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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all- I am new to the forum and also to the sport. I do not own a snowmobile yet, but I am looking to buy a used sled very soon. Not knowing a whole lot about them, I was wondering if anyone could give me some pointers to keep in mind when buying a used sled. I have bought used ATVs and cars before, so I know there are some general questions I will probably want to ask the seller. But what are the most important things to know and look at before purchasing? I did do a search and read about checking compression, how much to these gauges cost?

Also, I want to spend between $1200-$1500. I am looking for something with at least 500cc that would be good for long rides and also have a little bit of a performance feel to it. I have seen alot of the mid/late 90's Polaris XLT's in that range, are they any years or specific models that I should stay away from? Any other suggestions on brands/models would also be helpful.

Thanks
 

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I'm no expert but I would stay away from the 96&97 xlt because they had crank bearing issues,the polaris 500 w/ the fuji motors are probably the best motors polaris had in the early models,if you do a comp. test, do it w/ the carbs at full open,check the chain case dip stick for metal debris,look closely at the track for cracks or dry rot.comp should be around 120 or better. anything less than that there might be ring issues.I also bounce up and down on the rear suspension and make sure it works properly.
 

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stay away from aggressive chassis' not to reliable and slightly heavy. xlt's are good sled but tripples do require a little more maintenance. indys' are good the 650 rxl wasnt bad. as previously stated the fuji motors were good
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ok...thanks for the info.

I am going to look at a '95 XLT 600 today. The seller tells me that it has carbs from an 800cc engine, some head work, and it's piped and clutched. The sled has 5300 miles on it and he wants $1500 for it.

I am kind of wondering about the carb mod, has anyone else done this? If so, did you have good luck with it, any reliability issues?

I am guessing from what I've been reading about Polaris triples that this probably wouldn't be the most reliable machine with the mods listed. Is $1500 at least a fair asking price or is that too much?

Thanks
 

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I just bought 2 used sleds.......(my first sleds)

I would really check the track well.........since the track is nearly the most expensive single part to replace......$400+ If it has a bad track....it could be a driving force to sell.......

Pop the hood and look for general oil spills under the manifolds, clutches and what not....wear marks on Clutch Sheaves......

Clutching and the track are the most pricey things on a sled.....so if you're mechanically inclined, the rest is somwhat inexpensive in comparison.

[;)]
 

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Originally posted by mcshaw16
[br]Ok...thanks for the info.

I am going to look at a '95 XLT 600 today. The seller tells me that it has carbs from an 800cc engine, some head work, and it's piped and clutched. The sled has 5300 miles on it and he wants $1500 for it.

I am kind of wondering about the carb mod, has anyone else done this? If so, did you have good luck with it, any reliability issues?

I am guessing from what I've been reading about Polaris triples that this probably wouldn't be the most reliable machine with the mods listed. Is $1500 at least a fair asking price or is that too much?

Thanks
Well, the XLT motor was particularly bad because Polaris was trying to shed weight hence it's XLT designation or Xtra Light Triple. So one thing they did was reduce the bearing surface in the motor. Not a good idea. But the 95's I haven't heard too many issues.

As far as other models...

RXL's
Ultra's
Even the Indy 500.

The RXL's were based on the older Polaris Triples. This basic design started in the late 70's with the Centurion which was a 500cc triple. The centurion was very reliable and was and still is one of the fastest 500's on snow. Later in it's evolution it was bored out to a 600 and was simply called the Indy 600. This design prevailed until 1987. That when the motor got another 50cc's and was bumped to a 650. In 1990 Polaris prototyped a EFI system for the 650 motor and that's where the RXL came from or Racing Experimental Liquid. This designation was a retread as the 1970's RXL racers were Polaris' first attempt at a liquid racing sled. But the modern RXL's were reliable if you maintained them. The EFI components are susceptible to moisture corrosion and what not, which can cause some electrical issues, but when the electrical is taken care of, it rolls! No crank issues or anything like that, as a Polaris triple it loves those pipes. But you need a chip to convert the fuel map. Also the RXL's in 1995-1997 have the Xtra 12 which is a comfy ride yet still allow the machine to perform.

The Ultra was a case reed motor, so it had a little more lowend power. The crank is the same basic design as the 650 or RXL's so it can take the power. This motor loves mods! Pipes can easily get this machine out to 150 HP reliably. No history behind this one, it's just a reliable ass wooping machine. Smooth power is how I would describe it.

The Indy 500 is actually a 488, but it is one of the if not the most reliable motor ever made. It was made for like 18 odd years, just stopped making them last season. Good power, at least for the engine size. In the year range your looking for you should be able to find one with an Xtra suspension. Not going to blow the doors off too many sleds, but it isn't going to leave you on the side of the trail either.

