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Old 10-18-2003, 02:36 PM   #1
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Sled: 2005 F6 Sno Pro, 1997 ZR 440
ATV: 2001 Kawasaki KX 125, 2000 KTM 200 EXC
Power:
Wow this "little" ZR SCREAMS for a 440 even though its not as high tech as the newer sno-pros. Though power isnt that great right after engagement, once you get into higher RPMs the 440 engine excellerates hard and is extremely snappy and quick. Its a blast around a home made track or through the woods, even on the lakes it goes fast enough for me!

Front Suspension:
This machine is the first year for the AWS V and wow it handles great. I havent had a machine that kept its line as good as the 97 ZR 440. The Front suspension with Fox Clicker shocks soaks up pretty much everything on the trail, though with it valved stiff for racing applications its a bit harsh at low speeds over the bumps. Ive never really felt the need to play around with the clicker settings. The ZR-style plastic skies are awesome, they made me a believer in the superiorness of plastic skis. Nice and flexible and dont transfer much shake to the bars. The front gives GREAT high speed confidence.

Rear Suspension:
Excellent when you are hammering it, harsh when you are not. You really see that this is a racer first and foremost when experiencing the rear suspension. It has Fox shox with the cockpit control for the front arm mounted on the handlebars. It adjusts ski pressure and therefor the overall handling of the machine. You can notice a difference adjusting the front arm when you are hammering it or going through the deep stuff, other areas it isnt as noticable. I had a durability issue with the rear suspension, a bolt for the spring got loose and wobbled a hole through the slide rails which seemed to throw the whole suspension out of wack and quickly wore many bushings in the suspension. The shocks are also a pain to service, especially the complicated front arm shock with the cockpit control, expensive too.

Other details:
Watch the clutches on these machines. The driven clutchs seize on to the jackshafts like you wouldnt believe on these models, I ended up by having to cut the thing off after it was damaged from another incident. We tried pretty much everything you could imagine before turning to cutting it off, because it HAD to come off. The drive clutchs also wear greatly, so you have to service them often. I found this out the hard way, it detonated into many pieces putting a hole in the bellypan, putting a kink in a tie rod and A-Arm, damaging the driven clutch (thats why we had to cut it off), and making me miss out on some EXCELLENT riding during an EXCELLENT winter!! But it was a preventable thing and it was our fault for not keeping up on the service.

I love this machine overall though, it might be a bit old now but it still has that punky ZR look to it that is timelessly intimidating.
The snot rocket 440 definatly scores a 10 on the coolness scale, with all the trick features on it. It is pretty bad on gas and oil consumption, but hey when you squeeze 90-92 Horsepower out of a 440 without exhaust valves, you need some serious gasoline to make that horsepower!!!

Ill give the machine a 8 Overall, its excellent but some of the durability issues and gas and oil consumption bring it down a tad, but a 8 is still great.

Overall Arctic Cat's 1997 ZR 440 is a winner!! Just keep up on the maintence and you will be all set!!


I had originally posted this over on Hardcoresledder.com, but I found it quite suited for this section!

And this "magazine" for articles from members is a really great idea!! I love it, I might add some intresting articles in the future Cheers!
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Old 10-18-2003, 08:47 PM   #2
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Nice write-up, thanks. The 97 ZR440 and ZR580 will go down as classics I think! I had a 97 ZL440 that I loved too...great handling sleds and the first with big rear travel...Marc
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Old 10-19-2003, 12:32 PM   #3
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Sled: 2005 F6 Sno Pro, 1997 ZR 440
ATV: 2001 Kawasaki KX 125, 2000 KTM 200 EXC
I almost got a 97 ZL 440, there was a wrecked one for 1500 bucks down in Sandisfield in early 99 and we looked at it and left and then decided to pick it up but by the time we got back it was gone!

It was smashed up pretty good, the bulkhead was twisted like you wouldnt believe, but it was still repairable.

