'00 Ski Doo MXZ 700 SC Trail Report
May. 01, 2000
I picked up my shiny new black MXZ 700 SC in early November, as it was part of the second build. It looked like all I had hoped for, and more. Black, DPM, 700cc, adjustable foot holds, short brake lever. The first thing I noticed after starting it was the exhaust was louder than my '99 MXZ 600; a bit raspy by comparison. For the first few days I was happy to sit on it the garage, and phantom ride for a few nights, (waiting for snow). I pawed over every inch, checking all the new features.
I was aggravated with how the hood did not always fit well into the slots in the belly pan. I noticed the aluminum straps on the hood had adjustment slots in them to adjust how much the hood gets pulled in. Great, a few minutes with a 10mm wrench and it was all set.
I looked at the DPM for quite awhile. Hoses and wires everywhere. I had to reroute EVERY hose, as most were kinked in some fashion or another. Took my time, and when I was done they all flowed perfectly.
Now I began looking at other items. I checked the carburetor synchronization; way off. Took a few minutes to get it perfect. I checked the chain tension, and it was fine. I checked the track tension; way too tight. I set it back to the factory specifications. I checked all the grease fittings, and they were all full. I checked the toe in/out, and it was way off. It was set to 3/4 inch out. I reset to 1/8 inch out, and that's where it's been ever since. The clutch alignment appeared very close to right on.
I took the first few trips up to a local mountain road, with a totally stock sled. I noticed that the SC-10II was light years ahead of the back-breaking SC-10 on the '99 MX6. I thought the new motor had plenty of power, even with the break-in chip. It seemed all I had bargained for, the first 60 miles anyway. The pilot jets were too rich, and like many of the Doo's, it starts best warm with a slight crack on the throttle.
First change made was to stud. The protectors were easy. Take a new protector, (3/4 or 1 inch), and cut it in half. Then you have to taper it towards the front of the sled. (If you don't, under certain conditions the track will rub and make loud noises, and it could also make backing up interesting.) The guys looking for every edge move them out 1/2 inch to line up over the track guides. There is no need for front protectors if using trail length studs.
1 inch studs clear the lugs by about 1/4 inch, and the 1.05-1.075 inch are 3/8 inch over and about right. I used 132 studs, and for trail riding it's about right. Use more if going with the 1 inch. For drags you will need 168+, but for most trail conditions it makes it hard to drive. I went with 8-inch carbides because I used 1.175 inch studs. Another buddy uses 6-inch with 120 1.075 inch studs, and his is actually a little easier to get through the trails.
I installed a windshield bag to fit what I need for overnight runs. It's not big, but will hold a few days worth of necessities. I also installed a Ski-Doo plastic toolbox from the Mach Z on the clutch guard. It holds the other tools I don't want smashing around in the trunk.
Installing a belly protector is mandatory. These MXZ belly pans will break without them. The Doo one fits perfectly, and takes but a few minutes to install. They offer 2 mounting kits. Rivets, (need to drill out to get off), and bolts/t-nuts, (can be taken on/off without a drill). I used rivets.
Dialing it in:
Once out on the trail I began to dial it in. The rear suspension was way too soft for me on the first setting. I ended up with it on the "3rd", and left it there. I weigh 170 pounds. I experimented with the coupling blocks many times, and unless the trail is very smooth, I leave them in the stock or fully coupled position.
The front shock springs came way too soft. Mine are cranked tight another 4-5 turns, or on the "3.0" to "3.5" marks on the adjuster. Stock is less than "1" on the adjuster, so you cannot even see the numbers. The center shock comes set on "2", and this is about right for most trails. It rarely bottoms that shock. Remember the suspension is coupled, so lowering the center shock will make the rear softer, and visa-versa. The limiters are also stock, and the sled corners very well. I suspect for the smoothest trails, you could pull it in one. For rough trails or less aggressive riders in the bumps, you could let it out and get a better ride while giving up some turning ability.
The short lever on the brake is the ticket. Now you can have two-finger braking and not crush your fingers. The Ski-Doo brake takes some time to break in, and then it has excellent stopping power. Compared to the other brand's 2000 performance models, it takes slightly more pressure to stop. On a side note, I'm on my third Ski-Doo, and I was just instructed on the proper parking brake use. It engages very nicely if you leave the brake lever alone, and swing in the parking lock by itself; one hand and works every time.
The break-in chip let go at around 260 miles or so. The sled got more pipey and zingy. It was easy to tell the difference. Not night and day, but just a little more fun to drive; almost EFI like.
I smelled chaincase oil for the first 1000 miles. I could not find a leak, nor was the level going down, but it smelled. I took it apart, checked it all out, and filled it with Amsoil chaincase fluid. It's been fine ever since.
The routing for the choke cables was no good. The cables are allowed to drop onto the muffler, then fry through the casing. The fix is to drill a small hole in the oil guard and tie wrap them. Problem solved. (While you are replacing the cables, it's a good time to put a little white lithium grease in each end of the cables; helps keep them from freezing up.)
Make sure to check the tightness of the exhaust shroud clamp closest to the y-pipe. If left loose, it will vibrate and cut through the shroud.
This sled uses very little oil. Mine was about 300 miles on a quart as delivered. I readjusted the pump according to Ski Doo's 2000-10 service bulletin, and now it gets an oil guzzling 260 miles per quart. I chose to run Amsoil, and my valves are clean at 4280 miles, (as are my buddies with similar miles).
On one pre-trip inspection I noticed a rear suspension bolt backing out. I checked all others and they were tight. All other bolts remain tight to this point.
