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Thread: The Namesake

  1. #1
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    Default The Namesake

    It took a few soul-searching sessions (and more than a few Lake of the Woods Brewing Co. ďChannel MarkerĒ citrus ales) to make the decision to go public with this project. Success is never guaranteed, but in the end, I figured that Iím only really risking a mildly bruised ego if it canít be completed as planned.

    The subject of this go-around is a 73 Skiroule RTX 440. This was a somewhat sentimental choice, as I owned the 72 version of this sled back in the day. It was a major leap from my 68 Johnson in terms of styling and performance. While it wouldnít equate to todayís sleds, it could be ridden faster than common sense would dictate.

    The RTX that ultimately became the base chassis for the project was originally purchased as a parts sled. I bought this sled from a guy in SE MI (on ebay, no less). He contracted a second guy to deliver it to a third guy in the Twin Cities, who agreed to store it until I could get down there to pick it up.

    Like a lot of sleds of this vintage, sheís a little rough around the edges.





    I have been nibbling away at this project for a while now so will be able to start providing some updates in the near future on how I got to where Iím at.

  2. #2
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    Sweet!! Another project finally! After following your Chaparral restoration,and how well it turned out(Better than new for those who didnt follow)Can't wait to see the progress on this one! Thank you.

  3. #3
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    Welcome back! Looking forward to following another restoration.

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    Nice find Kelly!

    I sure wish we lived closer to each other. It would be an honor to be your apprentice and learn the way of the sled restorer Jedi Knight!

    Looking forward to being able to follow your progress!

    -John

  5. #5
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    I'm glad you decided to go public with this. I know I'll be following along. Can't wait to see the progress!

  6. #6
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    skiroule, looking very forward to your play by play, you are certainly a master and a magician at your craft! CANT WAIT!!

  7. #7
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    Very Cool! Looking forward to it as well. The transformations you perform are spectacular to say the least & is well worth following. One of my younger brothers had one of those back in the late 70's, the thing was an animal, when it ran. I can't remember if he ever figured it out or not, but it was ahead of its time in styling. Looking forward to your new project. -Mezz

  8. #8
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    I appreciate the votes of confidence! Iím always a little apprehensive about how things will work out. I will say that you guys give me a little too much credit. If you have a can of WD-40 and an impact wrench, anyone can go a long way on one of these projects, although a couple of sandblasting setups is a huge plus.

    Thereís a bit more background to this project. A few years back, I had made an earlier purchase of a different RTX, which looked pretty good cosmetically and was supposed to be a project sled but it didnít take long before some things didnít seem right. For one, I couldnít get the track to run centered without being way looser on one side.

    When I finally tore it down, I discovered the real root of the problem. At some point, the sled had sustained a pretty massive impact to the suspension. This impact snapped both rails and tore the front suspension shaft mounts out of the tunnel. Due to the suspension setup, this damage wasnít obvious until you really dug into it. The rails and the mount points had been re-welded but who knows how accurately this was done.

    In addition to potential welding errors, the rails were distorted in multiple directions. If you look closely at this photo, you can especially see this in the rail on the right.




    I suppose I could have attempted to just replace the suspension but at this point, the whole chassis was suspect so I decided to just wait until I found another restoration candidate.

  9. #9
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    Before I get into the meat of this project, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all you members and, of course, our Administrator for your support on these vintage adventures. In spite of my tendency to downplay it, these projects do require patience, some degree of ability, and most importantly, commitment. There are bad days where all of these are tested to the limit and on those days, itís the encouragement I receive from all of you that help me back up and take another run at it. So again, Thank You!

    With respect to the subject sled, since it was an on-line purchase and when I finally did pick it up, I needed to make a quick, one day turnaround trip to the Twin Cities, I didnít really have a chance to really look it over until I got it home. I have to admit that, at first glance, I had to really squint to see the potential.

    I knew the motor needed work but I didnít realize it had been pulled until the fellow storing it handed me a heavy item wrapped in plastic and said ďhereís your motorĒ. Turns out, it was just the bottom end. The rest of it, including one badly burned piston is all in here:


  10. #10
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    Quote from the movie Apollo 13;

    Gene Kranz:
    "Let's look at this thing from a... um, from a standpoint of status. What do we got on the spacecraft/Snowmobile that's good?"

  11. #11
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    Good One Gary.....My thoughts exactly.

    Actually looks better in the early teardown stage and yes, there is a dead mouse in the last shot. From the look in his eye, it was not a good way to go.




  12. #12
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    At least it looks like everything came apart! That's step one right there....

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    I showed this to my 13 year old. He wants to look at all the older threads that Skiroule has posted. Is there a way that I can make him an account that would allow him to read posts, but not post himself? I really don't trust him not to post if he's in my account. He can be opinionated at times, but he likes to look at anything that has to do with tearing apart and putting back together. He is currently best at the tearing apart stage.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by WorkHardPlayHrd View Post
    I showed this to my 13 year old. He wants to look at all the older threads that Skiroule has posted. Is there a way that I can make him an account that would allow him to read posts, but not post himself?
    With only a few exceptions, Iíve used third party image hosting to embed images, which allows non-members like your son to see the photos without logging in. There was a stretch during the Chaparral build where I was searching for a new platform because Photobucket decided to block everyoneís shared photos and hold them hostage until they paid a $400 ransom. They eventually relented and allowed the photos to be seen free of charge but watermarked them all, reducing the quality of the photos.

