Kettering Snow Dogs place 5th

Mar 21, 2005

The Kettering Snow Dogs placed fifth overall in the 2005 SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge at Michigan Technological University.

A second place in Fuel economy and being one of six teams to finish the 100-mile endurance run wasn't enough to offset acceleration and emissions problems for the Kettering Snow Dogs at the 2005 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Clean Snowmobile Challenge student design competition.

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge is the SAE's newest collegiate design competition. Teams of engineering students from participating schools take a stock snowmobile and then reengineer it to reduce emissions and noise while maintaining or improving performance.

"We had problems in acceleration and emissions," said Claude Pilger, a graduate student from Sun Prairie, Wis. "We lost a spark in cylinder number three, which at first was intermittent, but by the acceleration heat I don't think we had any spark in that cylinder at all," he said.

The Snow Dogs' sled was also operating at the same noise level as last year's competition sled, and since the control sled was quieter this year than last, they didn't earn any points for noise reduction. Unless they make next year's control sled louder, we'll have to make our sled even quieter yet," said Pilger.

In addition to second place in fuel economy, the Snow Dogs earned fifth place in the cost event and fifth overall.

Two teams from New York state clinched the silver and gold in the competition, hosted for the third year in a row by Michigan Technological University. The State University of New York at Buffalo took first place, with Clarkson University, in Potsdam, placing second.

The University of Wisconsin at Madison finished third, with the University of Maine taking fourth place and Kettering University, finishing fifth. Thirteen teams competed in the event.

Event organizer Jay Meldrum, director of MTU's Keweenaw Research Center, said that the teams just keep getting better. "Everybody was much cleaner than last year," he said. "The designs are much more mature, the sleds were better built."

That only comes with time, he added. "You can't do this in a year."

Written by Dawn Hibbard
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