Wednesday, March 26, 2008


And the quiet of spring hits. The email traffic to the address dies off to almost nothing, the Yahoo groups I read has almost no traffic and as always I feel that quiet sadness for another winter passed. I think of the good rides I had and the frustrations and failures (stupid wankle Panther). Last weekend I put some fuel stabilizer in the Tigre and parked it. The Ski-Doo got parked dry. This weekend the wankle Panther will get pushed into the back of the garage and my Honda CB900f motorcycle will come out so I can replace the valve cover gasket.
The TX-L is an exception, I'm really pissed at how badly its performed lately, stranding me in the woods was a dirty trick. That one I think I'm going to pull the motor for a full rebuild. Its got reasonable compression now so I think it'll be just rings and seals but I won't really know until I get inside.

Aside from that I've got a 1965ish Snapper Comet rear engine riding (RER) mower that I brought south from my farm in Maine last fall. The 8hp Techumseh on it has like 10psi and parts are NLA (no longer available) so it's going to get a brand new drop in replacement. I want to get it going because the K161 Kohler in my Cub Cadet is starting to smoke alot. So once the Snapper is running right I'll put a piston in the Cub Cadet... It never ends.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Stupid kill switch

You may have read me ranting about Arctic Cat's stupid throttle switch thing. I think I've finally figured out how it worked and why it fails, I need to take one all the way apart this summer to really know for sure though. That'll be a destructive proceedure so I'll need one off a junker, I'll let you know more later when I do it.

Anyway on my Tigre I'd pulled too hard on the kill switch knob trying to take it off and broke it into two pieces. the top of the knob came clean off. Its some wicked hard to use like this...
Glue didn't work. Duco cement stuck some but not enough, super glue wouldn't stick at all.... Finally I was reworking the hood straps (more on that later) and it occured to me.

An 1/8th inch hole and a pop rivet later and its pretty well fixed. I should have routed out the hole just slightly, the rivet expands and slightly stretched the body of the switch and made it a bit of a tight fit. Still it works and shows no sign of coming off. I severely dislike not having a kill switch, its your only friend in case of disaster like a runaway motor...



As you might guess I didn't go on the ride... Angie and I are going to Las Vegas in a couple weeks so we went to Keene to go shopping and get new clothes for the trip. I didn't even work on sleds hardly at all that weekend.
I did manage to figure out what shut down the old Ski-Doo, its a bit hard to see but that filter is just totally plugged. I hadn't replaced it since I'd sealed the tank on the sled and that was almost 6 years ago. I filled the tank with vinegar and left it for a week and what I found is not so good. The sealer must have been thin in some spots and it looks like the rust has come through. I think it may even be coming from outside. I'm not sure what I want to do. I bought some more sealer to do my camp stove with and there was lots left over. The tank is clean and dry now so I'm thinking I may put an ounce or two of the sealer in and see if it'll stick. It says it need an acid presence, the vinegar was and acid, so maybe...


Friday, March 14, 2008

Tough decision

Theres a vintage ride in northern New Hampshire this weekend, its a free one and you don't need to be registered to go. The thing is its about 3 hours away from my house... The weather report isn't great, high temp of 38F with a rain/snow mix...
My Tigre runs fine but its the only running sled I've got. I can bust my butt tomorrow to get the TX-L or Ski-Doo going, grab the wife when she gets out of work and head up, ride for a few hours the next day, get home late and go to work tired on Monday. Skipping work Monday is NOT an option...
Of course this would be the only vintage ride I've ever been on, its sponsored by some really good people and should be a real good time for small money. It'll also surely be the last time I ride this season...
I gotta talk it over with the wife, maybe see if Randy's got a sled I can borrow....


Monday, March 10, 2008

The squeeze....

So Sunday I drained the tank on the old Ski-Doo. What came out didn't look too bad but its hard to really tell while its draining past you. I put the plug back in and added a gallon of vinegar, I'll leave that this week, if the weather is nice Saturday I'll drain it and rinse good with water, dry it good and with a new fuel filter we should be ready to go again once I clean the carb back out. I should stop by Randy's this week and see if he's got welch plugs in stock. I don't need a full kit but as I'm reasonably sure the jets will be plugged I will need welch plugs...
Here's the disassembled squeeze bulb primer that was giving me trouble.
The tan things are the check valves. Its a bit hard to tell in the picture but they're quite clever little devices, theres a little cup inside tube thats crimped to keep the cup from falling out. Blow on the cup and it presses up against the hole behind it. I can't get them to stay in the input and output bits anymore and I don't dare use glue... I'll just buy a new primer if I need one.

