Proper track tension is critical for the overall performance of your sled. While many novice snowmobiling enthusiasts think that track adjustment is a complex procedure, it’s not that complicated. In fact, even a person with little mechanical aptitude can master how to do it with proper guidance. In this article, you’ll find all the information you need on adjusting snowmobile tracks, so read ahead.
Snowmobile Track Tension Tools
To perform a snowmobile track tension adjustment, you’ll need the following tools:
- Floor jack
- Gauge (track tension tool)
- Tape measure
As you can see, there are only a few tools required to check your sled’s track tension, and you’re likely to have them available in your garage.
Raise the Snowmobile Off the Ground
To conduct the snowmobile track adjustment and inspection, you should follow these steps:
- Ensure the track is warmed up.
- Hoist the sled securely.
- Carefully elevate the vehicle to the desired level using the jack.
- Rotate the track manually and check it for damage.
If you happen to see any breakage, refer to the official service center. However, if you don’t notice anything abnormal, you can proceed to the next step.
Depending on the sled, you should find a bolt on each side to loosen the rear axle. Loosen both bolts. Check the tension to see if the track is too tight or loose, then slacken the adjuster bolts. Back both jam nuts off and spin them out of the way.
How to Tighten the Track
How to adjust a snowmobile track? If it needs tightening, turn the bolts on any side of the axle clockwise using a ratchet and socket. Be attentive and watch the track closely when tightening – it will rise up toward the slide. This signifies that you’re nearly done. To gauge the track’s tightness, push down on it.
Measure the Track Tension
When measuring your snowmobile’s track tension, it is always best to refer to the manual issued by the manufacturer. This is because the required distance and pressure may vary depending on the track or sled model.
The general recommendation is to take a measurement when the track seems to be adjusted closer to proper tension, 16 inches ahead of the rear idler shaft on the track.
That’s the spot where you have to push down on the track, putting approximately 10 pounds of pressure with 3/8 to 1/2 inch of distance between the track and the rear slide.
The easiest way to perform this procedure is with the help of a track tension tool. If you don’t have one, you can also estimate 10 pounds of pressure, or use a fish scale. They are readily available at all sporting goods stores and can be picked up for $10-$15.
Remember to perform the procedure mentioned above on the other side of the sled as well.
Align the Track
If the track is shifted, you will need to align it. To check the alignment, use the track windows in the back. If the rails are evenly spaced on both sides, it doesn’t require alignment.
However, if it is offset toward a certain side, do the following:
- Slacken the adjustment nuts.
- Then, tighten the affected side as much as required.
- Start the engine and apply a small amount of throttle.
- When the track of the sled turns for at least five revolutions, stop the engine.
- Allow the track to come to a complete stop without using the brakes.
- Reinspect the alignment again until the procedure is complete.
How tight should a snowmobile track be?
The ideal snowmobile track tightness is approximately 1-1½ inches. However, the exact slack depends on the sled model. Refer to the tightness measurements and the force needed in the manual issued by the manufacturer.
How do I adjust the track alignment?
Loosen the adjustment nuts and tighten the affected side. Start the engine with the help of a small amount of throttle. After the track turns slowly at least five times, stop the engine and let it come to a full stop without hitting the brakes. Repeat until you achieve proper track alignment.
What happens if the snowmobile track is too tight?
If the track is too tight, it will squeal, which is bad due to wearing a flat spot. The ideal position is when the track barely creeps at idle whenever the snowmobile is idling on a stand.
How to measure the track tension?
While instructions differ from model to model, typically, it is advised to measure track tension when the belt is adjusted closer to the proper mark —16 inches in front of the rear idler shaft.
There, push down on the track with about 10 pounds of pressure and approximately 3/8 to 1/2 inch of distance between the track and the rear slide.