Pre-season maintenance with Mackenzie
By Mackenzie Mullett
With the season fast approaching, one thing that is often overlooked is your snowmobile and its current state. Is it safe to ride? Can you go a week of snowmobiling with your buddies averaging 150-200km a day, without being “the guy that had to be towed out”? The solution to this is go over your sled before the first big snowfall so you will be good to go, and I will tell you everything you need to know to give you a peace of mind when on the trail.
The first thing you should check is your rear suspension/skid. Check the hi-fax/sliders to make sure there in good condition. If they have big scratch’s or gouges in them, they need replacing. Next, check all the wheels and bearings. If a wheel don’t look like a wheel anymore it needs replacing. If the wheel doesn’t turn freely or sounds rough, then the bearing needs replacing. Make sure all shocks are in good condition. If they are bent, or you can move the back end of the snowmobile up and down easily, they need replacing. The last thing to look for on the rear suspension/skid is the track. If the track is torn or looks like Swiss cheese then it needs replacing.
Now with the rear suspension out of the way we can focus on the front suspension. If the front shocks have any of the same symptoms that the rear shocks may have had, then they need replacing as well. If your shocks are air shocks, than they need to be taken apart and serviced every couple seasons. Next check the upper and lower ball-joints on the upper and lower a-arms thats connected to the spindle. If these has any slop in them, they need replacing. If these arms or spindles has any bend in them, than they should be replaced as well. Next check the tie-rod end. If this has any slop in it than replace it. If the tie rod has a bend in it, than replace it as well. Next inspect the skis for any bends or anything that would cause you trouble to turn, and replace them if necessary. Also check the carbides, if wore down or bent, then replace them.
Now onto the internals. If your snowmobile was running rough or a uneven idle than you may want to clean the carburetor throttle bodies, and replace any fuel filters. Also, if you never used a fuel stabilizer at the end of last season than it would be a good idea to drain the old gas and replace it with new. Next, make sure that the snowmobile has enough coolant in the bottle, if it’s a liquid cooled snowmobile. Next check the exhaust system for any spots that may be rushed through or cracked. If it is then replace that piece. Next check the brake pads, if they’re wore down, replace them. Also make sure there is enough fluid in the tank.
Another thing to go over is the body work. If any panels have a hole in them, they should be replaced as well. Now, all you have to do is start the snowmobile up and if your snowmobile is equipped with electric start, make sure the battery is up, and if not charge it up. If the battery doesn’t charge then replace. Once the snowmobile is running check that both headlights is working. If one doesn’t work then replace the bulb.
After going over this list you should feel more than comfortable about oil for that first big ride and wont have to worry about being towed home. Happy riding everybody!