    As a non-member, your son would have a problem with any of the photos uploaded from a PC but he should still be able to see 95% of the photos in the vintage build threads. Valuable lessons, good and bad, are learned by tearing things down.

    Quote Originally Posted by xcr440 View Post
    At least it looks like everything came apart! That's step one right there....
    Yeah, as is usually the case, the second tear-down goes better than the first. Seems like there is always one thing though were it gets personal. In this case, it was the chain case bearing. With the limited space, I couldnít apply any real force with a blunt object to separate things. Eventually, I came up with this goofball device to either push the bearing off the shaft or out of the chain case (or break the chain case). The bearing popped out of the chain case before anything else gave so my plan worked Ė this time.


  15. #15
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    So glad to see this Kelly! I look forward to it. Hope all is well.

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    Clever thinking there, got to love ingenuity at its best! -Mezz

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mspease View Post
    So glad to see this Kelly! I look forward to it. Hope all is well.
    Thanks, weíre doing OK so far. For a variety of reasons, Iím able to spend a lot more time in the shop so weíll see if that pays off in progress. Mezz, I usually take the brute force approach to things but sometimes you have to take advantage of the laws of physics.

    I suspected that the drive sprockets were bad and my suspicions were confirmed, doubt if they would have made one turn of the shaft under load. Looking at the pile of teeth, Iíd say itís about a 2.52 pitch.


  18. #18
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    Chassis teardown complete, let the sandblasting begin. Luckily, I was able to get at this earlier in the fall before the snow flew. Not the most sophisticated operation but I am able to recover about 80% of the blasting material and reuse it after screening it. When I find a photo of the results, Iíll add it later.


  19. #19
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    I love these old projects and to see just how much the technology has changed over the years! You do nice work Skiroule, I always enjoy watching the progress.

  20. #20
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    Yes this is going to be awesome!! Thank you Skiroule!

  21. #21
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    Thanks, hoping the project will live up to expectations.

    It took a few sessions to get every nook and cranny blasted but it was mostly done in this shot. One of the obvious issues with the all steel chassis is rust-through, especially if it has been sitting out in the weeds for a couple of decades. This one was pretty good with only some minor rust in the reinforcing plate at the end of the tunnel, which could be easily repaired with metal filler.



    If anyone has the impression that I have some kind of high dollar shop operation, this should cure that impression. I use this inexpensive hopper setup from Harbor Freight for all of my outside, big part blasting. Itís not as fast as a big commercial setup but itís also not as harsh. I have pushed a lot of blasting material through this thing and have (literally) blown through a couple of steel nozzles. Luckily, for as crude as the gun is, the nozzles are replaceable and I discovered that common steel spacer/sleeve stock fits perfectly and is readily available at most hardware stores.


  22. #22
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    My Dad used to catch all his blasting material.... I screened waaaaay too much sand when I was younger! Nice job - following.

  23. #23
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    Glad to see you're doing well Kelly and still at it. I wish I had more time to do these sort of things. I finally broke down and sold my vintage sleds, but I sure enjoyed bringing them back to life! I will keep an eye on here for updates.

    Happy Thanksgiving,

    Kirk

  24. #24
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    Kirk, I actually saw the ad for your sleds and while I was a little bummed that they were for sale, I figured you had some fun with them and they most likely will be well taken care of by their new owner.

    More than one manufacturer made some use of roll pins to hold the drivers in place. It works but the pins and the driver/shaft holes drilled for the pins are carrying all the load that the track puts on the shaft. The pins usually donít break but the driver holes often start to wear, become egged-out, or lose chunks of aluminum around the holes. Sometimes the pins actually fall out and Iíve even seen shafts break right at the point where the hole is drilled.

    I took the drivers to a local marine prop repair guy and had him flow new aluminum into any damage and any holes that were out of round. This took a couple of passes because I only had him do one side at a time so I could use the other side to help maintain alignment when I re-drilled them.



    In the end, both drivers came out pretty decent and should last a lot longer than if I had left them as is.


  25. #25
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    Got some bolts delivered this morning and reminded me that I should throw an update out here.

    Was only going to re-do the drivers but when I looked closely at the rear idlers, the lining had quite a few cracks so I decided they should be done as well. Even with the cracking, the lining was not going to give up easily. Man, this stuff was bonded! Procedure was to soak the wheels in acetone for a few days, cut or scrape what would come off fairly easy and then repeat the process. Once I got all of the material off, a little wire brushing and blasting and theyíre ready to go.



    Sent the idlers and drivers off to Rick at Rickís Rupps down in Stewartville, MN for re-lining. Rick is a stand-up guy and without guys like him, a lot of these projects wouldnít be possible. Heís reasonable, fast, and his work speaks for itself.


  26. #26
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    Nice!

    I sure wish we were neighbors Kelly. I would love to hang out and watch you work!

  27. #27
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    Same here but I'd probably just slow him down with all the questions.

  28. #28
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    You guys would be welcome anytime. Refreshments and snacks would be served. You might have the need to duck the occasional flying (thrown) tool and Iím thinking your questions might be more along the line of ďWhat the H is he doing now?Ē.

    You could find some of my work-arounds amusing though. Like this crude jig I used to straighten the front suspension shaft tube when I didnít have a big enough press. Just needed something to fit the shaft and hold it vertical while I gave it a few ďgentleĒ taps with the 8 lb. Problem solved.