Good Luck with your search.
 

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Originally posted by mcshaw16
[br]
I am going to look at a '95 XLT 600 today. The seller tells me that it has carbs from an 800cc engine, some head work, and it's piped and clutched. The sled has 5300 miles on it and he wants $1500 for it.
That sounds like it could turn into a tuning nightmare, especially for somebody new to snowmobiles.

Triples are not inherently bad. I would not discount any machine just because it is a triple. But the Indy 500 is a great machine, too. The Indy Trail (488cc fan-cooled) is a super-reliable machine, too.

I think others here have given good advice.
 

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I'm always ammused when poeple say "stay away from those XLT's- they had crank bearing issues." Truth is SOME had crank bearing issues- MANY more did not and are still running strong. And a lot of those that failed were engines that were modified to run beyond their intended rpm and horsepower range. The XLT is a great trail/performance sled and you can pick one up very reasonably. However, because of reasons mentioned above, I would say look for one that is basically stock- at least engine-wise.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Originally posted by jdzaharia
That sounds like it could turn into a tuning nightmare, especially for somebody new to snowmobiles.
Yeah, that's kind of what I was thinking. Thanks for the input guys.
 

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Yamaha Phazers are extremeley reliable. They are decently priced also and they can take some good hits. Polaris are great sleds also. Hope I helped. [8D]
 

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maybe look into some late 90's cats and ski doos, a few years ago i bought a 98 cat zl 440 lc for $1500 ran great great shape actually almost mint w/ 4000 miles, Also bought a 99 skidoo formula z 583 for $900 its only got 1400 miles on it but has a few cracks in the hood! Funny thing is im buying it back it was the first new sled i ever bought. Paid almost $6000 new sold it for $5000 and now buying it back for $900. Ive seen other deals out there like that so just look around.Other opts. to check out 98-99 zr & zl 500s, 98-2000 mxz 500s. Just a though if your looking for something other than a polaris! Good luck and welcome to the sport!!!
 

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that seems a little sketchy.
Originally posted by jdzaharia
[br]
Originally posted by mcshaw16
[br]
I am going to look at a '95 XLT 600 today. The seller tells me that it has carbs from an 800cc engine, some head work, and it's piped and clutched. The sled has 5300 miles on it and he wants $1500 for it.
That sounds like it could turn into a tuning nightmare, especially for somebody new to snowmobiles.

Triples are not inherently bad. I would not discount any machine just because it is a triple. But the Indy 500 is a great machine, too. The Indy Trail (488cc fan-cooled) is a super-reliable machine, too.

I think others here have given good advice.
 

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Don't buy someone elses problems, in that price range you are going to find a lot of guys trying to unload a sled that they are sick of dumping money into repairs. Ask them "why are you selling it".

I would also recomend leaving room in your budget for repairs. In that price range (I guess any price range for that matter) you are going to have break downs.
 

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As far as I have seen the late 90's skidoos are good sleds and I have seen ALOT of them go for around the price range you are looking at.
 

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i wouldn't go with an 800 as your first sled unless you have done lots of riding of friends. like some of the other guys said i would go with the indy 500. they are a great sled and very reliable with the fuji motor and and all around good sled. ^^ don't just check the track when you buy make sure the engine is running well and check as much as you can.
 

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i would also check the rear skid, especially around all pivot points..i.e shock mounts swing arm mounts, etc for "egged"out bolt holes, this is a very telltale sign they never paid any attention to their machine. i bought my 93 xlt for 1200, only things i have had problems with is bad needles and seats in the carbs, (about 75 bucks to fix) and i blew a crank seal. both were pretty easy fixes, and u need not be the best mech. on the block to fix them. You can find some great deal on sleds if u are patient, or goto this link....www.sledcity.com
there you will find every color shape and size, some in you price range, some are not. good luck and welcome to the forum...you made your first wise choice of snowmobiling....finding SNOWMOBILE FANATICS, the rest will be easy.
 

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I ride a Indy 500, It is reliable and quick on take off, Tops out about 85mph, but as a new rider you probably don't need much more than that. I think for that price range you should be able to get something pretty decent. Good luck with your search!
 

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I just bought a 1999 500 Indy Trail F/C with 1500 miles and it costed me $1000. It runs perfectly, you can find yourself some pretty good deals with the 500's.

I want to ride, where is all the snow...ahhhh!!!!
 

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Just my advice...........Look into an indy 500.For a first sled that is hands down a tried and true great first sled for first timers and even more experienced riders too.I don't know how you think about yamaha's but there are many 95-96 vmax 500 and 600's in you price range.They are a tad heavy but are great for a low cost sled as far as I know and are fast to boot on groomed trails.
Thats all I can say to help you out,Take care sparkyd31
 
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