Clutch Replacement Success VN1600 Classic - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-10-2017, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Clutch Replacement Success VN1600 Classic

I have noticed that ever since I upgraded the exhaust and intake on my '06 1600 Classic that the clutch was slipping under hard acceleration. Reading about this particular model on the internet tells me that the clutch has a fair amount of built in slip and that many people roast them after as little as 10k miles. Mine has 50k on it and although I am not the original owner, I have no reason to believe it had ever been touched.

I'm a big one for going with upgraded aftermarket parts instead of OE so I decided to get a Barnett Carbon Fiber clutch and the upgraded Barnett spring. Without tearing into the bike I wasn't sure which thickness of steels I would need so I ordered a complete set of "standard" steels, which I believe are 2mm. I took it all apart last night and there were no real gotchas to speak of. The exhaust has to come off and so does the right side floorboard / brake pedal assembly. The right hand frame tube section then comes out, and it is a clear shot at the clutch cover. With the bike on the side stand you can remove this cover and lose virtually no oil.

I didn't actually measure the thickness of the friction discs but visually they showed very little wear. The steels were not warped or bent at all. I probably could have gotten by with just a new spring but while I was there it was no harder to replace the whole thing. All of the steels except for one were the 2mm thickness, one was thinner which I believe is the 1.6mm thickness. Since it did not appear burned or warped, I re-used this steel and replaced all of the others with my new ones. Re-assembly was fairly straightforward as well with no major surprises, just pay attention to the order and direction of the washers.

After putting it back together and verifying that neutral actually worked I took it for a spin. The stiffer spring is definitely evident in terms of a stiffer clutch lever. It is certainly not too stiff to use, but it does take some effort. I would not recommend it for the limp wristed. I imagine it will loosen up a little with age, but for now I'll just build up my hand strength. As far as street manners go it feels great. People say carbon fiber is very grabby, I don't think it is. The friction zone is small but very livable. Taking off smoothly is no problem at all, even on a hill. There is no engagement chatter or anything I would consider as bad manners. Most importantly the slip I was feeling under acceleration is a thing of the past.

As a side note I thought I should point out that some people claim after you put a good clutch in these that you absolutely must rev match or you'll be chirping your tire on every downshift. As with a lot of information on the internet, this is total crap. I'm sure you could make it behave that way by altering the thickness of the steels or using additional washers and such, but if don't monkey with it, it is a non-issue.

The attached pictures are from the original clutch.
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Last edited by Ahemsa; 06-10-2017 at 03:07 PM. Reason: adding pictures
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-11-2017, 12:18 PM
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Location: Orange County, Virginia USA
Year/Make/Model: 03' Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Classic
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Very nice write up. I enjoyed the information and detail you provided. My bike is also in the 50k range, no problems at all at this time but soon the clutch will be need to be changed.

BTW " It is certainly not too stiff to use, but it does take some effort. I would not recommend it for the limp wristed. I imagine it will loosen up a little with age, but for now I'll just build up my hand strength."

I am all about effort and building hand strength, definitely NOT limp wristed!

  • 03' Vulcan 1600 Classic
  • Fire and Steel Tachometer
  • Chrome Engine Guard
  • Classic Windshield
  • Vance & Hines Big Shots Staggered
  • Dynojet Power Commander III
  • Mobil 1 Racing 4T 10W-40
  • WIX 51358 Oil Filter
  • Archoil AR9100 Oil Additive
  • Archoil AR6200 Fuel Modification

*Not a motorcycle mechanic in real life but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night*
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-11-2017, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Keep your wrist exercises to yourself!

