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Thread: A question for old timers:

  1. #1
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default A question for old timers:

    I recently bought an old Polaris 340 Sprint for my 8 year old. It's light, short, and in in reasonably good shape- almost like a Bravo (but with more power and without the shakes). It even has electric start, but it has one real problem: sloppy steering. When the handle bars are turned one way or the other, the skis may not be be pointing in exactly the same direction! I have tightened up the (easier) to get to tie rod ends and tightened the ski mounts but it is still pretty sloppy. This is a trifle dangerous, because he doesn't have as much control as he needs to have and he almost hit a tree on a trail we took today (not fast).
    Am I missing something here? Anything else I can do before I take it into the local shop at $80 per hour?
    Thanks in advance for any advice.

  2. #2

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    Something is worn or torn out. On the older Polaris, it was a common thing to find the lower steering post bracket to be found torn out of the tub. It is not hard to pull the engine and find out what is going on. Use a penlight or maglight to look at the specific items, as some else moves the handlebars back and forth. A more focused light, allows you to better examine each item, instead of a drop or flood light. The other thing they were prone to, was a loose or worn part (bell crank), where it is splined (welded on some) onto the bottom of the steering shaft. But often times, it is a combination of several things, all adding up to a lot of slop. In that case, you just keep fixing them, until you're satisfied. Also, look at the bolts and bushings on the ski's and make sure the skags are still in good shape and the fastening studs are not broken.
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  3. #3
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    Time for new tie rod ends. They just develop way too much slop over time. The holes at the bottom of the steering shaft can get wallowed out also. While you are at it, order new wear bars for the bottom of the skis.

    It's easy work to do, but a bit time consuming. No need to take it to the shop. Take digital photos as you go and put it back together the way it came apart.

    Here is a link to the parts break down..

    http://www.ronniesmailorder.com/fich...d+Sprint+E%2FS

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    I would hold the skies down and move the steering to see what loose. A lot of times itís the tie rod end. I used a socket and a hammer to fix it.

    I'm not a old timer, just trying to help.

  5. #5

    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by Rutting Moose View Post
    I'm not a old timer, just trying to help.
    On Edit! Me too.
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
    ~~Abraham Lincoln~~

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Well thanks guys

    You confirmed my suspicions. I would rip out the engine to get to the bell crank if I had a garage, but I don't think I want to lay around in the snow busting my knuckles. At least I know what I'm in for--- probably 3 hours plus parts at Verbas. Hopefully, they'll have some used parts

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    Hello! Skis should not be pointing in the same direction when at full steering lock. The inside ski has a smaller turning radius than the outside ski. Steering geometry 101, boys.

    If there's slop in the skis, identify where it comes from and fix it. If the alignment is incorrect, get a 5/8" steel dowel and align the skis. If your 8 year old bounces off trees while riding a 500# machine? It probably has to do with the physical inability of an 8 year old to control an adult machine. See the disclaimer on the sled's stickers.

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    Just a note, when you do this alline the ski's.

  9. #9
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Alright Pid, ease off

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    Hello! Skis should not be pointing in the same direction when at full steering lock. The inside ski has a smaller turning radius than the outside ski. Steering geometry 101, boys.

    If there's slop in the skis, identify where it comes from and fix it. If the alignment is incorrect, get a 5/8" steel dowel and align the skis. If your 8 year old bounces off trees while riding a 500# machine? It probably has to do with the physical inability of an 8 year old to control an adult machine. See the disclaimer on the sled's stickers.
    Of course I'll get it fixed Pid. That's what this thread is about.

    We're sticking to open snow on lakes for the most part and going about 10 mph. Only one little stretch of trees to go through. All my kids were riding full-size machines by age 6 or so without any kind of an incident or accident. That's how we got around in the village. My older boys were hunting and ice fishing, even helping me haul firewood with their machines by age 10. Don't assume that I have him out on a extreme trail conditions, as that is not the case. Nor does the machine weigh anything close to 500 pounds.

    Anyway, thanks for the tip; I realize you are right of course about the geometry, though I did not take that class.

    I appreciate the input Pid.

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    If you have good steering in deep snow and little or no steering in shallow snow or hardpack, you may need to increase sky pressure. Most manufacture set up snowmobile with very little sky pressure so the skies are ease to turn. The problem is the snowmobile will not turn.

