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post #1 of 610 Old 09-16-2005, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Sled: 1981 arctic cat el tigre'
81 el tigre'

Hi all- I'm new to the forum.. and i have just a few questions
I have a 1981 AC El Tigre' 5000 with the 500cc free air motor, and i want more power. I was wondering if anyone has a set of pipes for this machine. I see Aaen makes a set for roughly $500.. i was hoping to find some used, or alot cheaper. Also, when i got this sled the primary clutch was replaced with a comet duster. I have two 102 clutches, but am having alot of trouble tuning them.. does anyone have a good reccomendation for springs and weights? I have rebuilt the top end and have many spare parts and i'm willing to tune and experiment. i would also like to grass drag in vintage drags, is there anything else i could do?Any help is greatly appreciated! Thanks again!
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post #2 of 610 Old 09-17-2005, 06:49 AM
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Sled: 1981 El-Tigre 2500, 1983 El-Jagre 440
ATV: 2014 Wildcat Trail
I had an '81 5000 Tiger I grass dragged in the old days. It took me a while to get it dialed in, but I kicked some pretty serious butt once I got it! First, don't waste your money on the Aaen pipes. Unless they've changed them since the early '80s, I'm guessing they haven't, they'll just slow your sled down. I bought the pipes, 38mm carb kit, and 102 Comet clutch "specifically calibrated" for a 5000 Tiger from Aaen. It would run 90 mph (on the speedo) bone stock, and 85mph with the Aaen junk on it. Maybe I'll get bashed for being so blunt, but at the time, I was pretty PO'ed to spend that much money and have my sled run worse. To be fair, I have run some Aaen stuff on other sleds that worked good, but their 5000 Tiger stuff wasn't it.

I'd get rid of the Duster clutch if I were you. They aren't built heavy enough to handle the 5000's horsepower, and there isn't much you can do to tune them. If I were you, I'd probably check with HPE and see what setup they recommend for a 102, seeing as how you've already got one. I remember talking to Larry Coltom on the phone there back when I was racing, and the guy really knows his stuff about clutching. His clutch setup for your sled would probably be best.

And most people will tell you I'm seriously whacked in the head for saying this, but if I was going to go grass dragging, I'd locate an original hex clutch and set that up just for racing. I experimented with a Comet 102 off and on for years on my 5000, and I could never get it to pull as hard in 500' on grass as the Arctic Hex did. I remember I ran the stock ramp, but ground it slightly just to raise the engagement I little, and went to a heavier weight. If you really want to know, I'll dig out some of my old manuals and see if I can come up with the exact setup I was running. But I'm telling you, it WORKED! I can also tell you the old Hex is a high maintenance item. I used to pull mine off before every race and clean it thoroughly. If there is one speck of belt dust inside anywhere, it won't shift consistantly. And the hex shaft has to be polished until it shines like chrome. I used to clean the clutch the day before a race, put it back on the sled, and not start the sled again until I actually got to the races and ready to make a trial run.

Sorry to get so long winded. You've given me some awful flashbacks! I had a lot of fun racing that sled. Every now and then I still dig out some pictures and reminisce.

There is a lot more stuff I did, but I don't want to clog up the whole board! Maybe you can e-mail me. I'd be glad to help you out any way I can.

Thanks for the memories!

