I had a couple of warms sleds on the trails recently and decided to mount some of the spring/wire style scratchers on my 129 sleds. If you are reading this you probably know how difficult it is to mount these long scratchers on the skid frame. I came with a method that only takes minimal modifications and packages very well on these short rails.
These pics were taken while mounting on my 2016 ZR 6000 LXR that comes with only a single external idler wheel on each rail. In this photo I’ve removed the single idler wheel and the idler wheel block. You can see the egg shaped outline on the outer rail
Next I had to modify the idler block to clear the spring that is now laying flat against the rail. This was easily accomplished with a 3/16” round file. The block already has a recess molded in to lay flat against the rib on the rail. I just gave it a second recess
The next step was to remove some material on the side of the idler block so that it can be mounted next to spring coil. It’s a snug fit, and I used the wheel end of my belt sander to hog some material away to get it to fit
Here’s the finished product. The spring coil tucks in nicely behind the idler wheel. And the scratchers tips stow perfectly just in front of the bump stop on the rails. It looks like everything tucks in almost like they left the factory with them on.
I haven’t got a chance to try them out yet, but I will report back when I do. The only thing I’m afraid of is the removal of material from the hollow idler blocks may weaken that part. The scratcher wire has no contact with the block other than passing through, but a sharp blow to the idler wheel may affect the idler block. If that does happen I will swap out the hollow style for the solid idler blocks put on the pre 2014 skids. Time will tell if they are still strong enough.
That is an interesting idea. I bet it took some time to modify the idler bracket and verify the fit.
I wonder how hard it would be to make a solid bracket with the modified fit? I'm a little hard on equipment and the outboard idler brackets seem to really take a hit. I break those more often than the inner brackets. The good news is that the brackets usually break under the extended portion where the wheel mounts. The modification hasn't taken much meat out of that area.
I’ve got 2 of these 129 sleds - I’m thinking about picking up a couple of solid idler blocks to try when I install on the other sled.
As far as time to modify the idler block, after figuring out how to do the first one the second scratcher install took only an hour start to finish including the time to modify the idler block. The belt sander with 36 grit rapidly removed the aluminum, and my Stihl 3/16” chainsaw file cut a groove in very little time.
I’ve got two of these 129 sleds so I decided to get a set of solid idler blocks to modify. My thinking is these should maintain their strength even though some material has been removed. I’ve taken a couple of pictures of the solid blocks to share.
These blocks need a bushing (3/8 down to 1/4) or you will have to drill the rail to use 3/8 hardware. I chose to use a bushing so that I can always remove later and return to stock.
It's been about a year since I put these scratchers on my 2 ZR 6000's with the 129 skid frames, so it's time to update. No bad news to report so far; the scratchers have worked very well. The first time I had to deploy them on hard pack my sled went from 160 degrees to 105 degrees in 1/2 mile! So far we've only had to use them briefly but they have been a lifesaver. We crossed over from St. Ignace to Mackinaw Island on the several mile long ice bridge and the temps never got above 110 degrees. The sled trail across the ice bridge had very little snow that day and these scratchers provided lots of track lube also. The sleds following me say there is a very strong shower of ice and snow chips being thrown at all speeds. I am very impressed with the performance.
These spring or wire scratchers package very well on the 129 skid. I have put over 1000 miles on the sleds since mounting and they haven't moved, shifted or lifted off the rail even once. The scratcher end stows onto the extruded lip inside the frame rail just in front of the rubber bump stop and doesn't move. And we were in some god awful moguls going into Houghton that shook our dental fillings loose, if you know what I mean. My other concern was the durability of the hollow idler block after removing some of the aluminum to allow a close fit to the spring. After over 1000 miles I am pleasantly surprised to report no failures. The solid aluminum idler blocks style also have no issues as expected since they are solid instead of hollow (see pics).
I wouldn't hesitate to install another set of these on another 129 after using these when needed this past year. I paid around $40 a year ago - I see a similar set on ebay is up to $60 now if anyone is interested in this style.