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Loctite products prove winners at racing snowmobile specialist

06 April 2016

Although Loctite threadlocking adhesives and retaining compounds are industry-proven, there remain some engineers who are either unaware of the products, or lack the necessary confidence to apply them to their assemblies.

However, the use of Loctite in extreme applications such as snowmobile racing demonstrates that, once applied and cured, these products remain secure for the lifetime of the equipment, no matter how tough the operating environment.

Competitive snowmobilers, Snocross racers and XGames athletes have come to rely on snowmobiles from Polaris Industries to help them dominate in extreme racing, long-distance jumping and freestyle competitions that involve dangerous backflips and extensions. As a result, the engineers who build the sleds used for these sports must be sure they will function reliably under severe conditions. This is why Polaris engineers use Loctite threadlockers and retaining compounds to ensure the safety of the sleds and eliminate any risk of assembly failure. 

Loctite threadlockers are used on all threaded fasteners throughout Polaris snowmobiles, eliminating any possibility of loosening under vibration. At critical interfaces such as engine mounts, these adhesives permanently secure the threaded fasteners that attach the engine to the chassis. Failure here could mean disaster.

Interference-fits between cylindrical parts are equally important in snowmobiles. Here, retaining compounds – liquid anaerobic structural adhesives that cure or polymerise when confined without air between close-fitting metal surfaces – enable engineers to design robust, lightweight interference-fit joints at a lower cost by reducing the required dimensional precision. Additional benefits of retaining compounds include their potential to seal an assembly to prevent corrosion, as well as fill surface irregularities and clearance gaps between metal parts. 

Pro Snocross racer and freestyle rider Levi LaVallee relies on Polaris as his racing machine of choice. LaVallee holds nine Winter XGames medals, including six golds, and holds the world record for the 125.7m jump achieved on his snowmobile in 2010. 

Engine application example

"The one thing that makes you feel good about doing crazy things like distance jumps and double back flips is knowing that, when Polaris is putting their sleds together, they're using Loctite," says LaVallee. 

One example sees the bonding of the snow drive clutch cover bearings and the moveable sheave bearings. Here, the clutch has to operate reliably in an environment where temperatures range from -40 to +90°C. In this case, Polaris engineers specify Loctite 648 to ensure that the bearings are fully seated and retain their position throughout the life of the machine. 

In an engine application example, where operating temperatures can reach 230°C, Loctite 620 retaining compound is used for retaining crown shaft bearings as it is formulated to survive higher temperatures than the engine is likely to achieve.

When LaVallee attempted his world record distance jump on New Year's Eve 2012, he blasted off the ramp at 100mph, launched through the air across San Diego Bay, and touched down more than 120m later. The sled was fine, despite having come down hard at 111mph from an altitude of approximately 21m on to a landing platform made of metal and wood. After his celebrations, LaVallee jumped back on to the sled, which started up immediately and ran in top form. He credits Loctite threadlockers and retaining compounds for the health of his machine.

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