11-POINTS TO CHECK WHEN TROUBLESHOOTING A NON-STARTING SNOWMOBILE
If your snowmobile won't start, don't call a mechanic just yet.
You spent your summer on your boat or jet ski and really hadn’t thought about your snowmobile in months. Now that there is a chill in the air, and snow begins to fall, you are ready to trade in your bathing suit for a snowsuit. So you jump on your sled, and try to crank it over and... nothing. Use these 11-points to narrow down the cause, so you can get out on the powder.
1. NO FUEL IN THE TANK
Is it really all that surprising that you forgot you had removed all the gas at the end of last season? Sounds silly, but it happens. You’ve slept since then. You worked and played hard elsewhere for the last 8 months or more. So, this is the easiest and first item to check off your list.
2. SWITCHED ‘ON' OR ‘OFF'?
D’OH! Yeah, rookie mistake right? This is the next easiest troubleshoot to look at. Check and see if your switch is set to ‘ON’ or ‘OFF’. Then don’t tell ANYONE what happened if it works.
3. REPLACE OLD GAS WITH NEW GAS
Just like with your lawnmower, pressure washer, or snowblower, your snowmobile will tend to sit for months. With any outdoor equipment that runs off gasoline, there is a shelf-life. Even if you use a stabilizer, your gas could still be old. It is best to run your equipment out of gas, but if you are one who uses a stabilizer and shut-off valve, this could be your culprit. Empty the fuel in the tank and replace it with fresh new gas.
4. BAD BATTERY OR FAULTY WIRING
Like your gasoline, your battery remains unused for many months at a time. A battery’s life cycle can be drastically cut short due to inactivity. Batteries will typically last 2-3 years when properly used. If the battery has a charge going through it during the off-season, it will be able to survive its life expectancy. An inactive battery will discharge and continue to break down internally. A smart/trickle charger can protect the battery.
Checking over the condition of your wiring and connections is also a good idea. You can even take a look at your voltage regulator. We tend to forget that these sleds are exposed to the elements. Even though they may have a protective shroud over key components, it’s always best to give them a look.
5. SPARK PLUGS BRING LIFE
It is really amazing how such small parts of an engine can be the life and death of a snowmobile. Spark plugs ignite the fuel, sending a blast of raw power through your snowmobile. If defective, you won’t be able to operate the sled. The good news is, The ROP Shop carries many sizes, and at a very affordable price.
6. OLD OIL AND OIL FILTERS
Just as vital as it is to change the oil in your automobile, changing the oil in your snowmobile is equally necessary. Failure to change the oil over long periods of time can trigger other complications including failure to start, and while you are at it, replacing the oil filter is a good idea too. We just might have the one you need.
7. FUEL LINES CHECKUP
Your fuel lines could be blocked. This would then prevent gas from entering the engine. To examine the lines, remove the shroud covering the motor. You can also look at your Fuel Primer/Plunger for issues, or replace it with one of our Fuel Primer/Plungers from The ROP Shop. The other end of the spectrum from a clogged fuel line is one that has dried out, which we will address in the next point.
8. CARBURETOR CLEANER AND STARTING FLUID
Fuel lines and a carburetor which have dried out are another possibility. If the snowmobile has not been started and ran in a while, this is normal and can often be fixed by using a carburetor cleaner and/or starter fluid. If the combustion chamber doesn’t receive any fuel, you might have to rebuild or replace the carburetor.
9. CLUTCH OR CARBURETOR SETTINGS
Take a close look at your carburetor and clutch setup if you find that your snowmobile struggles to or doesn’t idle. When taking your sled into the hills, even the elevation can affect how your machine performs. This is something that even seasoned riders don’t always realize or take into account. As a result, you may need to adjust your settings.
Be careful you do not also over-choke the engine. By waiting a bit between tries, you can avoid flooding the motor. However, an engine that floods easily could also be a sign that you need to clean or replace your carburetor. See The ROP Shop’s selection of carburetor.
10. BAD FUEL PUMP
Whether you climb a hill or going at high speeds, if you tend to lose power regularly, it could be a sign your snowmobile has a bad fuel pump. A pinched fuel line or other motor problems are another possible reason for the loss of power in these situations. Eliminating the possibility that the problem is not connected to your fuel filter, motor, or another piece of equipment, odds are that your fuel pump is the problem. See The ROP Shop's selection of fuel pumps.
11. GASKET CASE
Yes, the scariest situation would be little to no pressure in your cylinders. However, it is more likely that the problems are less drastic. Tighten the cylinder head nuts first and then follow that up by checking the gaskets. Your starting issue could be damaged gaskets or maybe worn-out piston rings, scored cylinder or piston, bad crank seal, reed valve, or a damaged head gasket. Using a compression tester or contacting a place that can service your snowmobile will be the best way to go if the problem looks too serious.
We all want to have fun on our snowmobiles in the winter months, so proper maintenance both in and out of season is a must. Many times the issues we have with them are minor things that can be easily replaced with an OEM or aftermarket part. Having a reliable place to purchase those items that will deliver them to you fast and affordable, is what The ROP Shop is all about. It is always our goal to help you... Stay Rugged.
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