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Changing Variator Weights

11681 Views 14 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  sanford12
I changed my variator weights today. This really works. The difference in acceleration is noticeable. You actually can feel a little push back in the seat. For under $50 I think this is the best performance mod you can do. RPMS drop to pretty much stock once you are cruising.

First it seems 13 grams is ideal and stock is 15. I had four 10 gram weights so I put in 4 10's and 4 15's for an average of 12.5. It works.

Took me 3 1/2 hours including putting on the air filter cover first then realising the front variator cover had to go on first, and having an airbox screw take a dive into the bowels of the scooter, and a brief pizza break.

This is not a job for a real beginner. Here are some tools you will really find handy:

- a hand impact screwdriver - get one at Sears for $30, there are some Phillips head screws that CANNOT be removed by hand

- a magnetic retriever - for the screw that took a dive

- an impact wrench

- a 3/8" drive torque wrench

Here is how I did it including a few tricky (at least for me) parts:

- first you are going to remove a lot of fasteners and you need to keep them organized. I use plastic yogurt containers but don't just mix them all up

- I have some old white sheets to use in the garage, make sure they are clean, this allows you to put the variator parts down on a clean surface where you can see them and they won't get dirty

- first remove the lower colored body strip

- then remove the plastic covers over the variator, and the air filter cover.
I needed the impact screwdriver to remove the Phillips head screws
of the large plastic variator cover.

- next remove the aluminum variator cover. Ease it off gently as it has
bearings for the primary and secondary sheaves

- remove the variator nut with an impact wrench

- carefully remove the variator, take it apart and swap your weights

- replace the variator - I got stuck here - the belt prevents the variator
from going on far enough to start the nut. The key is to pry to two
pulley halves of the clutch (secondary sheave) apart some - do this
with a piece of wood so you don't scratch the aluminum - then the
variator slips right on.

- tighten the variator nut with the impact wrench. If you do not
have access to an impact wrench you can make a tool that holds
the variator immobile like the Yamaha shop tool. The Reflex
Owners Group board has a link on how to make one. Sorry, I don't
have the link.

- put all the covers on with their bazillion fasteners

- if you get it all together without having a fastener left over or losing
one in the bowels of the beast congratulations (magnetic retrievers
are wonderful)

- take a break and then enjoy the real acceleration difference you
can feel for less than $50.
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Where did you get the weights from? How much did they cost? Does Yamaha stock them? This seems like a great mod, because unlike a new Malossi variator, its all Yamaha and under warranty!
I got the weights (many thanks to Rubble for telling me where to get them) from www.battlescooterstore.com
They cost $39.72 for four weights shipping included.
Well, I made one more mistake. Sears no longer sells the impact screwdriver. It is THE answer for frozen Phillips head screws - no more stripping. Amazon.com sells the exact same tool, here is the link:
amazon link
And here is the link for making a variator removal tool for those who don't have an impact wrench (although for some reason the link is down today)

Ordered up some 10 grammers today! Can't wait to get them in!

Great write up Red Herring. I have heard of others using a Strap Wrench to hold the variator instead of using a variator removal tool, although I've never tried it myself.

Thanks for the great "how to". I have one question. You said you used 10 gram and the stock 15 gram weights. Well, did you put the different weights in as "every other one" or what. I have never had this portion of my scooter apart so I do not know how the weights are set in place.
Thanks for the help....
2005 Galaxy Blue AN400 :p
sorry to take so long to answer
- I put the weights in "every other one"
From what I have read: http://www.flexistentialist.org/archive ... _con.shtml
it is the centrifugal force all all the weights together that determine the movement of the variator halves. So as long as the weights are not lop-sided (all 10's on one side, all 15's on the other) which would cause bad vibration it should work.
I am no expert on this, if anyone knows anything wrong with my write-up
please let me know. All I know is I did it about 300 miles ago and have really enjoyed it.
I hear all kinds of talk about getting more power.

I ride single . . . exclusively, and I think I have more than enough power to spare.

I wonder if changes can be made to the variator for more mileage(less RPM's at the top end)?
I still don't quite understand all this but as I asked on the other page, would doing this when the belt is replaced reduce the labor time?
I think I will print out your description & see how much they would charge me to do it.
If you have a Harbor Freight in your area you can find an impact screwdriver for far, far less than $26. I bought a small one on sale for under $5 & the larger one is not that much more.
gruntled - the answer is yes - it would be far cheaper in terms of labor time to change your variator weights when having a belt change done.
As with so many jobs on the Majesty, 3/4 of the work is removing the tupperware - and - in the case of the variator weights - the aluminum transmission cover. ALL the tupperware and transmission cover that need to be removed to change the variator weights have to be removed to change the drive belt. And replaced. The only additional step would be to remove the variator - which involves removing one bolt.
Changing the weights takes a minute. The variator busing and shaft need to be wiped clean and lubed, then the variator is put back on the shaft and it's nut torqued. Most shops charge by the minute, I would figure 30 minutes labor would be right to change the variator weights if they are doing a belt change at the same time. If not, several hours labor charge would be involved.
Same deal if you want to replace the variator with a Malossi or JCosta - once everything has been removed to change the belt they just have to take off the nut that holds on the variator, removed the stock variator, clean & lube the shaft, slide on the aftermarket variator and torque down its nut.
From looking at the pictures the large impact screwdriver from Harbor Freight appears to be the same unit I paid $26 for at Sears :oops:
either place you get it from it is a great tool to have for working on the Majesty, to avoid stripping the heads of overly tight Phillips head screws.
I have had mine for over 20 years and it has never failed. Note - you won't see it actually turn the screw - you put the bit in the screw and give it a heck of a whack with a ball-peen hammer. This drives the bit into the grooves of the Phillips head screw, preventing "cam-out", and loosens the screw about one or two degrees - not enough to see, but enough to break the corrosion or dirt that have frozen the screw in place. Then you can easily remove the screw with a regular Phillips head screwdriver.
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I stopped by Harbor Freight today. The small one is no longer on sale & is now $5.99. The larger one is $6.99 & is of course much better. The only advantage of the smaller one is that it uses regular screwdriver bits & so it can be used with the other type bits as well.
I'm not sure about using regular bits...
Impact tools use TREMENDOUS force. You should never use tools not designed to be used with an impact tool with them - they can shatter and fly off in all directions, injuring you.
So as to avoid any accidents, all impact tools (sockets, bits, extension bars, etc.) always have a flat black finish. Regular tools are chromed,
or have a chrome-vanadium finish.
I'd buy both Harbor Freight screwdrivers - sooner or later you'll use both of them. I know the big one is 1/2" drive and you can use impact sockets with it, to loosen nuts or bolts. I bought a set of 1/2" drive impact sockets in standard and metric sizes from Harbor Freight, and they have taken a lot of abuse with no problems.
There has been a lot written about variator weights on this site. I tried the four 10 gram weights combo for a 12.5 average and found them to be impractical if most of your driving is on the highway. If you do your driving in town the the increase in acceleration from a dead stop is nice but on the highway the increase in RPM(200-400) and the lack of acceleration from 50mph and above I personally really disliked. As most of my miles are on the highway I went back to the stock weights and am a lot happier with the performance. Before you spend your money think about where you spend most of your time on the scoot. If any body wants some slightly used 10 gram weights you can have them for $10.00 plus postage, just PM me.
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