HOW TO TELL IF YOU REALLY GAINED SOME POWER!
OK, Hopefully you have read the
Article on why
clutching RPM changes do NOT really tell you if your latest and greatest
addition gave any REAL performance gain.. If, you have not read it, please, take
the 5 minutes to do so because it will allow this article to make more sense.
OK, here we go… So, we know that
you can NOT rely on your clutching to tell you whether you added performance
with your new addition. So, how does one determine if the hard earned money you
spent was worthwhile? SIMPLE.. you determine this by testing it in the REAL
WORLD.. ON THE SNOW.. where it really counts.. Not on a dyno but on the snow!
Let’s back up a bit with a bit
of “common sense” reasoning and theory.
1)ANY internal combustion engine
MUST be loaded in order to produce max power. Free-wheeling or unloaded engines
simply do not produce. Remove the belt from your engine, rev the engine, and
your ears will tell you that there is no real power being produced without the
load applied to the crankshaft. ALL dyno tests are done using a “LOAD” to load
the engine. Otherwise, the max torque outputted could not be measured.
OK.. Same applies in the real
world (on the snow). You must place a load on the engine to make the engine
produce. The heavier the load, the more internal heat is produced and that heat
is converted to power via the engine.
Example: Take 2 new trucks.. 1
gas truck at 400HP and 1 diesel at 400HP, get on I-70 in Nebraska and line them
up.. What happens? Well.. they run very even.
OK, same 2 trucks, now put 8,000
lbs of trailer behind each. Same I-70 in Nebraska.. Line them up.. What happens
now? Well.. The diesel runs much faster than the gasoline truck. How can this
be? We just ran them without the 8,000 lb load and they were equal. Answer:
LOAD.. Once loaded, the truck that can MAINTAIN power performs better than the
one that is struggling to maintain the power.
NOW, take it one step further,
same 2 trucks, same 8,000lb load but now take them to 8000ft elevation on a 5%
uphill windy grade that goes on for 10 miles. Line them up.. What happens??
Well, the diesel truck is at the top eating lunch before the gasoline truck
crests the top with an overheated transmission and near over-heated engine.
Again… LOAD changes everything!
So, 3 different scenarios with
NOTHING changing but the load applied to the engine/vehicle and you have 3 VERY
different outcomes in terms of “how bad” one outperforms the other. NOTE: the
HP/TORQUE of either engine never changed. Just the manner in which it was
Next time you hear about the
amount of "lengths" one gained with ANY product. PLEASE ask them how it did
under a heavy load.
SAME applies with snowmobile
performance. UNTIL you place the sled in a heavy load situation, you will not
always be able to determine if the performance is better or worse than the
EXAMPLE: 2 identical
snowmobiles other than one has some power enhancement modifications (ie. pipe,
head, pistons etc.) Line ‘em up on a road. What happens?? The mod one may or may
not run faster in a short distance. It all depends on how the sled is clutched
and if the current clutching calibration allows the sled to benefit from the
added power. In other words, it may be hard to determine if there is a power
difference between the 2 sleds.
OK, take them to a meadow with 2
ft of powder.. Line ‘em up. What happens?? Probably about the same as what
happened on the road comparison with the mod sled probably running a tad faster.
Still, it MAY be difficult to differentiate between the 2 in terms of power.
OK, take them to them to a BIG
hill with 3ft of fresh powder and about 1000 ft of hill to pull. THIS is where
you will see whether you actually added some power or not! These sleds have the
same tracks and chassis. They are identical in every way except for the engine
changes. No need to line ‘em up.. Just try and get to the top of the hill that
is in front of you.
NOW, you can see the results of
the engine modifications.
IF there is truly power added,
there will be a NOTICEABLE difference in how high up the hill one sled is able
to achieve vs. the other. Absolutely, NO QUESTION, providing both are running at
proper RPM and all clutching is healthy, the sled with the more power WILL be
higher on the hill… EVERYTIME!
The higher powered sled will
always be able to out climb the lower powered sled. While it may not be able to
out “race” it on the flats or in the meadows, once the LOAD is placed on the
engine, the added power will be revealed.
OK, we also hear about the
“midrange” power enhancement that may accompany a performance product. Midrange
power is always welcome and can make your sled more enjoyable to ride due to
more “snappy” throttle response. Again, great stuff and welcome, for sure. BUT…
midrange power is power that is achieved at BELOW peak operating rpm. So, if
your peak power operating RPM is 8200, midrange power would be in that 6500-7500
RPM range. You know.. the “crusin’” RPM. So, if your riding style favors a lot
of “crusin” then this type of power enhancement would be a great thing to have.
BUT.. Please do not mistake ANY gain in midrange RPM power to translate to PEAK
RPM power gains. These are VERY different. Gains realized at midrange RPM are
not necessarily realized at PEAK RPM.
Ask yourself, when you are
racing across the field or climbing that big chute, are you running at PEAK RPM
or MIDRANGE RPM? Last time I checked the tach, I was not climbing ANYTHING in
the midrange RPM. If I was, then the climb did not require much power.
So, not to worry, most products
that give your some good PEAK RPM power gains also give you midrange RPM gains
as well. The reverse is not always true. You can have products that boost
midrange RPM yet give little to no power at the PEAK RPM.
So, be sure that you know what
RPM the product you are considering dropping your hard earned $$ on benefits the
RPM range that favors your riding style