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Pre-Heating Snowmachines?

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Pre-Heating Snowmachines?

Postby Permafrost » Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:31 pm

So it's 53 below zero today and I was thinking of going to the store for some groceries, we need something that is not frozen or canned. I know my old diesel truck will not start so I was thinking of other options. I don't want to take the track rig all the way into town because it only goes 10mph in these temps so I decided on the snowmachine. I have started it at these temps before by using a propane torch (used for sweating copper) to heat up the cylinders and a jump pack for the battery. I got it going after about 10 min but it seemed to be running rough at first, think I am doing some damage with these cold starts. It sounds better as it has been idling in the driveway for about 15 min at this point. It did make me wonder what others are doing to get their 4 stroke sleds fired up at these temps. and if they think they are doing any damage to them with the cold starts.

And before anyone starts in I do realize that everything I buy will be frozen by the time I get home, but sometimes you just need a change in diet even if it is just different frozen food.

National Weather Service charts suck!!! They do not go down any lower than -50 for calculating wind chill.
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Re: Pre-Heating Snowmachines?

Postby independentlurker » Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:50 pm

Perma, How can anyone on here give you advice??? As much as I have trouble with hordes of people, there is no way I would want to be in your situation.
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Re: Pre-Heating Snowmachines?

Postby 98dot6 » Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:05 pm

My ideas are probably too expensive or not practical or feasible, but in the summer time, would it be possible to build a non-heated underground storage building/bunker with a drive out ramp, or use a winch or come-along to pull your snow machine out of the underground storage building? The bunker could function for other uses as well (root cellar, ice storage, etc). I was just thinking if you could get your snow machine underground deep enough, perhaps it would not be as cold, so you might have less issues. You might also consider building a heated garage on to your house, and bring your snow machine inside to a heated area.
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Re: Pre-Heating Snowmachines?

Postby MoosePath » Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:36 pm

I have started mine at -40 by taking the plugs out and heating them with the propane torch then putting them back in and starting it back up. That has worked for me when I haven't been near an electrical outlet. The other thing I do when I am near an outlet is run an extension cord out to the sled take a cheap hair dryer lay it under the hood and let it run till it warms up the engine compartment. You can throw a moving blanket over the hood to help speed up the process.
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Re: Pre-Heating Snowmachines?

Postby oldasrocks » Tue Jan 27, 2015 5:45 pm

Add a small movable greenhouse hoop to Moose Paths idea. Build a lean to next to the house and install a port so you can blow heat out of the house on it? Do they make dip stick heaters for snowmobiles?
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Re: Pre-Heating Snowmachines?

Postby Permafrost » Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:56 pm

I have a shop at the house in town, but it is full of tools and projects in various stages of completion. At some point I will build a shop at the cabin but that is years away.

MoosePath, I used to take the plugs out of my old sled and heat the cylinders from the inside by putting the torch in the plug holes but that was on a 2 stroke sled. This is the first 4 stroke sled I have had, I got it for the gas mileage but I do not like the fact that it does not do as well in the extreme cold or the fact that it has no pull start backup. I had thought about putting silicone pad heaters (75W) on the engine & tranny but had not thought about a hair dryer. I am not sure my little Honda generator will run a hair dryer, they are around a 1000 or 1500 watts I think. It would work in town though.

Stir fry for dinner, change is good. Milk was slushy when I got home though, even with the insulated shopping bags.
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Re: Pre-Heating Snowmachines?

Postby MoosePath » Wed Jan 28, 2015 12:23 am

Permafrost wrote:I have a shop at the house in town, but it is full of tools and projects in various stages of completion. At some point I will build a shop at the cabin but that is years away.

MoosePath, I used to take the plugs out of my old sled and heat the cylinders from the inside by putting the torch in the plug holes but that was on a 2 stroke sled. This is the first 4 stroke sled I have had, I got it for the gas mileage but I do not like the fact that it does not do as well in the extreme cold or the fact that it has no pull start backup. I had thought about putting silicone pad heaters (75W) on the engine & tranny but had not thought about a hair dryer. I am not sure my little Honda generator will run a hair dryer, they are around a 1000 or 1500 watts I think. It would work in town though.

Stir fry for dinner, change is good. Milk was slushy when I got home though, even with the insulated shopping bags.

