Proper track tension
Track tension and alignment are essential adjustments to every snowmobile. This prevents excessive wear and increases driveline efficiency (more mileage and top end!) Start with tension and finish with alignment.
1. Raise the sled with a jackstand to get the track off the ground. I like to do this with a warmed-up motor and track that has been run a bit prior. If not, spin the track for a bit to get it stretched out if it’s been sitting.
2. Now take a look at track tension by examining how low the track sits at the lowest point. Ski-Doo has recommended specifications of 13-19 lbs. of down-force and 1.26” of distance between the track and bottom of the slider shoe (hyfax). My technique has always been the top of the track clip (clip with 90-degree side) even with the bottom of the hyfax. Easily done anywhere when on a trip with very few tools. Tracks stretch, especially when new, and need to be tightened after a few hundred initial miles and then periodically after that.
3. To adjust track tension, remove the rubber covers from the two rear axle wheels. There is a slot in the edge of the rubber cover for a wide flat blade screwdriver, so you don’t damage them. Technique: I put these in my pocket if cold outside to keep them pliable and easier to reinstall.
4. Loosen the rear axle bolts on each side with a 16mm socket. I use two ratchets with 16mm sockets and loosen both bolts simultaneously because the bolts are in the same internal shaft and one may come loose before the other and spin the shaft.
5. Now with a 10mm socket adjust the adjustment screw on each side of the sled evenly to set track tension as specified in Step 2.
6. Once track tension is set, run the sled and rotate the track a few revolutions and let it coast to a stop (no brake – it can pull the track out of alignment). Measure with a feeler gauge or something you can use as a gauge (I’ve used two stacked quarters before in the field) and check gap between the side of the 90-degree track clips and hyfax edge. The goal is to be even on both sides.
PRO TIP: As you tighten a tension bolt, the track will move closer to the hyfax. As you loosen, the track moves away from the hyfax. I look again at the track tension visually and decide which side I want to adjust to make it even. Do this in quarter turn increments, spin the track a few revolutions and recheck. Adjust as necessary.
7. Tighten the rear axle bolts and reinstall your rubber caps and that’s it!
PRO TIP: This is also a great opportunity to rotate the track and inspect for any damaged lugs or bent studs if studded. I will not ride with a bent stud because the bent stud can act as a lever against the ground and will lip-up the head of the stud on the inside of the track. This can bang continuously against the idler wheels until it takes chunks out of the rubber or completely removes the rubber on the wheel. One last note: Dull studs are just dead weight. Replace as necessary. I keep a bag of extra studs and backer plates for just that reason with a few in my tool kit that I bring along on sled trips.
Finally give to your Ski-Doo snowmobile a like a new look for the other half of the season! If you have exhaust stains, we recommend to use the XPS All Purpose Cleaner and Degreaser. (ONLY IF ACCESS TO WATER). Also to give back the shinny showroom finish that your felt for, use the XPS Quick Detailer, it will at the same time leave a protective coating that will repeal dirt, mud and dust.