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emnesto
08-01-2014, 05:59 PM
I have 2013 825i and love it all except for the clutch. I still have low hours (less than 100), but clutch has been replaced twice. Both replacements were to fix a very stiff shifting issue that the dealer said resulted from the clutch disengaging. Dealer asked several times if I had been towing a heavy load.

So here's my question... What can be happening to the clutch, causing it to eventually fail to disengage? Dust? Lube? Wear? Is there some maintenance I can do to extend the life of the clutch?

plateauman57
08-01-2014, 09:48 PM
Wish I could help but I can't. That's exactly why I bought the extended warranty on my 2014, which my dealer (a small dealer) said I was the only person they had ever sold an extended warranty to. good luck.

MBDiagMan
08-04-2014, 08:02 AM
I am having the same issue. You might want to read my clutch question thread in the tech forum that is directly below this one. When they replaced my clutch under warranty, they also asked me if I had been towing anything. My replacement clutch doesn't have many hours and it is already giving trouble again. The thread describes what I've found. I ordered the special tool to remove the clutch, so I hope to know more when I get it apart. There is an aftermarket company that sells a clutch for $299. If I had assurance that it is a better built unit than what JD supplies, I would spring for one. Is anyone else having trouble with their RETURN key not working in this forum?

DIXIEDOG
08-04-2014, 07:58 PM
How many rpms does your Gator idle at?

emnesto
08-04-2014, 10:48 PM
Thanks for the replies. I also sprang for the extended warranty, but the dealer has implied that won't automatically get the clutch replaced. It sounds like JD considers the clutch like tires, brakes and batteries (normal wear and tear, not necessarily defective).

I'll check idle RPM next time I'm on the Gator.

Bunky
08-05-2014, 11:51 AM
The clutch can be easily damaged with abuse so I am sure that is why they leave it vague.

plateauman57
08-06-2014, 03:22 PM
Thanks for the replies. I also sprang for the extended warranty, but the dealer has implied that won't automatically get the clutch replaced. It sounds like JD considers the clutch like tires, brakes and batteries (normal wear and tear, not necessarily defective).

I'll check idle RPM next time I'm on the Gator.

I hope you have a good dealer that believes you when you tell him/her you don't abuse your machine and a clutch should last longer than 40-50 hours.

MBDiagMan
08-07-2014, 03:31 PM
The clutch is clearly the Achilles heel of these machines. I love my Gator. Can't say enough good about it, but if I'm ever soured on it, I fully expect that the clutch will be the reason. I have some diesel clutch weights and spring on order along with the tool to pull the clutch. I am going to learn about these clutches and hope I can come up with a way to make them work well, but I'm not convinced that this will happen.

MBDiagMan
08-08-2014, 10:12 AM
Given the number of people having clutch problems and given that a new one costs in the area of $300. What would you be willing to pay to have your clutch refurbished.

DIXIEDOG
08-08-2014, 07:45 PM
I think the overall number of clutch failures is fairly low...other than on forums I've never heard of one giving in prematurely:hdscrh:

MBDiagMan
08-09-2014, 03:09 AM
You might very well be right Dixie. If so then I am very unlucky. Two bad factory clutches in short order. I fully realize than one persons experience is anecdotal data.

That said, I've read quite a number of clutch complaints on this and another forum ever since I bought my Gator almost two years ago.

Bunky
08-09-2014, 06:36 AM
I started a poll.

DIXIEDOG
08-09-2014, 08:34 AM
You might very well be right Dixie. If so then I am very unlucky. Two bad factory clutches in short order. I fully realize than one persons experience is anecdotal data.

That said, I've read quite a number of clutch complaints on this and another forum ever since I bought my Gator almost two years ago.

It's entirely possible that the clutch may not be the problem. I'm not saying your clutch isn't bad but it is possible that their is another issue that is causing your clutch to fail. Engagement at over 1k rpms would be one likely thing. When you shift does your machine shift hard?

