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  1. #1
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    Default Make-A-Wish Sled II

    As John has mentioned in some of his previous journals, Make-A-Wish Sled II will happen for the 2015 Ride-In. It now seems like a good time to tell the story of how the sled came to be and how the build has gone and is going.

    Adam (Snoluver1) and I found the first Make-A-Wish sled build to be a very rewarding experience and I donít think we ever ruled out doing another. We sort of teamed up again when he did the engine work on a build I did last year. I think that just fueled the fire. We talked briefly last spring after John asked about the possibility of doing another and for many reasons we both knew the only answer was to give it a shot.

    We decided to do things a little differently this time and not start an early build thread. For one reason, we werenít sure we could pull it off and since this is the last Ride-In, there was no second chance. We felt a condensed version at the end or near the end of the build would still be of interest.

    I have a bunch of photos and as I can get them organized Iíll post a few at a time. Iím sure Adam also has some good ones (Iíve already seen a couple).

    We hope you enjoy it and with your help we can make the 10th Anniversary 2015 Ride-In hit it out the park.

  2. #2
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    Excellent! You guys did such an exquisite job on the TNT, I could only conclude that you guys were behind the current build. The pictures that John had posted in one of his earlier journals had your names written all over it without having to say who is doing it. Again, excellent looking, & I'm sure that the pictures do not equal seeing it first hand. I am looking forward to seeing it once it can make it here.-Mezz

  3. #3
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    I saw the spy photos, When and where can I buy tickets?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by olsmann View Post
    I saw the spy photos, When and where can I buy tickets?
    I plan to have a page setup later this week on the site to purchase tickets.

    Plus, we are working on some "touring" spots for the sled to be at in the next few months and you will be able to get tickets there too.

    -John

  5. #5
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    We did get most of the band back together. It would have been nice to have taken advantage of phazerpilotís skills again. He did an amazing job on the TíNT hood but the logistics just made it impractical.

    With all of lifeís twists, turns, and distractions, it seems like itís pretty tough to get one of these projects done in less than 6 Ė 8 months so when we decided to go ahead with the project we needed all the jump start edge we could get. I had the makings of the start of a 77 TX which (in my biased opinion) was a good choice anyway. The late 70ís TX models are some of the most popular and highly sought-after sleds in vintage circles.

    This is a great little sled: light, surprisingly fast, and, as Rupp Collector once said, they make great riders. Even if youíre not a vintage fan yourself you may know someone who is or who could enjoy having the sled. If I had a man cave garage, Iíd keep one in it all the time.

    In case you havenít had time to rummage through Johnís journals, here is an updated shot of the sled I took this morning with the bumper stripes and rear bumper added.


  6. #6
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    Wow, does that look great!! Keep the pics coming.

  7. #7
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    Wow! Very nice. Looking forward to buying some tickets. That would look very nice in my garage.

  8. #8
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    she is looking sweet.
    I am thinking 2x or better tix sales with this one

  9. #9
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    Great job fellas!!

  10. #10
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    I'll have to buy in on this.
    My first sled I bought was a '79 TX 340.
    Fun little sled to ride, untill the temps rose above 30.

  11. #11
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    So I am in the planning stages of places to try and showcase the sled up here prior to the Ride-In and am looking for suggestions from you all. I already talked to Don at the Mosquito and he is open to it, as long as it will fit through the front door (door mounted or not!).

    Keep in mind that the spot needs to have enough room for the sled, without causing too much disruption to the business. Also, it needs to be able to be moved in and out with relative ease.

    -John

  12. #12
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    She looks brand spanking new, nice job fellas!

    It is also for a great cause, hopefully we get some businesses to allow a stint to raise publicity and sell lots of tickets.

    I will be waiting for the online site to be up and operational. I would think something like this would be a great topic for an article in a local paper. If you haven't already, maybe issue a press release and get this covered in the paper or mag article? Perhaps it already is, but with all of the work that is going into this, seems like a no brainer!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Administrator View Post
    So I am in the planning stages of places to try and showcase the sled up here prior to the Ride-In and am looking for suggestions from you all. I already talked to Don at the Mosquito and he is open to it, as long as it will fit through the front door (door mounted or not!).

    Keep in mind that the spot needs to have enough room for the sled, without causing too much disruption to the business. Also, it needs to be able to be moved in and out with relative ease.

    -John
    Have you checked with Chad @ M&M yet? I would think he would not have a problem showcasing it like last years sled.-Mezz

  14. #14
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    Its glorious! Shut up and take my money! lol

  15. #15
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    Very Nice job guys! Does it have hot grips? lol. Keep me informed on how to purchase tickets by mail.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by olsmann View Post
    Its glorious! Shut up and take my money! lol
    X2.......
    awesome job guys!!!!

  17. #17
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    No hot grips Ė we might throw in a set of choppers.

