Who Sneezed in the Carburetor? (By Dan Gould)
Published on July 13, 2010 in News & Updates, President's Message
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The day of father-son bonding over mechanized aluminum was upon us. When the kids were little, they never showed much interest in tinkering, but now that Danny has his first sled he asks if we can go down in the garage just about every weekend.

Today is carburetor day (like the Indy 500) and we are going to take them off and apart. “This is the jet, where and the gasoline gets mixed with air in the venturi,” I explained to my 12-year-old son as we disassembled the Mikuni to his “new” 1987 Polaris Indy Sport.

I pull out an old copy of Olav Aaen’s classic “Carb Tuning Handbook” to show him a diagram of the inner workings. He nods in agreement as I try to convey the similarities in the illustrations to the chunks of aluminum and brass on the workbench.

The first carb was as clean as the day it came off the assembly line; we finish it in a jiffy. We then pop the second 32mm carb of the Fuji engine. These old machines are so easy to work on, plenty of space to get at the components and the simplicity of a Lego set.

Danny takes the Phillips screwdriver and gets the bowl off. It has chunks of yellow and green stuff living inside. “Looks like someone sneezed in the carburetor,” I say. He grins and listens as I tell yet another tale, “Those chunks could block the jets and blow the engine to smithereens if we don’t clean them out.” His eyes bulge. That really caught his attention; he doesn’t want his prized sled to vaporize.

dirty snowmobile carburetor

Neither of us could get over the amount of icky built up inside that carb. We spent a good hour scrubbing and spraying before it passed the white glove test. As we clean and reassemble the parts he curiously asks if I had ever done this before? Looking at all the little pieces scattered on the workbench and the talk about blown engines must have got him wondering about his father’s mechanical skills and more importantly, the fate of his new ride.

A few encouraging words like, “Do I look that confused?” seemed to reassure him that I wasn’t a complete hack. Now I start to second-guess… did we put everything back together right? Hmmm.

The chaincase is cleaned and topped off with lube. New fuel lines replace the ones that disintegrated when stared at, old filters are given the heave-ho, and the freshly painted exhaust pipe is put in place with little springs that laugh in my face when I try to attach them. The little voice inside begs, “No cursing.”

We are just about ready to install the gas tank when “Mom” yells down that dinner is ready. Bummer. I can see he’s a bit disappointed that we are done for the day. So close to pulling the rope and firing it up, but that will have to wait for yet another weekend.

Bummer or not, Danny learns a lot about snowmobiles, patience, and maybe a little more about his father.

1987 Polaris Indy Sport

I’m excited at the prospect of passing the torch of snowmobiling to my oldest son but have a bit of a cloud hanging over my head, a bit of paranoia. What if the sled won’t start? What if the thing does blow up? – I’ll look like a complete wanker. I’ve screwed things up before but never has my reputation been so exposed. I’d better sneak back down there one night this week and double-check everything, just to be sure.

Until then I’ll have to avoid seeing Danny; I think I have that confused look on my face again!


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