Active Venting With the MTNTK Blow Hole
Active Venting With the MTNTK Blow Hole
By Shawn Davenport
Venting on snowmobiles has always been an interesting subject. Some of the questions that arise when speaking with customers on the subject are: Why do I need to put additional venting? Does the factory have enough venting built in? Should I put a large number of small vents or just one or two large vents in my vehicle? What are the advantages and disadvantages of additional venting? Keep reading and I will attempt to answer some of these questions and raise your level of understanding on the topic.
If there is one thing that I would like to state at the start it would be that the manufacturers have done an amazing job of building a snowmobile that does amazing things. I'm in constant wonder at the level of quality and performance that we have at our fingertips. So one of the most frequent questions I receive from customers is: Why do I need additional venting? I just spent 20K plus on a snowmobile and now you're telling me that I need to improve it or modify it? Probably…..well, yes! Despite the manufacturers doing a wonderful job of building a snowmobile they are still constrained by many different aspects. They have to balance durability, customer perceptions, chassis/platform design that must work across many different rider styles and terrain, etc. Even though you have purchased the best snowmobile for your style of riding, it may still have quite a few shortcomings as you push it to the edge of the design envelope through your riding style. I can guarantee that manufacturers are on the edge of the design envelope with clutching and belt life especially when ridden hard in “tree riding”. These components are among the highest wear and failure. I know you saw the pros doing something amazing on Instagram and you may find this hard to believe, but that person may have been more interested in the perfect shot than if the drive belt was going to make it another 100 miles. I've been there when the perfect video/picture has been obtained and we had to pull the snowmobile home because it was no longer ridable. I'm just saying you may not want to believe everything you see in an advertisement or post! Some people just don't care if they have to go through two belts in a ride. In my world though that adds up and snowmobiling is already expensive so I'm going to try to do my best to make it a little more affordable.
So this leads us to the obvious question: Why do I need additional venting? The answer really is twofold. One, we are really pushing the limits of these snowmobiles and their components so heat and pressure are really starting to be a problem causing wear and tear on the clutch systems. And two, snowmobiles are evolving towards a minimalistic center where the snowmobile is the lightest and smallest possible to perform its duties to provide the most performance from the very least input. This evolution in design has led to smaller hood and side panels with less frontal area and the venting is following suit with smaller openings and fewer of them. So by pushing the limits and reducing the potential air flow into the underhood area we have rising temperatures. This leads to more wear, shorter life of components, reduced performance in extreme conditions and overall higher operating costs. We also ride these snowmobiles in deep powder (extreme conditions) that covers the hood and can cause major problems if it gets inside the hood, so it's not hard to understand why the manufacturers have been limiting the size of the vent openings. Another fact to consider is the new graphics and decal options provided by vinyl wraps and now it is even harder to make vents work properly when the real estate is needed for the styling. We all want to look the part while riding, it is part of the culture and style of this extreme sport.
Now for the history lesson. We used to ride differently, less on our side and rarely in the trees, so vents were fine. Then hillclimbing was a thing, so riders started modifying their sleds to work better off the trail. Did you ever have a 133” or 136” “long track”. I remember talking a guy at a dealership out of buying a 144” track because it just seemed too long! Now we needed to sidehill to get to the good areas (“mountain” bars anyone?). Now the powder gets in the vents so we cover it with mesh……or do we just build the whole hood out of mesh? Lightweight mesh hoods! Now we all are riding in the mountains but the good snow is in the trees. All the vents or hoods are now getting trashed on the sticks and other stuff we run into. After replacing the vent that I placed right in front of the clutch 3 times I realized that was the stupidest idea I ever had to put a vent right there. Now you're up to speed on the history it is easier to see what has become of the vent situation. If you put vents in you have to be willing to replace them if there is an accident. Snow might be blocking the vents so they are only effective part of the time even if you are cleaning them off every 100ft. I want to wrap my sled, so vents seem like a dumb idea because I just paid for the flat finish with the extra bowling ball glitter and I don’t want to cut that up. Enter the need for Active Venting.
Up to this point I have been describing what we have defined as Passive Venting. Airflow is generated by the forward movement of the sled and air pressure pushes it through the vents. I think I have made the case that it is hit or miss as to whether a sufficient amount of air is able to flow through the underside of the hood in all types of riding. Adding additional vents is also very limited in its ability to do the job given the evolution of snowmobiles and the type of riding we do now. At Mountain Tek Performance we looked at all these problems and then developed our current product we named the Blow Hole. Yes, we thought a funny name would catch people's attention and it has. Some look past it as it seems unnecessary until you think about it and how things have changed in the industry. But the Blow Hole is a new type of venting that has no parallel. We have defined it as Active Venting. Using a fan to strategically and forcefully exchange hot air for cool power producing and life giving air. The Blow Hole uses a powerful DC powered fan to pull air out of the underhood/clutch area and dramatically cool the underhood area and the clutch/belt. Even in deep powder with all the vents plugged off, the blow hole creates negative pressure under the hood and cool air rushes in from the unsealed areas and continues to provide venting. This is effective enough to exchange loads of air without sucking in fluffy powder. Not only does this cool the clutches, but it cools down the entire under hood area including the intake plenum and prevents radiated heat from getting to them which increases power and throttle response. It really solves the problem of decals and wrapping the sled and still being able to increase the venting as it has a small footprint on the exterior and really is not in an area that will affect your riding negatively or the prime real estate for your latest vinyl design. The Blow Hole is virtually unaffected by snow, sticks and the like so you can ride the way you want to.
We stand behind this product and offer a 1 year warranty, and then if there should be a problem we have a repair service with quick turnaround for a nominal fee that even covers shipping back to you. Buy it in the numerous colors that we offer on select models, or natural and you can either paint or powdercoat to your liking. We even have customers that apply the wrap right to the faceplate for a stealth look. We build each one out of a welded aluminum construction with plug and play harnesses to provide the easiest and most seamless install possible. If you need to look up the product install instructions before you purchase we provide them on our website to get a better understanding of the installation process. The cost of a Blow Hole is only slightly more than a new drive belt and will provide a substantial boost to the life of the drive system that will be money ahead. If you have any questions, please reach out and we will be happy to answer your questions. We think the Blow Hole is an evolutionary step forward for snowmobiles and venting and know that you will find that you shouldn’t be without it. Backcountry riding is an adventure and the Blow Hole is a mandatory part of it that will enhance your riding experience.