    It is so good to see people fired up about the sled already! There is some good stuff to come, so stay tuned. In the meantime, letís turn the clock back a bit.

    Some of you may remember a similar photo from a little over a year back. These were two parts sleds I picked up at Princeton on a hot, dusty, August afternoon. Little did I know that they would combine to provide some core parts for the Make-A-Wish sled.



    One of the sleds had the most tore up chassis I have ever seen so believe it or not, this was the clear choice for the chassis.
    This is a sled only a mother could love.




  18. #18
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    OK folks. GET THEM WHILE THEY LAST! (I will get more printed out if the first 1000 are all sold).

    The page to purchase the raffle tickets for the sled is up and running.

    CLICK HERE!

    -John

  19. #19
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    got em

  20. #20
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    Man was that easy.bought tickets and had a receipt in seconds. Great work on the sled and a very smooth way of selling tickets.

  21. #21
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    Hey John,I have a meeting on Wed with a few venders. I hope to bring a bunch of auction stuff up next trip. Game on, who can bring more auction stuff than me? I challenge you all!

  22. #22

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    Just ordered my ticket. Can't wait to ride that bad-boy!

  23. #23
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    For orders of more than 10 tickets, do you just do multiple orders?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mspease View Post
    For orders of more than 10 tickets, do you just do multiple orders?
    Hi Mark.

    Yes, for more than 10, you will just need to do multiple orders.

    -John

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by longmxz670 View Post
    Just ordered my ticket. Can't wait to ride that bad-boy!
    It could happen. Think your odds are better than the average $200 pull-tab payout.

    Quote Originally Posted by mspease View Post
    For orders of more than 10 tickets, do you just do multiple orders?
    Didn't know the answer but I liked the question.

    A couple of shots of the early teardowns:

    My wife says I lack organization. I disagree. I think she just doesn't understand my system.



    The more stuff that comes off, the better it looks.




  26. #26
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    Since I just finished up my end of the project last night, I figured I would jump in and add some content. I don't have a ton of pictures, but I have a few to share. As Kelly stated, it's pretty exciting to see people getting pumped up about the sled!

    First off, we need to give credit where credit is due, and Kelly deserves a truck load of it! It seems I got off pretty easy with this project, as I was only charged with making the old girl breath fire once again. Kelly sent me the motor, clutch and carbs over the summer. I chipped away at some stuff here and there, but the big push has only been in the last few weeks or so.

    Kelly has a bit of a track record of sending me what he affectionately calls "Frankenstein" motors, so I have to admit I was a little nervous to see what we were going to have to work with. Truth be told, aside from 35 years of grime, this motor actually wasn't in too bad a shape.


    I measured exactly 0 run out on the crank. It's pretty rare to find a factory crankshaft without at least half a thousandths run out, especially a 35 year old one! That tells me that this crank has more than likely been trued at some point. Bearings were in good shape, so a thorough cleaning, some fresh oil and back together she went.





    The cylinders were straight and well within wear limits. Unfortunately, there was some scoring in both of them, so I sent them off to Millennium Technologies, for a fresh plating of nikasil. Once those came back, I dropped in some new slugs and got the top end back together.

    Last edited by snoluver1; 11-01-2014 at 09:01 PM.

  27. #27
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    The carbs and clutch were a little different story than the engine. They were actually worse on the inside than out. I think Kelly will have something special to share about the clutch, so stay tuned for that.

    I guess this pic is appropriate for the date. Pretty spooky in there!!!



    It took some elbow grease, but they did actually clean up just fine.




  28. #28
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    So here she is, ready to burn gas. Should be pretty much plug and play for Kelly. We have a rendezvous set up for tomorrow, to mate power plant and sled back together again.



    Last edited by snoluver1; 11-01-2014 at 11:55 AM.

  29. #29
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    I love these updates! It's getting me even more excited!! The engine looks great snoluver1!!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by snoluver1 View Post
    Kelly has a bit of a track record of sending me what he affectionately calls "Frankenstein" motors, so I have to admit I was a little nervous to see what we were going to have to work with.
    Oh, if everyone out there only knew how true this is. I think he has a landfill in his back yard just for my stuff.

    I did meet up with Adam in Mauston, WI today to get the engine and it looks even better in real life than in the photos. These 70’s free airs are just great looking engines. Even had time to do a little catching up and have a delicious fast food meal. On the ride back north it was a real treat to look in the mirror and see that engine sitting back there. Now I just have to get my act together and get it slipped the chassis. Have a few things left to do but as Adam said, it’s basically plug and play once I get at it – three mount bolts, two electrical connectors and a fuel line.

    This last series of photos should answer the question of why Adam is the only guy I would ever have rebuild an engine. In spite of what he says, he did not get off easy on this project. Without him, the project doesn’t happen. Engine builds of this quality take time (even without broken ribs) and they’re not cheap. If you've priced Nikasil lately you know what I'm talking about.