I took off the stock grips and installed the MXZX grips, ($2.50 each retail). They are made of a softer rubber and are more comfortable. While I was at it, I filled the bars with expandable foam. That seems to make the grips take longer to heat up, but now they get hotter and stay hotter. The old grips can be sliced off with a razor blade if you go down the seam in the heater tape, (so as not to cut it). The new ones slide on very easy if you wet the inside with isopropyl alcohol.
I would like more top end. Don't need it, but the 700 should have more top end than the 600's.
I want tunnel protectors stock. Some of us have to ride on icy trails, and going without studs is not an option.
I want a more compliant ride at slower speeds. If other shocks have true progressive valving, why not HPG? I also want a shock that won't ever fade, and will last a season of riding, ( 3500 miles +/- ). They seem to outlast the FOX easy enough, but I want more.
I want a new ski. The stockers are aggressive enough, but are too grabby and darty in most conditions. The PCS kits get rid of the dart, but you give up steering control. I want an anti-dart ski with good steering control. This is the weakest part of the sled.
I would like computer controlled exhaust valves. The MPEM/DPM does everything else, why not this? Then the open and close Rpm's could be precisely controlled, with a cleaning cycle built right in.
A little more cushion in the seat would be nice. The gas tank to seat transition could be better. I'll take one more gallon of fuel too, but extend the tank under the seat, and put it there. (Put it way under so I can have more than an inch of padding on it.)
Hand warmers that were warm would be good. At less than 0 degrees F, you need to wear muffs to feel them. How about moving the controls on the pod like everyone else, (maybe similar to the touring models)? They are in a very awkward position where they sit now. What was Ski-Doo thinking?
Where is the electric fuel gauge? I don't like looking at a 25-year-old, poor excuse for a fuel gauge. A lighted dash gauge would make much more sense for the price of these things.
The auto fuel shut off is nice. You never forget it, and it always works. Nice job on this one.
I like the new seat covering material, perfect amount of stickiness to it. I also like the shape and position as compared to some others. The trunk has a good amount of room, and remains dry, (though I could do without the bolts sticking in the seat).
I like the gauges. They are big, clear and easy to read. They remain fog free, unlike others in the group.
I like the DSS. It makes me feel safer than the five different keys and easily defeated ignitions that others offer. It should come with two tethers. Ever hear of a car that came with only one key? For $7399, two is not too much to ask for.
I like the DPM; spot on carburation, regardless the temperature. This may also add to the fuel mileage a little bit. It starts and runs great all the time. It does pull over a tad on the hard side; two arms and two feet firmly planted for cold starts. Fires and runs on the second/third pull down to 0 degrees F. At 35 below, it pops on the fifth, and is running on the sixth.
4280 miles and on the original spark plugs, as it should be. Idle, break in, what have you, they are original. I have had to replace the spares three times as the other guys I ride with have needed them.
4280 miles; original sliders, (yes, and only half worn or less), clutch parts, and suspension parts. This is a nice.
The grease fittings barely take on shot after a weekend of riding, (up to 800 miles in three days). This shows the close tolerances. It's nice to see a sled tight after a full season.
The RAVE valves still move very freely. I have run the Amsoil 2000 since day one without a problem. I did take them apart at 2600 miles, and they had very little build up on them.
The motor is a joy. Very powerful, very quiet and very efficient. It has the low-end grunt to move the sled quickly when asked. It doesn't need to engage at 5000 RPM or shift out at 8500 to get the job done either. It happily cruises down the trail at 6500 RPMs. The midrange is stunning to say the least. See a snow bank or hole you want to clear, just hit the gas and go.
I like the no-tools-needed chain tension adjustment. Easy to get at and no burned fingers. One whole season of riding, and I can't get the next hole on the adjustment. I would call that acceptable chain stretch.
This is by far the best sled I have had. I like it a lot. It is fast, and brutally stable in the biggest bumps. The ride in the slower stuff is a little harsh, but not abusive. The cornering is excellent, with slight ski lift when pushed to the limit. As I see it, when pushed to the limit you can have push or lift, but it's got to give it up somehow.
I get an average of 13.6 MPG; not too bad for a performance twin ridden hard. My lowest tank was 10.5 MPG. One trip I gassed up at 126 on the tank, and still had 1.5 gallons left in her. The 10.5 gallon tank seems to give me similar range as the other MX type sleds in the group, while carrying less fuel. Combined with the oil consumption, it's an economical sled to run.
I used the first belt up in 700 miles; the second in 500 miles. I then realigned the clutches from scratch, and installed the belt from a 99 MX6. 3080 miles later and its still perfect. I'm not sure which was the fix, but I am happy to be back on schedule. Seeing as how the secondary is designed to have NO FLOAT on the shaft, alignment is CRITICAL.
The low and mid range on this sled is superior. I am more than happy. It will walk away from anything else in the group. Holeshot is not so good stock. It takes a little bit of tinkering to get them to leap out of the hole, and since it takes away from the trail manners, I prefer to leave it where it is. Top end is OK at about 100 MPH. This seems to be where most of them are falling, and though I hear reports of 110, I have not seen it.
It is a quiet sled to ride, though not as quiet as the Ski Doo MX6 or Polaris '00 XC6. The pipe is a little bit louder. The airbox is quiet and trouble free. When others are duct-taping their vents, to the their envy I can close mine quickly with a snap of my fingers.
Would I buy another? Yup, in a heartbeat. Now do I want the 600, 700 or 800? Do I get the trail, standard, adrenaline or "X"? Decisions, decisions........