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I believe on Nearly every sled I’ve owned, I’ve been towed. Only one was a 98 Xc600.
Let’s see: Indy 400, 500, Trail, XLT, 800 LE, Doo XRS, XCR800, 900 IQ. Those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head. Most of them consisted of major failures like a crank bearing, rod bearing that gave way and sawed the case in half, shearing off stator bolts, squeaking a piston, and more. When mine break, it’s usually the end of the motor. I’ve made a big jump to a nice RMK and has held together so far.

I’ve been given sleds that have saplings growing from them, clean the carbs, throw in new gas, and they roar to life. One thing I have learned, you have to know when maintenance isn’t an option anymore.

Let’s use the sapling example. Got it running good and was proving to be reliable. At that point, I am not going to pull the skid and go through it, or bang on the secondary to make it float. There comes a danger when you start doing maintenance. Things break like bolts; stuff is rusted together, bearings are not too smooth, but in order to “maintain”, it will end-up costing you a heck of a lot of time, heart ache, and money because you thoughtyou should take apart the whole front end to lube it. You really think you need to lube some suspension cross shafts? Yeah, good luck with that. Ride it until it doesn’t move anymore. Then do what you want with it.

So tell me this: Are we being brainwashed into thinking we have to do all this “maintenance” stuff and throwing money down the crapper as it doesn’t really make a difference? All just a ploy to buy crap and service stuff that doesn’t need it? I can’t recall anyone in our riding group that hasn’t been towed home. Shoot, I’ve had 3-4 sleds Grenade on the same road, only yards away from each other.
I like to maintain and take care of my stuff, especially after spending so much money on it. I regularly check the belt, hyfax, scaggs, and look at the suspension, but Im not "that guy" thats has my shocks rebuilt 3 times a year, top ends just because of mileage when theres no other issues, clutch rebuilds etc. I ride hard but dont beat the shit out of my stuff and I NEVER haul them around on an open trailer in the salt or ride in the mud before the ground freezes. Maybe Ive been really lucky, I cant remember ever getting towed home. I typically trade my stuff off around 5000 miles and never do anything except a belt and carbides in that mileage. I kept my 16 Renegade 600 longer just because I love the sled, around 6500 miles it got new plugs, the raves cleaned, shocks redone and clutch rollers. Its got almost 10,000 miles on it now and looks like a new sled still. I have friends that do a 1000 point check, wax and grease on their sleds every time they ride them and their stuff doesnt last any longer than mine. maybe Im just lucky
 

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There is something to be said for the old adage - If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Taking a skid out just to check things on a newer sled just increases the chance of forgetting to tighten something. Pulling things all apart for a cleaning, or just to make sure everything is OK is risky for the same reason.

I think there is a middle ground where wear and tear parts are replaced, fluids changed per the manual, other parts are inspected while on the sled to the extent possible, and a decent cleaning from time to time is the best course of action.
 

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UGH!! I'm going through this right now.. went through the skid and took care of a few "issues".. had the shocks rebuilt. Went for a ride new years day, one of the shocks went flat ( leaking bad) Brought it back to the guy and he put new copper washers on it - he said he never touched that fitting during the rebuild .. got it back together.
Checked out the motor, noticed alot of exhaust goo on the front of the cylinders, figured it was a leaking donut and manifold gaskets, replaced all that and fire it back up.. then noticed the Y pipe was cracked! Can't find a replacement.. welded the old manifold and put it back together again. Then I feel puffs of air coming out of the power valve.. take that apart, find the acorn nut stripped right out ( I cleaned them both last year and changed a stripped acorn nut).. frig sakes!! Get a new set of powervalves from a wrecker, clean them and go to install - they don't fit!! Turns out that CFI powervalves don't fit the carb motors.. mix and match parts and get the power valves back together with lots of loctite. Ok, good to go!!

Go for a ride today, the shock is leaking again.

If I didn't already install the trail pass, I'd put it up for sale!! I'm absolutely p!ssed !

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I also have that friend that doesn't do anything but gas and oil
.. bought a sacked out formula plus 10 years ago, then wonders why he blows a belt if he goes over 60mph.

One morning we are at camp, his sled won't move.. turns out the chaincase oil was frozen!

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Ride em fix em. I love my time in the shop almost as much as my time on the sled. I ride extremely hard and beat the snot out of my sleds so I’m always doing something out in the shop when I’m not riding
 

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I like wrenching but have certainly had my fair share of "why the hell did I touch this, I just made it worse" moments.

My first one was changing out the pull rope on my 2011 Pro R 800. Job took forever and finally got it back together. About 3 weeks later the knot in the handle came undone and I had to redo it. Thankfully it happened at home and not on the trail.

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There is something to be said for the old adage - If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Taking a skid out just to check things on a newer sled just increases the chance of forgetting to tighten something. Pulling things all apart for a cleaning, or just to make sure everything is OK is risky for the same reason.

