I feel credible information is important; and I personally have friends and family all over this country that share the same passion for Side by Side Adventures that I do. This article is for all of you and the " Newbee's " like myself that are just entering the SXS Market, and don't know which way to turn when it comes to fixing belt/clutch issues upon upgrading your tires on your Side by Side to handle a particular situation such as mud and swamp riding, that put high torque on your drivetrain.
In my case it is my 2021 Polaris RZR XP 1000 Premium that I just purchased. This is the product I will be speaking specifically about. This is a VERY expensive process make no mistake about it! I have over $2,500 in useless STM Powersports clutch parts, for my application and another $2,000 plus in tires and rims that I can't use, DON'T BE THIS GUY!
First, giving credit where due, Dustin (Tech at STM Powersports) was very willing and responsive when trying to make his companies product fix my issue. For those of you who are not interested in all the details. Their clutches are not designed to handle heavy mud and swamp applications period, and can't be tuned, as they advertise, to work, in my opinion. I personally have over a hundred hours of hands on testing to back that statement up. Upon further investigation, STM Powersports seems to be a snowmobile clutch manufacture out of Michigan that has morphed into building SXS clutches that apparently work on snowmobiles and sand dune SXS racing applications, they say. Can't see them being any different with other manufactures either as all that use a belt run on the same principle, but I can only speak for my Polaris Application.
My Problem- When upgrading my tire from the stock 30" tire to a 30" Aqua Torque Sand Mud Tire ( totally bad ass tire FYI ) that was EXACTLY what I needed for my mud, sand, and swamp riding here in Florida, I started burning up belts every 9 to 29 miles, which made no sense at all, so than began my research.
Solution (so I was told) - I need a " Performance Clutch " that is adjustable so that I can tune it for my particular situation/application. Made Sense, and I am mechanically inclined, being in the mechanical field over 30 years, so I thought it would be fun and I could get to learn something new at the same time. Always good to keep learning.
My Goal - To save just one person who reads this a whole lot of money, time, and aggravation. I have spent well over a 100 hrs of personal tuning and testing with guidance from Dustin from STM PowerSports, watching all their tuning video's, and using some common sense once I understood the principle of how the clutch functioned, and what adjustments effected speed, rpm, etc. etc. etc. to no resolve.
My Process - Doing some quick " Google " research " apparently I should of done a hell of a lot more, I was guided to Vivid Racing who sold me this STM PowerSports mess. They apparently are one of STM PowerSports product distributors. When I ordered this product I was EXTREMELY detailed on what I needed due to my current riding conditions, the exact make, year, and model of my Kart, my weight, and the weight, make, and size of the tire I was replacing my stock tires with. The sales rep confirmed my needs, and assured me that a STM PowerSports Clutch was what I needed, to the tune of over $2,500. As soon as I started having issues though, my Vivid Racing sales rep could not be reached anymore, would never return any of my calls, and apparently after a week of this, no longer worked there, ie I was S.O.L.
Pulling out my parts packaging I was able to find the # of the manufacture and found Dustin, a Technical Support Advisor for the Company, that also raced SXS. Any of you that want the real detailed information on the exact tuning that was done and detailed information for your own knowledge, please leave me your # and I would be happy to share all of that with you.
To make a long story a little shorter, after over a month and a half of phone calls to STM PowerSports, changing clutch weights and position on the clutch arms, primary and secondary clutch springs, and doing test runs after every single adjustment and still smokin my belts; Dustin at STM Powersports was convinced there was something wrong with my 2021 Polaris RZR XP 1000 Premium. Even though it was brand new and only had 279 miles on it at the time.
He said the transmission had to be out of alignment with the motor or something had to be binding in the transmission or drive-train. Taking his advise, and that out of the equation, I spent over $300 on a professional motor transmission alignment tool, only to re confirm that everything was spot on. I again followed his directions on his " Binding Drive-Train theory and jacked everything off the ground ( another $150 in jackstands ) just to find out that everything spun freely, nothing was binding, and nothing seemed out of order there either.
