Before buying, you need to clearly articulate for yourself what you need a snowmobile for. They are divided into utilitarian, sports, tourist and mountain. Often, in search of a device with the best cross, choose a utilitarian. And they are mistaken: on extreme off-road, the mountain ones behave best. However, “cross-country” is a relative concept, it is determined by the specific pressure of the snowmobile on snow, moreover, with a passenger. So it turns out that a boy weighing 40–50 kg on a light sports apparatus can easily pass where a hundred-kilogram guy gets stuck on a utilitarian one.
No less important is what kind of skis and tracks are installed - there are options here.
Often admirers of the “cross-country vehicle” strive to buy a car with a wider track and do not pay attention to its length. This is wrong and dangerous. An excessively wide caterpillar worsens handling much more than, for example, wide skis. It is especially difficult to advance with her in the forest, between the trees. But the use of this option is justified on a utilitarian snowmobile: it is a “workhorse”, and its track can be up to 60 centimeters wide with a long length. This is not about cross-country ability and handling, but traction with snow, which is important when towing a well-loaded trailer.
Each device of this type is equipped with a tow bar, which means that it is easy to carry the trailer on skids. And the variators of such machines are tuned precisely for strong traction at low speeds - to pull a loaded sled.
Short narrow caterpillar - for sports riding. With it, you easily and quickly turn corners, turn around on the spot, etc. But cross-country ability will be worse. When overcoming an obstacle after a gas discharge, it instantly burrows in the snow. Tourist snowmobiles (sometimes they are also called family snowmobiles) are a cross between utilitarian and sports equipment. The caterpillar also corresponds to them - of medium length, medium width (about 38 cm). When the whole family takes a seat on a “tourist”, it is not so important whether it is heavy or light. The main thing is to be comfortable, the engine starts from an electric starter, reverse works, the trunk is spacious enough, the saddle is comfortable and pleasant, like in a limousine, and the suspension helped it.
A long narrow caterpillar with developed snow chains is installed on a mountain snowmobile. It is designed for really deep and loose snow, behaves perfectly when riding amid a pile of stones and withstands the inevitable jumps. On rolled snow or ice, you don’t have to wait for comfort from such a caterpillar - the developed snow chains create a sufficiently strong vibration …
Remember all this before buying, because it’s easier to replace a snowmobile than a caterpillar on it.
The standard springs in the suspension of the caterpillar are quite enough for everyday driving. You can adjust the stiffness by pressing them with eccentrics, choosing one of the fixed positions. And lovers of jumps and crazy "jumps" on extreme off-road should decide to install additional sheets in springs.
If you want to replace the standard ones, you need to consider the purpose of the snowmobile, as well as its weight. The mass of the driver with the passenger affects the driving performance of the device much less - the lion's share of the load on the front of the car is created by the motor and transmission.
Utility devices are quite heavy and need wide skis. They are good in loose snow. But at the same time, the handling of the snowmobile is much worse with them than with narrow ones. But on the ice and rolled snow on the narrow handier. In addition, with them, the snowmobile becomes more speedy and maneuverable. And even better handling can be achieved if the narrow skis are installed on an additional runner.
The conditions in which mountain snowmobiles have to work are complex and heterogeneous. On the one hand, these devices should be brisk, on the other, pass through loose snow. Therefore, such a snowmobile is installed, oddly enough, as a hybrid of a wide and narrow ski - with a maximum width in front, a little narrower at the back, and the same bottleneck in the middle. Touring and sporting snowmobiles have narrow skis - they provide good handling. However, it is better for owners of very heavy "tourists" to opt for wide ones: they will add confidence to the driver in the "all-terrain" device, and a balanced snowmobile simply will not notice a deterioration in handling.
Both for the master unit and for the follower, there are one and a half dozen different springs. They differ both in their length and in the thickness of the wire. Unfortunately, by the numbers printed on them, it is impossible to determine the stiffness. There are also many options for weights. They are different in shape and weight (from 39 to 80 grams). On the panel near the steering wheel under the motor cover there is a table containing tips for adjusting the variator. But this is not a dogma, but only information for reflection … However, experimenting with the settings yourself is a very long and painstaking task - the homegrown regulator will miss it, because there are no exact recommendations on the selection of parts for setting the variator. We advise you to contact a qualified mechanic. Having a complete set of necessary details, taking into account the purpose of the snowmobile, the weight of the device and the load on it, he will be able to find the optimal adjustment.
An important option that not all snowmobiles are equipped with is reverse. If for a sports car its device is ballast, then for a tourist, and even more utilitarian, it is vitally important: how can one deploy in a forest or in mountains without it? The owner of the snowmobile "with hands" is able to mount the reverse and independently. The assembly kit includes new gears and a gearbox cover assembly with a mechanism for switching the direction of movement, as well as a lever and traction. An experienced mechanic spends on the assembly a little more than an hour.
It is much more convenient to start a snowmobile with an electric starter. But keep in mind that the starter must be "fed" with a current from a sufficiently capacious and heavy one that can give out enough battery current in the cold.
Parts for its installation are sold in sets. If you have a tool and locksmith skills, you can cope with the work yourself. First you need to remove the entire drive pulley mechanism from the crankshaft (you will need a puller - it is strictly forbidden to hammer on the parts of this unit!). A disk acting as a flywheel is bolted to the assembly from the side facing the engine. Instead, you need to install the disk with the ring gear from the kit. The screws fastening them are planted by factory assemblers on thread sealant. Therefore, before unscrewing, warm the parts with a hairdryer to 1250С. Overheat - the details can "lead". When installing a ring gear on each screw, be sure to apply a drop of thread sealant. Usually, new screws are put in the kit with the disk. If they are not, you can use the old ones, but before installing, remove the rest of the hardened sealant. Tighten the parts with a force of about 2 kg.m.
The drive shaft with a bendix is located on the platform-bracket for mounting the engine (a new assembly is included). Replacing the site is not difficult, but with a starter - more difficult. There are holes for fixing it in the frame, but there is no thread in them. It will have to be cut on its own.
Intervention in the electrical circuit will require minimal. Replace the ignition switch with what is included in the kit. In it, as in a car, there is an additional position in which the starter is switched on.
And last, the simplest: install a pad under the battery. By the way, the battery is not included - you have to buy it separately. It should be 12-volt, with a capacity of 20 A.h.
So that the snowmobile goes straight, does not scour and obeys the steering wheel, regularly (and after strong blows to the stones - be sure) check the convergence of the skis. It is determined by the difference in distances between the extreme front and extreme rear bolts of their fastening. The “back” size should be 2-6 mm larger than the “front”. In addition, you need to periodically check the condition of the runners. No matter how hard they are, even the snow gradually erases them, and as they wear out, the snowmobile reacts worse and worse to steering the steering wheel.
Before summer storage, it is necessary to turn the eccentrics, creating a preload of springs, so that the suspension relaxes as much as possible. Be sure to loosen the track. And before the new season, its tension is regulated as follows. The snowmobile is suspended, and the caterpillar is loaded - weights of 9 kg are placed in the center of its lower branch, and it should sag by 1.5–2 cm.