SCSU Engineering Team Rebuilds Snowmobile for National Competition
ST. CLOUD -- A quiet snowmobile with reduced emissions is being built by a group of St. Cloud State University engineering students.
The group Slick Cylinders is redesigning the engine of a 2015 Polaris Rush snowmobile to reduce its emissions and noise level. The six person team of Heather VanSlyke, Gene Studniski, Travis Meyer, Jim Wicklund, Jacob Harper and Dan Kezar, are working on the snowmobile as part of their senior design projects. The Slick Cylinders will also be competing in the National SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge this March in Houghton, Michigan.
Team co-captain, Heather VanSlyke says the team has been working on the project for over a year.
"The project idea started last fall, we started trying to get approvals and started trying to get a snowmobile donation. But for the most part the physical work on the sled started in October."
VanSlyke says they are making many modifications to the sled.
"For reducing emissions the stock sled that we have is a 2015 Polaris Rush, and that has a two stroke engine in it. For people that are more farmiliar with two strokes they are a little noisy and they definitely throw off a lot of exhaust. So what we did is we took out that two stroke and replaced it with a four stroke so it runs a lot cleaner and it's actually a little quieter to start with."
The team has also added a catalytic converter to reduce emissions and is in the process of changing the exhaust roding and heat packing to make it quieter.
The competition will take place during spring break, March 6-11. VanSlyke says the team's snowmobile will be put through a variety of tests.
"To test how efficient and how well our sleds were built they have a few specific tests. One of the main ones is the acceleration test, how fast you can go in a certain distance. Another one is an endurance challenge, this one will help us determine fuel millage, so it's 100 miles going about 45 mph."
Other tests include taking the sled out on a handling course to make sure teams didn't make their sleds front or back heavy or too stiff to steer. Sleds also have take a polar plunge, sit in a mixture of cold water overnight, and by morning teams have to try to start their sled within a certain time limit.
Winning teams will win sponsorships, additional funding for groups at their school that want to take on the challenge next year, exposure to motorsports industries and of course bragging rights.