A little over a year ago I came across a Bearcat for $100. I figured “how could I possibly go wrong at that price?” Ohhhh, little did I know.
Checking out the sled, it was obvious that it needed a motor, a seat cover, a rear bumper, and a good going over, but once I got it home, it was clear that it needed a lot more than that. The deeper I dug into it, the more it needed. I was amazed that anyone could’ve kept riding the sled with all the things that were worn out.
Right off the bat, I found a used motor for it. But it wasn’t local, and as it would take time to get it here, I turned my attention elsewhere.
I decided to take care of some easy stuff. The rear bumper was destroyed, so I pulled it off, straightened out the rear of the tunnel, reinstalled the snowflap, and fabricated a new bumper.
A good solid bumper that won’t bend with any load that this sled can haul.
Upon closer inspection I discovered that the driven clutch was completely toast. The previous owner had just kept riding the sled with no maintenance, and there was no way to rebuild the clutch, it had to be replaced.
Finding a clutch for a Bearcat was no easy task. Some of the used parts dealers in Ontario were asking upwards of $600 for a used clutch. Just crazy. But eventually I found an older style button clutch in Deer Lake for a decent price.
The same scrap yard had some used shocks for me, which came in handy. Pulling the skid revealed a host of issues to be dealt with. In addition to a bunch of bearings, plastic inserts and wheels to be replaced, there were cross shafts and shocks, as well as some welding.
New spring blocks.
Time was ticking by, as I picked at the sled every now and then, would get fed up by how much it needed, or stuck searching for used or hard to find parts. The Bearcat spent a lot of time simply being in the way, but eventually I got back at it and made some more progress.
Taking off the primary to remove the old motor.
Ugh, what a mess.
The “new” motor.
New seat cover.
Once the motor was installed and running, the seat covered and reinstalled, the hood painted, different skis mounted up, belly pan back in place, the one thing left to get it mobile was the primary clutch. And oh, what rough shape that was in.
The weights, totally trashed.
Nothing left to the bushings at all.
The Spider, completely destroyed.
I bought a bundle of new parts, and a friend had an old clutch with a broken sheave I could cannibalize, so after a few weeks of tracking down parts and getting them to Goose Bay, I finally was assemble to a functional clutch.
Good as new
Finally, just before Christmas, and a little more than a year before dragging the thing home, I was able to take it for a ride.
The Bearcat seems to be running well. It starts easily, idles nicely, and pulls strong on the trail.
I’m looking forward to getting out on it, working out the last few details and seeing what it can really do.
Working on it over the last year there were lots of times when it had me soured on project sleds completely. I would never have believed that a snowmobile could be run so far into the ground, and there were several times when I swore I’d never take on another project again. But I’m sure it won’t be long and I’ll be dragging some other piece of junk home to work on.