Ski-Doo Elite Review: The Famous Side-by-Side Snowmobile!

The Ski-Doo Elite was the only side-by-side snowmobile built by the Canadian BRP. The original version of this machine was marketed from 1973 to 1983 (except 1976 and 1977). Two decades later, the Elite was re-introduced as a one-year limited anniversary model.

If you want to learn all about this unique side-by-side snowmobile, this post is for you.

We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know under one roof!

Ski-Doo Elite Review

1974 Ski-Doo Elite Review

The history of the Ski-Doo Elite goes back to the early ’70s, as the first model was introduced in 1973.

Just like regular Ski-Doo snowmobiles, the Elite was also designed and manufactured by Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) in Quebec, Canada.

As the name suggests, this machine was designed with “elite” customers in mind. It was engineered for smooth comfortable rides rather than aggressive cornering.

The power source of the 1973 Ski-Doo Elite was a fan-cooled, 635cc Rotax twin nestled in the rear end of the chassis. For the best bite and stability, the machine featured two 15” tracks and a very wide ski stance.

You could find a side-by-side seat with a roll bar, a manual shift lever, and fairly wide handlebars in the cockpit.

For the 1975 model year, the engine of the Elite was downsized with a 2-cylinder 436cc Rotax power mill.

On the other hand, the machine did get some nice new features including an electric fuel gauge, speedometer, tachometer, and a cigarette lighter.

Surprisingly, the Elite wasn’t part of the 1976 and 1977 Ski-Doo lineup, but it made a comeback for 1978.

This new model came powered with a liquid-cooled, 444cc Rotax twin and a more advanced slide suspension system. Standard features included a ski rack, a CB radio, and an AM/FM radio.

Although the Ski-Doo Elite was a revolutionary idea, due to its hefty price tag, heavy weight and cumbersome handling, it did not become very popular. As you can imagine, getting it unstuck from deep snow was quite tricky.

Eventually, the Canadian manufacturer discontinued the model after the 1983 season.

2004 Ski-Doo Elite Review

The anniversary edition of the legendary Ski-Doo Elite was introduced in the 2004 model year.

This machine was built to celebrate the anniversary of its vintage predecessor, so it was only available as a one-year special edition.

To the greatest delight of many fans, the new model was revealed to have a much sportier engine and features.

The power source of the 2004 Ski-Doo Elite was a 1503, 4-TEC Rotax engine. This liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, 1494cc, 4-stroke triple was rated at 145 HP.

Just like its predecessor, the engine of the new Elite was nestled in the rear. Thanks to this design, you could find a lockable front storage unit under the front hood.

Engine power was delivered towards the twin 136” x 15” tracks via a drive belt. This setup offered 30 inches of floatation and propelled the Elite up to 80-85 mph depending on snow conditions.

As far as dimensions go, the machine was 114.5 inches long, 47.8 inches wide, and weighed a whopping 1100 pounds.

For the smoothest ride, the Elite featured the Ski-Doo-exclusive adjustable ADSA front suspensions and a twin SC-10 III rear slide suspension system.

Despite its car-like design, the cockpit didn’t feature any foot controls. Instead, the Elite could be controlled with an airplane-inspired steering wheel that utilized a throttle lever on the right side and a brake lever on the left.

Standard features of the 2004 Ski-Doo Elite included:

  • Half windshield
  • Airplane-inspired steering wheel
  • Heated grips
  • Heated throttle lever
  • Heated passenger grab handle
  • Electric visor jack connector
  • 12V power outlet
  • Lockable front trunk
  • Tool kit
  • DESS switch
  • Tachometer
  • Speedometer
  • Odometer/Trip meter
  • Hour meter
  • Fuel gauge
  • Engine temp. gauge
  • Front and rear lights
  • Fog light
  • Headlamp dimmer switch
  • Parking brake
  • Seat belts
  • Grab handles
  • Rearview mirror
  • Spare drive belt holder
  • Engine cut-off switch
  • Warning lights (overheating, low oil, check engine, etc.)

Ski-Doo Elite Problems

Although the 2004 Ski-Doo Elite was an amazing machine, it had some definite drawbacks.

One of the many complaints against this unique snowmobile was its heavy weight and large, car-like chassis. Since its dry weight was 1100 pounds, getting the Elite unstuck from powder or slush was quite difficult.

It was also hard to transport as loading it onto a trailer was quite a difficult and stressful process.

Another common problem with the Elite was overheating issue. The rear-mounted engine position led to inadequate cooling, translating to an extremely hot engine and exhaust pipe.

