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Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by Fast Idle, Sep 14, 2019.
Not really sure, never did any MIG brazing. I'm sure both have their place.
Once I got a TIG welder I was hooked. It's the ticket for what I do. Now I only use the wire feed if I'm building something like a bench, trailer, etc.
I'll have to watch a video and check it out, you have me curious.
Yes, snowmobile! A bit of trivia here but in Alaska they are called snowmachines. Don't know why but it's been that way forever. I think we might be the only place that refers to them by that name.
The project is a 1971 Mercury Rocket, or will be. I have four of these old Mercs so it will be mix and match the best parts to build one good machine.
The story goes back to when vintage snowmachine racing was on the rise up here. I was looking for an old sled to fix up and a friend gave me an old Mercury Lightning. Same sled as a Rocket except a 400 instead of a 340. This one will get a 400 engine in a 340 Rocket badged chassis.
So not only did I build the Lightning back in 2008 but before I knew it I had a half dozen of them. Back in the 60s and 70s everybody built snowmachines. There were dozens of manufacturers. Only a few survived the test of time.
I've got tons of parts to build this so I might as well. The engine is already built and there are many NOS parts too. It will be cool to have two matching old sleds for the vintage events. The bonus will be clearing out the shed and bone yard of the excess Mercurys and parts. Once the Rocket is done they'll all get passed on. I'll keep a few spare parts but there's still enough to build another sled or two.
The closest thing to a snowmobile we have here in South Australia is an old car bonnet tied to the towbar of a car and sliding up and down the beach on the bonnet being towed by the car.
Great fun if not just a little dangerous
I worked with a Calli HD biker dude who told me a story about a beer run he made with a truck hood turned upside down and puled behind his bike.
I forgot how many cases of beer he was pulling.
Biker party was at Bear Lake, Ca.
Knowing Kit, it could be a true story.
Ha...so he was a big guy, long hair and a beard.
Too big to wear anything except farmer bibs, open on the sides.
One Halloween, a bunch of the guys and gals we worked with had a bright idea to dress up as Kit.
He took it well and actually was proud of what we did.
I got photo of us some where......everyone doing there best stink eye look. Kit had that look down.
His HD leaked really bad.
I got a pizza box and put cat litter in it and marked the side Kittys box...he did not care for that joke much.
When I was a lad my Dad worked at a Harley Dealership. AMF had bought them and introduced snowmoblies (machines) to the line. Not the biggest seller in the Philly area. They were not required to sell them very long.
Forgot about the AMF HD sleds but now I remember seeing a few of those. Everyone trying to jump on the bandwagon back then. The bike shop I worked at in the 70's sold Scorpion snowmachines. They had slide rail suspension and bogies were becoming a thing of the past.
Snowmachines back then always seemed to run great until you turned around to head back home.
They've certainly come a long way since then. Today's sleds will pull your arms off.
Here's a picture of the 71 Lightning from back in 2008. We got it running but it was going to need a lot of work.
Back then there were old sleds laying around everywhere. In a field, behind every garage, laying around abandoned for newer tech. Once the independent front suspension machines arrived on the scene the springer's became obsolete. The difference was incredible.
Check this out, the Lightning actually had 8 bullet holes through the windshield! Guess it was still useful for something.
The old Merc was going to come all the way apart and get restored but would require lots of donor parts. Didn't take long and more sleds were coming out of the wood work. People were happy to see them get new interest and even happier to see them off of their property.
That's when it became apparent there would be enough parts for a second one.
Dove right in on the Lightning and got it stripped.
Can you believe the cowling repair someone came up with. That's some pretty thick sheet metal too.
Bullet proof right?
Living in Flatistan, I don't get to see many snow machines. But there is a guy that lives in Orlando, a Mainer transplant that has a cool machine. It has a 3 cylinder engine with expansion chamber and Lectrons. The big flat belt is smooth rubber. The front skis have two wheels so it rolls. On occasion he takes it to the drag strip at Speed World east of Orlando. The first time I saw it, I was there crewing for a friend sorting out a 1500cc kawi Top Gas bike, Which we got to run a 7.56 @187. Any way, They pushed the snow machine into the staging area, and I was amused and baffled. After it ran an 8.36 @164 my jaw dropped. First time I saw or heard a CVT machine run at the track. When he took off it instantly went to about 8 or 9 thousand RPM and stayed there the whole pass. By about the 330, the thing looked like a movie where the space ship goes to warp. Seriously impressed.
Talked to the guy about it. He said it would go a lot quicker with good air, but not as quick as the one he had "back home" with nitrous. He said the worst thing about it was the CVT belts are very short lived. He pulled and inspected the belt after every pass and always brought several spares.
The Lightning got finished over 10 years ago but the second sled build didn't get very far before stalling out. Time to remedy that.
Here's a few pictures of the Lightning after restoration. They are cool looking machines.
But just a little thing compared to newer sleds.
It gets ridden some every year for winter events and has been very dependable.
Even got lucky and found a vintage Mercury tow behind.
Kids love the tow behind. Always asking for rides.
That is pretty cool. I like the tow behind
doood..... Edo 2000s and a Carvin amp?
we gotta talk...
Went to the AMA headquarters in Ohio a few years ago.
Theme was Indians .
Saw a snow machine with a Indian engine.
Saw Bret Monrow's salt shaker too.
Sold the PA-12 about 5 years ago and the Carvin last year. Every now and then you just have to make some lane changes.
Here's the old Merc boneyard a few years back. Only two left in it now. Some were passed on. Others were stripped down to parts that will be used for this build.
I might have a hard time getting it up over a " snowmachine "
but I love seeing you in action as I always learn something....magic is magic
So just a simple question if I may
Could you put modern mechanicals, ski’s etc in an old Mercury Snow Machine?
Imagine it has been done before
Like putting modern engine and suspension in an old car
Sure, but probably easier to start with a more modern chassis and put a Mercury cowl , seat, and gas tank on it.
Now that would have some people scratching their head.
People do make lots of cool mods to snow machines, that's for sure.
Thanks more koolaid.
I think you'd be impressed with snow machines under the right circumstances.
These old sleds don't go real fast but that's a good thing as the suspension sucks. But it's what they had back in the day and they got rallied hard.
Today's machines are super impressive and can take you places almost inaccessible by any other means of transport. They're like driving a dragster on a cushion of snow.
Buying a snow machine is like the price of admission to a incredible winter wonderland, at least up here in Alaska where it's pretty much wide open to ride anywhere.
There are trails everywhere and rivers become highways. We don't ride as much as we use too but it's still always fun when we do. And riding in the wilderness at night under a full moon is like being on another planet. Moon light on the white snow covered landscape is surreal.
Now that's some real magic!