Carburetors or Electronic Fuel Injection—What’s Better on a Sled?


what’s up ladies and gentlemen and
welcome back to the channel my name is David Clarke and this is My Old Sled. Now
before we get to today’s video I just wanted to take a couple of minutes and
thank all of you guys for subscribing and commenting and watching the channel
in 2018. It’s December 31st as I’m taping this so
by the time I get it edited and online it’s probably gonna be 2019, so thank you
so much for subscribing you pushed the channel just past 4,000 subscribers you
know hopefully we’ll we’ll get up to 5,000 before the end of the season. We
don’t have a whole lot of snow but we do have a snow warning. So let’s get 20
centimeters tonight so hopefully we’re gonna get out riding soon so let’s get
to today’s video. All right guys today’s video is a response to Rob C motoring
who left a comment actually left a suggestion for a video and actually some
of the best suggestions that I get for videos are from you guys.
Rob suggested that I did a video covering carb vs. EFI… just the basics
around you know buying a sled with one or the other and maintenance. He
goes on to say you know it may be elementary but it’s good knowledge for somebody
that’s new to snowmobiling or looking for a sled, and you know what? That’s
absolutely right. That’s a great suggestion actually and I’ve been
meaning to get to this video for a while. So it may be elementary but when I
started looking into this I was actually really surprised by the strong feelings
on one side of that argument or another. All right guys that’s exactly what I’m
gonna do in this video, so you guys that are more experienced bear with me. I’m
going to cover some really basic stuff as well. We’re gonna talk about what is a
carburetor what does it do, what is EFI or electronic fuel injection what does
it do and what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each. I’m
gonna do all that in two seconds so grab drink and hang out with me for a bit. Now I am still waiting to get my newer
machine into my buddy’s shop and change the track, so if you’re waiting for that
video be patient. It’s coming. Alright guys so this video is probably most
useful to somebody who is looking to buy a used sled and when you start looking
you’re gonna find a lot of sleds in both categories. You’re gonna find sleds
with carbs and you’re gonna find electronic fuel injected sleds as well.
Luckily I have one of each… so this 1997 670 has a carburetor, in fact it has
two carburetors, it has two mikuni carburetors.
Alright, so I warned you would cover some really basic stuff so let’s start off
with where your carburetors are. So this is them right here we’ve got twin mikuni
carburetors, they’re right at the bottom between the crankcase and the bottom of
your airbag. It’s a really basic mechanical device for mixing fuel and
air and delivering it to the cylinder. Alright just to give you a quick
walkthrough how they work and it’ll show you just how simple that mechanism
actually is. Basically your fuel pump will deliver fuel into the carburetor-
it’ll go into a bowl at the bottom of the carburetor. Okay, inside that ball are
a couple of floats, and as that fuel level rises, those floats will rise they press
on a little needle valve and they shut that fuel off. So, if you have a
chronically flooding snowmobile for example, that mechanism may be stuck.
Alright so basically with fuel in the carburetor the movement of your piston
creates a vacuum that’s going to draw air through the carburetor. As that air
passes through, fuel gets drawn up gets drawn up through one of two jets. So you
have an idle jet and you have a main jet. So the simplicity of the carburetor is
its advantage or its strength, right? You’ve only got a few points of failure.