Dane
08-09-2014, 09:57 AM
I'll have to get to know snowmobiles and and ATV's a bit better. They use the same style clutch and don't seem to have the issues that UTV's have. I wonder if it's the idle and engagement rpm's or it has more to do with vehicle weight.

They don't seem to catastrophically fail in the Gators. Failure to fully open at idle is the big issue which unfortunately causes transmission shifting problems. I've always had the theory that Deere is between a rock and a hard place. They want to have a high top end speed and a lot of load carrying and tow capacity and they're further boxed in by customers complaining about high engine rpm's when just driving around. To make the most of the system they have tuned the primary clutch to close/engage as soon as possible so they have the most range to work with.

I'm certain the primary clutch would be less problematic if they increased the engagement rpm. The primary clutch is a dumb mechanism operating in a dirty environment. It can't be relied upon to engage and disengage repeatedly at an exact rpm. When it's clean and cold it may work reliably but get it hot & dirty and the disengagement rpm can change.

There is plenty of power available to engage the clutch but there is much less to return it to the open position. The spring takes 300lbs force to compress it fully and it's no problem. When the spring is uncompressed it has less than half the force to open the clutch.

I don't think you need to change the weights. The spring is responsible for opening the clutch while the weights control the closing/upshifting. The small, lighter weights used in the 825 reliably engage and close the clutch. I have never heard of anyone complaining that their clutch won't engage or that they can't achieve high driving speeds so I'd leave the weights alone. If you install the heavier weights I think you'll find your Gator shifting into high gear much sooner. Good for just driving around and at moderate cruising speed on level ground you'll probably turn lower rpm's.

If the problem is shifting then I think you need to focus on getting the clutch to disengage. I'd try heavier springs which may have the side effect of increasing the clutch's engagement rpm.

MBDiagMan
08-09-2014, 01:16 PM
It's entirely possible that the clutch may not be the problem. I'm not saying your clutch isn't bad but it is possible that their is another issue that is causing your clutch to fail. Engagement at over 1k rpms would be one likely thing. When you shift does your machine shift hard?

In my case I determined for sure that the clutch is my problem even before removing it. I had to pull on the sheave to open the primary clutch enough to release the belt. Once I did that, it shifted fine until I revved it up enough to close the sheave a little and it would not reopen and release the belt again until I manually pulled on it again.

After removing the clutch and dissembling to a point of removing the spring, it was very stiff and squeaked when moving in and out. I have the tools coming to remove the spider, so that I can fix the binding.

Since the original clutch was replaced under warranty for the same symptoms, my unconfirmed suspicion is that this is not an uncommon or out of the ordinary problem.

Since Dane has changed clutches a few times and even has two of them, this doesn't dispel my suspicion in any way.

MBDiagMan
08-09-2014, 01:29 PM
I'll have to get to know snowmobiles and and ATV's a bit better. They use the same style clutch and don't seem to have the issues that UTV's have. I wonder if it's the idle and engagement rpm's or it has more to do with vehicle weight.

They don't seem to catastrophically fail in the Gators. Failure to fully open at idle is the big issue which unfortunately causes transmission shifting problems. I've always had the theory that Deere is between a rock and a hard place. They want to have a high top end speed and a lot of load carrying and tow capacity and they're further boxed in by customers complaining about high engine rpm's when just driving around. To make the most of the system they have tuned the primary clutch to close/engage as soon as possible so they have the most range to work with.

I'm certain the primary clutch would be less problematic if they increased the engagement rpm. The primary clutch is a dumb mechanism operating in a dirty environment. It can't be relied upon to engage and disengage repeatedly at an exact rpm. When it's clean and cold it may work reliably but get it hot & dirty and the disengagement rpm can change.

There is plenty of power available to engage the clutch but there is much less to return it to the open position. The spring takes 300lbs force to compress it fully and it's no problem. When the spring is uncompressed it has less than half the force to open the clutch.

