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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-29-2016, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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Clutch Problems!

Hi,
I have a trike made up from the front end of a VN750 and the rear end of Reliant Axle and chassis tubing. It weighs in at about 330 KGs/725 Lbs, ie about 100KG/220 Lbs heavier than a standard bike. It runs fine with me on it but we have a few problems when there is a pillion rider aboard as well.

For example I take part in the Plymouth Megaride every year here in Devon. The start point has us slowly climbing a long incline amongst hundreds of other bikes so progress is slow, very slow. With 2 up the coolant temperature soon climbs into the red and the clutch ‘bite’ position moves towards the handle bars until there is no movement left, then the clutch starts slipping. We have resolved the problem partially by my Wife walking up the incline and getting on at the top, but things are still getting hot and the ‘bite’ point moves a little. The first year’s ride I trashed the clutch and had to be rescued by the RAC! So I replaced it with a ‘Heavy Duty’ item, that is new: steel plates, friction plates and springs.

So to the question at last!

I am thinking of a few options.

1. Fit an oil cooler, I believe some bikes do have them so a second hand unit is a possibility using a ‘sandwich plate’ between the engine casing and oil filter.

I would have to be careful not to end up over cooling the engine when it is a solo rider (80% of the time).

2. Fit a competition clutch, with stronger springs etc. I believe carbon fibre or Kevlar are options. I also believe they can be very harsh!

Would this just move the stresses elsewhere?

3. Change the oil from the current one to one that works better (cooler) with my situation, if there is such a thing!

Current Oil: Fuchs Silkolene Semi Synthetic API – SF & SG, JASO MA2

What do you guys think?

Cheers,

Barry
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-29-2016, 12:52 PM
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A good oil cooler in combination with a thermostat and temperature gauge seems like the obvious solution here. Ensuring that you're using good oil to handle the temperature extremes would also be prudent - I'd seriously consider going full synthetic for your use.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-29-2016, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by calebj View Post
A good oil cooler in combination with a thermostat and temperature gauge seems like the obvious solution here. Ensuring that you're using good oil to handle the temperature extremes would also be prudent - I'd seriously consider going full synthetic for your use.
I agree, just make sure the oil is JASO MA2 like your currently using.

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-29-2016, 04:22 PM
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The Kevlar clutch and heavy duty springs would be my first start. Then I'd flush the cooling system and make sure the fan is coming on.
You mentioned the oil type but not the weight...but yes, I'd go with a full synthetic.
I'd also ask as I'm unfamiliar with the rear drive unit you have if you can change the gearing?
Slow speeds, with constant starts and stops along with feathering the clutch would cause problems on any bike ...two or three wheeled. If it was geared lower you'd be able to crawl slower without using the clutch as much.

An oil cooler would not hurt, but not sure how much cooling you'd get if you're barely moving.

You could also ask the organizers of the event to put the trikes in front so they don't have to work so hard/go so slow going up the hill.

Also make sure the motor isn't running too lean as this produces more heat.

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