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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I are considering getting into snowmobiling. We are into off road motorcycles and quads, and street bikes in a big way - and snowmachines seem to be a perfect way to enjoy the winters!

A limited budget is a big factor in selecting sleds for us - but I need some advice as to what to look for in used sleds, and perhaps some specific model recommendations.

1) With me, the wife and two kids, two up sleds will be needed.
2) I am in no way thinking at this point we need newest latest bestest fastest, rather we need something that will be reliable and comfortable on the trails. Yeah I know - later on I am sure i will want more - I do like a bike that performs, and I do race off road enduros...but the budget will prevent a performance sled for a while.
3) What mechanical points are of particular concern on a sled? I am fairly mechanically adept (I have rebuilt 2 stroke motorcycles MANY times - from the crank up or simple top ends - there is not much on a bike I would not feel comfortable doing)
4) How do you check the conditoin of slides, track, suspension (these are what I am guessing are high wear areas, likely in need of attention on a used sled)
5) with modern sleds, what is considerd "high miles". I know with street bikes, more often than not, the bikes are capable of way more than what the typical riders do. Many riders would say a bike with say 25,000 is "high miles" when I have put well over 100,000 on a bike before. I know they can do much more that what most people think of.
6)OK, now the tuff one - what could I expect to get for say the $1500 to $2000 range for a sled (we are looking to spend less than $4000.)

Thanks in advance for the replies!

Mike
 

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well, all brands offer good 2 up touring sleds. just go to a dealer and ask around for what they have on touring models with 2ups, tell them your price range and they can probably help you out. a new sled is outa the question with your price range, but visit the sites online and see what the brands have to offer: www.skidoo.com, www.arctic-cat.com, www.polarisindustries.com and www.yamaha-motors.com (not sure bout the yamaha one, it used to be yamahausa.com)

other guys here will be able to help you more than i can when checking out a used sled, but make sure it looks in good shape on the outside for sure, that will be a good sign for the internal working of the sled, open the hood and look and see how clean the engine and compartment was to get an idea of how well it has been taken care of. check the track for any rips and such. with your price range you can probably only afford a model between a 93-97 considering brand and condition. miles depend on the year of the sled, i would say most brands when u get near 6000-8000 miles you will start getting into problems with the engine and will probably need to put some work into it, just preventive maintenance pretty much

there are plenty of people here who will give u a very detailed list of what to check out when u start looking

where are u from? and welcome to the forum
 

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Welcome to the forum and to the wonderful sport of snowmobiling.

Since you seem mechanicly enclined one thing to bring with while looking at any sled is a compression tester. one of these will help you find out if a sled has been beat or not.when checking compression i would like to see even numbers across the cylinders and ussually around 125 psi per cylinder. and the numbers shouldbe within 5 to 10 psi of eachother.Thats all i can think of right now if i think of anything else ill let ya know

Bobby
 

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you should be able to find a decent sled for that price..you will probley want a 500cc and up sled..IMO I would get a liquid cooled to because they perform and cool better.I guess just look for the obvious things,look underneith at the bellypan and tunnel for any tears or big dents, If you are looking to buy a 2up sled most of them are in pretty good condition as long as they have been maintained because MOST people dont jump and try climbing MTS with their 2up sleds..Most people use them for just trails..Oh and welcome to the FORUM..
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies guys! I am located in norther Lower Michigan.

Well - I have seemed to move fast already. Just looked at two sleds that seem to fit the bill. Tell me what you think? (the seller is making what seems to be a decent package deal). He is about to retire and move south - so the snow toys are going.

sled #1 - a 1995 Polaris XLT. Has 5100 miles on it. Owner says he has it serviced each year at the dealer he bought it from when it was new. Never anything needed than routine maintenance (slides etc). Cosmetics are super - no evidence of any abuse what so ever. The only downside is when he bought the sled new, he had them take off the two up seat and put on a single seat. anyone know how much a two up seat will go for? I did not hear it run as he had battery out of it etc. will come with a dust cover and (i think...i need to verify this) saddle bags.

