Boondockin’ Dixie
Friday, 30 December 2011 15:11

 

 

The following story was submitted by Eric Rylander, a native Minnesotan who now resides in Georgia. The article first appeared in the Sept issue of the Vintage Snowmobiler Magazine, the official publication of the V.S.C.A. Thank you Eric for sharing it with Vintagesledders.com.

 

 

 

 

TheBoondockin’ Dixie

 

Virginia is not a state thought of as a snowmobiling hotspot by any stretch of the imagination. However, as a displaced Minnesota guy living in the south, I have found that with the right timing to seize rare opportunity and a couple vintage machines, adventure is to be had!

 

My inlaws live in rural, southwestern Virginia. The tail end of the state sandwiched between Kentucky and Tennessee, in Appalachian mountain coal country. My family resides much farther south, on the Georgia seacoast, and it is a 7 hour drive from our door to theirs.

 

Having resurrected a 1971 Ski Doo Elan and assembled from many parts a ’68 ten horse Ski Doo Olympique, we’ve had some fun riding at the wife’s families property with some decent and some not so decent snows around December and January in the last two years.

 

A good 10” to a foot of white gold was draped over the area in mid January this past year. Now, this happened early in the week, and though I was itching to call in sick and make the drive, minor and annoying details like the need to support my family and keep my job kept me home. The day it snowed up there, I received a text that the “Lo Buck 68” coughed and died after hours of being ridden by a 9 year old in the household, so until I arrived and applied my Rotax single physician skills, it was dead in the yard.

 

On that Thursday after work I decided to take a look at the $100 1969 Oly 320 I brought back from “Meccasota” on a marathon road trip over Labor Day weekend in 2009, along with a tractor and anything else that could be crammed in the truck and trailer. That same adventure had also brought the jigsaw puzzle of the previously mentioned 1968 Oly to Dixieland.

 

This ’69 had been resting in a pine grove just north of Minneapolis for who knew how many years. It has ’72 and ’75 Montana registration decals on the dash. The track is ratty to say the least and it’s missing half the cogs from the left rear track idler sprocket. There are rust holes under the seat, no rewind starter and some varnish like goo that may have been gas in Reagan’s first term in the built- in tank, that later was found to be incapable of igniting on dry leaves. In other words, I decided “It’s the perfect thing to try and get running so I can haul it seven hours to ride it!”

 

I wound a rope around the recoil hub and gave it a hearty yank. Compression felt respectable. No spark, but ten minutes with some emery paper between the points and a blast of brake kleen later we had bright blue spark. It fired on a shot of pre mix in the Tillotson’s throat, but would not draw fuel from a jug. A quick carb tear down later and some fresh diaphragms from a previous carb job, a bit of WD40 on the sticking needle and it was good to go.

 

Within the hour, it was roaring on a jack stand. I spent a couple more hours and cleaned leaves and crud from under the hood, used some Wal Mart bicycle cables for throttle and brake, added a tad of 90wt to the chaincase, and found a gallon oil jug to serve as a gas tank wedged in the running board. My neighbors are so lucky to be treated to the cacophony of a Rotax single with a rusted can muffler along with the whir and thump of a flat spotted, dry rotted track wailing away on a jackstand at 10pm on a Thursday night.

 

After I rushed home from work Friday night, I got it loaded in the back of the truck. Weather reports showed the temps had warmed above freezing in Dixie and my glorious snow was going fast.

 

Once family got home from work, departure finally came an hour later than we had hoped to be on the road. A couple interstate exits later we left Georgia and crossed in to South Carolina, where we drove the length of the state east to west to east on I-26, up into western North Carolina, and across Sam’s Gap mountain pass at the TN border. We finally achieved our Virginian destination at 3am.

 

Under moonlight and after carrying sleeping children from truck to house, I just HAD to try the rope on the dead in the yard ’68. It had compression! Now I could sleep.

 

Saturday morning (well, the daylight portion) arrived a few hours later and I was up despite little sleep and a caffine hangover from slugging energy drinks and candy bars to stay alert driving the night before.

 

I first tinkered with the dead in the yard ’68 ten horse, and found it had weak spark. Having left my flywheel puller at home, I just unbolted the entire engine to take back to GA. As it later turned out, the seemingly tight stator screws were loose enough to allow the plate to rotate and retard the timing.

 

The 1969 Oly was unloaded, I wrapped the rope around the hub more than once and some choice words later it was popping away. A few rips up and down the 1/3 mile or so hardpacked drive proved it was the fastest Ski Doo in Wise County, VA that day. Well at least it was faster than my ’71 Elan 250!