I used to race with hex clutches....
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post #3 of 610 Old 09-17-2005, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Wow! now that is what i am looking for! I was hoping some one like you would reply! I don't exactly care for the comet clutch either, but i don't have a hex. You still don't happen to have one kicking around do you?? I would also be interested in knowing what else you did! I would really like to clean house this year! One thing i was thinking about doing is flipping the track around, and maybe studding it. What did you change for gearing, secondary, etc? any info is greatly appreciated. The sled i got was in excellent shape, i bought it from an older guy who is the origional owner. he said he took the "racing" clutch off so his grandkids could ride it safer, and traded straight up for a duster. Arg.. some people! What should i do for exhaust? leave she stock pipe?? I'm really not all that impressed with it becuase it restricts flow so bad it extends the springs holding it to the header, and the header seems somewhat restrictive also. I'm working on it as we speak.. oh yea, what is your opinion as for carbs too? Thanks for the reply! Feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] with your suggestions.. Thanks!
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post #4 of 610 Old 09-17-2005, 03:33 PM
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Sled: 1981 El-Tigre 2500, 1983 El-Jagre 440
ATV: 2014 Wildcat Trail
You shouldn't have any trouble coming up with a hex clutch, most people hated them. Ask your local Cat dealer if he's got any old ones laying in the corner. They almost all do. Just make sure it's for a 1 3/8" belt. Most were for 1 1/4" belts. The '81 5000 El Tigres were the only Arctic Enterprises sleds that came with a 1 3/8 hex clutch. But some of the Artco sleds came with a 1 3/8" clutch with an extended bushing on the movable sheave. This would be a stronger clutch if you can find one. Usually all you need to do is replace the hex bushings and spider assembly and they're as good as new. Dennis Kirk carries all of the parts. Use the stock '81 5000 ramps, they worked the best of anything I tried. I'll have to study my books and see if I can remember what weight I used. I remember it was heavier than what came in them stock. That 500 FA is a really torquey motor, so you won't need much engagement rpm. I ground the ramps to engage at 4000 rpm, but stock (I think it was 3600) will probably work.

Yeah, turn your track around, but don't stud it. Studs will kill your top end. To make it hook up, drop the mounting points of the front swingarm of the track suspension. If you look inside the tunnel, you'll notice another hole about 1" lower in the plate riveted to the tunnel to beef up the mount (Sorry, I can't think of a better way to describe it!). Drill that hole on through to the outside and bolt the front swingarm into that hole. You'll find it makes a HUGE difference in weight transfer off the line! Hang on tight the first time you try it, it'll wheelie like crazy! By doing this, you won't need any studs. And you need to build yourself a good slide rail lubricator, too. And build an axle and add a set of idler wheels right where the front spring sliders are. There is a lot of drag right here with the stock setup.

As for gearing, I went three teeth smaller on the top sprocket. You'll have to eliminate that goofy spring thing that tightens the chain when you do. What I did was take a small piece of strap iron, drill some holes in it to fit over the rubbing block pins to hold the chain tension properly, and cotter pin that in place. Otherwise, the chain will slip and you'll ruin the sprockets (Ask me how I know that?).

As for the secondary, I modified my own helix by taking one that was originally 48 degrees 44 minutes, and ground a 45 degree angle on about the first 1/3 of it for a stronger hole shot. This was back in the days before the off-the-shelf, CNC machined helixes you can buy now. See, I was a pioneer! I would probably look for a 47 or 48 degree helix now. There wasn't much of a selection back then.

As for your exhaust, are you sure it isn't plugged? Something doesn't sound right about yours. They normally worked just fine. You might have a mouse nest in it. Take it off and try blowing through it. There shouldn't be any restriction at all. Also, when you're racing, DON'T COOL THE PIPE! A lot of people do this and it's wrong. Any tuned exhaust is designed to work hot, not cold. The temp. of the pipe effects the flow.

The carbs are fine. If it has an air box, take it off. As I recall, they came with 230 mains. I think I ran 210s in mine. It seems like I had the needles dropped to the leanest setting, too. When these sleds are jetted right, they pull just unGodly off the line. I always ran VP C-12 racing fuel. It made good power and made the engine run cooler.

You got me on a roll now man! Let me know if you have any more questions. If I think of anything else, I'll post again.

I used to race with hex clutches....
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post #5 of 610 Old 09-17-2005, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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yet another helpful response! Thanks for all of the info.. I'll try some of the things you suggested, and i'll post back. if you have anything else please feel free to add! I really love this sled, and some friends of mine can't believe how spunky it is! Definatly a sled to hold on to!
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post #6 of 610 Old 09-17-2005, 07:22 PM
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Sled: 1981 El-Tigre 2500, 1983 El-Jagre 440
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Man, you don't know how many times I've wished I still had mine! They're a really torquey, low end engine, so it takes a little different setup approach to take full advantage of it. I had my own 500' test strip. One year I set my odometer to 0 when I started testing for the season. I had 80 miles on the odometer before I went to the first race of the season. I put all 80 miles on it 500' at a time. I had the drive clutch apart so many times I wore the threads right out and had to throw that clutch away and buy a new one! Yamaha won all the grass drags back then, but I was bound and determined to beat them. It took me a while to hit the right setup, but once I did I spanked them regularly! I even PO'ed a few Cat guys. In all the time I raced that sled, I was never beat by a 6000 Tiger, either. Some of 'em didn't take it real well!

