Flywheel covers serve multiple purposes; they direct airflow to cool components mounted on the motor and prevent objects from getting into the flywheel, timing belt, and gears, which could cause significant damage when the motor is running. Most importantly, they are there to prevent injury to users who have removed the top cowling while the motor is running.
For many years, the flywheel covers on many models were only held on by grommets which slipped over retaining studs on the powerhead, so they could be removed without tools. To help inhibit
curious people from casually removing the flywheel cover without tools, one or two bolts, in addition to the grommets and studs, have been used to secure the cover on models not already equipped with one or more bolts. The bolt(s) must be removed before the flywheel cover can be removed from the motor.
Attempting to remove the cover without first removing the bolt(s) could result in damage to the cover. Also, after removing the bolt(s), failure to disengage the grommets from all of the retaining studs before lifting the cover off could put undue stress on the cover, causing damage.
If a cover is damaged due to improper removal, replace it. Motors should never be without the flywheel cover installed and properly secured. Also be aware that flywheel covers damaged by improper removal are not covered by warranty.