 

Me and the mom in law’s old man Chris tore up the yard and took turns giving my kids rides for an hour or two. Their property is about an acre of open grassy yard, and the hardpacked drive which has another house lot at the end, but is otherwise hemmed in by houses and thick, steep wooded area.

 

Unlike the central Minnesota of my youth which has open, legal roadsides to be ridden, and actual snowmobile trail networks with nice signs allowing you to pass through towns as well as frozen lakes, the terrain in this area is often steep with jagged outcroppings of rock. Gentle sloping roadsides are few and not connected. There are some valleys and farm fields, but unless you own the property or have permission to ride it you would be doing a lot of trespassing.

 

Chris knew there was a logging road the next county south right down the road from my wife’s aunt Debbi’s country place. To get there, you make a right off the four lane on a narrow paved road and follow that until the pavement ends, hang another right on to a gravel and continue as the road narrows and twists. Another mile of slushy, rutted lane (dry and dusty in the summer) brings you to a bullet hole riddled END COUNTY MAINTANENCE sign. It then becomes an old logging company road from years past, frequented now by Jeeps and ATV’s.

 

We thought “Why not’? and loaded the Elan and the 320 Oly in the back of a 4x4 pickup and drove on down until we reached the point where we could barely turn the truck around and unloaded. It’s a good thing we did not have a trailer or we would have had a jackknifed mess to deal with trying to get out of there.

11


 

After unloading the machines in rapidly disappearing snow we fired them off and away we went.

 

The “trail” was rutted and rocky under the snow, and an ATV or two had passed before we came along. The snow was thick in low spots and lean on ridges. Not advised for cleated tracks or slide rail suspensions for sure!

 

The trail climbed about 800 feet in elevation over the 5 or so miles to the top, and there were switchbacks every couple hundred yards or so. I rode in a half kneeling position and shifted my weight frequently to keep an even keel, getting a workout the whole way, past the pond and up the hills. The views were spectacular! I can positively say we had the first snowmobiles of any type on the scene. Too bad we did not hit it three days earlier when the snow was better, but temps in the 40’s and bright sun made it go quick.

 

At the summit you could see for miles including a mountain range locally known as Wallen Ridge, where Daniel Boone is said to have walked. I could not decide to take pictures or ride. We rode on down, I had to re fuel my 1 gallon jug supplying the Oly from another jug on the other side of the running board. I think I lost ¼ of my gas sloshing out the hole in the top where I poked the gas lines through on the rough terrain.

 

 

 

 

 

I had to turn back as I realized Chris was no longer behind me, which meant stopping and lifting the back of the Ski Doo around as there’s no room to turn. I came around a turn to find him dragging the Elan from the briars on the downhill side of the trail. Seems that just when I didn’t have the camera primed and ready Chris decided to re create the ABC wide world of sports promo by getting bucked off on a rut and a rock and doing a spectacular belly flop. Try as I might I just could not get him to do it again for the camera!

 

Farther down the road, we met some good ‘ol boys on a Polaris side by side UTV. They were about half was into a 12 pack of Bud and were rather surprised to see snowmobiles. I was wearing a ’70 vintage helmet as well with a smoked, bubble half shield. I told them I was lost and which way was Wisconsin…. Wasn’t good enough to coax a beer or two out of them though!

 

Meeting up with Debbi where we unloaded, I took her two uppin’ it on the Oly with me and off the three of us went again. She knows where some other finger trails fork off this one, and we can wind the way up to a long forgotten cemetery the next time it snows and we get to the area… I figure I need to put another old ‘Doo together for her now! And bring a chainsaw next time to clear some deadfall!

 

Debi is involved in a local trails initiative, working to expand multi purpose recreational use, so one day in the hopefully not so distant future there could be a whole lot more area to run in future trips if there’s snowcover.

 

By the time we decided to call it quits, I was beat, greasy, smelled like pre mix and chaincase lube, and felt wonderfully happy. We heaved the two yellow beasts into the truck, a bit more slushy than when we started out and headed back to the house an hour north.

 

The next morning, the ’69 refused to start- I later found the original plug wire was so corroded inside the coil beneath the flywheel that it was a miracle it ran at all.

 

The Elan spent its day on the dwindling, slushy snow pulling kids and adults alike around the yard on an old Camaro hood. Check out “Redneck Winter X games” on Youtube!

