How to Maintain a Snowmobile Clutch

There are many parts in the clutching system on a snowmobile. Clutch tuning and balancing requires special tools and should be performed by a skilled snowmobile mechanic. Replace the clutch springs and helix every 2,000 to 3,000 miles. Cleaning the belt and clutch surfaces is a yearly maintenance task you can do yourself. Grease and dirt can contaminate the clutch surfaces and cause belt slippage. Cleaning the clutch surfaces before each season will result in increased power, performance and fun on the snow.


1) Open the snowmobile hood. Find the clutch cover on the left side of the engine compartment. Remove the retaining pin or connector that holds the cover to the housing and gain access to the belt and clutch assemblies.

2) Push the belt to one side of the clutch and insert a feeler gauge between the belt and the clutch surface. The reading should be between .010 and .020. Replace the belt with a new one and remeasure if the gap exceeds .020. Contact your dealer for spacers and tools to bring the clearance in line if it is still over clearance limits. Each manufacturer uses different methods and tools in performing these adjustments.

3) Remove the belt by grasping it with your hands and pulling it to the top rim on the left outer side of the clutch. Push the belt forward until it releases from the clutch and remove it from the sled. Examine the belt and replace it if it is worn.

4) Place the belt in a hot soapy pan of water and scrub it with a medium-bristle brush to remove grease and contaminants. Rinse it off with clean hot water. Set it aside and allow it to thoroughly dry. Always clean a new belt before using it as it contains a mold release agent from the manufacturing process. This contamination will transfer to the clutch surfaces if not removed.

5) Pry the center of the clutch assembly apart using two large screwdrivers and place a deep socket at the base to hold it open while you clean it. Examine the surface for any heavy residue and belt marks. Scrub these areas with a buffing pad or fine steel wool. Do not apply excessive pressure to avoid creating low spots on the clutch.

6) Wash remaining residue from the clutch surfaces using hot soapy water and a scrub brush. Rinse the surfaces with clean hot water. Wipe the surfaces with a soft cloth and allow them to dry.

7) Replace the belt. Make sure you can read the labeling on the outer portion of the belt to ensure you have it going in the proper direction.

8) Replace the clutch assembly cover and close the hood.

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