Ask The SnowMan: Your Sledding Questions Answered

Mar. 01, 2009 By Tony Severenuk

From the Forum

Q: I need help here guys, this is my first snowmachine I dont know that much about them but what I do know is that I shouldnt be going through spark plugs this fast, I replaced them yesterday morning and it ran great and this morning the machine kept bogging out and just running really bad and when i pulled out the plugs they were all burnt. It has been doing this for awhile and I dont know anyone who knows a lot about machines. Its a 96 polaris indy xlt 600 triple not the special edition though. Does anyone have any idea why I am burning so many spark plugs?

I guess the first the question is what do "burnt" plugs are....are they brown, are they covered in black stuff....if you take them out of the motor, lay them on the head and pull the sled over do they have any spark? Usually a fouled plug doens't spark as the electrode gets covered in stuff (usually carbon from too much oil or gas). The kicker here is that usually you only foul one at a time. If you clean the plugs off, gap them and install them does the sled run better? Have you cleand the carbs recently? If it's burning to much gas it will carbon them up quickly. Have you checked the oil pump adjustment? To much oil will foul the plugs quickly too. Are you sure you're running the right plug for that motor? If you get a plug in the wrong heat range they won't work for long either (I think you need BR9ES in that Fuji motor). Also be sure to set the gap correctly otherwise the plug won't create the right spark for the motor.


From the blog comments

 Q: Hey have you ever hear of a problem with the 1980 POLARIS TX 340 having flooding problems on warm starts. ive cheacked the compression on both cylinders cold and it was 120 across both the. i removed bothe of the plugs on the bottom of the crankcase and the one on the left side(clutch side) gas pours out but nothing fronm the right side. Iam not familliar with the polaris product but i do have my small engine aprentice certification can you help me.

Sounds to me like the carbs need to be cleaned...esp the floats..sounds like the carb on the one side is sticking and it keeps running gas into the motor.  Wondering if your fuel pump needs some attention....if the diaphram dries out them it won't pump enough gas to the carbs and the lean out...another thing that can happen is that a dried out diaphram cracks and leaks gas into the crankcase and it doesn't pump gas into the carbs either.


Q: I have a 81 arctic cat 4000. I getting no spark. I've put in new plugs and still no spark. someone told me that the magneto is bad. what do you think?

Any chance that the plug caps are bad? Sometimes these things come unscrewed over time...that's a pretty cheap fix to try. Another problem that can happen is that the stator coil is being grounded by a pinched or worn wire. Try taking the Emergency stop switch apart and see if both sides of it connect to ground. If they do then you have a problem with the wiring and you'll need to find out where that cable is touching the chassis.



Does't really sound like spark if the 3 plugs are firing while they are laying on the head....When you pull the plug out on the jug that's not firing does it come out wet? Have you tried switching the spark plugs around to see if it follows the plug of if it stays with the same jug. Sounds like something in the carbs to me...Did you try switching the carbs around to see if the misfire follows the carb?


Q: I have a 1997 Polaris 500 Touring sled, I have been burning my belts lately.....I think it has something to do with the clutch. We took the one clutch off, cleaned it, replaced the spring and adjusted the belt, still not fixed. It would only do it while I was riding down the road at first, I would notice my belt would burn then, now it does it all the time, it squeels, then starts to burn the belt. The front clutch is only 2 seasons old, we haven't taken that one out yet and hoping it's not that one that is causing the problem! Any suggestions?

I'll bet that the issue lies in the spring of the secondary clutch. When you put the secondary clutch back together you need to turn the moveable sheave 1/3rd turn counter clockwise before you push the helix down and lock it all together with the keyway. Without that rotation the clutch will open waaaaaaaaay to easily and you'll end up burning belts all the end up with a lot of black junk on the clutch too that comes of the belt.


Q: i have just purchased a 2002 mxz 800 sport it seems to be idling high but im am not sure were it should be at it is around 3000 rpm i feel this is real high but am not sure can you tell me were it should be at?

