DIY Snowmobile Maintenance Tips to Avoid Trailside Breakdown

Any kind of vehicle, two or four wheeled need maintenance and this is also true for snowmobiles that are operated only during the snow season. Some of the maintenance work on snowmobiles takes just ten minutes to complete.

Lubricate and adjust the Chaincase

Chaincase includes a chain & sprocket, which transmits power from jackshaft to driveshaft. The parts need to be lubricated well to keep movements smooth. The lubricant needs to be changed once in a year. Decrease in oil lever, overtime can cause damage to chain and sprockets. If you see oil in nosepan near chaincase then it is a clear sign of leakage. Bad seal between case and over allows fluid to leak, Check the bearing seals, and near the driveshaft for oil.

Generally, chaincases hold 12 ounces lubricant, but machines having reverse gear holds 16 ounces. Refill the case and adjust chain according to specifications provided in manuals.

Clutch needs proper belt traction

Clutch is the key to get engine power to ground surface. If power does not reach ground surface then engine breathing all kind of horsepower is unnecessary.  Clutch maintenance includes belt traction & tension. Rub emery cloth on clutch sheaves and remove glaze. Get each square inch of clutch moveable.

After scuffing the clutch sheaves reinstall the belt, set its tension as per manuals. Too loose belt can cause machine bog on low end, so get clutches in proper gear ratio. Too tight belt squeals, as it rubs against spinning sheaves.

Check exhaust system

Snowmobiles common issue starts in its exhaust system, especially the old ones. Therefore check the exhaust system fully because springs can break, multiple gaskets may leak, and the mounts can deteriorate.  If you find a leak in the exhaust manifold then it will not be noticeable but can be messy.

Open the hood and check the front cylinders for sticky oil. If the cylinders are covered with oil then manifold needs to have the loose hardware attaching the cylinder’s Y-pipe tightened. If gaskets are shot then replace it with new ones. Just remove the Y-pipe and clean gunk from the mount surfaces, before installing new gaskets.

Check pipe seams for cracks, joints for rust or wear and fallen out vibration dampers. Replace necessary parts of the exhaust system.

Skidframe greasing

The rear suspension of snowmobile is made of multiple shafts, wheels, bushings, and arms. Therefore for smooth functioning the skidframe and chassis needs to be greased, after every other ride.

Check reed cages & petals

The current 2-stroke sled engines use case-reed induction, which offers more horsepower and better performance than the piston port engines. Air charge and fuel is rammed inside reed cages and passed through thin petals prior entering the crankcase.

Petals are made from plastic, which wears out and needs periodic replacement. Remove the bolts from carburetor and remove reed cage from engine to check the assembly. In case, you find a chunk of petals missing or cracked or pulled away from cage then it needs replacement.

There is an air gap between petals and cage. Tolerance for the air gap varies from one manufacturer to another, so check the service manuals.

Adjust track and ski alignment

Skis out of alignment hamper the speed due to extra rolling resistance. Adjust the track and set its tension. After aligning the track, check the handlebars to see if they are straight. Check manufacturer’s specs for proper toe out.