Spring

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It’s spring again, which means I’m going to be spending time in the garage getting things running.  Last year, spring wasn’t too bad.  I started by rebuilding the top end of the snowmobile before I put it away, then just changed oil on the quads.  It wasn’t long after we got going in the warm months though that I had to rebuild the top end on the kid’s dirt bike, then her quad (which is still sitting in the garage waiting to get put back together…oops).

The past summer I bought a used 2013 arctic cat hdx.  Given it’s year, you would think it must be in pretty good shape, but this machine must have been used by the original owner every day.  The machine had 8k miles on it…which is pretty damn high for these.  I was pretty sure the dealer I bought it from said he went through the fluids…so I didn’t think too much about it and just beat on the poor beast.

Coming in to this spring I was at the bare minimum going to need to change oil.  Some people do that a lot more often than I do.  I go x2 a year if they see heavy use.  Manuals and various tech articles say the interval is suppose to be 50hrs…but given the way we ride that would be every few weeks…I’m not down with that.  I use a good quality oil (shell rotella t6) that will stand up a little better than cheap shit.  I should start swapping the filers more often.  I think if a guy does that in leu of changing oil constantly you’ll be fine.

I also decided to change the gear oil in the differentials and flush the coolant system.  Neither is a hug deal, but there is a little bit of work involved.  In this lovely piece of hardware, I had to pull off the skid plats on the bottom as well as the driver’s seat, back rest and plastic cover under the seat…just to change the god damn oil!  Normally all of this would be 1/2 a day worth of work.  Given that I was trying to figure out where the filter was and how to get it off..it took me a full day.  I finally got it accomplished…but I am still waiting on a cap for the radiator.  I think it’s generally good practice to replace the radiator cap when you flush the system.  I did have a blow out last year, coolant shot all over the place from the cap.  I’m hoping it was just a weak cap.  Going through the system also brought to my attention that this machine does not have an overflow tank.  There is just a over flow line that runs down the side of the radiator and on to the ground.  I am going to rectify this situation by adding a reservoir on my own, but that can wait till it’s a little warmer.

Also last summer, my winch shorted out.  A couple of the wires rubbed together and burnt the damn thing down.  I thought it was just wiring that needed to be replaced…but after swapping all of that out, then the solenoid, then the switch…it became apparent the winch had also suffered damage.  I picked up a superwinch, which has been fine for me on the kodiak.  I had a 3500lb winch on there, but decided since I was going to switch, I would go for a larger 4500lb one.  There was one locally at tractor supply from a manufacturer that I wasn’t familiar with for 150, but I decided to go with the superwinch for 220.  I decided the 70 bucks was worth the name brand reliability over the unknown.  Stuck in the bush, I’m not going to give a shit about the money if it means pulling me out of a mud hole.

What I did not notice when I ordered this winch was that it is the larger bolt pattern.  The HDX has a sort of universal mount on the front by default from the factor.  It worked slick with my old winch.  This new one I can bolt in no problem but the fairlead will not match up to any bolt holes or easily install.  These winches come with a shelf type mounting plate.  It will bolt to the factory mounting bracket with 2 bolts, then the winch sits on a “shelf” of sorts.  The fairlead will bolt in to those 2 bolts that mount the plate to the frame.  It seems obvious that one would make those bolt holes slightly closer together than the 4 bolts from the winch to the frame… The problem with this situation is I don’t feel it’s as strong as if the winch was four bolted right to the mounting bracket on the hdx.  After most of a day of trying to figure out how to bolt this thing together, as well as running wires and mounting switches…I finally drilled another hole for plate and bored out yet another hole and mounted the plate with the fairlead to the factory mounting bracket.  I also had to widen out the hole that the cable runs through because it’s a bit off center…then after I came in for the evening I found a 35 buck front end piece that will mount on the lower brush guard to which you can mount the fairlead…jfc.

I also had to align the front wheels.  For some reason each of them was pointing outward.  I assume this happened getting beat on in the bush, but I’m not sure exactly where this happened.  It also would stand to reason that something should be bent or completely out of shape for this condition to exist…but I didn’t see anything that looked warped.  To line up the wheels I used tarp straps to connect garden rakes to.  This left me with 2 long wooden handles, that are pretty straight, which I could use to measure distance from the front of the wheels compared to the back of the wheels.  I’d adjust things a little then measure.  When these distances are equal, the wheels are aligned.  It’s hillbilly and weird, but it was cheap (free) and worked.

I’m currently waiting for a skid plate and new mounting screws to arrive.  I had to take one off when the winch wires melted and I didn’t put it back on.  Over the course of the winter it seems to have disappeared.  When I took the middle skid plate off to change oil I stripped out a few screw heads…so I ordered some more.  Hopefully this gets here before the annual easter ride.

I wasn’t able to get my bike worked on during this time.  I had originally planned to change oil and flush coolant on that…but the quad kept me busy.  I should be able to get it done fairly easily in a 1/2 day or so…but I thought the quad would take me 1/2 day too.  It’s been too cold to ride it any significant distance though so maybe I can get it done over the easter break.  I also got another drive belt to put on, but since that will involve removing the rear tire I might wait till I have to change tires before that is replaced.

I haven’t been as stoked up to work on things this year as I have been in the past.  Maybe the novelty has wore off.  I have the kodiak to get out yet, I need to change out bearings in the front differential, change oil and straighten the front wheels in that.  I’m not sure what, if anything, will need to be done with the boat…and I bought that jet ski last year that I’d like to get running and hopefully make a few bucks off.

Lots of stuff to do, but not a whole lot of motivation.

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