Used Sled Shopper: 2003 Ski-Doo MXZ Adrenaline 600 H.O.

Editor’s Note: Each issue of Snow Goer for about a decade included the “Used Sled Shopper” department. It focused on sleds that were 5 to 15 years old that folks may consider on the used market. The article below ran in our October 2014 issue. So, the pricing in the sidebar box reflects that timing, not necessarily current values.

2003 Ski-Doo MX Z Adrenaline 600 H.O.
2003 Ski-Doo MX Z Adrenaline 600 H.O.

Many longtime snowmobilers will remember 2003 as the model year when Ski-Doo launched the totally new and truly revolutionary REV chassis in select MX Z models. Massively altered ergonomics moved the driver forward by a foot, angular styling made them look like nothing on the snow and the brand’s first dual A-arm front suspension made any Ski-Doo not in this new layout quickly seem dated.

     The REV chassis found in X and Sport models was rightfully stealing all of the headlines. But ZX-based Adrenaline and Trail MX Zs from the same model year went about their business. They were the well-built, dependable, flat-cornering snowmobiles they’d been for several seasons.

     Often overlooked, there are plenty of 2003 Ski-Doo MX Z Adrenaline 600 H.O. snowmobiles in the field. They are still creating happy customers and logging mile after mile. And, because some people consider them dated, the alert buyer might be able to pick up one at a discount.

     The ZX chassis featured upswept bellypan sides and a distinctive center hood grille. It debuted on select 1999 MX Z and Summit 600 models. Roughly 20 pounds lighter, better suspended and more stylish than the previous S-2000 chassis, it quickly swept through Ski Doo’s lineup of twin-cylinder machines.

2003 Ski-Doo MX Z Adrenaline 600 H.O. specs

     When introduced, it seemed like a modern platform that finally put Ski-Doo on par with rival 1990s dominator Polaris, but once the REV chassis came out, the ZX sleds quickly seemed old to those who chase the latest and greatest.

     For 2003, the MX Z Adrenaline 600 H.O. got a 10 percent power boost, thanks to the H.O. package that featured a bigger engine block, Nicasil cylinders with updated porting and new eight-petal reeds. It was definitely class competitive, and the Digital Performance Management (DPM) system on the carbs made it start and idle easily.

     Later versions of the 600 H.O. with semi-direct injection had some ring issues, but this original carbureted version of the 600 H.O. is known for being quick and dependable.

     Ergonomics on a ZX chassis sled were low compared to current sleds, but its flat cornering was ideal, thanks to a stable ADSA trailing arm front suspension and excellent balance between the front and rear. Bump damping for the 2003 MX Z Adrenaline came from rebuildable HPG gas shocks all the way around.

     The then-new SC-10 III skidframe delivered a good ride and the track’s 1-inch lugs hooked up decently, though it was also fun to drift through turns. It could also be ordered in the spring with a factory installed 1.25-inch track.

     The ’03 Adrenaline models didn’t get the REV chassis, but they did receive ZX-X upgrades that included wider running boards with anti-slip grips, plus a short brake lever, a new gauge, updated TRA III clutching and new handlebar mounted switches.

      Another update was the move to Precision skis. Their concave design with runners on the outer edge lacked a center keel. On set-up trails, the design gained accolades because the skis helped prevent darting, and off trail they provided decent flotation. In loose or soft snow on a trail, however, the skis pushed mightily. If we were to buy one of these today, replacing the skis would be our first move.

     Model year 2003 MX Z Adrenalines in the ZX chassis were available with the 500-, 600-, 700 and 800-class twin cylinder two-strokes. They came with or without the RER push-button reverse system. They were available in either black, red, or yellow and black.

Editor’s Note: Every Snow Goer issue includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more. Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive print 

3 thoughts on “Used Sled Shopper: 2003 Ski-Doo MXZ Adrenaline 600 H.O.

  • Avatar for Smyles

    Spine tinglers we used to call those sleds, hope you have a good chiropractor on speed dial. They were fun simple machines that anyone could work on and believe me we worked on them lots, but oh the fun 😁, brings back memories, and my back spasms.

  • Avatar for Viking

    Great sled especially the Formula Deluxe version with electric start, reverse (mechanical) and mirrors.

    Had a 2000 600 cc ,16+ MPG ,105 mph, 105-110 hp. Lots of 300+ miles a day on that sled.

    990s was best era of sleds, best price, best performance, best looks, best reliability, best low cost maintenance parts (belts $30, gas line filters $2, sliders $20, carbide skags $15. 95% of buyers were middle class average price of sled in Canadian dollars $6,000-$7,000 for 600-700 cc performance luxury sled.

    Now 95% of buyers are the 1% fickle wealthy, not brand loyal at all no practical maintenance knowledge or ability.

    Greedy manufacturers using the Ferrari marketing strategy vs the Ford strategy. It has led to the. Sled sales were over 1,000,000 sleds in 1970, 275,000 in 1997 vs ~110,000 now downfall of the sport

  • Avatar for Jim

    The 600ho carb engine for model year 2003 , 04 in all chassis did have ring issues. Also The 2004 sdi engine. Ski doo issued a service bulletin just after the 04’s came out. I worked at a ski doo dealer as parts manager during this time. I also owned a 600ho adr zx chassis and had to replace rings twice under warranty. The second set installed were the new moly rings.


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