Snow Dogs rev up

Mar 4, 2005

The Kettering SAE Clean Snowmobile team is working like "dogs" to get their sled ready for the upcoming competition in Houghton, Mich.

The Kettering Snow Dogs are revving up for the sixth annual SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge March 14 to 19 at Michigan Technological University (MTU) in Houghton, Michigan.

The Kettering Snow Dogs join 12 other student teams from universities in the U.S. and Canada to compete in the six-day event with snowmobiles modified to reduce noise and emissions levels. MTU is hosting the competition for the third year in a row.

Clean Snowmobile ChallengeTM is an intercollegiate engineering design competition that challenges engineering students to re-engineer an existing snowmobile for improved emissions and noise while maintaining or improving the performance characteristics of the original snowmobile. The modified snowmobiles are also expected to be cost-effective.

The goal of the competition is to develop snowmobiles that are acceptable for use in environmentally sensitive areas. Snowmobiles entered in the program are required to run quiet and emit significantly less unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide than conventional snowmobiles.

This year the team is focused on enhancing and redesigning components of an RX-1 chassis and engine to provide a reliable and robust sled. Emphasis was placed on a closed loop fuel injection system with customized exhaust after treatment to reduce exhaust emissions and improve fuel economy.

Engine and chassis noise were reduced through the addition of a customized exhaust system, and sound and vibration absorbing material both under the hood and in the tunnel. In addition, customized catalytic converters were utilized to reduce overall emissions levels.

This year's Snow Dogs Team is made up of:
Team leader Dennis Warchuck, of Ruth, Mich.
Team Members:
Andrew Westrick, Kalamazoo, Mich.
Nick Maschino, Davison, Mich.
Phil Liquia, Ortonville, Mich.
Brian Schickel, West Bloomfield Mich.
Weston Lee,Colorado Springs, Col.
Carl Block, Bad Axe, Mich.
Nate Whipple, Walloon Lake, Mich.
Nichole Carrick, Charlotte, Mich.
Sumit Kaul, India,
Claude Pilger, Sun Prarie, Wis.
Matt Hillman, White Pigeon, Mich.
Scott McCleary, White Lake, Mich.
Jake Maurer, Ruth, Mich.
With faculty advisors Dr. Greg Davis and Clint Lee.

The team's 2005 sponsors include: Yamaha, Michigan Corn Growers Association, Tenneco Automotive, Cold Wave, Emitec, Stevens Cycle, Jensen Equipment, Englehard, B & K.

The competition includes technical inspections, an endurance and fuel-economy event run from Calumet to Copper Harbor, Mich., cold start, noise and emissions tests, design presentations and static displays, and two new "graded" ergonomic competitions: Rider Comfort and Subjective Handling.

Teams registered for the international competition include U.S. entries from Clarkson University, Kettering University, Michigan Technological University, Minnesota State University, Montana Tech, SUNY-Buffalo, University of Idaho, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, last year's overall winner the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and fuel-economy winner the University of Maine. Canadian entries include the Ecole de Technologies Superieure, McGill University and the University of Alberta.

Gage, a global supplier of test fuels, paint solvents and paint- system recycling programs for the automotive industry, will provide specially blended fuel for the event and present an award for best overall fuel economy. The company has been a Clean Snowmobile Challenge sponsor for three consecutive years.

"By using Gage's consistent fuel blends, we can provide a level playing field for competitors and also gather some valuable data to take back into the classroom to improve performance and fuel efficiency and reduce pollution," said Jay Meldrum, director of the Keweenaw Research Center, lead organizer forthe program.

Written by Dawn Hibbard
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