ATV Off-Road Tech: Replacing a CVT Belt

Oct. 08, 2010 By Rick Sosebee
It seems like more often than not we wear out certain components on our ATVs. Having a lifted quad with huge tires and dropping it into the gnarly mud bogs we noticed more and more slipping in the transmission at lower RPM. After a few hard rides finally the quad couldnít pull its own weight. Stress on the CVT is enormous, as this is where the rubber really meets the road before the tires ever turn. Getting the CVT belt wet only added to the troubles down the road. We hope that this little how to might help get your machine out of the garage and back on the trail. So here is the short course on changing your CVT belt.

Clean shop
Nut/bolt tray
Common metric wrench set
Flat-head screwdriver
Torx bit assortment
OEM service manual - helpful
Driven pulley expander tool
New CVT belt

TIP: Be sure to wash your machine thoroughly to prevent any mud or dirt from not only getting into the CVT enclosure, but also to keep it out of your eyes while working.

As we have stated in past technical articles, you really need a clutter-free environment to work efficiently. Clear out a spot in the garage and leave plenty of room in case you drop something on the floor. Itís easier to find nuts or bolts on a clean shop floor.

Starting with your tools, lay out everything you might need to complete the job. This will insure a quick and easy belt change.

Locate the CVT cover and sections of plastic that may need to be removed to get a clean and clear handle on the CVT cover. This is where a service manual comes in handy!

TIP: As on most of todayís ATVís, there are many types of fasteners. Our Can-Am Outlander has both a nut/bolt combo and plastic pushpins, which were used to hold the plastics in place.  

Remove each of the pushpins by gently inserting the flat edge of a flathead screwdriver under the top portion of the pin and prying it out of the stationary piece.

Then you will need to remove the nut and bolt combos from the fenders that hold the floorboards in on your machine. Our Can-Am has Torx head bolts so this is where that specific tool comes into play.

After all the bolts and pushpins have been removed, youíll need to pull the complete floorboard section off of the ATV. This should expose your CVT cover where the belt is hiding.

Look closely at the fasteners that hold the cover on and proceed to remove them with the correct socket and wrench combo. Our CVT cover had bolts with an 8mm head on them. Be sure to inspect the area closely, as some of the bolts can be well hidden.

Once the cover is removed you will notice two pulleys and the larger of the two is going to be the driven pulley. This is where you will need to work. Locate the small holes on the driven pulley near the retaining nut and find the one that is threaded. This is where you will insert the Driven pulley expander bolt; see service manual for proper tool to fit your specific ATV. 

TIP: Make sure the ATV is in neutral, as it makes turning the drive and driven pulleys easier.

Screwing this driven pulley expander bolt into the pulley will allow the belt to become loose, and once the bolt is at its limit you will be able to remove the belt.Screwing this driven pulley expander bolt into the pulley will allow the belt to become loose, and once the bolt is at its limit you will be able to remove the belt.

Starting with the bottom of the belt placed at the deepest point inside the driven pulley, gently coax the belt over the driven pulleyís topside. Rolling the pulley clockwise should release the belt into your hands.

Now itís time to inspect the inside of the pulleys for cracks and abnormal wear as specified in your ownerís manual.  

TIP: Most belts come with a directional indicator on the belt. Be sure the arrow is in the correct direction of travel before moving on and securing the belt.

Placing the new belt on the drive pulley and into the bottom of the driven pulley just in reverse to the way the old belt came off is our next step. Rolling the driven pulley counter clockwise should let the belt seat itself on the pulleys.

Remove the driven pulley expander slowly while rolling the driven pulley in either direction will allow the belt to seat itself. The belt should be at the top outside edge of the pulley when the pulley expander tool is removed.

Reinstalling the CVT cover can be tricky so be patient. Start with the top most bolts and be sure to not pinch the rubber gasket. These bolts require very little torque.  

einstall your plastics and take the beast out for a test run. Be sure to check over all nuts and bolts as well as pushpins before the first full ride to make sure that nothing was left loose.

Thatís it, so get to work and get back on the trails. Ride safe and often!
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