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How to Repair a Snowmobile Track

    Remove any track clips you need to replace with a large, flat-head screwdriver. Prying these off can be the worst part of the job, but there are tips online on how to construct a home-made clip removal tool if you have a lot of clips to take off. The one tool you definitely need for this type of repair is a clip installing tool. These are made in a variety of styles and can cost over $100 for a top-of-the-line device. The tool will basically mold the track clip to the track neatly and efficiently. Get the right type of new clips for your sled before you fasten them, and consult the owner's manual or ask the shop-keeper for proper model numbers and types of clips you'll need.

    Seal small holes and tears in a track with vulcanizing cement and/or baling wire. During this stage of the process, professionals use specifically designed tools and methodology. A snowmobile track is not a conveyor belt and has texture for traction. If a belt rips off completely, it could cause death or serious injury. Though the do-it-yourself project might result in a temporary fix, getting a new or used replacement track or hiring a track repair specialist are the safer alternatives. Vulcanizing cement and/or baling wire will only go so far if not applied properly with the right tools, but they have been used with success by some amateur repairmen.

    Consult with the vulcanizing cement seller or manufacturer to determine what material to use for best results and to get tips on application. This type of cement is used more commonly on tires, but it can be used for sled tracks. Baling wire sewn into the track tightly to close the tear is another quick fix that can be done with a large sewing needle and some basic understanding of creating strong seams with needlepoint work.

    Cut down excessive length on your track's lugs with a reciprocating saw. To get this repair underway, use two pipes and a saw blade's non-serrated edge sharpened on a grinder. The bottom pipe determines the length of the lug you want to end up with. This pipe should be held by one person firmly against the track while a thinner top pipe sandwiches the saw blade to allow for a straight-edge and consistent cuts for all your lugs.

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Tips

  • Professional track repair beyond lug-cutting, stud work, and clip installation costs much less than complete track replacement in most cases. A hot vulcanizing process is employed much like the actual manufacturers use to fabricate new tracks.
  • In addition to clips, the studs on a track should also be kept in good shape. These can be replaced using a track cutting tool, new studs and a few household tools. (see Snowmobile.com link below)
  • Shops that specialize in fixing torn, ripped, or seriously worn track can cut a track completely in half, lengthwise, and still fix it to look like new.

Warnings

  • A snowmobile can reach high speeds over dangerous terrain, and the track on it should be in the best shape possible to prevent accidents. If a track slips off, tears catastrophically, or suffers other severe damage it can throw the rider off, hinder braking, or result in a collision. Test out any repairs you do yourself in a controlled environment before you push the sled to its limits. Always leave more serious and involved repairs for professionals to guarantee your safety.
  • Brian Carroll, of Carroll Tech, specializes in track repair and does not recommend do it yourself patch jobs. "Most attempts at home repair have made matters worse," said Carroll. His company has been in the track repair business for 14 years.

Things Needed

  • Large flat-head screwdriver
  • Clip installation tool
  • Track clips
  • Vulcanizing cement and hardener
  • Baling wire
  • Large sewing needle.
  • Reciprocating Saw
  • Grinder
  • Two pipes

About the Author

Rich Bergeron is a writer, editor and webmaster with more than 10 years experience writing professionally for print and online publications. Bergeron currently runs unlimitedfightnews.com and has worked for newspapers and magazines including "The Patriot Ledger Newspaper," "Laconia Citizen Newspaper," "Vietnam Magazine" and "St. Anthony Messenger Magazine." He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Norwich University.

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