Clutch Question - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-25-2011, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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Clutch Question

It seems that sometimes when squeezing the clutch lever fully to the hand grip, there is still a certain amount of clutch engagement, and other times none at all.

I am thinking at least some of the time when we've had trouble getting engine started, it was due to friction of the clutch partially engaging, causing it to simply crank slower than required/normal.

Any ideas why this is a "sometime" problem?

The solution obviously is to always crank engine with green neutral light illuminated, ensuring zero clutch friction, but I don't think it is a good idea to be waiting at a red light with a certain amount of clutch engagement.




Last edited by Aufgeblassen; 12-25-2011 at 12:11 PM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-25-2011, 12:14 PM
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Could be wrong, but I think it's just friction of the oil that pools in the clutch basket. Prior to the first crank of the day after my bike has been setting for a bit, it takes some effort to back it out of my garage if it's in gear and with the clutch in. But after it's started, no problem.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-25-2011, 01:07 PM
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I have same issue, so I crank bike in "Neutral". After warm up (of oil) the problem goes away. I utilize 15w -40 synthetic.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-25-2011, 01:59 PM
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You may have too much free play in your lever/cable. The lever should only move about a nickel's thickness before it starts pulling on the cable. More than that your clutch isn't fully engaging when you pull on the lever and it would be worse when cold. You said it's a sometimes problem but what are the conditions? Cold engine, cold weather and oil that is too heavy, like 20/50, would cause it to do that. You also might have a problem with the friction plates as another member VN750rider/Jerry found where the plate surfaces swelled up closing the gap. This is probably not your deal because I think it would always do it if it were, but Jerry's bike did the same as as what you're describing...or very similar

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Last edited by DavesVulster; 12-25-2011 at 02:12 PM.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-25-2011, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavesVulster View Post
You may have too much free play in your lever/cable. The lever should only move about a nickel's thickness before it starts pulling on the cable. More than that your clutch isn't fully engaging when you pull on the lever and it would be worse when cold. You said it's a sometimes problem but what are the conditions? Cold engine, cold weather and oil that is too heavy, like 20/50, would cause it to do that. You also might have a problem with the friction plates as another member VN750rider/Jerry found where the plate surfaces swelled up closing the gap. This is probably not your deal because I think it would always do it if it were, but Jerry's bike did the same as as what you're describing...or very similar
X2 on the free play in the clutch cable. I run 20/50 oil at all times and no problem at all when riding in 40-45 degree weather.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-25-2011, 06:15 PM
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You are always supposed to start the bike in neutral. If your bike tries to move foreword when you have the lever pulled to the grip, you have something out if whack...

Keep in mind even with a properly adjusted and functioning clutch, there still is some friction evident when the bike is in gear and the clutch lever is pulled in.

This should not however be enough to cause forward movement or stall the engine. ( put the bike on the centerstand and the rear wheel will turn however)

I'd make sure your oil is the right weight, that your clutch cable is adjusted properly and.... That the engine has warmed up enough.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-27-2011, 12:58 AM
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Ok, I posted this before, but I recently ran into this problem. I live in AZ, where it is HOT, and use 20w50 oil. My bike has 71,000+ miles on it, and all but one of them are mine. I have never had any clutch problems. A couple of months ago, I started noticing shifting problems. Very notchy shifting. Then I noticed the clutch was dragging when pulled all the way in. After making sure the cable was lubricated properly, and adjusted properly, it still did it. I even adjusted it too tight, and still had the problem. I switched to 10w40 oil, as it is winter here, and that didn't do any good either. The only choice left was to pull the clutch and check it out. I found the metal plates and springs were fine, but the friction plates were actually swollen, they were thicker than the specs in the service manual in several places. I have never seen this happen before. These were the original plates. I replaced them with standard EBC plates, put it back together, filled it with 20w50 oil, properly adjusted the cable, and it has been fine ever since.

As for starting the bike, I am a believer in warming up my engine in the morning, until the coolant temperature gauge needle has reached the second mark from the left. I do this in neutral, on the centerstand, with the clutch out. In the winter it can sometimes take several minutes. Then I push the bike off the centerstand, shut off the engine with the kill switch, shift into first, and rock the bike back and forth with the clutch pulled in to break the clutch plates loose. All bikes used to be like this, the Vulcan and several more still are. Once the clutch is free, I pull it in and start it in gear, and take off. The bike is never left in neutral the rest of the day. I always park it in first, and start it in first. I also keep it in first with the clutch in at stoplights. My main reason for doing this is to avoid starting it in neutral, then shifting into first with the bike not moving. This always results in a loud clunk, and a lurch forward. It puts quite a shock load on the transmission, because it forces a gear that is turning to mesh with a gear that is locked. I have never known of a transmission being damaged enough to where it wouldn't shift into first, or would jump out of gear because of this, but I have seen many transmissions with those problems, just don't know what caused them. Slamming things together like that cannot be good, and I am not a mechanical sadist. Motorcycles do not have synchromesh transmissions like cars do.

I am a motorcyclist, NOT a biker.


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