Since this was a common issue, Ski-Doo released a “cooling kit” for these machines. Although it wasn’t an official recall, this kit was installed on several machines by the dealers.

Owners who missed this opportunity often tried installing one or two additional fans to force more cool air into the engine compartment.

In most cases, these modifications fixed the problem.

2004 Ski-Doo Elite Specs

For your convenience, we’ve compiled the key specs of the 2004 Ski-Doo Elite into these charts:

2004 Ski-Doo Elite Engine Specs

TypeRotax 1503, 4-TEC 4–stroke, SOHC (Single Over Head Camshaft), liquid cooled
Number of cylinder3
Displacement1494 cc (91.2 cu. in)
Bore100 mm (3.900 in)
Stroke63.4 mm (2.500 in)
Maximum power engine speed7300 ± 100 RPM

2004 Ski-Doo Elite Drive Belt Specs

Part numberModels 2227 and 4070: 417 300 207, Models 4081, 4082, 4083: 417 300 287
Wear limit width (mm (in))34.3 (1.35)

2004 Ski-Doo Elite Electrical Features

Alternator – Type55 A
Spark plug – MakeNGK
Spark plug – Number3
Spark plug – TypeDCPR8E
Spark plug – Gap ± 0.05 (± .002)0.75 mm(.030 in) (1)
Headlamp bulb2 x 60/55 W (H4)
Taillight bulb8/27

2004 Ski-Doo Elite Track and Suspension

Track Tension30 to 35 mm (1.181 to 1.378 in) Measure gap between slider shoe and bottom inside of track when exerting a downward pull of 7.3 kg (16 lb) to the track.
Track AlignmentEqual distance on both sides between edges of track guides and slider shoes.
Suspension Front TypeADSA (advanced direct shock action)
Suspension Rear TypeSC-10 III

2004 Ski-Doo Elite Dimensions

Dry mass499 kg (1100 lb)
Overall length291 cm (114.5 in)
Overall width121 cm (47.8 in)

2004 Ski-Doo Elite Liquids and Greases

Engine oilBOMBARDIER synthetic 4-stroke SAE 0W-40 oil (P/N 293 600 054)—12 x 1L.
CoolantPremixed coolant (P/N 413 711 802) — 16 x 1 L) or 50% Ethylene-glycol/50% water. Use coolant containing corrosion inhibitors for internal combustion aluminum engines.
Fuel Type Regular unleaded gasoline
Fuel OctaneInside North America: 87 (R + M)/2 , Outside North America: 91 RON
Gearbox oilBOMBARDIER synthetic chaincase oil, (P/N 413 803 300)— 12 x 355 mL.
BrakeSRF (DOT 4) (P/N 293 600 063) or GTLMA (DOT 4) (P/N 293 600 062)

2004 Ski-Doo Elite Capacities

Engine oil change quantity (with filter replacement) L (U.S. oz)3.0 (101)
Total engine oil quantity (rebuild) L (U.S. oz)4.5 (152)
Coolant L (U.S. oz)6.6 (223)
Fuel tank L (U.S. gal)52 (13.7)
Gearbox oil mL (U.S. oz)1100 (37.2)

These charts are for informational purposes only!

Takeaways: FAQs About the Ski-Doo Elite

What year did the Ski-Doo Elite come out?

The Canadian BRP revealed the original Ski-Doo Elite in 1973, but a 4-stroke anniversary edition was also marketed in the 2004 model year.

What years were the Ski-Doo Elite made?

The vintage Ski-Doo Elite was manufactured from 1973 to 1975 and from 1978 to 1983. The anniversary Ski-Doo Elite was only offered in the 2004 season, as a one-year limited edition model.

What size was the 2004 Ski-Doo Elite?

The 2004 Ski-Doo Elite was 114.5 inches long and 47.8 inches wide.

What was the track size of the 2004 Ski-Doo Elite?

The 2004 Ski-Doo Elite utilized twin 136”x15” tracks.

How much did a 2004 Ski-Doo Elite weigh?

The dry weight of the 2004 Ski-Doo elite was a whopping 1100 pounds.

What kind of engine was in the 2004 Ski-Doo Elite?

The 2004 Ski-Doo Elite engine was a liquid-cooled, 1494cc, 4-stroke Rotax triple.

How much horsepower did a 2004 Ski-Doo Elite have?

The 2004 Ski-Doo Elite produced about 145 HP at 7300 RPM.

How fast was the 2004 Ski-Doo Elite?

The top speed of the 2004 Ski-Doo Elite was about 80-85 mph, depending on environmental conditions.


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