Hot To Go 1000cc Storm

Nov. 01, 2005 By Greg Lonero

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The heart of a lion? This is no stock Polaris Storm.
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Since 1993, I have taped the throttle of my Storm wide open and ran the machine to its limits. And it was the motor’s limits that led me to make a decision to either rebuild it or upgrade to a big, new twin. One problem was I just couldn’t give up my Storm. This machine right now is as light as any new, stock twin and knowing that a tweaked-out triple will smoke a tweaked-out twin, the decision was easy.

The quandary came from deciding who I should have rebuild my Storm motor. There are just too many shops out there and to know which one has any experience building motors for high altitude was a chore in itself. So I narrowed my search down by asking non-motor vendors about my short list. I used non-motor vendors because I knew I would get less of a biased opinion. My short list was PSI, HTG and Union Bay because all three of those companies have good reputations in the industry.

Colorado’s best Polaris shop, who has their own dyno, had several PSI Genesis twins that they sold and were not completely satisfied with them or the PSI service. I had also met guys on the trail with that same motor and they too were not happy campers. Those testimony’s were enough for me not to go with PSI. However, Dan Canfield from Snowmobile Online has several friends that run the Genesis triples and they had only positive experiences with the big triples. When I spoke to Union Bay, they did not like the Storm motor and had nothing good to say about it and had no big bore kits available. Their comment was you have to spin the Storm motor too high to make it produce any horsepower and the crank would not hold together. Where spinning the Storm motor at high rpms might not be a good thing, the Variable Exhaust Valves that HTG puts on their 1000cc cylinders makes this motor pull hard right off of an idle. No need for high rpms to make this motor pull hard.

All my research kept pointing back to Hot to Go Racing for a couple of reasons. One was my informal, positive feedback from my field research and the other was the fact that Hot to Go Racing’s telephones are operational with knowledgeable people on the other end of the line. Never underestimate the importance of being able to get someone knowledgeable on the phone to help you out. The complete list of factors that I used to decide on HTG Racing was:

  1. Hot to Go Racing received the quiet award for their exhaust system.
  2. They answered their phones.
  3. All the feedback from people that knew of their engines was favorable.
  4. Their motor was described to have stock reliability and over 200 horsepower.
  5. The motor could be done in 3 weeks or less during the summer.
The decision was made, Hot to Go Racing got the nod. So in late May I cut my spring riding short and sent my motor off to Grand Island, NY, for Rob Schooping to do his magic. I sent him my carbs, crank, case, and the ignition system.

I had over 7,000 miles on this motor and never touched the crank. Those 7,000 miles were not easy ones either. Those miles were typically racked up by 50 mile days in deep powder at wide open throttle. Because of that, my biggest concern was that I was going to need a new crank. When Rob received my motor his crew dug into the crank. To my delight, they only had to replace the two outside mag bearings. Another testimony to the endurance of the Storm bottom ends.

I had the choice of going with 44mm flat side carbs or having HTG bore my 38mm’s to 39.5mm. I decided on the 39.5mm bore job. Two things influenced this decision. I have always heard different opinions about big bore carbs versus smaller bore carbs in high altitude applications. Additionally I always knew that new 44 mm carbs cost more than my bored out 38mm’s. So, as you guys know, with projects like this Storm, there is a price tag attached so I opted for the cheaper bore job. Not a bad compromise.

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Three in a row makes it go.
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When I received the motor back, with my bored carbs, I noticed the aluminum looked tarnished on one of the carbs. Since I store my sled inside and I’m pretty good about keeping the motor clean I was somewhat puzzled about the tarnished/oxidized carburetor. Then I noticed one of the carburetors had some drops of yellow and white paint on it. Since I don’t paint above or around my motor or its parts, I knew this was not my carburetor. What happen was when they were boring the carbs, one of them got bound up in the lathe and became scrap. Rob replaced it with another carb he had. The problem was, all of my carbs had new needle seats and the replacement carb had a needle seat that I did not know the age of. As a result I replaced the needle seat in that carburetor just to be sure.

Next on the list was whether I wanted steel sleeves or nikasil. In splitting hairs for performance nikasil is the way to go, one reason being that nikasil helps disperse the heat better. However, I like steel sleeves because if you trash a piston, it’s an easier fix. But after being convinced that this motor was going to stay together I went with the nikasil.

Finally came the specifications. I sent Rob a very detailed profile of my riding style, performance needs and altitude. So if you or your kids want to be just like me this is what I told him. I ride in the powder in route to very steep hills to highmark and humiliate my friends. I wanted the engine to run as fast and strong as it could without parts blowing out the exhaust at an altitude of 9,000’ and up. I also advised him that I wanted a quiet, lightweight exhaust set up.

The machine shop stage was set. It was late spring and I was confident that such timing was going to get my engine done in the three week timeframe that I was quoted. Long story short, I got my motor back in late August. The delay was the result of HTG developing a new version of the cylinders which I opted to receive. Your turn around time will be better because as this company continues to grow, they are adding space and staff to their operations to meet customer demands.

