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Mr. Budget Mechanic
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152 Posts
Scored on a free '94 Vmax600 today. :) Guy was giving it away in the craigslist "free stuff" section.

The good: it's a Vmax600; it has a title; it's a long track; it has a slightly chewed but still decent 1.75-2" paddle track(didn't take time to actually measure the paddles, but they're huge); it's got Reichard twin pipes; a nice set of yellow plastic skis in great shape w/good carbides; it's complete; it runs; it was FREE.

The bad: it's beat up, neglected, and been sitting outside unprotected in the Nevada heat and snow for 2 years; hood is broken; it has an oil leak; rear shocks may be shot; seat is tore up; no key; '94's were prone to clutch problems (primary's had a tendency to break their spiders).

I'm pretty psyched about it, I might make it a summer project and try to restore it. I really think it's a great looking sled, and from what I've read about them, they are good trail machines and are fairly reliable. Worse comes to worse I could part this thing out: probably make more money then trying to fix and sell it. Might put the ski's on my Phazer too if they'll fit.

Now I just need to find a free service manual to go with my free sled...:p

I know I am a cheapskate, but what the heck...I'm just a poorboy looking for cheap thrills:D

I'll try to take some pics when I get a chance, but be forewarned: it's butt ugly.
 

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385 Posts
It doesn't matter what it looks like, especially since the price was right. Nice find!
 

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Live to ride
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2,682 Posts
I love free sleds.

sounds like you have a little work ahead of you, but there is nothing to complain about considering the price
 

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Mr. Budget Mechanic
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152 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thought I had a factory longtrack, turns out I have a regular track, electric start (VX600E) with a longtrack kit.

Pics as promised (had to take a few parts off it to fit in my 5'x10' storage unit; I do have the missing hood pieces, note also lovely demolition derby spraycan paint job):










 

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Mr. Budget Mechanic
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152 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
A few more pics (sorry for the lousy shots, hard to shoot in that tiny storage unit):










 

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TRH- Troll Raising Hell
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6,133 Posts
Not at all shabby. You can pick up a used hood and seat for prob. under $100.00

Nice track, skis, and exhaust!
 

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Repair Shop Owner
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528 Posts
Not a bad deal!!
But if you deside to part it out I want first dib's on the pipe's - Track and rail exstendtions!!!!
 

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I'm jealous, I had a 95 st. Loved that sled! It's on my wife's finger now! Always wanted to pipe it. That will be a fun project. Congrats!
 

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Mr. Budget Mechanic
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152 Posts
IT LIVES!

Had a little free time today, used it to get the Vmax running today.

Hard to believe, but I didn't even have to do any cleaning to the fuel system. First I tried siphoning the old fuel from the gas tank with a little hand powered pump, but to my surprise it was pretty much bone dry (previous owner must have drained the fuel before he parked it). Next, I checked the coolant level. It didn't look good: recovery tank was empty except for a gooey looking black film of oil. Uh oh. And it was down a little coolant under the coolant cap too. Looking suspiciously like I've got a bad head gasket here. Or maybe a bad water pump drive seal (I had an '84 Yamaha Vmax 540 that had this problem and would suck coolant into the water pump drive housing, which had a small reservoir of gear oil). Just decided to fill it up with coolant, put about a gallon and a half of gas in the tank, and see if I could fire it up and keep it running.

I checked the 2 stroke oil reservoir: it was nearly empty so I added what little oil I had on hand. Pulled the spark plugs, shot some ignition fluid down the holes, put the choke on full, gave 'er a pull. Started right up but died after a few seconds.

So I decided to raise the rear end a couple of feet by propping it up on my homemade kicker ramp piece made of 2x10's. I figured it would help the gas flow from the tank into the fuel pump, and that I'd be able to give it more throttle if I had to with the track off the ground. So I primed it again with some more ignition fluid and started it again. Gave it a bit more throttle once it started, and was surprised when it kept running. I let it warm up a bit, noted the presence of a lot of blue smoke
(indicating adequate oiling), and searched for oil and coolant leaks in the motor compartment with the aid of a flashlight. I noticed no significant leaks. I lowered the hood to see the tachometer, and noticed the red temperature idiot light turning on and off rather erratically; when the hood is raised slightly, the light goes off. After I had set the idle screw so that it was idling perfectly steady at 1500 RPMs, I felt the motor and it didn't seem excessively hot. I speculate the temp light has a faulty connection. So after a few minutes I decide to rev it up, and it responds pretty much flawlessly, no hesitation throughout the whole throttle range all the up to WOT and about 9000-9500 RPM. Motor sounded strong, and the clutching and drivetrain seem to be working fine.

After a few more revs and a bit more time I shut it off and immediately checked the coolant recovery tank. It was now completely full, and did have some oil mixed in with the coolant.

A plug check reveals a perfect mid-tan-chocolate brown color. Seems to run great. I'm tempted to ride it the way it is. But I can see oil oozing from the cylinder head gasket, and even from the cylinder head nuts. And although the motor didn't feel like it got excessively hot, the oil in the recovery tank is worrisome. There is also a mysterious hard black "tar" like substance (almost like a "JB Weld" like epoxy on a part of the top of the head). I wonder if there might be a crack hiding underneath it?

