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BoxMN

Worth the trade? '88 sled for canoe...

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I am thinking about a potential trade of my old alumacraft canoe (hardly used anymore) for a 1988 Polaris, either a 400 or 440, I am going to find out today. The picture looks in decent condition, and she is going to get me more pictures today or tomorrow. Her brother bought it new, then she bought it from him for her son about ten years ago. Hasn't been ridden much, but last year she said it started on the third pull, but they only drove it once. It has studded track. 4000 miles.

First, is it worth the trade, or should I just try to buy a newer sled? It will just be a beater at the cabin, for ice fishing. I want to get a 2-up, ideally, but that would cost me about $1000 -$1500 for a used one, it seems like. This would only cost me potential repairs.

Second question, how spendy do you think it might be to take an old sled and make it not new, but reliable? I.e. how much to rebuild shocks, do a carb job, etc.? Can a relatively handy guy do it himself? I have never had a sled before.

Thanks for any info!

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IMO- Keep your canoe and look for something at least 95 or newer...IMO your canoe is worth more!

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I would trade, because you said the canoe is hardly used anymore and IMO opinion the snowmobile is worth more than your canoe.

Around my area a guy can buy a used canoe for a couple hundred bucks or less, a sled even from the late 80's is gonna run you at least a few hundred.

To me it's a good deal as long as the motor is in alright shape. 95 or newer why??? If it's just for putting around and ice fishing, you don't need great suspension, so it'll work fine for you. If you like to drive fast and trail ride A LOT, then yes maybe look at something much newer.

Make a rack for the back, slap a hitch on it, and your good to go...and yes you can do all you need to make it dependable pretty easily. Carbs would be easy and fairly cheap to clean or rebuild, put new plugs in, fresh fuel, oil, lube everything up is more time consuming than money. And shocks...maybe a hundred bucks give or take, if they are even needed??

good luck on your decision.

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You can find sleds in the 1988 range for under 500 lots of places. I got a 95 Polaris XLt Special for $600 last year and it runs great.

Good canoes are in high demand it seems. At least up here in BWCA land.

If the sled is in GREAT shape then its a fair trade. If its not in good shape I would look more.

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Thanks guys! I am going to look at it tomorrow, and my neighbor gave me a compression kit, so will check that.

Unless it has missing wheels, bad compression, or looks much worse than the pics I saw of it, I will take the trade.

I am also looking at a '96 xlt special, for about $950. This one looks well maintained and kept covered inside at all times. New track, carbs just done, fox shocks and the extra 12 suspension (I don't know what that adds, I am new to this sled world...) ... and looks brand new in pics, also comes with Clymer manual and good cover... Does that price seem in line Northlander, or did you get a really good deal, or was yours beat a bit?

So for a grand I may have two sleds. The canoe is just not used enough, and I think a couple sleds will get more use, or at least one especially if it is no cost to me except some repair/maintenance. I will be in a position to use them lots this year, and I have a place to store them now so hoping things could work out.

Thanks again for the info, and I apprecaite any more!

edit: BTW, the "Trade" sled is a watercooled 400 Indy with 3900 miles.

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Just a comment on the '88 indy 400 - bullet proof.

I sold one last year that had 9300 miles on the original pistons and rings. It was still runnning great. A common problem for that carb (if it has sat for awhile) is the orifice the choke plunger slides up and down in gets gunked up, and either will not open at all, or opens a bit and then gets stuck. Getting it out, cleaning, and replacement of a bit or two is not expensive.

Tim

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be careful with that 96 xlt its a three lunger and in my experience the outside piston always blows just my 02 cents. if it aint a lemon its 1 in 5000 get looking sled and the susp is one of a kind lots of travel for smooth riding.

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Hey Dan,

Are you saying that it would "likely" blow, and if it doesn't it is a rare one? Just wondering. Also, is this due to the design or how people who have these sleds usually ride them, fast?

I am more looking for reliability and ease of operation. And if this is not the model, I would look at the 500's maybe??..??

