Monday, December 23, 2013

Got sleds?

Friday I finally had time to go get the battery for the Ski-Doo, installation was no big issue and it fired up like it'd been run yesterday. I really shouldn't complain about this sled. I haven't ridden it much but it also hasn't asked for much from me. Getting it out of its parking space was a bit of a challenge, I'd parked it on a pallet and since it doesn't have any picks it really didn't have any traction. I jockeyed it back and forth for awhile and it finally came out. My biggest complaint about this machine is that the backup beeper is REALLY LOUD. Its like driving a big truck...

After I took this pic I put the windscreen on. I take it off during the summer so it doesn't get bent or broken.

The Wankel Panther didn't have spark so I pulled the recoil and its cup and cleaned the points. Caig Deoxit to the rescue again. After only 2 strips of business card I had good spark and the sled fired up with little trouble. I rode it about 10 feet, came of throttle and went right over the handlebars. It was warm and the snow was very sticky and that sled tends to stop quick anyway and I was caught off guard. I landed with my hands on the headlight and the windshield across my chest. Even 3 days later I can still feel the line across my chest where I landed. Last year after the blizzard Angie did a similar trick but landed with her face on the handlebars, this is clearly a machine to be careful on.

I made a couple laps of the yard with each machine and then tarped them up.

Unfortunately the weather turned warm, it was actually over 50F for the next 2 days and nights and the snow has rapidly disappeared. Today its colder, just over freezing but its raining which is even worse. The only good side is that there wasn't much ice on the lakes so now it'll hopefully get a chance to freeze without snow on so people who can't resist the allure won't be killed by thin ice.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

New snow and the taste of failure

This month's "Storm of the Century" is upon us, 10-12" of snow overnight into tomorrow. I'm glad I got the Pantera out already.

So I decided it was finally time to deal with the Cobra which if you remember seemed to have iffy spark last year. Tonight I pulled the exhaust and recoil and cleaned the points. Interestingly there seemed to be a coating of black crap on them. I cleaned and cleaned.

For cleaning I turn the flywheel until one set of points is open, then I shoot some Caig Deoxit into the gap, then spin to the other side and repeat. I bought some 100% Deoxit in the hope it would do an even better job than the already excellent regular Deoxit which is only like 20%. They sell lower strength formulations to be safe on sensitive electronics. Points really aren't all that sensitive so the 100% stuff seems the way to go here.

After they sit for a minute and the Deoxit softens whatever crud is in there I flip the flywheel until the points are closed, then open them with a screwdriver and stick in a piece of cardstock. In this case I'm using cut up strips of business card.

Yank on the strip and it pulls crud off the points. Flip it around, open the points and repeat. Snip off the dirty part and repeat, then throw it away, get a new strip and repeat. And repeat, and repeat.

Reassembled and tried to fire it up. It'll go and sometimes even fire on both sides but not reliably. The mag side is firing 100% while the PTO side is recalcitrant. I need to look up which set of points controls which plug as I can't remember. I'd guess the rear since it was dirtier.

Anyway I took it all apart again and this time even pulled the flywheel. Thats when I found a little oil below the stator plate. I think the reason the points are so dirty is that the crank seal on this side has been leaking and allowing the gas/oil mix from this side to get out a little. That might explain why the points are so dirty after a relatively short amount of running.

So it looks like I need to do crank seals. I've actually never done them before on anything other than the old single cylinder Rotax in the Ski-Doo 12/3. It'll be an adventure.

Tomorrow I'll give the old Wankel Panther a shot. I probably should have tried it today instead of the Polaris. Last time I tried to revive the Panther it had the same spark trouble but responded very positively to cleaning. Hopefully this year it'll just go, I hate working outside in the snow.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Time for a change?

Now has finally returned to north central MA and as usual I'm caught completely flat footed. Fortunately the '78 Pantera fired up nicely yesterday, took a bunch of pulling but we got there. It needs the tinwork pulled to release a mouse nest but other than that no worries.

The big '95 Ski-Doo was a different story. I put the battery charger on it even though the charger said the battery wasn't taking charge, after sitting all summer the battery should have at least been a little flat, especially considering how little exercise its had for the last 2 years. After an hour I hit the key and the starter goes "thunk" but nothing else happens. I pulled the starter rope to ensure that the engine wasn't seized which it isn't but theres NO WAY I can start the big 670 with the rope. I feel like an 8 year old trying to start a 440cc...

Battery should be here...

So the battery is pooched, hardly a surprise its 5 years old. I headed down to the shop for the bad news, Randy says I'm in for $65 which isn't bad, $13/yr which puts a pretty positive spin on things.

However I've never really fallen in love with this machine, its huge, its heavy, I can't start it without the electric start. I think its time to move on. The boys hanging around the shop knew of a couple 440/500cc fan cooled 2up machines in the $1000 range. We refinanced the house this year so money is actually more available than it has been in the past. A quick look at Craigslist shows a bunch of machines in the $1500 range, some with reasonably low miles.

So I guess I'm in the market for a new machine:
Fan cooled
Electric Start

At this point in my life reverse is something I really like. I'm thinking 2up because then Angie can ride with me, I think 2up sleds also have a smoother ride just from being longer. That said I could give up on a 2up since Angie rides with me very infrequently and we've got extra machines so she could ride her own. I could also give up electric start if I had a machine I could pull over myself although I really like estart.

Finally I'd like something with a lot less throttle weight. The 670 is a wrist breaker. I spent some time last year lubing all the cables and it got a little better but its got 2 huge carbs with big springs, its never going to have an easy throttle. Apparently theres a throttle lightener which costs you some top end. I don't really care about top end but I've never been find one...