The Dennis Kirk Blog
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Spring is a welcome sight for most people, but when it arrives, it puts a frown on the faces of many snowmobilers. We keep trying to eek out one more ride, but with the snow disappearing, it’s time to put the sleds away for the summer. Your snowmobile is a big investment and it is important to take the time to store it properly. When you take the right steps for storing your snowmobile, it will help slow down its aging and you will be left with a fresh sled that is ready to ride when the snow starts to fly again. Follow the steps below and remember, it’s not “Goodbye,” it’s “See you later.”
Give your sled a bath
Towards the end of the season, the trails can become muddy and when you combine that with all of the road salt from trailering, your sled can get built up with some nasty stuff. It’s important to wash off all of the grime and salt because it can be corrosive and deteriorate your snowmobile over the summer. Take some soapy water and a sponge and get to scrubbing. Try to get everywhere you can, under the hood and the suspension. When you get your sled all nice and clean, you can apply some wax or a silicone detailer. This will make it shine like new, but more importantly, it will repel dirt and grime.
The solvents in gasoline can break down and evaporate over time. The vapors can then cause some metals in the carburetor to corrode and form that green gunk. A fuel stabilizer will stop the solvents from evaporating, which will also allow the fuel to retain its octane over the summer. Fuel stabilizers like Star Brite Star Tron are made to specifically deal with ethanol blended gas. Another tip is that a full gas tank will reduce the amount of oxidation to the fuel and will prevent condensation, which could introduce water to the fuel system.
Fog the engine
Fogging the engine is when you add extra lubricant to the engine before long-term storage to prevent corrosion. The process gets its name from the abundance of white smoke caused by the excess lubricant so you will want to do this outside or in a well ventilated area. There are two ways to fog your snowmobile. The first technique will only work with oil injected machines. With the engine running, pull the oil pump cable to hold it open and run the engine for about ten minutes. With the oil pump open, a very rich oil mixture will be pumped through the engine.
The other method is to use a fogging or storage spray. With the air box removed, you can spray the fogging oil into the throat of the carb or into the throttle body while the engine is running. While keeping the engine just above idle, alternate spraying into each cylinder for a few seconds at a time. Continue the process until the engine sputters out or until thick white smoke comes out of the exhaust.
Drain the carbs
With the engine fogged and the fuel stabilized, you can now drain the carbs. The float bowl on the carb will have a drain where you can remove the excess fuel. This will help eliminate the gas from evaporating and damaging the metals.
By removing the drive belt, you will prolong its life along with taking pressure off of the clutches. With the belt off, it will also reduce the chance of condensation building up on the clutches.
Grease the chassis & spray oil on metal parts
To keep all of the moisture out of the chassis, you can pump grease through all of the zerk fittings. This will keep the suspension and steering systems working smoothly and decrease the chances of corrosion. Don’t worry about over greasing, all of the excess will be pushed out of the tube or shaft. To protect the rest of the metal surfaces on your sled you can spray them with WD-40 or another lightweight oil to create a barrier to protect against corrosion. Be careful to not spray the clutches, though.
If your snowmobile has a battery, you should remove and store it in a temperature controlled environment out of the sunlight. A Battery Tender will keep it charged while you aren’t using it.
Block exhaust, air intake and cooling holes
Have you ever fired up your sled at the beginning of the season only to have acorns and insulation fly out? Don’t let that happen again. You can use steel wool to block off the exhaust and all other holes to prevent those pesky critters from making their home in your snowmobile engine.
Reduce the track tension
To prevent the track from getting stretched out and cracking over the summer, you can reduce the track tension by loosening the tensioning bolts all of the way. Just make sure you tighten them back up when you go to ride it the next season.
Store in dry place on lift and dollies
Where and how you store your snowmobile might be the most important thing. You want to keep it in the driest place you have and off of the ground. If it is left on moist ground the moisture can climb the sled and start to corrode. A lift or a shop dolly like the one from Sno-Stuff will keep your sled off the ground and will also remove pressure from the rear suspension to ensure that it will not sag over time. A Parts Unlimited cover will keep the dust off and also will block light so the colors will not fade.
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