  29. #29
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    Meanwhile back at the chassis. Blasting done, time to break out the hammer and dolly. Skilled people would cringe if they were to watch me “work the metal” but I do try to get things close enough to get by with a very thin coat of glazing compound. I really try to avoid using Bondo on these sleds.

    Whether it’s by design or just a by-product of the process, the metal stamping of the pan at the factory creates distortion ripples in the side panels and in other areas of the pan bottom. This has become somewhat of a trademark of the RTX chassis and is almost considered an endearing feature. So, the goal is to fix the dents and imperfections that aren’t supposed to be there but not get wrapped up in trying to refine the factory look.


  30. #30
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    Hey Kelly if your work- arounds get the job done, then I say mission accomplished! I have done a thing or two at the dinner table because I needed a flat surface to work on...... all my benches seem to get crowded before I need them!
    Now the boards at the bottom, I never thought of that...... I usually try to hold said item between my legs and wonder why I'm suddenly bleeding when I am finishing my work. I don't tell anyone those stories though! Looks great so far keep up the pace you'll be done before winter break

  31. #31
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    Well Kirk, the truth be told, I did have a bit of a head start on this so the photos are kind of a mix of earlier work and current work. This probably gives the impression that things are moving along faster than they are, but you’re right in the sense that the progress on this project is light speed compared to some of my previous efforts.

    Like a lot of vintage sleds, this one had the problem of “egged out” suspension mounting holes (the front in this case). Even when the suspension shafts aren’t seized, the minimal travel of these suspensions causes the mounts to just get hammered constantly because the travel limit is so easily reached on rough terrain and a substantial amount of the excess force is transferred to the mounts. A lot of these sleds never saw a groomed trail so they took a pounding.

    My preferred solution has become the use of press-fit bushings. These can be sized to work with almost any application. I just drill out the mounting hole, and install the bushing using a bolt, washers, and nut to pull it in. If need be, I shim the length on the back side so that the bushings are flush with the mount surface when installed. This takes a bit of measuring in advance because once they're in they're in.


  32. #32
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    All I can say is you are a cut above the rest. Your fortutiv thinking is what results in a quality restoration, love your thought process. You have a special talent that not only preserves the past, but, improves it in the process. -Mezz

  33. #33
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    Just curious, Kelly. How many restorations have you completed? I recall the TX 340 but I know there were others. If you ever write a book on your experiences I think it would do well in the snowmobile community.

  34. #34
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    Mezz, this year is kind of messed up but Iíd love to be able to make the Vintage Run for Fun in Houghton in 2022. Should that happen, you need to stop by for the show and we can enjoy a beverage of choice.

    In answer to one of your questions Gary, itís not as many as you would think. This might be due in part to the fact that Iím so old I spent many years riding these sleds when no restoration was required. I did a few rider restorations back in the late 90ís but they eventually went away and thought I had beaten the bug. Then snoluver1 got the idea to do a Make-A-Wish raffle sled around 2012 and after helping out on that a little, the bug came back with a vengeance. I guess that since 2013, the list would include: 79 TX250, two TX340ís (77 and 79), 79 TX440, 72 Chaparral SS650, 76 John Deere Cyclone 340 (rider restoration) and the current project, 73 Skiroule RTX440. So, I guess that works out to around a project per year. As far as a book, Iím way too undisciplined to make that effort.

    Iím sure it was the furthest thing from his mind when he titled it, but itís amazing how many times the title of Neil Youngís 79 album ďRust Never SleepsĒ comes to mind when Iím working on these things. As I mentioned before, for a steel chassis, I got by pretty easy on this one. Only a small amount rust-through at the rear of the tunnel that was limited to the reinforcement bar so it didnít penetrate the tunnel. The rust spots repaired; it was time for the first coat of ďhigh solidsĒ primer.




  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiroule View Post
    Mezz, this year is kind of messed up but I’d love to be able to make the Vintage Run for Fun in Houghton in 2022. Should that happen, you need to stop by for the show and we can enjoy a beverage of choice.



    I will make a point of it, one way or the other, whether it be by way of participant or observer, I'm there. Keep on keeping on. -Mezz

  36. #36
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    One final coat of gray primer after spraying/sanding two coats of red oxide. Some guys have enough space that they can suspend a chassis and spray the color all at once. I have no such luxury. In fact, my enclosed trailer is now my unofficial paint booth. This requires masking half the sled and painting it in two sessions.



    Dennis Wedll over at vintage sled paint is another guy that really helps the vintage sled community. Hopefully I can actually meet the guy at the Outlaw Grass Drags next summer. His color formulas are as close to a perfect match for vintage colors as you will find. Iím a huge fan of his ďReady to SprayĒ mixes. Just add the Urethane hardener that you can buy from him in convenient 4 oz bottles and shoot it. I usually buy some of the aerosol version for touch-up and places where the gun canít reach.


  37. #37
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    Coming along nicely Kelly! Where do you store all of your restorations? Has it really been 8 years since the Make-A-Wish sled? Wow.

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    All I have to say is WOW!! You must be a wealth of knowledge when it comes to connections, suppliers, where and how to find things to do and complete these restorations! Someone had posted an antique snowmobile site on here that I frequent now in amazement of just how many brands there were at one time, truly neat stuff and luckily there are people like you out there to preserve it! I like the shot of your shop as well with the wood burner in the background, my shop was organized like that for about one week, and no wood burner. Neat stuff skiroule you are truly a master at your craft and again I enjoy the play by play!!

