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Goodbye Yamaha

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Mr.V

Newbie
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
8
Location
Haliburton County, Ontario
Country
Canada
Snowmobile
2018 Sidewinder LTX SE 137, 1988 Bravo Transport
I have been a faithful Yamaha snowmobile customer for over 34 years. Their attention to detail, quality and reliability were second to none. I’ve owned 14 Yamaha sleds over the years and enjoyed every minute of it until now. Three of my 2 strokes went past 25,000 km with not one of them ever being re-built. I usually average 5000 km per winter, once hitting 6600 km. I am a serious sledder who is meticulous about maintenance and has always tried to stay current.

People ask if Yamaha will continue to build snowmobiles, I’m afraid they’ve already exited the market. Their union with Arctic Cat has produced vehicles that have left me aghast. In no way do I fault Arctic Cat for any issues, Yamaha put their name on sub standard equipment so the blame falls squarely on their shoulders. They simply should have exited the business and sold engines to whoever wanted them.

My 2018 Yamaha Sidewinder has been the most disappointing and unreliable machine/vehicle I’ve ever owned. Yes it goes fast, it goes very fast. I’ve put over 14,500 km on it. I’ve tolerated all the prior Yamaha heavy weights but this one is over the top. Handling issues out of the gate necessitated a change of skis and thousands of km’s of fiddling with the suspension to get it dialed in to the best possible handling outcome. This website proved invaluable for assistance. I’ve had 3 tendons on each shoulder surgically reattached due to separate accidents. I can do 50 push ups, shovel dirt or split wood all day, ride my dirt bike, carry whatever I need to etc etc. The only thing that hurts my shoulders is driving this machine. Day 2 my shoulders actually throb like after my surgeries. I feel like it's an all day wrestling match. I’ve found myself consciously avoiding tight twisty trails on this snow plow. Yamaha’s addition of power steering for 2022 clearly demonstrates there is a problem. More weight!

Then there is the whole issue of quality and reliability.

-Steering shaft seized at ball and not lubricated from factory. When shaft female socket heated up from engine you could steer. This was a strange one
-Major side to side play in steering shaft collar below bars.
-Clutch rollers that seize up regularly despite annual disassembly and cleaning of clutch and all components.
-Fuel pump relays that continue to freeze despite same issue being present on both prior versions of the Apex (which I owned).
-Limiter straps that both needed replacement for some unknown reason. Perhaps the endless fiddling to try and dial in suspension.
-Belt blowing issues that appeared at 8,000 km. Luckily being forewarned about this issue I had fabricated a belly pan protector
-Taking top gears out of the chain case twice, now dealers suggesting annual replacement.
-Bearing tolerances so poor that the drive axle spins within the inner race. My axle had to be cut in half for removal it was so badly damaged. All needed replacement
-Fasteners and rivets all over sled corroding due to poor quality. At time of Arctic cat union a dealer commented better fasteners used on old Yamaha crates than new snowmobiles.
-Chain case maintenance system designed by someone who never had to perform it. Unable to remove any filings without complete disassembly.
-Instrument cluster had to be removed and backing pads installed to stop vibration and movement..
-Ignition switch that is now spinning in a stripped plastic lock nut. I’ve never once touched this assembly.
-Oil tank blowouts requiring a roll over valve bypass.
-Dirt and debris that continually runs down the sides of the tunnel from plastic items all rubbing and wearing.
-Decals that have all become de laminated on the tunnel with clear protective covers peeling off them and flapping.
-Tail light that wiggles because rivets have all come loose.
-Windshield that cracked simply due to vibration.
-Excessive price.

My patience hit the end of the road with this machine, I actually grew to hate the machine and all the BS associated with it. I became afraid to drive it as something always went wrong. Machine is now sold and off to a new home.

I will still be an avid sledder, however it will now be on a different brand. Perhaps my most upsetting issue is leaving my long time dealer of 34 years with whom I have had a fantastic relationship and stellar service.

Good bye Yamaha.
 

Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Messages
245
Age
26
Location
Ellington, CT
Country
USA
Snowmobile
2019 Yamaha Sidewinder X-TX LE 141
I have been a faithful Yamaha snowmobile customer for over 34 years. Their attention to detail, quality and reliability were second to none. I’ve owned 14 Yamaha sleds over the years and enjoyed every minute of it until now. Three of my 2 strokes went past 25,000 km with not one of them ever being re-built. I usually average 5000 km per winter, once hitting 6600 km. I am a serious sledder who is meticulous about maintenance and has always tried to stay current.

People ask if Yamaha will continue to build snowmobiles, I’m afraid they’ve already exited the market. Their union with Arctic Cat has produced vehicles that have left me aghast. In no way do I fault Arctic Cat for any issues, Yamaha put their name on sub standard equipment so the blame falls squarely on their shoulders. They simply should have exited the business and sold engines to whoever wanted them.