 

Though the area does not get consistent, reliable snow coverage we have found that when it does, an untapped resource of riding exists. And we are going to take it every chance we get!

 

Eric Rylander

VSCA 06846

 

 

 

Eric also included some great pictures from his trip:

appalachian adventures january 14th 2011 007

appalachian adventures january 14th 2011 014

cane gap on powell mtn with 69 ski doo

 

appalachian adventures january 14th 2011 009

 

appalachian adventures january 14th 2011 002

 

chirs going up the road

unloadingwallen ridge in background

 

 
FROM THE FARM TO THE RACE TRACK
Thursday, 15 December 2011 07:06

As I sat there visiting with him, a gleam came into his eye.

"You know I haven't ron fireball hennonthought about those days for years." He said.  "Everyday was fun.  Many people go to a job, come home and start all over, but I went to work and had a blast."  Ron "Fireball" Hennen is no ordinary cheese head Green Bay Packer fan from West Fargo, ND.

A man of immense mechanical and personal talents, Ron has traveled the world visiting over 42 countries during his years as a service representative with Steiger Tractor.  Part of his life's adventure included being the service manager and factory race driver for Moorhead Plastics out of Moorhead, MN, manufacturers of Silverline boats, Yukon King and T-Bird snowmobiles.  Ron traveled to and from dealers all across the United States.


Fresh off the farm in North Dakota, Ron had never traveled far from home.   “Three weeks after starting with Moorhead Plastics they gave me a new Pontiac Bonneville and a load of tools and parts and I headed out west to Washington to starting fixing sleds.  The year was 1966.  In the early days quality control was poor and many machines went out the door without any testing.  A lot of gas tanks were only spot welded and when they poured in the gas it just ran out on the ground.”


How did you fix them?  “We would fill them up with gas, hook a hose from the Pontiac tail pipe to the gas filler inlet and weld away.”  Didn't it explode?  “No, everyone would clear out of the shop, but only the gas leaking out would burn.  The exhaust gas replaced all of the oxygen in the tank and never caught on fire.  I must have welded 100 tanks that way.  Slowly we would work our way back to Moorhead.  Washington was the greatest because after we fixed the sleds we got to haul them halfway up Mount WA and then ride them to the top.  The winters out there were mild too".


don thompson- ron hennonIt made me wonder if that is how Ron got his nickname "Fireball".  Or maybe it was his curly red hair, football player physique and no fear attitude.  Whatever the reason, the name stuck and was emblazoned on his Yukon Grizzly race sled.  Ron's real claim to fame is that he is the only driver to ever win two gold cups in the same class at Eagle River.  Quite an accomplishment when events in 68 sometimes fostered over 200 machines and drivers from many companies.  Ron won both the 295cc oval and obstacle course races to take home gold.  For this feat he won $300.00 half of which the company got and the chance to ride on the back of a flatbed semi-trailer through downtown Eagle River in the Parade following the big event.


Right out of the box the Yukon King Grizzly was fast.  The winning record the new machine, drivers and mechanics set in its first year was truly impressive.  The Grizzly and its drivers took victories at the Alexandria Viking Snowmobile Championship in Alexandria, MN: The Lions International Rally in Duluth, MN: The Grand Island Classic in Munsing, Michigan: The Paul Bunyan International in Brainerd, MN: and the U.S. International Championships in Forest Lake, MN.


Ron was one of 5 drivers for Yukon King.  The others were Mike Norheim, Jim Norman, Gene Nelson, and Darrel Moe, nicknamed the crapper.  It seems that every time just before the race Darrel would have to find the bathroom.  "I guess it was just nerves", said Ron.  "One time in Duluth he missed the race because he was in the can.  Thus he crapped out and became the "crapper".


I asked Ron how he got the job on the race team.  He said that Don Thompson the race director saw him jump a cattle chute in WA and declared him on the team right there.  According to Don Thompson, Ron was the kind of guy who was never happy to come in 2nd or 3rd like some drivers he had seen in his many years of racing. Instead Ron was a winner. And win he did.  Ron won every race he entered except one non-sanctioned 50 mile cross country race at Rhinelander.  Ron explained it to me this way.  Back in those days it wasn't uncommon to get warmed up with a little more than just clothing.  At the starting line he slipped off the running board and his boot got tied up in track.  He needed help to free himself losing valuable time.  The crowd found it quite amusing.  With over 300 machines entered and only half finishing, Ron managed to gain the lead 2/3rds  into the race only have his track blow out 5 miles from the finish line. Top speed on the Yukon King Grizzly was 55 mph.  "It was brutal.  One fellow broke both legs and laid there all day until someone went out looking for him.  Another lady nearly cut off her nose by landing on the windshield".

yukon2

COULD IT GET MUCH BETTER?

