Dear Ralph: I’ve got a 1997 Yamaha Mountain Max that has melted the starter rope; twice. It’s no big deal to replace it, but...

Dear Ralph:
I’ve got a 1997 Yamaha Mountain Max that has melted the starter rope; twice. It’s no big deal to replace it, but makes it kind of hard to start the sled when it happens. I was going to build a little shield to deflect the heat from the exhaust away from it, do you have any other bright ideas?
Big Tom Mullen

I’m surprised you didn’t lift the hood on a later model year Mountain Max to see what, if any changes, had been made to rectify this. If you do, you will notice what appears to be a spring around the rope down by the recoil.
What happens is when you’re riding in deep powder, the hood vents can become blocked with snow and this allows the under hood temperatures to skyrocket. The rope is pretty close to the exhaust silencer, and in extreme cases it can melt. Don’t feel bad, we’ve melted a few airboxes as well.
Yamaha added this spring to act as a heat shield to later model year sleds, and you can too. I’m fine with the heat shield idea, but installing this spring is easy. Order Yamaha part #85L-24327-00-00. Also, make sure the engine isn’t over revving as this can also contribute to extra heat build-up, but in your case it is most likely blocked hood vents. Anytime the hood vents get blocked and you’re pulling high RPMs at slow ground speeds, heat damage becomes an issue. This is when drive belts usually go south.

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