My 2018 Yamaha Sidewinder has been the most disappointing and unreliable machine/vehicle I’ve ever owned. Yes it goes fast, it goes very fast. I’ve put over 14,500 km on it. I’ve tolerated all the prior Yamaha heavy weights but this one is over the top. Handling issues out of the gate necessitated a change of skis and thousands of km’s of fiddling with the suspension to get it dialed in to the best possible handling outcome. This website proved invaluable for assistance. I’ve had 3 tendons on each shoulder surgically reattached due to separate accidents. I can do 50 push ups, shovel dirt or split wood all day, ride my dirt bike, carry whatever I need to etc etc. The only thing that hurts my shoulders is driving this machine. Day 2 my shoulders actually throb like after my surgeries. I feel like it's an all day wrestling match. I’ve found myself consciously avoiding tight twisty trails on this snow plow. Yamaha’s addition of power steering for 2022 clearly demonstrates there is a problem. More weight!

Then there is the whole issue of quality and reliability.

-Steering shaft seized at ball and not lubricated from factory. When shaft female socket heated up from engine you could steer. This was a strange one
-Major side to side play in steering shaft collar below bars.
-Clutch rollers that seize up regularly despite annual disassembly and cleaning of clutch and all components.
-Fuel pump relays that continue to freeze despite same issue being present on both prior versions of the Apex (which I owned).
-Limiter straps that both needed replacement for some unknown reason. Perhaps the endless fiddling to try and dial in suspension.
-Belt blowing issues that appeared at 8,000 km. Luckily being forewarned about this issue I had fabricated a belly pan protector
-Taking top gears out of the chain case twice, now dealers suggesting annual replacement.
-Bearing tolerances so poor that the drive axle spins within the inner race. My axle had to be cut in half for removal it was so badly damaged. All needed replacement
-Fasteners and rivets all over sled corroding due to poor quality. At time of Arctic cat union a dealer commented better fasteners used on old Yamaha crates than new snowmobiles.
-Chain case maintenance system designed by someone who never had to perform it. Unable to remove any filings without complete disassembly.
-Instrument cluster had to be removed and backing pads installed to stop vibration and movement..
-Ignition switch that is now spinning in a stripped plastic lock nut. I’ve never once touched this assembly.
-Oil tank blowouts requiring a roll over valve bypass.
-Dirt and debris that continually runs down the sides of the tunnel from plastic items all rubbing and wearing.
-Decals that have all become de laminated on the tunnel with clear protective covers peeling off them and flapping.
-Tail light that wiggles because rivets have all come loose.
-Windshield that cracked simply due to vibration.
-Excessive price.

My patience hit the end of the road with this machine, I actually grew to hate the machine and all the BS associated with it. I became afraid to drive it as something always went wrong. Machine is now sold and off to a new home.

I will still be an avid sledder, however it will now be on a different brand. Perhaps my most upsetting issue is leaving my long time dealer of 34 years with whom I have had a fantastic relationship and stellar service.

Good bye Yamaha.
This thread is likely going to turn into an absolute s**t show...there's a lot to unpack and A LOT of questionable about your post (some I agree with, some not so much). It sounds like you rode hard and beat the life out of your snowmobile - I'm not sure what else was expected?

Even the legacy Yamahas had their issues. I can't tell you the number of speedometer bearings I pulled out of the belly pan of a friend's Apex (it was more than 5 in a 2,000 mile period) or trying to heat up a . And let's not forget having to replace exhaust donuts...often we forget how much work it took to keep those older Yamahas running.

I cannot say that my Sidewinder has been as reliable as legacy Yamahas that came before it, let alone my 2014 SR Viper XTX. However, none of the issues I've had with my Sidewinder have been related to the Arctic Cat side of the build (except for my tunnel - the weight of two guys on a 141" tunnel will absolutely make it bend and I own that one). Yamahas has stood behind their warranty every time that my snowmobile has been to the dealership and that's how it will be through 2023 - a 5-year warranty is a damn good level of commitment to a product. At the same time, it's never left me stranded and has ALWAYS pulled it's weight when called upon.
 

jonlafon1

Lifetime Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2014
Messages
2,830
Age
47
Location
Mount Morris, WI. Chaney Lake, Upper MI eh!
Country
USA
Snowmobile
2022 Sidewinder LTX_SE

2021 Arctic Cat 8000

2017 Sidewinder LTX-SE. 11750 miles (SOLD)
The one thing I'm having a tough time with is the hard steering(sore shoulders) and the limiter straps wearing out.. Theses things ride like butter when set up correctly, and are actually pretty forgiving with adjustments to suspension.. dealer/factory set up is pretty decent and unless your under 150 lbs and or OVER 230 they are close on set up..
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2016
Messages
245
Age
26
Location
Ellington, CT
Country
USA
Snowmobile
2019 Yamaha Sidewinder X-TX LE 141
The one thing I'm having a tough time with is the hard steering(sore shoulders) and the limiter straps wearing out.. Theses things ride like butter when set up correctly, and are actually pretty forgiving with adjustments to suspension.. dealer/factory set up is pretty decent and unless your under 150 lbs and or OVER 230 they are close on set up..
I dunno, it was the windshield that "just cracked" that did it for me...
 

