It doesn’t take a hired mechanic to install the Z-Start, but with all of these parts the installer needs to be careful. Take your time. It took us three hours.
We have been talking about the Rekluse auto-clutch conversion for a few months now. We tested one on the FST Honda TRX500 cross-country machine, and the Rox people had one installed on the their project TRX we featured in December.
Our articles talked about how well they work, focusing on the advantages, but we have yet to install one for ourselves. To see what all is involved, we ordered up a unit for our 2005 Yamaha YFZ450 and broke out the wrenches.
The $479 product called Z-Start comes with the most detailed set of instructions we have ever seen. It’s ten pages and over thirty steps long. With this product you need them. It has close to fifty parts, including bearings, springs, washers and other hardware that make up the entire clutch assembly. Don’t worry; the instructions are very easy to follow.
A few out of the ordinary tools are needed for the project. Two sets of feeler gauges (about $5 at the auto parts store) and a small torque wrench that reads in “inch pounds” is also required before you begin. That will cost about $30 at a tool or hardware store. You will also need a small tube of Blue Loctite.
What the Rekluse product does is replace your clutch’s stock pressure plate and springs. The stock friction plates remain. However, you are required to replace up to four steel plates with supplied thinner plates.
The small ball bearings are a crucial part of how the Z-Start works. When the engine starts spinning, they roll outward and put pressure on a cover plate that then forces the power to the transmission.
STEP BY STEP
The initial installation took about three hours. There are so many little parts and small steps that you can’t rush this job. One step the instructions failed to mention is to first remove the wave washer behind the inside friction plate. This fouled up our initial feeler gauge measurements.
Other than that, installation was smooth but slow. The product requires that you use two thick clutch cover gaskets when reinstalling the stock cover, thus creating the need for about an additional 1/4 cup full of extra motor oil. We opted for Rekluse’s own wider billet aluminum cover ($139) that uses the stock gasket plus the extra oil. Unfortunately they only have blue covers for the Yamaha, so we had to put a blue one on our red and white machine.
After the initial installation it took another fifteen minutes to get the cable adjustment and new perch completely dialed in. Like in the past, we found the Rekluse clutch to be amazing. You can literally be going full speed in any gear and slam the rear brakes on (without grabbing the clutch lever), come to a stop, and not stall the engine. This is a huge plus if you don’t have an electric starter.
One thing that we noticed with a stock motor; the advantage of being able to lug through corners is dependent on how much torque the engine has. The more the merrier. If you have a top-end motor you will have to downshift anyway to get moving again.
The biggest advantage we have seen with the product installed on a stock machine is in Grand Prix starts, live or dead engine. Being able to start the machine in gear and pin it after the drop of the flag is a big benefit. Or having the machine running in gear with your hand off the clutch will give you the holeshot on most live engine starts.
Keep in mind if your racing has a traditional starting gate you can also pull the clutch lever in and rev the motor if you wish. This product can help when you are teaching someone how to ride a manual clutch machine for the first time.
DO IT YOURSELF?
If you have a dealer that is familiar with installing the Rekluse clutch, we would recommend having them install it. But you may still need to spend time on your own to get the clutch adjusted to your liking.
If your shop has never installed this type of clutch, don’t be afraid to tackle the job yourself. However, take your time and follow the instructions carefully. You may have to become a recluse in your garage for a few hours to get the job done correctly.
Also we recommend doing it on a clean machine in a well-lit area. Plus if you do it during business hours you can always call Rekluse at (208) 426-0659 if you have any questions. We did. Z-Start auto-clutch products are also available for the KFX/DVX/Z400 and the Polaris Predator 500.