Dead Sled Wrenchers
Sled Stories


1980 Polaris TX-L

During the snowmobiling season of 2002-2003 I owned at total of 6 snowmobiles. In March of 2003 I owned 3 and only one ran. I realized during that year that to have a machine I could trust to take on longer rides I really needed to spend some more money to buy a sled in decent condition. Over the summer I managed to sock away $600 that became earmarked for a new machine. I found one that was what I thought I wanted in New Hampshire and made an appointement to go see it after I went to the New Hampshire Snowmobile Museum annual summer swap meet.
As soon as my friend and I arrived at the swap meet he spotted a Polaris on a trailer and said "Theres the sled for you". I wasn't so sure, I'd never had a Polaris before and the machine on the trailer was pretty dirty and sitting with some fairly delapadated machines. Once we started it I was convinced though, the liquid cooled 340 makes a sound that is surely music to my ears. A cursory inspection showed the seat cover pulling away from the base and the hood hold downs were broken. After a short discussion of price it was mine for $350.
   The story goes that this sled was owned by an older couple in Rangely, Maine. This was the wife's sled and as they were older she didn't ride it very much. They've recently moved to Florida and asked the seller to see what he could get for it. The story is borne out by the Rangely, Maine dealer sticker on the hood, and 1100 miles on the odometer, plus the nearly perfect appearance of the sled
A short walk around the swap meet found a fellow selling OEM snowmobile covers and there, at the bottom of his pile was a never opened cover for a 1980 TX-L. The cover cost $30 and made my day complete.
At home a good cleaning revealed what a good deal I'd gotten. The engine was clean enough that I've largely left it alone, I replaced the coolant and swept some leaves out of the belly pan. I cleaned and waxed the hood and used leather treatment on the seat to ensure it stays supple in the cold.

As you might guess from the picture above this has become Angie's sled. Last winter started with a great little soft powder storm that had us out on the TX-L and Olympique. Angie decided that the Oly doesn't have enough suspension and the bouncing bothers her back so she rides the TX-L now.

Of course I couldn't let Angie have all the blue sled fun for herself. I've since picked up a 1980 Polaris Centurion which is the 500cc 3 cylinder version of this sled.

In the very soft snow of early 2005 we found that although the TXL could handle 6 inches of soft power 18 inches would stop it dead. It took a very soft thumb on the throttle to get moving and not make the track dig for solid ground. Once moving it was great but getting started was about impossible. Fortunately the old '70 Ski Doo was light enough to float or we'd have never got moving.

Special thanks to the New Hampshire Snowmobile Museum Association for holding their annual swap meet and to Norm and Deb Steeves for hauling this machine down to the show!

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