Guess I'll start by getting the head bolt torque specs and check that the nuts are tight enough; and go from there. Probably need a new head gasket at the least. Might even need a new jug gasket too, I saw oil down there as well but that could have come from the head. It just surprises me with all the oil leaks and the amount of time this thing has sat outside unprotected in the northern Nevada weather extremes that this thing runs so dang well, and I have hardly done any work to it yet. I was going to clean the carbs, but based on how it runs, I don't even think it's necessary. Maybe a little Seafoam treatment, that's about it. It might even run better than my Phazer. Freaking amazing. :p
 

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Mr. Budget Mechanic
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152 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Ultimate Sleeper

So with much regret I sold the Phazer. My van started swallowing coolant and suspecting a blown head gasket I thought I was going to have to buy another vehicle, so I decided to sell the sled. So on a whim I dumped a $9 bottle of Bar's Leaks Liquid Copper into the radiator, and to my surprise, it seems to have worked (for now at least).

So anyway I decided to try and get the Vmax going so I can get some snowmobiling before the season is over. Not worried about what it looks like right now, just wanna ride.

Most of the head bolts were really loose, and a few of the cylinder bolts were slightly loose also; I torqued 'em all back to spec and voila, no more oil leaks! Motor fires up with one pull, sounds awesome with the Reichards pipes, and flat out screams.

This old sled is full of surprises. Although it looks like a huge pile of crap, somebody put some work into this thing and hot-rodded it a bit. In addition to the extended track and Reichards pipes (carbs must have been jetted to match too because it runs perfectly, at least at Reno altitude), it has Skidoo skis, a 3 1/2" Powermadd handlebar riser, Fabcraft grab bar, 136" (?) Skidoo Camoplast track with 1 1/4" lugs, and Kimpex 8 tooth drive sprockets.

I also fabbed up a set of 3 1/2" drop brackets because the track lugs were rubbing against the heat exchangers underneath the hull (which, sadly, ripped a significant number of lugs off an otherwise lightly used track). Even with the 8 tooth drive sprockets I witnessed lugs being spit out the rear end when I revved it up with the rear end jacked up off the ground before I installed the drop brackets (I've read you can run 1 1/4" lugs on these sleds if you install 8 tooth drive sprockets). The upper center guide wheels axle had 2 sets of mounting holes and were originally bolted into the upper holes, so I moved it to the lower position to help lower the lugs away from the heat exchangers even more.

Seems to have worked; I put the sled on it's side and carefully checked clearances with my hands. Even at the tightest spots near the front of the hull, the lugs have at least 1/2" clearance with the heat exchangers. No longer seems to be throwing lugs off anymore either.

I have only driven it up the ramp to load it into my van twice now, but HOLY CRAP, it takes off like a bullet. Wayyyy quicker than the Phazer. Feels like it engages late too; I suspect it has had some clutch work done to it, and maybe some gearing changes as well (it also goes WELL past the last markings on the gauges-120 MPH on the speedo and 10,000 RPM on the tach- when I peg it at WOT with the rear end jacked up). Think it's supposed to top out at 8500 if I'm not mistaken. Hard to believe it's got 4250 on the odometer when it runs this way: wonder if it's got a new top end? That could explain the loose head/jug bolts: maybe never got re-torqued back down after initial break-in.

I also tightened the rear shock compression ring as tight as it will go, and it not only doesn't sag not nearly as much as it used to, the rebound is much better too. The front shocks seem pretty soft and don't appear to rebound much, however; don't know if that's normal or not but I'm sure it could benefit from new shocks all the 'round. But dropping the skid and adjusting the rear shock has made a huge difference.

It's also got electric start and handwarmers, but it's missing the battery and the ignition key, and it's got some melted wiring, so these features currently aren't working. I suspect charging issues, but the lighting and gauges work perfectly, so I'll worry about fixing those problems later.

Not bad for a free sled.

Can't wait to ride it. Hopefully tomorrow. We've had some nice, powerful, late season storms, and getting a lot of fresh snow in the Sierras. Good chance we'll be able to ride well into May.

Here's some fresh pics, taken today:

Ain't she a beaut?





Love them PIPES!



Underbelly in surprisingly good shape:



 

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I have only driven it up the ramp to load it into my van twice now, but HOLY CRAP, it takes off like a bullet. Wayyyy quicker than the Phazer. Feels like it engages late too; I suspect it has had some clutch work done to it, and maybe some gearing changes as well (it also goes WELL past the last markings on the gauges-120 MPH on the speedo and 10,000 RPM on the tach- when I peg it at WOT with the rear end jacked up). Think it's supposed to top out at 8500 if I'm not mistaken. Hard to believe it's got 4250 on the odometer when it runs this way: wonder if it's got a new top end? That could explain the loose head/jug bolts: maybe never got re-torqued back down after initial break-in.
With the back lifted up there is nothing limiting rpm, so I wouldn't hold WOT like that... REALLY hard on the drivetrain and engine.

