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THIOKOL/LMC/DMC Technical Issues Forum Technical repair issues & questions for Thiokol/DMC/LMC

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Old 01-25-2012, 02:53 PM
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Default DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

Hi all, I am new to this forum. I have owned a 1981 DMC 1450 widetrack for 7 years and despite feeling more comfortable with my driving skills continue to have difficulty in the deep, light snow we have in the mid winter in Northern Colorado. I spoke with a vendor who proposed adding another belt and longer, outer grousers to my tracks, to make an asymmetric track. Any thoughts?
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

should help how wide is your track now and where is your difficulty when climbing hills or on the flats also how deep are you sinking my litte snow trac has almoste no cleats yet preforms wonderful on virgin snow over 10 feet deep yet i don't climb steep inclines real well if there is no crust to bite into the only solution i see is deep padles and high power to weight like a snowmobile
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Old 01-25-2012, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

Hello RONFAM, and wecome!

It's probably the nature of the beast you own. Had the same issue with the county's Spryte in our 'normal' snow conditions. More track, more clearance, and less weight is about all you can look at. Getting the nose to keep from pushing a pile of snow would be best, but hard to do without some sort of lift-kit or extended skid plate.

Got winch?
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:35 PM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

Thanks for your thoughts here. My difficutly is with uphill climbs in soft snow. I find driving backwards I can usually clear the climbs more easily (trick from Snotrans--Thanks Bill Guthrie!) The tracks are the stock widetrack-so 31 1/2 inches. A place in Utah will add a 5 inch belt and the grousers but it is an $8000 job. Seems like a lot, but I have never done track work before so perhaps they are just expensive. I did find a similar thread about 4-5 years ago, someone called "snowcat operations" who was looking at the same issue. I will try to track him down. Here are some pics, and yeah, we get a lot of snow here......
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Old 01-25-2012, 10:52 PM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

wider tracks will just make it worse as it is underpowered now the reason it goes better in reverse is reverse is a lower gear than 1st only cure is to put in a under drive (transfer case with low range)to gear it down
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:13 PM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

looing at where you are stuck you are asking a little too much of it be advised that steering is going to take a lot longer in those conditions as you will dig in the the inside track and spin the outside about the only thing that belongs there is a snow master or some other super wide track rig that for skislope grooming that can inch it's way through the hill climb
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:37 AM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

would a wt imp (not super imp) climb better in this situation?

They have the 4 speed rear end. I have an imp that has a ford inline 4 with a c-4 automatic trans and the c4 (four speed) rear end. In the process of a restore, have never had it in the snow. Just curious it that configuration would be better in these conditions.

By the way, thats a good looking 1450!
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:27 PM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

Good Day, That is one gorgious 1450. And, it looks like you give it the care it deserves. My comments will undoubtedly stimulate an avalanche of followup responses and that is just what you are looking for. What I'd do is get rid of that "wheelbarrow" underecarrage. It would increase the ride height, reduce friction, and make the machine much easier to care for. I did this with my narrow gauge 1450 about 10 years ago, and never regreted the move. I went from the origonal tracks that were about 25 inches wide to over 32 inches bu mounting a set of "barrel stave" style tracks from a Spryte. It would look like a major undertaking at first, but was really quite simple. The entire under carrage of 1450's mounts on a subframe. (I don't know if this applies to Imps as well.) About a dozen bolts removed after splitting the tracks and everything from nose wheel up to the sproket, which stays with the machine, will roll right out from under the machine. You disturb none of the drive train. If you are starting with a narrow version of the Super Imp, simply reverse the mounting of the sprokest from "dish in to dish out" and you are set to go. Remove all the 8 inch "wheelbarrow" wheels and the leaf springs and pull out the tensioner and nose wheel. My machine had been worked so hard as a snowmobile trail grommer, that I built an entire new sub frame, but that still took only a day. We mounted 4 12" wheels and tires of the same width, purchased at the local NAPA store, on each side. The track tensioner had to be modified to take a different wheel hub, and to move the nose wheel (now one of the four new wheels on each side) outward to allow for the change in gauge. It needed no other changes and slipped back into its origonal location. My machine had an 8 way blade on front which needed no change what-so-ever. The other three wheels on each side were equipped with torsion equipped hubs from a company named "Reliable" which sells through Northern Tool and Hyd. among others. When the changes were finished we simply rolled the subframe back under the machine an bolted it in place with the origonal hardware. The top side of the tracks ran level from the top of the sproket to the top of the new 12' wheels on the return run, although this was due to pure luck and not design. I foam filled the front and rear wheel on each side, and we were ready to go. the refit yielded about 6 to 8 inches of ground clearence, and the "barrelstave" grousers from the Spryte made turns on hard snow much easier. I ran this machine for 8 years with no changes or problems, but did eventualy fill all the tires over time. The most difficult part of the project was calculating the position of the rearmost axle such that the belt/track length would make for a comfortable splice. I have pictures of the entire process, but others have done this same conversion in almost identical fashon and posted pics. If you want to see mine E-mail. I always found 100 hp. to be plenty. I worried more about the C4 , whishing it were a C6. Both motor and transmission are becoming obsolete, but not unserviceable. A 4bt Cummins might be considered heavy but I'd love to have given it a try. I used to simply drop down a gear in sharp courners, and the machine would just come around like a boat, with little strain or protest. As I said at the start you have a sweet machine, Good Luck
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:52 PM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