  11. #11

    Thumbs up 340 class small machines

    These are great machines to restore with your son ,a lot of folks are looking for them for projects .Great bonding. After restoring a lot of older machines I realized most of all the steering parts are worn out . Check steering shaft bushings also . Its real easy to put a throttle limiter on the cable. After you get the steering tighten up all you need is a strait 2X4 to do the alignment.

  12. #12
    Member Jktimm's Avatar
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    Default Great little machines!

    I love the old Sprints, and have owned five different ones!
    They were one of the most under-estimated machines ever.
    They have no chaincase, and the direct drive is bullet-proof.

    Almost always the steering slop is in the ball joint at the bottom of the steering shaft.
    They try to use a jam nut with a back up cotter pin, but they still work loose.
    It's a bit of a reach, but an open wrench with a needle-nose vise grip will turn
    the nut the 1/2 turn it takes to tighten it up. No need to pull motor.

    By the way, I think it's a great choice for an 8 yr old!
    Low top end speed, and very reliable. Just my two cents worth...
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  13. #13
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Thanks jkt

    Quote Originally Posted by Jktimm View Post
    I love the old Sprints, and have owned five different ones!
    They were one of the most under-estimated machines ever.
    They have no chaincase, and the direct drive is bullet-proof.

    Almost always the steering slop is in the ball joint at the bottom of the steering shaft.
    They try to use a jam nut with a back up cotter pin, but they still work loose.
    It's a bit of a reach, but an open wrench with a needle-nose vise grip will turn
    the nut the 1/2 turn it takes to tighten it up. No need to pull motor.

    By the way, I think it's a great choice for an 8 yr old!
    Low top end speed, and very reliable. Just my two cents worth...
    I appreciate the info, and the vote of confidence on the machine.
    Not sure what you mean by "open wrench with a needle-nose vise grip...". How do you use them together?

    I'm guessing that the Sprint is the predecessor to the Star Lite of the early 90s (we had one of those, but it didn't stand up to abuse near as well as the old Bravo we also owned).

  14. #14
    Member Jktimm's Avatar
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    Default Yes and No...

    Predecessor, yes, but the Star Lite had a chain case and was geared to go faster (or get better fuel economy.) You won't catch me say a negative thing about the Bravo! Probably the BEST snowmobile ever produced, in my opinion. Tundra LT was number 2. The thing I like better about the Polaris Star, Sprint, Cutlass, etc. was that they were a full size machine. I'm a pretty big guy and always feel funny on a Bravo.
    Anyways, I think it's a 9/16" end wrench to tighten the jam nut, and the vise grip to grab the other end of the ball fitting to keep it from turning. I think an end wrench can also get it, but has to be presented at precisely the correct angle to grab it. Anyways, that's the way I would do it, rather than remove the motor for a 30 second repair.
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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I bought two Stars about 7 years ago for $400. My kids rode the snot out of them. My son Justin went on a Snowest forum ride in Broad Pass when he was six with one of them. He went everywhere the big boys went and had a blast. He had several 75+ mile rides on that sled that winter and the next couple winters. Not bad for a young kid. Eventually his broke to the point it wasn't worth fixing, but the other one is still running as a loner sled for friends that come over. My girls have Indy Lights now and my son is on a 500.

  16. #16
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default To those who lent advice on the old machine...

    ... whether constructive or critical (yes, even you Pid) I will be handing out rep. Thanks again.

    Post note:
    I was told I gave out to much rep in 24 hours, so jkt and Akres, I'll have to get back to you later.

  17. #17
    Member Jktimm's Avatar
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    Wink No problem sayak!

    I'm not in this for the immediate glory, in fact if I'm not revered until I pass away, that will be fine, so take your time!

  18. #18

    Default Ski alignment...

    I read a couple posts reminding about ski alignment but nobody chimed in with the method(s) that they use. I always shoot for a 1/8" tow out on the front w/ a bungee cord (not too tight) across the ski handles. This gives a very comfortable ride at high speeds w/o the darting around. Even with tight steering, a towed in set of skis will still dart and be hard to control.

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    Hey, I wasn't trying to be critical. Just commenting from the perspective of having been there with an 8 year-old on a full-size sled. A 340 Polaris, no less. Thank God for good helmets! But soon enough he'll be 18 and you'll be trying to keep up. I know about that one, too.

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