Dead Sled Wrenchers
Sled Stories

My First Sled


Well some people have told me they like my stories so here's the tale of how I got into old sleds.

In late 2001 I was invited to go snowboarding with some friends. Not being a snowboarder I thought maybe I'd get into some other wintertime sport. I started looking around at sleds but was short on cash. Before too long I found a guy in New Hampshire who had a bunch of sleds for sale. One was a '76 Ski Doo TNT 340 with electric start. I liked the idea of the TNT for a couple reasons, one its the same age as I am and for another my Dad had a TNT when I was little. I bought the TNT for I think $350.
Turns out Dad's TNT was a '72 400 f/a which is now a very collectable sled. My TNT turned out to be junk.

To start with neither ski had any bottom to it so in snow the sled would dip low and plow through the snow like a truck. Replacement skis were easily available and pretty easy to install. I should have added new ski shocks too, on big bumps the ski tips would leap up into the air.
The next problem was the hood being broken to pieces and had been repaired with shim metal and pop rivets. If you don't know about shim metal its thin soft metal. Since its so thin and soft the idiot who'd used it for repair had 4 layers of the metal all riveted together in big ugly lumps. I pulled the metal off and replaced it with an epoxy repair kit I bought at the autoparts store. That seemed to work well but took alot of time. A smarter way to repair such a junky sled would be similar to the shim metal technique but with better metal.
My first ride was good but after a short ride I couldn't get the sled to restart. Strangely the next day it started right up. Later I figured out that the 't' where the primer line intersects the fuel line the plastic 't' had cracked allowing the fuel in the line to dry out making the sled hard to start.
The final nail in the coffin was when one cylinder failed to have spark. My wife and I had ridden back into the woods and suddenly the engine didn't have enough power to take us anywhere. Fortunately my friend was with us, my wife rode back with him and I found that if I pushed the sled I could get it moving and if I held the throttle wide open the sled would just barely stay moving.
A year later I still hadn't gotten spark back despite replacing points so I bought another motor. Unfortunately having a job tends to get in the way of working on sleds and I never really had much time to mess with the new motor, I got it running but never could get the carb to work well. This replacement motor had a Tillotson pumper carb which I think marks it as an older motor than the one originally in my sled which had a separate fuel pump. I got a Mikuni carb to swap in and bought most of the parts to adapt it but never got around to working on it.
I finally sold the chassis to a friend's son in-law who was rebuilding a TNT-Everest which is a rarer sled. The motors both went on eBay along with a stack of other parts. I lost money on everything related to the sled except for a carb rebuild kit I'd bought. I paid about $25 for that kit and sold it on eBay for $35.

What do you think about this story? Let me know!