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Team Fast 136" M20 - 2011+ Apex XTX (Version 2.0)

Discussion in 'Skis, Studs, Tracks and Aftermarket Suspensions' started by Redbeard, Apr 29, 2017.


  1. Redbeard

    Redbeard Lifetime Member Lifetime VIP Member VIP Member

    Messages:
    1,649
    Location:
    IN
    Country:
    USA
    Snowmobile:
    2012 Apex, 136 M20, PB80
    2008 Vector, 136 M20, PB80
    2004 RX Warrior
    1995 Vmax 4 800
    1995 Vmax 600 LE
    1995 Ovation 340 LE
    Spring 2017, Apex XTX M20 Version 2.0

    Hello again my friends! This thread covers the installation of a 136” M20 Airwave into a friend’s Apex XTX. I absolutely love these suspensions and I'd recommend them to anyone who is seeking for a way to improve their snowmobile! TF has done a great job with the engineering and it shows the second you open the box!

    Since my first M20 project in 2013, I’ve spent many hours refining the installation of these suspensions and their respective components. My top three priorities have always been: safety, reliability and functionality. In addition, I try very hard to make these components look like they’re supposed to be there.

    This will be my third M20 project and I have some new ideas to set in motion, so stay tuned as this project gets started! ;)!

    FA1.jpg FA2.jpg FA3.jpg FA4-1.jpg



    Spring 2013: Apex XTX M20 Version 1.0
    http://ty4stroke.com/threads/team-fast-m20-apex-xtx-version-1-0.119161/

    Summer 2016: Vector LTX M20:
    http://ty4stroke.com/threads/team-fast-m20-vector-ltx.141902/
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
    Al Bundy, DGZRT, yamadoo and 2 others like this.
  2.  

  3. yamadoo

    yamadoo Yamadoo is a snowmobile ' aholic'. Lifetime VIP Member VIP Member

    Messages:
    3,230
    Location:
    SE MN work North shore Superior play
    Country:
    USA
    Snowmobile:
    15 Viper STX DX red/white
    13 Apex XTX 45 anniversary RED/WHITE/BLACK
    10 Vector LTX Blue
    11 Venture Gt
    86 SnoScoot(2) for grand kids
    Great Joe, love to read and review these posts of your great work
     
    greatwhite89, Dusty Dan and Redbeard like this.
  4. Redbeard

    Redbeard Lifetime Member Lifetime VIP Member VIP Member

    Messages:
    1,649
    Location:
    IN
    Country:
    USA
    Snowmobile:
    2012 Apex, 136 M20, PB80
    2008 Vector, 136 M20, PB80
    2004 RX Warrior
    1995 Vmax 4 800
    1995 Vmax 600 LE
    1995 Ovation 340 LE
    At this point, I'd like to mention that this installation will be a custom departure from the instructions included with the skid. This will involve altering some chassis features that are not represented by TF. The only items I use are the suspension and the dimensions to mount it.

    For those interested in an M20, please follow the instructions included for your particular sled.




    First thing is to strip the sled and make room for working on all the various parts. This project will include a track change, so all the front panels need to come off as well.

    FA6.jpg FA7.jpg FA8.jpg FA9.jpg FA11.jpg FA10.jpg

    Note* Removing the tunnel protectors and drop brackets are for this application only.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
    Dusty Dan likes this.
  5. Dusty Dan

    Dusty Dan Lifetime Member Lifetime VIP Member VIP Member

    Messages:
    206
    Country:
    Canada
    Snowmobile:
    2016 SRViper LTX LE
    2012 Vector
    Great stuff, I look forward to every post.
     
    Redbeard likes this.
  6. Redbeard

    Redbeard Lifetime Member Lifetime VIP Member VIP Member

    Messages:
    1,649
    Location:
    IN
    Country:
    USA
    Snowmobile:
    2012 Apex, 136 M20, PB80
    2008 Vector, 136 M20, PB80
    2004 RX Warrior
    1995 Vmax 4 800
    1995 Vmax 600 LE
    1995 Ovation 340 LE
    I unpacked the new skid today and started laying out all the parts. I noticed the air spring looked different, so I took it out and laid it on the bench next to the air spring from my Apex. I inflated both to discover the new spring is 1.5" shorter. I'm not sure if this will affect ride quality, but there is definitely less air volume in the shorter spring.

    FYI: The part number for this style of Firestone air spring is stamped on the band that crimps the sleeve to the upper cap.

    20170428_135643.jpg FA45.jpg FA46.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
  7. DGZRT

    DGZRT VIP Member VIP Member

    Messages:
    959
    Location:
    Stevens Point Wisconsin
    Country:
    USA
    Snowmobile:
    2009 Vector LTX, 08 Vector shorty, 98 XTC 500 & 600
    You are one of the best at providing great pictures and information in your builds !!!!

