Story and Photo’s by Nick Nelson – ATV World Magazine
The Polaris RZR XP1000 is the best selling, performance UTV on the market today. This latest evolution of RZR comes with 107HP, 18 inches of wheel travel, and 29″ tires, right off the showroom floor. All this performance in a package ready for two, and the only thing to top it would be seating for four to enjoy the ride. As we all know, Polaris made this a reality with the XP1K 4 at the end of October, 2013.
The incredible performance of an XP1000, with room for the family, almost sounds too good to be true. A stronger chassis, longer travel suspension, and way more motor make for quite possibly, the best family adventure vehicle on the planet. As you would expect, the XP1K 4 also fits the bill when looking for the ultimate dune machine. Since its initial release, Polaris has sold thousands of new, four seat XP 1OOO’s. They are proving to be an amazing vehicle, but they have shown to have a major setback with clutch belt durability.
While many owners are putting thousands of trouble free miles on their new top of the line toys, others have been battling clutch belt issues. For the most part, these affected customers have been mostly sand duners, somewhat more aggressive drivers that operate their XP1K 4’s with a full load of passengers. Many owners were pointing the finger at Polaris, but there was some initial hesitation and discussion as to the definition of aggressive driving. It was argued that this is after all, what many people would buy the highest performance UTV on the market for.
Polaris released a replacement clutch helix #3235608 that will drastically improve clutch belt life on the heavier XP1K 4. It is said to only be necessary for extreme dune use, but we have seen it improve belt life on hard pack and desert applications as well. As of mid March, the new helix was installed in production units, but if you have an earlier model, your dealer should be able to update yours at no charge. Swapping out the helix is a pretty simple project that doesn’t really require any special tools. The whole process should take less time than loading and hauling your ride into the dealer. With a little instruction, a complete novice should be able to handle the swap, so here is what it takes.
1. Remove the eight “8mm head” clutch cover screws and remove the clutch cover. We left it dangling from the primary clutch so it won’t be in the way, and complete removal is a tight fit with the plastic shock guard.
2. Remove the retaining bolt from the driven “secondary” clutch with a 15mm socket. We used a cordless impact as the clutch will want to spin when you turn it by hand. If you don’t have an impact, you can put the vehicle in gear to keep the clutch from spinning.
3. Use both hands to pull the driven clutch off the shaft “towards you”. When you clear the shaft, you can move it towards the primary clutch, creating slack to remove it from the belt. You can also slip the clutch belt off and clean it with hot soapy water and a bristle brush, and then reinstall it when it’s dry.
4. You will need to remove all four T25 Torx bolts securing the original helix to the driven clutch. Try smacking each fastener solidly with a hammer and punch before removal. If the Torx still feels stuck, use a propane torch to heat the bolt before removal. These bolts are factory installed with blue Loctite, and can easily strip if care is not taken during removal.
5. Remove the original helix from the secondary. You may have to spin it a half inch or so to get it to release, but it will usually come out with your bare hands. If you have trouble, turn it a half inch and use a flat blade to slightly separate it from the secondary.
6. Clean out the opened up secondary with contact cleaner. Be sure that you only spay out the inside, and avoid getting any cleaner on the clutch sheaves. You can use a Scotchbrite pad to clean any belt material from the inside of your clutch sheaves. This can be done on the primary sheaves as well. Wash with hot soapy water when done.
7. The helix on the left is our original, and the one in the middle is our new Polaris “extreme dune use” helix. Notice the slightly smaller cutaway on the new one. This cutaway shape is what controls the engine braking of the PVT. The helix on the right is part of EPI’s “zero engine braking” clutch kit. The EPI helix is available as a complete clutch kit with new weights, and both primary and secondary springs. The Polaris helix greatly improves belt life, but a $380 performance kit from EPI is a great way to fine tune your XP clutch for your tire size, terrain and engine mods.
8. Install the new helix #3235608, making sure that you line up the X mark on the secondary and the new helix. Replace the four T25 Torx bolts and torque them to 48 in-lb (5 Nm). We don’t add any Loctite as these Torx bolts really seem to strip easily.
9. Install the driven clutch onto the transmission input shaft. It will often slide on a little, and then hang up before gliding over the splined part of the shaft. You will need to wiggle or “clock” the secondary a little until you feel it slip all the way into place.
10. Install the “15mm head” retaining bolt. When the secondary is properly in place, your retaining bolt will start threading with quite a bit of bolt exposed. Take a careful look at your secondary to insure it is all the way on and that the belt will be lining-up straight. With the secondary in position, you can use a impact to install the bolt, or use the transmission to help you. Torque is 40 ft-lb (54 Nm).
11. Install the driven clutch spreader tool, “should be supplied in your stock tool kit” into the driven clutch roller guide and rotate the tool back towards the clutch. This opens up the sheaves to make belt installation easier. With the sheaves open, you can roll the belt into the driven clutch. Work it around the top, back, and into the bottom of the driven clutch. You might need to use fingers to slightly untwist the belt at the bottom of the pulley to finish the install.
12. Re-install the PVT clutch housing cover, and install all eight screws. Torque to 48 in-lb (5 Nm). Your new helix will make your XP1K 4 clutch a lot more reliable, especially when carrying a full load of passengers. You should remember that extreme heat or slippage will still break belts. After over-working your clutch with tasks like soft, sandy hillclimbs, remember to cool your belt by running 4K RPM in park for a minute, before shutting down. ENJOY!