3000 is high for this sled, but I wonder if the higher idle only happens when it's cold out or if it happens only after you stop after a good ride. If you come to a stop and you flip the choke to half and it goes away I wouldn't worry about it. If it keeps creeping up then it might be something a little more serious. A few things to check:

Are the carbs clean? Dirty carbs, esp in the idle circuit, will lead to a high idle. This is more of a pain but it's really dangerous.

Are there any rips in the carb boots (the black things that attach the carbs to the motor). This is a more serious problem as if you've got air coming in around the carbs then you could too lean when racing down a lake and lean out the engine, melting a piston.


Q:I was wondering if riding a mountain sled on regular trils is a problem i believe that the clutching would be off but what else would be?

Polaris RMK Snowmobile

If you have an EFI sled the motor will be good to run. If you have carbs then you have to worry about carb settings. As there is less air at elevation the carbs have different settings then those at sea level. The carbs would need to have different needles, pilots mains to be able to run at a lower elevation.

Another thing to keep in mind is that usually the mountain sleds have taller lug tracks, which have a hard time keeping cool when trail riding. If you're going to ride in the snow they get in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan I doubt you'll have a problem but if you're going to ride the trails of MN or WI then you might have problems with the engine over heating or the slides burning.

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Q: I have a arctic cat ext580 the compression in both cylinders is about 70psi is this about what it should be if not what should it be.The sled has about 6000mi on it.

Typically it's not the acutal PSI of a 2 stroke that matters but more that both jugs are running about the same. The reason is becuase the pipe acts actually reflects charge back into the cylinders on a 2 stroke when it's running. When you're doing a compression check on the motor you aren't getting that charge back into the cylinders so you will naturally get a lower compression reading. If you're within a few PSI on each cylinder then I'd drive it. With that said 70 psi does sounds low. I would of expected at least 100 psi on that puppy. I'm thinking it's time for a least rings on that kitty.


Q:I have a 2001 MXZ 500 And it developed a very bad hesitation from idle to half throttle or more. Cleaned carbs twice and checked all adjustments. It's bad enough that it will actually quit if you dont let off the throttle. If you ease into it it;s fine, top end is good. Doesnt seem to run out of fuel.Could it be ignition? Earlier this year the thing ran great, this problem just developed.

You've got fuel problems in there somewhere. It sounds like it's too lean when you're rolling onto the throttle. Eventhough you've checked the carbs I still think they are the #1 culprit. There is probably something clogging the pilot circuit. Aside from the carbs I would check for ripped carb boots and see if they have any rips in them. The newer doo sleds are starting to  become famous for this. Left alone it could cause an expensive burndown.


Q: The pullcord came out of my 2002 Skidoo Summit. Are there any sites that may have information on how to repair this? Would it be easy enough to fix on my own or should I take it to a professional to fix?

The pull cords are easy to fix really. Remove the pipe and canister and then remove the pull start housing from the block with the 4 bolts that hold it on. Then add some preload to the spring, put the new pull start rope into the recoil assembly and then let the recoil assembly draw it back in. Tie the exposed end of the rope in a knot. Install the pull start housing. Route the cord through the chassis and tie the handle back on and then install the pipe and canister.


Q: I've got an 05 rs rage and i;ve run through 3 sets of slides so far ,the sled has 2000 miles on it! we checked the track and all is set to factory specs. .could this be a design flaw with the 136 tracks ? any body else bitch'in about this?

In general I see that there are a few issues with riding Yamahas on hard trails, whether it be long or short track. They seem to not hold a lot of snow in the tunnel and suspension so they over heat a bit and the siders melt faster. There is a heat exchanger that can be added to the tunnel to help with the overheating.

Usually riders burn the sliders when they are running down the sides of roads or on very icy trails. The slides need snow, which turn to water, to keep them cool and if you go for an extended period of time without it they slides heat up and melt. If you come to a long section of trail where it runs down the side of the road I would suggest jumping off for a second and kicking some snow into the tunnel and onto the track. The best fix for icy trails is to install a set of ice scratchers, like these shown on the right from SLP, which will put a fine mist of ice crystals into the suspension allowing it to keep cool.

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