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by mspease View Post
    Coming along nicely Kelly! Where do you store all of your restorations? Has it really been 8 years since the Make-A-Wish sled? Wow.
    I built a second garage that was primarily intended to serve as sled storage and a small shop. Naturally, I now wish I had built it bigger. It would be a push, but if I dedicated it just to vintage sleds, I probably have space for about ten. Unfortunately, the late model sleds and other stuff takes up some of that space.

    Yes, looking at snoluver1ís original post on the first Make-A-Wish sled, it was November of 2011, nine years ago. Think it was completed and raffled off in Jan. of 2013. Man, the time flies!


    Quote Originally Posted by euphoric1 View Post
    You must be a wealth of knowledge when it comes to connections, suppliers, where and how to find things to do and complete these restorations. I like the shot of your shop as well with the wood burner in the background
    Over time, a person does develop some good sources of information and stuff you need but in reality, without the web, these projects would be difficult, if not impossible to pull off, especially given my location. You do get pretty good at rooting out parts from online sellers and a lot of times you just get lucky. There is a core group of people that have basically made vintage sleds a business, both in terms of reproducing parts and buying up NOS parts inventories from old dealers. These projects would have been much easier 25 years ago when there were numerous vintage snowmobile salvage yards around. Now most are gone or not doing business any more.

    Iíll confess, most of my life I was a shop pig. It took several decades but I have gotten a little more organized now that I have some dedicated space. Itís really become a necessity with these projects, as it might be months or even years before I get back to something Iíve taken apart. Nice to be able to find things again.

    I love my wood burner, couldnít do much without it. Still canít believe I got the whole setup for free. A friend said if I took it out of a shop he only uses in the summer and fixed the hole in his roof, I could have everything; stove, pipes, supports, flashings, cap, etc. The stove is a Nectre bakers oven made in South Australia and runs about $3000 alone. Think it had maybe been used once. Makes a wicked good pizza.

  40. #40
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    This is a bit of a Back to the Future update. Since I decided to paint the chassis myself, I needed cooperating weather. Luckily, a few weeks back I got a 2+ day window of decent weather. Not great, but decent, so I dug out the old Devilbiss gun that has served me well since the mid-70ís and had at it. If I had waited another couple of days, I couldnít have gotten it done, it never warmed up again.

    Some metallic colors can be prone to mottling, where the metallic in the paint bunches together and creates light and dark spots. Often, this comes from spraying the color too wet, even just a tad. This particular shade of silver metallic was very susceptible. Not sure what the body men would think of it, but my solution is to follow the last heavy coat with a fogging coat, holding the gun at a much greater distance from the surface. This can be tricky, spray it too soon and the metallic will continue to pool in the wet paint. Wait too long and the fog coat wonít flow and you end up with fuzzy paint. Either way, you blow through a whole lot of paint.

    I can always find flaws in my paint work but I have to consider the source. It will do.




  41. #41
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    Great job Kelly

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    I used to paint cars back in the day and thats the swme process i used with metalics.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Administrator View Post
    Nice!

    I sure wish we were neighbors Kelly. I would love to hang out and watch you work!
    It's the old adage, "It costs more when you watch."

  44. #44
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    Merry Christmas everyone! It’s going to be a white one in northern MN for sure.

    As I’ve mentioned before, one of the interesting things about tearing into these early sleds is seeing the various approaches that manufacturers took to create basically the same functionality.

    On the RTX sleds, Skiroule had a pretty unique solution for slide rail hyfax installation. They countersunk screw holes in the hyfax and just screwed the strips to the rails. It probably made changing hyfax a real challenge with the suspension in the sled but from a restoration perspective, this might have been a stroke of genius. With some hyfax material you could actually make your own replacements, as they are simply rectangular strips screwed to the rails.


    The fact that the one sled had a wrecked suspension had at least one silver lining. When the rails broke, I assume the hyfax was also damaged because it definitely was replaced after the rails were re-welded. It appears that the sled was not ridden much after the repair (maybe the owner had second thoughts about sledding). The difference between typical hyfax wear on a sled of this vintage and the set on the repaired sled is obvious when you see them side-by-side.


    One other feature of this suspension is that the rail setup is a welded unit. The rails cannot be independently replaced without cutting it apart and re-welding. This is the setup reduced to the most basic component.


  45. #45
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    Merry Christmas to you skiroule! Isn't it pretty outside right now?

  46. #46
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    Christmas eve day was very cold and VERY windy but the wind subsided overnight and it made for a special scene on Christmas day. Sitting in the living room with a cup of coffee on Christmas morning, looking out at all that pristine white and the pines covered with hoar frost gave a person a sense of calm that can be hard to come by these days. Maybe Iím getting a little sappy in my old age but it was pretty amazing.

    One of my favorite things on any project is taking little parts



    and putting them together to make bigger parts.


  47. #47
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    I really like how you do things! Organized in every fashion with quality as the end result! -Mezz

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    Unlike some of us that usually has parts left over after a project like this.

  49. #49
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    Well helloooo 2021!

    Thought Iíd throw out a quick update on the project situation. Rung in the New Year with a full-blown case of pneumonia so Iím down for the count until who knows when. I still have some photo backlog of work completed to date so hopefully that will carry over until some new progress can be made.