Can you tell you've got me pumped up about your 5000?! I just wish I was there to help ya! Good luck with it and keep me posted with your results.

I used to race with hex clutches....
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post #7 of 610 Old 09-18-2005, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Sled: 1981 arctic cat el tigre'
Thanks for all your help! i know i'll definatly use it. I've been working on the sled lately, and i don't know if it's too hot, or what the deal is, but every once in a while it is just doggy. like running on one cylinder almost. I by-passed the kill switch, and tried plugs, tuning on the carbs, and i'm stumped. maybe the exhaust is the problem. i know it's not plugged, but it leaks quite a bit when i rap on it. Thats another reason i want some twin pipes. Also, what rpm should i clutch it to? I'll try to get ahold of a hex clutch, but if i can't i'll have to tune the comet. I know what your talking about with the suspension and track, and i will do that. Is there any way i can get more compression out of it? I have several spare heads and i work at a machine shop. How much should i take off? I will geep working on it to try and get it straightened out, but now that i think last season i couldn't get more than 75 or 80 out of it, on a hardpacked gravel road... so i think clutching has somehting to do with it. I have also noticed the clutch seems to have a wobble like it isn't running perfectly true.. and i need to check the alighment or offset. Do you know what that should be? This sled is in nice shape, now it's time to get it tuned right. Thanks for your help! i wish i was aroung back when you could get performance parts easily, around here the arctic shops all threw out their old parts..
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post #8 of 610 Old 09-18-2005, 07:31 PM
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"I've been working on the sled lately, and i don't know if it's too hot, or what the deal is, but every once in a while it is just doggy. like running on one cylinder almost. I by-passed the kill switch, and tried plugs, tuning on the carbs, and i'm stumped."

As I recall, there is a situation where the kill switch under the throttle lever can go bad, and bypassing the switch doesn't do any good, because the switch is still in the circuit. If you've got a wiring diagram, study it close and I think you'll find what I'm talking about. What happens is the engine won't quit, but it loses just enough contact through the switch to cause a misfire.

"maybe the exhaust is the problem. i know it's not plugged, but it leaks quite a bit when i rap on it. Thats another reason i want some twin pipes."

Where is it leaking? Are the springs stretched out on the flex joint? It's your money if you want pipes, But there is a lot more potential in what you've got there. If you are really bent on buying pipes, try to locate a set of HPE pipes for your sled. I remember hearing at the time that they worked pretty good.

"Also, what rpm should i clutch it to?" It was 7200 on the tach on my sled.

"Is there any way i can get more compression out of it? I have several spare heads and i work at a machine shop. How much should i take off?"

The critical thing here is ending up with the proper squish band clearance. Right now I can't think of what that number is. .060" sticks in my head, but I won't swear to it. Generally, you can get away with .015" to .020" and be OK. Although I'd run at least super unleaded gas if I milled anything off.

"I will geep working on it to try and get it straightened out, but now that i think last season i couldn't get more than 75 or 80 out of it, on a hardpacked gravel road..."

Try this again on snow and see if it goes any faster!
That Duster is killing you here. Ash-can that thing!

"I have also noticed the clutch seems to have a wobble like it isn't running perfectly true.. and i need to check the alighment or offset."

I repeat...ash-can the Duster! The offset measurement is probably different with a Comet than with a Hex. I remember the center-to-center is 10.2" I'd recommend calling HPE (High Performance Engineering) about the clutch alignment. I think Larry Coltom is still there. I'd ask for him when I called. I'm telling ya, the guy's good, and he'd be right at home on your old Tiger.

