Years ago when I was working
at the snowmobile dealership, one of the brands had a suspension
recall. This company paid warranty based on book time, and they
gave us 45 minutes to deal with the customer, pull in the sled,
pull the suspension, tear it down, replace the shafts and bolts,
reassemble it into the sled, tension and align the track, fill
out the warranty form, wheel the sled out, and deal with the
customer again. How nice and generous of them.
As a result, I learned how
to do the job pretty fast, and a few tricks along the way. Most
people don't want to know what goes on under the seat, and it
just doesn't need to be that way. Pulling your suspension is
something that should be a 10-15 minute job in a reasonably equipped
shop. Getting it back in takes a little longer, but that is a
different day's column.In my case, I am pulling out the suspension
to service the wheel bearings and the shafts as a normal part
of fall maintenance and to pull the damaged drive axle. As a
result, the first thing I did was loosen the track adjusters
and remove the back axle, wheels and all. I will be servicing
that anyway, and it makes pulling the skid frame easier. You
can get the frame out with the back axle moved all of the way
up, there is just less room and more wrestling.
after I pulled the back axle and springs, and impacted the 4
shaft bolts out, I tip the sled up on it's side, using a block
of wood under the running board to support the back of the sled.
Grab the far handlebar, put a foot on the running board, and
give it good tug. Once it is resting on the block and the ski,
it is actually amazingly stable. The red arrow points to a block
of wood holding up the running board.
the sled is up on it's side and well supported, you will want
to check for coolant, gas or oil leaking out of anywhere and
deal with that. On electric start models you should pull the
battery first. The acid is a real mess if you don't.
Once you get the sled on it's
side again, swing the suspension out so that all 4 arms clear.
At this point you should be able
to slide the frame forward and lift the back of it right out.
For those that insist on leaving the back wheels on, this is
where you wrestle them past the nubs on the track.
After a little wrestling, you
should have the skid frame out and ready to service.
On this repair, I have to
go a step farther. The chain case went into reverse at wide open
throttle, and in addition to blowing up the chain case, it twisted
the drive axle pretty bad.
Pulling this shaft and subsequently
the track is no joy, but it can be done without turning it into
an epic adventure.
I had it sort of easy when I
pulled this because I had already pulled the chain case. The
sleds that I have done this job on varied. On this one, pulling
the lower chain case bearing looked like it would have been enough
to move the shaft. Some have a chain case side bearing with an
outer eccentric clocking collar that are a pain in the butt,
like the one in the picture. Almost all sleds have this arrangement
on the clutch side where the speedometer drive is.
These bearings can be really
easy, or they can be hopelessly siezed. Assuming the track is
lose and the Chain case side is lose, remove the speedometer
drive, the outer flange and the bolts. You can see that there
is an Allen key set screw that needs to be removed. There are
actually 2 of them about 60 degrees apart. It is best to break
them lose, but they can be drilled. That pretty much junks a
$30 bearing unless you have the ability to rethread the holes.
Once the setscrews are out,
you still need to deal with the eccentric locking collar. The
collar that the bearing is mounted on has an out of round inner
bore. When rotated, it binds against the shaft and locks the
bearing in place. On this bearing I unscrewed the set screws
enough to get a pry bar on it, held the shaft from behind, and
tapped it lose. The screws are easily replaced at any hardware
store, so you can pound on them, but be careful to thread them
in far enough before you pound or you will booger up the threads
in the bearing.
I have seen a lot of these
bearings that just don't move after 10 years on the trail. In
my case, the course of action was an easy one, the shaft was
junk anyway, so I would have just cut it with a cutting torch/sawzall/cutoff
grinder. Generally you want to save as much as you can. Unfortunately,
Polaris does not have an on-line parts look up yet, but looking
up a same year ZRT shows that the shaft/wheels assembly is $222,
The bearings are $29.95 each. Like I said, save as much as you
Once I had the chain case
and the clutch side bearing out, I just slid the shaft right
out, and took the track off. You might want to mark the track
or take a picture of it so you put it back on the right way.
Pulling your suspension isn't
bad. A weekend mechanic with a compressor and an impact can do
this. Pulling the track and drive shaft is a little more involved,
but not impossible by any means. It probably took me longer to
do this write-up than to get the sled to this point.
Total project time at this
point is about 2.5 hours, and that includes pulling the damaged
chain case. Pulling the hood wasn't part of this procedure, I
did that because of the amount of work to be done in the belly
pan. That is a different day's column..
I will be covering more topics
as I work on my neglected and well beat 95 XLT Special. I keep
the camera by the toolbox, and will catch what I think will help
you. The cool part is that for the first time in 4 years, it
wasn't snowing when I was working on this. Give it a week..
Have a good weekend,
and thanks for visiting!