Do you know how to use the clutch on your snowmobile?

Like any automobile, the clutch is one of the most important systems that determines how well the vehicle will run. Same goes for a snowmobile. Here's how to use it.

Do you know how to use the clutch on your snowmobile?

Whether you are looking to invest in a snowmobile or have been riding one for years now, it's always important to understand the functions and features of your vehicle. Like any automobile, the clutch is one of the most important systems that determines how well the vehicle will run. Same goes for a snowmobile. A snowmobile typically has two clutches, also known as pulleys, which are connected by a drive bet: a primary (or clutch) and a secondary (driven clutch). Understanding how both of these work will help you get the best usage of power out of your snowmobile.

Primary clutch

This clutch is located on the engine crankshaft. There are two halves that are held apart by a pressure spring when the engine RPM is low. When the engine is started, the weight of the clutch creates enough centrifugal force to close the clutch, thus allowing the belt to move and transfer power.

Secondary clutch

The secondary clutch, connected to the track drive, is what activates the wheels and powers up the tracks. In the secondary clutch is a spring that operates the cams (wedges), sensitive to torque. Here is when both clutches work together. As the engine’s RPM increases, the power that the primary clutch transmits squeezes the cams together and tightens the belt. This process continues as the snowmobile accelerates. As the snowmobile gains speed and reaches top speed, the primary clutch closes, moving the belt to a higher gear.

How to get the best performance out of your snowmobile

Like most things, a lot of love and care will help your snowmobile run its best. Here are some tips on how to maintain your snowmobile for better clutch performance.

  • To help the drive belt, with light pressure, regularly scour the clutch sheaves from clutch to the edge. Ensure you are using warm water when rinsing the clutch. By doing this, you help remove belt residue and build-up.
  • To clean the edges of the belt, acetone is a harmless liquid you can use. With a wired brush, remove slippery glazed-over residue for better performance of the belt. This can also help to prolong the life cycle of your snowmobile.
  • Drive belt adjustments are imperative for good and efficient performance. Understanding how to make adjustments and properly deflect your belt can go a long way. You might want to consult a professional if you are doing this for the first time. Any incorrect adjustments could actually cause more harm to you and your snowmobile.
  • Clutches should be aligned. Clutches that are aligned means that belts that rely on it to function are also aligned. Straight belts allows for more surface area for the belt to contact the clutch sheaves. More contact means more traction, which means efficiency.
  • To ensure a smooth engagement and longevity of your belt, check the belt-to-sheave clearance. Be sure that the engine is turned off when checking for this. Consult a professional if you are unsure about how to adjust for the clearance, as any incorrect adjustment can cause damage to the snowmobile and riders.
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