Basket-case VK

Don’t ask me why, but just before Christmas I bought this old beater sled as a project. It’s a 2007 VK540 that’s been used hard, and I’m going to try and make it into a dependable ride for snaring, hunting and getting firewood. I wonder if I wouldn’t have been better off spending more to begin with and getting something ready to ride, but I’m trying to convince myself that fixing it up will be half the fun.

We’ll see about that I suppose.

Here it is the day I brought it home.

When I picked it up it was running on one cylinder, so I knew it would need an engine rebuild. The list of everything needing to be done grew quickly.

Engine on the bench, ready to be opened up.

The top of the pistons looked brand new.

But not so the skirts.

Obviously the motor had been running very rich, washing the domes clean, and washing the oil off the skirts, leading to premature wear.

Unfortunately, when I split the cases I find that the crank has some bad bearings. Not good.

I ended up finding a second motor that had a good crank, and with some new pistons and seals, I put together a motor that should be good and reliable.

New pistons…

After assembling the motor, it was time to clean up the carb.

Once the motor was reinstalled and running, I turned to the rest of the sled. First up, I needed a seat in order to be able to ride.

Despite much effort, I could not locate an actual VK seat, or a piece of foam, so I decided to use the spare seat I had for the Touring. It would require a bit of cutting.

A hand saw works perfectly.

And for the foam to sit on, I made a frame that could then be bolted to the lid of the storage compartment.

Once the seat was done I had to do the bumper, rack and hitch. Using bits of what where there along with some new metal, I made a rack with integrated bumper that gives me enough room for two 5gal Jerry cans, along with snowshoes, etc. Combined with the under-seat storage and the box mounted behind the seat, I’ve now got loads of room on the sled.

Also on the rack I had to made a tail-light bracket, and I used a regular trailer light for the tail-light.

Now it was time to start test riding, and that led to a whole series of repairs, hopefully which have turned the sled into a fairly reliable beast of burden.

There was a clunking somewhere in the drive train, so I pulled out the gear box but didn’t find anything wrong. I eventually decided that it was the driveshaft, so decided to change that, and swapped in a better track while I was doing it.

When I opened this up the first time, I saw nothing wrong. In hindsight, there is an issue, one that I should have picked up on. More on that later.

I brought home another scrapped sled to get a driveshaft and track out of.

Not so fun hauling parts out of a sled like this.

New track in, reinstalling the skid.

Well, it turns out that it wasn’t the driveshaft. The clunking I was feeling was a result of an incorrect drivebelt that became notched, so  new belt took care of that. But I was soon to realize that the chain case did indeed have issues. So it had to come apart again and have a couple of bearings replaced.


Everything seems good now though, and I’ve had the sled out for a good run. It’s amazing in the snow, like a real tractor. I think it’ll make a great work horse.

First trip to the cabin

Setting a few snares


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