    Got a weather break last fall that allowed me to sandblast the track clips. After getting rid of the sand residue, I clear-coated the clips with lacquer to preserve them a little longer. They will eventually rust again but it just didnít make sense to put on a track with rusty clips when everything else has been somewhat reconditioned.



    Track cleaned up pretty well. Burned off some of the loose threads on the track edges and used a lot of cleaner/conditioner. Has a few damaged cleats but nothing major, just trimmed off some of the damage. These tracks are not being reproduced and are getting harder and harder to find. Maybe someday a creative restorer will come up with a conversion to a more common track.


  50. #50
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    Nice!!!!!!!

  51. #51
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    Very nice! I hope you get better soon. Stay safe.☺ -Mezz

  52. #52
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    Looks fantastic
    ahh, watch this..

  53. #53
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    skiroule, I've said it before but you are truly a master at your craft! Hopefully you feel better soon, my father in law had a bad case of pneumonia, swear it was the unmentionable illness but was negative, spent a stint in hospital and really threw him for a loop! Take care my friend!

  54. #54
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    Thanks guys!
    I am feeling somewhat better, at least for a few hours of each day. Other times during the day, not so much. Had the COVID (rapid) test, came back negative but I donít know, this seems different than anything Iíve had in the past. Been monitoring my O2 level and so far, itís holding at the low end of the normal range so I guess thatís good.

    I know I probably talk too much about the little things on a project, but sometimes these little things can really throw a wrench into project progress if you canít come up with a solution to a problem.

    The bushings on the ski shocks were badly deteriorated and at some point, a previous owner decided to try to preserve them by dousing them with epoxy. All this succeeded in doing is fusing the bushings to the sleeves. I had to drill a series of holes in each bushing to weaken this bond so the sleeves could be pressed out.

    Obviously, the factory bushings have been long out of production so the search for a suitable replacement was on. Summit Racing had the answer - sets of two-part bushings that were almost exactly what I was looking for. The ID and length were perfect but the OD of the insert section was just a hair too big. Some careful grinding on the bench grinder to reduce the OD and they fit nice and snug.


  55. #55
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    Absolutely love watching this build and process, skiroule! At some point in my life, I'm going to try my hand at a restoration. Probably an old Polaris since that's what I've ridden mostly.
    Hope you continue to feel better and please keep the pics and updates coming!

    Mike

  56. #56
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    Thanks Mike! Polaris is a great choice for a vintage restoration project. Lots of cool models built. The popularity of these sleds has made for pretty good parts availability, both used and NOS. Also, more reproduction parts are coming out all the time.

    Iím afraid Iím a little biased towards the 77 Ė 80 TX/TXL models. Aluminum tunnel/subframe, non-metal pan (no rust), easy to work on, and I canít think of a vintage sled that has been more fun to ride. For their engine displacement, these things fly. They do show up fairly regularly on vintage sled sale group pages. Bargains are getting harder to come by but every now and then you can pick up one at a lower price thatís a little rough, maybe needs a motor, etc.

    Hopefully the day will come when youíll pursue a project and have a lot of fun with it.

  57. #57
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    Still not back in the shop, but don't think it will be too much longer. In the meantime, nothing preventing me from throwing a quick update out here.

    Not sure why I was a little stressed about re-assembling the driveshaft. Maybe it was because I remembered how difficult it was to remove the old bearings. Fortunately, I was able to take advantage of the magic of thermal expansion. Kept the shaft in the cold garage overnight and heated the chain case side bearing for 8 minutes in the wood stove oven. Dropped it on the shaft and “clunk”, it seated right into position without touching it.


    I didn’t want to use the same technique on the speedo side bearing because of the rubber seal on one side of that bearing and I wasn’t sure how much heat it could take. I did heat it some with a heat gun and was able to drive it on with a minimum of force. Interesting greasing approach on this side of the shaft. Instead of installing a grease zerk in the speedo housing, they installed a zerk in the shaft inside the tunnel. The grease is pushed down a hollow shaft section and through the triangular speedo insert to fill the housing and bearing. Seems odd but I guess they had their reasons.


    Glad to have this done, as this shaft must be installed with the bearings already seated on the shaft.

  58. #58
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    WoW! looks like a new factory part! have used the heating the bearing and freezing the shaft process many times in my days as well with like success. Did you see the sled slimcake donated to the Stimulus Project?

  59. #59
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    I used to work at Bark River Culvert and Equipment (IH construction equipment dealer) in Green Bay in the early 1980s. We had an electric frying pan filled with motor oil that was hot most of the time to heat up bearings to put on a cold shaft. Worked great!

  60. #60
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    Yeah, itís amazing the difference a thousandth or two of clearance can make in the ease of installation. Just goes to show you the precision with which mechanical parts can be milled with modern milling equipment Ė ridiculously tight tolerances.

    Iíve only seen videos of the oil bath technique but it was impressive, very large bearings just drop right on the shaft.

    I did see the post on the TX that is up for auction. Very cool! Not everyday you run across a vintage sled of this quality. It really needs nothing to get out and play in the snow. Someone is going to end up with a nice piece of Polaris history and an excellent vintage ride.

  61. #61
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    Thought I would post a couple of shots of the last drive train holdout, the chain case and secondary clutch. The clutch shaft bearings felt really good Ė smooth and no play, so I decided to clean things up without tearing it down completely. Cleanup took a little more time Iím sure but it did eliminate disassembly/reassembly.