Sled #2 - a 1997 Polaris Sport Touring. Has 3100 miles on it. Has the two up seat, appears very nice cosmetically, again supposedly well maintained. Started up on second pull! motor sounded fine to me. No evidence of any abuse on this one either. will come with a heavy duty cover. this was their "guest sled" they have had this one a couple of years.

Both machines really do look nice. Both pretty much spotlessly clean, noting banged up at all, nothing what so ever to note cosmetically, not as much as a rip in the seat or anything. The seller a upper middle aged couple, really dont seem to be the type of abused the sleds. they used them for longer distance touring here in Michigan. I always look to the condition of the garage and what else is around and would say this guy does keep things well maintained. He will sell both sleds for $3600 including two helmets with heated sheilds and two way communicators. How does this deal sound?

Once again - your comments appreciated!

MIke

Good point on the compression test. I dont have a guage (but should) perhaps I can borrow one and test these sleds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
forgot to mention - the XLT is the "XLT Touring" model with the long track and did indeed originally come with the two up seat.
 

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There should be no battery in that XLT... Also, certain year XLT's had crank problems, and would let go with 5-6,000 miles on them. I don't know if this is one of the affected sleds though.

As far as price goes, was a trailer included? I would say that price is still decent even without a trailer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
ripperd2

This one is the "touring" with electric start, reverse, long track etc. - definetly a battery in it (though not connected). Before I bought I would make sure it ran of course! No trailer at that price (I dont think I will need one - I have a enclosed trailer I haul all my bikes and quads in that should hold both sleds).

I saw other posts here about the crank issues on these 600s - though some what mixed conclusions, with some suggesting if it made it this long, and you continue to use good oil etc - should be no problems. I think I saw one poster mentioning 10,000 plus miles with no crank issues on a 95 or 96.

Mike
 

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My old XLT is has a 1996 engine in it and I have had no crank problems to date with about 4000-5000 miles on it.
 

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Originally posted by KTM Mike
[br]ripperd2

This one is the "touring" with electric start, reverse, long track etc. - definetly a battery in it (though not connected). Before I bought I would make sure it ran of course! No trailer at that price (I dont think I will need one - I have a enclosed trailer I haul all my bikes and quads in that should hold both sleds).

I saw other posts here about the crank issues on these 600s - though some what mixed conclusions, with some suggesting if it made it this long, and you continue to use good oil etc - should be no problems. I think I saw one poster mentioning 10,000 plus miles with no crank issues on a 95 or 96.

Mike
Alright, if it's a touring model. Very few sleds have electric start from the factory. If your old enough to ride a sled, your definitely strong enough to pull start it. Yeah, I don't know the full story on the crank issues either, I was mentioning it in passing.

And as far as judging something someone is selling by checking out the looks of their garage, I completely agree.
 

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KTM Mike,

96-97 XLT's were the culprit's. The crank problems popped up in a small percentage of those sleds and mostly on modded sleds. I have a 95 XLT sp it's a great sled. I think the price is pretty good. A brand new seat will cost you about 3-400 bucks. You should be able to find a used one for 150 Good Luck and welcome to the forum.
 

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That is a decent price with the extras you are getting, But offer him less and see what he says. It can't hurt.Here is a good info page on the Xlt's.
http://www.geocities.com/schmidt92/polaris_faq.html
 

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My brother has a 95 and 96 XLT. The 95 has a longer track on it, not sure if that made it a touring or a mountain model. The thing I didn't like about that sled was the rear suspension (maybe an Extra-10) was a little weak compared to the Extra-12 on the 96. It probably needed new springs.

Otherwise, both sleds have been solid and he has not had to do anything but routine maintenance on them. Both of his XLT's have around the same mileage as the one you are looking at so I would have to say thumbs up.

You should also look over the clutches for and visable damage. Check the suspension(moves freely), shocks (leaking), slides/hyfax (worn down, track rubbing against metal), skis/carbides (worn or bent), and track (cracks, lugs torn up, studs missing, moves freely, and check the bearings on the wheels). Compression is OK to check but a leak test by a mechanic is better. Some 2 stokes give good compression readings even when damage is present. Learned this the hard way with my 96 Skidoo Formula III. You can also tell a lot from the spark plug color. Let it run a bit to burn off any fogging oil if he used it and check for a tan color. White is bad, too lean and black is too rich. (You probably know most of this stuff already)
 

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Welcome to the forum,
that sounds like a great price for two sleds. And the XLT will be all the sled you want for a while anyway. Good power and smooth. If they are in good shape and you are serious I would make him an offer and go with it. Gonna be a hard deal to beat later.
 

