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  • Thinking of buying a sled

    Thinking of buying an older snowmachine, something cheap to use on winter hunts and an occasional trail ride. Maybe even a project machine that needs a motor rebuilt to teach my son how to do that. Any thoughts on brands to get, or ones to avoid? I've mostly looked at older polaris Indy and skidoo skandic. Looking more for utility sleds as opposed to racing or deep powder sleds. Obviously something that I can still get parts for would be important too. Any thoughts?
    Never count your days, but rather, make all of your days count.

  • #2
    Hard to beat a Ski-doo "WIDE TRACK" with a 550 fan cooled engine. I've owner five or six in the last 50 years. Rolled one about 2,000 feet down a mountain back "Palmer Creek". I hiked down expecting scrap. Picking up stuff from under the seat all the way down the mountain. It looked like it was going to roll clear across the Palmer Creek Road and down to the creek.

    I truly expected broken everything. Yes the windshield was broken in two pieces. Ripped the snowshoes off, and bent one of them. The machine ended up wedged in some alders not 15 feet from the road. I looked it over, after getting it upright. Stuck the broken windshield in the storage area, and bunggied it in. To my total surprise it started on the tenth pull. I let it idle for a few minutes, and rode it slowly home to Hope, Alaska.

    Never had to fix anything other then the windshield, rode that machine for four more years, sold it and bought another new Wide Track.
    Last edited by AGL4now; 01-21-2021, 23:16.
    "Essential......to Prepping for Survival, is to be able to segregate, what you think will happen, from what you hope will happen, from what you fear will happen, from what is happening".

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    • #3
      Personally I won't ride a Polaris. Ever since the days when I was building snowmachine trails for a living I've just noticed more of them being towed home than other brands. Just my 2 cents there. But for those who do ride them I always carry a tow rope. Scandics are good sleds for the most part. Getting parts for older sleds can be challenging. Depending on on how old it is and how many were made will determine the availability of parts. Utility sleds are fine but older Tundras, Bravos and similar really lacked in comfort and power. Not much for suspensions on those older sleds. If your back is in good shape and your not a big guy that might fit you ok. If you hit some rough trails you'll feel it for a week. The oilers on the older Tundras was a weak point. Most guys just run mix gas in them instead. Once you've found a sled your interested in more info could be given on that model of sled. I would avoid any racing type sleds or ones that are heavily customized. More likely to have issues with those type sleds. Utility sleds are good for putting around, ice fishing, hauling a bit of firewood etc.
      Last edited by kasilofchrisn; 02-17-2021, 17:11.
      "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

      "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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      • #4
        Originally posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
        Personally I won't ride a Polaris.<br/>Ever since the days when I was building snowmachine trails for a living I've just noticed more of them being towed home than other brands. Just my 2 cents there.<br/>But for those who do ride them I always carry a tow rope.<br/>Scandics are good sleds for the most part.<br/>Getting parts for older sleds can be challenging.<br/>Depending on on how old it is and how many were made will determine the availability of parts.<br/>Utility sleds are fine but older Tundras, Bravos and similar really lacked in comfort and power.<br/>Not much for suspensions on those older sleds.<br/>If your back is in good shape and your not a big guy that might fit you ok.<br/>If you hit some rough trails you'll feel it for a week.<br/>The oilers on the older Tundras was a weak point.<br/>Most guys just run mix gas in them instead.<br/>Once you've found a sled your interested in more info could be given on that model of sled.<br/>I would avoid any racing type sleds or ones that are heavily customized. More likely to have issues with those type sleds.<br/>Utility sleds are good for putting around, ice fishing, hauling a bit of firewood etc.<br/><br/>Sent from my S41 using Tapatalk<br/><br/>
        You might see an occasional broke down Polaris since that is what most people are riding. Stay away from Arctic Cat if you want to make it home. Sounds like a fan cooled machine would be a good choice for you. I would suggest looking at ones newer than 2008 or so to get the more modern riding position where it's easier to stand up to ride. Higher seat position and handle bars. Buy one that has been garage stored rather than one that has sat in the yard with the mud eating at the track while shrews chew on the wiring, and the sun bakes the finish. The seat will be water logged and turn to a solid block in freezing weather.
        Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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        • #5
          I'd recommend including Skidoo Expeditions in your search if you're looking at newer machines. I've rented a couple Expeditions over the years, I think a 2014 or 15, and just last month the 2021 xtreme 850. I'm not sure which or if all the older ones are fan cooled, but I believe the cheaper Sport versions shared the Skandic 550f engine and I'm fairly sure most of the recent ones have a fan (the 850 certainly did) along with hi-lo gears. I rather like the widetrack compared to a SWT on a Skandic (rented those too), it's easier to turn, floats well, and isn't like sitting on a Clydesdale which got uncomfortable after a bit.

