Tuesday, February 9, 2016

No much happening but, the end of an era

So winter 2015-2016 is looking to be a washout. Probably to be expected really, we had 2 years of excellent snow, you can't count on greatness every year.

Obviously I haven't been doing much riding and having 7 sleds around doing nothing seems pretty absurd so last Saturday I finally said goodbye to an old friend, the 1995 Ski-Doo Grand Touring left the yard for the final time.

I accepted less money than I'd planned to but I still got better than 2/3 what I paid for the sled 7 years ago so I suppose I didn't come out too badly.

Friday I took the '91 Jag out for a spin, we'd gotten maybe 4" of snow and I just couldn't resist. The trails were rotten, the water holes had a skim of slush on them and were slippery as heck in the bottom, I had to keep hard on the gas to get through. The odo says I went 2.5 miles but I bet it was closer to 2 miles with half a mile of track slip. Still even a bad ride is better than no ride at all.

Finally I got the Wankel Panther going again. I'd gotten kind of disgusted with wrenching last winter and it was a challenge to get going again but I managed it. The change is nothing short of remarkable, the entire time I've owned it that sled was a challenge to run, I could never get it tuned well and it was just never happy. Once I got it back together and dealt with the fact that the gas line in the tank had melted it fired right up and ran pretty much perfectly. I think I could open the low needle just a little more but otherwise she's all set. I was so pleased I made a video:

Eventually I want to make a bunch of these where I show off the machine and take it for a ride, sort of like Jay Leno's garage but for snowmobiles.

Anyway, theres an update, we got another inch or two of snow last night so I reckon I'll get the '98 Jag out today and see what it can do. I've been fighting the carb on that one, it spits and dies. I think I had water in the gas so I finally bought an electric fuel siphon and drained the tank. With fresh gas it runs better but I think I need to go through the carb one more time. This summer I'll put a rubber glove on the gas cap in case its leaking...

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Wrenching in the cold

Still no snow going into January and of course the guy's on Facebook are losing their minds. Relax fools we haven't had ride-able snow in central MA before the last week of January very often.
Today its cold, like 3F at 7am and just cresting double digits by 11am which is good, with no ice on the lakes and the ground not frozen even if we got snow it wouldn't do us any good...

The other day I tried and failed to get the '79 Polaris Cobra going. That thing is wicked hard on plugs, it'll wet one and nothing I've tried will make it ever like that plug again. It had a set of BR8ES NGK plugs in it which is what it calls for, the BR8ES is one range hotter than the BR9ES you see in most newer sleds like my Jags. Since its a points ignition I theorized that a B8ES plug, not having a resistor, might help give a hotter spark. My local Advance Auto (formerly Car Quest) had B8ES plugs in stock cheaper than I can order them from Amazon. I bought a set as a test and so far things look good, the sled fired right up and idled nice. Would it have done that with resistor plugs? I don't know... I've also bought a carb rebuild kit, I have a suspicion that the mag side carb needle and seat are leaking a little and letting gas into the bottom end of the engine while the sled is shut off which is why the plug is sometimes wet. The next warm day I'll toss that in there, fortunately I've got a gas shut off on it to mitigate the problem for now.

Then I FINALLY got around to putting the airbox in. Last year I snagged a complete airbox off eBay, it was filthy so I cleaned it up and just never got around to installing it. It didn't come with any mounts so I took a pair of hose clamps and cut a notch in them to fit around the boss on the carb, slipped the box in place and tightened the clamps.

Theres really nothing holding it in place which is pretty normal for a vintage sled. There is a little metal bracket under it though so I think I'll measure the space to that bracket and get a piece of hose that just fits between the airbox and the bracket so the hose can be a buffer. Then maybe wrap a piece of wire around the hose and the airbox so it can't bounce around. My experience riding this machine is that it bounces a lot...

Next step for the Cobra was to try out the new cover I got for Christmas:

Cobra on the left, '98 Jag on the right, '95 Ski Doo in the background under a tarp.

Traditionally I've used tarps but the '91 Jag came with a pretty nice cover. Using the cover last winter I realized how much nicer it is getting a cover on than fighting with a tarp, we'll see how they last, they're about 4 times as expensive as tarps so I think I'll end up using the covers only for wintertime storage where I'm taking them off frequently, in the summer I'll continue to tarp everything.