Tim, thanks for the info on the 400, that makes me feel better.

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Tim, thanks for the info on the 400, that makes me feel better.

Nothing wrong with the liquid 400.

That motor and the 500 liquid have been around for a long time since then as well.

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Ya I hear the triples have had a lot of problems. I got a 95 2 up last year for a few hundred bucks and Im having the outside cylinder re done.

The smaller triple I got runs great. It was gone over before I got it and its a fast little bugger. Just not big enough for me and I wanted electric start and reverse.

$950 for one in good shape with the added travel is a good deal. Not great but good.

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Depending on the miles on that 96' I would say it's a pretty fair deal. As far as the generalization that the XLT is a motor to "watch out" for I totaly disagree. I had a 94'XLT SP and rode the living heck out of it for 6300 miles and never had a problem. Regular maintenance, proper storage, carb cleaning and the occasional synchronization of the 3 carbs and they should run dang near forever under "normal" circumstances. I have personally seen at least 5 XLT's with 10,000 plus on them without ever haveing been touched. The XLT was Polaris' #1 all time selling sled. I might be mistaken but I was told they sold over 30,000 of them in one year alone

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Overall the XLT's were good machines.

However, IIRC, the XCR triples had the fair share of issues for some reason.

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Nama safety director, the first XLT's are great motors but for some reason the 95,96,97 were tough on the outside lung, I have buddy that sells on hsolist and he loves them xlt's for parts sleds. sells the motors as soon as their on sale, and also I do believe the 96,97 xlt's and xcr's had the same fuji motor yeah the motors run miles wise but how much work was done on them. if they were such great motors why did they change to the liberty which has been polaris's motor since 98? just my opionins

my brother had on of them xcr's and it screamed thru two overhauls and eneded with just short of 7000. but he put more triple the money into it to get it to last that long.

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Just looked at the 400. A few small cracks, some rips in seat, rusted skis. But compression was about 101 on both cylinders, and it started pretty good. The plugs are older than hades and the gas I am sure is old, so the motor should be a decent running motor with some maintenace. hyfax will probably need to be replaced soon. Main thing I saw was the skis have more than just surface rust, so will prolly need new skis - used skis. I imagine that should not be too spendy for used skis???? I told him I will take the trade.

I did mroe research on the 96 xlt, and found that the stuff dan talked about is right on. It was bad crankshaft, have a good link, but can't post it here. I will look for the 500 maybe for more reliability.

Thanks to everyone! You have helped tons for this rookie smile

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The XLT motor did make it one more year in 99' in the Indy Triumph which was a great running and handling sled. The motor was the same but it had triple rack Mikuni carbs instead of the three individual ones. As for the reasoning behind replacing the XLT with the twins...Power and Weight. The XLT was only around 85-90 h.p. stock and the small block twin started out in 2001 with 111 h.p and was much lighter than both the XLT 580 and the oringinal big block 600's. (I believe the 600 small block was around 8 pounds lighter than the 600 big block). Power, technology, weight and probably more so than anything, emissions led to the discontinuation of a few of the better motors they ever built, including the tried and true 500 Fuji.

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I imagine that should not be too spendy for used skis????

hsolist! You might be able to find some plastic skis as well as replacements.

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Hey guys, I found a place that has used skis. Here is their note:

"We currently have a pair of steel skis for the '88 Indy 400 that you are looking for, which still have the spindles on them. The bolts are corroded in the bushings. You can have those skis for $25.00 shipped to you."

Does that just mean that is why the spindles are still on, or is there something about corroded bolts in bushings that would mean un usable? I am just not familiar with the terms, and what else might be needed if the "bolts are corroded". Thanks for info.

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Don't do it! On the older ski's like those, the bushings that used to get put in them did not have a non corrosive coating on them and they would rust in the spindles. On top of that the bolts would also rust in to the i.d. of the bushings. I have ran in to this several times and the only way to get them out was to cut both ends of the bolt off to get the spindle out of the ski saddle and then put the spindle in a press and try to press the bushing out. In one case I came across the bushing was rusted in so bad I couldn't even press the it out and had to put the spindle in a milling machine and bore the bushing out! Not fun. I am guessing they couldn't get the bolts out of the one they are trying to sell you so they just took the spindle's out and left them attached to the ski.

