Honda Rancher experiencing Clutch Slip

Question:

When first riding my Rancher it shifts fine, as it gets warmed up it shifts very hard as if the clutch was not disengaging. I have worked on bikes and ATVs for 30 years, repairing my own and my neighbors. The other symptom was when climbing a long hill in forth or fifth the clutch would slip.

I have tried adjusting the clutch many times giving more or less free play. I finally pulled the engine and replaced all the parts from the adjuster to the clutch drum. Plate clutch lifter, clutch cam, arm, gearshift, bearing, clutch springs etc. The clutch plates were well within specs so I did not replace them. After all this it still acts the same. {Robert, CA 2001 Honda TRX350FM Rancher}

Answer:

It sounds like the cause of your hard shifting and clutch slip is being caused by your centrifugal clutch. The 2001 Honda Rancher TRX350FM has both a regular clutch and a centrifugal clutch.

When you had your engine apart, you may have noticed that the clutch basket has teeth on it. It drives the centrifugal clutch drive gear.

Refer to the parts diagram below. All of the numbers in parentheses { } reference items in the parts diagram.

2001 Honda TRX350 TRX350FM Clutch Schematic


Some possible causes for your problems are:

  • The outer clutch {14} could have been distorted by heat. When riding in rough, hilly terrain the engine gets pretty hot. Extreme heat or an extended period of heat can distort internal metal components.
  • The linings on the weights {15} could be worn. These weights are similar to brake shoes. When they are worn, they slip.
  • The clutch drive springs {13} lose tension over time, with lots of use and heat. The hotter the springs get, the softer they get, causing slippage when the engine is hot.

Another possible contributor to your clutch slip problem could be an imperfection or bend in the gearshift drum or one of the spindle shafts is binding when the engine heats up and wreaking havoc with your clutch.

I am thinking that it is probably some combination of factors. I would definitely open up the centrifugal clutch and take a look at the springs and weights first, as these are the most likely culprits.


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