PS: Larry might be able to help you finding a hex clutch.

Stay tuned for more information!

I used to race with hex clutches....
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post #9 of 610 Old 09-18-2005, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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I know about the kill switch on the throttly, and it isn't in the circuit, besause i simply tied the two together with a small jumper wire.. so to speak. I'm confident that isn't the problem. I switched the coil and wire assembly today and that seemed to help, maybe one of the wires was arching to the head??

The exhaust is leaking at the flex joint, and the springs are tight, but the force of the motor makes it expand. i've tried new springs, and i'm positive there isn't any restrictions in the exhaust, but it leaks so bad when riding you can see it come out the front scoops. I also don't care for the way the header is resigned, being how it downsizes so much from the size of the port in the cylinder. The only way i'm afraid it will stop leaking is to weld it solid, but if i do i think it may crack, then i have a bigger problem.

By the way there was snow and ice on the road!!! Geez... j/k! That was after i put in the 102.. but the setup from comet suckes so bad thats all it had! I tried fooling around tuning th clutch, but it's giving me alot of curve balls.. normally i can clutch my other sleds fairly easy, but this one... I feel like it's partially the comet. and the wobble is like a bent crank, but i'm positive it isn't. it's like the taper isn't quite straight, but i think i got that straightened out now.

I'll call HPE tomorrow if i find the number, and talk with larry if he's still around. Hopefully he can help with my offset and tuning. Oh.. i also came across some VM-38 mikuni's for a good price.. should i buy them? or would i be better off leaving them alone?
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post #10 of 610 Old 09-19-2005, 05:53 AM
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Sled: 1981 El-Tigre 2500, 1983 El-Jagre 440
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I raced in the stock class, so I learned to make the most of what was stock, exhaust, carbs, etc. IMHO, I think the porting is such that bigger carbs won't do you much good. I never tried the 38s I had with the stock exhaust, so I can't tell you how that works. One thing I did do was build up the inside of the Y-pipe with braze and then grind it to match the exhaust ports. I'd take the heads off and feel down through the ports to make sure they matched. It sounds like your flex joint is worn out. Could you just cut it off and weld a new one on? Dennis Kirk used to carry new ones, but I don't know if they still do.

One thing I always wanted to try was cutting the piston skirts. If you have access to a lathe, this one's pretty easy, but you have to ruin a set of pistons to find out how much you can take off. I'd start by chucking up a piston and turn about .020" off the skirt. Then put your engine back together and see how it runs. If it runs OK, pull the pistons again and take another .010" and try that. When you've reached the point of no return, the engine will fall flat on it's face power-wise. Here is where you take a new set of pistons and cut them to the dimension that made it run the best. I'd check the skirt length along the way by measuring from the piston skirt to the wrist pin with a depth mic. I did this to a Jag 340 fan, and along with the other mods, it would hang right with my 5000 El-Tigre to about half-track at the grass drags! Cutting the skirts gives you more duration that the intake port is open on a piston port engine. I got an idea that if you put those 38mm carbs on after you do this you'd see a big jump in performance.

One thing on clutching, you'll get kind of an overdrive effect from the Hex clutch. Even though the sheaves are the same diameter, the belt comes closer to the top of the sheaves on full upshift on the hex than the 102. So you'll get more top end with the hex. This particular engine is really torquey, it doesn't like to be overrevved. That's what threw me for a long time. Performance will drop off fast overrevving it. So stay heavy on weights and run a real soft preload on the driven. I used to just put the driven clutch together without winding in the 1/3 turn preload on the spring. I had mine set up so soft that it wouldn't pick the belt up out of the driven on it's own. At the starting line I'd hold the track off the ground and let the track coast to a stop without touching the brake. Just before it stopped, it would finally work the belt to the top of the driven. (I guess that's more than one thing!) It worked good to play a psych game on the competition. When I ran it through the pits it sounded like it would barely move itself because the clutches never backshifted. But you should have seen their eyes bug out when it came off the line with the skiis pointed high in the air!

God you're giving me some awful flashbacks!

I used to race with hex clutches....
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