Id imagine the ZL 440 would be like a more modern Prowler.
I can also see the advantage of the ZL over the ZR in 1997, the ZL was much cheaper but it was still very cool with the trick handlebars and ZR like looks!
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Old 10-21-2003, 12:08 AM   #4
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Sled: 97 ZR 440
ATV: You can't be serious?
I still ride my 97 ZR 440, and I honestly have no need to update to a newer sled yet. This thing still hauls the mail on the trails I ride. My latest mod is the addition of 43" stance via 01 A Arms and shocks, I just bolted them up and built the shocks last week. I am also bolting in a 99 Sno Pro rear clicker shock this week. Past mods have included ditching the mega thirsty oil injection system. I pulled the tank and pump out and made a block off plate for the pump mount. Swapped the 34mm rounds for 35mm TMX's, threw out the restrictive/heavy stock airbox and replaced it with a 98 Sno Pro box. B/M 6.5mm reed spacers and V force reeds. I rebuilt the top end 300 miles ago with Wiseco Pro lite complete kit. (BTW, watch Shade Tree for great deals on Wiseco kits, during the summer they offer up to 20% off on already great prices). I currently run 19/40 gearing and am clutched for a 8800 rpm peak and at last check it was pulling over 90mph on top end. I'm plenty happy with that. No porting, no head mods, and stock pipe/silencer. It is a blast in the twisties, where I prefer to ride. I get bored with lake runs and long straight trails. Quick I like, fast is not as important to me.

My concerns rest with how well I can get the thing to handle with the new front end. It sits much higher now and I will have to go through a tuning process as soon as I can get it out. If I can get it to carve as good as it did with the 41" stance I will be very happy, this sled just flat out carves. I am running 144 1" woodys in the track and Roetin Xprts on the ski's.

Probably the best things I've done to it were all suspension related. But, the 35mm TMX's are WAY more responsive then the 34 rounds were. I am kinda different then most guys. I value suspension and control way more then I feel the need to have more power. I don't need any more to run with the big bores on the trails. Yeah, they can smoke by me on the lake....if they are there when I get there, and even so, I will catch back up as soon as we get back in the woods. For the kind of riding I do, this sled works just fine for me. I bought it brand new in Oct 96 and I have had no real mechanical issues with it. I've not had any clutch troubles but I did seize it up once 2 years ago. That was my own fault though. I also have a Pyro 2000 EGT guage on it now too.

The one and only thing I really hate about this sled is the narrow foot rests and spacious footwells. I'll get around to fixing that next. Oh, and Boss seat would really be nice.
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Old 10-21-2003, 01:49 AM   #5
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Sled: 2001 zr800......The HULK
Go to www.bossseats.com.......they have a seat for your 97 in the "boneyard" section. :snowing:
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Old 10-21-2003, 01:28 PM   #6
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Sled: 2005 F6 Sno Pro, 1997 ZR 440
ATV: 2001 Kawasaki KX 125, 2000 KTM 200 EXC
I was almost thinking of a coupling kit for the rear suspension of my 440, It does seem to hop a bit in the bumps, maybe this will make it better . . . but I dont want to loose the awesome weight transfer the machine has though. Also I was thinking of scrapping that TERRIBLE stock airbox, that is one cobby set up in my opinion, especially taking it in and out.
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Old 10-31-2003, 07:13 PM   #7
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Hey Snoracer440,

Cheap fix for the stock airbox....UNI filtered vents. I have them in my air box too. 6-1" round plastic press in vents per package for $10 from DK. Buy 3 packages and a 1" holesaw and set your stock box up to breathe better. Works great. Keep an eye on jetting though. When it gets cold you can always use a strip of duct tape to cover some of them up.
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Old 10-31-2003, 07:52 PM   #8
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Sled: 2005 F6 Sno Pro, 1997 ZR 440
ATV: 2001 Kawasaki KX 125, 2000 KTM 200 EXC
Speaking of Airbox related topics, does any of your 97 ZR 440s have/had a problem of getting ice in the lines everyonce in a while in colder weather? Id imagine this is another airbox issue. A few times in the winter (especially after a deep powder run) the machine tends to get water in the carbs and freeze up and then I have to pull the extention cord and the blow-drier outside to fire it back up
:snowing:

The neighbor kid on his yammie thought it was hillarious when I was out there blow drying the 440 a few seasons ago. He wasnt laughing though after I got it started and I showed him the ZR power
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Old 11-01-2003, 10:40 PM   #9
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Sled: 97 ZR 440
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I'm going to run some experiments with heating my carbs this winter and see how it goes.
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:04 PM   #10
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Sled: 96.5, 97 ZR 440's 03 zl600 esr
10-11 Mileage: 400
09-10 Mileage: 1500
08-09 Mileage: 800
good review
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