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Thanks. I will look for some plastic cheap skis then. Does anybody know what all Polaris skis may fit the 88 Indy 400? I have heard the Polaris parts are quite modular among models. Thanks!

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Just about any of their plastic ski's should work. The only thing you will probably need to change is the rubber "saddle" that fits between the splindle and the ski. The plastic ski's have a narrower saddle than the one that is on your machine right now.(new ones are only about an inch or so wide). I put a set of plastic skis on my old 94'XLT and it worked great! It's a little bit like adding power steering compared to the old steel ski's! You might be able to find a cheap set on (E)b-y or check with a salvage yard if there's one nearby. Another place to ask around is if there's any local snowmobile racers around that you know of.Alot of times they will run aftermarket ski's and have a bunch of stock ones laying around. Good Luck!

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Well, I made the trade smile It actually is in better condition than I thought. The hood is perfect except for one small crack. The track is in great condition. Starts good even with bad/old gas. Seat is a bit beat up, but no biggie.

Any advice for how to "tape" it up? Gorilla Tape, or something better?

Does definitely need skis. I can get some used skis in decent condition for $65 for the set. Should I do that, or new skis for about double that?... I have not found a racer anywhere, but will keep my eye/ear out for them. I haven't checked the local sled shop yet, though.

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the set of ski's is a good buy but only if there in great condition or you will just be wasting money to just get by and end up buying new ones after the fact.

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Okay, so I think so far it is in better condition than I thought. But I am newbie smile so we shall see. I put new slides on, pretty easy. Greased all zerks I could find, had a buddy who is sledder help me. I need a bolt for rear wheel (forgot that when I was at sled shop today, drat...).

Otherwise looking good. Buddy adjusted the chain tensioner, but he doesn't have Polaris, so he was not sure where drain and filler were for the chain lube pan (whatever that is called) - we think we know, but not sure.

There is a rubber plug on top, that we think is the filler. Then there is a smaller bolt on the side, down by where the coolant lines run. We think that is the indicator hole to let you know when you have filled it high enough. But how do you drain it? Do you need to take the whole side piece off? Will I need to put on a new gasket? Or would you guys just fill it with some oil and let it go?....

Last thing, the air intake cover on the dash is broken, and it is $80 for a new piece. I think I can just cover it with some plywood or alum or plastic, just to keep snow out of intake. What do you think? Or should I try to find it on hsolist or something from parted out sled? Is there a sled junkyard anywhere?

Thanks, I am getting my hands dirty and learning this stuff! smile

edit - BTW, the skis are good enough to use for messing around, so am not going to spend anything on them now. Plastic skins are good, and the runners are in good shape.

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On a Polaris the drain plug for the chain case is on the very bottom of the chain case. There should be a hole in the belly pan where you can insert an allen wrench into the brass plug to drain the oil. Sometimes these can be a real bear to get out and on several occasions I have had to drill a hole in it and use an easy out to get it out. If it's an older sled I would just unbolt the chaincase outer cover and drain the oil that way, kind of messy but it works. As far as adding oil back in, you can just fill it through the hole for the dipstick. Make sure when you replace the cover that the seam in the cover seal is at the top and also put a little bit of silicone on the seam to prevent it from leaking and to keep moisture from getting in. As for the air box cover I would try and patch it up by siliconing a piece of similar plastic on it or something or try to find a replacement on &-bay or some place like that. One other thing...when you adjust the chain tensioner, be sure not to overtighten it. Many people tend to overtighten this which is a tremendous loss of efficiency, I normally just snug it up fairly tight by hand and tighten the jam nut, that's all it needs. Good luck!

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Thanks NAMASD! Did the tension correctly. But I am not finding a dipstick... would this model not have it, or am I looking in wrong place?

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