Your jets can get blocked, that float or needle and seat assembly can
get worn out…you might have to replace a gasket between the bowl and the
carburetor but theres not really a whole lot to do, and if you maintain your sled well,
there isn’t a whole lot of maintenance to do on them anyway. You can clean
them once in a while if you have a problem, but you know really if you put
good fresh gas in your machine and you put stabilizer in it during summer
storage, if you drain the old gas out of the bowl in the carburetor, there’s
usually a drain on the bottom so if you drain that out you’re not gonna get
solids building up in the carburetor. I promise I’ll do a carb cleaning video
before the end of the season, I’m not gonna pull them out for this video but
you know if you guys have been wanting to clean your carbs and you’re a little
intimidated, don’t be it’s pretty simple. I’ve done it on snowmobiles. I’ve done it
on outboard motors. You know it’s pretty easy – you pull them apart and you clean
them with some carb cleaner, blow the Jets out, put it all back
together … it’s not that tough. But the simplicity of the carburetor is also its
weakness right? It can’t make any adjustments for things like temperature
and barometric pressure… things like that The size of those Jets is fixed. You have
some ability to make little adjustments, you can change those Jets, you can make
adjustments to the idle, but really once it’s set up and doing what it’s supposed
to do, that’s all it’s going to do. All right my new sled is a 2005 M X Z (zee) or MXZ(zed)
600. It’s an SDI, that stands for semi direct injection, so this is a fuel
injected sled. EFI by the way has been around since the ’90s, so it’s not a brand
new technology. In a fuel injected sled, rather than a carburetor, you’ve got a
throttle body and basically you have computer-controlled
injectors then inject fuel at exactly the right time. Usually just after the
piston has fully closed the exhaust port. So what does all that mean? Basically
that you’re not wasting fuel, because these systems can adjust fuel flow based
on things like temperature and weather and barometric pressure. But in this case
it’s the complexity of this system that represents its strengths and its
weaknesses right? because it does all that using a ton of technology. It
uses a number of sensors in your engine like O2 (oxygen) sensors and
throttle position sensors and air intake temperature sensors… things like that to
help the main computer calibrate that fuel delivery. Okay now on the plus side,
that precise fuel delivery results in a number of benefits right you’ve got, you
know, better power output, you’ve got a more consistently operating engine
regardless of barometric pressure and temperature, you’ve got better
emissions, better mileage… So there’s a lot of guys that still swear by a
carburetor over a fuel injected system and if you get a bunch of old guys like
me together you’re always gonna have somebody that says “oh they don’t make
them like they used to”… and no, they don’t make them like they used to because they
make them a lot better now! Now there’s some misinformation out there but
there’s also a lot of really valid opinions on both sides of the fence, so
really overall which one is better? It really kind of depends on what is
you’re looking at. All right, one of the areas that those differences really show
up is with “ease of starting” so in that category, if we look at this
carbureted sled, older carbureted sleds are going to have chokes or primers on
them. so this sled has a primer. Basically it’s a little pump that lets
me pump additional fuel in to change that mixture during a cold start. Now
this 2005 honda Rancher also has a carburetor rather than fuel injection, it has a choke to accomplish the same thing. In this case I’m changing
the airflow into the carburetor rather than adding fuel. All right so that is the first start
that I’ve done on this sled today so it was a totally cold start, so it’s not
that difficult. It’s not rocket science, especially once you get the hang of it.
The main downfall with a primer, when you’re new to them is flooding them, but
once you get the hang of it it’s not that hard.
Alright now compare that to this newer sled with EFI. There’s no choke and
there’s no primer to start it – I don’t even have a key All right now if I’m going to be fair,
part of that is because I have electric start now, but even pull starting a
fuel-injected sled is going to be easier. Alright so what about reliability
or how likely is that this machine is going to start and stay running and get
you there and back again? In my opinion, hands down a fuel-injected
engine is a much more reliable engine. Now I know some people are gonna
disagree with me and it’s funny, I had a couple of people that I spoke
to when I was putting this video together that that said “no, carbs are
much more reliable” and I’m not sure that that’s true. Now I’m not discounting your
personal experience right, so if you had you know four or five sleds, you
had a couple of them that were fuel-injected and a couple that were
carbureted,and the carbs ran better… or a friend of yours has a fuel
injected sled and he’s always breaking down and you’re not, you know that’s one
thing, but I mean if the machines are properly maintained, really a
fuel-injected machine should be more reliable. Now when I’m putting videos
together I’ll quite often sort of talk to the expert, so I spoke with the people
that know right? People that do sled after sled after sled…So I talked to a
couple of dealerships, Snowmobile dealerships, I also went down to a
Motorsports dealer near me Sauble Beach Motorsports – so shout-out to those guys,
really nice guys, really know their stuff. They do service some snowmobiles, but
they’re predominantly an ATV dealer, they do Honda and Suzuki ATVs but I had the same
questions for those guys right what do you see more of, and hands down the fuel
injection machines are more reliable. And it makes a lot of sense right, because
they are much cleaner burning, much more efficient motors, so you’re not
going to get, you know, even things like fouling plugs is not gonna happen that
much when you’re burning fuel that much more precisely. So in terms of
reliability which machine am I gonna feel more confident on over a long trip?
Hands down the fuel injected machine. Next category – fuel efficiency or mileage…
which sled is going to go farther on a tank of gas and you know, hands down
again, that’s the electronic fuel injected sled.
It’s gonna get far better mileage than an old carbureted sled because again
you’re injecting that fuel at the right time you know wasting any fuel and
you’re adjusting for things like pressure and temperature and and those
kinds of things. But the flip side of that is I don’t really care!