I don't think you need to change the weights. The spring is responsible for opening the clutch while the weights control the closing/upshifting. The small, lighter weights used in the 825 reliably engage and close the clutch. I have never heard of anyone complaining that their clutch won't engage or that they can't achieve high driving speeds so I'd leave the weights alone. If you install the heavier weights I think you'll find your Gator shifting into high gear much sooner. Good for just driving around and at moderate cruising speed on level ground you'll probably turn lower rpm's.

If the problem is shifting then I think you need to focus on getting the clutch to disengage. I'd try heavier springs which may have the side effect of increasing the clutch's engagement rpm.


Dane, from what I've seen so far with my clutch, I am dealing with two issues:

First and obviously most important is the shifting issue, since it could damage the gearbox. This is a problem with the clutch binding as the sheave opens and closes.

Secondly, is the speed of engagement and profile of ratio change. When my wife got in it for the first time to haul her twin sister around the place for a sight seeing tour, she said it wouldn't go. She had eased the rpm up a good bit, but it hadn't engaged. I never noticed this because I just jam on the gas and go. Once reading the threads on the other forum, I saw some of the other weight/spring combination changes and decided to experiment.

So, for me, these are almost two completely separate issues except they both happen to relate to the clutch mechanism.

Now that you have given me a primer on these clutches and I have gotten my head into the problem, I feel confident that I can fix the clutch for good shifting and improve the actuation and ratio profile to be better to suited to my uses.

xcopterdoc
08-10-2014, 10:56 AM
There have been MANY problems with shifting. Some related to the clutch not fully releasing at idle and some not. Even if your unit is out of warranty I would talk to the servive mgr about a special allowance. Especially if your clutch was replaced prior under warranty. Deere is very aware of this issue. In alot of cases they have covered the entire repair. I cant say they will in every case. Its also important for the technician to diagnose the root cause of the shifting problem properly. Some i have had to do multiple things to fix the issue. Just because its hard to shift doesnt mean its the clutch. I have had to replace the high range gear in some transmissions to get them to shift properly.
Deere says the clutches will fail if towing or hauling heavy loads. Heat build up will cause the clutch to stick and not release. I've also seen brand new clutches right out of the box not release on the first run up.
The newer units, serial number 060001 and above, use a tight belt system with a roller bearing on the clutch. This will increase engine braking in downhill situations. The new clutches with roller bearings are NOT backward compatable.
The clutches were redesigned in 2012 to be more heat tollerant. Check the serial number on the clutch to make sure your replacement is a newer one. For units with serial numbers 060000 and below, the CLUTCH serial number should be 28676 and above. For units with serial numbers 060001 and above, the CLUTCH serial number should be 18498 and above.
Hope this helps.

MBDiagMan
08-10-2014, 12:20 PM
Great info copterdoc. It helps a bunch. We are accumulating lots of valuae info in this thread.

In my particular case I have confirmed that the clutch is indeed the shifting problem. I will report back after it is fixed after I disassemble the clutch and learn more. I have taken off the clutch cover and spring. It is hanging up and squealing when I force it opened and closed. My disassembly tools should be here this week.

Dane
08-10-2014, 02:54 PM
I generally think if turning off the engine allows it to shift then it's the clutch.

---

Has anyone spent much time on other UTV forums to see if other brands have similar issues? Honda has a more automotive type automatic transmission but I assume everyone else is using the CVT clutches like Deere.

MBDiagMan
08-10-2014, 03:44 PM
I generally think if turning off the engine allows it to shift then it's the clutch.

---

Has anyone spent much time on other UTV forums to see if other brands have similar issues? Honda has a more automotive type automatic transmission but I assume everyone else is using the CVT clutches like Deere.


