Two weeks ago I picked up a used 2008 700xx to try out. The first ride had me loving the quality of the ride, the steering, the power delivery and the performance of the front brakes. What I didn't like was the fact that it was very easy to stall, the parking brake was useless, the rear brake was mediocre, and it took a lot of attention to the throttle and clutch to keep it motoring effectively. I love a manual clutch ATV but this one was both geared funny for tight trails and a real handful with the clutch.
Knowing me, this wasn't going to cut it long term. So after finding this site, joining, and reading far too many threads, I decided to bite the bullet and call EFM. To follow is as detailed an account as I can think to provide for the clutch and if I miss anything, please just respond and I'll try to answer it if I can.
First off, the auto clutch is not nearly as complicated as it sounds. The only thing that is different is the outside pressure plate. Everything else is stock Honda components and everything can be returned to stock without a trip to the dealer. To describe the new EFM pressure plate, think of two metal plates with ball bearings in between them in drilled out grooves. As RPM's increase, the ball bearings are driven deeper into the grooves thus pushing the inside metal plate against the friction disc of the clutch. So at idle, it's disengaged. As soon as you apply throttle, it engages smoothly and perfectly.
So why does EFM need the entire Honda clutch assembly? Because they take the outer basket and drill/tap it at 12 locations so their pressure plate can be bolted down. That's it. This does not interfere with putting things back to stock either. The rest of the parts they use to determine tolerances and spring rates, but they modify nothing. So when you get your clutch back, you'll have the stock parts you no longer need (pressure plate, springs, spring bolts) and the remaining in assembled form.
Now, a word of caution: In order to send everything to EFM, the outer clutch basket can NOT be removed from just the clutch cover. Everything else comes off nice and easy, but the side cover holds the damn basket in place. The service manual will tell you at this point that the engine has to be removed. Holy shit. Instead, I removed the gas tank, foot pegs/guards and all five engine mount bolts while loosening the drive chain. I then put a floor jack under the engine and raised it about an inch. This allowed just enough, and I mean just enough, clearance to remove all of the side cover bolts. Patience is a virtue here, but it beats removing the entire engine. Once removed, the outer basket comes off easily.
To be clear, this is a real PITA. The reverse lever gets removed, the bottom engine guard, the exhaust, the oil line attachment, but most of all, some of the bolts are just tough to get at so take your time.
Okay, so now everything is shipped back from EFM and you're ready to install. The directions are vague and you're on your own. Now what? Here is the order that things go back on the bike:
- Moly lube and reinstall outer basket needle bearing and large washer.
- Place large washer on shaft
- Place needle bearing on shaft
- Install outer basket.
- Place new side cover gasket in place on engine (not provided, you need a new one)
- Place side cover on. Do not bolt on yet.
- Place large washer on shaft (push to outer basket)
- Place two shims on shaft next (provided by EFM)
- Place inner basket on shaft
- Place lock washer onto shaft
- Place flat washer onto shaft up against lock ring
- Place nut onto shaft. Install with impact gun
- Bend locking washer tabs over nut to hold in place
- Install clutch plates. (friction disc first, metal plate second repeat) **Last plate towards pressure plate must be a friction plate and do NOT follow the service manual and place the tabs in the different slot at the end of the outer basket. The EFM plate mounts in those slots.**
- Insert manual clutch rod, moly lubed needle bearing and flat washer into shaft hole
- Place EFM pressure plate on with its tabs going into the outer basket cutouts
- Tighten EFM allen bolts (12)
- Install Cometic spacer gasket (provided by EFM)
- Install Cometic metal spacer (provided by EFM)
- Install Honda clutch cover with new, longer bolts (provided by EFM)
- Install all remaining bolts for the side cover and clutch basket
- Adjust the manual clutch so that the handle is totally loose until just before the handlebar
- Lower engine, reinstall everything you did to raise it.
It seems like quite a bit, but it really wasn't that bad. It took me the weekend by myself but while I had everything apart, it was a perfect opportunity to install the Big 3 from EHS and a 13 tooth sprocket.
The result: Amazing. Simply stunning really. It is so cool to drop the bike into first gear without a clutch and the only thing you notice is the Neutral light going out. Then you just barely press the throttle and it starts moving with no jerkiness whatsoever. Out on the trail, it was far more fun IMO as it will never stall, always seemed to be powering ahead, and I can still use the clutch to slide the ass out when wanted. It's feels exactly like the clutch setup on the Honda 250X SportClutch. You have a manual when you want it and an automatic for the rest of the time.
This mod may not be for everyone but I for one am impressed. Hats off to EFM for working with me to get this done in just one weeks time.