SledFreak

TY 4 Stroke God
Joined
Feb 7, 2005
Messages
5,294
Location
Ontario. Canada
Country
Canada
Snowmobile
Current 2020 ThunderCat, 2017 ZR 6000 Roger Skime, gone is the 2016 ZR 4000 RR, 2012 MXZ 1200 Renegade, 2010 MXZ 1200, 2009 Nytro XTX, 2006 Apex GT, 2003 MXZx 800 REV, etc..
I'm finding that over the long-term, it's actually less maintenance than the all-Japan models I used to ride.
I really love my Sidewinder.
I agree... I put alot of maintenance money into my Apex and Nytro. I call BS on the whole post... So goodbye! This thread should be locked!
 

pro-man

Veteran
Joined
Aug 30, 2017
Messages
28
Location
Lwr Michigan
Country
USA
Snowmobile
vmax-sold
I've been saving money for 2 years finally ready to buy a Yamaha shitgrinder, thanks for crushing my dreams and more importantly preventing me from feeling like a nickel.......
 

DennyTuna

RIP-Logan-Dylan-Never forgotten!
Joined
Jan 28, 2017
Messages
452
Age
59
Location
Ohio
Country
USA
Snowmobile
18 Winder LTX 50th
16 SR Viper RTX (red)
02 SX Viper ER (red)
97 SX Vmax 600 (red)
I agree this thread should just go away....A member for 8 years and has 8 post. My 2018 winder has never left me stranded. It's not hard to steer and we do 1200-1500 mile trips. To each there own.
 

VX1R

Lifetime Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2004
Messages
2,018
Location
Inver Grove Heights, MN
Country
USA
Snowmobile
Current Riders:
2021 SW SRX
2018 SW LTX-LE
2002 SRX Custom
Vintage Riders:
1980 Enticer 300 Twin
1986 Inviter
1996 Phazer Mt. Lite Mod
1998 Phazer Mt. Lite
I know...These are rookie numbers, I need more sleds!
Good bye Yamaha.

Mr.V......

Great post. Looking at your profile it looks like you've been a TY member for about 8 years now. Not many posts from you in that time, but there's always a lot of lurkers who just use the site to gain knowledge about their sleds to enjoy the ride. Sorry to hear that your recent experiences with your 2018 SideWinder turned out so badly for you.

We've had a 2018 SideWinder in the family since brand new that my wife drives and it's performed flawlessly for us and she loves it and has no issues racking up the miles. We've had three 'Winders so far and will probably add a fourth in the future now that they've got power steering.

I can't blame you one bit for wanting to try something else after the issues that you've had, especially with your shoulder problems. Sounds like you've done everything you can to try and make your SideWinder more reliable but if you've lost faith in the sled and it's causing you pain to ride it then I think that it's time to move on to something else.

It sucks to see a long time customer leave a company that they've been loyal to and to also lose a long time relationship with your dealer who's taken good care of you, but with anything in life sometimes you just need to do what's best for you. A man's got to do what a man's got to do.

Since this is a site that's full of Yamaha enthusiast's I'd expect that they'll be a fair share of bashing you and your post, but I for one wish you the best in your future snowmobile endeavors. Heck, you're a longtime snowmobiler (Over 34 years!) so you can't be all that bad :)

Cheers!
 
Last edited:

Upstater57

Veteran
Joined
Apr 25, 2021
Messages
43
Age
63
Location
New York
Country
USA
Snowmobile
2022 Tcat, ZR9000 1978,1979,1980 SRX
I would recommend buying a new Thundercat with power steering. Easier on the shoulders and it even has better skis.
 

C & T Powersports

TY Advertiser
Vendor
Joined
Sep 25, 2021
Messages
23
Age
55
Location
Troy, N.H.
Country
USA
Snowmobile
2022 SRX, 2019 900 Turbo, 2012 1200 Turbo
Not here to bash at all. After reading I'm still very excited about the arrival of my SRX, and will continue to be optimistic. We don't live in a perfect world and just about any item on the market has room for improvement.
Mr. V I hope you find a sled that meets your needs and continue to enjoy snowmobiling in the future, no matter what brand you choose.
 
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