Some tips to get your sled running like new

Published in the November 2015 Issue

So you rode the last day of the season and parked your snowmobile with gas left in the tank and now it won’t start and/or run.

What are you to do?

Gone are the days where your father had a machine parked for years on end and he could go out at anytime and fire up the machine and it would run great without any problems. Fuel is getting worse and gets less stable over time. I’ve seen problems as early as two weeks after someone put fuel in his tank.

I have made the decision to run non-ethanol fuel in all my toys. I have found a pump in Centerville, UT, and will continue to support that gas station as long as it sells non-ethanol fuel.

There are a few sites on the Internet that show gas stations that offer non-ethanol fuel. One such site is

If you choose to run regular pump gas, I recommend checking out and using their ethanol stabilizer/fuel treatment with every fill-up to prevent fuel separation, which can cause engine damage.

Dealer vs. Owner Repair

So if you do have a fuel issue with your sled, the first decision is dealer vs. owner repair. Of course you can choose to drop off your sled at a dealership—it is pain-free and recommended you have your machine checked out at least once a year by a professional, preferably twice, for winterization and summerization. Probably about 70 percent of snowmobilers are hands-on types who like to work on their own equipment so the rest of this article is geared to them.

The first thing to do is if your machine has a battery, get a charge on it. If you’re not getting at least 12.6 v after charging, consider replacement.

Second, get the old fuel out of the tank. Chances are it’s bad by now. On some machines it’s easy to pull the tank and flip it upside down. Shop suction fluid removal tanks work great, if you have one, or a mere siphon hose, preferably one with the ball valve in it, is another option. Get out as much of the old fuel as possible.

On carbureted models, you’ll want to drain the fuel from the carbs by removing the float bowl drain screw located on the bottom of each carb. Allow each carb to drain and pay attention to how the fuel looks. Hopefully the fuel glows and looks like the fuel you removed from the gas tank. Thick goo is bad and if no fuel flows, chances are the needle and seat are stuck shut, which will require disassembly and cleaning.

Once all the old fuel is removed, add a few gallons of fresh fuel along with one of my favorite additives, Redline Complete Fuel System Cleaner. I dose it strong but you can use the recommended dose for shocking the system.

Start Machine

Try to start the machine. If the machine starts, keep the rpm high to quickly get the fresh fuel/cleaner circulated through the fuel system. Listen for misses or hesitations. In most cases following this procedure, minor fuel injector filth will be cleared out. In some extreme cases the fuel injectors may need to be pulled to be professionally cleaned/rebuilt.

If your carbureted model runs with the choke on, but dies when the choke is flipped off, usually it’s a sign the carb pilot circuit needs to be cleaned, which requires removal of the float bowl.

The jet will need to be removed/cleaned and air blown through it, as well as the rest of the circuit. If the machine doesn’t run right, the next step would be to pull the carb rack and inspect for clogged jets/circuits, stuck needle and seat, stuck slide and/or general internal carb filth.

Most people will get after it with some cans of carb cleaner and a compressed air nozzle, being careful not to spray it on the rubber parts, which causes them to swell. 

If I were the one doing the repairs, the complete way would be to disassemble the carbs and put them in a hot ultrasonic cleaner bath. Some of the more reputable shops have this expensive equipment. Anyway, you submerge all the parts in a hot bath of cleaner. It perfectly cleans every jet air and fuel passageway into the carb body and the brass comes out with a bright shine as good or better than new. This machine fixes all carb issues associated with bad/old fuels left in your sled.

While you’re working on the sled, it’s a good idea to inspect the spark plugs, remembering tan is good, silver is bad. If they’re bad, install fresh ones. 

Hadock is a technician with Renegade Sports  

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