    This completes the parts needed to re-install the drive train (track, rear suspension, drive axle, and chain case/secondary assembly).

  62. #62
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    Looking good!!

  63. #63
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    Thanks Mike!
    After dueling with the crud that just keeps on giving for almost seven weeks now, I finally felt well enough to build a fire in the shop today. Wonít be immediately launching back into the sled project though. Our son has put in a request for me to build a portable mound so his son can start throwing in his basement next month. Donít like doing woodworking in the sacred sled shop but anything for the grandkids.

    Even though the drive train is ready to install, this process is made much simpler if the skis are mounted Ė makes the chassis so much easier to maneuver if need be. If the sled has been allowed to sit outside, the skis really take a beating.


    I did get the ski components done before the extended ďvacationĒ. The skis and springs almost always have rust pitting and if I were building a show sled, I would have used glazing compound to eliminate the pitting but no, thatís too over the top, even for me.

  64. #64
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    Love it! Again, appreciate your process, it's really something to admire. Hope your feeling better, just don't overdo it. -Mezz

  65. #65
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    Mezz, hope your recovery is progressing as expected.

    The pitching mound project is moving along so I took some time off from it to assemble the skis. Now I pretty much have everything done that I need to start building the chassis back up.


  66. #66
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    Very nice work! Look better than new. There is something neat about seeing 50 year old equipment restored to better-than-factory condition. Gives me a good feeling.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigSix View Post
    There is something neat about seeing 50 year old equipment restored to better-than-factory condition. Gives me a good feeling.
    Totally agree. Itís unbelievable how popular restoration of these old sleds has become. The thing that I find pretty interesting is that I donít think a day goes by that I donít see a post by someone that has discovered a vintage sled in a barn, shed, woods, or backyard and grabbed it to hopefully get it back on the snow. Some of these finds are truly amazing. They're still out there.

    I know I wasnít supposed to be tempted but I just couldnít look at all those parts and not want to put something back together. I had forgotten a couple of other things that needed to get installed before I got serious about working on the drive train (steering shaft, tie rods, and rear grab bar) so I mounted those, along with the skis. A long way to go but itís nice to see it on its front feet.



    (For those of you that have been following my posts for some time, you probably noticed that I finally built some doors for the doorway between the shop and the sled storage area. No more plastic curtain - only took about three years.)

  68. #68
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    Gotta love the progress when the plan comes together. Looking good, love the pride in workmanship! -Mezz

  69. #69
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    Talking

    Sorry folks, was going to add a post tonight but something has gone wrong with appearance when the reply is submitted.  The final text is displaying hidden characters and the photo link data is being displayed rather than just the link itself.  I will re-submit the post once this issue has been resolved.
    Last edited by skiroule; 02-14-2021 at 10:12 PM.

  70. #70
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    Thought I had the answer but nope. The quick reply will not retain the inserted image and if I go advanced, all of the character display problems return.
    I know we’re supposed to be conditioned to this up here in the tundra but dang it’s cold. It’s been many, many days/nights since the thermometer registered an above-zero temp. A lot of nights have been bottoming out in the -30 to -40 range. We are actually supposed to get above zero tomorrow.
    The next step in the chassis reassembly was the installation of the chain case, driveshaft, and track, which, I have to admit, is not my favorite thing to do. Unlike a lot of sleds of the day, Skiroule used a clip rather than a retaining bolt to hold the lower gear in place. This eliminated my preferred approach of fashioning some type of puller using a bolt/socket, and washers to pull the shaft/bearing into the chain case.

    Luckily, I was able to talk with a very knowledgeable Skiroule guy out in British Columbia that gave me some detailed pointers on the drive shaft installation process. Sure enough, following his advice and using a little finesse, everything went together as expected. A photo will be forthcoming, I promise.
    Last edited by skiroule; 02-15-2021 at 11:19 PM.

  71. #71
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    Trying the traditional approach
    Attached Images Attached Images

  72. #72
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    Coming together nicely! Looks great!!!

  73. #73
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    I'm curious, but what will you do for a seat? Are you able to find a new one? The one in the first photo looks like it is unrepairable.

  74. #74
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    Big Six, not to highjack this thread but didn't you post a picture of your Farmall on another thread? Any back-story to that. Northeast Green Bay isn't a mecca of farming, just wondering. Very nice looking H by the way, wish I had one.

    Now back to the Namesake thread!

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigSix View Post
    I'm curious, but what will you do for a seat? Are you able to find a new one? The one in the first photo looks like it is unrepairable.
    Excellent question. The seat on the project sled was pretty rough, although once the ripped-up cover was removed, the seat foam was actually good enough to be repaired and used if need be.
    Luckily, I won’t have to do that. The condition of the seat on the other sled that became the donor sled just adds to the mystery of what really happened to this sled after the incident that did so much damage to the suspension and chassis. My suspicion is that, once repaired, it was ridden very little, if any, and just stuck in storage somewhere. The seat is as close to perfect as you will find. It literally only needs to be wiped off and installed, once I get to that point.

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by gary_in_neenah View Post
    Big Six, not to highjack this thread but didn't you post a picture of your Farmall on another thread? Any back-story to that. Northeast Green Bay isn't a mecca of farming, just wondering. Very nice looking H by the way, wish I had one.

    Now back to the Namesake thread!
    Gary, thanks!