"I bet you I am only guy you know who got to do a 10 day Playboy photo shoot.   If I wasn't already having enough fun, Yukon King and four other manufacturers; I believe, Polaris, Ski-Doo, Arctic Cat and OMC were invited to a Playboy magazine shoot in Jackson Hole Wyoming. They shot photos from 6:00 AM till midnight.  Of course we kept our suits on.  When it was over they must have shot 15,000 photos and only 8 or 9 ended up in the magazine.  I remember one of the girls was riding with us on Jackson Lake and we fell into some deep slush.  She got so scared that the next day she booked a flight back east.”  “The hot springs were great,” said Ron.


Don expounded on the shoot. Initially Polaris had an exclusive deal with Playboy to do the shoot, but Don knew enough people in the industry that they put pressure on Playboy to include other manufacturers.  So he orchestrated this secret deal and the others just showed up for the shoot.  We jumped into the 66 Chrysler with the trailer behind and went out there.  A large dealer represented ski-Doo from Idaho named Monte White.  Monte was a wealthy man and well he liked to party and brag a lot.  Monte had a twin track Alpine all hopped up.  One morning after breakfast and a few belts he was taking bets for $100 that he could beat anyone in a hill climb with his Alpine Ski-Doo.  Well Don was getting tired of the entire BS and decided to take him up on the bet.  One of the sleds Yukon King brought with was a used 9-½ hp model with a 15" cleated track.  "Wouldn't you know that thing just putted all the way to the top,” said Don.  “The only sled to make it.  It really pissed Monte off and he never forgot it.”


TRULY A WINNER!

The winter of 68-69 Yukon King won every sanctioned race that they entered. yukon3According to Don Thompson Yukon King didn't have the budget or the resources like the other big manufacturers.  Since Don was on the USSA board he decided they should concentrate on the 295cc stock class.  Having worked and raced for Mercury Marine for over 20 years Don understood how to get more power out the 2-stroke motor.  They had Donaldson Muffler out of Canada build them a tuned pipe for the little 292 JLO motor.  Don reminded me that it was pronounced E LO.  They fitted it with a large HD carb.  Yukon was also the first to tune the clutching to match the motor's power band.   With their meager racing budget of $5000.00 they assembled 5 machines, 5 drivers and 4 helmets.  Don had a gold helmet the he loaned to the team.  Ron thought that it brought him luck.


Don joined the company in 1967 when his firm Funstruck Products of St. Paul was merged with Moorhead Plastics.  While at Mercury he saw the need and usefulness of adapting the light and powerful 2-stroke motor to snowmobile use.  He also envisioned that building a snowmobile would help all of their boat dealers fill the winter months.   He tried to convince Keikhaefer to build snowmobiles, but he wouldn't do it.  Don said, Keikhaefer was called “God” around Mercury.  One time some stockholders from Milwaukee came up to see the plant and he wouldn't let them in.  Don left Mercury to start his own marketing company developing a wooden sleigh named the Yukon King.  After merging with Moorhead Plastics he worked on developing a stern drive for Silverline boats.


As race director, Don guided his team on to winning every race.  When it came down to the last race of the season Jon Buckman, President of Moorhead Plastics, called Don into his office and told him they were out of budget for the last race of the season at Forest Lake, MN and maybe they should quit while they were ahead.  Well Don knew Jon liked to gamble, so he wagered Jon that if they lost, Don would pay all the expenses himself and if they won the company would give each driver a 100.00 bonus, dinner and a drink.  The team didn’t let Thompson down.  They won all five places in the 295 class and jumped up to the 340 class locking up three positions in the top five. Yukon King finished the 1967-68 season with an amazing winning record that no other manufacturer could match.  It didn’t lose a single race in its class all season.  But racing in the 295cc stock class wasn’t enough to garner the brand attention, stimulate sales or pull a miracle out of the hat for the company.  The race team would not return to the track the next year.


Moorhead Plastics snowmobiles were manufactured under the Atlas division of the company.  At their peak they had over 50 employees.  The Yukon King was produced from 1967-69 and included another brand called the T-Bird.  “That was Jon Buckman’s idea,” said Don.  He copied some of the other manufacturers, including the car companies and thought it was a good idea.”  At the end, the sale of the snowmobile division was being negotiated with Chrysler Corporation, but the deal fell through and that was the end of Yukon King and its brief, but glorious day on the snow and racetrack.