I think there is a middle ground where wear and tear parts are replaced, fluids changed per the manual, other parts are inspected while on the sled to the extent possible, and a decent cleaning from time to time is the best course of action.
It's my first own snowmobile and I've not been riding yet.
Sled came from the dealer (not new, 2017), so I expect it's in good riding order (might be naive of me).
I've read my owner's manual. Read quite a few things on here and I think I'll just do a simple pre-ride check. Maybe checking some more to get to know the sled.
Only maintenaince I'll probably do is indeed the basic wear and tear parts and fluids. Stick to the checklists. I'll leave the real maintenance stuff (if needed) to a snowmobile shop. That'll more likely be repairs than maintenance. (And probably spark plugs, they seem to be a hassle on E-TECs.)
So I guess there is maintenance and maintenance. Someone might see adding oil as maintenance, others changing out worn carbides, and someone else does complete rebuilds and calls it maintenance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Well I guess I'm anal about maintenance because I ride old sleds and dont want to be the guy to spoil a good days ride. I also go through ALOT of sleds. ADHD I guess. I buy old and make them mechanically sound as I can, short of engine rebuilds, and I have done many old 2 stroke engine builds over the years.
Newest sled I have bought was last year. It was a 2017 blizzard 600 etec. I hated it and sold it on the trailer in a local staging area. Picked up a 2008 apex with the 121 skid and no studs. It was insistent on killing me in icy conditions. Ended up on an old formula deluxe 700 twin. I love the couch sleds for the tight twisty bush trails locally but they tend to beat a fella up a wee bit as we get older. This year it's an old 2008 Cat Jaguar Z1. As good as new and ready to go if the trails ever open. Bring on the snow.
 

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Ellen learn how to change the belt at the very minimum. And do it in the garage...don't wait until your out in the powder.
 
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I also have that friend that doesn't do anything but gas and oil
.. bought a sacked out formula plus 10 years ago, then wonders why he blows a belt if he goes over 60mph.

One morning we are at camp, his sled won't move.. turns out the chaincase oil was frozen!

Sent from my SM-A526W using Tapatalk
Back in the day one of our guys had a 85 formula plus that blew the chain case every time we went on a trip. Finally got smart and god rid of the thing. We had some pretty goof rides till all of fell into the mod craze. Then it was who'd blow up their sled first?
 

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It's my first own snowmobile and I've not been riding yet.
Sled came from the dealer (not new, 2017), so I expect it's in good riding order (might be naive of me).
I've read my owner's manual. Read quite a few things on here and I think I'll just do a simple pre-ride check. Maybe checking some more to get to know the sled.
Only maintenaince I'll probably do is indeed the basic wear and tear parts and fluids. Stick to the checklists. I'll leave the real maintenance stuff (if needed) to a snowmobile shop. That'll more likely be repairs than maintenance. (And probably spark plugs, they seem to be a hassle on E-TECs.)
So I guess there is maintenance and maintenance. Someone might see adding oil as maintenance, others changing out worn carbides, and someone else does complete rebuilds and calls it maintenance.
Keep the mice out of it and you'll be ok.
 

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Same here. I like to sleep at least to 8 am ffs. And need to shake the cobwebs, have breakfast, and at least digest a bit. Plus being a woman yes I will admit I take a while getting my gear on lol

When we have company come up there are a couple people that wanna go out at the butt crack of dawn. I say "go right ahead" 😁

Lmk where you're headed and I'll catch up. But they never do...most of our visitors don't know the trails so they just have to wait. Lol.

I'm not a "mileage psycho" not anymore. If I ride 80 or 200 miles I'm good. I'm not in competition with anyone.
I absolutely love getting up early to ride. Most often I can't sleep good anyways knowing I'm going riding in the morning. But it's awesome laying down first tracks, riding to breakfast. Getting in a good portion of the ride while trails are good. That way we only get half beat up. If I was only planning on tooling around local and or sub 100 miles I'd head out mid day. But when we are putting on a big ride, the early bird gets the worm! But to each their own. Everyone has their perfect idea of what snowmobiling is to them, whether that be on the maintenance side of things or the actual riding.
 

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I absolutely love getting up early to ride. Most often I can't sleep good anyways knowing I'm going riding in the morning. But it's awesome laying down first tracks, riding to breakfast. Getting in a good portion of the ride while trails are good. That way we only get half beat up. If I was only planning on tooling around local and or sub 100 miles I'd head out mid day. But when we are putting on a big ride, the early bird gets the worm! But to each their own. Everyone has their perfect idea of what snowmobiling is to them, whether that be on the maintenance side of things or the actual riding.
Same here. Lots of times i'm the first set of tracks on the newly groomed surface, plus with no sled traffic i get to see different animals in the woods searching for their breakfast that would normally not be seen later. Besides i'll end up in the dog house now if not back by 2 pm.
 