    Thanks Buddy!! You’re the best in the biz.

  31. #31
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    Kelly, your too kind! Lol

    Let me know when you want to build that 250 racer. I'm pretty sure that crate you made can self navigate to my house by now.

    ........will work for beer!

  32. #32
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    I donít understand how that crate hasnít met with some unfortunate accident in Illinois (like lighter fluid and a match).

    Over the course of the project we have made some changes/upgrades that we felt would make the sled a little better than the stock 77. Some were performance related, some were for appearance, and some were a combination.

    Some of you vintage junkies out there may have noticed that this sled has ďshovel headĒ skis which, I donít think Polaris put on TXís after 76 (but I could be wrong). Either way, I really wanted them on this sled because, well, I think they are cool and would give the sled a whole different look.

    The problem with these skis is that for some reason, you almost never see any for sale that are not still on a sled so when one of my main parts sources out in Idaho said he had three I snapped emí up and used the two that I thought were the best.



    If itís needed, I usually take my skis and mufflers to a guy that does the heavy blasting and while he is inexpensive, he is really about volume and has big equipment so I almost always ended up doing some touch-up in the harder to get at areas. These were just back from the blaster and before touch-up.



    After some sandblasting touch-up, and a few cycles of straightening, filling, sanding, and priming they were ready for paint. They do kind of look like blue salamiís.


  33. #33
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    I thought you couldn't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear? They look great Kelly!

  34. #34
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    A quick fast forward to tonight:

    I sent the original clutch along with the motor but I knew that saving it was a long shot so I wasnít surprised when Adam told me it wouldnít even make a good boat anchor.

    The closed face clutches are really at the end of their lifespan and I donít think anyone is making parts anymore so the hunt was on. Getting another closed face didnít seem like a good option so we both thought on it and independently came to the same conclusion.

    This was the solution: A Team Rapid Response clutch from Dirty Dawg Performance up in Monticello, MN. Itís already machined for the deep bore taper of the TX crankshaft and the guys up there tuned it specifically for the 340. A set of different inserts was included if someone were inclined to further play with performance.



    It was literally a bolt on. I think it looks like it belongs on that engine and will be light-years better in performance than the stock clutch.





    Also learned a valuable tip tonight: If youíre trying to agitate paint and youíre holding the paint in one hand and a beer in the other, shake the paint. Otherwise, youíre the only one agitated.

  35. #35
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    Huh, so those carbs needed filters? Perhaps that is why we always used to get those fun little backfires that would blast your chest with flames on our colts! Who knew?

    Nice job guys! Can't wait to get it up north to ride it around.....er.... display it at businesses to sell tickets!

    -John

  36. #36
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    Wow impressed with the outcome of this. Tickets Bought!!!!!

    We recently bought a few of the exact same "parts sleds". A 440 and a 340 that we are restoring to be a 340 racer for me. We got a ways to go, but this just proves there is hope for a great final outcome. Well done fellas!

  37. #37
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    That is one sweet looking engine! Never hold paint and beer at the same time. LOL

  38. #38
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    Man, the clutch and K&N's really drive home the cool factor! It looks awesome Kelly, and I think who ever ends up with this sled will be pleasantly surprised when they hit the flipper.

  39. #39
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    Got my ticket. Always wanted one of these, fantastic job, someone is going to be one happy camper.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by megan600 View Post
    We recently bought a few of the exact same "parts sleds". A 440 and a 340 that we are restoring to be a 340 racer for me. We got a ways to go, but this just proves there is hope for a great final outcome. Well done fellas!
    Based on some of your previous posts, you know race sleds. It will be a good one.

    By the way, I pulled er' over a few times in the chassis tonight - good spark in both cylinders. We like spark.

  41. #41
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    Have some other obligations over the next few days and won't be able to get much done on the sled so I thought I'd throw a couple of items on here tonight.

    Engine is bolted in and does it ever change the look of the chassis.



    Speaking of chassis, these go back a few months:

    These chassis almost always have some degree of sag in the running boards so the first step is to run it through my running board straightening process. As you can see, it's very complex. When the chassis was finished, I put fishbone braces on this sled because I think they look great and provide some needed support for the boards.



    After straightening, degreasing, power washing, and preliminary sanding, it's looking better.



    Then comes a whole bunch of sanding and filling. I use a product called "metal2metal" for any filling that is needed on bare aluminum. It bonds like crazy, finishes well, and doesn't absorb moisture.


  42. #42
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    I sure wish I had your talents! I'm trying to figure out how many tickets to buy. Looking forward to your next post!

  43. #43
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    Thanks Mark but talent might be a bit of a stretch. I will take credit for being extremely stubborn and sometimes that pays off in unexpected ways.

    Since I'm back from the land of Bob and Doug Mckenzie, I'll finish off the chassis photos.

