Here at Recreation Revolution we try and keep our ear on the ground. Also being owners of Snowdog machines ourselves we are exploring and testing in the field so we can report back. Through our own customer experiences and our User Groups (check out the Snowdog Canada group on Facebook) we have seen some users reporting a "Runaway Snowdog".
What does a runaway Snowdog look like? Well - when starting the machine, the Snowdog just takes off! Full. Speed. Ahead.
From what we've read and seen ourselves - this issue is almost always related to the cold. This is no different than traditional snow machines or even ATVs. Weather gets cold - things break (or react different than they should). With this incident specifically it's a matter of moisture buildup combined with the cold.
So - stop the cold, or stop the moisture. Easy enough? We wish! Unless you're riding in the desert you won't have much of a chance stopping cold or moisture.
...Let's take a look at the things we can control.
|Throttle "nut" - On initial setup, make sure to back this out a few turns to ensure the throttle isn't full locked up (it is set like this for shipping). Don't worry about it falling off since it's a lock nut.||
|Throttle cable - Before starting, verify the cable can move freely and is not bound, make sure you have full pull and return on the throttle lever itself (on the handle bars)||
|Carb - This one is hard to predict, but occasionally the throttle gate can freeze open. In this case, ensuring you have a safe start area will provide the greatest success.||
|Fuel lines - Depending on where you're filling, you may be getting excess water in the fuel tank. Use a fuel line antifreeze to help prevent moisture in your fuel from freezing in the lines or in the carb|
|Air filter - If you've dealt with all of the other things, check here next. Remove the air filter cover and check the filter. Is it clogged? Does it look jammed up with ice and debris? Carefully remove the foam sleeve and give it a shake to remove any large chunks of ice or dirt, replace it and try starting again. Some folks remove this filter completely, but we like our Snowdogs... filtered.||
Maintenance is important! During your regularly scheduled inspections:
|Use a penetrating oil and silicone lube on the cables to prevent any freezing or seizing.|
|Check the function of the kill switch, use a penetrating oil and silicone lube here as well to ensure the switch can operate easily.||
|Ensure your parking brake is tightened up to help prevent any unexpected takeoffs.||
The biggest safety tip - assume that the machine is going to take off! 99% of the time it won't, but it's always better to be prepared!
- Ensure you have attached the kill switch tether cable to your wrist.
- Use the parking brake when starting. There is a red lock on it to hold it in place so you can be hands-off while starting.
- Be aware of where you're headed! Ensure you have a clear, straight path (not towards people, vehicles, etc).
- Ideally, push the machine against something (back of truck bed, wheel on a car, tree, etc) to stop the machine from actually being able to get anywhere, or cause damage.
- If you can let your Snowdog warm up and dry off between runs, that will help a LOT. At the very least, allow it to warm up and dry once in a while, even if that's only to change the oil.
Riding a Snowdog should be safe and fun! With a few basic precautions, that's exactly what you can expect! Stay safe out there!