This story was submitted by Steve Mclaen of Forman ND. If you have a story or event you would like featured in Vintagesledders.com, Please email us: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
3rd Annual Vintagesledders RatRod Contest
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 15:07

There's still time to join the fun known as the Vintagesledders RatRod contest!

 

The rules are simple:

Any sled can be a Ratrod, all makes, models, etc...
You do not have to purchase a new sled for your Rat Rod project, dragging one out of the weeds that you already own is fine.
Add-ons such as car parts and household items are fine.
The sled you build must be completed and have ridden the required miles by March 1st 2012.

Pure Rat: Minimal cash expenditure and maximum patina. Up to $200. Mixing and matching between brands and throwing in non-sled parts is preferred. Garbage bag seat covers are approved. Non-sled power plants are approved. Must run 20 miles on an organized run. We want pictures of the rat at the organized run.

Race Rat: Make a rat for racing. Up to $400 because sometimes money has to be spent to comply with rules and/or be competitive. Must complete 1 or more sanctioned or well known regional fun race (Eagle Swamp and CCVSC first snow for example of regional fun races). Trail riding miles can count towards the requirement of 20 miles, but the sled must be raced at least once to qualify for this class. Grass drags, oval/lemans and cross country races are all approved. Racing the rat in more than one type of race is approved. We want pics of the rat at the race  W9n

Touring Rat: Build a budget long distance cruiser. Up to $400 because reliability often requires some new parts and items like bearings, hyfax  and ski runners will likely need to be replaced to make the sled worthy of 50+ mile days. Patina optional. Must complete 200 or more miles at well known vintage rides. We want pictures of the rat on the rides.


Most importantly:
Sled builds should be documented online with before, during and after pictures of the project.
Please post up a picture or two of your project sled and then start its own thread in the ratrods section on the forum:
http://www.vintagesledders.com/forums/index.php?board=36.0

 

 

Here's some of the builds underway right now:

vader

Greenbloods "VADER"

 

 

daddler

Nutter's "Race Daddler"

yamaha

Wheelyhorse's Long Track Exciter

 

So...

What are you waiting for? Join the fun and enter the Vintagesledders.com Rad Rod contest today!

 

More info can be found in the official Vintagesledders Rat Rod Thread.

 

 

 
Snowmobile Barn Museum Show
Friday, 11 November 2011 09:14

Forget football and last minute yardwork for this weekend and head to the 10th annual Snowmobile Barn Museum Show and swap!

snowmobilebarn


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2011

Rain or Shine

928 Cedar Ridge Road, Newton, NJ 07860

FEATURED SLED:

Yamaha

REGISTRATION 9:00 AM-12PM AWARDS 3PM

DASH PLAQUES TO FIRST 50 PARTICIPANTS

FOOD AVAILABLE ON SITE
$50 CASH TO FURTHEST TRAVELED

 

TROPHIES AWARDED TO 1984 & OLDER

68-73 Trail Original Antique 67 & Older
68-73 Trail Restored Best of Show
68-73 Muscle Mini Sled
68-73 Racer Sno Pro
74-84 Trail Original Most Unique/Custom
74-84 Trail Restored Best Display
74-84 Muscle Sled 74-84 Racer
Cutter

For information Call:
Andy Smith 908-581-7427 Dan Klemm 973-534-7823

E-mail

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

For even more information about the show and the snowmobile barn museum please check out their website: snowmobilebarn.com

 
German Revolutions
Monday, 31 October 2011 14:29

Two stroke motors were the favored power-plants for snowmobiles beginning in the early 1960's to the mid-1970's. The comparatively light weight to horsepower ratio and compact design was more desirable than the four stroke standards of the time. Fewer moving parts and more horse­power at higher RPM made them more attractive to manufacturers and consumers alike as snowmobiles made the transition from rear engine utility vehicles to front engine sport machines.

 

German motors were adapted to snowmobile use from industrial stationary units used to power pumps, generators, and the like. Most were fitted with the German Bosch magneto ignition system and, of course, the recommended spark plug was Bosch. Diaphram carbs replaced the float bowls.

 

Gutbrod-Werke GMBH in West Germany manufactured motors used by the Bolens Division of FMC Corporation and bore their name. Multi-cylinder models from 310cc to 438cc were produced from 1969 to 1972. In 1971 they made available the first three cylinder motor in a produc­tion snowmobile. Their engine design was unique in that the crankshaft was split and coupled togeth­er. Castrol at 20 to 1 was the preferred fuel to oil mix.