    Primer and some sealer



    More sealer



    and finally, paint




  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiroule View Post
    Based on some of your previous posts, you know race sleds. It will be a good one.

    By the way, I pulled er' over a few times in the chassis tonight - good spark in both cylinders. We like spark.
    Spark is definitely a good sign!

    Thanks, i know drag sleds...the vintage ovals are new to my wheel house, but learning as we go. Guess similar concept right I'm enjoying following the pics from your build. We are quite a ways behind your progress, but it'll get there!

  45. #45
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    Yep, similar concept....go fast, cross the finish line first

    One change that I felt would be a performance improvement was to upgrade the braking to a 79 caliper unit. The original 77 unit had the older puck-style pads while the 79 unit has pads that are more like an automotive pad.



    Being a larger unit overall, it just seems like it would have a little more stopping power, not to mention itís a much better looking unit. In the end it caused some problems, more on that later.



    Sometimes parts are where you find them. The brake bleeder screws are for a Harley Davidson motorcycle (which is why there is a pair) and the fuel line pickup is for a Kawasaki dirt bike. Pretty much perfect matches for the originals, plus the bleeder screws have a built-in check valve which makes bleeding a piece of cake. If I'm excited about bleeder screw check valves, maybe I need to get out more.


  46. #46
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    Very nice job guy's!! (Again). Certainly will get a bunch of tickets sold for a "new" snow machine!

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    Thanks Freeziní and others. Very nice to hear that people like the sled.

    Well itís purring like a kitten. OK, maybe not a very scary comparison but this motor absolutely rocks. Just touching the throttle you can just tell that the horses want to run. Did pull it out to give it a little sniff of snow.


  48. #48
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    Man those are pretty motors! I can just hear it purring.

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    Kelly, that is an awesome machine. Even though I am not a Polaris man, I would be proud to drive that down the trail, knowing the effort and time you have put into it. You deserve a standing ovation.

  50. #50
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    Looks like your getting close to the finish. I just bought my tickets. It really looks awesome. Nice job!

  51. #51
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    Ready for a new rider.....







    John, we're all taking note of this mileage


  52. #52
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    No problem. When I am done, I will just put it on a jack stand and run it in reverse to take the miles off.

    Something I learned from a movie!

    -John

  53. #53
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    Amazing restoration, Kelly! Thank you for sharing the progress with us.

  54. #54
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    Man, does that bring back memories! Great job guys, the mileage matches how it looks.

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    HECK YEAH!!!
    She looks so purdy sitting in the snow! Awesome work Kelly!! Congrats on a job well done. (I'm giving you a celebratory cheers from behind the screen right now)

  56. #56
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    Thanks guys - I will be having a mini-celebration tonight myself - think it will involve hops and foam.

    Consider myself very lucky that I actually get to test ride it. Couldn't resist a little lawn de-thatching today.

    I do have a few more "not quite there" photos I'll continue to post that show it (slowly) coming together.

  57. #57
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    Fantastic job guys, way better than new!!

    Bradzoo

  58. #58
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    that looks awesome, i enjoyed watching you bring it back from the dead as much as reading the commentary. some funny stuff in them posts.

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Administrator View Post
    Huh, so those carbs needed filters? Perhaps that is why we always used to get those fun little backfires that would blast your chest with flames on our colts! Who knew?


    -John
    Hey John, just saw these over on vintage sleds. 1973 colts. Guy says he'll take a 100 bucks for both.
    .....just sayin'
    Attached Images Attached Images

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by timo View Post
    that looks awesome, i enjoyed watching you bring it back from the dead as much as reading the commentary. some funny stuff in them posts.
    ThanksÖ..Sometimes you just have to see the humorous side.

    Brad (Bradzooooo) has given me some excellent tips along the way, one being how to make a jackshaft puller using a socket, a stack of washers, and a long bolt. Iíve been driving a desk way too long to come up with something this simple and effective. If it had been my design, it would have been over-engineered, needed a manual, and probably had a safety recall.

    Bradís solution on the other hand, works perfectly.


  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by snoluver1 View Post
    Hey John, just saw these over on vintage sleds. 1973 colts. Guy says he'll take a 100 bucks for both.
    .....just sayin'
    It's tempting, but will have to hold off until I stop trying to keep so many plates spinning!

    -John

  62. #62
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    Backtracking a little here.

    Neither pan on the original sleds was really worthy of this project. One was a busted up fiberglass version and the other had some mystery holes cut in the side panel Ė possibly for side pipes.

    A fiberglass reproduction was always an option but I really wanted a stock plastic pan. There are a couple of versions of this pan. Some have hand holds in the front, some donít. Iíve been told that Polaris settled on the Centurion version (without hand holds) as a replacement for all models. Fortunately I was able to get a really nice stock pan from a fellow up in Babbit, MN and I did notice on this pan has two other exhaust outlet drill center marks stamped, one of which is for the 500 Centurion.

