Jondreau And His 1200cc Snowmobile Engine

Four years ago, the 35-year-old built a 1200cc engine out of a 1200 Polaris watercraft crankcase, crankshafts from Polaris 800 twin snowmobile engines, 800 XC SP top-end parts and a flywheel and stator from a three-cylinder 800 XCR engine.

Jondreau said this configuration allows him to get lots of power out of stock engine parts, which are reliable and easy to get ahold of if the engine lets go.

In total, Jondreau estimates he’s spent about $6,000 on the engine. But he’s quick to point out that it’s money well spent because it cranks out 244 hp on 91 octane fuel.

He has bolted his hand-made engine in several sleds, but Jondreau is most proud of the homemade chassis that the engine is planted in now. He calls the sled ‘SuperBeast.’

The bulkhead is crafted from that of a 2000 700 XC. Jondreau had to cut out a chunk so the recoil would fit. He also reinforced all of the welds so it can hold up to the engine’s torque.

The custom-built tunnel was bent to Jondreau’s specifications by Kelly’s Powdercoating in Duluth, Minnesota. The running boards are extra wide to fit Jondreau’s big, snowboard-style boots. He spent eight hours polishing the aluminum to give it a brilliant sheen. A Boss Flatop High Rise seat is bolted to the tunnel.

Carbon fiber Pro X trailing arms from Montana’s Crazy Mountain Extreme Motorsports and Fox Zero X clicker shocks with titanium springs swallow the holes in the rough ditches of northern Minnesota where Jondreau rides. The package is wrapped in a Polaris Gen II nosepan and a Pro X hood.

The rear is suspended by a M-10 skidframe with polished rails and billet wheels. The skid is equipped with Fox Zero X clicker shocks; it also has chromoly torque arms from Crazy Mountain Extreme Motorsports. All of the shafts have been replaced with titanium parts, also from Crazy Mountain Extreme Motorsports.

A 13.5- by 128- by 1.625-inch track with 220 studs wraps the rear suspension. The sled needs a longer track to fit around the suspension’s 8-inch rear idler wheels and 10-tooth drivers.

To feed the engine, which Jondreau said gets about 5 miles per gallon, he built and bolted on a rack of three 40mm Mikuni flat-slide carburetors.

Jondreau, who’s been a snowmobiler since he was 12 years old, chose this setup because he figured the jetting would be similar to a stock Polaris 800 twin with pipes. He was right. “It just needs a little bigger pilot [jet] and a little bigger main,” Jondreau said. “The engine always starts with two or three pumps on the primer and two pulls [on the recoil].”

The 125-pound engine gets its air through three K&N high-flow air filters. To make sure it gets cool, fresh air, the filters are fitted high up where the headlight would mount to the lightweight BR Tech hood. So he can see the trail at night, two Piaa lights shine through a hood vent from in front of the engine’s cylinders.

For the exhaust, Jondreau ordered one-and-a-half sets of pipes from Hot Seat Performance. They were stamped for an 800 XC SP, but did not include flanges. They needed to be cut and fit for the chassis, too.

Jondreau gives a lot of credit to Crazy Mountain Extreme Motorsports and Washington’s Tison Performance for their help fitting the exhaust pipes. “I would have had my hands full without their help,” Jondreau said.

The mag cylinder’s pipe exits through the nosepan near the secondary clutch. Jondreau tried routing all of the pipes out the mag side, but the engine was down on horsepower and the hood didn’t fit with that arrangement, he said.

Despite that it’s in the same neighborhood as the drive belt, the mag pipe hasn’t caused any problems with the drive train, Jondreau said. “I have belt heat issues, but I think it’s because my clutching isn’t on.”

A Hulings Racing Products four-post primary clutch takes care of the duties up front. Jondreau tried to use a state-of-the-art Team Industries roller secondary, but he said the company doesn’t offer a spring that’s stiff enough for his sled’s needs, so he installed a Polaris button-style clutch on the jackshaft.

Besides his custom-built snowmobile, Jondreau owns a red, limited-edition Hummer H2 and a Kawasaki ZX12 motorcycle that’s capable of hitting 195 mph, he said. “I had it up to 168 [mph] once, then I let off.”


Jondreau works hard, he said, and his days start bright and early. “I have to work a lot to pay for my toys.” The Iron Ranger owns a window-cleaning business in Hibbing.

He takes care of a few accounts in town before heading to his job at Hibbing Salvage and Supply, a local scrapyard that sometimes demands more than 70 hours per week, he said.

There, he operates a Komatsu crane equipped with an electromagnet, to move twisted scrap metal and junk cars. After the sun sets, Jondreau heads to his garage to work with more metal.

Jondreau makes billet-aluminum bogie and idler wheels and sells them under the name Budget Billet. The SuperBeast’s rear suspension is outfitted with seven of the special wheels.

Despite all his hours on the clock, Jondreau rode 1,500 miles last year. But that’s no cakewalk, either. SuperBeast’s engine has 135 pounds of compression. “It’s a lot of work to start it,” he said.

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