How to Start a Sunken Snowmobile

Crossing open water on your snowmobile always looks easy until you get slightly off course and bury it in the lake. Saving yourself from the frigid waters is only part of the problem. You now have to recover the sled from the lake to avoid environmental problems when the oil and fuel drain into the water. Once the snowmobile is out of the water, it is wise to drain it and start the engine as soon as possible, to avoid corrosion of the internal components.


1) Remove the spark plugs from the engine with a socket and ratchet. Remove the engine drain plug located on the bottom of the crankcase. If the water coming out of the engine is dirty, flush fresh water though the spark plug holes until it drains clear. You may have to tilt the sled on its side to get all the water from the engine.

2) Reinstall the drain plug and pour a 1/2 oz. of injection oil into each cylinder through the spark plug holes. Pull the engine recoil rope a few time to distribute the oil. Reinstall the spark plugs.

3) Drain the fuel from the tank by siphoning it into a fuel can with a hose. Remove the fuel supply hose from the fuel tank and blow out the lines with compressed air.

4) Remove the air box from the carburetors and disassemble it. Wring out the foam in the box and lay out all the parts so they can dry.

5) Remove the carburetors from the snowmobile and give them a good cleaning with carburetor cleaner. Empty the water from the float bowls by removing the drain plugs. Reinstall the carburetors and air box on the snowmobile.

6) Place a small container under the crankcase and remove the cover with a socket and ratchet. Allow the oil and water to flow into the container. Reinstall the cover and fill the crankcase with new oil.

7) Siphon the oil from the oil reservoir into a container. Suck the oil and water from the bottom of the reservoir with a fluid suction device. Remove the bleed screw from the injection pump and allow the oil and water to flow out. Fill the reservoir with new oil and close the bleed screw once new oil comes out.

8) Open all the electrical boxes and blow them out with compressed air. Dry each box with a hair dryer unit they are very dry.

9) Remove the clutches and take them to your local sled repair shop to be rebuilt and cleaned. Clutches require special tools to disassemble, and this job is best done by someone with experience. Reinstall the clutches on the snowmobile.

10) Start the snowmobile and allow it to run until warm.

Extra Tips:

* Driving over open water kills many snowmobiles every year. Hopefully you survived this incident and you won’t try it again.

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