Earlier, the summer used to be a hibernation phase for the snowmobiles. However, this is not the case nowadays. People are finding way to make use of their sleds in maximum possible way. The investment on a good snowmobile brand is pretty good. Also, the why do we wait till winter when we can by any means utilize the sled for summer activities too. The snowmobiles have evolved a great deal from the conventional snowmobiles being used on snow to the new generation ones allowing it to be used even in some of the unconventional places with proper care. Now people are more into recreational snowmobiling exploring new arenas of the sport like driving the snowmobile on grass, dirt, mud etc. Drag races are common nowadays, be it on grass or other areas without snow. Grass drag racing is the most common form of dirt racing. Grass drag snowmobiling races are held on the trails covered with grass or dirt.
Now knowing that you can use snowmobiles on places other than without snow, there is a better need to under the basics of a snowmobile. Proper adjustments in settings are a must before we head out for the race. Safety precautions are also to be made. Remember that a snowmobile is basically designed to work on snowy tracks. So we should set some limitations to its use in other areas. Overusing the sled can indeed cause damage. However, with a good snowmobile you can push yourselves to the extremities.
A good amount of research is required to find the legal places where we can let our snowmobile, the associated gears we can use, the settings we need to change, engine oil, lubricants and the care we need to take of our sled. If the snowmobile is used for extra purposes, then they also demand extra care from us. Even older snowmobiles with good set up can be used to race in grass or dirt. The drag races are usually coming under the preview of the rules set by International Snowmobile Racing. The snowmobile manufacturers, performance shops and the snowmobile race circuits will have access to these guidelines based on which you need to prepare the sled. It is in your part to make sure that your sled is safe and legal to race.
The snowmobile drag races are usually held by snowmobile clubs of the associated areas. With proper guidance from these clubs, even beginners can head out to enjoy these summer races without second thoughts.
How to prepare the sled to be used in grass or in the dirt?
The point to be discussed in length is how we can bring the best out of our snowmobile in the scorching heat. Obviously, there need to be many considerations to be made mostly involving trial and error methods before we can expect our sled to be fully prepares to grace the summer race.
The first and the foremost important preparation we need is that of the suspension. The suspension is an important part in the working of the snowmobile. Preparing the proper suspension for the summer activity involves proper weight transfer settings which allows the snowmobile accelerate with ease. If we go for the ideal set up, this involves the sled transferring the weight quickly at the moment of take off. Also, the skis shouldn’t touch the ground as this will lead to the drag slowing the sled. So the skis are usually placed one or two inches off the ground, holding the position until the end. Now if the weight transfer is too much that would create trouble for traction. In such cases, the front may raise too far, not allowing the track to touch the ground.
The weight transfer is checked with the driver sitting in the ready position while the helper lifts on the front bumper. The front should be able to be lifted with ease till the skis are about 2 inches off the ground. On reaching 2 inches off the ground, more effort is required to lift the sled. This accounts for the proper weight transfer setting.
The correct transfer also involves lowering the front end and the back half of the rear suspension. For lowering the front end, we may need soft springs, short shocks, shock spacers or straps. Shock spacers are the best way to lower a sled, but may cost you around $100 to install a set. Tying down the front end using straps is the easiest and the cheapest method. But this may hamper the effectiveness of the suspension.
Now for lowering the rear suspension, we may need a limiter strap and a shortened rear shock. The weight transfer is tuned by adjusting the length of the front limiter straps and spring. Once this is set, the sled will now axle on the center shock and spring. Now we have to adjust the correct length of the center shock and front torque arm, making sure that the spring is stiff. Skis should be held off the ground during the run.
The snowmobile track should connect well with the surface under it. This is known as traction. Next requirement you should have in setting up the sled for drag racing would be good traction products. The most common traction products are the studs. You may require the best stud and configuration suiting the race track you are in. Studs like chisel pointed ones have a big face which can grab more dirt for traction than the pointed ones available in the market. But they may require more power to be pulled out of the dirt which is a disadvantage. For those racing tracks with a clay starting line, it is preferable to use chisel stud and ice picks. When using studs we must keep in mind that their weight can add up and increase the weight of the track. Also if not used enough they may cause slip due to lack of proper traction. So we should be aware of these aspects before hunting down the best traction products.
Next, we need to check the fuel before the race. Fuel is what burns and keeps the snowmobile running. Some of the race circuits may provide the fuel. So it is always good to have a word with them earlier on this. For improving the performance on the race day, you may add leaner jets in the carburetors, which can adjust with the fuel delivery needs to bring about the momentum we need. Test runs are needed to verify the performance of the jets used in the carburetors. Do not go for engine modifications as they are not allowed by trail and stock classes.
Now, the next important consideration is to reduce the rolling resistance brought about by the component called Hyfax. Hyfax is a hard plastic strip attached to the bottom of the rails of your sled. It can offer a substantial amount of rolling resistance to the drag racing involving grass or dirt. So it is better to get them removed and use idler wheels as a substitution. The metal or hard plastic idler wheels can be a great option for substitution as they can provide less rolling resistance when compared to those with rubber contact surface. Also it is found that the thin idlers offer less rolling resistance when compared to the thick idlers. Removing grease from the bearings can also reduce the rolling resistance. In order to achieve this, you can try removing the seal from the bearing and then wash the grease with a good lubricating spray .You can then reinstall the seal back to the bearing to prevent the contamination of the bearing with dirt and other debris. You should not forget to add grease to the bearing before taking your sled out for the next winter race.
Proper clutch is something important to look up to. Fixing the best clutch performance is a trial and error method requiring fine tuning at many instances. A lot of effort may be required to bring about the best setting. It is always better to consult a mechanic in the performance shop having experience working with drag race sleds who can give a better insight into the process.
Gear performance should also be of top class when you are out in the terrain. Most manufacturer manuals give directions regarding the gear performances. So it is better to check them out before making changes and they can indeed help you in a great way. The most common scenario involves the top gear to be turned down by four or six teeth. For this, you may need a shorter chain which needs to be installed.
In race holeshots are important. The correct belt setting can make sure that you achieve the holeshot you need. The more the traction at the ground, the more the chances of belt slip. Scouring the belt with emery cloth between each run is found to address this issue to some extent. Acetone or clean water can be used to remove the dust from the belt before reinstalling it.
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