Golf cart clutches feature a special technology called CVT or Continuously Variable Transmission.
The CVT consists of two different clutches joined using a belt.
Essentially, there are two components that are part of the clutch system, namely the primary or drive clutch and the secondary or driven clutch.
It is common to face issues regarding both these components and can be diagnosed if the golf cart shows the signs.
Let’s take a look at these issues along with fixes for each one.
How to Diagnose If the Clutch Is Faulty
- If the cart is being driven on a smooth surface and it seems that the transmission is not smooth, it is evident that the problem lies within the clutch system.
- If the cart is being driven up or down a hill and faces unusual transmission jerks, the issue also lies within the clutch system.
- When the golf cart is started and it faces jerky movements while starting, the clutch system can be blamed for it. It may smoothen out afterwards, but because the jerky movements were present at the start, it means that the clutch needs to be looked at and could be faulty.
- If the golf cart is being driven up a hill and the transmission shift is not smooth or if the acceleration and deceleration is erratic with uneven variations, the fault also lies in the clutch system. The primary and secondary clutch system has to be working in synchronization as a single unit. Furthermore, both these components have to be in a good condition to ensure that any problem does not arise.
Any of the above issues could be attributed to a faulty clutch system, but there are other issues as well that come with the clutch.
Types of Problems Faced with the Clutch
The clutch might not engage, might slip or might be stuck.
There are different ways to deal with these issues.
How to Fix a Clutch That Is Not Engaging
While driving up or down a hill, the clutch will refuse to engage in some cases.
This may not be a problem with the clutch itself but could be related to other parts of the cart.
If the clutch is not engaging, the following steps must be considered to fix it.
- The battery might be the key reason for the clutch not engaging. If the battery is faulty, the clutch systems will fail to generate enough power and will not function. If this is the case, it is advisable to replace or fix the battery and the issue should be resolved.
- If the battery has been changed and the issue still persists, you will have to check the throttle. Simply jack up the golf cart from the back and check the throttle cable. Once the golf cart is jacked, pressing the accelerator will create movement in the tires and they will spin. Should they not spin, that means the issue is in the throttle cable and it will have to be replaced.
- Some clutch systems are old and rusty. Cleaning out the rust and spraying a lubricant on the system may get the clutch back to working condition.
- It is important to have a physical inspection done on the drive belt. If the drive belt is loose or does not have the correct tension, it can effectively stop the clutch from engaging. This means that the belt must be changed or must be correctly fit using proper tools and must have the correct tension to ensure that the clutch is engaging properly.
- Even after all this, if the clutch still seems to be not engaging, it is best to take it to a mechanic or an expert to diagnose the problem thoroughly and come up with a solution.
How to Fix a Clutch That Is Slipping
Sometimes, even though the clutch is engaging and disengaging, it can slip when it shifts from neutral.
One way to diagnose a slipping clutch is by noticing squeaky sounds in the transmission and a lack of smoothness in shifting.
This is a common issue faced by many users, but before actually diagnosing the problem, try minimizing the weight on the golf cart.
Sometimes, the clutch can slip due to the added weight.
If the problem persists with the load of just a single person, here are some solutions you can consider:
- The belt is either too loose or too tight. In both cases, the belt will make a squeaky sound and will result in the clutch slipping. Replacing or fixing the belt might be a good idea and a quick and easy solution.
- If the belt is fixed and the issue persists, it is time to open up and dismantle the clutch assembly system and physically check the performance of individual parts to find out which ones are faulty. This requires a lot of time and effort and could possibly mean that a trip to a mechanic or service center is due.
- The problem could lie in rusty and worn out parts. Worn out parts obviously do not perform at the same level as new parts, and a weakened system could mean that the clutch will slip from time to time. Try replacing the parts with new or used ones or try fixing the current parts to check if the issue can be resolved.
- More often than not, the dirt built up inside the clutch system over time could hamper the ability of the clutch to function properly. Simply cleaning the clutch thoroughly can help resolve the issue.
- Apart from just cleaning the clutch, try lubricating the system using a lubricant or WD40. Spray the WD40 onto the parts so that they can easily move, which might help resolve the issue by freeing up the clutch and removing the squeaky sounds.
- Another issue might be the incorrect placement of weight inside the system. Proper placement and correct positioning of the weights might help solve the issue.
How to Fix a Clutch That Is Stuck
If the clutch system of your golf cart is stuck and not rotating, it effectively stops the clutch from working altogether.
This is a common issue faced by many golf cart users.
In most cases, as the clutch is old and worn out, that becomes the primary source of it being stuck.
It is relatively easy to remove the clutch system all on your own.
All you have to do is take out the oleoresins in the center and the clutch can be easily removed.
However, if it cannot be removed even after the bolts have been removed, there are other ways to fix this issue:
- Adding PBBlaster to the clutch system thoroughly and letting it rest for a couple of days might ease up the process and can easily allow you to remove the clutch.
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- If that does not work, leveraging the clutch using a crowbar by placing it behind the clutch can also help you remove it. Try not to break the clutch by applying too much pressure. Gently place it behind the clutch and give it a little jerk for the clutch to slide off and come loose.
- It is always advisable to apply an even pressure on the clutch plate. If the part breaks, there will be no choice but to get a new one, which will end up costing you a lot more.
