Clutch Tuning Is Key To Performance And Reliability
Story By: Kyle Callen
Photos By: Brandon Bunch
Who leaves a UTV stock these days? Better yet, why would you when you can get bigger tires, better seats, more storage, superior suspension work, and all the other awesome ways you’re able to personalize your ride to your style and riding conditions? That fact alone is and always will be the great thing about this sport, you can truly tailor your vehicle to your exact needs. But some forget or don’t even take into account that with all these add ons comes added weight and added strain on driveline components.
More often than not, we get lost in the fun of bolting on shiny new brackets, wiring new communications, staring at the new bright lights, or bigger tires. We overlook that some of the most important modifications that should be done are those that can’t be seen but felt when you hit the throttle. From the factory, the cars are clutched for the factory size tire and the weight as it sits but not your specific riding style or altitude. Taking this into consideration, it’s always wise to properly clutch your car. It is one of the most important and cheapest ways to maintain performance and help the drivetrain last longer.
Our 2018 Polaris RZR XP4 Turbo has thousands of miles on it with the stock clutching. This would be fine if the car was stock, but it is far from. It has every accessory you could throw on and on top of that, this girl is heavy. Doing a full clutch service after every ride to make sure it was staying together was getting annoying so I called the boys over at Trinity Racing. Trinity has been making exhausts, clutch kits, and many other performance upgrades for UTVs since they hit the market in the early 2000s. They had a ton of options and after a few questions about the car, elevation, and driving style, they helped us select a kit and got it out to us in no time at all. I’m sure you’re wondering… Why do I keep mentioning elevation? Well, a rough rule of thumb is an engine loses about 3% of power for every 1000 feet of elevation you gain. A car that makes less power needs to be clutched differently to produce the same results. It seems like a little thing that wouldn’t matter, but it does.
Once the kit arrived, we dug it. Springs, weights, and a brand new belt were included in the box. Now when dealing with clutches, they are much like shocks. A little scary for some at first, but once you have them off the car and opened up, they are quite easy to work on. Especially with a few specialty tools from EPI Performance to compress both primary and secondary clutches. This ensures that your face stays intact when you pull the bolts out that hold the spring in. The secondary can be removed from the input shaft easily, however, the primary requires a special tool also provided by EPI Performance. You do not need to pull the primary off the car to install this kit, but I like to pull it and disassemble it on the bench. This allows me to inspect the components a little closer as well as do a more thorough job cleaning it before going back together with everything.
Once the Trinity Racing clutch kit was all installed, clutches were back on and torqued to factory specs, everything looked great. Instead of putting an old used belt on, Trinity Racing includes a belt to make sure everything is new and reliable. I leave the clutch cover off at this point and make a few hard pulls in low to seat everything then re-torque the clutches.
Once I re-torqued the clutches and everything was back together, we took the car out on the trail to see how it was affected. The engagement felt much more positive and the car seemed like it had a little more pep in its step coming out of the corners, and when under hard acceleration. The lethargic feeling is gone. The Trinity Racing clutch kit is a very easy and cost-effective way to gain some performance, and can be installed in the garage in less than an hour.