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i think it sounds like a pretty good deal based on what you said...i would make sure everything movie freely and what not...a compression test would be good too. If they have studs check for ones that have pulled through or tears or what not in the track...i would want to here the other one run for a while too and make sure the clutch and stuff works alright. I would say get them though...I like to start with a price i know they won't take and work my way up but its up to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well it would seem the conclusion then is a thumbs up! Hey that link posted by acexlt was quite helpful - thanks. Looks like i dont need to worry about the crank based on that web site. This particular sled is bone stock - not at all hot rodded - so I should be safe. Only open issue is to locate a two up seat for it (OEM is like $480! ouch!) Any one know a good source for used seats? Or perhaps affordable after market? I contacted a couple of salvage yards here in Michigan - no luck so far.

Also - the conversation has focused on the XLT. Any comments about the Sport Touring. Totally different motor, air cooled twin etc - as well as different suspension bla bla bla. Certainly a basic entry level sled - but I have no issue with that at this stage of my journey into the snow! (I wonder which sled will end up as "mine" vs the wifes...hmm....600cc vs 440cc.....no replacement for displacement in my book!)

As it stands now, I think I am going to take the sleds. I already pushed him down on price - he started at $4000 for the pair. (Kelly book is way above this price as well) and got him to ad in the helmets and communicators, plus I will next push for him to throw in some saddle bags he mentioned! By the end of the week, I suspect I will be having to move some of my many motorcycles out of the way!

(does this mean I will have to remove the ice screws from my winter tires for my KTM if I become a real snowmobiler?[:D] if i can find a pic of my former version of how to play in the snow, I will try to post it here!)
 

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I personnaly don't see how you can go wrong with what you are getting for $3600. That is quite a "load" with the extra's and decent mileage in my book, the xlt is up there however, but it's not bad either (hence the "low" price in my estimations). I have a '96 xcr600 with the same motor as the xlt you are looking at as well. I love it, and I don't intend on modding it whatsoever. I ride an xr350r enduro bike, similar to your 300 (power wise), and I can tell you, my 600 surprised me BIG TIME when I first took it out. It has a substantial amount of power. On the trails between the curves it accelerates like it's got a turbo under the hood. It just hooks and goes, but it is a long track with 1.5" lugs. Look in the "my sled" category on this site and you will see my post, "my xcr" and that is my 600 with the same engine in question as the xlt you are looking at.

Good luck, and I can tell you are already excited about it. "New" toys are great aren't they? Want to see pictures of your future toys, go to this link and click on snowmobiles and then click on your year and then click on your future sleds, and you will get a description along with a picture.

http://www.polarisman.com/channels/content/DisplayYear.cfm?Year=1995
 

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This place has EVERYTHING Polaris from 1985 to present. New and used parts. Great people to deal with, and excellent prices. I wouldn't be surprised if they had a nice used 2up seat in stock.

www.starpages.com/indyss
 

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The sport touring should run till the track and ski's fall off. Since it is fan cooled you will definetly want the XLT. I am sure you will no longer think of riding your bike in the winter once you head out on a beautiful saturday morning with 12 inches of fresh snow. The bike will now be the toy that gets you through the summer waiting for the next winter... Good Luck
 

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KTM Mike, as far as the 2-up seat goes I have seen many in the past on Ebay.com. Snowmobile stuff on there won't pick up until another month or so. Otherwise, here are 2 sites that you can place a wanted add FREE!
http://www.kbnet.com/book/html/SIM.html
Post every couple of days on this one to keep your add on the front page.

http://snowmobilegaragesale.com/
These sites are exclusively for snowmobiles
and parts.
Make sure you post for the whole 2-up setup complete with the backrest and grab rails.You will want that for the kids.
 
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