Sharp bike BTW, if you're looking for a big performance boost look into a new intake. The factory one is stupidly restrictive. I didn't notice a big improvement over stock with just the exhaust but when I later added the intake it made a huge difference.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-11-2017, 02:51 PM
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Location: Orange County, Virginia USA
Year/Make/Model: 03' Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Classic
Displacement/CC's: 1600
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Yea good point> Exhaust is only one part of performance improvement, changing the intake really should make a difference, I agree. However the previous owner installed the Dynojet Power Commander III and had the bike tuned at a shop. Changing the intake would make me have to take it to Dyno shop. Don't like going to shops and trust them to do anything. Crazy I know but I avoid shops unless I absolutely have to.

I am aware that Dynojet has a generic programing file that can be downloaded and flashed by usb, that is for intake and exhaust mods. I may get the nerve and do that soon, keep you posted.

Do you have any tuner on your bike?

  • 03' Vulcan 1600 Classic
  • Fire and Steel Tachometer
  • Chrome Engine Guard
  • Classic Windshield
  • Vance & Hines Big Shots Staggered
  • Dynojet Power Commander III
  • Mobil 1 Racing 4T 10W-40
  • WIX 51358 Oil Filter
  • Archoil AR9100 Oil Additive
  • Archoil AR6200 Fuel Modification

*Not a motorcycle mechanic in real life but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night*
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-11-2017, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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I'm running the Power Commander III as well. I did it first and downloaded their base map for a stock bike. Contrary to what everybody says about these bikes running lean from the factory, their map actually took away fuel in several places, adding it in very few spots. This is why I think the resistor trick and other hacks to globally increase fuel are just that, hacks. With this tune the bike ran great. I then put on the Vance and Hines exhaust and used their base map for that. Again the bike ran great, and actually gained about 3mpg although I couldn't really feel a huge power difference. I then added the Baron's Big Air Kit. The closest thing Power Commander had for this was a map for the Vance and Hines exhaust with a Thunder MFG (now defunct) air intake. I started there and have made a few tweaks. I noticed a big power jump, and at the same time the start of the slipping clutch after I did the intake.

Currently my guess is the tune is at about 90-95% right. The bike feels pretty good but there are few "weak" spots in the throttle response. Nothing major, just enough to know it could be a little bit better. There is a motorcycle shop here that does tuning that I intend to take it to soon so they can iron out the rest of it and tune it for full potential. I have just been putting it off because if the clutch was slipping, then engine loading would be wrong, and thus the tune wouldn't be accurate. I understand the apprehension of taking it somewhere, you better believe I will be watching everything they do. I've tuned a bunch of cars in my day and am perfectly capable of tuning the bike myself if I had the facilities. If I could find somewhere to just rent the dyno for a few hours I'd do it myself.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-11-2017, 03:25 PM
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Roger that! very cool. sorry about the clutch slip. Bring memories of my car racing years. Swap and rebuild engine more = horse power = trany goes out with in about two days

Toward the end of the month, I am planing on ordering the Spectre Performance (4770) 9" x 2" Air Cleaner. They seem to look and provide the air needed and are cheaper to replace then factory.

Keep you posted.
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  • 03' Vulcan 1600 Classic
  • Fire and Steel Tachometer
  • Chrome Engine Guard
  • Classic Windshield
  • Vance & Hines Big Shots Staggered
  • Dynojet Power Commander III
  • Mobil 1 Racing 4T 10W-40
  • WIX 51358 Oil Filter
  • Archoil AR9100 Oil Additive
  • Archoil AR6200 Fuel Modification

*Not a motorcycle mechanic in real life but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night*
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-11-2017, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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The clutch slip may have sucked a little but rather than think of it as a problem I took a page from my car racing history and used it as an opportunity for an upgrade.

Couple thousand more dollars and I'll have the bike set up exactly how I want it so I can trade it and start all over.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-26-2017, 08:54 PM
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Do you mind if ask where you got the parts and what numbers you used? I see a kit on eBay for $187 that has the clutches, steels, spring and a gasket. Is that in line price wise with what you got?
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-07-2017, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
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Yes that is the kit I got and the price.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-11-2017, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahemsa View Post
Yes that is the kit I got and the price.
Awesome thanks!
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