    About 15 years ago, some friends of mine started a club called Titletown Thresheree Club. The main idea was to promote farming the way it was done in the early and mid 1900s and to organize a old fashioned thresheree every year. I was attending one of the thresherees one year and they convinced me to join. But I didnt have a tractor so two of the brothers in the club found that Super H in Appleton at an auction. I wanted a Farmall H because my grandpa had one on his farm in Sturgeon Bay when I was a little kid. It was in very good shape with the exception of the gas tank and carburetor (someone put ethanol fuel in the tank during storage and it rotted the tank and ruined the carburetor). Replaced tank, carburetor, governor, front tires and redid the wiring. Painted the wheels silver (somebody painted them red) and touched up the other areas. Pre-COVID, we would get together for monthly rides in the country and BS sessions. We hope to put on a thresheree this summer at a Century Farm in the town of Humboldt.

    Didnt mean to hijack this tread.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigSix View Post
    Gary, thanks!
    Didnt mean to hijack this tread.
    Not a problem. I always enjoy reading what you guys have to say. If I would get off my rear and get something done, there would be some new project stuff to check out.

  78. #78
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    BigSix, as long as Skiroule is taking a break I thought I'd share my own experience. My Dad owned a 300 Series Farmall. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think that was the model that replaced your Super H. Same horse power but they added a Torque Amplifier on the 300's. It says something for the design and craftmanship of those classics that still run like the day they were new.

    OK Kelly, it's all yours!

    This crazy coding glitch is driving me nuts '

  79. #79
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    Its the Russians

  80. #80
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    Ok, Kelly...2 weeks since your last update. You're leaving us hanging again.

  81. #81
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    Not the Russians nor the CIA. He has been working top secret in the Skunkworks with engineers to bring back a new model Skiroule. It is called the Polish Polcat, with a nod to an early JohnDee design. It has skis in both the front and back so you can ride it either way. You get yourself stuck, just drive yourself out! Seriously, I had an email from Kelly last week. He is on the mend after being down for some time with the crud. He is also struggling with the programming glitch that is affecting many of the posts including pictures. That, and the internet travels much slower in Northern Minnesota so there may be updates coming soon!

  82. #82
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    Skiroule I hope your doing well!!!

  83. #83
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    Gary has a knack for coming up with insider information but I’m denying the Polcat story. Everyone knows that the Skunkworks has been home to some of the most secretive programs ever conceived - “Project Polcat”, never heard of it.

    He is right on a couple of counts though. I have been struggling a bit with health issues this winter and it’s frustrating the heck out of me. This being said, I have at least been trying to put in some time on the project.

    I may have to change my mind but I’ve been holding out for a fix to the bug that has been plaguing the board before posting any updates. I think that being able to insert images inline makes the updates so much more user friendly. Members can see any update photos without logging in and the photos are also view-able by non-members. Sadly, the current bug results in a string of path gibberish being inserted rather than the photo.

    So, bear with me a while longer. If a fix is not forthcoming soon, I will start using the attachment method to get people up to speed.

  84. #84
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    skiroule, I was just going to ask...what gives??... no updates?? Thoughts and prayers to you for good health and recovery from what ever it is holding you down, Hope you get well and recover!

  85. #85
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    I finally decided to cave and post an update in spite of the gibberish that I know may accompany it. At least people will know that the project hasn’t been completely abandoned.

    I pulled the clutches off both of the engines I had in order to combine the parts that were in the best shape into a single clutch. I had planned to include a somewhat long, but undoubtedly riveting, explanation of how the Skiroule clutch design/operation differed from a lot of the brands of the day but decided that it just might not be all that interesting so I shortened it up – I think.

    If there is a claim to fame for the Skiroule clutch (built by a company called Centrix), it’s the simplicity of the design, but probably the kindest thing that can be said about the clutch is that it will move the sled from one point to another. Having said this, Skiroule liked it well enough to use it for several years on many different models.

    The basic weak point of the design of these clutches (in my opinion) is that the weights not only have the job of moving the outer sheave but also keep the sheave from slipping on the crankshaft.

    This causes a lot of stress/wear on the torque side of the weights. At a minimum, the weights could bind under load and fail to move because they are carrying the rotational torque of the engaging clutch. Even if they worked properly, the weights were prone to wear.

    Sorry folks, no photos on this one, tried everything I know to upload or insert a photo and had no luck. Maybe later.

  86. #86
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    Think I was able to get one photo of the clutch after a little cleaning, etc.  If you look close, you can see the wear on the weights.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  87. #87
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    Trying out a new technique for posting while the board is still not fully functioning. I’ve discovered that if I just make a basic text post, I can edit out all of the odd character gibberish, which makes it much more readable. If I use the option that lets me include a photo in the post, the characters will come back, even after editing. So, I’m going to post updates in tandem, one with the text and a second with the photos.

    One of the two tanks was in good shape so I cleaned it up as best I could. It’s interesting that even though both tanks are supposedly 73 model tanks, they are quite different. They are the same dimensionally and both fit the chassis, but one has a much longer filler neck and completely different molding pattern.

    My theory is that the good tank that came off the sled that was in a wreck is a replacement tank and not the original. One clue is that the sled had a cobbled-up way of keeping the tank in place. This was actually a good thing because the original retention design used a retainer that hooked around the little “ears” on the tank and bolted to chassis to keep the tank from moving forward.

