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Liquid or Air-cooled Snowmobile on Cascade?

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Hi there,

First post on this part of the forum.  I'm considering snowmobiles for ice fishing.  The question in my mind is Liquid or Air cooled? 
From what I've read, air cooled are less maintenance, poor gas mileage, while liquid cooled are much better gas mileage, but are in danger of easier overheating.
Which do you prefer on Cascade and why?


I know guys with both that fish Cascade. Unless it is bare glare ice the overheating problem doesn't seem to be a big deal and I have seen it just bare ice a few times. I looked long and hard at Snowmobiles and there are liquid cooled ones that can do bare ice, Ski Doo Skandic 900 ace has a second radiator with fan just for that. If you can find a 500 fan like in a Polaris Indy Trail 2up that is a sweet ice machine. Some of the guys I know have old beater sleds they don't really care if it blows up, I think they are nuts, but.... Though Snowmobiles are great and many prefer them I went another route and got the SnowDog. No matter what you go with realize that getting in and turned around with a trailer can be less than easy in some places. Seen a guy last year at Horsethief Jimmy Jacking his truck and trailer for quite a while to get it turned around.

Cooling is mainly a problem in 2 cases:

Late season with no snow- warm temperatures. Here the fact that you should not be in trouble because you are going slow and pulling on the flat. Stop every few miles if you are going a long way. I usually park close to where I fish, and it is unusual for me to run the sled 10 minutes all at once to get home. I stopped and drill a hole and shovel slush on the track if I am going far on glare ice. The track need some lubrication even if the engine does not need snow for cooling.

High power: As sleds increased in power (like more than 100 HP) Getting rid of the heat, and keeping everything reliable is the problem solved by liquid cooling. It also has the side benefit of melting the snow out of your tunnel and running boards. Also not a huge factor for ice fishing use. I would take a 1 cylinder air cooled sled any day, if I could find one.

As for mileage, I don't burn 20 gallons of gas in a year, and my problem is more the gas getting old. I run non ethanol fuel and use Seafoam to keep things clean. A 4 stroke sled will do better than a 2 stroke by far, but for me, mileage is way down the list.

I think your priority should be on the size of machine, e-start, reverse, and condition. My guess is you will never put more than a few hundred miles on the thing, and both types of cooling are working on Cascade. We don't have to run that far, and there is usually snow/slush.

Just got my 2007GTX back from a top end rebuild. Reinstalled everything, and it fired right up. My old Tundra fired up too. Soon will be on Cascade doing break in on the GTX.

Snowdogs run in all weather conditions.   ;D ;D ;D

I run an older Polaris RMK that is liquid cooled.  I works great in most conditions but like others have said, clean ice will get you in trouble.  I've overheated a few times when there's no snow on the ice.  It's fairly rare on Cascade not to have snow but it does happen, especially late in the season.  There are days that I wish for something different but it's good 90% of the time. 

My biggest regret is not having reverse.  Reverse would open up more options for a trailer.   


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