Snowmobile tunnel protectors are aluminum tubes or plastic slides mounted in the tunnel above the track. The main idea behind tunnel protectors is to keep studs away from the heat exchanger and the top of the tunnel. Therefore, they are necessary on any snowmobile that is being propelled by a studded track!
If you want to find out more about this key feature, this post is for you. We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know about tunnel protectors under one roof!
What are Tunnel Protectors?
On liquid-cooled snowmobiles, the heat exchanger is mounted above the track in the tunnel, and with good reason. While the track is spinning, it’s continually throwing fresh snow on the exchanger’s surface, which keeps the temperature of the coolant down.
This system works safely as long as the track doesn’t feature any studs. But a studded track would be dangerous for the heat exchanger because if the rear shocks bottom out, the studs could cut deep grooves into the heat exchanger.
This is where the tunnel protectors come into play, as it can keep the studs away from the exchanger.
Tunnel protectors are long sliders that have to be installed on both sides of the heat exchanger. If the track gets dangerously close to the heat exchanger, these sliders can stop it before the studs could reach the surface.
Surprisingly, while a couple of sleds come with tunnel protectors as standard, many others come without this important safety feature.
Are Tunnel Protectors Necessary?
General wisdom says that tunnel protectors are necessary on any sled that utilizes a studded track. If you run a studded sled without these sliders, you risk the track ripping up the tunnel and the heat exchanger. And heat exchangers are very expensive and hard to replace!
In contrast, tunnel protectors are really affordable and easy to install. Because of this, it’s recommended that you install proper tunnel protection if you’re considering studding your track.
And contrary to popular belief, tunnel protectors are not just necessary on liquid-cooled sleds.
On fan-cooled snowmobiles, the tunnel’s surface can also be exposed to the studs, so some protection on these sleds is always recommended if they utilize studded tracks.
If you are in the market for a tunnel protector kit, it’s recommended that you stick with OEM parts for the best fit and safety reasons. They are typically made of plastic, but some of them are made of aluminum.
Conclusion – What Do Snowmobile Tunnel Protectors Do?
Snowmobile tunnel protectors are aluminum tubes or plastic sliders mounted above the track. They are designed to keep the track away from the heat exchanger and the top of the tunnel. That’s why they are a must on any studded sled!
Without this protection, the studs could penetrate the heat exchanger or the surface of the tunnel.
Therefore, these additions do an excellent job on fan-cooled snowmobiles as well. Although fanners come without heat exchangers, the studs could damage the inside of the tunnel.
As a final word, if you’re considering studding the track on your sled, make sure that you invest in the appropriate tunnel protection!
References: Fast-Trac Traction