For some sled enthusiasts, the winter season isn’t enough to showcase their passion for snowmobiling. They want to experience year-round riding. If you want to take your sled on dry terrain, you might be wondering if you can ride a snowmobile on sand.
You can drive a snowmobile on sand; however, you may need a radiator, air filters, and other components to keep the engine cool and tracks running. Also, idler wheels can help improve traction.
A sled can be ridden almost everywhere, not just on snowy surfaces. It has a powerful machine, so why not take advantage of it? The main concern is the heat, in which you would need to make sure your snowmobile is capable of handling it.
Snowmobile Modifications for Sand Riding
Many people are already aware of the off-season capabilities of snowmobiles, and they’re freely driving it on deserts even without modifications. However, they’re probably ready to buy a new sled with the heat damage it may have sustained.
Snowmobiles rely on cold temperatures from the snow to avoid overheating. Overheating is a severe matter primarily for the machine’s drive train.
To prevent any damage altogether, use the following items to replace snowmobile components that won’t be able to handle off-season activities:
We’ve mentioned that sleds use snow to keep their system cool. How does that work?
Snowmobiles have heat exchangers that will utilize the snow being thrown away as your machine creates tracks. The whole thing works since the heat exchangers are strategically placed on the chassis’ underside. They’re functioning with the engine in a foolproof coolant system.
Since the design used for heat exchangers during winter are useless when you ride your snowmobile on the sand, the right alternative is the radiator we usually see in motor vehicles. The radiator is also more likely to work if it’s paired with a fan (View on Amazon).
Here are some tips regarding the placement of the radiator:
- Mount a big radiator on the tunnel’s back and place a single electric fan on it.
- Place the radiator below the hood, specifically at the former location of the headlights.
- Prepare both placements if you can, but you can use just one radiator. However, you must prioritize the tunnel’s rear end.
Snowmobile sliders work perfectly on snow for a reason. It turns out that the snow lubricates them. They shouldn’t be used on dry surfaces, or else they’re going to show signs of wear no matter how brand-new they are. Worst-case scenario, they melt.
Fortunately, there’s a possible solution. You may use idler wheels (View on Amazon) instead of sliders. Idler wheels won’t give power to your snowmobile since they aim to widen the track for improved traction. More importantly, they’re a good source of suspension.
You can easily identify idler wheels because of their small size. Their standard diameter is only 5.5 inches or 14 centimeters.
There are several types of mechanical suspension, but the bogie system is ideal for snowmobiling on dry terrain. Its strength is the power of the multi-leaf springs, which makes it easier for people to travel on extreme terrain like sandy slopes.
What happens is that the bogie suspension produces wide oscillation motions to adapt to the surface. So don’t be surprised if your rides on dunes will be smooth with the bogie system.
Meanwhile, if your snowmobile’s engine includes carburetors, you don’t need to replace them with something else. However, they should be altered for hot weather. The parts required for that are usually affordable.
Try adding these modifications if you can:
- Skid bearings
- Track clips
- Wider skis
- Heavy-duty air filters (View on Amazon) with protective covering (e.g., Outerwear)
Aren’t you curious how different the experience is when you ride a snowmobile on dunes? Expect these observations:
- Riding a sled on sand feels like riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV).
- The snowmobile easily passes over bumps and other obstacles.
- You can jump over irregular surfaces without falling.
Witness the power of snowmobiles on this video of different sleds dominating the dunes of Glamis, California:
Can You Ride Snowmobiles on Grass?
Some diehard enthusiasts want to use their snowmobiles all year long. So it’s not surprising anymore that riding sleds on grass is also a thing. But, is this even a good idea?
We don’t recommend riding your snowmobile on grass, but it can still work if you’re really up for it. Just make sure to grease the sliders. Without lubrication, you won’t be able to move smoothly on a grassy surface.
The grass should be wet as well to ensure a smooth ride. Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, a few minutes of sledding will surely damage the skis. It’s even possible that the sliders will melt.
You can alter your snowmobile for grassy surfaces, but is it worth the time, money, and effort? We suggest pushing through with the sliders and replace them with new ones if damaged.
How Much Snow Is Needed to Ride a Snowmobile?
While sand and grass are surely damaging to sleds, it’s still possible for your snowmobile to malfunction even when there’s snow everywhere. Strange, right?
It makes sense for the base to get damaged, though, if it’s rubbing too close to the actual ground. The intense friction may even lead to overheating– also if it’s already cold!
No wonder expert riders are usually waiting until the snow is at least four inches deep before whipping out their machines. Some snowmobile trails even prohibit riders from entering unless the snow is already six inches deep.
And, of course, it’s more enjoyable to sled on deep snow. The ride is much smoother compared to light snow, where you can still feel the roughness of the original terrain.
How Do You Store a Snowmobile in the Summer?
If you’ll change your mind about riding your snowmobile on the sand, then there’s nothing left for you to do with your machine during the off-season but store it. However, only leaving your sled inside the garage isn’t enough.
Storing a snowmobile is serious business. It will require you to do a series of preparations to make sure nothing terrible will happen to your machine for several months.
What will happen if you’re going to leave your snowmobile in a hot garage? Possible consequences include decaying batteries, cracked seat covers, and dried gasoline.
Since we don’t want all of those things to happen, don’t forget to do the following tips before storing your sled:
How to Preserve Exterior Quality
- Clean all sections of your snowmobile.
- Polish the surfaces.
- Check every nook and cranny for any visible sign of wear and tear like cracks.
- Spray-paint scratches and other imperfections.
- Loosen the bolts of the track to reduce the risk of cracks.
- Prevent rust by applying WD40 or any preserving oil all over metal surfaces, which are usually on the fasteners like nuts and bolts.
How to Preserve System Quality
- Let the engine run for 10 minutes while pulling out the cable for the oil pump to lubricate the bearings and other system components.
- Make sure the tank is filled with gasoline to reduce oxidization and prevent condensation.
- Maintain the fuel’s quality by adding a stabilizer or conditioner.
- Drain the carburetor to prevent its fuel from blocking passageways with its residue.
- Keep pests out of your snowmobile by blocking all of its holes or openings.
How to Preserve Battery Quality
- Protect the clutches and drive belt from the effects of condensation by removing the belt and unrolling it for storage.
- Remove the battery and put it in a dark area.
- Prolong the battery’s lifespan by charging it monthly with just two amps per hour max.
- Before recharging, pour distilled water to fill the battery case if the fluid level is down.
- Always store your snowmobile in a dry area.
- Cover your snowmobile without tightening the material’s corners.
- Put a big sturdy block at each end, specifically below the first bumper and the frame at the back, to let the underside breathe.
- Never turn the engine on as long as you’re storing the snowmobile to keep the oil inside.
- Read the user’s manual to check if you need to take the secondary clutch apart or lubricate the bushing.
Remember, if you’ll choose to ride your snowmobile on dunes, make the modifications your number one priority. The radiator will support the cooling system while the idler wheels and bogie suspension will enhance the feel of your rides.
On the other hand, if your purpose in the first place is to test your sled’s limits, enjoy the brief yet adrenaline-packed experience!