What rpm does it engage at? I know when I got my vmax the previous owner had set it to engage around 5500. It was a blast to drive because it would nearly rip you off the handlebars, but it was also a huge pain if you were in more than 6 inches of snow. It would dig straight down and not move an inch.

As far as speedo, just using the smaller drivers is going to drop the drive ratio. The vmax's were notoriously overgeared from factory also, so its very likely they moved up one notch on the driven cog.

hmm, what else... The rear shocks on the stock vmax skid are gas charged, so if you are having to crank the preload up it means the shock is bad. Eventually it will give out completely and you will have no rebound at all. Happened to my vmax, I limited through last spring by turning up the preload, but this last fall it was completely shot and I replaced the entire skid with an x10.
 

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---------(PI488)---------
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2,742 Posts
Nice sled it doesn't look that bad actually! Hope it works out for you!
 

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all sleds R great!!!!
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342 Posts
looks like more trouble than it's worth.....no wait, you got it FREE!!! not too shabby! Enjoy, but looks like a lot of man hours instore for you.
 

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Mr. Budget Mechanic
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152 Posts
I've only hit WOT with the rear end off the ground a handful of times, and each time only briefly (maybe a few seconds at most) to observe how it runs through out the whole powerband; it's not like I stand there and hold it screaming wide open like that for a minute or more...in my opinion it's not hurting it.

Don't know where it's engaging at yet, I was too focused on getting up the ramp and into the back of the van without ripping my head off to look down at my tach to see the engagement speed, but it definitely feels later than the Phazer...if I had to guess, maybe around 4000.

We'll see how it actually does in the snow, but if preliminary results are any indication, I'm hopeful it'll do well. But who knows? Maybe It'll bog on 6 inches of snow too.:dunno:...but I kinda doubt that.

I'm concerned about the weight of this thing as well, it feels like it weighs a ton. According to the factory manual this sled in stock form tips the scales at 522 Lbs (does not say whether wet or dry weight); with the addition of the extended track kit it's likely to weigh even more (although the lack of a battery right now saves a few pounds). I'm not looking forward to digging it out when I inevitably get stuck.

As far as speedo, just using the smaller drivers is going to drop the drive ratio. The vmax's were notoriously overgeared from factory also, so its very likely they moved up one notch on the driven cog.
Not sure what you mean by this, but will dropping the drive ratio by using the smaller 8 tooth drivers increase torque or lower it? And how might that affect the accuracy of the speedo? What do you mean by the Vmaxes being "notoriously overgeared" and "mov(ing) up on notch on the driven cog"?

And I wouldn't be surprised if the rear shock is shot (all of them for that matter), but the fact that I was able to make a huge improvement in the suspension with the simple addition of drop brackets and adjustment of the compression ring is heartening to me. I'll be happy if it can get me a few good days of sled time before the season ends. We'll see if it's worth sinking any more money into it further down the road... may end up selling it and buying a newer, better sled (finances willing).

And yes Doubleclutch, you get first dibs on the track extensions and track if I do decide to part it out (although you may want to pass on the track because of all the ripped lugs).:D

The fact that I've been able to get this dilapidated old sled snow-ready with just the relatively minimal amount of work and money I've put into it and it giving me an opportunity to salvage what has been an extremely dismal snowmobile season (what with all the mechanical issues with the Phazer and my van, and that wicked crash I had as well) is pretty cool in my book.

Thanks for all the encouragement and comments everyone.
 

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Premium Member
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5,737 Posts
think of the drivers on the driveshaft as you would the wheels on your car.
if your car is set up to run with 16" wheels and you put 14" wheels on, you will notice alot more torque/power on take off and the speedo will be off considerably since its calibrated for the 16" wheels.
by running the 8t vs 9t, you have effectively created the same affect, at a rate of about 1.12:1.(9 x 2.52=22.68, 8x2.52=20.16. 2.52 being the distance between the drive lugs based on your track. 22.68 divided by 20.16=1.12) all things being equal, lets say your sled with the 9t drivers had stock gearing of 21/37, or a ratio of 1.76:1. without regearing and simply adding the 8t drivers, your final gear ratio will now be around 1.97:1. (1.76x1.12=1.96). so your increasing torque or low end response, but loosing top end speed. and your speedo will be wrong as well. using the math formula, a reading of 100 with the 8t would be closer to 90 with the 9t.(100 divided by 1.12=89.2)fuel economy may suffer as a result of incorrect final ratios and clutching will be affected also.

most all sleds are overgeared from the factory, some as much as 10%, if not more. one of the easiest ways to get more "snap" from your sled is to simply regear. i assume that was the reference to the "one notch on the driven cog" was meaning dropping 1 or 2 teeth on the upper sprocket in the chain case or adding 1 or 2 to the lower sprocket.

hope the math lesson didnt cause too much confusion and maybe cleared some air. i should be able clarify any questions you may have.
 
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