Is my clutch stock or modified? (and how to fix...) - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 24 Old 12-04-2014, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Is my clutch stock or modified? (and how to fix...)

Okay, so I have owned a ninja 250, a bandit 400, a honda cx500, and a honda ascot. I have also ridden a handful of other bikes, including a liter bike. The 2003 919 I bought with 44k miles a few weeks ago has a clutch that is twice as heavy as these bikes. Really, really hard to pull in (but smooth). So I read an old magazine review saying the 919 has a light clutch. Also reading threads here makes me think that (at least some people) think the 919 stock clutch is not unusual. So I am concluding that the clutch on my bike is probably modified with heavier springs. Agree, disagree?

Well, so if I want to restore the bike to stock clutch pull force, what do I need to replace? Just the springs? Or a whole kit? Or? And do I need to buy a gasket when I do this?

Thanks for listening. ps. The bike is awesome.

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post #2 of 24 Old 12-04-2014, 11:03 PM
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There's not much traffic on here about the clutch needing stronger springs, nor anybody going ahead and doing it, AFAIR.

You might have a dry or fouled cable that's adding friction to the whole deal...

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post #3 of 24 Old 12-05-2014, 02:46 AM
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The clutch cable tends to bind at the steel bend that engages the adjuster on the clutch lever perch, especially considering the fact that it has not been lubed since it was installed at the factory 11 years ago and is exposed to rain, fog, and all the dust and dirt thrown up by cars. Shoot some (ANY!!!) sort of lubricant in there and I think it will significantly lighten the pull.

My '02 did the same thing and lubing it did help, but I replaced the cable with a longer and significantly rerouted one (if I remember correctly it was for a '99 Nighthawk 750) from Motion Pro in order to fit my very narrow bars. BTW, I strongly recommend their cable lube -- I shoot some in every oil change, and the cable has stayed as smooth as the day it was installed.

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post #4 of 24 Old 12-05-2014, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, I will check the cable and lever adjuster. I should probably buy some of that lube. Thanks for the reply.

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post #5 of 24 Old 12-05-2014, 01:31 PM
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I would just get a new cable - 44k miles, it's already had a good life. You'd hate to get stranded somewhere and kick yourself for not ordering one!

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post #6 of 24 Old 12-05-2014, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g00gl3it View Post
I would just get a new cable - 44k miles, it's already had a good life. You'd hate to get stranded somewhere and kick yourself for not ordering one!
Agreed - I did mine and would consider it preventative maintenance. Bonus: it's easy to replace. I didn't know how bad my cable was until I had it off the bike and tried to slide the cable. It was ridiculous compared to a new one.

I also plan to do my throttle cables whenever I give in and check the valves.

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post #7 of 24 Old 12-06-2014, 05:57 AM
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It's not worth the risk for a few bucks. Just my 2 cents

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post #8 of 24 Old 12-06-2014, 12:13 PM
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At 71k on my '03, I still have the original clutch cable, but carry a spare in the top trunk. I see no difference in the pull effort at the lever between my '03 and the '06 with only 22K. If you change the cable, don't forget to lube the pivot when re-installing the lever.



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post #9 of 24 Old 12-06-2014, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ST-DocLizard1 View Post
At 71k on my '03, I still have the original clutch cable, but carry a spare in the top trunk. I see no difference in the pull effort at the lever between my '03 and the '06 with only 22K. If you change the cable, don't forget to lube the pivot when re-installing the lever.
I also have the original at 76K miles. I have lubed every 4k miles and no signs of issues, but I have a new one on the shelf.

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post #10 of 24 Old 12-06-2014, 01:33 PM
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On my first 919 I had the original clutch with over 100k on it. I changed the cable at about 90k only because I was too lazy to lube it. For $20 over five years, it's just easier to change it.

Spoiler:

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post #11 of 24 Old 12-06-2014, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickard919 View Post
On my first 919 I had the original clutch with over 100k on it. I changed the cable at about 90k only because I was too lazy to lube it. For $20 over five years, it's just easier to change it.
Same with throttle cables?

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post #12 of 24 Old 12-06-2014, 03:39 PM
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You know it. I'll admit it, I'm lazy when it comes to maintenance. I'd much rather ride it and spend a few extra dollars.

Spoiler:

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post #13 of 24 Old 12-06-2014, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickard919 View Post
You know it. I'll admit it, I'm lazy when it comes to maintenance. I'd much rather ride it and spend a few extra dollars.
Makes sense. I'm usually more worried about a cable breaking when I'm 2 hours from home.

