Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Probably missed out

President's Day usually marks the end, or near end of our southern New England snowmobiling season. This one has been a season of ups and downs for me.
Downs mostly because of poor snow, its been a season of feast and famine, specifically 2 weeks of rideable snow during which I (typical) had to work. I did get one trail ride in this year which is one more than last year, even if it did result in a breakdown.

A victory was the purchase and subsequent resurrection of the Polaris Cobra. I'm extremely pleased with how that one turned out. I'm also pleased to have gotten the Wankel Panther running again. Though I'm disappointed that I didn't get the Ski-Doo Olympique going I did make substantial progress and I'm planning on getting some serious work done on it later this year. The nice thing about that one is that it doesn't want any serious amount of money, just some time.

Looking back I realize that I didn't mention the pipe on the Grand Touring. I did mention how easily the sled started and how happy I was about that. Well when we finally got snow and I wanted to ride it around the yard it was WICKED loud. Turns out the exhaust pipe which I knew had some little leaks actually had some MAJOR leaks. The whole bottom of the pipe just forward of where it meets the Y pipe coming out of the engine was missing on the underside. Interesting that it let go in the week or so between when I'd gotten it started and when I wanted to ride it. I spent an afternoon welding some spare metal I had into it. The metal I used is from a pickup bed repair piece and is quite heavy and should last a long time. I should spend another afternoon on it but I'm not sure I will. Randy had shown some interest in selling it for me and I should have jumped right on that idea, frankly I could use the money and lately I'm having more fun with the older stuff.

Anyway Monday was probably my last best shot at riding this year as today I had to head out for southern California, no snow here as you might guess. I'd loosely planned to go ride Leominster State Forest which is where I got into riding again back in 2001. That said life intervened. Angie had to work, it was wicked cold, the trailer was buried behind a literal wall of snow and I had plenty of chores around the house.

Well anyway I'll be back March 2, with any luck we might have one or two more chances to ride yet.

Re-resurrecting the Cobra and having fun!

After my success getting the Panther going I spent some time giving its seat a good dose of leather treatment and reinstalled, even a few days later the sled still ran well so I pulled it out of the garage and pulled the 1979 Polaris Cobra back in. When we left it the Cobra was running well but just after that it wouldn't start, the plugs would foul immediately upon pulling the cord.
Turns out the fuel pump was leaking into the case on the PTO side. I put new gaskets into the pump but what a pain it was to get the gas out. Finally I had to let it run for about 5 minutes with the pump totally disconnected. I also added a fuel shutoff so we shouldn't get into this mess again.

With that done I pulled both the Polaris and the Cat out and Angie, our neighbor Bill and I had a fun time chasing each other around the yard with the two sleds. It was fun to compare the difference 8 years of development made. The Cobra is so much more civilized. Part of that can be attributed to the Mikuni carbs on the Polaris but most of it is the improved clutch and suspension. Bill said it best "You've got so much more control".

I like this shot, Angie is all sweetness and light, you can't tell that she'd just moments earlier been stuck and I'd had to bust my spleen to get the sled moving again. I don't know how she can stick a sled from a standing start like she does but she seems to manage it...

Through out it all the Cobra ran like a champ never missing a beat. The Wankel Panther with its stupid Tillotson HL on the other hand. Theres a kit to replace the HL with a Mikuni but its over a hundred bucks...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

100th post! Wankel Panther back from the dead!

More adventures with the Wankel Panther, when we last left off the carb was in pieces. In disassembling I tore a gasket and then the tip came off the needle when I tried to clean it so we clearly needed a carb kit. My local guy didn't have a Winderosa so I got some other crazy "universal Tillotson kit" which had fine gaskets but the worst needle and arm I've ever seen. Fortunately I had a Winderosa HR kit on the shelf that donated a needle. Got it all back together and it'd still run on the primer but wouldn't pull gas. What the hey? I farted around with it during the blizzard yesterday (with the garage door open and the wind blowing just right, it was pretty cool) and finally this morning discovered that the gas line in the tank was leaking at the fitting and wouldn't hold prime.

So it fired up and for the first time in 3 or 4 years it moved under its own power. I pulled it out of the garage and since the travel ban was still technically in effect I headed off down the street. We live on a dead end street so this is no problem anyway. Turned at the end of the street and had to put on my thinking cap, "which is the low needle?" Got back to the house, that wasn't the low needle... Finally got it running a little better and in a moment of foolishness headed around the yard in the 2.5 foot deep powder. I'd been told these old Panthers were really good in deep snow and I'm inclined to agree, once I found my balance we were going good until I ran out of yard and had to turn, I lost my footing (I'd taken the seat off to run a new fuel line) and lost momentum, whoops! Finally got the sled turned around and headed back the other way in my tracks. A little more fiddling with the carb and its running real good so I turned around again and headed back into the yard, made the turn but couldn't make it over the snowbank to the shoveled area where we walk the dog. Had to get Angie to drive the sled while I pulled a ski, it came out real easy doing that but during a quick stop Angie lost her balance and hit her nose on the handlebars. Be careful on these old machines!

Heres some proof:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Panther in the garage

My '71 Arctic Cat Panther 303 Wankel hasn't had any love in several years now so the other day I hauled it into the garage. No spark, again... We went through this a few years ago and I managed to clean the points with contact cleaner. I tried that again 2 years ago but got nowhere. After my success with the Polaris I figured I'd give the Caig Deoxit a try here too.

Just as a side note this: Deoxit Contact Cleaner Mini Spray UPS Ground Only (Google Affiliate Ad) is an ad but honest to goodness Caig Deoxit is the best contact cleaner I've ever used. Supposedly it leaves a preservative film, we'll see how the points work on this sled next summer.

Anyway I sprayed the stuff on and swiped a piece couple pieces of card stock through the points a few times. They were much less dirty than the Polaris was that much I can tell you. So throw the flywheel back in and we've got spark, easy as that, score for Deoxit.

No go on anything else though and the primer pump won't pump so I bought another pump (every single year I need at least one) and later some more hose, the 1/8" hose doesn't seem to last as well as 1/4" fuel line does. Got the primer priming and the sled lights right off. It won't stay running unless I pump the primer though so the carb has to come off, right now it looks like this:

I think the only problem it really had was a sticky needle but I've decided to clean it good anyway, besides one of the gaskets tore as I was taking it apart. I drilled out the welch plug and hosed everything down in carb cleaner and scrubbed with a toothbrush. Some of the crud is really baked on, I need to go back with a brass brush but its a lot better. I left the needle and seat soaking in some carb cleaner, tomorrow I'll toss them in my ultrasonic cleaner, the carb body is too big for my cleaner, some day I should upgrade, the ultrasonic cleaner is the bomb.

My fingers got really cold from using the carb cleaner so I quit, tomorrow I'll get everything back together and should have a running sled.