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Same here. Lots of times i'm the first set of tracks on the newly groomed surface, plus with no sled traffic i get to see different animals in the woods searching for their breakfast that would normally not be seen later. Besides i'll end up in the dog house now if not back by 2 pm.
I'm the same way. Most of my riding is weekends when trails get beat. So I head out early while trails and traffic are nice. You get some great rides, the miles add up easily without getting beat, and wildlife is abundant. Can also change riding plans more easily. Example:

Last season, headed out one Sun morning thinking might be last ride because of forcast. Thought I might rack up 60-80 miles if trails were so-so, then get back home and do some work. Decided to leave early so I could get more work done when I got home. Left at 7am and found freshly groomed trails, and colder than forcast. Every time I got to an intersection where I could get home, I thought it was so great I'd keep going. Kept doing this all ride until my 60-80 mi ride turned into 284 miles before I got back home about 4:30.

Seems everyone else believed forcast and either didn't go out, or went out really late. I only saw a few sleds before noon. By leaving early I got to take advantage of trail conditions and weather. If I'd left at noon, I would have been pissed to have only got few hours riding in with such great conditions.
 

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As for maintenance, I see both ends of this argument. My own sleds I'm religious about maintenance and pre-storage prep. But I admit that I feel I spend a lot of my time riding sub-conciously listening or feeling for something that is "off". But I've also never had one of my own sleds towed home unless they met an imoveable object, or driver stupidity, and my sleds all run at top performance and look showroom new. Lots of compliments.
Many sleds that I work on are another matter. They say they have small problem and I do an inspection while I fix issue. I then give inspection list to client and allow them to decide whethor to fix or not, and some of these lists are huge. If client decides to do the fix-it list, the first thing I usually hear is "Wow, I didn't know it would go that fast, start that easy, ride that good, steer that great, be smooth, yada-yada-yada"

Just because it hasn't been towed, and still runs down the trail, doesn't mean it runs as enjoyably as it should. There is a happy medium to maintenance that should make 75% of riders happy with sled and enjoy sport to maximum. For the other 25%, gearheads are never 100% satisfied anyways
 

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As for maintenance, I see both ends of this argument. My own sleds I'm religious about maintenance and pre-storage prep. But I admit that I feel I spend a lot of my time riding sub-conciously listening or feeling for something that is "off". But I've also never had one of my own sleds towed home unless they met an imoveable object, or driver stupidity, and my sleds all run at top performance and look showroom new. Lots of compliments.
Many sleds that I work on are another matter. They say they have small problem and I do an inspection while I fix issue. I then give inspection list to client and allow them to decide whethor to fix or not, and some of these lists are huge. If client decides to do the fix-it list, the first thing I usually hear is "Wow, I didn't know it would go that fast, start that easy, ride that good, steer that great, be smooth, yada-yada-yada"

Just because it hasn't been towed, and still runs down the trail, doesn't mean it runs as enjoyably as it should. There is a happy medium to maintenance that should make 75% of riders happy with sled and enjoy sport to maximum. For the other 25%, gearheads are never 100% satisfied anyways
Thank you for posting this. Now i dont have to post my opinion. You did it for me.
 

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I absolutely love getting up early to ride. Most often I can't sleep good anyways knowing I'm going riding in the morning. But it's awesome laying down first tracks, riding to breakfast. Getting in a good portion of the ride while trails are good. That way we only get half beat up. If I was only planning on tooling around local and or sub 100 miles I'd head out mid day. But when we are putting on a big ride, the early bird gets the worm! But to each their own. Everyone has their perfect idea of what snowmobiling is to them, whether that be on the maintenance side of things or the actual riding.
If I were staying in a hotel yes I drag my butt out earlier. But we've had a place up in the NEK now for decades. And we are fortunate to be able to head up at a moment's notice. So we do the majority of our riding during weekdays.

And at 61, I allow myself to be a bit more "picky" on where, when etc I go out and beat up my body.

After 3 major surgeries in 4 years (one the big C) I am a lot more "protective" of my body.

Decades of contact sports, racing, cancers, well I'm towards the end of my life. And as it is I'm not 100% after the neurosurgery and I don't want to slow others down.

But I know my H is not comfortable with me going out alone (I had kinda planned on that as he isn't healing like me) but he said "I will wait for you". Such a good man I have.😊
 

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If I were staying in a hotel yes I drag my butt out earlier. But we've had a place up in the NEK now for decades. And we are fortunate to be able to head up at a moment's notice. So we do the majority of our riding during weekdays.

And at 61, I allow myself to be a bit more "picky" on where, when etc I go out and beat up my body.

After 3 major surgeries in 4 years (one the big C) I am a lot more "protective" of my body.

Decades of contact sports, racing, cancers, well I'm towards the end of my life. And as it is I'm not 100% after the neurosurgery and I don't want to slow others down.

But I know my H is not comfortable with me going out alone (I had kinda planned on that as he isn't healing like me) but he said "I will wait for you". Such a good man I have.😊
Yeah, i know, i get the riot act when riding alone, or being out too long. While i don't have a problem with it, the better half does. I tell her your going to croak from something, you might as well enjoy it.
 

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Finally got my shock issue fixed.. turns out I'm an idiot!! Should have left it alone!! Went for a ride today alone ( stayed within cell coverage).. sled runs good.. finally!

I haven't even texted the guy with the Plus.. I have different riding buddies I can go with

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