Can You Put An Electric Start On A Snowmobile?


What do a garden tractor, a roto-tiller, and a push lawn mower have in common? They all have an electric start. Would there be a reason why you wouldn’t want one on your snowmobile?

Yes, you can add an electric start to your snowmobile. However, if the electric start doesn’t come with the snowmobile, it can be pricey. To have an electric start, you can either purchase the snowmobile with it, install it yourself or have someone do it for you.

Electric starts have always been associated with the myth that it puts on extra weight and therefore dampens down the sled’s performance.

Adding An Electric Start On A Snowmobile: How Much Does It Weigh?

The extra 20-25 lbs. from the starter motor, ring gear, and battery added to a 150-horsepower consumer snowmobile makes almost no perceptible difference in its acceleration or top speed.

Adding An Electric Start On A Snowmobile: How Much Does It Cost?

Used Kits

If you do it yourself, the prices for the electric start kit will vary depending on the condition, if it’s used or new. Often, people are trying to sell used kits for over $300 without the primary clutch. Sometimes they include the ring gear, which they removed from their electric start primary clutch.

Because you will not bolt on an electric starter ring gear to a non-electric starter primary clutch, the ring gear is useless. There have been scenarios where people have purchased a used “kit” with just a ring gear. As they try to figure out how to fit the ring gear, they quickly discover that the gear does not fit.

After attempting to install the kit, the buyer then had to buy a whole new electric start clutch for $470 at a discount price ($570 Retail). So, depending on which route you take for buying it, you can end up paying between 250 and 770 dollars. 

Brand New Kits

The process is very simple, as the kits come with very detailed instructions. The following are just a few recommendations when considering getting a new electric start kit for your snowmobile.

Polaris Snowmobiles Key Operated Electric-Start Kit from Amazon

Avoids pull-starting your snowmobile after taking a break on the trail or in frosty mornings.

 

PRO-RIDE™ Electric Start Kit from Polaris

This starter offers reliability and easy starting so that you can ride with just a turn of the key. It has a moderate difficulty level for installation. It fits models 800 Pro-Ride and 600 Pro-Ride.

Getting a kit from Polaris is substantially less expensive than purchasing pieces and parts individually from a parts counter.

Ski-Doo 860200627 Electric Starter Kit from Amazon

This kit advertises to allow you to start your snowmobile with the push of a button.

Electric Start On A Snowmobile: How To Install It?

Even before you open the first bag of parts, you must read the instructions entirely front to back, as you would do with any other project. 

Following, remove all parts out of the bag and, based on the instructions, identify each one of them with the parts legend. Next, please read the instructions again in their entirety, and identify each part as it comes up next in the instructions. It is best if you are close to the snowmobile; that way, you can see the illustrations of the snowmobile provided in the instructions. This should take almost 20 minutes of your time, but it will be worth it.

Once you have identified all the parts and have read the instructions twice, you have most of the project under control. After you have prepared yourself, the installation will take you maybe an hour. Preparation is the key.

For this explanation, we will describe the process of installing a simple starter. However, here is the link with full kit installation instructions for the Polaris P/N 2879330 Electric Start Kit. It has color photos included, which could be extremely helpful for the removal part of the process. This model is the ideal kit for the 600/800 PRO Chassis snowmobiles.

However, here is a simple explanation that will be useful for any installation you decide to do.

Generic Instructions

What you’ll need:

  • Battery (Make sure your battery is charged)
  • Battery box
  • Starter
  • Solenoid with wiring
  • Clutch with the ring on
  • Hold-down for your battery box
  • Specialty tools

Steps:

  1. First, take the clutch off.
  2. Install the clutch puller. These can usually be a real problem.
  3. Regarding tools, the best thing to use is the impact gun.
  4. Once the clutch is out, next, put the starter. For some models, putting the start without the clutch is the best way.
  5. Once the starter is in, fold it up.
  6. The next thing you want to do is to put the battery tray inside.
  7. Following, you are going to put the battery box. The battery box has two mounting holes. You want to knock those out and put your battery box down in there.
  8. That’s where the hold-down comes in. You are going to bolt this fast. It will serve two purposes: bolt the battery box fast, and it’s also going to hold the cylinder. So you will put one side in, but the other side is for ground, so you are going to leave that off.
  9. Next, you are going to put the battery in. 
  10. First, put all the wires on. 
  11. Now that all your electrical connections are hooked up. Ensure all your connections are clean and tight. By doing so, you will prevent running into charging problems later on when these items begin to wear out.
  12. Now, the only thing we have left is to put our clutch back on.
  13. Take the clutch with the ring gear on. There is a torque spec for this, and you are just going to tighten them up.
  14. Clip in all your caps down.
  15. Your electric start is now ready. 

Adding An Electric Start On A Snowmobile: Advantages And Disadvantages

Advantages

  • Easy to start when you’re in a bad spot (stuck in the trees) or worn out from digging.
  • Most owners consider it very convenient, and they wouldn’t own another snowmobile without an electric start.

Disadvantages

  • Electric starters add weight to snowmobiles. 
  • It cost an additional $400 on top of the value of the snowmobile.
  • It is difficult to replace the QD belt when it fails. 

Snowmobiles: Electric Start Versus Traditional Pull Start

Let’s review some of the differences between snowmobiles with an electric start and traditional ones. The goal here is not to persuade you in any particular direction. We just want to provide you with information so you can compare and contrast the two of them.

AspectsElectric startTraditional pull start
RangeIt has long recharge times. Limited to almost 200 miles.Usually, it is further than electric. But it depends on the gas tank capacity. It is easier to fill up.
Cost It has lower lifetime maintenance costs but expensive purchase prices. You can expect maintenance costs. The purchase price varies. 
Maintenance Less regular upkeep but skilled mechanics are not yet abundantReadily available, and you can expect regular maintenance.
NoiseIt is virtually silentNoisy
Acceleration/SpeedAmazing top speeds and impressive acceleration It has less acceleration compared to the electric ones. There can be a variation on high-performance options.
EmissionsNoneThe 2-stroke engines blow out environmentally damaging emissions. 

Conclusion

Most owners who leave their traditional pull start and switch to electrical starts find it worth the cost and consider it a wise investment. 

Some believe the extra weight from the electric start is a disadvantage. Others believe the gain in speed compensates for the weight issue.

Sources:

https://www.snowandmud.com/threads/electric-start-or-pull.86070/

https://www.dootalk.com/threads/installing-electric-start-anyone-do-it.406064/

http://www.supertraxmag.com/features/10-snowmobiling-must-haves:-electric-start/n1875

https://www.dootalk.com/threads/adding-electric-start.1267097/

Ryan Conner

Outdoor enthusiast with several years of snowboarding experience in the winters and watersports activities all summer. Living within 3 hours of 4 well-known ski resorts, I get plenty of board time from Nov-March every season.

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