ATV Clutch Problems Q&A
Some ATV problems can be attributed to the clutch, like a drive belt that got turned inside out. Shifting without the lever can also disengage the clutch and do a number on the transmission.
Partzilla's ATV expert John Talley does live Q&A sessions on our YouTube channel every Friday at 3pm Eastern, and in this session, he answers a couple of questions about clutch problems that can happen with Polaris and Yamaha ATVs.
Polaris ATV Clutch
I had a 96 Polaris Magnum 425 lock up on me. The engine stayed on but it wouldn't move. I took off the belt cover and discovered that the belt turned itself inside out and burned up some plastic. Any thoughts?
John Talley: That makes me think that maybe your primary and secondary clutches were getting worn. It would allow it to flip because that is an extremely loose condition that would give it enough room to do that, because when you put the belts on, you actually have to open up the driven clutch to get it down in there far enough, and then put it over the drive clutch as you’re putting it on the output shaft. So I’d take a look at your sheaves and see if they’re completely worn out. I know we’ve done a couple of videos where I go through some of the wear characteristics of how the CVT system works and what to look for when it’s getting worn out. All of them do the same thing, they’re just built a little bit different but they all basically function the same way. On your drive clutch, it starts to squeeze it together as the weights go out, it goes against the spring and then it changes the gear ratio from front to back, so to speak. But if those weights start to wear or if it’s not moving smoothly through its stroke, then what you’re describing can happen.
Watch the video above to learn how to inspect a CVT clutch system.
Watch the video below to learn how to rebuild a CVT clutch system.
Yamaha ATV Clutch
I have a Yamaha YFZ450. Can shifting without using the lever damage the bike?
John Talley: If you’re shifting without the lever, because that’s actually disengaging the clutch, and in essence that frees up or destresses the transmission, and yes you can jam it in there. And it will shift for a while, but you keep doing that and you’re going to start putting extra stress on the shift forks, the shift drums, everything in there as long as the way the gears interlock with each other. The dogs that actually engage and hold them in place, those are going to get rounded off. So even if it’s just a tap on the clutch, I mean if you’re just banging it because you’re having to go through it so quickly, a little bit of effort is better than just forcing the shift down below. Unless you’re just a magician with rev matching, and very few people are. So yes, you’re going to have long-term damage eventually.
Want to see more live repair questions answered? See more motorcycle and ATV repair questions answered here.