Alright so if you’re looking at sleds and one’s
got a carburetor, in my case mileage isn’t a big deal for me. I dump some
gas in.. if you look at the way I ride you know, I’m going out for a few hours,
having some fun…I’m not one of these guys that goes out and rides hundreds of
kilometers or rides all weekend. In that case then it may be more serious
consideration for you, the better mileage in a fuel-injected sled. All right next
we’ll talk about ease of maintenance and I have to give the edge to the
carburetor. Now really there isn’t a whole lot of maintenance to do on a
carburetor but you know I think most of you guys watching this video would be
able to remove a carburetor take it apart drop the bowl you know, clean the
Jets, put it all back together and put it on. It’s not that difficult. With the fuel
injected sled you know if you have to fix something you’re probably taking it
to the shop right because if you think of all those components, the sensors
and the injectors and the computerized parts, all of the electronics in the sled…
there’s not a lot of that you can’t fix yourself or even diagnose yourself. So
that’s one of the reasons that people really like the carbureted machines and
I can’t argue with that. So for ease of maintenance I give the carburetor the
edge. Also, very similar we’ll say cost of maintenance or cost of repair, and
again, I have to give the edge to the carburetor for pretty much the same
reasons. They’re really simple, there’s not a lot in there you’re gonna have to
replace and the parts for them are pretty cheap right? So what are you gonna
replace? A jet? You know, maybe a needle and seat and a gasket, so those parts are
really inexpensive. On the electronic fuel injection, if one of those parts
goes, particularly the electronics in them go, then then you’re looking at a
little bit higher bill. So for cost of maintenance, that might be a reason for
somebody that’s looking for a used sled, that doesn’t have a very big budget,
you might consider a carburetor just in case you have to do any repairs down the
road. I think the guys that prefer carburetors over fuel injection, the main
argument is going to be something like “well it’s got all of those sensors
that’s all those electronics that can break and go wrong, more stuff to fix, to
cost you more money” and I can’t discount that argument, because it’s a valid point.
But at the same time I can remember similar discussions around cars
right? So they started bringing out all kinds of features… I mean even power
windows at one time were new, you know power seats and heated seats and GPS and
all these features that you know, it was the same thing. When those
features came out everybody said “it’s just more stuff to break”, but now
it’s just standard features because it’s a better
way of doing things right, so in terms of maintenance there’s not really a
whole lot to do in either case right? Some guys will argue with this I
know I see some people that you know, will pull their carbs and their rave
valves off every year … to me that’s that’s overkill and I actually did phone
a the shop and I looked through my manuals, sort of what’s the regular
routine? So the first suggestion is just follow the maintenance routine in your
manual. But in terms of carbs and fuel injection there’s not really a whole lot
to do with them on a regular basis right I am NOT gonna pull my carb part every
year and clean it. If the sled is running well, it’s not like your carb’s gonna get
dirty and you’re gonna be screwed, your season’s over. It doesn’t take that long
to clean them and it’s usually a kind of a gradual thing, so yeah, if this sled is
running good… you know if it starts to run really rough in idle then maybe that
idle jet needs cleaning you know those kinds of things, that’s when I’m gonna
pull it apart and clean it. If it’s gone a few years and it’s been running okay…
so in this case this machine, I haven’t done any of that for, you know, I think
this would be the third year now, so yeah I’m gonna pull the carbs & the rave
valves this year and we’ll make sure that they’re clean, but really it’s not
like a regular routine. I’m kind of an “if it’s not broke don’t fix”guy. Because
every time you pull something apart you can lose a bolt or a screw or damage
a part, or damage gaskets things like that. So that’s just how I look at it. Same
thing with the fuel injection, there isn’t a ton to do with them either.
I know some guys will run like a Sea-Foam, which is a fuel treatment, they’ll run that
through their sled periodically just to clean those injectors, otherwise you
shouldn’t have to do anything unless you have a problem. All right so what’s the
overall winner? EFI our carburetor? You know, I think that’s kind of up to you to
decide based on those things we talked about. I think in my case my preference
is a fuel-injected sled so I understand taking all those things into account,
that if I have to fix this and may cost me more, I may have to take it to a shop,
I still think it’s a gamble worth taking and I don’t think that I’m gonna have to
have the fuel injection repaired. But you know again, if you prefer carbureted
sled then, you know there’s certainly good arguments to be made for either and
there’s certainly advantages and disadvantages to both. Okay so I think
that’s it for this video. If you guys have opinions if
you like a carburetor or a fuel injection or vice versa, you know, post
something in the comments below and let us know. Otherwise I hope you enjoyed
that video and if you did give me a thumbs up and until next time I’m David Clarke
and thanks for taking the time to watch

Antonio Breitenberg

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