Monday, March 22, 2021

End of the season

 Well, at least we had some season this year.

The other day Ben and I went down to put the machines to sleep for the summer.

We take the drags off so the machines take up less space and leave parking for dog walkers and other woodland adventure types.

It had been really cold the night before so I hoped that the ground would be pretty hard but as you can see on the ground it really wasn't. The Pisten Bully with its steel cleats really chews up the sod. Since its a shady area the grass isn't really all that thick. I'll go back with a rake in a day or two and clean it up a little more but compared to last year this is great. Last year I couldn't get the ASV drag into its spot for the life of me, I ended up chewing great ruts in the ground. Of course I took the drag off in May...

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Riding 2021, Jag repair

 I think it's been 3 years since we went for a real trail ride. The registration on the '98 Jag ran out last year anyway...

So a couple weeks ago when the snow was still good Angie and I got the two Jags out for a rip.

We had groomed the night before so the trails were really good. The snow wasn't great but what snow was was flat. We did about 20 miles just around the park, I had updated the registrations but as it was kind of late in the season I didn't get trail passes. As a board member I'm allowed a free trail pass but I've only taken one once. That was the year we rebuilt the track on the Pisten Bully and Ben wouldn't take my money. The club still has to pay for the pass and we're not exactly flush with cash.

Angie rode the old '91 the whole time, it was smooth enough that the lack of suspension wasn't a problem. I think I'll look for a Z or ZL machine with a blown engine and swap the suspension into it. The machine is a little lighter than the '98 and the dual carbs make a little more power.

The '98 ran like crap, it would spit and pop and fart and just had a terrible time. I had an inkling that the problem was the throttle safety switch. There are two little bushings where the pin that holds the throttle lever on are so I replaced them. I really miss having a shop just down the street to get parts like that.

Arctic Cat calls these "seals" and you can see that they're kind of chewed up. The new ones didn't make any difference though so I pulled the connection. Arctic Cat is interesting, they used 2 different electrical systems. Some are "normally open" which means there is an open circuit and to shut the sled off you close the circuit and ground the coil. Then a bunch of them are "normally closed" so the circuit powers the coil and you open the circuit to shut the machine off.

My '91 Jag is "normally closed", when the throttle switch failed on that and the previous owner wanted to jump around that switch he had to add a little jumper. The '98 is "normally open" and so I could just unplug the kill switch plug which includes the throttle switch. 

With the kill switch unplugged the sled ran perfectly. For the first time since I've owned it I could bomb around the yard. Used to be the sled ran great on the trail but poorly in the yard, now its fine all the time.

I had hoped I could just pull the throttle assembly apart and just jumper out the throttle switch but in doing I managed to break the kill switch. The sled still runs but I don't like not having a kill switch. Fortunately replacements are available. Unfortunately they cost about 15% of what the sled is worth...

The snow is gone now anyway, so I don't need to worry about it right away. I'll probably fix it, I like riding the sled. I'd thought about getting a brand new machine to replace both Jag's but they did so well...

Monday, February 1, 2021

Dead Sled Wrenching again!

 Ahh dear readers you must think I've abandoned you. Well maybe I had but here's some dead sled wrenching content.

The first big snow of 2021 is here so Saturday and Sunday I took some time to get things going.

I started with the two Arctic Cat Jags. Last year I had the '98 going although we never had any snow so I figured I'd start with the '91 this year. It was wicked cold when I dropped them off the trailer and I was disappointed when the '91 wouldn't crank at all. I stuck an electric heater under the hood and shifted my attention to the '98. It was simple enough to pull the plugs, squirt some gas down the plug holes and I was shocked when it fired up and ran on the very first pull. I did have to reprime before it would stay running on fuel from the tank and then the track really didn't want to spin but we got 'er going with relatively little fuss.

With that little accomplishment I moved to the '91, the recoil still wouldn't make the engine turn so I grabbed the clutch and broke it free with little trouble. I've seen this before where a little condensation gets into the jug and since it was so cold that ice held it a little. With the engine free I yanked the rope and, it stayed out... Blarg, a little Kroil fixed that and I shot a little more into the engine to lube it up. A little gas down the plug holes and this one also fired right up. I gotta say I love how the wedge Jag's go, they're lighter and snappier than the newer machines. I suspect the dual carbs on this one help too.

Flushed with success I moved on to the '79 Polaris Cobra. I haven't run this machine for several years, in fact I see my last post was working on that machine and it was very nearly 2 years ago. At that time it had no spark and I failed to fix that.

Well here is one of the culprits, this is the rear set of points. I don't remember which cylinder they're for, it doesn't really matter, they were both dirty. It was hard to get a picture but you can see how they're kind of greasy, what you can't see is that they were also kind of green. I tried my usual trick, Deoxit and a business card. While I could get the business card to come out dirty it didn't seem like things were really improving so I resorted to a file. Harbor Freight sells a nifty little file set that isn't marketed toward filing points but they're the right size and shape. I scraped on 'em a little bit, then sprayed off the residue with cheap contact cleaner, then repeated with Deoxit. Then got frustrated and quit for the day. Actually I shouldn't have been frustrated, we went from absolutely no spark to a little blip. It might not seem like much but thats improvement.

So yesterday I went back out, filed more, cleaned more, etc. The frustrating thing is that the recoil and inner cup have to come off to get to the points so you have to put it all back together to test it. Anyway after two more cycles I put it back together and YOWSA we've got spark!

At some point Saturday I did have the forethought to take the airbox off and have a look inside.

Mr. and Mrs Mouse got evicted...

The nice thing about having the airbox off was to make it easy to shoot gas into the carbs. And thats where we got stuck again, it would pop on premix but wouldn't stay running. So I pulled each carb out of its boot, flipped it over, popped off the bowl and cleaned it and the jets. I also make sure the needles were moving. Surprisingly nothing looked too bad, a little schmoo in the bowl maybe but nothing to write home about. 
Put it all back together and it STILL wouldn't run, I mean it'd run for a second on premix but wouldn't stay running. I figured it needed more gas so I got a couple fresh gallons mixed up and, well blarg...

Finally in desperation I took the torch and heated each plug until it glowed red, stabbed 'em in, shot in gas one more time and sonofagun she took right off. This machine has always idled high and it still does. Maybe when we get some snow and I can run it some more I'll try to adjust it, I do have a carb synchronizer I've never used...

So everybody is running and moving, I really like riding the Polaris, its light and geared low so its quick off the line although it runs out of snort pretty quick. The brake isn't working but thats just the fluid leaking out after sitting a couple years. I'll top it up and it should come right back.

If you've always wanted a Polaris Cobra (or one of the Jags) let me know, you could have this one. Its been a fun sled but I'm ready to play with something else for awhile. I'm open to trades even...