- If the aforementioned methods do not work, another way to loosen up the clutch is by using a chisel to cut out the relief. This way, the clutch will loosen up and can be easily removed.
- Should all these methods feel like a hassle or too much effort, try sending the cart to a nearby service center or mechanic. Service centers and mechanics have special tools which are used to dismantle the clutch.
Types of Golf Carts and How to Troubleshoot Them
They are both reliable carts and come in electric and gas variants.
They are the leading golf cart manufacturers in the market and the chances are that many golf carts roaming around golf courses are either of the two brands.
Hence, this article can’t be complete without talking about how to fix clutch issues arising in these specific brands.
You would need to know how to troubleshoot issues related to these two models.
Troubleshooting the EZGO Clutch
The most common issue that an EZGO cart user faces is the clutch plate being stuck.
This will effectively stop the clutch from moving and will have to be resolved as soon as possible.
Here are some steps to help fix this issue:
- Apply WD40 thoroughly on the clutch and let it stay. If there is any dust or dirt clogging the clutch which is preventing the rotating parts from moving, they will be cleared up and the clutch can be removed easily.
- Try using a clutch puller, which is a specialized tool, to remove the clutch with ease.
- If both these techniques fail, you might have to jack the cart and completely remove the clutch. Unscrew the clutch from the bolts and open the top cover to physically check if all the parts and weights are properly aligned.
- Another common reason for a stuck clutch in an EZGO cart is the springs. The springs can generally wear out over time and become faulty, thereby limiting the functionality of the clutch. They need to be replaced or fixed as per requirement to ensure that the clutch does not get stuck.
- If the issue is still not resolved, you are left with two options. The first is that the user must completely dismantle the clutch, clean it thoroughly using WD40 and anti-rust agents and let it dry. A thorough cleaning might just be able to remove the rust and allow for smoother movements within the clutch system.
- Finally, if all of the above techniques fail, you have no choice but to replace the entire clutch system and install a new one. There are multiple EZGO dealerships available which can help you get new or used parts for your cart.
Troubleshooting the Yamaha Clutch
The G29 Yamaha golf cart is another common model used by many people.
The most frequent issue that this model brings is that the clutch comes off the shaft.
This is when the driven clutch, which is the secondary clutch, keeps falling off because it is loose and falls off the shaft.
In order to troubleshoot clutch issues in the Yamaha cart, the following steps can be considered:
- The bolts which hold the clutch have to be tightened, thereby ensuring the clutch does not fall off the shaft by being too loose.
- Try using strong and durable adhesives to hold the threads of the clutch in place so that even with movement and vibrations, the clutch is held securely in place.
- Physically check for issues in the bolts and see whether they are bent, damaged or missing as that could be the source of the issue. Ensuring that no parts are damaged can also help resolve it.
- The washer is another important component of the clutch system and helps hold the clutch in place. The washer is a delicate part and has been reported to cause the most frequent issues, normally within 3 weeks of usage. This is a major problem in the Yamaha models. Therefore, it is essential to check whether the washer is in place and if it is functioning properly.
- As is the case with the EZGO, if all these methods fail, it is again advisable to take the cart to a designated service center where experts can inspect the cart and replace or fix parts as necessary.
In order to prevent situations in which the golf cart gets stuck in the middle of the course due to issues with the clutch, it is advisable to always check the cart thoroughly before heading out.
It can either be checked physically by yourself or be sent to a service center to avoid any potential mishaps that may occur.
Like any other machine, a golf cart requires maintenance which has to be done timely and effectively.
The golf cart has small, intricate parts that have to be maintained regularly.
As the cart travels on a combination of muddy and grassy surfaces, the accumulation of rust and dirt is common within the parts, especially along the chassis.
Therefore, thorough cleaning and timely lubrication of the rotating parts can always help increase their lifespan and prevent bigger issues.
Lubrication of the clutch has to be done every 6 months or every 500-750 miles of being driven to get the most out of your golf cart.
Timely greasing of the rotating parts in and around the clutch system is also a great preventive measure to ensure that the parts do not become faulty in a short period of time.
Another important factor to consider when owning a golf cart, especially a Yamaha one, is whether the tires installed in it are the standard size.
Some carts use a high-gear engine and 10-inch rims, which are due to modifications applied to the standard cart.
People with such carts have more frequently experienced issues with the clutch.
Therefore, always check if the cart comes with the official specifications provided by the company to ensure that the parts perform at their best.
In some cases, the warranty also becomes void if there are any modifications made that impact the performance or operation of the cart.
Hence, it is a good idea to avoid modifications if you want to keep the warranty intact.
So, there it is – a round-up of all the possible issues that a golf cart clutch may present, what might cause them, how to diagnose them and the preventive measures and long-term solutions to these problems.
Ensuring proper maintenance is key.
At the same time, having substantial information and knowledge on how the golf cart clutch functions is important for every golf cart owner.
Always keep a lookout for designated company service centers.
They are your best bet when it comes to getting your cart repaired as they are professionals and have an inventory of spare parts.
However, in some cases, the job is doable at home as well because a clutch is not super complicated and sometimes just needs proper cleaning to get back in running condition.