    Itís obvious that even back then they were looking for ways to build a lighter sled. Out of curiosity, I weighed the pan Ė 7 lbs. Now that is light. I almost hate to call them plastic because these things are unbelievably durable. Even after several decades this pan is still very flexible.

    (I did paint the rivets later)





    After the dash support, tank, wiring harness, and bumper are mounted, itís starting to look like a sled again.


  63. #63
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    Wish you would have said something earlier Kelly I could have helped more with parts, I have a brand new long seat cover that I bought by mistake for my short seat that I think would've been the right one for that sled, since that one has the different tank. It sure does look nice

    Bradzoo

  64. #64
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    I really enjoy these occasional updates! Don't stop.

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    Well Brad, itís kind of like the old stand-up joke about aging: The memory is the second thing to go, canít remember the first. I completely forgot about the seat coverÖuntil now. I definitely could have used it. Who knows though, the need might come up again.

    Yes, I do have a few more shots of different aspects of the build. Itís funny though, a lot of the time you just donít think about taking photos so you actually have to make time for it.

    These are hot off the press:

    The last detail: Added the pre-filters. Could be a lot of snow in the air this year.



    The sled is definitely getting the rock star trailer treatment Ė no sharing the trailer with other sleds. Kind of a VIP thing I guess (or is it VIS).




  66. #66
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    Thought you guys would enjoy this link that I found over on Snogoer from December 1977 regarding Polaris and the I500.

    http://www.snowgoer.com/snowmobile-n...test-run/1119/

  67. #67
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    Where is the sled off to Kelly, John's? You can drop it here if you need a place to keep it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gary_in_neenah View Post
    Thought you guys would enjoy this link that I found over on Snogoer from December 1977 regarding Polaris and the I500.
    Thanks for the link Gary! What an excellent (and timely) article. No question, the 340 is a great engine. The first nine places in the 77 Winnipeg-to-St. Paul 500? What a coincidence that a fresh 77 340 will be the hands of a new owner at the end of January.


    Quote Originally Posted by mspease View Post
    Where is the sled off to Kelly, John's? You can drop it here if you need a place to keep it!
    Sorry Mark, the sled has been moved to an undisclosed location and is being protected 24/7 by two vicious guard dogs.

  69. #69
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    OK, as many of you may have read, the sled is at Johnís and yes, Millie and Huck are the guard dogs but they can be vicious I tell you. Donít make eye contact.

    The sled is looking good. We are confident that it will live up to its reputation as a high performance vintage sled.

    This is a good time for me to say thanks to all of you that have bought tickets or are planning to buy a ticket or two (and I will continue to say so). All of you supporting the project by spending your hard-earned dollars are making a difference. We would love it if you would post here when you've bought a ticket or two. Very cool to hear from people.

    This is a little side-bar to the build.

    I had a nice 76 tach but it has a different scale orientation than a 77 and it just didnít look quite right with the 77 speedometer. Since I couldnít find a matching 76 New Old Stock (NOS) speedometer the only choice was to refurbish a 77 tach that I acquired somewhere (no idea where or when). The problem was that the needle and center were faded and the bezel wasnít in very good shape.

    I picked up a couple of vials of fluorescent gauge paint (yes, you can actually buy this stuff). I bought red and orange and mixed them until I was pretty happy with the color match.

    I knew all those arts and crafts courses I took in college would pay off someday. Not only did I learn brushing skills but also how to navigate a Michaelís store.



    As far as the bezel, I (carefully) removed the bezel I had from an extra NOS speedometer. Once the bezel was installed on the 77 tach, it looked pretty close to new.


  70. #70
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    I must have been tired when i made the post last night. I used very poor wording when I said "supporting the project". I should have said "supporting the cause" (which is what I meant). It sort of gave the impression that some of the ticket money may be going to cover build expenses. I think most of you know that is not how it works. In fact, I doubt if Make-A-Wish would even allow it. Just wanted to make sure I haven't confused anyone.

    I did mention NOS last night and I was lucky enough to find a bunch of NOS stuff for this sled. These are new parts that have never been on a sled and some of which are pretty rare. A lot of this stuff comes from old dealer inventories that have been bought out when they went out of business.

    Here are a couple of good examples of hard to find stuff: A gas tank bracket and a pair of leaf springs (I had already sanded these). The seller had two sets of leaf springs and I can't believe i didn't buy both at the time. When I called him back he said he sold both sets within 20 min. of posting the ad. Just dumb luck that I happened to be on-line. Curiously, I was at work.


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    Quote Originally Posted by skiroule View Post
    This is a good time for me to say thanks to all of you that have bought tickets or are planning to buy a ticket or two (and I will continue to say so). All of you spending your hard-earned dollars are making a difference. We would love it if you would post here when you've bought a ticket or two. Very cool to hear from people.
    skiroule,

    I am taking your advice above. I just purchased 20 tickets cuz I want that thing! With Thanksgiving tomorrow, I'm very thankful for many things and I also love helping out such a great cause, especially in it's last year. I would like to challenge those that can, to purchase some tickets now, so we can blow last year's total away! Don't put it off, it's very easy to do and takes less than a minute with PayPal.

