I often get asked what restoring these classic sleds costs. To be honest, I don’t track it too much. They have rare parts on them or one-of-a-kind parts, and that alone can make it expensive, and I like to assume that what I don’t know can’t kill me – LOL.
To give you an idea, here’s what it took to restore two tracks off of two sleds: One is from the IFS sled that was first raced by Jim Bernat and later in the season by Steve Thorsen in 1977. The other was a relatively new RXL track that I am putting on the Jerry Bunke/TJ Patrick 1978 440cc machine.
Both are over forty years old. One was in use for many years; one was installed on a sled but never used.
The Bernat/Thorsen track was in bad shape. It was full of studs that were the wrong length, bolts that didn’t belong there, and all of them were rusted solid to the t-nuts. It also had six cleats that were wrong or broken beyond use. All of the track clips were bent or broken.
The new RXL track got wiped down, new t-nuts, and all new studs that were the exact size they used in the day for the rules. These studs have to have very short threads so they do not stick up above the T-nuts were they would destroy the idler wheels.
That tiny shank size makes them all kinds of fun to install – the threads don’t want to catch. The result is you wreck your hands trying to force it in far enough to start.
To get around that, you first put a longer bolt in, tighten up the t-nut, wait a bit (usually overnight) and then remove the bolt and insert the stud.
Restudding a track is a horrible, labor-intensive job. No matter what, you wind up with bloody hands and arms. You’re going to be standing the whole time, and you need a wide variety of tools to do the job right, and even more tools if you hope to get it done before you’re too old to care. You also have to make some tools along the way.
So what were the costs?
First up, I had to buy new studs, washers, t-nuts — total for both tracks: $475 with shipping.
Then I had to find a bunch of the Arboloy cleats – which don’t exist. Luckily, a friend had enough leftover from his last project and was willing to let ten of them go. Price with shipping: $200.
I was fortunate to find all-new track clips, as well. Enough to replace all the broken and bent ones came to $160.00 with shipping.
All in all, I put 72 hours into these two tracks, and most of that time was spent drilling holes in the cleats, removing old rusty studs (carefully, so as not to damage the rubber or the cleats) and then getting the studs in.
Let’ss assume a shop rate of $60/hr, which is what I think most places are charging. That is $4,320.00 worth of time.
So add that all up, and these two tracks alone have $5,155.00 into them.
And that is just the two tracks! The hoods, motors, seats, chassis, it adds up quick, thus the reason I don’t usually track it. If I don’t know, it can’t hurt, right??