I absolutely agree. I would have agreed before I did a little studying up and taking off the cover and removing the clutch to investigate. Now that I have done all that, I for sure agree. There could be a rare case where turning it off and being able to then shift would not be a correct indication, but after digging into all this, I can't imagine such a situation.

Yes, all the ATV's besides Honda that I am aware have this type of clutch system. We raffled off a Honda ATV last year to raise money for our veterans memorial and I drove it a few times. It has short travel suspension, a terrible seating position, cumbersome entry and exit, and a vibrating single cylinder engine, but the transmission was SWEET.

I think most of the makers other than Honda, have clutches made by TEAM. I also believe they are very similar with the exception of the Polaris units. When I ordered my spider tools a TEAM customer service guy called to see what I would be using it on. I told him John Deere and he said it would work. He said that he wanted to make sure I didn't expect to use it on a Polaris. He was trying to save everyone some trouble. That's good customer service.

MBDiagMan
08-10-2014, 04:17 PM
My clutch SN is 43465, and my Gator SN is below 060000' so it should be one of the updated clutches. I will be able to report more findings after my clutch tools get here this week.

emnesto
08-12-2014, 11:22 PM
Dixiedog - I checked the idle RPM earlier today. When cold, it was about 1300. After about a minute, t dropped to between 1000 and 1025. I didn't see any below 1000. Keep in mind this was after the dealer installed the new clutch and probably made some adjustments - probably including idle speed. I do not know what the idle speed was before the clutch replacement.

MBDiagMan
08-13-2014, 03:30 AM
Emnesto,

If the clutch is free and working properly, 1000RPM idle speed should be low enough to allow proper shifting.

if it is hard to shift with engine idling, but easy to shift with engine off, it is likely to be a binding clutch.

if the clutch is indeed the problem causing your symptoms, it is binding, not able to open the sheaves completely which is grabbing the belt at idle and not releasing the belt. This means that when the engine is idling, it is still pulling on the transmission shaft when it should not, making it hard to put into or out of gear.

To diagnose this, remove the housing that covers the clutches. With the engine dead of course, pull on the belt near the primary clutch(one on the engine) and see if it is free. If it is not free your clutch is binding and not allowing the belt to disengage, thus causing the hard shifting. If the belt is free when pulled on, then your shifting problem lies somewhere other than the clutch.

You can also test with the cover off by starting the engine and observing the belt with the cover off. Upon starting, before engine warms to proper idle speed, it will probably turn the secondary clutch rapidly. If the clutch is free and working correctly, when idle speed is reached, the belt should be loose enough that the secondary clutch turns only slightly if at all.

Hope this helps

K-DOG
08-13-2014, 10:27 AM
There can be other possibilities to this issue besides the primary clutch. I do a lot of clutching with snowmobiles set for mountain riding. 1st thing could be primary to secondary alignment. Skidoo had problem's with there's in 08/09. You could actually see a dog leg in the belt when looking down from the secondary to the primary. A dog leg on the our gators would cause the belt to grab the side of the sheave and spin your secondary. 2nd thing is width and length of the belt being used. When I buy my snowmobile belts for my skidoo, I will bring a micrometer with and measure the belt width. I've seen a 1.39" from a dealer when there supposed to be 1.50". When our primary is fully disengaged there should be a slight gap between the sheaves and the belt. If a belt was to wide it would cause this or if the belt were to short. Some OEM sled's have secondary belt adjustment to drop the belt slightly so you don't wear flat spots or gloss your belt at idle. I'm not sure what the spec's and tolerances are on the gator belts. My sled belts for my sled are 165.00 bucks so I make sure there in spec. Just a few more things to look at. In my opinion there should be some sort of automatic brake on the secondary shaft when in neutral.