          Just to reiterate, I've also been warned to stick with 2008+ models as the newer platforms have a better stance, but that probably means a better deal on older models. If you're shopping around and kicking tracks, I'd suggest watching this video it had a lot of great info on what to look for in a used sled: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1Hx7lsZWuc

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          • #6
            FWIW, except for a 8 year stint in Texas, owned sno-goes since 1972.
            - Until 2018, I had a few ski-doo's, a couple of Polaris, and a couple of Arctic Cats
            - In a fit of, something, I bought 4 new Polaris machines in 2018.
            - Prior to the 2018 Polaris, I wouldn't have touched them. Too many walk out experiences in the past with Polaris, but no problems in the 2.5 seasons on the current 2018 model Polari.
            - My Cat experience was very good and very bad. Put about 5,000 miles on each of the two I had. One of them I only required maintenance, the other one was the proverbial, ride an hour, work two hours sort of thing.

            Suggestions:

            - "cheap" is relative, but there's a lot of good deals out there on 2010+ machines;
            - Suggest Ski-doo or Polaris (based on my recent experiences, earlier models might not be so reliable);
            - The recent technology (even from the 2010 vintage) is, to me, just as impressive as heck. Heated grips, reverse, easy connections for additional electrics, suspension, etc. Leaps and bounds away from "permanently lubed" bogies and "handlebar gauntlets" ....which were the leading edge in '72.
            - I suspect that if one is handy enough to pull and inspect suspensions, gearing, chains, etc you'll find lots of viable options in the 2010+ sled used markets
            - The circa 500 / 550 fan engines in 2010+ 'Doo and Polaris machines seem to be bullet proof.
            - Don't get something that has been modded beyond either rail replacements or possibly a new can/exhaust. More in-depth mods eat into reliability IMNSHO.

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            • #7
              The electronic reverse is a must.
              Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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              • #8
                Thanks for all the responses. Many of these sleds are on my list of ones to look at. Was chatting with my old neighbor earlier today and he said he's got a mid 90s arctic cat Jag that he's had sitting for a while, ran when his kids were using it before, but may need a little work. Might be a good project for my son, when though it violates many of the rules y'all have noted here to look for. He didn't want it any more so he'd give it to me, so the price is definitely right. Any thoughts on that particular sled? It would mostly be used for caribou hills area, easy trail riding, and occasional winter hunt. Thanks.
                Never count your days, but rather, make all of your days count.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jmg View Post
                  Thanks for all the responses. Many of these sleds are on my list of ones to look at. Was chatting with my old neighbor earlier today and he said he's got a mid 90s arctic cat Jag that he's had sitting for a while, ran when his kids were using it before, but may need a little work. Might be a good project for my son, when though it violates many of the rules y'all have noted here to look for. He didn't want it any more so he'd give it to me, so the price is definitely right. Any thoughts on that particular sled? It would mostly be used for caribou hills area, easy trail riding, and occasional winter hunt. Thanks.
                  Those old machines though cheap, don't have much suspension. The rider position isn't anything like the newer ones. Your knees will be up and your butt down. They are difficult to ride standing up. But hey, the price is right. Before you plop your money down for a machine, do some checking. Every brand has years where they had problems. For instance Polaris 800 and 900 engines would self destruct in certain year models if you didn't do upgrades to them to prevent it. It only happened for a couple years before the engineers figured it out, but you don't want one of them that hasn't been bullet proofed.
                  Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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                  • #10
                    You may want to look at the Arctic Cat/Chat forums. Lots of information in many of the different forums including positives/negatives. I think building a project with your son is a great thing and as long as you are realistic with expectations. Good luck and please keep us updated.

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                    • #11
                      if its one of the older style sleds you can always but bar risers on them to make them a little more comfortable to ride when standing. The older type sleds that have a hood are much easier to work on i believe since you just lift the hood and its all right there.
                      I will never be a "Prostaffer" its not that I am not good enough
                      but its because I refuse to pimp products for free.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by kwackkillncrew View Post
                        if its one of the older style sleds you can always but bar risers on them to make them a little more comfortable to ride when standing. The older type sleds that have a hood are much easier to work on i believe since you just lift the hood and its all right there.
                        Bar risers do help on the older sleds, but the entire riding position is better on the newer ones, from the running board angles to the seat height and position.
                        Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jmg View Post
                          Thinking of buying an older snowmachine, something cheap to use on winter hunts and an occasional trail ride. Maybe even a project machine that needs a motor rebuilt to teach my son how to do that. Any thoughts on brands to get, or ones to avoid? I've mostly looked at older polaris Indy and skidoo skandic. Looking more for utility sleds as opposed to racing or deep powder sleds. Obviously something that I can still get parts for would be important too. Any thoughts?

                          stay away from any Polaris 550 fan cool won’t go into problems just google and read

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SmokeRoss View Post
                            The electronic reverse is a must.
                            I think the electronic reverse sucks, the machine I had with only gave you 45 seconds to backup

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hunter1951 View Post


                              stay away from any Polaris 550 fan cool won’t go into problems just google and read
                              That is only specific years d=same as the 800 liquid.
                              Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

                              Comment

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