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Armstrong, IA 50514
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Electric Clutch Adjustment for Outdoor Power Equipment

Why do I need to adjust the clutch?

Electric clutches must be adjusted from time to time for optimal performance. If the gap becomes too large between the two contact plates it becomes difficult for the magnet to hold them together. Under a heavy load the plates may slip which will result in high heat from the friction of slipping. This will melt the wire insulation and therefore ruin an expensive component.

Do you have an adjustable clutch?

First it is necessary to determine if you have an adjustable electric clutch of not. Some are not adjustable. If your clutch does not have 3 nuts located in a triangular fashion it is non-adjustable. These clutches have become very popular but in our humble opinion are inferior to adjustable clutches.

Non-Adjustable electric clutch   Example pictures of clutchesAdjustable electric clutch

If you have a non-adjustable clutch, here are some things to keep in mind:

1) It is more important to disengage the clutch at a low engine rpm than it is to engage it at a low rpm.
2) The magnetic brake will eventually wear, increasing the clutch gap. If you notice any reluctance to engagement, replace the brake plate as soon as possible to prevent clutch meltdown.
3) Reluctance to engage is usually noted first after the clutch has been run for a period of time and is re-engaged when hot.

Clutch adjustment procedure

Now that we have determined you have an adjustable clutch, here are the steps:
1) Locate the three slots in the brake plate next to the three adjustment nuts. (A few clutches have 4.)

2) Insert a .012 feeler gauge in each slot. (If you have 3 gauges this is my preferred method.) Tighten each nut 1 to 2 flats at a time, making sure that you do all three the same amount. This is to assure that the plate is adjusted evenly or it makes the final adjustment more difficult.

3) Adjust until each feeler gauge has a light drag on it. If you have used 3 gauges, it is a simple matter to tweak each nut if one gauge is loose or one is tight. If you have only one gauge, make sure you go around the three slots two or three times to make sure they are all adjusted to the same gap. Each time you adjust one nut if affects the other two slightly.

That is all there is to it. Your electric clutch should be ready for many more hours of trouble-free use. It is wise to check the gap annually although in light duty use you may not need to adjust it that often. It is better to keep it adjusted than to make large adjustments as you risk damage from slippage.
This procedure will work on any make of power equipment regardless of brand. Clutch makers include Stewart-Warner and Ogura.

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