 

Hirth Motors of Kreis Ludwigsburg, West Germany, were distributed by Wisconsin Motor Corporation in Milwaukee.

Hirth's were utilized by many Canadian and American manufacturers as early as 1963 in the Sno Bug.

Motor sizes ranged from the 10 horsepower, 246cc 81 R, to the mighty 793cc three cylinder 230 R "Honker," which turned 80 horsepower and many heads at the race track.

The 171 R 634cc was also a very popular and successful model. Hirth even offered a 493cc 24 horsepower opposed twin, the 180 R.

Hirth motors were cooled by centrifugal fan until 1970 when they switched to axial fan (belt driven) cooling.

The recommended fuel to oil mix was 25 to 1.

 

JLO engines were manufactured in Pinneberg, West Germany, and distributed from Syracuse, New York.

The first two stroke Ski-Doo was powered by an 8 horsepower JLO in 1961. JLO made many models from the tiny L99 used in the Yard Man Sno Cub to the free air 3 cylinder 650cc used by Arctic in the King Kat.

JLO twins were cooled by centrifugal fan until a design change in 1970 and a switch to the axial fanT

Rockwell Manufacturing bought JLO on Oct. 1, 1968, then billed as the largest manufacturer of small engines in West Germany with a heritage of over half a century of quality performance.

 

They again changed hands and homes, and in 1975, after Scorpion moved the operation to Cros­by, Minnesota, JLO-Rockwell became Cuyuna, named for the nearby Iron Range. Cuyuna became the only American-made snowmobile engine at that time.

Fuel to oil ratio went from 20 to 1 on early models to 40 to 1 on later models. JLO's were used in snowmobiles longer than any other Ger­man manufacturer.

 

Lloyd Motoren Werke GMBH of West Ger­many produced two models used in snowmobiles. They were also used in small automobiles.

The 386cc twin was used by Yukon King in 1968-69, Sno Prince in 1969-70, Ski Daddler 1969 and Herters in 1970.

Cooled by centrifugal fan, the fuel to oil mix­ture was 40 to 1, somewhat lean for the era.

The Lloyd engine blazed its way into racing history when the 1968 Yukon King factory team won every race they entered in the 295cc stock class.

The North American distributor was in Kitch­ener, Ontario.

 

Sachs motors were made by Fichtel & Sachs AG in West Germany. They had distributors in Quebec and New Jersey.

Motor sizes ranged from the SA 280 277cc to the SA 2-740C, 735cc. Sachs made several perfor­mance models, the SS and C fan cooled and the R Twins were cooled by axial fan and the sug­gested fuel to oil ratio was 25 to 1.

Sachs motors found their way into many dif­ferent snowmobiles, most notably the Canadian Alouette and Eskimo.

Sachs very probably had the most durable and dependable recoil starter of all the German motors.

 

The Wankel Rotary engine was invented by Felix Wankel and made by Fichtel & Sachs. The 303cc RC1-18.5 was manufactured for Curtiss-Wright Corporation from New Jersey in 1968 to 1970. The fuel mix was 40 to 1.

Its successor, the KM 914B, was made from 1971 to 1972. The fuel to oil ratio was 50 to 1. Both models used Tillotson HL diaphram carbure­tors, and both produced 19 horsepower, 303cc.

The KM24 was next in line and was in service until 1975. It used a mechanical fuel pump that was mounted on the rewind. Fuel to oil ratio was 50 to 1 and was rated at 23 horsepower, 294cc.

Rotary oil was recommended for the KM24, while Shell Rotella, Mobilmix TT, and Essolube HD30 were among the preffered oils for the earli­er models.

 

Polaris, Alouette, Skiroule and Arctic Cat all featured the Wankel Rotary at one time or another. Cat was the last to use the Wankel in 1975.

Many incorrectly surmise that Rotax, the mainstay motor of Ski-Doo, was a German prod­uct While there were many similarities, Rotax engines were manufactured in Austria.

 

Motosacoche, or Mag motors used in Ski Daddler,- were manufactured in Switzerland, as were early Kohler two strokes.

 

By the early 1970's the demand for more power and easier starting brought Japanese motors into the limelight. Fuji, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha and others became the exclusive power plants for most of the major brands.

Smaller manufacturers began to die off as the snowmobile market tightened, taking German motors with them as they faded into history.

 

Reprinted with permission.

 
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