    Keep up the great work, it helps the summer to pass ....
     
    Redbeard likes this.
  8. Redbeard

    Redbeard Lifetime Member Lifetime VIP Member VIP Member

    Messages:
    1,649
    Location:
    IN
    Country:
    USA
    Snowmobile:
    2012 Apex, 136 M20, PB80
    2008 Vector, 136 M20, PB80
    2004 RX Warrior
    1995 Vmax 4 800
    1995 Vmax 600 LE
    1995 Ovation 340 LE
    Mounting an M20 into a 2011+ Apex presents a challenge because, unlike older Apex models, the factory drop brackets are multi-purposed for mounting the stock suspension, muffler and joining a gap in the upper tunnel panels. They simply can’t be removed or re-positioned for mounting the skid. For this reason, TF supplies a universal bracket so the factory brackets can remain in place and continue doing their job. Unfortunately, the correct position of the universal bracket lands in the same location as factory. :eek: Without the modifications I made for version 1.0, the universal brackets have to be sandwiched in between the tunnel and factory brackets (pictured below). Either way, the suspension can be tricky to install and remove for service, especially if you’re by yourself...but aren't all suspensions? ;)



    FA29.jpg FA33.jpg



    When I began version 1.0 in 2013, there were no instructions on how to deal with the interference. All I could think to do was make new brackets that support the muffler while leaving clearance for the universal bracket. There are a handful of other ways to make this work, but the pictures below re-cap what I came up with:

    FA48.jpg FA35.jpg FA36.jpg FA34.jpg FA47.jpg





    Since 2013, TF has amended their instructions to simply sandwich the universal brackets as described above. The pics below are from Soldiers Papa's 128" M20 Apex.

    FA37.jpg FA38.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
    Dusty Dan likes this.
  9. Redbeard

    Redbeard Lifetime Member Lifetime VIP Member VIP Member

    Messages:
    1,649
    Location:
    IN
    Country:
    USA
    Snowmobile:
    2012 Apex, 136 M20, PB80
    2008 Vector, 136 M20, PB80
    2004 RX Warrior
    1995 Vmax 4 800
    1995 Vmax 600 LE
    1995 Ovation 340 LE
    Let's rewind to the summer of 2016...

    I ordered an M20 to install in my 2008 Vector LTX. This is when I learned that, for the older LTX models, TF supplies a machined, billet aluminum block that bolts directly to the factory brackets and self-locates the M20 rear arm in the tunnel! Wow...what a great feature! They really did a great job adapting this supension to the LTX sleds...like it's supposed to be there! ;)!

    FA41.jpg FA43.jpg FA44.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2017
  10. Redbeard

    Redbeard Lifetime Member Lifetime VIP Member VIP Member

    Messages:
    1,649
    Location:
    IN
    Country:
    USA
    Snowmobile:
    2012 Apex, 136 M20, PB80
    2008 Vector, 136 M20, PB80
    2004 RX Warrior
    1995 Vmax 4 800
    1995 Vmax 600 LE
    1995 Ovation 340 LE
    When my buddy decided to M20 his sled, I started dreaming of ways to build my own rear brackets that would not only support the muffler, but also accept the billet aluminum blocks used on the LTX models. I put in a call to Barn of Parts, and Travis sent me some brackets from an LTX model to use as a pattern. I immediately went to work and established a jig to make hybrid brackets that are a blend of both an LTX and XTX. The jig will allow me to accurately reproduce additional brackets if needed in the future.

    This takes a lot of time, as I cut all my parts by hand.

    FA13.jpg FA27.jpg FA26.jpg FA55.jpg FA54.jpg FA53.jpg FA49.jpg View attachment 128709 FA51.jpg FA57.jpg


    Note* When ordering the skid, I simply specified that it was for a 2008 Apex LTX so there would be no confusion as to what mounting kit I needed!

     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  11. Dusty Dan

    Dusty Dan Lifetime Member Lifetime VIP Member VIP Member

    Messages:
    206
    Country:
    Canada
    Snowmobile:
    2016 SRViper LTX LE
    2012 Vector
    Exceptional work my friend.
     
    Redbeard likes this.
  12. Redbeard

    Redbeard Lifetime Member Lifetime VIP Member VIP Member

    Messages:
    1,649
    Location:
    IN
    Country:
    USA
    Snowmobile:
    2012 Apex, 136 M20, PB80
    2008 Vector, 136 M20, PB80
    2004 RX Warrior
    1995 Vmax 4 800
    1995 Vmax 600 LE
    1995 Ovation 340 LE
    Here is an explanation of why I chose to make new, hybrid brackets altogether...