  72. #72
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    Setting the bar pretty high there Mark but I'm betting someone will call you on it, whether they admit it or not. Will pick up a ticket or two myself - maybe more. Believe me, it won't reduce anyone's chances of winning.

    As long as I'm here, I'll post a couple of build shots.

    The rear suspension ready to be assembled:



    The track drivers were actually in pretty good shape but I pressed them off and reversed them anyway. It seems like 95% of the wear (or more) occurs on the front side of the drivers so reversing them adds quite a bit of life and it I think it helps reduce track wandering on the rails.


  73. #73
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    Still full from Thanksgiving.

    I love this photo. It is a shot of one of the starting waves in the 76 Winnipeg-to-St. Paul 500 and is from Brian Nelsonís photo collection. Ironically, Nelson won the 76 race on a 76 John Deere 340 Liquidator Ė the only year the Liquidator was produced. He must have really kicked the Polaris beeís nest because, as Garyís linked article stated, Polaris sleds took the first nine places the following year.



    One place where saving weight didnít seem to pay off was the steering linkage. This was a common problem with the stock steering linkage (I had a straight one so this one was just for show).



    Iím sure it would have been easy for a typical machine shop to machine a heavier one but I had to take the budget conscious approach. I found a length of 6061 aluminum tube that was the perfect diameter to make a sleeve and drove it on. It is definitely stronger than the stock version.


  74. #74
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    "Nelson won the 76 race on a 76 John Deere 340 Liquidator" I could be wrong Kelly but it looks like a John Deere in this picture, third from the far end. Not saying it's Nelson's but the hood looks like a J.D. to me.

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiroule View Post
    Ready for a new rider.....

    John, we're all taking note of this mileage

    This picture reminds me of how many speedo covers we went through on our 1976 TX 250. When you pull started it, sometimes the handle would slip out of your hand it would fly back in and slap the speedo cover and crack it badly. We must have broken 3 or 4 of them!

  76. #76
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    I could see where that would happen with the T-handle, especially if one were wearing mittens. Of course, back in those days we probably a little less careful than we should have been. Just speaking from experience.

    Sharp eye there Gary. It is Liquidator. It seems like John Deere pretty much went for broke in cross country racing that year and they were well represented at a lot of races. The photo below is from a Park Rapids, MN race.



    Iíve read a number of articles on the Liquidator. It was one aggressive looking sled but not particularly well suited for the general public. It did not like to go slow and it was surprisingly heavy for the day. The specs list it at 500 lbs. But it was fast and tough and that was the key in cross country races.

    Iíve seen one or two running around at Waconia the last couple of years. As you probably know, Nelsonís Liquidator is on display at the Snowmobile Hall of Fame in St. Germain, WI. Only 600 were ever built so they bring some serious money Ė one sold recently for 10 grand.

  77. #77
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    Just bought a ticket. I would like to say thanks to all the people putting so much effort into this great cause!

  78. #78
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    Thank you Mr. Dragon for buying a ticket right out of the gate! I’m impressed! Also, welcome to the party.

    A number of people have asked about the value of the TX. I think it is just human nature to be curious. I can tell you that a 77 340 TXL was listed on the vintage sleds website this morning for $3900 and was described as being “in very nice shape”. It was sharp and the liquids may or may not command a slightly higher price than the free airs (depending on buyer preference) but given the condition, a fresh engine, and updated clutching I would say the Make-A-Wish sled is in the ballpark.

  79. #79
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    A quick photo from a much warmer day than today.

    This is all the ďrunning gearĒ ready to be installed. The NOS leaf springs were actually for a 79, which I wanted because the spindle saddles are thru-bolted. In 77 they had kind of a funky crimped on saddle mount which tended to crack over time due to the flexing of the leaf. The thru-bolting is much better.

    Donít think Iíve mentioned the track before. Itís a Dr. Mario performance track built by Don Soukup in Sturgeon Bay, WI. Itís very strong but also very light. Iím guessing here but Iíd say at least a 30% reduction in weight compared to the stock track. I canít believe how little rolling resistance this track has, which should equate to a little more speed and accelerationÖÖÖif youíre into that sort of thing.


  80. #80
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    With the sled comfortably at home at the Mosquito, this is a perfect time to say thanks to:

    You sled fans out there - for continuing to snap up tickets. Without you, the sled build would never achieve its real purpose.

    Adam - for making the grueling run from IL this weekend to do the final tweaks on the motor. Watching a skilled mechanic work is really a treat (Notice I said ďwatchingĒ and not ďhelpingĒ).

