Do these 5 things before aligning the skis on your snowmobile

Align the skis on your snowmobile the right way by avoiding common mistakes and sticking to these best practices.

Do these 5 things before aligning the skis on your snowmobile

1. Don't start with the dam bar

If you’re trying to figure out how to align the skis on your snowmobile, the first thing you should remember is to refrain from using the dam bar. Before you align the skis on your snowmobile, you need to make sure the front end of your snowmobile is tight. The dam bar doesn't take into consideration bent skis, spindles, and worn parts. You don’t take the tires off your car to do an alignment, do you?

2. Tighten your sled's front end

The front end of your sled is loose, whether your snowmobile is new or not. The first step in aligning your snowmobile skis is to tighten this up. If you check your spindles, you can move them around with the weight of the sled. In order to fix this, remove the spindles and the spindle bushings. Stand the bushings up and cut a slit down one side of it about 1.5 millimetres wide. Do this to all the bushings, both top and bottom.

3. Grab a coffee can

The next step is to cut a coffee can into four strips, each one inch by two inch. Install the lower bushings back in the trailing arms with the coffee can on the outside of the bushing. Install the spindle in the trailing arm. Depending on how worn out your bushings and spindles are, this will determine if the spindle will fit. If it does not, remove the bushings and trim ¼ inch off the coffee can shim and repeat until the spindle slides very tightly up in the bushing.

When both the bottoms are done do the same for the tops. When doing the final installation, the most convenient place to put the slit for the bushing is at the outer rear corners so the grease that leaks out can be easily wiped off.

4. Remove rust

At this point, the front end of your snowmobile should be tight. If it’s still not, check your radius rods. First remove your bushings and collars and clean up any rust on them. Cut the same slits in the bushings and do the same shim trick to make the collars fit tight. Next, install grease fittings in all the rod ends. This requires a little more cleaning, but makes for a tighter front end.

5. Move to camber adjustments

At this point you need to make camber adjustments before you can do the rest of the alignment. Some people use the bar to do this or an angle gauge on the trailing arm. This doesn't take into account the rock you hit on the side of the trail last week, which is why using a level on top of your ski can be a good idea.

Once the front end of your snowmobile is tight, you’re ready to go ahead and align the skis on your snowmobile.

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