On a side note Mitch says its wankle since its inventor's name was Felix Wankle. Silly me of course it is...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The down day

Saturday was the down day last weekend, everything fought me every inch of the way. The idea was to ensure the TX-L was running correctly so I could take it up Kmart hill. It wasn't running correctly, it kept quitting on me, just like before. I noticed frost on the fuel shut off and thought maybe it was getting gas leaked onto it so I decided to replace the gas lines down to the pump. I found that the filter was kind of gunky so I replaced it too. Everything was going fine I was taking my time and zip tying the lines on. Then I got to the tank itself and the port going into the tank which is plastic broke off... Enough stub was left on that I could hook up my siphon hose and drain the tank into a bottle...
Fortunately Randy had a tank from a Puma (I think, a Cat anyway) that had a metal port. I put a wrap or two of teflon tape on and threaded it in. I also put on a new pickup, the old one didn't have a check valve. I don't think thats a big problem on this sled except when parking on an upslope. I've noticed in those cases you loose suction from the tank and the sled can be hard to start.
Anyway with that all installed it took a squirt of go juice to get the sled to start, thats never a good sign. When it started it roared to maximum rpm, also not a good sign... I shut it down with the kill switch before it could take off. Perplexed I cleaned the carbs, it does seem like one needle had some crud on it and may have been sticking open. Perhaps the belly of the engine is full of gas. With the carbs back on my problem was unchanged...

So now I need some time to pull the impulse line and pump the gas out... Its very warm today, in the 50s and heavy rain is predicted. With luck I'll get to this just in time to not ride any more for the season... :(

Monday, March 3, 2008

Handwarmer switch

This is the new handwarmer switch. To get an idea of its location think where your legs are when you're riding. Its just above and in front of your left knee. The old switch had been a toggle switch and somebody's knee must have hit it because it was broken clean off. Its one of those where in retrospect its in a really bad place. This switch is in exactly the same spot but only 1/4" or less thick so other than turning off the handwarmers hitting it with my knee shouldn't hurt anything.
While installing the switch I found that the low power connector was badly wired. I cut it back a little, tinned the wires and soldered on the connector. Both high and low power settings work fine now.


Here's the Tigre and Ski-Doo just after coming over the snowbank. The hood is open on the Tigre because I was worried about heat. I never built up a whole lot of speed while towing because I was worried about the Ski-Doo falling over. So I figured when I got out of the woods I'd pop open the hood while I loaded the Ski-Doo on the trailer and let any extra heat out. The Tigre started right back up to go on the trailer and again to unload so I don't think I did it any harm...

What a weekend!

Okay busy weekend, no Kmart hill but I did ride and I've got some pictures (none from the trail though).
“If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” - Catherine Aird

So today my knee is the size of a grapefruit and hurts like the dickins... How did it get this way you might ask? Well after fixing the kill and heated handlebars switches on the Tigre (yay!) and reviving the Ski-Doo (yay, yay!) and using the Ski-Doo to haul wood (whoopie!) I realized that this might be my last day for snowmobiling this season. So since the Ski-Doo was running well I decided it was the machine, the TX-L could wait in limbo awhile longer.
We set off the sled was running great, I made a couple speed tests and got to ~25mph which is FAST on that sled... Then I hit an off-camber section and found out that the strap I'd put on the seat had come off, so the seat fell off the sled, and so did I! I must have twisted my knee some in that fall, but did it deter me? Not a bit of it.
I rode up into New Hampshire and over to Rindge, I haven't checked the GPS yet but I probably went 5 miles out which is a big deal when you average ~8mph. In fact I fell off twice more, there are sections where the trail goes from nice and flat to very lumpy and I was slow to stand up instead of kneel. Needless to say I'm going to weld some good seat hold downs on soon. Reproduction hold downs are available and should be better than the junky things I made and bolted in.

Finally I ran out of gas. Doing so sucked up some crap from the bottom of the tank and now the sled won't run. I recovered it with the Tigre which went pretty easily, I've got some pics. Guess I need to flush the tank again, hopefully it'll go easier now than it did last time...

More pics tonight.