Snowmobile Workshop Guide
The beauty of snowmobiles is that, for the most part, they are very shade tree mechanic friendly. Many riders are able to avoid professional mechanics by working on their sleds in their own garages and shops. This not only saves money, but it also gives you a better working knowledge of your snowmobile. For the most part, a snowmobiler can get by with basic tools and equipment to maintain their machine. There are, however, specific tools and equipment that are absolutely necessary to complete certain jobs. Then there is the shop equipment that just makes your life a whole lot easier. Below is a list of snowmobile tools that can make your garage turn into a bona fide sled shop.
Snowmobile dollies allow you to move your snowmobile around the shop and dry ground with ease. Trying to lift and turn a snowmobile on dry ground can be terrible for your back if you're not careful. A dolly allows the sled to be moved with ease.
Snowmobile dollies are available in a few different forms. The most basic sled dollies are a set of three plates with caster wheels. Two of the plates have four wheels and are placed under the skis, while the third has only three wheels and is placed under the track. A second type is much larger, but will move the snowmobile with much greater ease. There are two wheels, two pads and a strap on a large frame. The pads are slid underneath the sled in front of the track and the strap is secured to the rear grab bar. The snowmobile can then be lifted and moved with ease. There are variations of both types, but all of them are better than nothing.
Working on a snowmobile while it is on the ground requires you to either bend at the waist or kneel down. Neither feel good on your body after a while. A snowmobile lift certainly is not necessary, but it is an investment that many riders feel is worth it. The lift can bring the sled up to the height that is most comfortable for you, making working on your machine much more tolerable. If you plan on doing a lot of work on your snowmobiles, you just might want to consider a snowmobile lift. Keeping snowmobiles on a lift during storage will also help prolong the life of the track, especially if you have deep lugs.
Snowmobile engines, especially 2-strokes, are prone to compression loss due to a variety of factors including worn piston rings, pistons or others. If you start to notice any power loss or performance issues, a great place to start is to check the cylinder compression with a compression tester. The tester will let you know if your engine has any internal issues going on that need to be addressed before something more dramatic can happen.
A cylinder hone will allow you to remove slight scoring and scuffing in your engine cylinders. It will also take the "glaze" off of the cylinder walls. Crosshatching is needed in the cylinder walls to hold small amounts of oil for proper lubrication. There are two types of hones- ball and stones. Having your own hone and being able to fix your own cylinders can save a lot of money by not having to send the cylinders to a specialty shop or machinist.
Stud Installation Tool
Without a tool, a person has to push the studs through the cut holes by hand. This can take up a lot of time and even leave your hands covered in blisters. A stud installation tool takes the studs out of your hands and gives you the leverage that you need to easily push the studs through the holes. If you stud a lot of tracks, this tool is a must have.
Snowmobile clutches are under load due to the springs that are inside of them. When servicing a clutch, you need to be able to compress the springs when putting it back together to it from flying apart during disassembly. A clutch press is the easiest and safest way to compress the spring. It will hold everything in place allowing you to use both hands while servicing the clutch. A clutch press makes servicing your snowmobile clutches a much easier process.
Whenever you need to remove the primary clutch on your snowmobile, you will need to use a clutch puller. A puller is a threaded shaft with a hex head on one end. The puller is threaded into the primary clutch, which will then allow you to rotate the whole clutch until it is loosened and removed. Each type of clutch will require a different puller, so you may need a few of them if you have a variety of snowmobiles that you work on.
Clutch Alignment Tool
When you re-install your clutch, it is very important that you get it aligned correctly. If not, the belt will wear out very quickly, your clutch could get worn faster, plus you will likely see a loss in power. An alignment tool is easy to use. Simply slip it over the rear sheave of the drive clutch and check to see if the driven pulley is aligned on the tool. This easy task can save a lot of time and money in the future.
If you have a magneto-equipped snowmobile engine, you may have to remove the flywheel at some point to adjust the timing. A flywheel puller is the best and easiest way to remove the flywheel, even the hard to remove ones. The puller will ensure that you do not damage the crankshaft threads while removing the flywheel.
Track Clip Tool
Track clips will eventually loosen and fall off of a track over time. It's important to replace them as soon as possible before any damage is done to compromise the strength of the track. The clips need to be crimped on through the windows so that they will be secure. A track clip tool provides a consistent crimp that is often as good as the O.E.M clip.
When you stud your snowmobile track, you need a track cutter to make the holes in the rubber for the studs to go through. Track cutters are specifically designed to make precise holes that do not affect the integrity of the track. If lesser tools are used, a jagged edge can be made that could degrade the quality of the track over time. There are two types of cutters, one that is operated by hand power and another that can be attached to power tools.
A stud template is an easy way to get a consistent stud pattern on your track. The plastic template is laid down on the track leaving holes for you to drill or cut through.
Stud Sharpening Tool
It's important to keep your track studs as sharp as possible so that you can always get the best bite on ice and snow. A stud sharpening tool will allow you to re-sharpen your studs to the exact degree angles. They are often in the form of a bit that can be fitted into a drill chuck.
Shock Spring Compressor
Adjusting and removing shock springs is made easy with the use of a shock spring compressor. This tool uses a lever-action design for leverage on the spring. The lever can be operated with one hand while the other hand is left free to remove the spring retainer. A shock spring compressor is not an absolute necessity, but it can really make life a whole lot easier.
Track Tension Tool
It is crucial to have the proper amount of track tension on your sled so that the track will not ratchet or come loose. Many people will adjust the tension by feel and experience, but it is very difficult to get exact and consistent results doing this. A track tension tool allows you to measure the exact amount of tension that is being applied to the track so you can have consistent results that are in line with the manufacturer specifications. By using the tool, you will get the best performance possible.
Exhaust Spring Tool
Removing the exhaust on a snowmobile is almost an inevitable task if you plan on maintaining and fixing engine problems yourself. Exhaust springs do a great job of holding the system in place, but that also makes them difficult to remove. An exhaust spring tool is a small hook on the end of a shaft that provides good leverage and grip that makes the spring extremely easy to remove. They are relatively inexpensive, making them a must have for the shop.
Shock Preload Tool/Spanner Wrench
A snowmobile comes stock to "fit" the average rider. Owner can then customize the suspension to best fit the rider's size and riding style. The preload spring on the ski shocks can be adjusted to soften or stiffen the ride. To do this, there are rings and collars that can be turned so that it either adds more pressure or relieves pressure on the spring. A special tool is needed to adjust these rings and collars. Many sleds come with spanner wrenches in the tool kit, but they are sometimes discarded or lost. An aftermarket shock preload tool and spanner wrench can be obtained to make these changes. When you replace a shock, you will need this tool to set the preload.