Here are a few tips that should help you tame that hardpack this year.
First, make sure your teeth are in good shape. Sharpening your tooth bar is recommended when the points become rounded. Use a 4″ angle grinder and grind the shaded area while maintaining a 45-degree bevel. Work the grinder parallel to the face of the tooth so as to restore the sharp point. This will leave an additional point above the grind, which will cut snow, too.
Check the top of the raise/lower crank jack for two washers. One is bronze and the other is steel. They are right under the handle and on top of the jack housing. If they are there, grease them a bit. If they’ve worn off, call us and order some new ones.
Check you skid plates at the back corners of the compactor. They should not be worn down into the square holes. They are designed to be rotated so that each of the four corners wears down, and then the plate should be replaced.
On some Tracksetters with white HDPE bases, the links (red H shaped brackets that attach the Tracksetter to the compactor) tend to hit the Tracksetter base when they flex up and down. If this is the case on your Tracksetter, cut away a small square of the plastic base under the link with a hacksaw to provide clearance.
Occasionally, customers ask us about adding weight to their Trail Tenderizer to make it more effective in tough renovating conditions. If you have taken care of the previous maintenance items, then here are our suggestions for adding weight:
If you have the newer style Tracksetter with the hinged lid, your first and best option for adding weight is to fill the Tracksetter with two solid blocks and flip it up on the bed (the Tracksetter remains pinned to the comb bar). One Tracksetter with two solid blocks weighs about 112 pounds. With good teeth and a loaded Tracksetter, you should be able to get a good “bite”.
If you don’t have the hinged lid Tracksetter, and you wish to add weight, it is very important that you DO NOT PLACE LOOSE, HARD OBJECTS ON THE COMPACTOR BED since these will likely cause damage as the machine bounces over rough terrain. Here is a safe way to add some weight: Go to your local hardware store and buy a bag or two of “tube sand”. These are the 75lb. long, skinny sandbags marketed as vehicle weights. Open one end, dump about half of the sand out, and reseal. Now you have a nice compliant weight that won’t damage the Tenderizer and also won’t bounce off. You can place the tube sand up toward the front of the machine on the tooth bar where it is most effective. Warning: the tube sand is sold dry, and you need to keep it that way. If you let it get soggy, it will freeze and may damage your machine.
Remember that when the grooming gets tough, you will get the job done faster and with less frustration if you make multiple passes with a less aggressive cut. If you try to cut too deeply in a single pass you risk overloading your snowmobile, and the groomer will likely bounce even at a very slow speed leaving a less than desirable product.