    John - for picking up our lodging tab this weekend. It was a very generous thing to do. Good move to not offer to pick up the beverage tab though.

    Steve & Bonnie - for letting me stay at their Lac La Belle Lakeside Cabin free of charge when I brought the sled up in November.

    Don, Donna, and the soon-to-be new Mosquito owners, Shelie and Andy - for once again serving as primary hosts for the sled. This is a big commitment on their part and by providing a location to show the sled, they are a huge factor in the success of the project.

    As John mentioned, the sled is running great after Adamís work on it this weekend. When John wasnít looking I jumped on it and took it for a little joy ride. Paired with the Team clutch, I canít believe how hard this 340 pulls, especially through the mid-range. This is a fun sled.

    You probably wonít see these in the Journal. This is a man that is obviously enjoying his work:




  81. #81
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    Kelly,

    I want to thank both you and Adam for all you have done for this project as you guys have done the real work on this, we just buy tickets. A special thanks to you Kelly, for the extra effort to post all of these updates and making this thread so much fun to follow! You, my friend, are a good man.

    Mark

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    Thanks Mark, your check is in the mail.

    But seriously, thanks and be sure to stop in and check out the sled. In fact, anyone that gets up Mosquito way should swing in and take a look. Besides, where else can you get a genuine Mosquito burger?

    Iím hoping the updates do tell the build story and show that, within the limits of our resources, we did our best to build a sled that would be worthy of the raffle and would appeal to people. Hopefully the updates might also provide some useful information for someone considering a sled restoration project, even if it is not this particular model.

    Speaking of whichÖ..

    Iím not sure how this happens, maybe itís a factor of time or just carelessness but these dashes often have starter rope groves. I found a product called Evercoat Multi-Fix that is awesome for repairing these things. It is a two part epoxy repair material that works on multiple ďplastic-likeĒ substrates and can be sanded/primed/painted when cured. This is a dash I had started to repair for the sled but didnít want the third hole in the center panel so I repaired the original candidate, which actually had worse grooving but was correct for the sled.



    I also found a satin finish clear lacquer sold by the Eastwood Co. called Diamond Finish that is excellent for knocking down the gloss when painting things that should have a finish somewhere between flat and high gloss. I use it for a lot of stuff now, dashes, tanks, pans, etc. When finished off, painted, and clear coated, the dash looks pretty close to factory new (notice that the sled still had the 76 tach at this time).


  83. #83
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    amazing detail.

  84. #84
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    I just purchased 5 tickets.

    the money is going to a good cause, so I thank you for the chance to help

    Kirk600

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    Thanks Hardwater and way to go Kirk!

    Both hoods on the restoration candidates were junk and the one donor hood I had wasnít all that good either. Fortunately for me, Iím only a couple of hours away from Recreational Engineering , in Eden Valley MN, a company that I consider to be the best reproduction TX hood source in the country. The hoods come with the correct paint scheme for the year, all holes pre-drilled (in the right place), and all openings cut/routered.



    I do glass in the hood latches because thatís the way they came from the factory and it avoids putting rivets in the hood, which gives the hood a much cleaner look.



    As for the graphics, I think Intech Graphics up in British Columbia is the only way to go. They use high quality 3M material for their decals and the reproductions are dead-on. Their decals are also very forgiving to apply: Spray a little soapy water on the surface on which the decal is to be applied, remove the decal backing, spray the adhesive side of the decal, apply, position, and squeegee out the excess water/air bubbles - done.

    Where it gets a little tricky is when the decal must cover a compound curve, which is the case with the 77 side decals. It can be done but it takes patience and concentration (Iím a little lacking on both). The trick is to heat that area of the decal slightly with a hair dryer, stretch, apply a little more soapy spray, heat again, stretch, and so on. This continues until all of the wrinkles are worked out and the decal fits the curve. In this photo you can see how much Iíve stretched the decal to get a correct fit (it was even with the hood edge when I started). Once itís dry, the excess is just trimmed off.

    And yes, that is the dining room table.


  86. #86
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    It's one thing to use up the whole garage but now the dining room table? LOL You have a very understanding wife or are the divorce papers being drawn up?

  87. #87
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    Nah, she's crazy about me. Just this morning she said: "It's really great having you around on weekends." I thought she was serious.

  88. #88
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    Just finished cleaning up the 440 and doing a little maintenance so I was in the mood to add a segment.

    While I would like to claim that I was trying for a ďperiod lookĒ in the video by introducing some imperfection in the quality, it was really just a thread that was stuck in my helmet vent. My apologies for the film quality but my filming budget was cut to the bone Ė no re-takes.



    - - - Updated - - -

    Always forget to add: Upgrade the play to 720pHD

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    Man, Kelly, is there anything you can't do? Restore an old sled to perfection and work with new technology to produce a movie. I bet you can cook and clean to.

    All kidding aside, the sled looks fantastic. Can't wait to see you trio next season.