    The problem with this scheme is that with all the ungroomed trail and ditch pounding that these sleds were subjected to, the tanks wanted to move and the stress eventually cracked the little poly ears, which resulted in leaky tanks. I believe that in the case of the sled that hit something very hard, the forward momentum of the tank caused the ears to be completely torn off when the sled came to a sudden stop. This is why I think it was replaced.

    - - - Updated - - -

    In one of these photos you can see the cracking that occurred on the ears over time.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Glad to see you figured out a way to post without all the gibberish. Making progress!!

  89. #89
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    Yeah Mark, it’s not ideal but I guess it’s better than not posting at all. I do try to make a little progress every few days or so but I have to say I’m disappointed about where the project is at. Back in early December I was on a pace to have it done around mid-February. Little did I know that I would be slammed with multiple medical and physical issues throughout the winter. Some of these things I’ve overcome but work on the project has suffered.

    I do believe that I will be back to 100% health at some point but even then, a lot of strength and stamina rehab will be required. I’ve lost a lot of weight and muscle mass and I feel like the 98 lb. weakling that is always getting sand kicked in his face at the beach. Wonder if I can still get the Charles Atlas body building book?

    Since I don’t have any good cheese to go with the whine, back to the project.

    A few weeks back, BigSix asked about what I was going to use for a seat. At that time, I had mentioned that I did have one decent seat. I pulled it out yesterday and gave it a quick clean-up. While doing that, I was debating whether the seat cover was original or the seat had been recovered. If it was the latter, I’m fairly sure that a factory seat cover was used, just because of the way it fits around the tail light inset and the passenger handhold indentations that are molded into the foam to give the passenger’s hands more room between the seat and the rear grab bar.

    I guess it doesn’t really matter whether the seat is original or recovered, as it’s a win either way. I get a decent seat at no additional cost and zero restoration hours. I’ll take it.

  90. #90
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    A couple of seat shots.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Recovering from anything really does suck, glad to hear your on the mend. You have to get lucky once in a while right? It looks like brand span-kin new! Nice job, as usual. -Mezz

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    Kelly, glad that you are on the mend.

    Nice to see that you have a seat that is in great condition. Seats, hoods and windshields are some of the hardest things to make look good in a restoration, I would think. I had a 1973 Panther some years ago and the seat and hood were pristine. The windshield had a crack but the rest of the sled looked close to factory. Ran like a watch with that Kawy 340. I should have kept it but the vintage thing wasnt cool like it is now.

  93. #93
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    Looking good Kelly, glad to see your still making people smile with your great stories and sled repairs!

    Kirk

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigSix View Post
    I had a 1973 Panther some years ago and the seat and hood were pristine. The windshield had a crack but the rest of the sled looked close to factory. Ran like a watch with that Kawy 340. I should have kept it but the vintage thing wasnt cool like it is now.
    Its a pretty common sentiment for a lot of people that owned these sleds in their prime to wish they had them back - a little like the muscle car phenomena. Problem is, life has a way of making it tough to hang on to these things during the years when there are other priorities to deal with. As you said, the vintage thing has just exploded but I still doubt it makes me cool just because I own a few.

    Quote Originally Posted by kirk600 View Post
    Looking good Kelly, glad to see your still making people smile with your great stories and sled repairs!<br>
    <br>
    Kirk
    Thanks Kirk, I’m still on a somewhat forced break from the project but there’s still a lot of time to get it done before a test ride next season.

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    Iíve been pretty discouraged about the lack of progress on the project but I couldnít help but break out in a big smile when a brand spanking new reproduction snow flap arrived today.

    This will be a nice finishing touch to the sled when it is finished (and yes, Iím committed to finishing it).


  96. #96
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    Love that snow flap!

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    I’ve decided to take some risk here and declare a resumption of the project. After more false recoveries than I can count over the last few months, I’m leery of making any claims but this time things feel different.
    I’m feeling stronger than I have in a long time and have been relatively symptom-free for a few weeks but this whole episode has definitely taken a toll physically. Friends that haven’t seen me in person in a while have told my wife after the fact that they weren’t prepared for the change in appearance and justifiably so. Between the white hair (which I already had) and the weight loss, I look like a human version of a Q-Tip.
    I’m really not sure of the state of photo posting, as the gremlins have randomly returned, but if photo links are working, I will get ready to start posting photo updates again. First steps back will be small but I’ll take any form of progress.

  98. #98
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Baudette, MN
    Posts
    2,024

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    After some experimenting, I figured out that I can eliminate the extra characters and do linked photos (with some limitations) if I use the Standard editing mode rather than Enhanced mode. Apparently, there is some issue with the Enhanced mode (at least for me). The problem with the Standard mode is that it doesnít recognize carriage returns so you end up with one giant block of text. Oh, well, maybe it will make me less windy but I doubt it.

  99. #99
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Baudette, MN
    Posts
    2,024

    Default

    This is sort of a tale of two motors. I could never get spark out of the motor from the donor sled and finally gave up. The motor that came with the project sled is a complete unknown but it obviously had spark when it fried a piston. So, my plan is to put the pistons/cylinders from the donor sled motor on the other motor. The pistons/cylinders arenít that great but I showed photos to some Sachs guys and most said ďSend ItĒ so thatís what Iím going with.

  100. #100
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Neenah, Wisconsin is about 40 miles south of Green Bay's Lambeau Field.
    Posts
    2,235

    Default

    Glad to have you back Kelly! Steady as she goes...

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