That's why I still have my Skandic 440 long track. It is a 2001 and has 13,000+ miles on it but it still runs like a top, has a primer and pull start. I just love that sled and do not want to get rid of it. Out at your cabin what if you were to fashion some kind of shed just big enough to fit the sled in and maybe a little extra space in front. When I would have a problem getting my truck started out at my cabin in sub zero temps I would get a bucket of coals from the wood stove and put them under the oil pan of the truck and wait about an hour and the truck would start right up. If you could put a bucket of hot coals in the shed with the sled about an hour before you wanted to use it that may be all heat you would need to warm the engine. I would find a nice flat stone to put down on the ground to prevent a fire, don't want to burn up your sled in the middle of nowhere.
Another idea would be to bring a bunch of those hand warmers that come in those pouches out to your cabin. Get a few of them started up and put them around the engine for a spell before you start it up. I have also had those reusable gel heating pads that have that little metal tab in them that you click and a chemical reaction happens and it gets fairly hot. I know I cannot keep it directly against my skin. Once the heat wears off and it solidifies all you do is boil it in water and it goes back to a liquid gel and is ready to use again. If you use either of the heating pad ideas it would probably be a good idea to throw a moving blanket over the front of the sled to help hold the heat in until you are ready to fire it up. Maybe one of those ideas will work for you. Good luck.
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Re: Pre-Heating Snowmachines?

Postby Permafrost » Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:39 am

I constantly regret selling my old Polaris but I needed to pull freight so I picked up a used 2010 Skandic SWT 4 stroke this year for pulling and fuel mileage, I had to sell the old one to afford the new one. I got a bravo at the cabin as a back up in case I need to get home but unless it is a emergency it lives out there. In town my truck will start to -30 if it is plugged in but after that it does down hill quick. I will be trying to make some room at the shop in town but I like to leave the track rig in there because it is my all season bug out rig and the other projects eat up a lot of room. I need to get something going at the cabin for cold starts because I fear I am doing some damage to the rings/cylinder wall when I crank on it at these temps. Luckily this year we have only had a few cold snaps, but I am looking to extend the life of this sled instead of just burning up the engine in a few seasons. I picked up some silicone pad heaters to put on the tranny and engine oil pan but that only works when I am in town with electricity. Do you know the name of those reusable hand warmers, I would like to pick some of them up and try that. I'll do a test in town with them & a blanket on top, check the temp with the temp gun to see what the results are. I have a few boxes the other ones that are single use, they hand them out constantly at work up here but I never thought to try them for heating a engine.

Thanks for the ideas. I try not to ride at these temps because with the wind chill it gets to like -100 or something, but sometimes it is unavoidable. Even if it is just for my sanity to avoid cabin fever.
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Re: Pre-Heating Snowmachines?

Postby MoosePath » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:14 am

The reusable heating pads that I have are from a drug store chain called Rite Aid but I am sure any chain drug store will sell them, probably you can find them in Walmart in the pharmacy section. Here is a link to Amazon to give you an idea of what I am talking about http://www.amazon.com/HEAT-WAVE-Instant-Reusable-Heat/dp/B000E48LVM They come in different sizes. I hear what you are saying about the price of snow machines, I cannot believe how much they have gone up since I purchased this one. And I am sure you probably feel the way as I do you don't really want to buy a used sled going back into the country where we use them. I have looked at those SWT, really nice for hauling freight but the price can make you cry. I need to get another one in the next year or so but I am trying to pay off other debt first so I can keep my 440.
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Re: Pre-Heating Snowmachines?

Postby john_arnold7 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:38 am

Check to see if they make a block heater for the motor. Not dipstick heater. Dipstick heaters only heat the oil. Letting the motor warm up 5 min will help it run better.
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Re: Pre-Heating Snowmachines?

Postby Naughty n Nice » Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:37 pm

I think you already answered your question before you even asked it.
Maybe the answer you were looking for was different then the solution you already had.
Is starting a engine at -50 degrees damaging the engine? It all depends upon the type of motor oil you use and the design of the engine. If it was designed to run at those temperatures and you were running a zero grade full synthetic oil - after a proper break in period with dinosaur oil, then no - you wouldn't damage the engine.

Everyones answer was excellent in my opinion..
I would find the side of the cabin with the least amount of wind and build a lean to that would expose the whole side of the cabin to the lean to and I would use some type of electric / wood heater to warm the lean to and I would insulate the door, ceiling and walls with R 36 - R 60 insulation and I would use pad heaters and I would drain the oil while the oil was still warm and I would take the oil into the cabin with me and I would pre heat the oil before I put it back into the engine before I started it.

Pre heating the cylinder with a simple propane torch - if you can get the torch to work at those temperatures is a good option, as is pre heating the inside of the cylinder with the torch while the spark plug is out of the cylinder and pre heating the spark plug.
I would have 4 spare sets of spark plugs on hand and a can of either - just in case and I would keep the fuel as warm as I could without stinking up the whole house. This new gasoline does some real funky stuff when it gets below zero..

Then I would worry more about things breaking in the extreme cold then anything else. Try not to hit the bumps too hard and try to stay warm while you are riding your sled to town..

Maybe you just posted this topic because you were bored and was looking for some attention..
Lord knows you wouldn't catch me outside at -50F let alone riding a snow machine!
We do it nice because we do it twice...
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