  90. #90
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    Very nice Kelly! I'd love to see you guys coming down the trail. Very cool.

  91. #91
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    Good one Jon, I do cook and clean but under cross examination Iíll deny it.

    One thing I neglected to mention was that itís probably been awhile since John has been on a short track (much less a cleated short track) and we gave him all of about 5 minutes to get the hang of riding one again and then it was game on. With Adam riding the Big Dog, he pretty much set the pace. My 340 is getting a little tired (original motor) and on more than one occasion I had erí pinned to the bars and was losing ground.

    To his credit, even though he professes to have ďno special skillsĒ it wasnít long before John had the sled on rails. With these sleds itís a subtle touch. He did well.

    P.S. the trio that Jon is referring to is a 79 250 that I stumbled across. If I can bring it on home, I'll have the full 79 set (250/340/440). To tell the truth, I'm pretty excited about it.

  92. #92
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    Yeah, sorry about that pace thing Kelly. I was having so much fun I kinda forgot about the other 2 guys with me! Lol It's technically all your fault though. Your the one that gave me the keys!
    Last edited by snoluver1; 12-15-2014 at 07:09 PM.

  93. #93
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    I could see where that could happen. Donít say I didnít warn you about these sleds. Iím sure you noticed in the video that as soon as we gave John a chance to lead on the Make-A-Wish sled, he was gone in a heartbeat. If I hadnít shortchanged him on gas, weíd have never caught him.

    I need to say a BIG thank you to Lori from the Wildlife Refuge Cabins for making a billboard/sign to use for displaying the sled. This is a great addition and will help people that arenít familiar with the Ride-In (hard to believe) know what it is about. Thanks Lori!!!!

    Thought I would post a few shots of the seat refurb. I had done a couple of Don Soukup seat cover installs before so I was familiar with the process. These are vacuum/heat formed seat covers so they have no seams and are very easy to install. Plus, they are a perfect match for the original.

    The problem with the original seat was that there was some pretty severe deterioration of the foam and some areas that needed patching. This was beyond my ability so I took the new wood and trunk, foam, and seat cover over to see Denny at Markís Upholstery on Concord St. in good olí South St. Paul. He not only did a full restoration of the foam and the patching but as long as it was there I just had him put the cover on as well. It came out beautiful.







    I really wanted to salvage the trunk door shown in the previous photos because it was a TX door but it was pretty faded out. This was where another Bradzoo tip came in. He told me that I could bring back the color by using a heat gun and it really works. Itís almost like painting when you get the hang of it. This is what it looks like after the heat treatment. This is the same door and it is not painted.



    Once I finished painting the lettering with a paint pen (very cool little device), it was ready to install it. People often make fun of us engineers but sometimes we bring it on ourselves. This was my first attempt at installing it. Even I had to laugh myself on this one. A real genius at work warning.


  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by jr37 View Post
    Man, Kelly, is there anything you can't do? Restore an old sled to perfection and work with new technology to produce a movie. I bet you can cook and clean to.

    All kidding aside, the sled looks fantastic. Can't wait to see you trio next season.
    I can vouch for his cooking! He's kind of like a boy scout in that he is always prepared for nearly every situation.

    But the sled work is incredible.

  95. #95
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    There are actually several good cooks in our core riding group. We are never lacking for excellent food and there is nothing like a great meal after a day of riding.

    Hope everyone is having an enjoyable Christmas!

    I was rummaging through the remaining photos for something to post tonight and decided that these were right for the occasion. These were taken the night I fired up the sled for the first time and I can tell you it was a good feeling to see and smell vintage engine smoke. I have to confess, I inhaled.




  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiroule View Post
    I have to confess, I inhaled.
    LOL. You make me laugh Kelly!

  97. #97
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    You obviously picked up on my somewhat sarcastic "Slick Willy" comment. One thing about ol' Bill, he was never boring.

    37 years of grime on a motor plate.



    A little scrubbing and polishing and it's ready for the motor.



    This is only loosely related but I thought it was a cool photo. This was taken just south of Lac La Belle in early December on a moonlight ride I took the night before we did the final tuning on the raffle sled. Perfect night: cool, completely still, and a full moon. Not a sound to be heard. A pretty special night.


  98. #98
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    That is one cool picture! That jump in the background looks very tempting. It looks like someone had been checking it out on foot.

  99. #99
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    Menbers:
    I have an extra trail sticker, up for grabs. I don't want anything for it ( can mail it to a member ) all I ask that some one that might want it could make a small $25 donation to the JD Make a wish sled II or anything ( worthy of a donation ) connected w/ this forum as a small thanks.

    PM me if interested, I will leave it up for 1st dibb's to the JD community.

    mjk1

  100. #100
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    Sticker has been taken by garyl62 , with a close second by tomx.

    Just an update, Gary please send into so I can mail out today.

    Thanks
    Mike

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