You can put wheels on a snowmobile in four different ways:
- putting small wheels (dollies) under the skis
- installing asphalt snowmobile skis
- replacing the skis with ATV wheels
- replacing the skis and the track with 3 or 4 wheels
If you want to learn more about these snowmobile wheel conversion ideas, this post is for you. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at them!
How do You Put Wheels on a Snowmobile?
Riding all year round is the dream of many snowmobile owners. If you feel that summer drags on far too long, you’ve probably dreamed about putting wheels on your sled.
Even though it’s possible, keep in mind that this is a fairly expensive conversion. Moreover, riding on something other than snow can damage your sled in many ways.
If you want to find out which are the best conversion kits, along with their pros and cons, keep reading!
The easiest way to put wheels on your snowmobile is to place the skis onto small dollies.
You can find many different sled dollies on the market to choose from, but Caliber Sled Wheels stand out from the crowd.
The main advantage of this product is that you can use it not only for moving your sled around in the garage, but you can also ride your sled on these wheels if you’re careful!
According to the manufacturer, you can safely ride your sled with these wheels up to 12 miles per hour. They also offer a very tight, 6-foot turning radius.
Moreover, putting this kit on and off takes less than 15 seconds!
These wheels offer great protection for the carbides, as they can wear out very fast if you ride on asphalt!
However, you must keep in mind that this product isn’t designed for riding long distances.
They do a really good job in parking lots without snow, garages, rental or repair shops, but it’s not recommended that you go any further on them.
Asphalt Snowmobile Skis
If you are interested in asphalt drag racing, then of course you need to put wheels on your sled. The good news is that special asphalt snowmobile skis are available on the market.
These special skis, known as asphalt drag snowmobile skis, feature a pair of small wheels, and rubber-mounted ski loops.
Besides these asphalt skis, you will also need a special asphalt track plus a modified cooling system. Beware that these modifications aren’t cheap!
Snowmobile Wheel Conversion Kits
If you want to put wheels on your snowmobile and want to ride it off-road, you will definitely need another solution.
Over time several snowmobile wheel conversion kits have appeared on the market, but none became popular. This is because these kits were not just hard to install but also came with really hefty price tags.
Moreover, riding a snowmobile without snow is never a good idea, as sand and dirt can damage the sled in many different ways (as we’ll discuss it in the next section).
One of these kits was the Dingo Snowmobile Wheel Kit, which came on the market in 2009.
The designers of Dingo tried to design their product as precisely as possible.
They designed a braking system and a huge extra cooler above the heat exchanger to keep the engine cool.
Additionally, they added many extra idler wheels to the track, which already ran on these wheels instead of the sliders.
All of these were great ideas, but the kit didn’t become popular and was canceled after a couple of years.
DIY Snowmobile Wheel Conversions
As snowmobile wheel conversion kits are no longer available, this means you can only put wheels on your sled with a DIY solution.
Best practice is to remove the skis and replace them with a pair of ATV wheels. You will need to make a small metal fastener that connects the wheels to the spindles of your sled.
For ideas don’t hesitate to watch this video:
Besides the wheels, don’t forget that you would also need to be able to keep the engine cool.
Snowmobile Trike Conversion / Quad Conversion
When it comes to snowmobiles on wheels, the most amazing machines are arguably the snowmobile trike conversions. What’s more, snowmobile quad conversions also appear on occasion, featuring 4 wheels!
The snowmobile trike combos and Can-Am Spiders are very similar in appearance:
The main advantage of these solutions is that they replace tracks with wheel(s) so you don’t have to be afraid of track damage.
As you can assume, converting your snowmobile into a trike, or a quad is an enormous and costly project. This is because you have to add not only the wheels, but also the whole chain-driven rear axle, brakes, auxiliary cooling, and so on.
And what exactly is the point of all this?
For the same money, you can purchase a decent ATV, trike, or a motorcycle. All of these can be used nearly all year round and you can still ride your sled when the snow arrives.
Additionally, there could be many other drawbacks to riding your snowmobile on roads.
Are you wondering what they are? Keep reading!
Is Putting Wheels on a Snowmobile Safe?
Putting wheels on a snowmobile isn’t considered as safe as a conversion. This is because it raises several problems, which are as follows:
- It leaves the track and the sliders without lubrication
- Bearing damage
- Overheating problems
- Risk of other types of damage
- Legal issues
Let’s take a closer look at each!
Lack of Lubrication
The tracks and slides (hyfax) on snowmobiles are lubricated by snow and water. If you ride them on asphalt or dirt, these parts can easily become damaged and overheated.
It is easy to see that sand/dirt is not one of the best lubricants!
Moreover, the mud, sand, and dirt can get into the bearings on the idler wheels and drivers. This can lead to much faster wear and tear!
Most snowmobiles are liquid-cooled, which means they feature a heat exchanger mounted above the track. While the track is rotating, it feeds the exchanger with fresh snow, which cools the engine down.
So, if you ride somewhere other than on snow, the engine can overheat in a short time. Auxiliary cooling systems like fans or radiators may help to a certain extent but riding a snowmobile without any snow leads to overheating in many cases.
Cooling is also a big issue on fan-cooled sleds as well. As their cooling systems utilize the outside air to keep the engine cool, these aren’t at all effective during the warm summer months.
Consequently, if you want to convert your snowmobile into a quad or a trike, be prepared to install a massive auxiliary cooling system on it!
In addition to the lack of lubrication and overheating issues, there may be many other types of damage you would have to worry about.
Tracks are designed to run in snow and their lugs can break much easier if you hit a rock or a stump.
Small rocks and sand can also damage the tunnel, sliders, heat exchanger, idler wheels, and so on.
Beware that dirt and sand can get into virtually every part of the sled, causing a lot of clogging and damage!
Finally, if you put wheels on your snowmobile it doesn’t mean that it will be street legal!
Most states require street vehicles to have brakes, fenders over the tires, lights, and many other accessories to drive legally on the roads. Another concern is that certain states don’t allow 2-stroke sleds to run on public roads.
Therefore, to stay safe and legal, always check the local regulations before you start converting your snowmobile into a trike, or a quad!
Does a Snowmobile Have Wheels?
Surprisingly, every snowmobile has wheels, even if they are very small. These tiny wheels are part of the suspension system and are called idler wheels. They can be found on the top, the bottom, and at the rear of the track. The main purpose of these snowmobile wheels is to keep the track in position and reduce the friction of the sliders. Additionally, you can set the track tension and alignment with the rear idler wheels.
Let’s face it, snowmobiles are designed to ride on snow. Although there were many attempts to put wheels on them, none of these were commercially successful.
This is because sand, dirt, and mud can damage snowmobiles in many ways. Thus, owners don’t want to expose their toys to all this potential damage.
Another problem is these conversions also require many other modifications on the track, cooling system, and so on.
As these take a lot of work and money, in the end, these transformations are not worth the effort.
Many say that there are “snowmobiles” designed for the summer, which are known as dirt bikes, ATVs, and motorcycles.
Best practice is to get one of those for the summer and have your snowmobile for the winter. If you are afraid of your toys taking up too much space in your garage, you can place your sled on a snowmobile storage rack and store the ATV under it!
It’s simple as that!