MBDiagMan
08-13-2014, 10:39 AM
It goes without saying, that there can be other causes, and your outline of belt fitment and alignment is great information to add to the thread. In the case of a new or near new 825i, the clutches have proven to be a problem, so the likelihood of the clutch being sticky when hard shifting is experienced with it running, but easy shifting with a dead engine, fits the syndrome. Fitting the problem into the syndrome is the first step. In the case of these, when the symptoms are as described, checking the primary clutch to see if it is free is the second. Checking belt spacing is straight forward with a feeler gauge, but make sure the clutch is completely open when measuring. To add to K DOG's excellent information, the belt spacing for these clutches is supposed to be .030". That means that a .030" feeler gauge or shim, should fit between the pulley and the belt with the clutch fully open. Since it requires clutch disassembly to adjust this, I think it would be a good idea to purchase the belt from John Deere when it must be replaced. I'm sure there's no guarantee that it will fit perfectly, but I would expect a better chance of getting the correct width from them. Also, I'm a neophyte when it comes to these type clutch and belt systems, so I never thought about a secondary neutral brake like K DOG describes. Sounds like it would be a great addition.

MBDiagMan
08-13-2014, 01:18 PM
I've had two fail prematurely, and have read of others. You are right though about very few. When a manufacturer is having a lot of failures the word gets around because bad news travels at light speed. Many people hear about it, which makes it seem to be worse than it is. A failure rate of 10% would be enormous. All that said though, the clutches do seem to fail at a higher rate than what would be expected.

93SVT
08-26-2014, 08:17 AM
I had the same clutch issues last year about this time luckily i had the extended warranty to fix it at only 20 hrs. The mechanic in the back told me he would take care of it he knew all about this clutch issue and that i would never have to worry about bringing it back for clutch problems. Sure enough got it back it never dove or ever shifted this good. Now one year later ton of miles and hrs towing and its silky smooth. So not sure what he did but it seems to work, next time im in there for something i will ask.

MBDiagMan
08-26-2014, 02:31 PM
South Carolina. Another clutch problem in the warm part of the country. It seems that most clutch problems happen in warm climates and in the warmer time of the year. These clutches were designed for snowmobiles. Snowmobiles don't run much on a 100 degree day. 93SVT I fully expect that the spider wear buttons in your clutch were set up too tight and once it warmed up, they tended to sieze, making it difficult for the clutch to fully open at idle. I further fully expect, that your dealer tech, did something or a combination of things to free up the spider. I have now freed up the spider on mine and it works perfectly, hot or cold. I expect that it will hang in there for you now 93.

MBDiagMan
08-26-2014, 02:37 PM
Now that I have gone through this whole clutch thing to the extent of buying the spider removal tool and relieving the spider wear buttons allowing them to not fit so tight I feel that I understand the nature of the problems and the trend. The trend is that most of the clutch complaints come from folks in warmer climates during warmer times of the year. I believe that this is why folks from places like Maine and Minnesota think that there are no or very few problems with these clutches. I feel pretty confident now in my ability to make one of these clutches work in hot weather.

JL825i
09-25-2014, 02:20 PM
I had the same problem last year. Had the clutch replaced and now have the same problem this year. I got more information on this if anyone is interested.

JL825i
09-26-2014, 01:42 PM
I have the same problem. I had the clutch changed out last year. It cost $710 to change the clutch and fix one of the headlights. I got John Deere to refund me $412. I got the gator out Saturday had not rode it since March. The clutch and shifting is hard to shift again. When I had the clutch replaced before the dealership told me to drive the gator at different speeds. Get out on some dirt rode and open it up, he said. I use our gator from September to March for hunting and not so much for pleasure. I ride the gator all the time 8mph to 18mph most of the time during the months mentioned. I called Team After Market (1-218-844-3283) who makes the clutches for John Deere to see if anyone else is having the same problem. He said no. He did ask me how much the dealership charged me to replace the clutch. He told me to pull the clutch, unstick it and put back on. Then drive the gator in Low Range instead of High so it will work the clutch more. It sounded like to me if enough people will call them and let them know they are having the same problem they would make some improvements to the clutches. I like the gator just hate the clutch issues.