Riding on a snowmobile is a great way to spend your vacations. We often plan vacations and expect a lot from them, but seldom do we prepare enough to make sure it meets our high expectations. The snowmobile season is short, and you never know what can happen with your favorite snowmobile.
The knowledge of repairing and maintenance of any vehicle is something that you must have. Here are a few things that you must know if you have a snowmobile:
Role of idler wheels in a snowmobile
There are many idler wheels in a snowmobile. They basically perform two functions in a snowmobile which depends upon the place where they are located. Some wheels help reduce the friction between the track and the hyfax. Others provide the necessary tension and alignment needed for the smooth functioning of the snowmobile.
Usually, they work well and can go thousands of miles. But sometimes, because of reasons such as poor storage, the bearings in the idlers can get seized and may need replacements. If the bearing is not replaced, it can lead to track damage as well as damage in the skid frame.
Checking and Maintaining Idlers
Checking if the wheel bearing is working properly is very easy. You need to release the track tension and spin each of the wheels. Just listen to the sound of the wheels and feel the vibration. If you feel any growling, it is time you replace the bearing. Unless the idler wheel is in bad condition, there is no need to replace the wheel, replacing just the bearing will do.
Here are a few steps you should follow to replace the idler wheel bearings:
- Identify the wheel and remove the wheel from the suspension frame.
- Just like every wheel bearing, there will be a retaining ring/circlip/C-clip/snap ring – whatever you call it. Remove it.
- If you have a bearing puller, use it to remove the bearing. If not, you can use a vise to hold the bearing and use a socket or a round bar to get the bearing out by its inner race.
- Use a cleaning solvent to clean the idler wheel.
- Always place the bearing above the idler wheel and tap it so that it gets inside the wheel. Never drive the bearing on the inner surface as this can damage the bearing.
- Put the wheel back in its place by re-installing the C-clip.
- Make sure the idler wheels is safely installed the way it was earlier.
Some Important Advice
If you are stuck somewhere in the hills, and the idler wheels have seized or are not working properly. You can swap the wheels if the wheels are of the same size. The outer idlers can be swapped for the center ones. You should always buy quality snowmobile bearings from a reputed store.
Other important maintenance checks
In order to ensure your snowmobile is in the best condition, you need to check the brakes too. Replacing the brake pads, side-rails, carbide runners are also some of the things you will need to do. You should also check the wheels of the suspension and on the drive system.
There are many bearings in a snowmobile. These bearings can get jammed and rusted. You should understand that the moisture is the enemy and it can damage the bearings as well as the nuts and bolts. You should re-grease the bearings to protect it from the damage caused by the moisture.
Before you start to use your snowmobile for the first time in the season, you should run a complete check. A preventive maintenance check is something that is always advisable. You should garner these skills because you never know when can they rescue you from big trouble.