^^^ aka; "the lift-kit" ^^^


... courtesy of Borvig!
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Old 01-26-2012, 03:00 PM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

the 3.3 cummins would be a great fit. (3.9 is a bit big)
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Old 01-26-2012, 04:14 PM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

Very nice 1450! I'd love to have one. My imp will serve our purpose. Just alittle under powerd.
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:33 PM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

Hmm, interesting thoughts. Borvig's "lift kit" sounds expensive. After all, I would still need a new set of tracks. If I change the pairs of 8 inch wheels to a single 12inch wheel do I lose what little shock absorption the cat has? Can you just run a set of 1450 tracks over 4 twelve inch wheels instead of the standard 6 eight inch wheels, just to get more clearance? It seems the LMC 1500 has the wheel setup like this. Not sure if I am modifying this too much. I haven't been able to PM the contributor named "Snowcat Operations" about the modification he tried in 2007 as his mailbox is full, if anyone knows him. Thanks for all of the healthy discussion on this.
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:28 PM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

Snowcat Operations is not around much as he travels with his work. He does stop in some times though. Not sure what to do about his PM being full.

Regards, Kirk
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:56 PM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

Hello Again, The cost wasn't as bad as you might think, at least in the world of tracked vehicles. The hardware, ,wheels, tires, hubs, spindles with torsion units, (same as fitted to light trailers) and the steel needed to fabricate the subframe ran me about $1100. We were able to reuse about half the old frame here and there. Spryte tracks, 68 grousers worth, times two I was able to find for $1600 for both. New belts for one side, somewhere between $1600 and $1800. As to using your existing 31.5 Super Imp tracks? Yes with no problem, but the changes will shorten your footprint slightly. This will make the machine turn easier, but you are looking for better flotation, so search out some additional grousers (perhaps 6 to 8 per side) and streach the tracks a bit. This will keep the machine from becoming nose lite as well. If out looking for tracks in the boneyards, NEVER buy a set that has been coiled up and stored on its end without close inspection. And NEVER store a set in that maner. If left on salty groound at the edge of a parking lot, the end of every grouser will be eaten away and need restoration. If left on their sides, only perhaps two or three will become damaged. I never have understood why pallets, which have no moving parts seem so hard to use or find? Lots of evenings, PB Blaster and Howes, and about $400 worth of fine thread bolts and nuts and the tracks looked pretty good. It took about 18 months, but I found a buyer for all the surplus undercarrage parts I had removed and the grousers. ( I started this project needing to rebelt my origonal tracks, so I stripped off the old belts) That sale covered the new belting. I moved the servicable used belts all to one side and put all the new ones on one side. That is another NEVER, don't mix old and new belts on the same track set. You can do the addition, I never do, If I did I'd never have the courage to finish. Don't even ask about labor. It was a long summer, filled with quiet evenings in the shop while my wife played late rounds of golf.
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:37 PM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

Borvig just curious what altitude you run your machine at?Ronfam is running at 10,ooo ft and every super imp i have been around is way under powered and giving it a lift won,t cure the problem. Years ago we put the 12 inch tires under a super imp and put a oc12 with gear reduction and 36inch spryte tracks on it it was a good machine but in doing the conversion whe spent 8000.00 in parts and 100s of hrs of labor that was ten years ago.It was used up in the steamboat area until a pack rat got in an severed the fuel line took for spin caught fire and burned to the ground
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:07 PM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

those northern torsion axles are a good price i used 250 ld axles to replace my front boggie set up they are a little lightspring wise and have taken a bit of camber i don't like so im looking at a different set that are indexable so i can better control ride hight
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:15 PM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomelroy View Post
would a wt imp (not super imp) climb better in this situation?