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post #14 of 24 Old 12-06-2014, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marylandmike View Post

Makes sense. I'm usually more worried about a cable breaking when I'm 2 hours from home.
I'd still manage to ride home. I only need the lever to get moving. There's always a way. Sometimes you have to be inventive.

Spoiler:

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post #15 of 24 Old 12-06-2014, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickard919 View Post
I'd still manage to ride home. I only need the lever to get moving. There's always a way. Sometimes you have to be inventive.
You should patent that

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post #16 of 24 Old 12-06-2014, 05:28 PM
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I was expecting a different response.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickard919 View Post
Sometimes you have to be inventive.
Like a TWSS. You're slipping.

Spoiler:

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post #17 of 24 Old 12-06-2014, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickard919 View Post
I was expecting a different response.

Like a TWSS.
That would have been childish

Quote:
Originally Posted by rickard919 View Post
You're slipping.
TWSS

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post #18 of 24 Old 12-07-2014, 06:55 PM
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A buddy of mine thought my clutch had been modified with heavier springs too (direct quote: "What the fuck is up with your monster clutch??!") but I have absolutely no reason to suspect that's the case. I threw some cable lube at both ends and it either got a little better or I got used to it. I don't notice it anymore.

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post #19 of 24 Old 01-07-2015, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Well, replaced the clutch cable with a new OEM cable and lubed it. No difference as far as pulling force. A little bit smoother. But this clutch is much heavier than any other bike I've had (my roommate also has 4 bikes, and was sampling his bikes as well...). So I am still guess the clutch springs were 'upgraded' to stiffer ones. It is a pretty cheap fix to go back to OEM and I think I read somewhere else you can just do it with the bike on the side-stand and you don't have to drain the oil... so on my list of things to do...

One clue that (a) previous owner(s) may have been the type to do this: the bike was repainted a metallic purple and then they installed superbike handlebars that would hit the tank, leaving two large dents on this expensive paint job. I guess it could have been two successive owners, but basically, owned by people who mod their bikes regardless of logic. Has been layed down a couple times at least... Just a theory...

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post #20 of 24 Old 01-08-2015, 06:39 PM
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Also, check and lube with a little light bearing grease the pivot point for the lever. I noticed on mine there was a little rustyness on mine when I switched on some new levers. I think it was accumulated from something else or maybe it was just some caked up dirt but I hit the pivot bolt with the wire wheel on the bench grinder and when I put the new levers on I just put a light coat of bearing grease on in order to avoid future issues.

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post #21 of 24 Old 01-11-2015, 02:34 PM
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The pivot bolt on the lever may have been over torqued. Try backing it off a lil. Worth a shot

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post #22 of 24 Old 02-22-2015, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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The factory service manual chapter on the clutch starts out with troubleshooting, and for "clutch lever too hard to pull in" gives the following reasons: Damaged clutch lifter mechanism.. Faulty clutch lifter bearing and Clutch lifter piece installed improperly.

I have my right clutch cover off to replace my clutch springs. They seem to be stock, so it doesn't seem to be the problem. No problem with the lifter spindle on the cover, it moves smoothly, but when I try to spin the clutch lifter piece by hand, it does not move smoothly, it is sticky through half the rotation. It is sticky with the lifter pushed in or pulled out. Well, not 100% sure it is the problem (thoughts?) but I will pull the clutch stack off and investigate further...

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post #23 of 24 Old 02-25-2015, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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I did order the clutch lifter pin ($50), as it was definitely not rotating smoothly even with the clutch plates off and no contact with anything other than the inside wall of the center tube. It also seems to have excessive play although the FSM does not list measurement specs. Waiting for parts...

Oh, here is some useful info: new plates measure 3.00 mm, min spec is 2.6mm, and my plates measure 2.90+... with 44K miles! So I think I can hit 200k with these plates at this rate. Well, hopefully it reflects the mild usage of the bike from the previous owners, with these sports bikes you have to wonder (of course, maybe this isn't the original clutch).

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post #24 of 24 Old 03-22-2015, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, so I think the lifter pin was a major part of the problem. I have a completely new cable, new lifter pin and new outer bearing.

I think because the engine has so much torque (relative to the 25-50 HP bikes I've owned) the engagement is just going to be more abrupt and less smooth. So bottom line I just need to get better at shifting it. I was thinking of hacks to smooth out the engagement, like weaker clutch springs... of course that will just lead to more slip which is kinda what I want, more gradual engagement...

Just back from a test ride and yeah, these front shocks need a makeover.

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