Dead Sled Wrenchers

Squeezebulb Primer


Wow, its been a year since I wrote my install a primer article. In that time I've enjoyed the plunger primer on my Panther alot, but today I want to talk about another type of primer, the squeezebulb primer.

If you've ever spent any amount of time around motorboats you might have seen a squeeze bulb primer before. They're commonly used to get that first shot of gas from the gas tank to an outboard motor. They're important because gas lines on boats are often a couple feet long. On most modern snowmobiles the gas tank is only a foot away from the motor so the gas lines are short and the gas flows by gravity feed to the gas pump.

Old sleds mostly aren't that lucky. On my '70 Ski-Doo Olympique 12/3 the engine sits directly above the gas tank but the carb is on the opposite side of the engine from the point that the gas line exits the tank, so the fuel line is in total about a foot and a half long and the gas has to rise about six inches.

Worse is my '71 Arctic Cat Panther which has the gas tank behind the seat so the gas has to travel nearly 4 feet! Sure the fuel pump can pull the fuel that distance but to do it I have to keep pulling that cord and cranking the engine over. Much easier to put a squeezebulb primer in line. I give the primer a couple good squeezes, my 12/3 has a fuel return line so I can watch gas returning to the tank. Then pull the cord and off we go.
The squeezebulb isn't a primer in the same sense that the plunger primer is, the plunger primer injects a dose of gas directly into the air path where the motor can grab it. The squeezebulb primer draws gas from the tank and pressurizes the fuelpump so everything is ready when you pull the cord.

Advantages of the squeezebulb primer:
Cost - the average squeezebulb primer is around $5.
Ease of installation - anybody that can cut fuel lines can install a squeezebulb primer in about 5 minutes

Disadvantages of the squeezebulb primer:
Not as effective as a plunger primer - with gas in the carb throat the motor will run even if the carb has issues
Difficulty finding a suitable location - on some sleds it can be hard to find a handy place to put the primer.

Overall I suggest the squeezebulb primer if you're concerned about your own mechanical abilities to install a plunger primer or are worried about not harming the look of your sled by installing something obviously not stock, on most sleds you can hid the squeezebulb primer under the hood where no one will be any the wiser.

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