    The LTX bracket will fit the 2011+ tunnel and would probably work fine for installing an M20. You would have to fabricate and weld on a custom made flange to support the muffler and upper tunnel panels. The downside to this; there are only three holes in the LTX bracket that line up with the newer tunnel. You would either have to drill new holes in the bracket to match the tunnel, or drill all new holes in the tunnel to match the bracket...:eek: It makes me cringe at the thought of drilling any more holes in the tunnel than necessary, so in my mind, there was no other choice than to make completely new brackets.

    There are probably other ways to make this come together, but my goal is easy serviceability, and the billet blocks are best way to install and remove these skids IMHO. ;)!

    FA12.jpg FAFA58.jpg FA20.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2017
    Dusty Dan and Al Bundy like this.
  13. Al Bundy

    Al Bundy Lifetime Member Lifetime VIP Member

    Messages:
    316
    Location:
    Maine
    Country:
    USA
    Snowmobile:
    2004 Rx Warrior
    "There are probably other ways to make this come together, but my goal is easy serviceability, and the billet blocks are best way to install and remove these skids IMHO. ;)!"

    That sure beats having to take the entire mounting bracket off to remove the skid!
     
  14. Redbeard

    Redbeard Lifetime Member Lifetime VIP Member VIP Member

    Messages:
    1,649
    Location:
    IN
    Country:
    USA
    Snowmobile:
    2012 Apex, 136 M20, PB80
    2008 Vector, 136 M20, PB80
    2004 RX Warrior
    1995 Vmax 4 800
    1995 Vmax 600 LE
    1995 Ovation 340 LE
    You are correct, my friend!

    Your Warrior could be retrofitted with LTX brackets to accept the aluminum blocks. You would have to have a different mount kit which would include different spacers and the blocks.
     
    Al Bundy likes this.
  15. Redbeard

    Redbeard Lifetime Member Lifetime VIP Member VIP Member

    Messages:
    1,649
    Location:
    IN
    Country:
    USA
    Snowmobile:
    2012 Apex, 136 M20, PB80
    2008 Vector, 136 M20, PB80
    2004 RX Warrior
    1995 Vmax 4 800
    1995 Vmax 600 LE
    1995 Ovation 340 LE
    Tunnel support plates and locating the front arm:

    TF supplies tunnel support plates that rivet inside the tunnel for the front arm, but I choose to make my own out of 11ga steel for two reasons:

    1) A thicker plate takes up all the slack on each end of the cross shaft and keeps the tunnel from "sucking in" when tightening the bolts.
    2) My plates utilize existing rivet holes in the tunnel.

    In addition to the support plate inside the tunnel, I also make outside plates that fasten to the factory brackets for extra beef and rigidity.



    As per M20 instructions, I used a 3/16" bit to drill out an existing pilot hole in each footwell (WHITE ARROW). On sleds without extrovert drivers, the two pilot holes (WHITE ARROW) would be drilled out to 7/16" for mounting the front swingarm. Sleds with extrovert drivers need to have the front swing arm location moved back .95" (24mm) (ORANGE ARROW). Make sure you discuss this with TF so they can ship your skid accordingly, as it affects the position of the front shock on the slide rails.

    The BLUE ARROW is for mounting of an M10 air front arm. DO NOT DRILL OUT THIS HOLE FOR M20 FRONT ARM INSTALLATION! M10's and M20's have different geometry and mount to different locations on the tunnel.

    FA60.jpg FAFA59.jpg FA61.jpg FA62.jpg FA63.jpg FA64.jpg FA69.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
    ClutchMaster and Al Bundy like this.
  16. Redbeard

    Redbeard Lifetime Member Lifetime VIP Member VIP Member

    Messages:
    1,649
    Location:
    IN
    Country:
    USA
    Snowmobile:
    2012 Apex, 136 M20, PB80
    2008 Vector, 136 M20, PB80
    2004 RX Warrior
    1995 Vmax 4 800
    1995 Vmax 600 LE
    1995 Ovation 340 LE
    There is only 3/4" clearance between the track and exhaust, so I made tunnel runners that keep the track from getting too slap happy and possibly damaging the exhaust. I just started bending metal until I got the correct bends. It took a few tries with some scrap, but once I got it, I transferred the angles over to the final parts shown in the picture.

    FA66.jpg FA68.jpg FA67.jpg AX26.jpg

    Note* Since 2013 TF has lowered the mounting position of the rear arm so that track lug / tunnel protector clearance can be maintained on sled's that require the universal bracket.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
    Al Bundy and Dusty Dan like this.

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