One lesson I learned in getting the motor to them was that I would use my own crate, engineering it to handle shipping perils. When I received my motor back, the bottom of the casting that holds the starter-recoil on had a chunk busted out. Fortunately, I was able to have my dealer weld it back on. To prevent this damage I suggest putting a 1 or 2 inch think piece of Styrofoam in the bottom of the crate. Cut it to the same size as the bottom of the crate and then bolt another piece of plywood over the Styrofoam. The second piece of plywood is the one that you will use to bolt your “packaging motor mount” to. The Styrofoam below that will act as a shock absorber during shipping.

When it came to the finished product, I examined everything I could without taking a wrench to the motor. I found the exhaust ports on the mag and center piston to be ported flawlessly. On the PTO side, there was a slight lip between the cylinder casting and the exhaust flange. The cylinder casting had too much ground off. To fix this I took the exhaust flange off and ground the edge with a die grinder to open it. This helped smooth out the difference and so far I have not noticed any unusual burn or piston wash in that cylinder.

I also had a set of V-Force Delta reeds put in the motor. This was about a $300.00 enhancement. These reeds were part of the whole package so I can not comment on how the engine performance would differ without the V-Force Deltas. After a couple of rides I started to question my gas mileage. Then after some troubleshooting under the hood I learned that my reeds may be dumping too much fuel. I heard that there was a recall on the V-Force reeds so I investigated the recall and called HTG. I was advised that I did have the affected reeds in the sled. I told HTG that I did not want to sideline my sled mid-season just to replace the reeds to get better fuel mileage. They advised, actually they strongly encourage me to deal directly with Moto Tassinari. I do have the option of dealing with HTG on this issue but I will take Rob’s advise and contact Moto Tassinari directly to resolve this issue. I plan on contacting Moto Tassinari this June. If you’re interested in learning more about this recall, just pop in “Moto Tassinari V-Force Reeds Recall” into any search engine and you’ll get several published articles about the recall.

The final item on the list was a set of new pipes. HTG says this 1000cc motor will work with several vendors’ pipes that are out there. The pipes I had on were PSI mod-blasters, which were unacceptably loud, for which PSI has no cure. Knowing that HTG Racing’s pipes received the 1998 American Snowmobile Dynotech “Quiet Giant” award I was convinced that this was going to be the best set up that met my needs. As a side thought on all the after-market pipes out there, I’m still puzzled why the pipe venders can not make or utilize a quiet universal canister or set of baffles that would fit the thousands of pipes that are out there? Yeah, so you loose a couple of ponies but with noise being the issue that it is, you would think this would be a responsible endeavor for all of them to promote and manufacture.

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A slight hood modification was needed to fit the pipes.
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HTG also advised that they could make custom fitted pipes, which I thought was appropriate for my rolled chain case, which happens to leave ample room to exist on the mag side. The pipes did not fit cleanly under the hood because they have larger chambers for the 210 ponies that run through them. The solution was to remove my snow-screen vent where the PTO pipe intersects with the hood. I also had to cut and eliminate the snow screen for that vent. For noise, the single baffles that I have do have a pretty good bark to them. The solution to reduce the noise is using a stock canister and you’ll end up with OEM noise levels.

As far as the under the hood fit and some of the other issues, you have to realize that when you get involved in a project sled, you will have many self-engineering feats that are essential. You need to be prepared to make a custom bracket, modify a hood vent, or come up with some other appropriate solution to an unforseen problem. That's part of the fun of a project like this.

That pretty much takes care of everything in the garage. At the pump I run premium and a 50:1 Amsoil premix. Because of my new plumbing, and lack of space under the hood for an oil reservoir with the CMX heat exchangers I run, I had to go pre-mix. While dialing the jetting in, I used the Polaris oil because it gives a better burn on the plugs for temperature readings. And when it comes to starting the motor, it cranks up just as easy as it ever did. This is also true when the sled is parked in a precarious spot on the hill, even upside down. It is just a great starting motor.

On the hills, this motor cranks out stupid horsepower. The dyno-sheet sent with the motor had two dyno runs. One was at 206.2 hp at 8300 rpm and the second was at 209.7 at 8200 rpm. Though I loose a lot of that horsepower in altitude, it still flattens out nearly every hill out there. What this sled lacks is “track.” I’m running a 144"x2" and I need to be up around 151” or 156”. When you nail the throttle out of the whole there is no bog, no sputtering, just major horsepower launching the sled in whatever direction it’s pointed. Even on the trails, if you want to have fun and there is a slight bump in the trail, nail it and the sled stands on its tail. The horsepower is just the most fun I have ever had on a sled. It is like a new sport. This set up is cheaper than a new sled and the joy of dusting all the new hoods is great for the ego and carries me through the summer, despite the occasional sleeper I run across each year.

Pricing for the 1000cc kit is around $3995USd. HTG also offers an 1100cc kit, we can only imagine what that motor is like. It is priced another $1000 higher. Pipes will cost between $595 and $795 depending on if they are for racing or trail and what silencer you are going to use. We recommend you give HTG a call for the latest pricing and complete package details.

You can contact HTG Racing at:
2317 Grand Island Boulevard
Grand Island, NY 14072
716-773-6131
www.htgracing.com

Contact the author Greg Lonero

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