I also need to add, that during this testing " Process " I had gone thru 7 belts at approx $150 bucks a piece. I had previously installed a Razorback Belt Temp Sensor on my Kart so with every adjustment I could watch my belt temps and compare everything. The only thing I didn't know at the time (and guess it is kind of relative to your riding area, and temperature of where you are riding) is that normal temps are anywhere between 130 and 180 when really pushing it, on average for my Kart when it is running right. What I can tell you is, when it's not, at 250 Degrees your belt starts so de-laminate, 260 pieces come off, and 275 it blows up into a thousand pieces like popcorn. With this STM PowerSports clutch I could not drive down a hard packed sand road with my kart in 2 wheel low or high 4 wheel low or high for more then 9 miles before the belt temps would start hitting 250, so something was wrong; and all through this process it was never the STM Powersports Clutch, it was my 2021 Polaris RZR XP 1000 Premium.
Even after all my testing, per his direction, Dustin from STM PowerSports was still convinced it was my Kart, and not his companies product. He advised me to put all my stock parts back on, run it another time, and then get back to him.
I again agreed, but told him that the whole reason that I purchased his companies product in the first place, was that I didn't want to run my stock tires and I already knew that my stock clutch set up can't handle my new tires for some reason??? or I wouldn't have spent over $2,500 dollars buying a new STM Powersports clutch from his company. I did as he requested and here are the results.
Conclusion - My concern, I was leaving to do some serious riding on the Hatfield McCoy Trail System in West Virginia the following week. I was now praying to God that something would give! I was out of time to test his theories that were obviously just guesses at this point. My 2021 Polaris RZR XP 1000 Premium can't keep a drive-belt on it that can last 19 miles, at times, say nothing of the hundreds of miles that I was looking forward to be driving in West Virginia.
I stripped off all STM Powersports Clutch parts, put on yet another new drive-belt, installed my stock clutches an tires, and took it for one last test run at River Ranch before loading it in the trailer to head to West Virginia. As I didn't have much time and honestly at this point, I was ready to call everything off. With all the original stock set up back on, I put it to the test, with my fingers and toes crossed (translates to praying my butt off) I put the hammer down for my last afternoon of testing I had left.
I hit every mud hole, water hole, river, and small lake that I could find. If you have ever been to River Ranch in Florida you will know I didn't have to look far. I clocked ten miles, interesting, 20 miles, getting nervous now, 30 miles, it's going to blow any time now for sure, 40 miles???, now i'm kinda dumb founded! At 49 miles the belt temps were still only running 167 degrees tops, which I never had seen before. As everything was already paid and ready for West Virginia, I said the worst that could happen, is I would have to rent a Kart for the week and listen to more bashing from my friends.
Now for the BIG test. To the Appalachian Mountains where there are some real mountains and challenging situations, for real!
Results - In 6 Days I put on an additional 649 Miles, hard miles on my 2021 Polaris RZR XP 1000 Premium " just one belt " that already had 49 miles on it when I started, with not a lick of problems. The belt temperature never hit 200 degrees even after long crazy hill climbs. So, if your wondering why I am calling this product " BS " for the type of riding conditions I purchased it for, well all I can tell you is, it isn't my driving style, or an issue with my New Polaris RZR XP 1000 Premium, or the belt that I was consistently running (which Dustin Recommended I run). In my opinion it's with a STM PowerSports, a Michigan Company that is " Marketing " and " Selling " a clutch product that they have not done any proper R & D on for the application they sold it to me for, or are Marketing/Selling it to everyone else who also has Mud/Swamp riding needs. They have no problem taking your money, and your stuck with it once you purchase it, just so ya know.
To my friends an all the Newbee's like me out there, I wish I could finish this article with a solution for y'all, but for now I am out of money, time, and patience to go through this process again. I have heard rumors that Duraclutch was designed by guys that are Mud Boggers and do swap riding as well as R&D their product for this application??? If there is anyone out there that reads this and has found a " Tested " solution to my problem I would love to hear about it. The Aqua Torque Tires I purchased are an truly amazing product, they apparently just weigh more then the stock tires and STM Powersports has no business selling their product to people that mud and swamp ride in" high torque " situations. They should be letting the public know that OR " Man UP " and spend the time, money, and do the right thing, and test an develop a product that actually works for the application they are selling it for, Before they sell it. They seem to have no problem bragging that their product is made in America, while my Chinese Stock Polaris Clutch clearly out preforms their product for stock application needs, and a quarter of the cost!