They have the 4 speed rear end. I have an imp that has a ford inline 4 with a c-4 automatic trans and the c4 (four speed) rear end. In the process of a restore, have never had it in the snow. Just curious it that configuration would be better in these conditions.

By the way, thats a good looking 1450!
Is that one that Peterson converted years ago? let see some pictures i heard about there conversion but never seen one. heard from people that the auto was nice but didn't really change performance
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:23 PM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

Ahh Yes Altitude! I'm afraid I failed to take that into account in rendering an opinion. My highest trail point is less than 10% of your altitude, and I take twenty lashes for overlooking that factor. Quite elimentary. I considered at one time transplanting a 300 EFI 6 cyl. Ford into my machine. Measurements as I recall showed the driveshaft to be long enough to acomodate the necessary shortening to squeeze in the longer engine. Height was a factor too but not much. I never considered the 250 small block motor, not common enough and still a carburated engine. I also groom at about 3 1/2 mph. perhaps way too slow for your needs or desire, so I may not feel the need for as much power. I may also be missing the basic shortcoming. Is it flotation, power or a combination of both that presents the problem. As to my costs, I am a self professed "bottom feeder", where parts are concerned. My works are labors of love, and I am long enough in the tooth, to have worked on these machines for some time. Olivers, Cleatrac, Case 350's, and Bombardiar are an extended family to me. The 1450 was one of my favorites because of the OC-12 rear end, overkill is sweet when you can get it. Sorry I forgot about the lack of oxygen, I'd get nosebleeds at your altitude. I'm only 60 miles fro the ocean!
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Old 01-27-2012, 02:15 AM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

I find my Spryte standard track also drives and turns much better in deep snow in reverse than in forward. I don't think it is a gearing issue since with an OC-4, 2nd and rear have the same gear ratios and 1st gear is even lower. (Snowcat Pat posted the gear ratios in here back in May, 2010.)

Last year after a major 6 foot dump of very light snow my cat was sinking about 3 feet down. Without a blade, the front acted as a plow. Whenever the snow got to the bottom of my windshield I had to back up a bit and go around the pile. My cat had plenty of power to drive forward as long as I wasn't plowing/pushing too much snow at the same time.

I read some Army stuff on tracked vehicles that calculated how much power is needed to crush the snow under the track as you drive. The more you compress snow, the stronger the snow gets. Hence, the deeper you compress the snow, the more power is required to compress it. With wider tracks, you compress a larger width of snow, but you don't have to go as deep to support the vehicle. This means less power is required per inch of track width to get to a snow strength that will support the cat. This suggests that wider tracks would require less power, not more. However, the reduction might be small.

Can you give us some more information about what is happening when you are having problems. Is your cat pushing/plowing any snow in front as you drive? Are your tracks spinning in the snow? Is your engine dieing or bogging down because it doesn't have enough power? Are you getting a lot of snow under you machine?

On several occasions in deep, very very powdery snow, the snow under my cat between the tracks has pushed up against the bottom of the cat in spots. I noticed my axles having to push through the packed snow and my underbelly snow plate packing it down. I don't know how much drag this creates. Also, when the snow builds up under belly, the snow can supports the cat a bit reducing the pressure between the tracks and the snow under the tracks. I think this is what happened several times to me last year. My tracks spun without the cat moving after driving into and up a deep fluffy drift. (I let things sit for a few minutes and then I was able to get going again.)
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:40 AM
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Default Re: DMC 1450 in Deep Snow

Power, clearance or traction? I would have to answer that all are issues. On some steep climbs the tracks slow and eventually stop, even if the engine is still running slowly (sometimes the engine dies). More often the tracks are spinning, dig down and I lose traction. I then back down and herringbone back and forth up the climb. Often if I flip around I can back up the hill just fine. For sure, the rear end leaves a nice skid mark in the snow behind me, even when the snow is not too deep. At this elevation carburetors do not function as well as fuel injection so I have asked about switching to an injection system but the folks at Safety One didn't think it would be worth the investment. Someone else also told me bigger tracks yield better float requiring less power since I am not trying to dig myself out of a whole all the time, which is why I was pursuing the wider-track thing in the first place. Keep the ideas coming, I appreciate your thoughts/experience/wisdom here.
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