Originally Posted by michiganteddybear
I would think if the clutch plates where worn badly (but clutch otherwise seems to work) you would feel some resistance from the clutch plates.
I would have to think either the clutch assembly is not closing the gap between plates and disks (thats done by springs). that would be stuck pressure plate or all the springs broken/bad (all 5 of them?)
or the driveshaft is not connected properly to the splines at the front bevel, or the splines at the rear bevel are bad/not engaging the rear bevel. There is a spring that goes inside the coupler that will push the shaft to the front of bike to keep the front splines engaged
there is possibility of something in the transmission being fubar, but thats not common on these
Good points. Second paragraph made me think of a broken clutch basket. Lever has spring action, but flexing of the basket prevents engagement?
Important 3rd paragraph - Coupler spring is in place, or missing? Previous owners might have been in there, sounds like you had some old grease on worn rusty splines.
New clutch plates have friction material approx. the thickness of 2-3 layers of cereal box. Plates that are worn put can have thickness of of one layer, but they can still move the bike, probably slipping when power is added.
If nothing MTB posted is amiss, your plates must be completely wiped smooth. However, I'm reminded of a bad clutch I had one miserable winter. I could start the car, put it in gear, get out to scrape the windows with the trans in gear, get back in to rev the engine. After a while the car would move and drive although the clutch slipped if I put on too much power. Drove to work a week this way. So even metal to metal, a clutch can still grab.
Does it look like the clutch has been opened up, like a new gasket, etc.? Somebody left a disc or steel out?