When you own a sport Polaris or Can-Am side x side, it will not be IF you need clutch service. It will be WHEN you need clutch service and repair.
My number one job in the shop is a CVT clutch service by a landslide. The Can-Am guys are going to tell the Polaris owners that post on Facebook what happened to my clutch and show pictures of their problems – you should just buy a Can-Am.
I hate to spoil the Can-Am parade, but I just finished up $1,000 clutch work on a Can-Am last week.
In fact, I just purchased all the tools to be able to service the new Can-Am X3s and Maverick Max.
Let’s start by talking about the difference between a high horsepower sport UTV and your trail/mountain riding UTV.
We buy the sport UTV because we want to go hit the 700’ sand dune and climb straight up the front. Then, after that, we want to go shred bowls for the next three hours and expect no problems at all!
The best accessory for the clutches that I purchased and installed is the RAZORBACK temp sensor and gauge, with its infrared reader pointing straight at my belt. This one tool has taught me more about clutches and what they have to endure through my different driving days, and changes to my clutch as I add more accessories, such as an SLP clutch/puck system and elevation kit.
I love riding in all kinds of terrain, but the mountains are my absolute favorite. I believe these alone are the whole reason I have lived in Salt Lake City my whole life. They bring a solitude about them and they are so green and lush. You can get away from the craziness of the city when you go riding all day, just putting around.
Then there is the high-speed desert riding, where we get to test out the top speed of my Turbo RZR. It tops out at 80 mph, but with the short wheelbase that feels like 100.
Then we head to the sand dunes when it is too cool for the mountains, and I mount up the awesome looking sand paddles and get to ride Mother Nature’s personal roller coaster.
Temperatures at the belt riding from the different conditions on my 2017 Polaris XPT 2-Seat:
- Mountain Riding 145-175 degrees belt temp
- High-speed desert riding 165-205 belt temp
- Sand dune riding 175-235 belt temp and could go higher if you do not monitor
In the list above you can see that if you never hit the sand dunes, you probably don’t need a belt temperature gauge, other than when you are about to break a belt, it would warn you first.
If you are like me and love the sand dune rides, you better invest in a Razorback belt temperature sensor gauge.
Here is my personal experience on my 2017 Polaris XPT…I installed the SLP puck system to make for a much quieter clutch to keep from making all the clanking noise they are so famous for.
I drove several rides in the mountains with this setup and it seemed great – almost no noise and everything seemed just fine.
Then it was my first trip to the sand dunes at Little Sahara in Utah. It was a fairly cool day and we knew the winds were going to pick up strong in the afternoon, so we made sure to get on the sand in the morning.
After playing around and climbing some of the large bowls, I noticed my belt temperature was about 20 degrees hotter than it had ever run before – making me slow down and cooling off the belt more than usual.
We were with some friends and they had never been in a UTV that went straight up Sand Mountain, so I offered him and his wife a trip up the mountain in my RZR.
It went straight up with no problems and actually was accelerating when hitting the top of the mountain, but my temperature surged to 235 degrees, alerting me with the changing color on my belt gauge.
Then the wind came blowing through, and I knew it was time to call it a day. The sand dunes go from quiet and beautiful to the all-out worst conditions imaginable in the same day.
After the sand dune trip, most of my trips this year were in the desert or the mountains, just riding around where I really don’t have to even pay attention to the belt temperature.
Then came our 5- day hunting trip in August, where we hardly ever go faster than 10 mph. I started noticing some clicking coming from my clutch area.
After I returned from my trip, it was time to do some maintenance on the Polaris. As I said, these sport side x sides will require a lot more maintenance than the average person realizes.
When I pulled the clutch cover off and started the UTV, I noticed the pucks were coming loose and making it click back and forth.
I pulled the primary clutch off and disassembled it. I was definitely surprised to see as many problems going on with the clutch – way more than expected.
Several of the pucks had come loose, and I would have to clean and re-glue all of them back in.
The Center bearing in the top cap had started to move out of its normal position. This is the bearing metal you see when people post about their clutch that had exploded, and there was this strange metal piece sitting in the bottom of the housing.
After getting my primary clutch all together and letting the glue and Loctite sit for 24 hours before installing and running it, I noticed one more thing. When I went to wash the belt with soap and water, the # on the belt caught my attention – it was the part # for the XP1000! Mine is the Polaris Turbo Wow! How did I get the wrong belt on my clutches?
I believe the belt came from my spare belt bag, and I must have assumed it was the correct belt. I immediately went and purchased a belt for the Turbo model and compared the XP1000 to the turbo belt. It is quite a bit bigger than the XP 1000. I am sure glad to have discovered this problem and now can’t wait to go out and test the reworked clutch and new belt.
To recap what I have done and found was
- The noise was coming from the clutch area – take the cover off and inspect before the major problem.
- Found loose pucks and cleaned and glued them back in tight.
- Found the bearing cap starting to move out of its place, replace with SLP heavy duty cap.
- Found the wrong belt installed and purchased the correct belt for install.
- Excessive heat had caused the bearing to move and the pucks glue to melt.
Because I monitor my belt temperature, these problems were caught before they became major problems in the clutches, and more than likely would have resulted in buying a brand new clutch.
Trust your belt temperature gauge, and if it starts reading hotter temperatures than you see normally, believe there is a problem going on and repair it before it’s too late.
If you own a sport UTV, I would suggest having your clutches looked at and serviced once a year.
You just never know when you may find the wrong part has been installed by accident as I did.
I could have put blame on the SLP clutch puck system or the altitude kit, but now, after seeing what had been the wrong belt installed, I will get all my test riding in and determine how the puck system holds up and what my belt temperatures are now.
If you would like a belt temperature gauge installed or an SLP clutch kit please give me a call and I will schedule you in.
Until we ride again.
Owner of UTV Service specializing in shocks and suspension.
I have always loved making cars and now UTV’s run and handle there best. I do not believe in taking short cuts and when something comes along that does not fit my values I will not sell or back that product.
Business owner for over 35 years. 3-Time Nascar short track champion at our local race track Rocky Mountain Raceway in Salt Lake City, Utah
2017 Polaris XPT 2-Seat Turbo-Current
2015 Polaris XP1000 -Sold
2011 Polaris RZR 800- Sold