Ask the SnowMan: Your Questions Answered
Chances are that you have a shock that has some water in it and it froze, and now that it's warmer out the ice has tuned to water and the shock can now move again. I've seen this happen quite a bit on the cheaper oil shocks, as they don't do a good job of scraping water and ice from the shock shaft before it goes inside the shock body. It's time for new shocks.
Q. How often do you replace the bearings in the slide suspension?
At the risk of sounding bold, when they are finished. I've heard some guys take the whole skid apart each year and replace all the bearings. Personally, I find this overkill unless you're going on a really long trip into the middle of nowhere. If you grab the track and pull it down from the skidframe you can check the bogie wheels mounted to the outside of the skidframe. If they sound like they have sand in them, simply take them off and replace them. You should check your specific model, but most sleds use 6205 bearings on the outside of the slide rails. The ones that straddle the front track shock on the inside of the skidframe are much more of a pain, as the slide rails have to be loosened to get to the bogie wheels. As such, the skid has to come out. The ones on the top and rear axle can only be effectively checked when the skid is out of the buggy. Personally, I check these ones every two years when I take the skid out to replace the sliders and get the shocks rebuilt.
Q. Stud ripped out of my track, now what? Do I have to get a new track?
There are companies out there that can repair snowmobile tracks. A good example of this is http://www.trackrepair.ca/. With the cost of tracks these days, I have to wonder if it's worth repairing them though.
Q. My track blew apart on the lake last year. What track would you buy?
You didn't tell me which buggy which sled you were riding so I'm goin' to give you a flatlander’s perspective. I'm in love with the Campolast Ripsaw, and if you run on icy trails, the Ice Ripper with the built-in studs. I find they hook up great, last a long time, and the studded version saves you the time to drill your track and saves a few pounds of rotating mass.
Q. I have a 2009 Nytro XTX. Unlike my 2002 Viper, the handwarmers suck and barely put out any heat. How do I fix this?
Some guys take the grips off, carefully peel off the heaters and then wrap the bars with duct tape. This will help keep the heat out of the steel bars and into your hands. Next, you put the heaters back on with contact cement and install the grips. I noticed another product available from www.yamahaheater.com that plugs into the existing wiring harness to give more juice the existing hand warmers. It looks like it's plug and play, but I have to admit that I haven't tried it yet.
Q. At the end of last season my speedo stopped working. Is my speedo toast? If I get a new speedo, how do I reset it so it shows the right mileage?
I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume you have either a Polaris sled or a SKI-DOO.
– If you have a Polairs sled I'll bet the speedo cable is toast. Try taking the cable off the back of the speedometer and see if you can pull the inside piece of the cable out. Polaris sleds loved to bust the inside piece of the speedometer cable, down by the front left shock tower. Chances are that you just need a new cable.
– If you have a SKI-DOO sled, get off the sled immediately and see if the bearing at the end of the drive shaft (under your clutches) is hot. SKI-DOO sleds have a plastic speedo insert here, and if the bearing is going bad it gets hot enough to melt this piece and the speedo stops working. I've seen sleds where people have kept driving it after the bearing went bad and the drive shaft wore a groove into the tunnel by the rotating driveshaft.
Q. I'm drivin' a 2006 SKI-DOO 8HO SKI-DOO and it has oil behind the primary clutch. Does the clutch need to be cleaned?
Nope. This is symptomatic of a SKI-DOO that needs to have a new crank seal installed. The gas/oil mixture from the motor is starting to leak out behind the primary clutch and is sticking on the lower end and/or cylinders. I would call a repair shop and ask them what kind of time frame they can see your buggy.
Q. I'm looking for a little extra zip. What kind of reeds should I buy?
I've always been partial to VForce, but first I have to ask if you've worked on the clutching of your sled first. Reeds are fun to buy and easy to install, but clutching is where I've found you can get more zip for your dollar.