along your comments to our engineers (it is not the first time they will have heard this one). And a word of caution, don’t be forcing it too much or you may find yourself clutching a broken handle, it’s all about the ‘angle of the dangle’ so to speak.

On the subject of turbos, we have been pushing this one for a while now (pardon the pun), especially for the mountain application where altitude effects horsepower. There is an argument to the point that a low boost turbo can compensate for the loss of power at elevation without stressing the engine beyond its design parameters. Our engineers work to very exacting standards much of which has come about from years of motorcycle design. They will not sacrifice the durability /  reliability of the engines to achieve more power with a ‘bolt on’ device. That said, the testing standards we have to meet appear to be quite a bit beyond that of what the real world requires… catch 22.

There is also inherent pride in knowing our current engines, normally aspirated, are very close to the power output of our competitions boosted engines. Historically, Yamaha has dabbled with boost, most recently in the marine side of things, but we tend to shy away from using turbos or superchargers in favor of building state of the art engine technology taken from pages of MotoGP racing development and auto partnerships.

The current market trends and acceptance of boosting smaller engines in autos and the adoption of the technology into more baseline motorsports has got to have an impact on our planning somewhere down the road. The simple fact that we have many engines operating under high boost pressure for several seasons in the mountains tells me our motors can ‘handle it’ and supports my theory that the ‘bench test’ for our sled engines most likely leaves a significant margin of error when it comes to squeezing some more juice for the real world.

To counter the additional cost of boost, the base engines (like those you refer to from our competition) do not have to be as costly to produce, with lower hp/liter output when normally aspirated. This, along with our ‘rule-book’ of engineering standards would most likely conclude, we would have to design a new engine from the a clean sheet of paper to offer factory boost.

I am not saying such a project is under way, in fact I can say, to my knowledge it is not. But one thing is for certain things are changing at Yamaha. Much of this change is a result of the recession and its impact on our business model. Efficiencies, global demands, parts suppliers, exchange rates and not the least, the internet are all having a profound impact on our future. It’s a mighty big ship to turn but I sense some big changes looking over the bow at the shifting horizon.

… Time will tell.  Cheers  cr

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Posted @ 9:43 am in Tech Talk,Yamaha Insights   

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12 Responses to “Reverse and Turbos”

  1. snoguzzler says:

    The last bit really makes a Yamaha man think!!
    About the reverse conundrum. My Viper was a bugger to work, kinda like you said – hold your tongue just right and curse 4 or 5 times and you might get lucky. The wife’s Phazer is the same even though its electric. My Attak on the other hand has never giving me a problem. Its as smooth as a baby’s behind!

  2. pat the rat says:

    that’a great post,that picture with the turbo mounted on the side is pretty slick,i hope the changes are gonna be for the better,not that we need better products from yamaha cuz they already are of a very high quality,but changes that would benefit us the consumers that have to shell out large amount of money to enjoy our yamaha’s,now about the competition having boost,to me that is a yamaha advantage,they dont need a turbo to make hp,seen some turbo sleds get spanked by our normally aspirated apex,to me,i’d rather see a cc increase,bring it up to 1200 or 1300 cc,i wonder why they never did this,chow

  3. Paddy says:

    To get my 2010 nytro to engage in reverse , (1)I speak to it in a low and calm tone of voice while figiting with the handle.If that fails , then (2)I pray out loud that Yamaha fires the engineer who designed it, of course while figiting with the handle . (3) Repeat step 2 till you drown out the heckling and sounds of laughter from fellow riders.By that point it usually slips into place.Works everytime for me.Other than that , I love my Yamaha…Happy sledding

  4. Yellowknife says:

    Good post.

  5. Stephen Burdick says:

    I would have agreed that boost was not needed…… Until I moved to the mountains. Now there is a brand new 2010 FXNytro MTX 162 SE ready to get an MCExpress 240 hp kit installed before next riding year.

    I would certainly have purchased a 200 hp from the factory sled as a 2012. To this point, I am not a fan of the PUSH set up, just seems like there are other aftermarket companies with way more “success” in their corner.

  6. 7 skulls says:

    A very interesting post for those of us who like to read between the lines. Given its a yamaha, that big ship must have one hell of an engine!
    Nothing else to say but: Build my sled, I will buy it. Money’s in the bank and thumb is itching for a new ride;)

  7. Mike says:

    Have an MCX 290 Apex MTX and it’s insane!

  8. Scott says:

    I’ve always been a bit surprised by the complaint I’ve read about the reverse system. It can be quirky at times, but when it doesn’t want to go in, I find if I stand, then pull back on the bars to get the sled to roll backwards a small amount, the reverse clicks right in. I have noticed a high idle can cause balky engagement as well. For me, the pros far out weigh the cons. I know from experience that Polaris and Ski-doo mechanical reverse don’t hold up on a sled that is jumped and bashed through the bumps. Yamaha’s system is much more rugged and I’ve had zero failures. The electronic systems on the 2-strokes aren’t as great as I first thought since I’ve seen lots of sleds die when being placed into reverse. It seems much more prevalent on older sleds. The sleds then have to be restarted which involves pulling a cord so exactly what is gained? I’d much rather have a mechanical system that is a little heavier than an electronic system that seems work work less and less reliably as the miles pile up on 2-stroke. I suppose that RER and PERC kind of function as an early warning device for when the top end needs to be rebuilt.

    As far as turbos go, I don’t think the other OEM’s turbo offerings will ever hold together long enough to even see the 25,000 mile valve adjustment mark for a Yamaha.

  9. John Miller says:

    My 06 and 08 Apexs were ‘quirky’ at best, while my 2011 Apex was near perfect, I use reverse to come off the trailer every time we ride.My son’s 08 Nytro a little difficult at times.We both have new sleds ordered, 2012 Apex XTX, 2012 Nytro XTX, reverse operation not really an issue for us.Would like to see a factory supercharger or yamacharger as an option as these 800 e-tecs need to stay behind me at all times.

  10. Bob Hogg says:

    In today’s world, I just can’t see the need for turbo in any kind of sales volume. However, it’s certainly not my field of expertise.

    Dealerships (all types) are dropping so fast it is often 12 months to get them processed.

    Many Yamaha sleds have always had so much potential in its basic form. (I have proof)

  11. snoguzzler says:

    Chris where are you? I’ve been checking every couple days.
    I was wondering if you could help me out. I’m trying to figure out what sled would be better for me. I have an 06 Attak since06. had an 03 Viper before that. I’m wondering if and 11 SE will corner more like the Viper but ride as smooth as the Attak? I hardly ever go off trail so don’t think I need the ’11 XTX unless it hooks up that much better and rides that much smoother, and if it doesnt hinder cornering??? I have found a good deal on either version in an 2011. I see there has been some updates to teh XTX and not much to the SE.
    What would you do if you were me? I’ve asked for advice on both Totallyamaha and freedomsledder and still havent made up my mind.
    This doesnt have to be on the blog. THANKYOU

  12. Barry D says:

    hello, just want to know if any ones has heard of problems with the new MPI chrger for the 144 xtx’s. Heard that it has to constantly checked for tightness as it will loosen off and throw the crank??
    Would be very heplfull if someone could say

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